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1902 TO MAY 1914. 



Herkimer County Historical Society 


HON. JOHN W. VROOMAN . . . President 


HON. RALPH D. EARL ... Vice-Presidents 



HON. FRANKLIN W. CRISTMAN . . Cor. Secretary 

GEORGE E WALLACE .... Treasurer 

DEWEY J. CARTER Librarian 


Hon. William C. Prescott 

David H. Burrell 

Dr. J. D. Fitch 

Hon. George W. Ward 

George M. Elmendorf 


FINANCE— Hon. Robert Earl, Hon. Watson C. Squire, 
Douglas Robinson, Orange B. Rudd, James Fagan. 

LIBRARY AND EXCHANGES— George M. Elmendorf, 
Albert B. Russell, John B. Koetteritz. 

J. Howard Brinckerhoff, J. E. Rafter, R. H. Smith, E. S. 

ADDRESSES— Dr. J. D. Fitch, Hon. Charles L Fellows, 
Will E. Kay. 

PUBLICATIONS— Charles S. Munger, Charles E.Snyder, 
George H. Tuttle, Thomas D. Warren, Frank L. Van Deusen. 

NECROLOGY— Hon. Charles Bell, William Witherstine, 
Mrs. E D. Callan. 

MEMBERSHIP— Col. S. C. Clobridge. Miss Clara L. H. 
Rawdon, Mrs. C. W. Grim, Mrs. 5. H. Miller, James H. Fagan. 

MONUMENTS— David H. Burrell. Col. Frank West, H. G. 
Munger, Hon. Seth G. Heacock, Mrs. Delight R. Keller. 

STATISTICS — John G. Fenner, John Crowley, Frank A. 
Schmidt, M. G. Bronner, Captain Frank Faville. 

NOTE, — The additional papers read 
before the Society covering the period 
from September 1902, to May 1914 are 
published in Vol. 4. 





5LPTLMBLR 1902 to MAY 1914 






y ^ 





The County of Herkimer is rich in legendary lore and possesses 
much of inestimable interest to the lover of Mohawlt Valley history. 

This Society, during its eighteen years of active work in preserv- 
ing the records of the various localities in 'this county may well be 
congratulated upon the valuable additions given to the public through 
the medium of the printed volumes of its proceedings. 

The officers herewith append a list of papers published in Volumes 
one and two. The present volume three contains the papers read be- 
fore the Society, covering the period from September 1902 to January 
1, 1914, also action of the Society taken upon the death of Albert N. 
Russell, the second president of the Society and Honorary President 
at the time of his demise, and also upon the death of John Dryden 
Henderson, Treasurer of the Society from its organization until his 
death in 1910. Also a brief review of the proceedings attendant upon 
the presentation of the colors of the 34th, Regiment to the Society at 
a public meeting held at the Court House in Herkimer, September 
17, 1913. 

These volumes should be placed in every library in the Mohawk 
Valley, as a more complete local history of this section of the Em- 
pire State has never been published. 

In order to continue this valuable work, the officers desire to call 
special attention to membership in the Society, which consists of 
I<ife, Resident and Honorary. A life "membership costs ten dollars, 
Resident members pay an admission fee of two dollars, which is in 
full of all fees and dues for the. year ending the second Saturday oX 
January following, and thereafter an annual fee of one dollar. 

A new member paying two dollars will receive a receipt in full for 
the year ending the second Saturday of January following and he 
will also receive, free of charge a copy of Volume three which is 
richly worth the admission fee. 


Volume One of the society's publications contains 324 pages, being 
the papers read before the society in the years 1896, 1897 and 1898 as 

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

Life, Character and Public Services of John Jay, by Frank B. Park- 


The First Settlers of the Mohawk Valley, by Mary Shepard War- 

Herkimer and Its People During the First Thirty Years of This 
Century, by Robert Earl. 

Herkimer Seventy Years Ago, by Charles Holt. 

Gen. F. E. Spinner's First Nomination to Congress, by Alexis L.. 

Personal Recollections of Herkimer Village Dating Back Nearly 
Seventy Years, by Albert L. Howell. 

The Mohawk River in History, by Robert Earl. 

Plistory of Lotteries in the State of New Robert Earl. 

Buildings in Herkimer Seventy Years Ago, by Jas A. Suiter. 

Reminiscences Concerning Several Persons Connected With Im- 
portant Historical Events, by Robert Earl. 

A Historical Mistake Corrected, by Robert Earl. 

John Brown's Tract, by Charlees E. Snyder. 

The Royal Grant, by Geo. W. Smith. 

An Outline Sketch of the History of Tryon County, by John D. 

Continental Money, by Wm. C. Prescott. 

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

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

Two Prominent Citizens of Herkimer County, by RoTsert Earl. 

Organic History of the Village of Herkimer, by Robert Earl. 

Andrew Finck, Major in the Revolutionary War, by John B. Koet- 

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

Ilion and the Remingtons, by A. N. Russell. 

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

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

Printing and Its Development in this Country, by Jno. L. McMillan. 

The Mohawk Turnpike, by Rufus A. Grider. 

Religion in the Colony of New York, by Robert Earl. 

John Jost Herkimer, by Robert Earl. 

The Dutch in New Netherlands, by John D. Henderson. 

The Town of Russia, by Jas. N. Walters. 

The Town of Schuyler as a Factor in the History of Herkimer 
County, by J. H. J. Watkins. 

Fragments of Norway's Early History, by Fred S-mith. 

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

John Christian Shell and His Block House, by Albert L. Howell. 

Fort Dayton, by Robert Earl. 

The Town of Danube by Edward Simms. 

Fort Herkimer, by Robert Earl. 

The Feeter Family, by John B. Koetteritz. 

The Mohawk Valley and the Palatines, by Robert Earl. 

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

Volume Two contains 451 pages, including a memorial of the late 
Hon. Robert Earl, first President of the Society. 


This volume covers the years 1899 to 1902 and the following pa- 

The War of 1812, its Causes and Consequences by Robert Earl. 

Life and Public Services of Gen. F. E. Spinner, by Albert L. 

Joseph Brant- Thayendanegea, by Edgar Jackson Klock. 

The Town of Litchfield, by Mrs. E. G. Van Housen. 

Pioneer Times on the Royal Grant, by Geo. L. Johnson. 

Abraham Lincoln in His Relation to Slavery, by Robert Earl. 

The French in Canada and Our Obligation to the Iroquois, by John 
D. Henderson. 

Arphaxed Loomis his Career and Public Services, by Geo. W. 

Indian Scalping, by Robert Earl. 

Life of Joseph Brant, by Albert L. Howell. 

Stamp Acts, by Robert Earl. 

The Herkimer Hydraulic Canal, by William C. Prescott. 

The Relation of the Mohawk Valley to the Making of the Repub- 
lic, Prize Essay, by Leslie Kirke Richardson. 

Tryon County in the Revolutionary War, Prize Essay, by James 
H. Greene. 

Women of the Revolutionary War, Prize Essay, by M. Louise 

Railroads in Herkimer County, by Robert Earl. 

1823, Gleanings from a Herkimer Newspaper, by Robert Earl. 

Industries of Frankfort, by Frank B. Parkhurst. 

Our Common Free Schools, Prize Essay, by Estelle Adelaide Leach. 

Common Schools in New York, Prize Essay, by Kate Moran. 

Patriotic Delusions, by Robert Earl. 

Abraham Lincoln and Arbitrary Power During the Civil War, by 
Robert Earl. 

Ouh Conimon Schools, Prize Essay, by Loretta O. Douglass. 

So'me Phases of the Early Agriculture of our State, by Robert Earl. 

The Town of Warren, by Dunham Jones Crain. 

Some Dutch Characteristics, by John W. Vrooman. 

1828-1832 Gleanings from Two Herkimer Newspapers and other 
matters by Robert Earl. 

Herkimer County People at the National Capital, by Dr. P. H. 

The Lutheran Church in Herkimer County, by Wm. Irving Walter. 

John Frank, His Contemporaries and His Account Book, by Robert 

Fairfield Academy and Fairfield Medical College, by Geo. W. Smith. 

The Modern Industrial Organization, Its Origin and Its Meaning, 
by Prof. D. Dew Smith. 

King Hendric, by W. Max Reid. 

The Town of Manheim, by John B. Koetteritz. 

Gleanings from the Herkimer Democrat and Mohawk Courier, by 
Robert Earl. 


Copies of either one of the three volumes of the society can be ob- 
tained for one dollar by addressing the secretary at Herkimer, N. Y. 

The present officers of the society are: Hon. John W. Vrooman, 
Herkimer, President; Frank B. Parkhurst, Frankfort, Ralph D. Earl, 
Herki'mer, Mrs. Adelle Holland Cutler, Utica, Vice Presidents; Arthur 
Tappan Smith, Herkimer, Recording Secretary; Hon. Franklin W. 
Cristman, Herkimer, Corresponding Secretary; George F. Wallace, 
Herkimer, Treasurer; Dewey J. Carter, Herkimer, Librarian; Hon. 
William C. Prescott, Herkimer, John V. Schmidt, Ilion, Thomas Ring- 
wood Ilion, William Hartford, Ilion, John D. Henderson, Herkimer, 
Executive Committee. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 

13, 1902. 

This paper is not intended as a scientific essay on 'money, but a 
brief story of the things which have been used as money. 

Money in a broad sense is anything that serves as a common med- 
ium of exchange and measure of value among men. It may be the 
agreed measure, or the legal measure, or in the absence of special 
agreement, the customary measure. 

It is impossible to enumerate all the things which have somewhere 
on the earth at some time answered the purpose of money. Passing 
by the use of silver and gold and paper for money with which we are 
all familiar, nearly all the principal metals with which mankind have 
been familiar have been so used — such as iron, brass, copper, lead, 
platinum, nickel, stone; and a vast variety of other products such as 
coal, leather, bread, bark, bones, salt, wheat, corn tobacco 
tea, olive oil, rice, beans, skins, and furs of animals, fish, shells, 
fruit, land, cattle, snuff, whiskey, cotton cloth, silk, eggs, 
soap, chocolate, cocoanuts, wood, whales' teeth, feathers, ivory. 
Cattle were used as money in ancient Greece and Rome, and hence 
the word "pecuniary" is derived from "pecus", meaning cattle. Under 
the Caesars even lands were 'made money. Deposits in the bank of 
Venice during the middle ages and afterward could not be with- 
drawn, but could be transferred from hand to hand in commercial 
transactions. In Britain as late as the Norman Conquest, slaves and 
cattle were used in exchanges as money. In India, cakes of tea, in 
China pieces of silk, in Africa strips of cotton cloth, beads, soap, 
chocolate, cocoanuts, ivory, eggs, cowry shells have been used for 
measures of value; and so in the British West India Islands, pins, 
slices of bread, pinches of snuff, drams of whiskey were so used. 

But on this occasion I am more particularly concerned with the 
unusual things used for money in this country during the Colonial 
period. In the early days of New England, the circulating medium 
was as fantastic as it was anywhere. In 1631, it was ordered by the 


general Court of Massachusetts that corn should pass for payment 
of all debts at the price for which it was usually sold unless coined 
money or beaver skins were expressly stipulated; and this order con- 
tinued in force for 'more than a half a century. In 1635, musket balls 
were there made legal tender to the extent of twelve pence in one 
payment; and merchantable beaver skins were made legal tender 
without limit at ten shillings per pound; and subsequently wheat, 
rye, barley, peas and codfish were made legal tender. 

When the first Colonists came to this country, they found Wampum 
In use among the Indians as an article of adornment and a medium 
of exchange. They soon used it in dealings with the Indians and with 
each other; and in some of the Colonies it became legal tender at 
certain specified prices. Its use extended to all the Colonies as far 
south as Virginia. It consisted of beads, 'made from certain shells 
found in sea water. The beads were polished and strung together in 
belts or sashes. They were white and black and sometimes blue — 
the black and blue being twice as valuable as the white; and they were 
sometimes used among the Indians in making tribal compacts and 
in perpetuating historical events. The proverbial Yankee ingenuity 
was illustrated in the fact that they counterfeited the Wampum cur- 
rency by coloring the white beads black and thus doubling their 
value, and cheating the Indians and each other. 

The first law passed in this country by any Assembly representing 
the people was passed in Virginia in 1619 fixing the price of tobacco — 
the chief product of the Colony — for the purpose of money and ex- 
change. This was done in the reign of King James I who had likened 
the smoke of tobacco to that of the Stygian pit, and had declared that 
"it was fit only to regale the devil after dinner." Tobacco then was 
new to England, and the king had evidently not learned to smoke as 
I have no doubt all his male and seme of his female descendants did; 
and now many millions of people all over the world find in the use 
of tobacco their greatest solace and pleasure. Tobacco soon became 
the legal currency in Virginia. Debts, taxes and the salaries of min- 
isters and public officials were paid in tobacco. In 1623, a statute 
was passed that any person who should be absent from divine ser- 
vice on Sunday should be fined one pound of tobacco. In 1642, it was 
made the sole legal tender. This act was repealed in 1656, and yet 
nearly all the trading in the Colony was done with tobacco as the 
medium of exchange. Church tithes were payable in tobacco and 
were made the first lien on the crop, and no planter could dispose of 
his crop until the minister was satisfied. Tobacco was an uncertain 
measure of value as its price fluctuated in consequence of the size of 
the crop in the Colony; and laws were enacted to limit its produc- 
tion. Notwithstanding these laws, it fell as low as one pence per 
pound in 1665. Finally in 1666, it was so cheap, in consequence of 
over production, that a treaty was negotiated and ratified between 
the Colonies of Maryland (in which tobacco was also used as a med- 
ium of exchange), Virginia and Carolina to stop planting tobacco for 
one year. This stoppage made necessary some other mode of pay- 
ing debts; and it was therefore enacted that both public dues and 


private debts falling due "in the vacant year from planting" might 
be paid in other country produce at specified rates. In 1683, the 
price of tobacco continued so low that many people signed petitions 
for a cessation of tobacco planting for another year, which, being 
denied, they banded themselves together and went through the coun- 
try destroying tobacco plants wherever found. This went so far that 
the Assembly passed a law that if any persons to the number of 
eight or more should go about destroying tobacco plants, they should 
be adjudged traitors and suffer death. 

In the Colony of New York, first settled by the Dutch on Manhattan 
Island and called New Netherland, the first local currancy was Wam- 
pum which was mainly produced at the east end of Long Island. Its 
principal use at that early day was in the purchase of furs from the 
Indians. Soon Beaver skins were also used, and thus there was a 
double standard of value in certain ratios legally established. These 
two articles continued to be the money of account during the Dutch 
Ascendancy and for at least ten years after the English conquest of 
the province; and it continued to be used during nearly the whole of 
the seventeenth century and among the Indians still later. But other 
articles were sometimes used in excanges such as sewant (a species 
of fish), tobacco and wheat. It is recorded that in 1674, the Governor 
and Council, for the purpose of completing the fortifications of New 
York, ordered that a loan should be required "of the most affluent in- 
habitants of the city, whose property was above four thousand guild- 
ers wampum value" which loan should be paid with merchantable 
beaver skins or wheat at Wampum prices. In 1668, Captain Thomas 
Exton who died in New York made these provisions in his will: "I 
leave seven beavers to buy wyne for ye oflacers and gentlemen who 
accompany my corpse to the Grave." "I leave six choice beaver skins 
to be paid to Capt. Thomas Breedon of Boston to satisfy a credit." 
In 1678, Sybert Claasen and his wife by a joint will, bequeathed to 
the deacons of the Dutch Church for the poor "one thousand guilders 
wampum value." In 1680 the administrator of Dom Nicholas Van- 
Rensellaer in rendering his account charged himself with "thirty-four 
hundred Guilders and three Styvers in Beavers"; and credited him- 
self with "twenty-three hundred and two Guilders and four Styvers 
Sewant, and thirty-five hundred and forty-nine Guilders and four 
Styvers Beavers." In 1648, William Teller left by will to one of his 
sons, "twenty merchantable beavers at twelve shillings each." The 
inventory of his estate amounted to "45537 Guilders, 7 Styvers wam- 
pum value which being reduced to English money amounts to 1138 
pounds, 8 shillings and 8 pence." In those early days, bequests in 
beaver skins, or to be valued in beaver skins or wampum were not 
uncommon there. 

I find in an Albany newspaper that during the Dutch ascendency 
articles there were valued at so many guilders or so many beaver 
skins. The services of the highly esteemed Dominie Dellius in Bea- 
verwyck were contracted for, according to the city records, "for the 
sum of three hundred pieces of eight or one hundred and fifty 
guilders in beavers more than Dominie Schaets received." When the 


quaint pulpit was ordered from Holland for the old Neder Deutsche 
kirche, the price was paid in Beaver skins. Twenty-five were sub- 
scribed by the settlers, but the Chamber of Commerce at Amsterdam 
in Holland added seventy-five guilders to this sum as the beavers were 
greatly damaged. This pulpit stands in the north Dutch church on 
Pearl Street, Albany, today, with its brackets for holding the hour 

So in the early part of the last century, when settlers began to go 
to what are now the western states, silver and gold and even paper 
money being scarce many shifts were made for mediums of exchange. 
In Illinois, raccoon and deer skins were quite commonly used in ex- 
changes at certain fixed values. 

In New Y;ork and all the Colonies practically no gold was in cir- 
culation, and the silver coin, not abundant, was of every variety then 
known but mostly Spanish and Mexican. In New York some Arabian 
gold was found doubtless brought there by slave traders and pirates. 

Co'ming nearer home, we find in this vicinity in the Colonial period 
the same conditions which existed elsewhere in new settlements. 
Among the early Palatine settlers, the trade was mostly with the In- 
dians for furs which were purchased mostly with rum of which the 
Indians were passionately fond, and also with blankets and other 
things suitable to their condition. No silver or gold passed in these 
transactions as there were scarcely any to be had here. The furs 
thus purchased were taken on the Mohawk River to Albany for sale, 
and there exchanged for rum and other articles of merchandise needed 
here among the settlers and for trade with the Indians. Most of the 
coined money which came here was obtained from the Colonial au- 
thorities and Indian traders in payment for transportation upon the 
Mohawk River to and from the trading post and forts at the mouth 
of the Oswego River, and for food supplies for that point. This lo- 
cality was settled after sewant, wampum and beaver skins had gone 
out of use as common mediums of exchange and hence I cannot learn 
that they were used here. 

Jacob G. Weaver came here from Germany in the latter part of the 
eighteenth century and he became an extensive trader with the In- 
dians and the white settlers and amassed a large fortune in his busi- 
ness. He bought furs of the Indians and shipped them to John Jacob 
Astor in New York who is said to have come from Germany in the 
same vessel with him. It was a common tradition in my early days 
among the old inhabitants that in weighing the furs he bought from 
the Indians his hand placed upon the scales was represented to weigh 
half a pound and his foot to weigh a pound. While this was a crude 
way of measuring weight, it is safe to say that, although this excited 
some surprise among the Indians and occasionally evoked some pro- 
tests from theim, they gained no advantage over him. 

Accounts in the Colonial days and for many years thereafter were 
usually kept in pounds, shillings and pence, and the pound differed 
in value in different Colonies. In New York it consisted of twenty 
shillings, eight of which constituted a dollar. I have seen some old 
account books in which accounts were kept in this way as late as 


The decimal currency which we now have was the scheme of the 
great financier Robert Morris, aided by Thomas Jefferson and Gouv- 
erneur Morris and it was adopted by congress without a dissenting 
voice in 1786. 

Hoping that these facts, many of which I have picl^ed up in out of 
the way places, will prove of interest to the members of this Society, 
I bring this paper to a close expressing the belief that our decimal 
currancy, as it was the first, is also the best and most convenient in 
the world. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 

11, 1902. 

This paper is not a scientific or philosophical treatment of the right 
of suffrage. But it contains some historical facts connected with the 
right which have a proper place here. 

In England soTne form of property qualification for the right of 
suffrage has always prevailed. When the early Colonists came to 
this country, they generally extended the right, and broadened the 
basis of representative government. But in none of the Colonies was 
there what is called manhood suffrage based upon suflficient age and 

In the Colony of Massachusetts, besides a property qualification, 
all voters and office holders were required to be members and com- 
municants of some Independent or Congregational church in the Col- 
ony; and as the clergy could determine who were the members and 
communicants this rule placed substantially all the political power in 
their hands. John Cotton, the leading Puritan minister of the Col- 
ony, declared that "D&mocracy was not fit government either for 
church or for commonwealth," and the majority of the ministers 
agreed with him. Gov. John Winthrop, in a letter to Rev. Thomas 
Hooker, said: "The best part is always the least, and of that least 
the wiser part is always the lesser." To which Hooker, a representa- 
tive of a considerable class of liberal Colonists who protested against 
the theocratic rule in the Colony, using language which we would 
expect from the wisest statesmen of this day, replied: "In matters 
which concern the common good, a general council chosen by all to 
transact the business which concerns all I conceive most suitable to 
rule and most safe for the relief of the whole." 

Bancroft says: "Virginia was the first state in the world where 
representation was organized on the principle of a suffrage embracing 
all payers of taxes." The Colony of South Carolina required electors 
to acknowledge the being of God and to believe in a future state of 
rewards and punishments — heaven and hell; and in those two Colo- 
nies and also in Georgia, whites only could vote; and in Georgia "a 


white person of any mechanic trade" could vote. In all the other 
Colonies the voter was required to have a property qualification. 

These conditions of the suffrage continued during the Colonial per- 
iod without much change. But when the Colonies, during the Revo- 
lution, came to organize as states and adopt State Constitutions, a 
slightly more liberal view was taken of the suffrage; and yet a pro- 
perty qualification in some form by the ownership of property or 
payment of taxes was retained in all the states but Vermont; and 
down to the beginning of the 19th century that state and Kentucky 
were the only states where manhood suffrage had been established. 

By amendments of State Constitutions, by the close of the year 
1836 — the end of General Jackson's second term as president — the 
property qualification for white voters was abolished in all the nor- 
thern states except Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Ohio. 
In New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, however.a voter must have paid 
some tax. 

I have examined the constitutions of all the states, as they existed 
January 1, 1894 with the following results as to the right of suffrage 
In all the states to be entitled to vote, the voter must be a citizen, 
native or naturalized, except that in Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, 
Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Florida, Louisanna, Kansas, North 
Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon and Texas, a male person qualified by 
sufficient age (in all the states 21 years) and residence may vote it 
he has declared his intention to become a citizen. 

In California natives of China are forever excluded from the suf- 
frage; and in Idaho, no Chinaman or person of Mongolian descent 
not born in the United States, and no one who practices or teaches 
polygamy in the Morman sense can vote. In Colorado the constitu- 
tion confines the right to vote to males, but provides that the right 
of suffrage may, by the Legislature, be extended to females after first 
suTsmitting the matter to the approval of the electors at a general 
election, and it was so extended in 1893 and males and females now 
stand upon an equality there as to the suffrage. 

In Connecticut all males, qualified by age and residence, who sus- 
tain a good moral character and are able to read any article of the 
Constitution, or any section of the statutes of the State can vote. Tn 
Massachusetts, a voter must be able to read the constitution in the 
English language and write his name. In Mississippi a voter must 
have paid a poll tax of $2 and be able to read any section of the con- 
stitution, or be able to understand it or give a reasonable interpre- 
tation of it when read to him. 

In Florida, the Legislature has the power to make the payment of 
a capitation tax a pre-requisite to voting, and this it has done. In 
North Carolina, no person can vote who denies the being of Almighty 
God. In Georgia, an elector must have paid all the taxes assessed 
against him prior to the year in which he offers to vote. In Nevada 
and Tennesee, he must have paid a poll tax. In Delaware, all per- 
sons of the age of 22 years and upwards to be entitled to vote must 
within two years before the election have paid a county tax. But a 
person who is twenty-one years old and under 22 may vote without 
having paid a tax if otherwise qualified. Wyoming is the only state 


where female suffrage is conferred by the constitution; and there both 
males and females may vote if they can read the constitution. Tn 
Pennsylvania, the voter onust have paid a state or county tax within 
two years. In Vermont, "the voter must be of a quiet and peaceable 
behaviour" and must have taken the following oath: "That when- 
ever you give your vote or suffrage touching any matter that con- 
cerns the State of Vermont you will do it so as in good conscience 
you shall judge will most conduce to the best good of the same as 
established by the constitution without fear or favor of any man." 

In Rhode Island, the Royal Charter granted in 1663 constituted the 
fundamental law down to 1842; and under that none but freeholders 
of an estate valued at not less than $134., or renting for $7 per year 
were entitled to vote. New constitutions more liberal in respect to 
the suffrage were proposed in 1824 and in 1834, and submitted to the 
electors, and on both occasions were defeated. There was growing 
discontent with the suffrage restrictions and also with the unequal 
distribution of political power among the towns and cities of the 
State. Down to 1842, the State was in fact substantially ruled by 
an Oligarchy. In 1840' — 1841 Thomas Wilson Dorr, a man of culture, 
a graduate of Harvard, was the leader of a party whose object it was 
by a revision of the fundamental law to extend the suffrage. He and 
his friends, without regard to the forms of law, in 1840 summoned a 
Constitutional Convention which framed a new Constitution provid- 
ing for manhood suffrage and more equal representation in the Leg- 
islature of the towns and cities of the State. The Convention sub- 
mitted the constitution thus prepared to a popular vote in December, 
1841; and it was adopted by a vote of 14,000 for to 8,000 against it. 
Under this constitution a state election was held in April, 1842 and 
Dorr and other State officials were elected, he being chosen Gover- 
nor. All these proceedings were taken in disregard of the existing 
constitution and laws of the State. So far however they had not 
created any disturbance of the peace. But in May after the election, 
Dorr and his associates assumed their offices, he the office of Gover- 
nor, claiming that by virtue of their election under the new constitu- 
tion, they were entitled to the offices; and the new government un- 
dertook to organize. The regular state government proclaimed them 
to be rebels and was prepared to maintain its authority by force. 
The Dorrites, as they were called, anade some show of force but there 
was no actual fighting; and before the end of the month, they were 
scattered, and Dorr was arrested for treason, and that ended the in- 
cipient civil war. He was subsequently in 1844 tried for that offense 
and convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life. In 1847, un- 
der an act o'f general amnesty for those who had been engaged in 
the Rebellion, he was released from prison; and in 1851, he was re- 
stored to his civil and political rights. Governor Dorr, as he was 
called, received the sympathy generally of the Democrats throughout 
the country and by them he was regarded as a martyr to Republican 
principles. They attempted to make political capital out of his con- 
viction and sentence to prison in the fall elections of 1844, when 
Henry Clay was the Whig candidate for president In the Congres- 
sional District which included this county, a hand bill in large type 


and with deep black borders was circulated throughout the district, 
one of which I now have and will present to this society. To show 
the temper of the times, and as a specimen of political campaigning 
then in vogue, I copy it here in full as a curious 'matter of some his- 
torical importance: 


of the 


liberty of presenting to you the appeal of THOMAS W. DORR, to 
the People of the United States. We commend it in all sincerity, to 
your candid consideration. 

execution of Algernon Sidney and others that sustained his princi- 
ples. The curses of the friends of Liberty both loud and deep will 
fall upon the "Fast Anchored Isle" throughout all time, for such 
barbarities in the disguise of justice. Shall our country in this en- 
lightened age, vie with the British cruelty and injustice exhibited 
during the judicial tyranny of Jeffries? 

son against what or whom? Against the present government of Rhode 
Island under whose forms he was tried. That was not in existence 
at the time the offense charged was committed. The Algerines and 
Whigs of Rhode Island had themselves abrogated to the Kings Char- 
ter against which Dorr arrayed the popular power. Was it treason 
against the United States? The Constitution says: "Treason 
the United States shall consist only in levying war against them or 
adhering to their enemigs, giving them aid or co'mfort." It is not 
pretended that Dorr levied war against the United States, adhered to 
their enemies or gave them aid or comfort. No, he was guilty of no 
treason, of no crime against any existing institutions. His only of- 
fense was the maintenance of the acknowledged principles of our 
glorious revolution, and the attempt to procure for the people of 
Rhode Island the same rights of suffrage that the convention of 1821 
extended to the People of the State by the removing of the property 
qualification. For this he suffers martyrdom. For this he is con- 
signed FOR LIFE! to a dungeon, whose damps and vapors may kill, 
but cannot disgrace him. 

FELLOW CITIZENS, we beseech you, give ear to the Patriot's Ap- 
peal, and vindicate the right. 

Democratic Young Men's Committee of Correspondence. 

Dated October 25. 1844. 



Extract From His Speech to the Court before Sentence was Pro- 

"Better men have been worse treated than I have been, though not 
often in a better cause. In the servic of that cause I have no right 
to co'mplain that I am called upon to suffer hardships, whatever may- 
be the estimate of the injustice which inflicts them. 

All these proceedings will be reconsidered by that ultimate tribunal 
of public opinion, whose righteous decision will reverse all the 
wrongs which may be now committed, and place that estimate upon 
my actions to which they may be fairly entitled. 

The process of this court does not reach the man within. The 
Court cannot shake the convictions of the mind, nor the fixed purpose 
which is sustained by integrity of heart. 

Claiming no exemptions from the infirmities which beset us all, 
and which may attend us in the prosecution of the most important 
enterprises, and, at the same time, conscious of the recitude of my 
intentions, and of having acted from good motives in an attempt to 
promote the equality and to establish the just freedom and interest 
of 'my fellow citizens, I can regard with equanimity this last infliction 
of the Court; nor v.'^ovild I, even at this extremity of the law, in view 
of the opinions which you entertain, and of the sentiments by which 
you are animated, exchange the place of a prisoner at the bar for a 
seat by your side upon the bench. 

The sentence which you will pronounce, to the extent of the power 
and influence which this Court can exert, is a condemnation of the 
doctrines of '76 and a revisal of the great principles which sustain 
and give vitality to our Democratic Republic, and which are regarded 
by the great body of our fellow citizens as the birthright of a free 

From this sentence of the Court, I APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE 
OF OUR STATE AND OF OUR COUNTRY, They shall decide be- 
tween us. I commit myself without distrust to their final award," 


Do you accept this appeeal? Will you vote for HENRY CLAY, who 
has identified himself with the Algerines of Rhode Island, as appears 
by his Raleigh speech, and thus doom the Patriot Dorr to perpetual 
imprisonment in a felon's cell?" 

A new constitution was adopted in the fall of 1842 while Dorr was 
in prison. But that left the suffrage restrictions substantially as they 
were before; and so they remained until 1888. In that year an 
amendment was adopted which abolished the property qualification 
for voting, but substituted therefor a provision restricting the suf- 
frage to tax payers, I have thus given some space to the case of 
Rhode Island on account of her unique position under her Royal 
Charter to such a late period, and of the Dorr rebellion which at- 
tracted the attention of the whole country, and evoked much discus- 
sion everywhere among statesmen and politicians; and also because 
it was the only state where the discontent with suffrage restrictions 


was so great as to start what was called and in fact was a rebellion 
against regular state authority. 

In New York State, under the first constitution adopted in 1777, no 
person otherwise qualified could vote unless he was a freeholder pos- 
sessing a freehold of twenty pounds, or had rented a tenament of the 
yearly value of forty shillings and had been rated and had actually 
paid taxes to the State. In that constitution, there was no distinc- 
tion between white and colored voters, all having the same right to 
vote if they possessed the qualifications prescribed. There was during 
subsequent years growing dissatisfaction with the property restric- 
tions upon the suffrage. The Federalists generally favored their re- 
tention and Martin Van Buren and the Democrats generally opposed 
them; and in the Constitutional Convention of 1821 called to revise 
the constitution no subject was so much discussed as that 
of the suffrage. In that body Chancellor Kent was the 
leading champion of the restricted suffrage, and Van Buren of a more 
liberal policy. The constitution as then adopted broadened the basis 
of the suffrage for white voters providing that every male citizen who 
possessed the qualifications of age and residence "and shall have 
within the year next preceeding the election paid a tax to the State 
or County assessed upon his real or personal property; or shall by 
law be exempted from taxation; or, being armed and equipped ac- 
cording to law, shall have performed within that year military duty 
in the militia of this state, or who shall be exempted from perform- 
ing militia duty in consequence of being a fireman in any city, town 
or village of this State; and also every male citizen of the age of 
twenty-one years who shall have been for three years next preceed- 
ing such election, an inhabitant of this State and for the last year a 
resident in the town or county where he may offer his vote, and shall 
have been within the last year assessed to labor upon the public 
highways, and shall have performed the labor or paid an equivalent 
therefor according to law shall be entitled to vote." But it was pro- 
vided that no 'man of color should be entitled to vote unless for one 
year preceeding the election he had been "seized and possessed of a 
free hold estate of th value of $250 over and above all debts and in- 
cumbrances charged thereon, and shall have been actually rated and 
paid a tax thereon," and then as some compensation for this discrim- 
ination to persons of color, it was provided that "No person of color 
shall be subject to direct taxation unless he shall be siezed and pos- 
sessed of such real estate as aforesaid" — thus exempting a colored 
person from all direct taxation for real or personal property unless 
he owned and possessed real estate of the value of $250. An analysis 
of these provisions shows that they were for that day quite liberal 
as to white voters. White males having the qualifications of age and 
residence could vote: 1. If they had paid the tax prescribed. 2. If 
exempted from taxation. 3. If they had done Militia duty. 4. ^f 
they were exempted from Militia duty because they were firemen. 
5 If they had performed highway labor or paid an equivalent there- 
for. Under these provisions, as the laws then stood, very few white 
men were excluded from the suffrage. 


These qualifications of the suffrage in this state remained until 
1826 when by an amendment of the constitution all the limitations 
upon the suffrage of white persons above specified were abolished ex- 
cepting limitations as to age and residence; and such limitations only, 
as to white voters in this state, have ever since existed. The qualifi- 
cations for the colored voters were untouched and remained the same 
down to 1846 when the Constitution was again revised and a new 
constitution adopted. The qualifications for both white and colored 
voters remained as before. In 1860 an amendment to the constitution 
was submitted to the electors, at the general election in the fall of 
that year, removing the property qualification for colored voters; and 
it was rejected by a large majority, although the Republicans carried 
the State for Abraham Lincoln for president. In 1869, while John T. 
Hoff-man, a Democrat, was Governor, a similar amendment was again 
submitted to the electors and rejected by a vote 282.403 against, and 
249,80'2 for it. In 1874 when Samuel J. Tilden, a Democrat, was elected 
Governor, the same amendment was for the third time submitted to 
the electors and adopted by a vote of 357,635 for and 177,033 against 
it; and since that time white and colored voters have equal rights of 
suffrage. Prior to 1874, the only colored voter in this town was one 
who had been a slave in the Rasbach family on the east side of the 
West Canada Creek, whose name was Peter Dygert. After his en- 
franchisement, he always remained with the same family, that of 
Adam Rasbach, the father of the late John A. Rasbach of Ilion. They 
qualified him to vote by making him a freeholder. He never marriedi 
was much respected by all his neighbors, was faithful and pious and 
always voted the Democratic ticket. So far as I know there was no 
other colored voter in this county prior to 1874. 

This paper, so far, brings the history of suffrage down only to Jan. 
1st, 1894. Since that date there have been amendments to the Con- 
stitutions in several states, but mostlyi in a few southern states 
where the purpose has been to limit or surpress the colored vote. 

After the close of the Civil War in 1865, during what is called the 
reconstruction period lasting about ten years, all the 'male Negroes in 
the States which had been in rebellion were enfranchised, and most 
of the white males were franchised; and the result was Negro 
denomination in those states under the leadership of whites generally 
from the North called in those days "Carpet Baggers." The govern- 
ments thus inaugerated became so intolerable that, during the next 
twenty years — ^that is from about 1875 to about 1895 — after the Fed- 
eral troops were in large measure withdrawn from the south, the 
whites there by illegal methods, by frauds and violence, so far sur- 
pressed the Negro vote as again to acquire the supremacy and the 
control of the state governments. From that time, about 1895, to 
this, the whites have mainly relied upon legal methods to eliminate 
the Negro vote, as a controlling factor in elections. This they have 
achieved by constitutional amendments which prescribe qualifica- 
tions for voters which a majority of the Negroes do not possess, 
among which qualifications are the payment of taxes, ability to read 
and understand the constitution c»r the laws, and others having like 


effect. As a specimen of these suffrage restrictions, I call attention 
to the constitution of Virginia adopted within the present year. There 
the suffrage is confined to the following classes: 

1. A person who has served in time of war in the army or navy 
of the United States, or of the Confederate States, or of any State. 

2. A son of any such person. 

3. A person who owns real or personal property upon which, for 
the year next preceeding that in which he offers to register, State 
taxes of $1 have been paid. 

4. A person who can understand, or give a reasonable explanation 
of any section of the Constitution either read by him or to him by 
the officers of the registration. 

The results of Negro domination in the South were so disastrous 
that even the wliite people of the North have generally come to look 
with great satisfaction upon the restoration of white domination in the 
Southern states. It is inevitable that a superior race will not be 
governed by an inferior race. 

Concluding this paper, I will simply add that the tendancy for near- 
ly a century has been generally throughout our country towards 
manhood suffrage except as to colored voters in the South. I am sure 
that in a Republic, whatever evils attend manhood suffrage, those 
which would come from the old time restrictions of the suffrage 
would be found to be greater. The basic principle of republican gov- 
ernment is that the people can be trusted through the ballot box to 
govern themselves; and it is the duty of wise statesmanship to pro- 
vide against fraud, intimidation, bribrery and corruption in the con- 
duct of elections. An honest vote honestly counted will never en- 
danger the country. There is such a vast accumulation of wealth in 
our country that a political boss, with official and legislative patron- 
age to bestow, can raise or cause to be raised an unlimited amount 
of money to be used in popular elections and also in the election of 
United States Senators. Here I am sure is the most pressing evil, 
the 'most threatening danger connected with our elections with which 
good citizenship and courageous and unselfish patriotism must deal 
for the welfare of our country. 


Address by Hon. John D. Henderson of Herkimer, Delivered Before 
the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 11, 1902. 

In all our high schools, academies, and colleges, there is more or 
less attention paid to the study of Civil Governanent, and there is a 
commendable effort made to fit the growing citizens of the Republic 
for the duties of citizenship. The effectiveness of this instruction in 
each instance, of course depends largely, upon the instructor, but the 
fact that there is such instruction, is the best guaranty for the con- 
tinuance of our national life and prosperity. 

The daily and weekly newspapers devote much time and space to 
the discussion of political questions. Editorial articles, good, bad and 
indifferent are laid before a suffering, forbearing, but with all a read- 
ing public, and the people in this country are taught to think. 

Thinking, study, discussion, induce men to form parties, and parties 
control the government. We say, that this is a government by the 
people, but in fact, it is a government by party. 

It seems proper, on this occasion, to offer some suggestions on the 
so-called right of suffrage, and how it should be exercised. 

First then, — the right of suffrage. It is not a natural right, like the 
right to live, to enjoy liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

It is an artificial right, granted to the individuals that make up, 
and compose the state, accordingly as it is expedient. 

All government travels in a circle, or else history belies itself, first 
there is anarchy, then democracy, then representative government, 
monarchy, absolutism and after that, absolutism is over-thrown and 
the circle is repeated. 

Such has been, such I suppose will be, the history of mankind. When 
society was first organized into the new state, the most powerful in- 
dividual members arranged the organization. 

Government was instituted to protect the rights of life, and pro- 
perty of those who organized it. Of course the organizers had to vote, 
they had to stand upon an equality, they had to, in some manner, ex- 
ercise the right of suffrage. They were the citizens of the new 
state, they determined arbitrarily the qualifications of citizenship and 


it is idle to say, that any absolute question of right or wrong ever 
entered, or ever will enter into such determination; the only ques- 
tion that can enter into it, is the question of expediency. 

The only reason why any qualification for citizenship is fixed, 's 
expediency. Intelligence, age, interest in property, sex, all the sur- 
roundings of the citizen, determine what is expedient. 

In the ancient republics of Greece and Rome, the first forms of gov- 
ernment were pure democracies. All questions were determined at 
the meeting of the assembled citizens, each citizen standing on an 
equality, in voice and vote, with every other citizen. 

Very like unto such governments, are the organizations of savage 
tribes, except that, perhaps, in the councils of the tribe the influence 
of the chief, or the medicine man, may be somewhat greater than the 
influence of an ordinary warrior. 

Such forms of government are useful only in small states and small 

When the influence and power of the state extends, there comes a 
change. Usually the change has taken the character of representa- 
tive republican government. 

Then as time has gone on, some individual leader has taken upon 
himself more power than other leaders, or delegates, and thus con- 
sulates, kingdoms, empires, have been formed. Under this course of 
procedure, the right of suffrage exercised by the individual citizen, 
becomes less and less important, and finally is lost entirely in the 
strong centralized government, which is established. 

In this country, we are trying the experiment of self government 
under a fixed written constitution. Although the nation is over a 
hundred years old, the government is still an experiment, carried on, 
perhaps, more successfully than any other experiment of its kind, but 
it has not yet proved that the circle of which I have heretofore spoken 
will not repeat itself in America. 

The men who conducted the American Revolution to a successful 
issue, were not universal suffragists. They were not carried away 
and fooled with the idea, that the right of suffrage was a natural, un- 
limited right .belonging to every individual member of the state. 

When, in the Declaration of Independence, it was declared that all 
men were created free and equal, such declaration did not have for 
them the extended meaning which has been put upon it since. 

There were in the community of each state, men who were not free 
nor equal. Arbitrarily, an age limit to citizenship was fixed and men 
were not allowed to vote until they were twenty-one years of age. It 
mattered not that Alexander Hamilton was a leader of the patriots 
at the age of seventeen; it mattered not, that there were many young 
men in the Continental Army under twenty-one years of age; men 
who understood the issues at stake, and who, in demonstrating their 
capacity for citizeship, periled their lives; twenty-one years was con- 
sidered the expedient age, and so it was fixed, so it has remained. 

Arbitrarily, in many states, a property qualification was attached 
to the right of suffrage, and men who had no property to tax, had no 
voice in fixing taxation, no voice in the expenditure of public moneys. 


It mattered not that many of the soldiers of the American Army, 
had spent seven years of their lives in the war for Independence, if 
they had not the property qualifications, service in the armies of their 
country, did not entitle them to vote, or participate in the choice of 
the countries rulers. 

Arbitrarily, a sex qualification was fixed; only male citizens, of full 
age were allowed to vote. It mattered not, that many of the women 
of that time had sacrificed their all, upon the altars of their country, 
and were fully as competent to form and maintain opinions upon all 
of the political questions of the day, as their fathers and brothers. 

It was not deemed expedient, at that ti^me, that they should exer- 
cise the riRht of suffrage. But as time has passed and the working 
of the new government has become better understood, the qualifica- 
tions of citizenship have been extended, and some of the limitations 
upon suffrage have been removed. 

People talked of manhood suffrage. For a long time in this state, 
no man voted unless he owned property worth $250.00. In a case be- 
tween a man owning a mule worth $250.00 and another man without 
a mule, where the 'mule owner voted and the other man did not, the 
pertinent question, — which voted? the man or the mule had to be an- 
swered, and the decision was finally against the mule, so both men 
were allowed to vote. In this country in his time, Andrew Jackson, 
stood as the great champion of white manhood suffrage, and through 
his influence and the influence of those who followed him, the pro- 
perty qualification was generally abolished. 

It still exists in many cases, and it certainly seems proper that, up- 
on all questions of the public expenditure of money by towns, vil- 
lages and cities, there should be a property qualification, and the de- 
cision should be left to the taxpayers alone, who pay the bills. 

The'l-eadiness of the irresponsible rabble to vote burdens, and taxes 
upon a community, has been demonstrated in so many instances as 
to cause thoughtful men, almost, to despair, of self government for 
municipal corporations. 

The irresponsible manner, and the corrupt way, in which the vote 
of the rabble is bought, and sold, leads many men to believe, that the 
removal of the property qualification was a mistake, but mistakes, in 
the direction of extending suffrage, are not easily corrected. 
A All will admit, that it was a mistake to grant unlimited suffrage to 
the negroes of the south. They were entirely unfit to exercise the 
right that was given them; they became tools of designing scound- 
rels, and not even the republican party, which gave them the suffrage, 
was benefitted by making them citizens with the full right of suffrage. 

The movement now going on, all over the south, to eliminate the 
ignorant negro vote, meets with but little opposition or condemnation. 
I have never met a man, republican or democrat, who has lived in 
the south, and seen the results of universal suffrage, who approved 
of, or defended it, except, that at the time it was forced upon the un- 
repentant rebels of the seeceeding states, it seemed to be necessary, 
and expedient. 


There is at present being discussed everywhere, the great question 
of female suffrage. To my mind it is not a question of right, or wrong, 
but a mere matter of expediency. That many women are quite as 
well qualified to cast a ballot as are the men, no one will deny. 

But that women would be any better off, that any of their rights of 
person or property, would be better protected than they are now, pro- 
viding they were voters, that it is expedient for them, or for the 
state, 'many will deny. Certainly, were they placed on an equality 
with male citizens, all their special privileges would be taken away. 

They would be subjected to all the duties, (many of which they are 
physically unable to perform), of other citizens. They would lose to 
a large extent, the peculiar respect, and consideration which they now 
. receive at the hands of men. They would gain nothing. The perils 
of the state would be increased, and viewing the question in all its 
bearings, it seems as if, it would not be expedient to further extend 
the suffrage in this country. 

Rather it would be better, to take the other course, and limit the 
right of suffrage to those male citizens of full age, native, or natur- 
alized after dilignt and searching inquiry by a competent court, and 
of such citizens, only those of sufficient intelligence to be able to 
read the constitution of the state, and to understand the system of 
government, and the reason why men vote at all. 

This may not be in keeping with the principles of either political 
party, but is it not, the correct theory? 

No idiot, no pauper, no man who can neither read nor write, no 
foreigner who cannot speak the language of the country, no criminal, 
no man who has ever sold his vote at an election, should be allowed 
to vote. 

So no man who, in an official position, has for profit or gain, sup- 
ported a corrupt measure, should be allowed to again hold office. 

The matter of intelligence is a qualification in the states of Massa- 
chusetts, Mississippi, and South Carolina. It ought to be a qualifi- 
cation in every state. It is likely to become a qualification, all over 
*he south, for in no other way does it seem possible under the Fed- 
eral Constitution, to disfranchise the great body of ignorant negroes, 
who are a constant menace to good and stable government in the 
southern states. Ignorant whites, should be disfranchised as well as 
ignorant negroes, there should be no distinction of race or color, and 
when a large part of the population of any state shall be permanent- 
ly, and legally disfranchised, then will come the question of reducing 
the representation of that state in the House of Representatives. 

Whichever political party is likely to loose by such reduction, will 
oppose it, but if the white vote of the south should divide, as it pro- 
bably will, upon national issues, there ought not to be much trouble 
in convincing Congress, when the next apportionment is made, that 
represetation should be based in every state, upon the actual voting 

At the recent apportionment, under the last census, the republican 
majority in Congress, made but a feeble effort in this direction, and 
democrats, hoping to hold the solid south, seemed ready to howl 


themselves hoarse, against any effort which loolved toward cutting 
down the representation of those states, which were likely to elect 
Democratic Congressmen. 

Ten years will bring about great changes, and when the time comes 
for another aportionment, the absolute justice of such an apportion- 
ment cannot be denied. 

The right to vote, to choose those who shall rule the city, and state, 
to determine questions of governmental policy, is not essential to 
prosperity or happiness. In the United States, the District of Colum- 
bia is an object lesson in government. No city in the Dominions of 
the Grand Turk, or of the Czar of all the Russias, is more absolutely 
governed, without consulting the wishes of the citizen, than is this 
capitol of a free republic. The resident of Washington, has no voice 
in the government of his city. Congress makes the law, levies the 
tax, enforces the collection, and decides the manner of expenditure. 
A member from Oregon, from Texas, from Maine perhaps, proposes 
what shall be done towards the improvement of a certain avenue, and 
the District Com'missioners, selected by the President and Congress, 
an absolute Tri-umvirate, responsible only to the power appointing 
them, manage the affairs of the city. 

All that the property owners, the citizen may do, is to look on, 
grumble perhaps, and pay his portion of the tax. The general gov- 
ernment pays the rest, and does the work. Do you call this, govern- 
ment without the consent of the governed? Not at all. This is a free 
country, and no man is compelled to live in Washington, he may go 
elsewhere; if the privilege of voting is such a blessed privilege, he 
may go where he can exercise it. 

But really Washington is a very good city to live in, and is as well 
governed perhaps as any American city. 

However, this matter of governing Washington, directly under the 
eye of the public, absolutely, without considering the wishes of the 
governed, is quite a different thing for Congress to do, than govern- 
ing Porto Rico, Cuba, or the far off Philippine Islands. 

If, "No 'man knows enough to govern another without his consent," 
certainly no President or Congress knows enough to govern distant 
islands and countries, peopled by millions of men, without their con- 

Up to our time, no such experiment has been tried by the American 
people; we never have shown any apptitude, or genius or the govern- 
ment of subject nations. Our system of government has not provided 
for them, and while I have no doubt, that we perhaps, may be able 
to. improve the condition of the people inhabiting those distant coun- 
tries, we shall endanger our own liberty, when we forget that all 
government must depend, upon the consent of the governed. 

Of course it will be said, that, in a government like ours, where 
necessarily party government prevails, and where there has been such 
a, vast increase in wealth in the hands of the few, as there has been 
with us, the tendency should be to give the man who has no money, 
more power rather than less, this is the socialistic theory. 

It is very true that, 



"111 fares the state to hastening ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 

The remedy however, does not lie, in giving more power to the base 
of society, it lies rather, in purifying the base itself, and in eliminat- 
ing the grosser ingredients. 

How should the right of suffrage be exercised First, conscien- 
tiously, honestly, fearlessly, independently, with the sole view of the 
greatest good for the greatest number. 

I have very little to say as to the manner of voting. Of course it 
must be by ballot, either under the reform system, the voting ma- 
chine, or the old system universal ten years ago. The manner, is 
hardly profitable to discuss. The only object is to get a true, reliable, 
expression of the popular will, and the method used should be that 
one. which will best insure such results. 

That the ballot reformers have given us a good deal that is im- 
practicable, burdensome, and unwise, with some little real reform. I 
have no doubt. As good a lawyer as Judge Robert Earl, said to m« 
not long since, that he thought, the whole idea of forcing the citizen 
tr use an oflicial ballot was a violation of the State Constitution, and 
that the best way to vote, would be to return to the old system, pre- 
serving however, the distance marker at the poles, and the provisions 
for non-interference with, and non intimidation of, the voters. 

It has seemed to me that the voting machine, was the solution of 
the whole business, but I saw a statement that at a recent election in 
the city of Mt. Vernon, one of these machines got out of order, and 
delayed the election two hours. We have recently tried the blanket 
ballot, and in some respects, it must have commended itself to every 
intelligent man who used it, but there seems to be unnecessary diffi- 
culties placed in the way of getting the name of a candidate on the 
ticket, and the repetition of candidates' names in different columns 
is certainly a nuisance, ^o that as to the manner of voting, it seems 
that much room remains for discussion. 

Necessarily, men are divided into parties, necessarily, party govern ■ 
ment prevails. Generally speaking, no man is better than his party. 
Two great lines of policy divide parties, one party has always advo- 
cated giving more power to the general government, originally it fa- 
vored a President for life, senators for life, who should stand in this 
country as the nobility stand in England; it favored putting power 
and the direction of the government into the hands of the upper 
classes, it was the party of the aristocracy. Alexander Hamilton, him- 
self an aristocrat, was the great exponent of this party. The other 
party, the party of Jefferson, has stood for the right of the several 
states to control their own internal affairs, for the rights of the com- 
mon people, for a strict construction of the written law, for the larg- 
est possible individual liberty, and no favors to privileged classes. 
With one or the other of these two parties, these two theories of gov- 
ernment, each citizen should ally himself. They are the lines upon 
which the two great parties have been, are now, and always will be 
divided. Of course, side issues come up, from time to time, 
and seem to control the course of one or the other of these 


parties; some great moral question, like the question of 
slavery may arise, and then, men standing by, and with 
their party are driven into a false position. Then, changes 
in party affiliation may occur; then perhaps, men will ally 
themselves for a time, with those who have always been their op- 
ponents politically, it may be an honest change of principle, it may 
be only a temporary matter, but it always is a correct and proper 
thing to do. 

Generally speaking a man should vote with his party, and for his 
party candidates, but the man who boasts that he always votes a 
straight ticket, convicts hi-mself of narrow mindedness, of party big- 
ctry. of pigheadedness, which is not at all to his credit. 

Many times the party machinery has nominated unfit, and unworthy 
candidates; it is undoubtedly the duty of the honest partisan, under 
such circumstances, not only as a patriotic citizen, but as a lover of 
his party, to refuse his support for such nominations. 

He may go further if he pleases, and vote for the candidate of the 
opposite party. While for such conduct, he may be cursed and con- 
demned, by the politicians who control the party machinery, he has 
the satisfaction, personally of having done his duty as he saw it, and 
he will always be welcome back to the support of his party candidate 
in after contests. 

As a practical measure it pays to kick; the man who kicks, who 
bolts the organization, and shows that he has influence, proves that 
he is of some consequence, and when the bitterness of the party man- 
agers wears off. they very gladly recall him to the councils of the 
party, and promote him to places of profit, and honor, but I am speak- 
ing with no views of magnifying the practical advantage, which may 
come to the kicker or bolter, simply taeecause he is such, nor do I care 
to encourage, or advocate such a course of conduct; rather am I set- 
ting forth what I believe to be the basic principles of good citizen-' 
ship, and in closing I will say, that every man in a free government, 
.should not only exercise his right of suffrage, but should always ex- 
ercise it, exercise it freely, independently and fearlessly; and he 
should always recognize fully the right of every other man to do the 
same thing. He should never for an instant ascribe unworthy mo- 
tives to his fellow citizens who differ with him upon questions of po- 
litical policy and political expediency. 

Honest differences of opinion insure the safety of our institutions, 
and "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." 


An Address by Mrs. M. M. Hatch of Columbia, Delivered before the 
Herkimer County Historical Society November 8, 1902. 

I did not until it was too late, realize the difference between an 
article for a newspaper or magazine, which, coming before all classes 
and conditions of men, would naturally interest some one if possessed 
of any degree of excellence whatever, and compiling data which the 
most learned people in the county must listen to, whether it be of 
interest to them, or not. This is my only apology. 

When a weaver warps a carpet for some enterprising housewife, 'f 
the rags for woof can be classified, a special design is carried out 
through the entire fabric, but if the material consists of odds and ends 
of old and new, dark and light, sombre and bright, it is used promis- 
cuously and the pattern is styled, "hit and miss." My article is of 
this latter description and will, I fear, be characterized by more miss 
than hit. 

Warren, as it was in the beginning and Warren and Columbia, as 
it now is. with its history one and inseparable, is the home of the 
Palatin and I am sure we do not and cannot sufficiently honor those 
grand, heroic and persistent frontiersmen. When we remember the 
disadvantage they, as a whole, labored under in the fatherland — the 
discouragements and persecutions which forced them to leave all and 
with no capital but hopeful hearts and strong capable hands, sail for 
the land of the free, do we realize what a farce it must have seemed? 

Landed in an unbroken wildrness, preempted by wild beasts, where 
the agriculturist had use for naught but his ax, laboring under a con- 
tract they could not possibly fulfill, where none but the very coarsest 
food was obtainable in scant quantities, they began the new life hope- 
fully in log huts we would consider wholly unhealthy and every way 
unworthy of our cattle. 

Nor were even these poor quarters long suffered to afford shelter, 
for their titles proved defective, and their Israelitish wanderings 
were continued. You are familiar with the story of the seven fami- 
lies founding Andrustown soon after 1723 — the first white settlerg. 'n 
Warren, and other seven families founding Couradstown, the widely 
separated pioneers of Columbia. Tradition as well as history is silent 
regarding the years which intervened until their homes and crops 
were destroyed during the French and Indian War. 


But they, or rather their fathers and mothers had seen scores of 
towns in flames, along the Rhine, and ruin and desolation everywhere 
rampart, and they were inured to such calamities. 

Their situation was pitiable indeed, but it could not be worse than 
their past, and they were comparatively hopeful, insomuch that they 
returned and rebuilt their cabins, and planted their scanty fields and 
enioyed a few prosperous years. 

Then the men followed the brave Herkimer, and the women and 
children were ccmpelled to seek the shelter of Fort Herkimer. 

What an enviable record for bravery and loyalty they left us, and 
what would the battle of Oriskany have been without the Palatin. 
Herkimer County has at last paid tardy tribute to the hero whose 
name it bears, taut her soil is thickly strewn with the graves of patri- 

In the cemetery adjoining our Reformed Dutch Church in Columbia 
are the known graves of sixteen Revolutionary soldiers, while a va- 
cant plot beside the widow, is held sacred to the memory of Major 
Denus Clapsaddle who sleeps on the Oriskany battlefield. 

A year later the Audrustown massacre wrought ruin and de- 
vastation from the shock of which they were still staggering when 
they were again made homeless in 1782. 

When they were at last permitted to enjoy the peace and prosperity 
they had so dearly bought, the church and school claimed their im- 
■mediate attention. 

Schools were established in the more commodious log houses and 
preaching service eagerly attended in the larger barns, and when at 
the opening of the new century it was found possible to build churches 
they gave of their scanty assets in a manner that would electrify the 
ablest townsman at the present time. The first school on the hills, 
south of the Mohawk, was taught by Stephen Frank, in Paul Crim's 
log house in Andrustown, before the Revolution, It was unquestion- 
ably a German school as neither Paul Crim or his wife could speak 
or understand a word of English. There is no record of any school 
being taught within the present limits of Columbia until 1795 when 
Philip Ausman taught a German school in a log schoolhouse, opposite 
where the Reformed Church was later erected. 

The building was a low, square structure, with teachers' desk in 
the center, while a 'massive chimney, whose foundation of brick and 
stone are buried neath Fred Sheldon's wagonhouse, occupied a deal 
of valuable space on the north side, and being of great depth, allowed 
the rain, hail and snow to descend unchallenged upon the great logs 
of green four-foot wood furnished by the parents in proportion to the 
number of children sent to school — % a cord for each pupil. This 
building was accidentally burned about 1812. Soon after 1795, the 
first English school in the locality was taught by Joel Phelps in a log 
school house east of the Henry Stevens' homestead. There was at 
that time neither geography, grammar or arithmetic, and but few 
other books, and slates and pencils had not come into use. There is 
no tradition reaching backward to the organization of the first school 
in the south part of the town, and the earliest recollections are of 


school being held in a primitive log building on the site now occupied 
by the blacksmith shop in South Columbia. There is a handed down 
fctory how this building was accidentally burned, together with its 
meagre outfit, consisting doubtless of quill pens and horn books. 

While many of the husbandmen were absent doing military duty in 
the troublescme days of 1812, the large town of Warren was divided, 
and the newly constituted town, composed of 220 families was called 
Columbia. The cause for this selection is not in evidence, doubtless 
for no especial reason, whereas there is abundant showing why it 
might or should have been called Getmantown or some desirable vari- 
ation of this name which has had more representatives in town than 
any other: 

April 8, 1S13, the first school commissioners, Rev. John Bartlett, 
Dennison Tisdale and Simon Woodworth divided the new town into 
twelve districts. No. 1 is the district at Orendorf's Corners, the 
school house already mentioned located east of the Henry Steven's 
homestead on the northeast corner of the lands of Marks Grant. 
Among the faTnilies in this district v/ere those of Conrad Orendorf who 
had thrilling experiences during the Revolution, whose house built 
before the Revolution, with a later addition, is still standing, as is 
also the barn in which preaching service was for years held and at 
whose northeast corner the early dead were buried. 

Conrad Helmer, who kept a time honored tavern on the Mohawk 

Thomas Shoemaker, his neighbor on the south. 

Conrad Getman at the north foot of the hill where naught but the 
well remains. 

Frederick Getman 3d, at the point where the road around the hill 
intersects the road to the Kingdom. He was a son of Frederick Get- 
man 2nd, v/ho resided in the Hanes settlement and the prominent and 
well remembered Hiram Getman, his youngest son, was a most pub- 
lic-spirited man who held many oflRces of trust, and was sheriff a 
number of years. One daughter will be remembered as the wife of 
Judge A. C. Tennant of Cooperstown. On the road east from the 
Corners were the families of Barnabas Griffith on the W. O. Ames 
place, but not a foundation stone remains to 'mark where the pleasant 
hom.e of John M. Scott stood, near the stone ledge. John Oxner's 
premises are occupied by his great grandson, Bert Oxner, while 
naught rem.ains to mark the site of the early home of Henry Oxner 
across the road but a spring and well. The pioneer home of Frederick 
Petrie was south of the Steven's homestead in the lot where some 
stunted and dwarfed apple trees and an old cellar mark the site. When 
the road was established he built a house on the corner, later occu- 
pied by Enoch Judd and Henry Stevens. Marks Grant was the first 
resident owner of the lands now owned by his great grandson, Marks 
Grant. His honored discharge from the Revolutionary Army, signed 
by Washington and Trumbull, is treasured by a great grandson, Dr. 
Albert Getman of Oneonta. 

Dennison Tisdale came from Lebanon, Conn., and with 
his intellectual family, settled on the farm that has of 


later years been the home of George Yule and his son, Delos Yule. 
He was the first school commissioner of the town. Among his nu- 
merous children was Elizabeth who married Lyman Huntley. Of their 
ten children, four served in the Civil War and two, Lester and Wil- 
kins never returned. Ensebia, a daughter, was a skilled physician in 
the west and Sanford Huntley and his wife, Rev. Abi Townsend Hunt- 
ley are talented preachers in South Dakota. 

John Clapsaddle, a son of Major Denus Clapsaddle, resided on the 
next farm to the east where he was succeeded by his son, Peter Clap- 
saddle. Dr. Abel Hannahs settled adjoining where the Reformed 
Church was afterward erected. 

Perhaps the most prominent 'man in the locality at that time, was 
D. V. W. — David Van de Water Golden whose mother was Elizabeth 
Van de Water, whose ancestors came from Holland. He was born on 
Long Island in 1773 from where his family removed to Beekmantown, 
Dutchess County and in 1792 he engaged in mercantile business in 
Niskayuna. In 1798 he came to what is now Columbia and erected a 
building on the north side the road at the foot of the hill, west of the 
Reformed Church, which was utilized as a store and dwelling. This 
was the first store in the present town, and its proprietor accepted 
in payment for his goods, a varied line of co'mmodities which consti- 
tuted "barter" of that time. A well known tavern keeper in the Mo- 
hawk Valley is responsible for the statement that as many as twen- 
ty-eight teams, loaded with freight belonging to D. V. W. Golden had 
stayed at his hostelry in a single night, enroute to Albany, from 
whence they would bring goods in return. 

An aged friend writing of those early days says: "My mother often 
spoke of Judge Golden, being the handsomest onan in the large con- 
gregation and that his dignity of demeanor as he walked up the aisle 
of a church, was admired by all present." 

He was one of the committee of five to build the Reformed church 
and was vandue 'master to sell the pews to pay the expense of the 
building. He was appointed one of the county judges in 1810 and 
commissioned first judge in 1811 which office he held until he died. 
His brother, Benjamin, was for years a hotel keeper, across the road 
from the store, and upon retiring from business resided in Ilion. John 
was a successful merchant in Utica and was succeeded by his son, 
David Golden. One sister married Otis Smith and they were the parents 
of the late S. O. Smith. Hannah married the pious quaker, James 
Thomas of Dutchess County, Dorothy labored as a Quaker missionary 
among the Indians while Elizabeth married Calvin Eaton, another 
Columbia man. Judge Golden's children were Gaylord and Davii 
who died young, Jane who became the wife of Rev. John Bartlett. 
the first resident pastor of the Reformed Church. David Bartlett, 
a son, was, during the Civil War, editor of a Washington paper. The 
National Era. and became private secretary to Young Wing, the Chi- 
nese minister, holding the very renumerative position until 1S90. 
Another son, John, ia a professor in New Britain. Conn. Judge 
Golden's daughter, Harriet, married Henry Reynolds. Mary Ann 
married Alanson Reynolds while Nancy became the wife of the well 


known Chauncey Beckwith and their granddaughter is the gifted 
artist and poet. Miss Ellen Clapsaddle of Richfield Springs. 

James Page's' home was opposite the above mentioned premises, 
and was later the home of Israel Shepherd. Mr. Page was one of 
the most prominent men of that early date; he was a Tanner and 
Courier and had a tannery south of the house. At an early date he 
transferred himself and family to the premises later known as Cul- 
lenwood where he built the residence which was later the popular 
home of Colonel Grain, and the hamlet which grew up about Mr. 
Paige's home wag until recently called Pages Corners, where he con- 
ducted a store, an a&hery and mills. Before 1795 Samuel Hatch came 
from Connecticut and located just west of Mr. Page. He had a 
family of seven children, but the recent death of Judge Edick in 
Richfield Springs, removes his last descendent in this locality. 

The old school house which had outlived its usefulness, was torn 
down in a plot of ground was purchased at Orendorf's 

Corners, and a modern school-house erected where a small but up- 
to date school is maintained. 

No. 4 is at Millers Mills. When Andrew MuUer, or Miller as the 
name is rendered in this country, came from Germany, he made his 
first home in Renssellaer county, but soon after 1790, came with his 
six sons and two daughters to an unbroken wilderness where he 
chose a most suitable location. They made the necessary clearings — 
Ijuilt log houses, constructed a dam across the beautiful stream and 
built the grist and saw mills which have perpetuated his name. 

The grist mill soon became patronized by the incoming tide of 
emigration for 'miles around. Before there were any highways the 
grain was transported in a hollowed out log drawn by one or two 
oyjen, and people from Winfield and those far away places required 
t'wo days to make the trip, driving along a cow which they milked 
at night, and Mrs. Miller would boil them a hasty pudding from 
some of the new meal affording them a most enjoyable supper and 
breakfast. He was of Lutheran faith and early service was oft held 
at his house. His immense leather covered, 'metal finished German 
Bible, carefully treasured by an aged descendent, Mrs. Katherine 
Westfall, contains f>. '"^cord of baptisms about the beginning of the 

The first school house was a frame building, top of the hill on the 
west side the old di.=used road, leading directly south from Millers 
Mills, past the home of the late D. G. Young. The structure was 
built and used for both church and school purposes. The original 
organization of the Baptist society took place there in 1820 and 
service was held there eleven years. Rev. William Hunt conducted 
these services and continued twenty-two years. Mr. Ezra Star is 
rmembered as the earliest teacher and served continuously for fif- 
teen years, and was followed by Alonzo Tillison. 

Elder William Hunt was succeeded by Elder Robert Hunt in 1836. 
In 1831 the Millers Mills church was erected and soon after a new 
school house was built adjoining. While this change was being 
effected Lucy Ann Barringer taught school in the church. In 1840 
M. C. Brown became pastor of the society and taught a select school 
two or three years in the home of the Jacksons, west of the Ludlen 
homestead on the road from Millers Mills to the Cedarville road. 


The family of Elder Robert Hunt was not in affluent circumstances 
but are remembered as most exemplary people who lived in various 
homes, coming from the present Mumford place to the Joseph Lud- 
den place east of Millers Mills. The sons and daughters were per- 
sistent in obtaining an education and Isaac and Harvey became 
prominent physicians in Utica. Harry 'married a daughter of Denus 
Clapsaidle of Mohawk and their granddaughter, Miss Ethel Wickes 
is gaining enviable notoriety. She has studied art in Paris and is 
considered one of the finest artists in San Francisco, whose produc- 
tions are largely sought, and command startling prices. 

One of the most studious scholars in the old school house was a 
lad named George Harper, bound to one Rufus Reynolds. He was 
a most exemplary youth, but as years rolled by and his classmates 
began escorting the red-cheeked maidens home from spelling school, 
owing to his somewhat awkward and diffident way — his lack of 
funds — his ciuiet d&meanor and the coarse ill fitting clothes provided 
him, it was evident he was not of the favored few, and soon came 
to be omitted from most social gatherings. With stoical indiffer- 
ence he served his entire apprenticeship, and when released at the 
age of twnty-one, was qualified to teach and went to Y'orkville in 
that capacity. Some years thereafter a townsman while in Oswego 
was very much surprised to find the leading man in a council of em- 
inent physicians assembled there, was Dr. George Harper. 

District No. 5 is the "Bloodgood District", so called. Richard 
Pray was, perhaps the first settler within its limits. He was a 'Vay 
down east yankey" who bought a large tract of land of Gouldsbor- 
ough Bauyer, and ^mounting his horse, provided with a gun and an 
ax, while the bright silver dollars which was to pay for his wood- 
land acres in the western world were stowed inside a new pair of 
boots and slung along side his saddle bags, he started on his soli- 
tary journey. At an inn where he obtained lodging, two young 
maidens of the household took his fancy, and when about to mount 
and continue his journey, he very gallantly informed them that he 
wished they were going with him, whereupon one of the maids in- 
formed him that his wishes coincided with hers. Mr. Pray pro- 
cured the services of a magistrate, a pillion was added to the trap- 
ings on his faithful steed, and with his new made bride seated behind 
him, the lonely bachelor's solitary ride suddenly merged into a wed- 
ding trip. The hCTne where they passed the remainder of their 
lives has in recent years been the home of David Locke and his sons, 
the famous hopgrowers. His confidence in his wife's charms must 
have remained unabated as the years rolled by for when a bear 
came down from the woods back of the house and was carrying away 
a fine fat pig, Mr. Prey seized his gun and requested his better half 
to come out and attract Bruno's attention, the result proved the wis- 
•dom of his reasoning. His brother, William Pray cleared and oc- 
cupied the acres which have since 18116 been the home of William 
Brown and later of his son. Lafayette Brown. 

Willard Eddy and his interesting family enjoyed the sunshine and 
shadows of life on the farm for many years occupied by the late 
Ephraim Ward. 

Joel Merchant was an early occupant of the premises now o'wjned 



by Stewart McRorie, while John Bloodgood owned the premises fur- 
ther east and on the south side the road. One Jacob Casler lived 
across the road from the present school grounds and a few rods 
further east was an old house which sheltered an English family by 
the name of Ripley. Mr. Ripley, like many another English man, 
thought so little of the land he was coming to, that he brought a plow 
along with him, which was so ill shaped and so long geared that the 
team was barely within call and the awkward implement wabbled 
about in a manner very amusing to Americans. 

The first farm east of the school house was occupied by Samuel 
and Wilson Baird who came from Saratoga County, while the second 
home was that of the widow of Major Denus Clapsaddle and her 
son, Denus. An interesting volume might be written of the experi- 
ences of this family during the Revolution. John F. Getman and 
bis large fa^mily occupied the premises still further east, while Davil 
and Azel Hatch were his nearest neighbors. Jacob Barringer came 
from Schodac and lived in a primative house on the west side of the 
road leading north toward Columbia Center, while the four farms on 
the east side the road were those of Johannes Getman and his sons, 
Frederick, Jacob, George and Henry. 

Johannes Getman was one of four brothers who were Revolution- 
ary soldiers, and was a staunch advocate of whatsoever things were 
pure and true and right. He was a grandson of the late John Fred- 
erick Getman who came to this country in 1723 and who was the 
ancestor of all the Getmans in the county. This beautiful building 
in which we are met, is a token of the wisdom and generosity of a 
descendent of that first John Frederick Getman. 

The first school in this district was taught in a building (presuma- 
bly of logs) on the south side of the road at the top of the knoll, 
oast, and across the creek from the present school building, perhaps 
about twenty rods distant. When the new town was districted, a 
plot of ground was purchased of Jacob Casler, the deed bearing 
date 1814. On this, the present school house was erected, and the 
land east of it which has been utilized as a road, is the rightful 
school grounds, and the property of the district, the road passing 
on the west side. The first trustees were Matthewson Eddy, Joel 
Merchant and Azel Hatch. The building is well preserved and does 
not compare unfavorably with more modern structures. During the 
winter evenings, meetings were held there prior to thirty -five years 
ago, and called out a large attendance. 

Among the other early settlers in this district were Luther, Nathan 
and Parley Spaulding. The brothers King, Green and Tom Paddock 
succeeded Mr. Casler opposite the school house. Elisha Monday 
and Charles Gray occupied successively an old house on the east 
side the road, south of the McKoon crossing milk station. Peter 
Getman was one of the earliest occupants of the home later belonging 
to Alonzo Getman and Bert Zoller. Simeon Remington, a Revolu- 
tionary soldied who came from Suflield, Conn., occupied the David 
Bp,iley home, while Abisha Smith, Sr,, his neighbor before and after 
his emigration, was succeeded by his son, Abisha, Jr. 

District No. 6 is at South Columbia, and Ashbul Freeman was the 


frst settler in this hamlet. He came from Metuchin, New Jersey 
and must have followed the Indian trail and located his log cabin a 
few rods south of the Indian ca-mp ground on either side the stream 
which the Indians called Otskonoga, but which their pale-faced suc- 
cessors called by the much more suggestive name of Mink creek. 
The site of this first cabin is now occupied by the store house east 
the depot and we might add that the D. L. & W. Railroad closely 
follows the Indian trail to the Great Western turnpike. Doubtless 
the first death in the locality was a child of Mr. Freeman's who 
was drowned in the creek, and presumably buried on the premises. 
Mr. Freeman felled an immense pine across the creek and with this 
as a foundation constructed a dam directly west of the present saw- 
mill, south of the road. The banks show the pond to have been 
very deep and not extending far up stream as the road way bridge 
was in nearly its present location. Some years later the present 
dam was constructed and the lower one removed. While some 
grading was being done a few years ago, the before mentioned pine 
log was reached and being unearthed was found sound as when in its 
primitive granduer it reared its proud head for untold years on the 
bank of the stream, and it is now serving in another phase of its 
existence as the shaft for the big wheel in the mill. Mr. Freeman 
built the first saw mill in this locality, and the grist mill soon after, 
or before the close of the century. 

Mr. Freeman moved to Cattaraugus County where he "W^s one of 
the first three county judges in 1817, as was also his son-in-law, 
Peter Tenbroeck soon after. 

You are all familiar with the history of Abram Woleben and his 
Revolutionary experiences which would provide ample material for 
a most thrilling narrative. He was, perhaps, the next settler in town 
after Mr. Freeman and his rude cabin near the trail was built where 
is now Olcott Harwicks garden. The well is still in use but the 
foundation stones of the immense chimney were some years ago 
drawn to Richfield and their present mission is to uphold the Storer 
Block. His children settled near him. One son was struck by light- 
ning while binding wheat in the harvest field, when the sun was 
shining, and another was killed in a clover mill while a grandson, 
Charley Woleben will be remembered as the victim of the caving in 
of the Myer's well between Mohawk and Ilion. 

The brothers. George M. and Frederick Edick were the first to 
occupy the Shimel and Fretts farms respectively. The land was 
measured with a rope and the dimensions sent to Albany. George 
M. Edick's wife, who was a daughter of Major Denus Clapsaddle, 
was killed by being thrown from a wagon in Mohawk. Frederick 
Edick or Fretts as he was commonly called, was the one who had 
so much trouble in drilling the 'malitia, who tied strips of hay 
around one foot and straw about the other, then commanded hay- 
foot forward and strawfoot forward. His commands right face and 
left face were equally ineffectual and he substituted face the house 
and face the hogpen. His early home was a few rods west the rail- 
road and while the cellar is considerably filled in, the well is in good 
condition. He returned to his Fort Herkimer home and Michael 


Wever succeeded him and built a dam upon the creek and had a 
primitive saw mill where the ruins of the wheels 'may still be seen. 
A man was accidentally drowned in this pond, the second fatality in 
the hamlet. There is no history or tradition reaching back of the 
occupancy of Richard Pangburn on the farm where the railroad 
emerges from the big swamp, which has since been cultivated by 
Isaac Wright, Isaac House, Eli Riggs, Abel Biggs and many others. 
Moses Thompson with his large family, came from New Jersey and 
located on the farm later occupied by Joel Eggleston, Henry Shaul 
and others. Squire Ayers and Jerusha, his wife and their son, Wil- 
liam and several daughters were among the early arrivals; William 
returned from Sacketts Harbor with epaulets and a captain's commis- 
sion. They resided on the farm now occupied by Walter Vrooman. 
Captain Ayer 'married a daughter of Ashbul Freeman, and while cut- 
ting wood, had the misfortune to wound his knee in such a manner 
as to necessitate the amputation of the limb. By a singular and un- 
fortunate coincidence one of his sons, the late O. P. Ayer was ac- 
cidentally shot while out hunting, in 1862, and also had to submit to 
the amputation of a limb. He was for many years justice of the 
peace and was the first ticket agent in South Columbia. Seth Smith 
and his family were natives of SufReld, Conn., who coming here, 
located on the farm now owned by Martin Kayner, while a Ml . Fra- 
zer and family are the earliest residents on the premises where 
George House kept a tavern for many years, and was succeeded by 
Hyde and Peak, John H. Shaul, Walter Vrooman, Nathan Palmer 
and the present owner Maria Schuyler. Peleg Wood first culti- 
vated the farm since owned by Jacob Lain who was succeeded by 
his son, John Lain. Nicholas Van Slyke built a house and lived 
west of the depot where nought but a well marks the site. John 
Davis built the house which is now utilized as a wagon house by 
Johnathan Morgan. James Rooker built the house on the corner, 
after which being rebuilt by W. E. Chase, bears little resemblance 
to the original structure. James Brown built and lived in the old 
house on the lands of M. M. Hatch, which was near the old Fulling 
mill of which he was the successful operator for 'many years. 

Joseph Hatch was one of four brothers who emigrated from Con- 
necticut about 1794 and purchased four adjoining sections of land, 
he locating on the plot fartherest east. The present house succeeded 
the log house before 1800 and remained in possession of his descend- 
ants about 100 years until disposed of by Damon Clapsaddle to Jo- 
seph Migue. Joseph Hatch was an enthusiastic member of the early 
Masonic Lodge in town, and the Masonic emblems carved on the 
front door casings have not been wholly obliterated by the storms 
of the century. 

As already stated the log building in which the generation who 
are all dead and gone, were taught to make their manners was burned 
and in 1813 the newly elected coonmissioner called a meeting and a 
building opposite the present hotel was secured for school purposes 
and money raised to fit the building with glass windows and putty 
them in, repair the immense chimney and floor, buy a pair of brand 
irons or andirons, a pail, a chair, a fire slice, cup and broom. Three 


years later a desk was added. The first school was taught by Bet- 
sey Dodge, commencing May 2nd, 1814 and continuing 17 weeks at 
$1.00 per week and board herself. Her successors are as follows, 
many of them teaching several terms at different times or succes- 
sively: Simon P. Clark, Charlotte Scoby, Guy D. Comstock, Betsey 
Hatch, Asael Williams, Laura Sanford, Ann Benedict, Stephen Grif- 
fith, Hannah Hatch, Jesse Angel, Elijah H. Rice, G. W. Little, 
Laury Waters, Lucina Tenny, Urial H. Peak, Samantha Smith, John 
Clement, Lucretia Hudson, Sarahann Merchant, Mary Ann Hauer, 
George Stephens, Mary E. Miller, Rachel Alexander, Saphrona Row- 
land, Henry Brown, Josiah Miller, Sarah Eveleth, Henriette Carder, 
Dr. Hawks, Fanny Carder, Mr. Sloan, Harriet Wheeler, O. P. Ayer, 
Susan Smith, Joanna Miller, Horace Howland, Mary Ann Smith, A. 
W. Wilder, Biauca Helmer, Caroline Morgan, Wm. Ames, Lucretia 
Hatch, John R. Helmer, Sarah L. Helmer, John Frank Getman, 
Cornelia Getman, Agur Williams, George Baker, Maryette House, 
Walter C. Green, Lizzie Round, Newton Chamberlain, Wm. John- 
son, Jacob, Juliette Merchant, Lydia A. Huntley, Abbie Sil- 
liman, Sarah Sheridan, Cyrena Huntley, H. G. Willsey, Frank Get- 
man, Helen Stevens, Lida Harwick, Ella Gano, Leila Fake, Emma 
Crim. Lavega Brainerd. Christine Kayner. Lola Brainerd, Charley 
Brownrigg, Sophie Norris, Nettie Andrus, Moses Jordan, Tena Oren- 
dorf, Will Vrooman, Daniel Ames, Jennie Rathbone, Sidney Ayers, 
Genie Parkhurst, Mary Reagan, Byron McLane, Flo Goodier, Eva 
Willsey, Emma Johnson, ELma Hopkinson, Rose Hopkinson, Celeste 

In 1836 the first wood was purchased — 20 cords of 18 inch wood at 
five shillings and six pence a cord. The building was repaired in 
1819 and the same year the first public money was received, $22.78. 
Number of students between the ages of 5 and 15, 68. In 1826 a 
plot of land was purchased of Peleg Wood, % of an acre at $25 per 
acre and a new school house erected. In 1854 that building was 
sold, torn down and removed and the present building erected, which 
after nearly fifty years of service is well preserved. Josiah Miller 
taught a select school in a house north of the Ayers residence, which 
burned many years ago. A select school was at one time taught in 
the upper rooms of Miss Susannah Barringer's house and Miss Euse- 
bia Huntley taught a select school in the upper rooms of Mrs. S. 
O. Smith's house, about the time of the Civil War. The district 
school house has been the scene of spelling schools, debating socie- 
ties, exhibitions, Christmas trees, singing schools, 'meetings, revivals 
and Sunday Schools. 

District No. 9, the Hauer settlement was founded by the brothers, 
Jacob, Jeremiah and William Hauer. who came from Rensselaer 
County at an early date and located east of Millers Mills. The home 
of Jacob Hauer was midway between the Peter Clapsaddle farm and 
the school house, on the north side the road, but nothing now indi- 
cates the location. He was a man of affairs and had a commodious 
barn in which meetings and funerals were held at that early day. 
A plot of ground on his farm was given for a burying ground, and 
ia tMckly populated. Jacob was chosen one of the committee of five 


to erect the Reformed Church. When Cokimbia was set off from 
Warren he was the first supervisor and elected again in 1822. His 
son, Jacob, Jr., was a chorister and taught singing school. He 
caused guideboards to be erected at the cross roads at that early 
(f.ate. William Hauer or Helnus Hauer, as his clansmen styled him, 
chose and cleared the lands known as the Schuyler place south of 
the present school house. The more commodious early homes con- 
tained two rooms, the square or spare roo'm, while the other was 
called the schtup. Wall paper was not plentiful and the plastered 
walls were oft painted, bright blue being a favorite color, on which 
sprigs of flowers were scattered. The schtup was heated by an im- 
mense fireplace over which was the inevitable mantlepiece with its 
flecorations of brass candlesticl^s and pewter platters, while above 
this was suspended the bright hewed valet.ia. In this room they 
lived and baked and brewed, dined and spun and wove, here the 
catwhipper or traveling shoemalver established his bench for a two 
weeks stay or until all the family were properly shod. The highpost 
bedstead with its hangings and tester of curtain calico, underneath 
which, in daytime, the truckbed was stored, also occupied consider- 
able space in this much furnished room, and here also in the Helnus 
Hauer home, school was kept for many years by a non-resident 
German whose name has been forgotten. An English school was 
p.lso taught here for about three years before the town was districted. 

Helnus Hauer's son, Jonas, was a soldier of 1812. Mary Ann, a 
daughter of Jonas, was an early teacher in town and taught em- 
broidery before she became the wife of Michael Edick. Jeremiah 
Hauei's home was on the road running north and south and has in 
later years been the home of Jacob Hauer and Jacob's widow, the 
last of the family. Jeremiah served his town as supervisor in 1823- 
24 and 27. He reared a large family and beside numerous grand- 
children in town, others are engaged in the business enterprises of 
Herkimer, Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort. Frederick Getman, who ar- 
rived soon after, had served through the Revolution with his father, 
Captain Frederick Getman. He reared a large family, among whom 
was the well known Bartlett B. Getman, whose children were among 
the town's most honored citizens. Among them were David of Mil- 
lers Mills, Dr, Norman of Richfield Springs and the late Marsh ion 
Getman of Mohawk. The history of Gersham Skinner, another pio- 
neer, is doubtless too familiar to need repetition. He held the com- 
mission of adjutant during the Revolution and at its close came here 
accompanied by his son. John and five daughters, and cleared the 
lands more recently occupied by his grandson, the late Benjamin 
Skinner. The little trunk, with its papers and the pocketbook and 
waterstained colonial money which he retained at the burning of the 
mill in Little Falls in 1782 is carefully treasured by his descendents. 

Peter I. Terpening. with his eight children, came to this district 
from Half Moon in 1800. and for many years has rested in the fam- 
ily cemetery near his early home. He has many descendents in tiiis 
town and county. 

Augustus Hess, who located in the northern part of the district, 
was of another historic family. At the time of the Indian invasion 
of 1782, his grandfather, Augustinus Hess fled to the Fort and was 


shot dead while entering the picket gate. Augustinus 2nd was a 
(member of the Tryon county committee of safety in 1775. He was 
in the battle of Oriskany, was taken prisoner, but escaped the same 
day, while his brother, John Jost Hess was a valued aid in Sullivan's 
expedition and had an unusual experience at Oriskany. Augustinus 
3rd, who settled in town, patterned after his father in rearing a fam- 
ily of eight children. He held a captain's commission in the war of 
1812. John Jost, who settled near the south line of the town, held 
all the various offices in the Reformed Church. 

The name of Edick also appeared on the school register as it did 
in almost every other district. 

The present school house is doubtless the first one erected. It is 
said of these Palatins that notes and contracts were unknown among 
them, their word being all that was required. Their honor first of 
all and next, an honest living, however poor it might be; then their 
religion, for when the church was to be paid for in 1806, without 
having some ardent, autodedicatory pleader extract their gifts from 
them by sheer eloquence, they came together, and bought the pews 
and paid and pledged over four thousand dollars in three yearly in- 
stallments. Think what that amount meant to them, and estimate 
its equivolent at the present time, and decide whether it could be 
raised in like manner. Their next consideration was the education 
of their children. I do not recall where any of the first generation 
of the pioneers learned a profession. In 1822 Andrew H. Miller 
was ordained to the ministry, but we may rest assured it was with- 
out a college education, and the first to enjoy these advantages were 
usually not farmer's sons. Among those who became physicians, 
Kilbourn and Lucius Hannahs were sons of Dr. Hannahs, B. J. 
Philleo was a son of Dr. Philleo, James M. Rose was a son of Or- 
rin Rose, the hatter, George Carder and his brother, Dixon who was 
a rector were the sons of a miller. Other early physicians were 
Amos Rowland, Jr., Rufus Reynolds, Parley Spaulding, Daniel 
Thomas, and Calvin Griffith. We may rest assured, however, that 
those early plodders were not lacking in talent, it was only dormant 
to spring forth with renewed energy, and many of the strong, reli- 
ble men of today, look back upon these humble ancestors with the 
reverence which is their due, and have united in this grand Herki- 
mer County Historical Society and others of its kind to honor and 
perpetuate their memory. 



Delvered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, February 

14, a903. 

The sunlight has marked the hours for centuries on old dials in 
English gardens but there remains no record of their number or of 
their beginning. . . 

Ir the heart of the earth there are ancient memories and men and 
wonen have kept for part of their lives register of their thoughts and 
deeds. Professor Mathews says: "Every author has a right o re- 
peat himself and fall into line but to what extent he does "ot say^ 

people nowadays are watching for brilliancy and if there is any 
merit are ready for suggestions. A collection of f t---^^--^^' 
however, if accurate, gives to the producer, courage In searching 
after facts among and in the homes of t°^"«P^°P^\ ^^^^%^^^,f J^^"' 
personality that sometimes staggers and dampens hope «* ^^^aimng 
knowledge for those who are in search of light at your expense, and 
one feels that "Happy is the country that has no history. 

It is impossible to note the events of history pleasing to all. From 
the time our forefathers first set foot within its borders, this town 
s replete with history. The soil now yields an abundant harvest 
changes have developed, and the ancestry can look with Pnde .jpon 
the splendid achievements in art, science, literature and agriculture. 

As one stands on the shelving rocks that overlook the city, rem- 
iniscences of forefathers are pictured in the peaceful valley which is 
the ground work of the town of Little Falls. v^^v^^.f 

John Jost Petrie and Conrad Rickert were the petitioners in behalf 
of themselves and others for the purchase of the lands, and five Iro- 
quois Indians were witnesses to the deed, making their mark before 
the justice and interpreter. It was in 1770 eight thousand acres 
were granted, Livingston's patent covering about 1000 acres. Ezra 
Hornedien next bought 4000 acres. One of the purchasers of the 
Fall Hill patent was Henry Uhle, great grandfather of James Uhle 
an esteemed citizen of Little Falls. A question arose in his mind 
as to the ability to pay 15 pounds for the purchase of four acres, it 


being necessary for him to find shelter for his family at once, and 
he proposed to pin his buildings together with long wooden pins, so 
that if he was unable to pay the purchase price or was disturbed by 
enemies he could remove the buildings. Since that time one hun- 
dred and twelve years have elapsed and the original four acres are 
owned by one of his lineal descendants, Mrs. Ida Uhle Shaul of Lit- 
tle Falls. 

In the extreme southern point, north of the river, one of the most 
important patents was that of Glens purchase which forms a part of 
the eastern and western purchase also. Fall Hill patent was granted 
in 1752, lands of which are still owned by descendants of John Kes- 
ler. now Casler, the first having been continuously in their possession 
cne hundred and seventy-eight years. 

In 1739 Johan Jost Petrie made a purchase, but this title was 
granted by royal patent from the crown of Great Britain. The Bur- 
netsfield patent tried or aimed to give ninety-four persons, one hun- 
dred acres apiece, beginning at a point in Frankfort and extending 
along the line into the town of Little Falls, and four lots north of 
the city which is the foundation proper, formed from the towns of 
Herkimer. Fairfield and German Flatts. 

It is in the interior of the county a little south and surrounded by 
seven of the towns of Fairfield on the north, Warren south, Herki- 
mer and German Flatts west, Danube and Manheim east, and Stark 
southeast, the history of all being identical. 

The grandeur of its natural scenery, its now fertile hills and val- 
leys wrought by the hands that feared no toil, and whose life threads 
entwined within its borders have been charmingly portrayed vith 
the windings of the Mohawk river through picturesque scenery; here 
it is that the rapids descend over fifty feet or more in a miles dis- 
tance, and the rugged moss covered rocks tower to the height of {00 
feet, standing sentinel to the valley. 

It is in the town of Little Falls that the famous Birdseye lime- 
stone developed, valuable for building purposes, specimens having 
been sent to all parts of the world. 

The first settlement made here was in 1723. At that time the 
Mohawk river was navigable for small flat boats and canoes from 
the Hudson river to Rome, except at Little Falls, where the boats 
were hauled out and carried around the falls, hence the name 
"Astogan," interpreted the crossing place "under the rock." Women 
and children could also safely ford the river here unseen by the 

In 1786 John Vaughn and seven others were granted 8000 acres. 
There was a grist mill on Furnace Creek and but one habitable 
dwelling occupied by John Portens, before the Revolution which wag 
built by the Petrie family. 

It is not as replete with tragic historic events as some of the 
neighboring towns. Being the center of travel during the Revolu- 
tion, the enemy hastened to more unguarded grounds. 

At one time the great water power of the town was in peril on 
account of the ownership of a member of the British parliament. 

North and Beaver Creeks in the northern part of the town flow 
peacefully along, tributary to the Mohawk which we are told was 
once the bed of a much larger river. 


Jacksonburg in the west. Bethel in the south, Paines Hollow in 
the southwest and Eatonville in the northern part of the town are 
small hamlets. 

The old canal and wooden locks were constructed in 1795 on the 
north side of the river. In 1804 they were rebuilt of stone and were 
in good repair when the canal opened in 1825. Under the direction 
of Abram Neely, Mr. Thumb and H. J. Klock, the old Octagonal 
church was built, where now stands the Church street school house, 
and members of all sects worshipped there. The first Sunday school 
was composed of scholars of Lutheran extraction. Rev. John Tay- 
lor, a missionary passing through the country at that time, made his 
report as follows: "The church is new and beautiful but the people 
do not improve." 

The first or next settlement of the town was made by Jacob We- 
ver, Nicholas Kesler and the Stauring family and they were granted 
land in 1730. After the war John Portens, Josiah Skinner and Wil- 
liam Alexander were among the first settlers. The area of the town 
is 17,393 acres most of it yielding an abundant harvest to the hus- 

The first school taught in the town was by Elijah Case in a stone 
house that still stands near the old Girvan house. With a tin horn 
he summoned the scholars to school, the same horn being used to 
summon the people to worship upon the Sabbath day. The horn is 
now in possession of the Little Falls fire department. Another mode 
of announcement was made by one Billy Lapham, ringing a bell 
through the streets and crying "Hear ye! hear ye! today Dr. Ken- 
nedy is married, he is taking Lovers leap." 

Mr. S. W. Stimson of Herkimer built Washington Hall, for many 
years called the Getman house. It was dedicated to the cause of 
anti-slavery and temperance. 

A full length portrait of Washington decorated the front portal. 

Among the early settlers of the town were the Bellingers, Hesses, 
Landts, Keslers, Petries, Dockstaters, Uhles and many other substan- 
tial and sturdy supporters; and there are still traces of their pecu- 
liar customs. The Goldens trace their ancestry to the landing of the 

Among the early published newspapers of the town were the Peo- 
ple's Friend and the Mohawk Courier, afterwards consolFdated with 
the Journal and now one of the largest publishing houses in the 

In 1782 a band of Indians and Tories invaded the town and burned 
the grist mill on Furnace Creek, killing and scalping the settlers, 
among whom was Captain Small who was shot while picking apples 
a short distance from where now stands the Smalls Biish cheese 

Little Falls was not behind in sending men for their country's ser- 
vice during the rebellion, from 1861 to 1865. Company B of the 
34th Regiment was organized in Little Falls and just outside of the 
city there is a beautiful resting place for the soldiers who risked 
their lives for a future lesson. 

Although the valley contracts to a small breadth in Little Falls it 
is the seat of large manufacturing interests, and many of the towns- 


people are ig-norant of the knowledge of the busy hands that find 
employment in the manufactories of the town. On the north side 
of the river, mills remain standing that were built in the eighteenth 
century. Of the eight churches in the town, there is but one, the 
Methodist of Paines Hollow, outside of the city. 

In looliing over the list of business men of 1868 now living we find 
James S. Aldrige, W^m. Milligan, Abram E. Bellinger, Augustus 
Golden, Peter A. Conyne, Dennis Collins, Irving Snell. the Casler 
Bros, and some others which time will not permit me to mention. 
The early jurists were Nathaniel S. Benton, Evans Wharry and 
Arphaxed Loomis who was also first judge of Herkimer county. Of 
the manufacturers I believe there is but one now living, Charles 

About the year 1830 Christian Sharer of the town of Little Falls 
thought the state of agriculture was very low, and he forthwith set 
about introducing the pure blood, short horned Durham cattle, Zal- 
man Wakeman also purchased some, their reputation being so good. 
Hon. Wm. I. Skinner was the first to try Holstein and Ayreshire 
stock, and the result today is satisfactory to Herkimer County far- 
mers. In Sir William Johnson's time he said "no farmer raised as 
much as a load of hay" in the Mohawk Valley. At his own expense 
he encouraged all the useful branches of husbandry and a spirit of 
industry was stirred up and proper utensils were brought into use. 

A report of the Board of Trade of Tyron County Dec. 5th, 1709, 
pronounced the proper place for settling the Palatines was on the 
Mohawk river, some lands being specified by pioneer immigrants 
along the valley to Little Falls; John Jost Petrie and Jacob Wever 
being among those licensed, not to buy east of Little Falls. 

The ill construction of roads at that time was a great hindrance 
to the prosperity of the people, and a moment's reflection will teach 
us that while we have advanced frcm the fording of creeks, the 
ascension of mountain roads, foot paths, etc.; there is chance for 
improvement yet. Among the Herkimer County Agricultural So- 
ciety promoters were Ralph Simms, L. B. Arnold, Josiah Davis, 
Lorenzo Carrol and Charles DeLong, all natives of the town. 

The first salesday of cheese in the county was established in Little 
Falls in 1864 and from that time up to 1870 it was called the center 
cf cheese trade in America and had a controlling influence in estab- 
lishing prices. The New York State Dairymen's Association and 
Board of Trade was organized in Little Falls and was the first on 
the continent. 

Harry Burrell was the first dealer to ship cheese from this state 
to England and Hon. X. A. Willard wrote the first published ac- 
count of the new dairy system. 

The free school system was adopted in 1873. Since that time the 
hand of improvement has wrought changes and the school system of 
today is most worthy of mention, it is divided into seven rural dis- 
tricts which are under the supervision of a school commissioner, and 
three divisions in the city under the jurisdiction of a superintendent. 
The wealthiest of the rural districts is No. 1 called the Turnpike 
district which has a valuation of $239,252; district No. 2 has a val- 
uation of $57,000 known as the Smalls Bush district; No. 3, $47,000; 


No. 4, nearly $90,000 (Paines Hollow); No. '5, $50,000; No. 6, $81,000 
known as the Jacksonburg district; No. 7, $74,000. The teachers 
are working for the best interests of the scholars; the town uses 
the course of study and gives the grade examinations sent out by 
the state twice a year. The amount of money for the rural districts 
in 1902 was $733.18. 

Three free rural mail delivery routes accommodate the farmer. 

Noteworthy among the town's records and of present interest is 
the work being done by Little Falls Grange, a most worthy organi- 
zation. Enthusiastic members in actual service since its institution 
in 1889 are still at their posts. Little Falls has numerous societies 
In prosperous circumstances. The supervision of the town today is 
under the careful management of men contributing largely of their 
ti'me and talent. 

A short distance from the home of General Herkimer at the foot 
of Fall Hill, the first full meeting for the restoration of peace was 
held at the home of Warner Dygert by the Tryon County Commit- 
teemen. The experiences of our forefathers, the heroism coupled 
with sadness, the situation and formation of the town could be fur- 
'ther expanded, but the pressure of time reminds us that reasons 
laws govern further instruction. 



Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society March 

14. 1903. 

In atte'mpting to give for the benefit or entertainment of others a 
recital of matters that were of interest to me fifty years ag-o I am 
forcibly reminded of my own advincing years and the fact that al- 
though in much of my feelings and appreciation of the pleasant fea- 
tures of life, I seem to feel unreasonably young, still in my physical 
bearing and in the estimation of others I must be classed with the 
"Old Men." 

The undertaking of such a recital of happenings and customs of 
fifty years ago, is made more difficult by a consciousness that many 
of the intervening events are already 'Ancient History' and except 
such as have been of a very general interest already long forgotten. 
The personality of active men in the events of the County at that 
time is unknown to most of the people of the present day, and he 
should be well prepared who would hope to describe, briefly and en- 
tertainingly, the happenings in which so many distinguished and 
able men of former times took an active part. 

Had I had the foresight or the disposition to make a record of the 
passing events which I have witnessed or have known by credible 
hearsay, I would now be in possession of the, to me, most interest- 
ing data of Herkimer County. Very much of the best and 'most in- 
teresting history of the county has been allowed to go un-recorded, 
and the gathering is now difficult, of the materials for a limited but 
consecutive statement of how people lived in their daily lives, with- 
out Electric Cars, without Steam Transportation, without Electric 
Light, without the Telegraph, without tlie Telephone, without Gas, 
"Without Kerosene Oil and without Coal, to omit a vast number of 
things which we of the present day consider indispensable to our 
living and earning a living. Surely it would have sorely frightened 
our grandparents, and perhaps our parents, to see a car moving rap- 
idly without visible means of propulsion, or with an ear to a re- 
ceiver to hear a familiar voice known to be miles away. I do not 
attempt to give you good history, but on the other hand fear that I 


(must be tedious to those who never had the privilege of knowing 
the personality of many who were important factors in the county 
and county affairs of half a century ago. 

I say hail to you and God speed you in your endeavors to preserve 
what you can and from different sources, and perhaps a historian 
may yet arise who will bring together the different fragments and 
compile a record that will be well worth preserving. 

My recollection, as it appears to me. now. goes back with some 
clearness, at least as to some events, some fifty years, and perhaps 
the old School House and District School should have a place in my 
memory. The District Schools of the town were then under the 
supervision of a School Inspector, a most useful and important offi- 
cer in those days; chosen from the most intelligent and best educated 
of the town, and they rendered faithful and efficient service. The 
best remembered of those who held that important office, were Wil- 
liam McLaughlin and William Stuart, and later Prof. I^roy Bliss. 
Perhaps there could be no decided improvement upon the system 
while the schools were under a separate town system, and there 
certainly could be no improvement upon the men selected in our 
town. I went to school early, in what was then the Red School 
House in district number 3 on the turnpike in East Winfield. I have 
no recollection of thinking the school house small, but now when it 
is made larger by one fourth its former size, it seems to one to be 
very small indeed, and I wonder how so many pupils were ever got- 
ten into the room at one lime, or how once in and seated, order and 
comparative quiet could have been maintained, and good instruction 
given. In winter time the number in regular attendance was over 
one hundred, and sometimes there were one hundred and thirty. 
Probably the arrangement of the seats was economical of room, 
though not according to the modern ideas of seats in a school room. 
A desk was placed against the wall at the proper height all around 
the room except some few feet at the door. Immediately in front of 
this desk was a bench on which the older scholars sat, usually fac- 
ing the wall that they might use the desk for a rest for their slates 
and books. A lower seat in front of this was used by the smaller 
scholars, thus making a continuous row of two seats nearly all 
around the room. You can easily see that such an arrangement was* 
economical of room, as the scholars sat close together when there 
!V a.s a large attendance . 

It is easy to believe that the teacher must be a person of good 
"governing" qualifications or no order or progress in study could be 
possible. In some of the classes recitation in concert was of neces- 
sity the order, otherwise it would not be possible for all to have an 
opportunity to recite during the day. Slates and slate pencils were 
used hardly one in forty being so extravagant as to carry a lead pen- 
cil though indeed we sometimes made a real lead pencil by melt- 
ing lead and running it in a crack in the floor; it partially served 
the purpose though never so dark and plain as a lead pencil that 
we could buy at the store. Among so large a number in one small 
room it would be natural to suppose that without good order, the 
hu'm of so many studying, the occasional shifting of seats, the move- 
ment of slates, the noise of writing on a slate with a slate pencil, and 


so many of them, the recitations, the constant call upon the teacher, 
"please will you mend my pen," would make intolerable confusion. 
Really, the old time school teacher was a person to be remembered 
with a wholesome respect. The perfect control of so many, impart- 
ing instruction impartially to all, and mending half a hundred pens 
daily, quill pens, for they had no other, would make one think now- 
a-days that he was leading rather a "strenuous life." Spelling had 
to be done by individual effort, all spelling at that day being oral, 
and woe to the unhappy one who may have inherited a dislike for 
set forms of words in common use. For a good speller it was about 
the happiest hour of the day, and the old time spelling schools were 
intensely interesting. Indeed they may be so at the present time, 
but some of us are older and may have forgotten how to spell some 
words, I am sure we have forgotten the catch words, or they have 
been partly changed. The place where these spelling schools were 
held was the school house; the hour of meeting, "early candle light;" 
and it was a candle light, and tallow candles at that. Frequent 
contests between neighboring schools added zest to the exercise and 
proud indeed were the winners. Debates also were frequently held 
in the school house and all important subjects discussed. The most 
successful debating society was in Cedarville and very properly so 
when such men as Rev. M. C. Brown, Rev. S. B. Loomis, Levi 
Smith, William Hosford, A. D. Fish and the Beckwiths as principal 
disputants, debated measures of interest in an able and interesting 
manner. The singing schools, also usually held in the school house, 
were quite as enjoyable as any of the functions held in those days. 
In district number 3 they were taught by Mr. Hubbard of Exeter, 
and Mr. Symonds and Mr. Washburn of Litchfield. For two win- 
ters a very large singing school was taught in the ball room of 
Hickox's Tavern on the turnpike, by Dr. Thomas Hastings, then of 
Clinton. Indeed, Dr. Hastings was leader of the choir of the Con- 
gregational church at East Winfleld for some two years, and it was 
while the singing was under his direction that he that was afterwards 
Rev. Dr. Si'meon North, president of Hamilton College, was or- 
dained to the ministry in that place, and the singers were much 
elated when he said that he thought the music on that occasion was 
the best and most inspiring that he had ever heard. 

The town of Winfleld, or that part of the town of Litchfield that 
was afterward taken to form the town of Winfleld, was originally 
settled by a people who had come thence from the town of Litchfield, 
Connecticut. Among them were the Braces, the Eldreds, Crosbys, 
Knights Leachs, Hatflelds, Harwoods, Browns and Merchants and 
Stewarts and Stuarts. The southern part of the town of Winfield, 
formerly a part of the towns of Plainfield and Richleld was settled 
for the most part by people from Vermont and Massachusetts, among 
v^hom were such men as Jonathan Bartlett, Larkin Smith, Thayer, 
Palmer, Chapin, McLaughlin and Day. My father came from Ver- 
mont as a school teacher, afterwards taking a wife from the Eldred 
family, and buying a farm fro>m Joab Willis. Generally these early 
settlers had the advantages of good education which those states 
afforded, and they brought with them as is seen to this day, in their 
descendants, sturdy principles, and from the earliest days, a superior 


order of mind and culture was characteristic. The town, formed 
from parts of Litchfield, Plainfield and Richfield was named in 
honor of General Winfleld Scott, then one of the heroes of different 
wars, and the first settlements were on the higher lands in the north 
and south parts of the town. Later, when the Cherry Valley and 
Manlius turnpike was laid out it traversed the more central part of 
the town, and thereafter the tendency of the population was to locate 
upon or near the turnpike. It was also called the Third Great Wes- 
tern Turnpike, the First Great Western leading from Albany being 
north of the Mohawk; the second being south of and near the Mo- 
hawk and the third being generally located on the high land south. 

In my recollection, the turnpike was much used, great loads of all 
kinds of produce being drawn over it to Albany, and goods for the 
merchants in the interior being drawn back. It was customary for 
teamsters to carry their own provisions and provender for their 
teams. The charges for such, at the taverns being very moderate, 
not more than one shilling and six pence for lodging and hay 
Great droves of all kinds of animals, required for the city, cattle, 
sheep, swine and even turkeys were frequently to be seen. 

Turkeys in large flocks were not bad to drive, except that in the 
after part of the day, if they neared an orchard, the turkeys were 
apt to take to the trees and no one could stop them; their day's 
march was ended. However, they were early to start in the morn- 
ing and probably accomplished a fair day's journey in the day. The 
third great western turnpike, leading out of Albany, was laid out 
four rods wide, and six rods wide through the villages. This was 
necessary from the frequent droves and the large amount of travel. 
The road was 'worked' the full width, that it all might be used. One 
of the most interesting and exciting sights in those days was the 
passage of the great four horse stages, usually loaded with passen- 
gers and at full speed. Then, as now, the roads in that part of the 
town were good, being well gravelled and not very hilly; and it was 
the custo'm to 'make up' time, on the good roads in that section, so 
that we were often treated to the sight of a great coach, loaded in- 
side and out and with its four or six horses coming down the road 
at a full gallop, a sight well worth seeing at the present day. Then 
the drivers would pull up at the post-office with a flourish and with- 
in a very few inches of where they intended. I spell Driver with a 
capital D. for to us they were as much heroes as is the engineer of 
today of a fast train. Many and interesting their exploits, and the 
safety of their valuable cargo was always uppermost with them, and 
they had to make time if possible, in all kinds of weather and all 
conditions of the roads. Time was valuable then as now, and when 
the old Pioneer Line of Stages from Albany to Buffalo, "through in 
six days," had made that time for some years, a new line was es- 
tablished, the Telegraph Line, "through in four days/' and "passing 
the principal points of interest by daylight," just as the Twentieth 
Century Limited now advertises the time frc-m New York to Chicago 
reduced to twenty-four hours. 

The Congregational Church of West Winfleld was organized in the 
north part of the town, in 1797 and the church ediflce built in 1800 
on what has long been known as Meeting House Green. Later it 


was moved to nearer the center of the town, and placed near Hic- 
kox's Tavern, on the turnpike. In 1876 it was again moved, this time 
tQ West Winfield, where it now stands, a little modernized perhaps 
but not really improved, for no arrangement of seats can equal the 
original rectangular pews, especially for the delectation of the small 
boy on the occasion of a donation visit and oyster supper, and many 
would willingly pay the highest price they ever paid for a meal, if 
they could have one of the old fashioned oyster suppers, and have 
the oysters taste as they did then. 

While the Congregational Meeting House was situated near East 
Winfield it was the favorite place for all large meetings. The build- 
ing was about forty-five feet by sixty and had galleries on either 
side, and across the end opposite the pulpit, and a large audience 
could be comfortably seated. That meeting house and the Univer- 
salist Church at Cedarville was somewhat celebrated for having had 
many noted speakers in the interest of the abolition of slavery in 
the land. Such speakers as John R. Caswell, who illustrated his 
addresses with a slave, purchased in the south brought north and 
freed, and used as living and veritable evidences of the truth as he 
saw it, Gerrit Smith, Abby Kelly Foster, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Wen- 
dell Phillips, "Ossawattamie Brov.n" and others thrilled vast audi- 
ences for a small town, with their eloquence. It is not easy at the 
present time to enter into the spirit of those occasions, but they were 
very exciting for all in those days, irrespective of political belief. 

LTnder the direction of Dr. Thomas Hastings of sacred memory in 
music, a fine orchestra was organized, and I can but believe at this 
date that it really was fine. If my 'memory serves me right, there 
were two violins or fiddles as they were called, three flutes, two 
clarionettes, a bass viol and a double bass, and two or three horns. 
It is needless to say that after the usual very long sermon of those 
days the musical part of the service was the most interesting to the 
small boy. I remember thinking and wondering if that music was 
rot like that in the great choruses in the time of David. 

The great bell used to be rung as is now the Angelus Bell, at 
morning, noon and night. It was also rung or tolled at the time of 
the death of anyone in the neighborhood. The community living 
scattered apart, were thus in a short time informed of the probable 
death of any known to be seriously ill. The bell would be rung for 
a short time, to give notice and then tolled, slowly if an aged person 
had died, more quickly if the death was that of a young person, and 
then the age would be struck, stopping at the end of every ten 
strokes, and in this manner could be easily counted. While perfectly 
proper and perhaps natural to use some such method of announcing 
deaths, it seemed to strike one with awe as something almost super- 
natural. After the removal of the church edifice to West Winfield 
it was still used as a public hall for proper entertainments, and is 
to this day. Such as Theodore Tilton, Schuyler Colfax, Benjamin 
K. Bruce, Fred Douglass, Henry Ward Beecher Mary Livermore. 
Adele Rankin, Lillie Devereux Blake and many other distinguished 
speakers have addressed large audiences in the town. In fact, ths 
good citizens of the town, in the early days were intensely interested 
in the current events, and always paid a good speaker the compli- 


ment of a good audience and good attention, and to this day, that 
small town is able to successfully maintain a good course of lectures 
each winter season . 

Up to the forties, the east part of the town seems to have had the 
larger part of the population, but a Mr. "Walker, seeing the ad- 
vantages of a water power, in the west part, built some mills, and for 
a time that part of the t^^wn was known as Walker's Mills. The 
mills brought some business to that locality, and oth'?'r industries 
were installed, and West Winfi^eld became the principal part of the 
town. Col. David R. Carrier, who had been associated with Ben- 
jamin Carver in a store and distillery at East Winfiekl, established 
a store at West Winfield, and other enterprises followed. A plank 
road was built from Utica, another was built south, opening up a 
good territory to be .supplied, an Academy was incorporated, a bank 
organized, and West Winfield prospered. While these g^od things 
were enjoi'ed by West Y/infieid. 3ast Winfield and other equally 
well favored towns, as to natural features, gradually languished 
and died commercially. West Winfield grew and attained its growth, 
as to numbers of population. The water power was not sufficient for 
any great enterpriaes, and there is only a tannery, a very large and good 
one nevertheless, and a small boot and shoe factory. It i.^ an im- 
portant station on the Delaware and I,ackawanna and Western Rail- 
road chiefly because it is central to a large territory. The citizens 
however, keep up their interest in the school, and maintain several 
literary clubs, and live happily. 

After Col. Carrier moved to West Winfield, Mr. Carver continued 
the store for a while at East Winfield but finally .■^old out and moved 
to Mohawk, where for several years and until his removal to Chi- 
cago he was the shrewd and able president of the Mohav/k Valley 
Bank, of which Francis E. Spinner was the cashier. The building 
in v/hich Mr. Carver had his store is now used as a horse barn, but 
the house in which he lived is used as a residence, and looks from 
the outside as it did when Samuel Remington tool: his bride thence. 
The distillery business at that time probably was profitable, as all 
who were engaged in the business seemed to amass wealth. There 
was another distillery in the north part of the town, owned and con- 
ducted by Ebenezer Morgan. Mr. Morgan became a man of means, 
and when the Herkimer County Bank in Little Falls was organized 
took some stock and was made vice president. Mr. Morgan was a 
shre\Td man and knew how to accumulate and save property, but he 
would hardly pass a creditable exa^mination in penmanship at the 
present day. It is related of him that some hilLs or circulating notes 
of the bank were sent to him to sign as vice president, and the 
place where he was to sign marked, and that he signed them top 
side down; it is also said that it made little difference, as no one 
could tell which side of his signature ought to be uppermost. 

In 1869 I entered the employ of the First National Bank of West 
Winfield of which institution Col. David R. Carrier was president. 
Col. Carrier was a most genial gentleman of the old school, and he 
had a fund of anecdotes seldom equalled among men of my acquaint 
ance. It was his usual custom to come into the bank once in each 
half day and he often had some interesting incident of earlier years 


to relate. It now seems to me that ' must have been culpable that 
I did not transcribe them in permanent form. One related to Gen- 
eral Spinner and his signature. 

It seems that while in Washsington-upon a certain occasion dur- 
ing war times, while at breakfast, at Willards Hotel. Gen. Spinner 
observed Col. Carrier, and as he never forgot a citizen of Herkimer 
County whom he had ever met, he spoke with him asking if he could 
do anything for him, and incidentally if he would like to visit the 
different departments. He asked Ccl. Carrier to come around to 
his office, and he gave him a letter to the provost marshall, then 
Col. Porter. Upon presenting the letter, Col. Porter entered into 
conversation with him in the course of which he asked about affairs 
in the section where he came from. Interested in his answer, he 
asked what part that might be; "tho same as the writer of that let- 
ter" answered Col. Carrier, "who wrote that letter and who signed 
it" asked Col. Porter; upon being intormed he ordered an escort at 
once but Col. Carrier thought it singular that an important officer 
of the United States Government, in Washington, should not know 
a signature so well known throughout Herkimer County, and so 
soon well known throughout the world, perhaps no less for its curi- 
ously convoluted characters than for the well known upright char- 
acter of the writer. 

Col. Carrier told me many interesting incidents concerning the 
early customs in the town. He said that the elections were formerly 
held on three days, the first Monday of November or February, and 
the Tuesday and Wednesday following. That it was the custom to 
choose one man to preside at all meetings held in the interests of 
the town, perhaps following the customs of some eastern states, and 
that that man was called the moderator. That on the Monday of 
an election the moderator and town clerk would take the ballot box 
to one part of the town, say the north part, and with the Justice of 
the Peace residing in that part hold an election, the three acting as 
a Board of Inspectors, the next day they would take the ballot box 
to another part, say the east part of the town and hold an election 
there, and the third day, Wednesday, hold an election in the re- 
maining part of the west part, when all the Justices of the Peace in 
the town would meet with the town clerk, and canvass the votes ot 
the three days. 

From this method of holding elections on three days, commencing 
on the first Monday, came the wording of notices when elections 
came to be held and completed in one day, "The Tuesday following 
the first Monday," 

The man who served longest as Moderator, was Esquire Keith or 
Captain Keith as he was called. He was a man of fine presence and 
an excellent presiding officer. Another man who had peculiar quali- 
lication3 which were recognized, was Schuyler Fisher, who was a 
model Clerk, and was Town Clerk for many years, and was Clerk 
of the Church as long as he was able to attend meetings and gen- 
erally was clerk of any meeting at which he might be present, if a 
clerk was needed. He was a man of good attainments, clear headed 
in all but one particular; he believed he could produce perpetual 
motion and he made many machines for that purpose, but without 


success, and the nearest approach to that end was himself, as he was 
a man of very quick motions and he was never still, but was the 
most active man I ever saw. 

Before the turnpike was abandoned, it was well cared for, being 
divided into divisions as railroads are divided into sections, each 
division being in charge of a superintendent, and he generally per- 
formed his duty faithfully and well. Two men and two horses and a 
cart, plough and scraper and necessary tools were kept on the road 
all the time, going over the division, from one end to the other, and 
doing such work as was best for the maintenance of the road and keep 
it in good condition at all times. After the building of the Utica and 
Schenectady Railroad some travel was diverted to the Mohawk Val- 
ley, but not enough to make any appreciable difference in the travel 
over the turnpike. The Railroad was a single track road, and the 
trains were not then run by a dispatcher, but each train was given a 
certain time for starting, and for passing any given point, but 
there was no other provision, except that if two trains were to meet 
at a certain point if one had not arrived, the other was to wait Ave 
minutes and then proceed. A train five minutes behind was to wait, 
but they did not always do this. 

One of the worst accidents occurred at the curve between Herkimer 
and IliDO, caused by a head-on collision. I remember the building 
of the plank road between Ilion and Cedarville. Before that was 
built the roads from the south, led over Elizabethtown Hill or over 
the hills in Litchfield; either way was bad for a large part of the 
year, and a large load could not be drawn up the hills. Cedarville 
was and is about one thousand feet higher than Ilion, and the hills on 
either side of the "gulf" were very steep. It remained for Eliphalet 
Remington to make possiole a reasonable solution of the problem as 
to how to bring the great amount of travel and trade from Cedar- 
ville to Ilion. His idea was to build a plank road between Ilion and 
Cedarville following the stream, and thus having a uniform and 
comparatively easy grade. Through Mr. Remington's energy and 
liberality a company was organized and the road was built. The 
road, built at an expense of two thousand dollars a mile proved to be 
of great benefit to Ilion and the Mohawk Valley, as well as a great 
convenience to those living at Cedarville and at places south; stim- 
ulated in part by the good road, but chiefly by the enterprise of the 
Remingtons who gave employment to many skilled mechanics, Ilion 
took on a new growth, and without doubt has exceeded all expecta- 
tions of the earlier citizens of the village. I remember when a white 
tavern stood on one corner of Main Street, the principal and at that 
time thi only street leading south, and there was a watering trough 
or tub in the center of the meeting of the two streets. I remember 
also when Eliphalet Remington made a personal guaranty, to Dean 
Richmond, then President of the N. Y. Central R. R. that at least 
three passengers should take the cars at that station daily, if one 
train each way would stop at the station. He never had any defi- 
ciency to make up, and the station has proved to be of great conven- 
ience to thousands. 

The southern part of the county was at all times fully alive to 
questions of National Policy, and was well known for the interest of 


the people in the condition of the slave. The attitude was one rather 
of opposition to the extension of slavery than of disturbing existing 
conditions, though I have heard that there were several stations of 
the Underground Railway in the town where runaway slaves wero 
kindly treated and helped on their way to Canada and freedom. In 
those days many public speakers who have since achieved a national 
reputation for eloquence, have addressed large audiences in Winfleld 
and Cedarville. Those days are now so far past, and conditions have 
so changed that it is almost if not quite impossible to fully enter 
into the s,pirit of those meetings. 

The temperance cause also very early had strong support in that 
section,, and the Washingtonians were an important and interesting 
organization, that did much for the cause of temperance. It is very 
doubtful if there has since been any better element in the temperance 
work. Before the "forties" it was customary 'for all to keep stron? 
drink on hand, and it would have been an unheard of breach of eti- 
quette if the minister calling, should be allowed to depart without a 
'hot toddy.' Spiritualism also had its advocates, and hardly had the 
news' come that spirits of the departed were communicating with 
their friends on earth in Rochester, than their presence in Winfield 
was made known by mysterious rappings, which none but the finer 
organisms could interpret satisfactorily. The American party had 
its advocates too, and although never gaining much strength in Win- 
field, still in' the county there was sufficient strength to elect a 
County Judge and a Member of Assembly, on the American or Know 
Nothing ticket. "Put none but Americans on guard' was the telling 
battle cry, more effective then than it could possibly be in these days 
of perhaps a little more enlightenment. We had in our town and at 
Cedarville, temperance speakers, abolitionist speakers, know-nothing 
speaker.'?, lectures upon Chemistry, Physical Culture, Phrenology, 
Homeopathy, Hydropathy and some others. 

I have some recollection of the songs used in the Harrison Cam- 
paign, the songs were so stirring and so in accord with the popular 
sentiment of that part of the county that the songs remained long 
after the candidates in whose honor or otherwise they were com- 
posed and sung had been elected or defeated. "Tippecanoe and Ty- 
ler too" was a taking refrain and was not forgotten even years after 
the hero of Tippecanoe had passed away and Tyler had succeeded to 
the Presidency. 

I have a misty recollection of shouting for Polk and Dallas and of 
hearing that other refrain and incentive to a scrap, "James K. Polk 
of Tennessee, the biggest fool I ever see." I remember somewhat of 
the presidential election when Franklin was elected, and more of the 
campaign when the "Pathfinder" Col. John C. Fremont, the pioneer 
of Republican candidates made such a dashing and gallant struggle 
against James Buchanan. Col. Fremont, famous for his explorations 
in the West and his interesting love affair, and wedding with Jessie 
Benton, created more enthusiasm than I had ever before known in 
politics, and I counted it great good fortune once to see Col. and 
Mrs. P"'romont and his dashing Chief of Staff, Major Zagoni, and in 
my eyes they were all that I had supposed them to be. I was also 
one of the many who gathered in Utica to see Abraham Lincoln on 


his memorable journey to ^Vashington, to enter upon his arduous 
duties as President and will never forget the calm, earnest, good look 
of that brave man. 

In addition to the few names I have mentioned, of persons who have 
been men of influence for good in Winfleld, might be named, Alonzo 
Wood, Walter Palmer, Dr. Loomis Warner, Dr. James M. Rose, 
Green Thomas, Samuel A. Green, Peter Morgan of West Winfield, 
and Dr. Nathan Spencer, Nathan Harwood, Ira Hatfield, Dean and 
Alfred Largess, Giles and H. D. Alexander, William Barnes, Almond 
Crandall, Henry Clark, John Crowell, George Round, Deacon Stephen 
Jones, who in anti-Masonic times told a committee from the church 
that he was an old man and in all probability should never again 
visit his lodge on account of his age, but that he 'should never with- 
draw from the order of Free and Accepted Masons, and that they 
might go along and expel him from the church if they wanted to. 
Jonathan Jones, Jonathan Bartlett, Emery Bartlett, Jared and Harry 
Green, Jacob Leach of East Winfield, Sanders Dodge, Anthony Wil- 
liams, a lineal descendant of Roger Williams of Rhode Island, Emer 
Angell, Bernard Grim, George and Loring Tillson, Charles Brown, 
Joel Merchant of Chepachet, Levi Smith, Abijah Beckwith, Alonzo 
and Almanser D. Fish. The Eastons, Holcambs and Hosfords of 
Cedarville, and so many others that we while young were taught to 
look up to with respect on account of their integrity and sound prin- 
ciples, all these have left an enduring impress upon their descend- 
ants and successors in that good town and many who have found 
their lines in places remote always turn with affection to the town 
of their birth and early love. I am blessed with a good memory or 
fairly so. but I do not remember all, and some have been a long time 
dead, and it is a far call. 

A little in evidence of the fact that the town of Winfield has been 
a good nursery of citizenship, and perhaps somewhat of business, 
may be in an inspection of the names of some who have been native 
to the town or have lived in the town for a time, chiefly in youth, 
when the best impressions are made. Benjamin Carver, for some 
time president of the Mohawk Valley Bank, H. D. Alexander, cash- 
ie«r of the same. Dean Burgess, president of the same, James B. Raf- 
ter, president of the same, and a trusted lawyer of acknowledged 
ability, Alexander W. Haslehurst, cashier, and now president of the 
First National Bank of Herkimer, Clarence McCreery, cashier of the 
same. George A. Hardin, who arri\'ed at the highest distinction as 
ia jurist, and financier, vice president and manager of tht National 
Herkimer County Bank, Ebenezer Morgan, one time vice president of 
the same, George Tuckerman, whom Winfield claimed, president of 
the Ilion Bank, B. Frank Carver, at one time cashier of the Ilion 
Bank, and it is possible that I have even now overlooked some, the 
list is large and respectable. No defalcations nor mis-management, 
but in each case the administration has been admirable, even in very 
adverse circumstances. 

Amona" lawyers where will be found any more worthy of confidence 
and trust? After Judge Hardin, Charles Burrows, Charles J. Pal- 
mer, K. E. Morgan, James Conkling, .James B. Rafter, mentioned 
before, Charles Bell. John D. Beckwith, Charles D. Thomas; have T 


left out any? In business, Charles R. Huntley, now like K. E. Mor- 
gan and our Billy Baker, occupying positions of the greatest respon- 
sibility, in larger cities, like Buffalo and Chicago. 

I would like to pay a fitting tribute to the old West Winfleld 
Academy. My paper is already too long and the Academy like Fair- 
field Academy deserves especial mention. I am of those who believe 
that th3 old academies fulfilled an important mission in the educa- 
tional interests of the state if not even in the economy of the state. 
West Winfield Academy, like Fairfield Academy and Whltestown Sem- 
inary, gave the best instruction in a thorough manner, and their 
graduates who like to honor those most excellent institutions are le- 
gion. While the Union Free Schools are under good management and 
make it possible for all to obtain a fairly good education, the acade • 
miles of a generation ago brought out and encouraged the best ther-; 
was in such as attended. 




Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April 11, 


"Remember the days of old, consider the years of many genera- 
tions; ask thy Father and he will tell thee; thine elders and they 
will show thee." The words of Moses to the Israelites as Ihey were 
about exchanging their desert wanderings for the possession of Pal- 
estine may not be -considered inapplicable to us at this time. We 
have awakened to the fact that we have a history and a history 
worth recording, and now when our position among the Nations re- 
calls the admonition of the Highland freebooters to his unknown 
guest — "This is Coilantogleford, And thou must keep thee with thy 
sword," it certainly is not an inopportune occasion to ascertain and 
record the deeds and preserve the memories of those who "travailed 
in pain with birth of God, And planted a state with prayers: 
"Hunting of witches and warlocks, 
Smiting of the heathen horde, 
One hand on the mason's trowel. 
And one on the soldiers' sword." 

The earliest settlers of Danube were German immigrants or their 
immediate descendants, principally from south or Swabian Germany, 
and the inciting cause of their immigration was the ravages com.- 
mitted in Rhenis Germany by the French armies in the latter years 
of the seventeenth and earlier years of the eighteenth centuries. 

Prior to the Revolution there were a few outlying farms from the 
Burnetsfield settleonent along the Mohawk river, chief among whose 
occupants we note General Nicholas Herkimer. To trace the Herki- 
mer family however is no part of our present purpose. That task 
belongs to abler historians and to a more pretentious page. After 
the war and the consequent abandonment by the Mohawks of this 
Bettlement at Nowadaga the settlers were reinforced by others from 
the Stone Arabia and Canajoharie settlements, followed by still oth- 
ers 'from the Hudson and from New England. The latter repre- 
sented the Anglo-saxon element, while among the former came de- 
scendants of the original settlers from thf> low countries. From 
these three nationalities, the South Germans or Paltines, the Nether- 


landers, and the New England Yankees caime the pioneers of Danube, 
and from such sources as we have been able to examine we have 
gleaned the facts we have here recorded. 

In 1757 according to the report of the French authorities in Canada, 
there were two dwellings below Fall Hill. Warner Dygert, a brcther- 
in-law of General Herkimer, and a leader among the patriots kept 
a hotel at Fall Hill prior to the revolution. He was killed during 
one of the raids in 1780 and h"s son, aged twelve years, named ac- 
cording to family tradition Sylvanus, was taken to Canada where he 
spent the remainder of his life. The McChesney family who were 
related to Warner Dygert settled on the Hess farm on Fall Hill at a 
very early date. There were six brothers and six sisters of this 
family, and their descendants are numerous in this vicinity. The 
progenitor of the Hess 'family and one of the original Burnetsfleld 
patentees. His grandson, Augustus Hess settled on Fall Hill, and 
died there in 1857, aged 83 years. Of his children four remained un- 
married on the home farm during their lives. The homestead re- 
mains in the possession of the descendants of a sister who married 
Sylvanus Seeber, a descendant of the Palatine Seebers. 

The Reed family were also early settlers between Fall Hill and 
the Nowadaga Castle, John Reed their ancestor came from England 
in 1660. He served in the Parliaimentary army during the Civil War 
and came to the colonies upon the restoration of the Stuarts. He 
nstHled first at Providence, R. I. but afterward removed to the vi- 
cinity of Norwalk, Conn. James Reed, great grandson of John Reed, 
came to Ducheas County in 1760 where he was soon followed by three 
brothers from one of whom, Elijah, the Herkimer County Reeds are 
descended. Alonzo, the son of Thomas Reed, died in 1865, just as 
arrangements had been completed for his nomination to the state 
asseimbly, at the time when a nomination insured an election. After 
the death of Mri. Thomas Reed (one of the McChesney family) tho 
farm was purchased by Solomon S. Doxtater. Another family which 
located near Fall Hill, before or just after the revolution and whos'i 
descendants still remain there, was the Fink family. Philip A. Jones, 
a brother-in-law of Thomas Reed was also a member of the eastern 
immigration to Danube. It is also recorded that Henry Richtmyre, 
who resided below Fall Hill, held the pos'tion of coroner in 1814. 
Cornelius C. Van Alstyne is credited with having kept the first hotel 
in the town in 1795. The Van Alstyne is now owned by the heirs of 
John Smith), the dwelling house 'formerly used as a hotel was de- 
molished in 1895. Andrew Nellis is credited with having operated a 
grist :mill at Indian Castle in 1800. A saw and grist mill was man- 
aged there until between 1860 and 1870 by Cornelius Dennis. John 
Holmes who was a physician at Indian Castle for many years, sub- 
sequent to 1818, was the first supervisor of the town after its divi- 
sion in 1827. His son, Anson H. Holmes who began practicing in 
1835, was for many years a prominent citizen and also served as su- 

The Shall family were among the earliest -settlers in the eastern 
part of Danube, occupying the farm now in the possession of the 
heirs of Horace Bellinger. Helmas Shall, the son of the pioneer 
Shall, was the father of a large family. His son, John, after several 


years residence in Oppeiiheim returned to Danube and purchased tho 
farm in the Nowadaga guU' now owned by his son, Caivin, where he 
died in 1873, his wife, Christina FUce surviving- him about ten years. 
His brothers, Jacob and Peter Shall, resided several miles to the 
west at what Ls termed "Shall Hollow." David Shall Kept hotel at 
Newville for some years and afterwards re.sided at Minden. Da.iiel 
Shall conducted a tailor shop at Starkville. where he died in 1894. 
He represented Herkimer County in the Assembly in 1850. Jonas, 
another brother, resided at Mohawk. It is stated some ap- 
pearance of probability that the various surnames. Shall, Schall, 
Shaul, ShuU and Scholl are but varying forms of the same cogno- 
men, originating at a time when orthography was less of an exact 
science than at present. Jacob Shull, who doubtless from the 
Stone Arabia settlements was the father of Josiah Shull of German 
Flatts, the well known agriculturist and of Jacob I. Shull of Danube. 
His wife was a granddaughter of Col. Jacob G. Klock, who com- 
manded a regiment at Oriskany. A sister married Peter P. Smith 
of Danube. Another member of the Shull family, Joseph Shull, who 
died in 1876, resided on the place now owned by John Hoke. John 
Shull resided on the river road where Mrs. Squ re Schuyler now 
live^. His son, T. R. B. Shull, removed some years ago to Monroe 
County. The family is now represented in Danube by Grant and 
William, sons of Jacob I. Shull. The supporters of the theory be- 
fore mentioned, claim thai the Shauls of Stark, Warren. Columbia 
and Springfield, are of the saime blood as the Shalls and Shulls of 

John Smith, who died at the Smith farm opposite East Creeii, 
April 1881, aged 71, was for many years a prominent citizen. He was 
elected justice of the peace by the Whigs in 1848, Supervisor by the 
Americans in 1856, and by the Democrats in 1863-4. In 1879 he was 
active in the John Kelly bolt against the re-election of Gov. Robin- 
son. His father, John M. Smith of Minden was captured by the 
Indians in 1779, when a boy of fourteen and taken to Canada but was 
released by a French Canadian who presumably was not over loya' 
to George third. 

Another family concerning which we have been unable to elicit anv 
information was the Sternburg family. Peter Sternburg was elected 
in 1828 as Justice of the Peace, and Herkimer Sternburg resided >n 
the town in 1860. Another family which has disappeared from tn's 
vicinity is the Staats family. Henry Staats resided until after 1856 
on the north side of the river road near the residence of Jacob E 
Fox. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1844 and 1852. Some 
time subsequent to 1856 he removed to Western New York. Jacob 
E. Fox enjoyed during his life time the distinction of being tn" 
wealthiest citizen of Danube. He was related to several noted fami- 
lies of Central New York. The Foxes of Montgomery County lave 
always been a very prominent family, while on his mother's side he 
was descended from the Eakers. Jacob Eaker came from Schoharie 
to Palatine in 1722-3, his grandson, Jacob married a daughter of 
Major Andrew Fink. One daughter of this union married Peter 
Brooks, who it is said kept a store in the town about 1795, another 
married Jacob W, Fox. The latter married a daughter of Richard 


Van Horn, the founder of Van Hornesville who was also related to 
the Ten Eyck family. Mr. Fox studied for the legal profession but 
never entered upon the practice of law. In 1862 he was the Demo- 
cratic candidate for Member of Assembly. His only daughter mar- 
ried Stewart S. Lansing of Manheim. The Ecker or Acker family 
of Stark is a branch of the Montgomery County Backers. The 
Schuyler family settled in the town prior to the war as at that period 
they resided on the farm now owned by William H. Davy. At that 
time the father seems to have been dead, the family consisting of the 
mother, (said to have been a sister of Gen. Herkimer) and two sons. 
Nicholas and Han Yost, the latter being a ccmmon appellation among 
the German settlers in the valley, the English equivalent being John 
Joseph. The ruse by which the latter was an important factor in 
raising the siege of Fort Schuyler is too much a part of history to 
call for more than a passing reference here. Jeptha R. Simms in 
the "Frontiersmen of New York" mentions a report that Nicholas 
Schuyler afterwards bore arms for the "Provincials" by which term 
we understand the Americans. Nicholas Jr., the son of Nicholas, 
died in 1852 on his farm a mile north of Newville, his widow surviv- 
ing until 1871. His son, Aaron Schuyler succeeding him in the own- 
ership of the farm but afterwards removed to the town of Columbia 
where he died. He transferred the home farm to his brother, Nich- 
olas N. Schuyler who died in 1899. By a singular fatality his wife 
and his sons, Cornelius F. and Squire all died within the year. The 
farm is now owned by Mrs. C. F. Schuyler, George N. Schuyler, a 
son of Nicholas Schuyler, Sr., resided on the bank of the canal 
where his son-in-law, Oscar Fox now resides. James H. Schuyler, 
a nephew of Nicholas N., served during the Civil War from one of 
the western states' Daniel Schuyler resided at Mindenville, Peter 
N. Schuyler at Fall Hill and Phillip Schuyler on the creek road be- 
tween Newville and Indian Castle. 

Christian Bellinger was born in 1764 and came to Danube in 1792. 
He was a son of Frederick Bellinger and with his younger brother, 
Andrew, was captured by the Indians and taken to Canada at the de- 
struction of Currytown in 1781. On his return he married Barbara, 
daughter of Jacob Diefendorf, a leading resident of that locality. He 
died in 1838. His son, Philip C. Bellinger, lived on the farm until 
hiis death in February, 1872, and it is now in the possession of his 
only surviving son, Washington. Philip C. Bellinger was a promi- 
nent figure in town for many years and he left an enviable reputa- 
tion as a man of strict business integrity. His wife was a member 
of the Zimmerman faily and their descendants in Danube and Min- 
den are quite numerous. Jacob, a brother of Philip, died in the 
town of Little Falls in 1859 where his descendants still reside. Of 
the daughters of Christian Bellinger, one married Conrad Snell of 
Danube, one Abraham Snell of Minden. and one Conrad Mowers of 

John Davy Sr. settled on the farm, now the property of his grand- 
son, Albert Davy. He and his three sons, John Jr., William and 
Peter were prominent in the organization of the Lutheran Church at 
Minden and in the anti-slavery movement. A great grandson, David 
A. Davy Is pastor of the First Lutheran Church of West Sandlake, 


Renssalaer County. John Rice resided on a farm between the Davy 
homestead and Indian Castle now owned by Alonzo Sanders. Here 
his son George lived until his death in 1869. The three daughters 
of John Rice married respectively John Shall, Jacob Shall and Moses 
Walrath, all residents of Danube. Jacob Rice, son of George, re- 
moved to Palatine Bridge in 1877. Jacob Walrath who at one time 
owned the farm now belonging to the son of Reuben Klock was a 
son of Peter Walrath of Minden. Two sons of Jacob, Henry I. who 
died in 1856, and Moses who died about ten years later removed in 
1835 and 1838 to Indian Castle where their sons, Marvin and Jacob 
still remain. Hon. Alphonzo Walrath of Fort Plain is another 
grandson of Jacob Walrath. 

John M. Stafford was at the opening of the revolution a ship car- 
penter in the employ of the British government. While engaged in 
procuring ship timber in the Adirondack's a disagreement with his 
superior induced him to come inside the American lines. In 1802 he 
settled in Danube, his son, Stephen following him in the occupation 
of the farm, part of which is still owned by the family. John M. 
Gardinier, an offshoot of the revolutionary famly of that name came 
from the neighborhood of Canajoharie and settled in 1808 on the farm 
now owned by his grandson, Alvarado Gardinier. John Gardinier, 
son of John M. Gardinier died in 1882 in his 82nd year, the last sur- 
viving male member of the Baptist Church of Newville. 

The Green family fill a large page in the history, not only of the 
town, but of Herkimer County. The writer is gratified to be able to 
present a sketch of this family by one of its members. He gladly 
incorporates, verbatim an article written by Willis L. Green of In- 
dian Castle, only regretting that Mr. Green had not expanded it to 
greater length, and hoping that he may in the future work the rich 
historical mine "In the Valley" for the benefit of those who are in- 
terested in the struggles and triumphs of the fathers who in years 
past have borne the "White man's burden." 

In the spring or early summer of 1795 Ambrose Green and his wife, 
Gula Elma Lester, came to Danube from Schodack, Rensselaer Coun- 
ty and bought a farm one mile south of the Indian Castle Church 
and now owned by Moses Weldon. His family consisted of three 
sons and four daughters. 

John L. Green married Ruth Barker; Ruth married George Mc- 
Mullen; Amy married Zacheus Swift; Rachel married Daniel Car- 
penter; Elizabeth married Henry Nellis; Felix married Helen Herk- 
imer; William married Hannah Cronkhite and lived at home, and at 
his father's death in 1837 kept the farm, and was succeeded by his 
son, William who lived there until some time about 1890. 

John Lester Green, oldest son of Ambrose was married and had 
two small children when he came from Rensselaer County. He bought 
the farm adjoining his father's on the west and his family increased 
until there were eight sons and two daughters. He and his wife spent 
sixty .years of married life together and fifty-five on the same farm. 

When the wife died in 1850 all of her ten children were at the fu- 
neral and all but two lived within three miles of the old home. 

Ambrose Green, the oldest son of John worked at blacksmithing 
near home for a short time. In 1820 Ambrose married his second 


wife, Martha Fiazier and moved onto a farm in German Flatts. three 
miles south of Mohawk. 

Gilbert Green married Ann Pomeroy and bought a farm south of his 
IJather's in the town of Danube. About the year 1870 he moved to 
Mohawk where he died in 1882. 

Peter, Felix and Lyman own farms around the Indian Castle church. 

Peter's house stood back from the main road, where Romaln Dox- 
stater now lives on the farm owned by Warren Fox. 

He was appointed postmaster in 1848 and the post-ofRce is still kepi 
by his granddaughter, Mrs. Abbie Smith, and she says she has not 
always voted on the winning side. 

Felix s farm was farther east and his son, Lester is still on the 

Willis Green's Indian Castle farm is the farm bought by Lyman 
Greene, his father. The house and greenhouses occupy the site of 
the old .stockade or Indian Castle. 

A slight depression a few rods north of the house marks the spot 
where Brant's house stood. Some of the smoke stained boards from 
the old house are to be seen Mn the roof of the corn house. 

In colonial days this farm must have presented different phases o' 
social life from the present. 

Lester and Zenas Greene, the youngest sons married Emily and Ann 
H*^rkimer, grandnieces of the brave old general. 

They run the lock grocery store fore several years but sold out in 

In 1859 Lester was sent to the legislature and after that made his 
home in Little Falls where he died in 1863. 

Zenas Green moved to Herkimer from Danube and was elected 
County Clerk, which office he held six years. Died in Herkimer in 

Henry was made a cripple by an accident, while still a young man. 

He lived on the home farm until 1852 when he removed with his fam- 
ily to Henry, 111. Sophia married Rev. John DuBois. Mary never 
married but after the death of her lather lived with her sister, Mrs. 

In 1850 John L. Green had thirty-seven grand children and most 
of them were living in the town of Danube. But now they are scat- 
tered from the Green Mountains to the Golden Gate. Lester and 
Willis, the only ones now living in Danube. 

Soon after the Green family came to Danube it became a grave 
question how they were going to satisfy their "home made" appetites 
until harvest time. Their Mohawk Dutch neighbors had wheat, but 
they were suspicious of the "Tarn Yankies" (a pet namie they gave to 
any one from the east) and most of them would not run the risk of 
toeing the victims of some game. 

But a Mr. Frey sold them two bushels. John and Felix carried it 
to the nearest mill at St. Johnsville, about ten miles there and back. 

When the wheat harvest was ready they paid for the wheat, one 
with a cradle, the other raking and binding, which was as much a 
surprise to them as the reaper was to their sons fifty years later, for 
they had never seen a cradle before which did the work of ten men 



with a sickle. "To Mr. Greene's actnunt I will add that Alonxo H. 
■GIreen, son of Lester H. Green was in 1886 elected the first police 
:tustlce of Little Falls and that his brother. Horace L. Green was for 
many years the able editor of the Mohawk Valley Register at Fort 
Plain. Felix Green, son of Ambrose Green, lived between Indian 
Castle and Stafford farm. Jacob E. Fox purchased the farm in 1S77 
of Felix's son, Herkimer. The latter passed the most of his remain- 
ing' years in the town of Warren. George Green, M. D., a sfin of 
Felix, practiced in St. Johnsville; two other sons, Augustus and James 
went to western New Ylork and a daughter, Lydia married George U. 
Schuyler of Danube. 

The first settlers at Newville v>ere Isaiah and Nathan Wilcox who 
came from Rhode Island in 1791. The Wilcox family were of Welsh 
and English descent, some of their ancestors having emigrated from 
Wales as earlj' as 1661. The brothers came from Rhode Island with 
ox teams and spent the summer here, returning in the autumn for 
their families. These brothers and their relatives fill so large a space 
in the annals of Danube that the room that I can devote to them 
seems miserably inadequate. Nathan Wilcox died at Newville, Au- 
gust 25, 1843, aged 76 years. His wife, Nancy, daughter of Hezeklah 
Lewis survived until June 17, 1843, aged 74 years, her mother, Mrs. 
Anna Lewis having died the preceeding June, aged 96 years. The 
following were the children of Nathan and Nancy Wilcox: Nancy, 
wife of Thomas, son of John M. Stafford, died 1833; Sally, wife of 
Ezra Holmes removed to Fulton, Oswego County, died 1881; Nathan 
born 1795, he was a Free Will Baptist clergyman and died if we are 
rightly informed in Texas in 1878; Betsey B. married Stafford Daw- 
ley, died at Clinton in 1871; Polly married Elijah Champion of Stark- 
ville, died in Cortland County; Mercy married Jonas Winegar, died 
at Sharpie, Wisconsin. A son. Lieutenant William Winegar, of a 
in 1884; Hezekiah died at Waukegan, 111., 1889; Amanda married 
Amos Reed, a brother of Thomas Reed, died in Hancock County, Iowa 
in 1880; Isaiah removed to West Eaton, New York in 1853, died there 
in 1884; Hezekiah died at Maukegan, 111., 1889; Amanda married 
Ralph Simms, died at Newville, October 1887. Concerning Isaiah 
Wilcox first and family we have less definite data. His son, Asa Wilcox 
resided for many years at the cross roads north of Newville, now the 
property of Mrs. Moses Champion where he conducted a country 
store. He represented the second district of Herkimer County in the 
assembly in 1849. The following year he disposed of his farm to 
Sanford Lepper of Oppenheim and removed to Little Palls where he 
died in 1863, another son, William Pendleton Wilcox, was at one time 
Speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate, a grand son, Isaiah B. Brown is 
at the present time secretary of Internal affairs of that common- 
wealth. Ralph Simms who married Amanda, the youngest daughter 
of Nathan and Nancy Wilcox was born in Centerbury, Connecticut, 
September 9, 1802, died at Newville August 13, 1877. His greatgrand- 
father came from England early in the eighteenth century, his grand- 
father served under General (then Captain) Israel Putnam in the 
seven years war. His father's name was Benjamin Simms, a twin 
brother, Joseph being the father of .Jeptha R. Simms, the pioneer his- 


torian of the Mohawk Valley. Ralph Simms came to Herkimer 
County in 1827. After teaching- school several terms he began farm- 
ing, living where W. P. Jones now lives. After several years he re- 
moved to Newville where he kept a general store until 1859, also part 
of the same time manufacturing potash from wood ashes. During 
this period Ralph Simms was the most influential man in Danube. 
In 1835 he was elected supervisor and in 1837 Justice of the Peace. 
When the anti-slavery took political form he was recognized as the 
leader, first of the Liberty then of the Free Soil and finally of the Re- 
publican party of Danube. He also steadfastly upheld by precept and 
example the temperance cause. His later religious views inclined to 
the liberal school. The great majority of the New England settlers 
were of the Free Will Baptist per.suasion a.nd a society of that de- 
nomination flourished at Newville for some time, the last services in 
the church being held in 1S61. Mr. Simms gave in his adhesion to 
the Universalist faith but never allowed his own views to become an 
excuse for religious or rather irreligious intolerance for the faith of 
others. His son, Edward Simms was County Clerk during 1874-9, his 
younger son, Charles R. Simms owns the farm located by his grand- 
father, Nathan Wilcox on his arrival in the Nov.^adaga Valley, and to 
Edward R. Simms, son of Charles R. Simms, I am indebted for data 
without which this sketch would be still 'more imperfect than it is. 

Hezekiah Lewis, a brother of Mrs. Nathan Wilcox was of Welsh 
extraction, his ancestor, John Lewis arriving in Rhode Island in 1661. 
His father was also named Hezekiah Lewis, his mother's name bein.g 
Ann Main. He married Mercy Wilcox, a. sister of Nathan and Isaiah 
Wilcox who survived until July 1879, having entered her ninetieth 
iyear.. We have no record of the date of the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis in Danube. Mercy Lewis, the eldest child of this familj', mar- 
ried William G. Mixter who died in 1890 in his eighty-second year. 
Mrs. Mixter died in 1901 at the age of eighty-eight. She was the last 
surviving., member of the Baptist Society of Newville. Of the other 
children, Enoch Lewis went west and his subsequent fate is unknown. 
Nathan W. Lewis removed to the vicinity o'f Buffalo, Betsey C. mar- 
ried Bernard Roorback and died in Illinois in 1856. A son of Bernard 
Roorback, Emmet Roorback, is the proprietor of the Ma+her Creek 
cheese factory between St. Johnsville and Fort Plain. The New Eng- 
land immigration to Danube extended over nearly half a century, the 
last to arrive being Jared Lewis and his son, Francis and family, and 
Mr. and Mrs. Chester Andrews, Charles Lewis, a son of Jared hav- 
ing preceeded them. Jared Lewis died in Stark in 1858 in his ninety- 
first year, while Samantha ,wife of Chester Andrews, the last of the 
original New England settlers died in 1891, aged seventy-five. Sam- 
uel Houpt came from Bucks County, Pennsylvania about 1797. Hav- 
ing engaged in mercantile business he had suffered from French de- 
predations on our commerce, and came to the wilderness of Central 
New York to recoup his fortunes. He first located in the western 
part o'f Minden but finally came to Newville. Here he made large 
investments, established saw and grist mills, a tannery, a distillery, 
an iron foundry and a lime kiln. He erected a dwelling house which 
for those days was considered a protentious mansion, it is now the 


property of T. and R. D. Jones. The ftone grist mill built in 1834 
is still used for that purpose although with modern machinery. Mr. 
Houpt politically favored the Whig party, although he paid more at- 
tention to business than to politics, theologically he affiliated with 
the old school Lutherans, his wife becoming a member of the New- 
ville Lutheran congregation. Mr. Houpt died in 1850, Mrs. Houpt 
having died two years previously. The homestead was bought by 
Benjamin Jones In 1852, and has since remained in the Jones family. 
Henry Houpt, son of Samuel Houpt, married Agnes Sloughter, daugh- 
ter of Cornelius Sloughter of Stark, who had a seat in the Assembly 
of 1829 as a colleague of Abijah Mann Jr. He gave most of his at- 
tention to agriculture, although for a time engaged in mercantile bus- 
iness at Newville. He was supervisor of Danube in 1860-1, and died 
very suddenly in April, 1870. His children all passed their lives in 
Danube, Louis H. dying in 1877, Elizabeth wife of Dr. Tibbitts in 
190/1, and Chauncey in 1903, Lewis, son of Samuel Houpt married 
Carolin, daughter of Thomas R. Benedict of Ephratah, and died in 
1853. His family left Newville in 1867. Of the three daughters of 
Samuel Houpt, Nancy married John Dyslin, a descendant of Rev. 
John Henry Dyslin, a native of Switzerland who officiated as a clergy- 
man of the Reformed Church in MontgO'mery County during the lat- 
ter years of the eighteenth and opening years of the nineteenth cen- 
turies. Mr. Dyslin became a follower of William Lloyd Garrison in 
his extreme political views and abstained from exercising the right 
of suffrage for years, until the presidential election of 1864 when he 
cast his ballot for Abraham Lincoln. The following year Mr. and 
Mrs. Dyslin removed to Illinois. The other daughters both married 
physicians; Catharine married Dr. Morris of Utica and Eliza, Dr. 
Ohitrch of Springfield, Mass. 

The Jones ifamily were of Welsh ancestry and came to Danube from 
Nova Scotia. Richard Jones settled on a farm in the "Hollow" 
southeast of Newville. His son, Benjamin inherits the farm remov- 
ing to Newville in 1852, and died there in 1863. His first wife was a 
member of the McChesney family referred to earlier in this paper, 
his second wife who survived him until 1890 was a very estimable 
lady from Montgomery County. For some years in the fifties Mr. 
Jones and his sons conducted an extensive business at Newville, dairy- 
ing, hopgrowing, a saw-mill and a grist-mill, all being managed by 
them. Philip Jones removed to Little Falls in 1865 and died there in 
1883. He married Joanna Reed, sister of Thoanas and Amos Reed be- 
fore mentioned. His son, Stuart P. and his grandsons, Charles H. 
and Welford P. still retain the farm. Mrs. Randolph Landt of Lit- 
tle Falls was a daughter of Philip Jones. Marvin A. Jones of Indian 
Castle is a member of another branch of this family. 

Hon. Daniel Bellinger came from German Flatts in 1809. His fa- 
ther, John Bellinger was one of those heroes who threw themselves 
into the breach and changed the course of history on that fateful Au- 
gust day in 1777 in the marshes of Oriskany. Mrs. Daniel Bellinger 
who died in 1873 was a daughter of George Lotridge and Maria See- 
ber of X/ittle Falls, the latter being a member of the Palatine family 
of that name which made for itself so excellent a record during the 



Revolution. Mr. Bellinger was a man of the old school. In politics 
he was a Jacksonian Democrat, in religion he embraced the doctrines 
of Universalism. A free Mason from his youth he adhered to the fra- 
ternity through the anti-masonic excitement. In all his views he was 
uncompromising-. The honor of being the pioneer cheese maker of 
Danube is claimed for him. In 1840 he represented the second dis- 
trict of Herkimer County in the Assembly; he was supervisor of Dan- 
ube in 1832 and 1852, and in 1858 he led the forlorn hope as Democra- 
tic candidate for County Clerk. He died in the spring of 1877. His 
son, George R. Bellinger (1824-1892) was for some years the aggres- 
sive leader of the Daiiube democracy. Daniel B. Bellinger, son of 
John P. Bellinger (1819-1883) now occupies the Bellinger homestead, 
John Doxtater owned the farm now the property of the Henry A. Cra- 
mer estate north of the Newville cheese factory. It was sold to Mr. 
Cramer by John Doxtater's son, Abram in 1867, and Abram Doxstater 
and family removed to Hannibal, Oswego County in 1870. The de- 
scendants of a brother of Abram Doxstater reside in the Indian Cas- 
tle neighborhood. 

John B. Dillenback settled in Danube in 1792, undoubtedly coming 
from the settlements to the east. His son, John Dillenback (1796- 
1865) was one of the most respected citizens of the town. He was 
twice 'married, both wives being of the Walrath family. His son, Lu- 
ther Dillenback was elected supervisor of Danube by the democrats 
in 1871. He died while on a weistern trip in 1885. The Dillenback 
homestead is now the property of Mrs. Alonzo C. Dingman, the daugh- 
ter of Luther Dillenback. 

Eliphalet Covell came from Connecticut by the way of Schoharie 
Counity, arriving in Danube in 1805, locating in what is termed the 
'^Paradise" neighborhood. His son, Enos was at one time a Free 
Will Baptist clergyman but afterward united with the Lutheran de- 
nomination. He removed to Salisbury with his son, Enos, Jr., where 
he died. His son, Eliphalet left Danube for Jefferson County in 1853. 
going from (there in 1870 to Tompkins County where he died in De- 
cember, 1877. Daniel Covell, son of Eliphalet, Sr., was born in Con- 
necticut in 1874, died in Danube in 1862. At his funeral there were 
present one son, three grandsons, and two nephews of his wife who 
were members of the 121st and 152nd regi'ments, N. Y. S. V. then in 
the progress of equipment for the Civil War. Of these his son, Ben- 
jamin Covell and Swift Roorback of Dolgeville never returned. Elijah 
Covell, son of Daniel, died at Little Falls in 1901, aged 74. John F. 
Van Allen who married a daughter of Daniel Covell came from Ful- 
ton County and settled near his father-in-law. He was an active 
democrat. Daniel T. Overacre, another son-in-law of Mr. Covell 
and the last of a family at one time prominent in the town survived 
his father-in-law but a few weeks. He was town clerk at the time 
of his death. 

David Champion, for many years a respected citizen, was born in 
Connecticut in 1793 and came to Starkville with his father, a pioneer 
settler of Stark in 1800, and re-moved to Danube in 1836, dying there 
February, 1873. He was a consistent member of the Free Will Bap- 
tist denomination, an unswerving abolitionist, and advocate of total 


Teunis Roorback was born in 1768, died 1839. Of him we have no 
further record. John Roorback was the second husband of one of 
Gen. Herkimer's sisters, but we know nothing more of him. Peter 
Roorback, son of Teunis, I'esided in Newville until his death in 1863. 
The last survivor of the family was Cornelia, widow of Daniel Covell 
who died in 1881; her sister, Catharine, wife of John Spoor, having 
died the preceding year. Philip Baum, Sr., resided on the farm ad- 
joining the Schuyler farm, now owned by his grandson, Hamilton 
Baum, whose father, Philip Baum, Jr. died there in 1889. 

The Walter family came originally from Wurtenburg, Germany. 
There is a family tradition that three brothers came from Germany, 
one of whom remained in New York State, one went to South Caro- 
lina (where there is a locality known as Walterboro) and one to 
Pennsylvania. John Walter who served in the Revolution, came to 
what is now Danube in 1795, and settled one mile south of Newville 
in ,1797, where he died in 1819, aged 59 years. His wife was Anna 
Bettinger (1766-1830) daughter of Martin Bettinger and his wife, Mag- 
dalena Keller, a member of the same family as the Kellers of Manheim 
and Fairfield. Martin Bettinger who was also a native of Wurten- 
burg, resided in Minden. While absent from ho'me serving in the mi- 
litia in 1780, his family was captured by the Indians but were released 
by Joseph Brant with the exception of one daughter who was taken 
to Canada and remained there. The descendants of Martin Bettinger 
are quite numerous in Herkimer, Montgomery, Jefferson and Onondaga 
Counties. Of the sons of John Walter, John died at Clay, Onondaga 
County in July, 1859, Martin at Theresa, Jefferson County in March, 
1874, Jacob who resided on the home farm, April, 1881, George in War- 
ren in 1845, and William near Newville, November, 1895. Of the 
daughter»s, Catharine, widow of Jacob I . Shaul, died in Columbia in 
1880; Magdalena, widow of Stephen Maxfield in Stark in March, 1888 
and Christina, widow of Peter Ostrander in Springfield in April, 1874. 
One daughter, Ann Eliza, widow of Alexander Ford of Orleans, Jef- 
ferson County, and the last surviving granddaughter of Martin Bet- 
tinger resides at Little Falls. Jacob Walter married Catharine, a 
daughter of Lodawick Springer, who came to Stark from Renssalaer 
County in 1801 and died June, 1857, aged 83 years. Jacob Walter cast 
the first anti-slavery vote in the town of Danube, and was a member 
of the convention which organized the F. E. L. synod in 1837. He 
was supervisor of Danube in 1862, and in that capacity aided in rais- 
ing the 121st, and 152nd, regiments. His brother, William Walter was 
a charter member of the Lutheran congregation of Newville, organized 
in 1834. 

David Frederick Bakeman who died at Freedom, Cattaraugus Coun- 
ty, April 5th, 1869, aged 109 years, being the last surviving soldier of 
the Revolution, at one time resided in Danube. Three of his grand- 
children survive: Andrew Monk (himself a veteran of the Civil War) 
and Mary, widow of William Walter of Newville and Margaret, wife 
of Amos Fralick of German Flatts. 

John Harder Sr., and Robert Spoor came from the Hudson Riv^r 
country in 1802. They were brother-in-laws, Mrs. Spoor being a sis- 
ter of Mr. Harder. They bought a tract of land in common and lived 


on it together until 1805. Robert Spoor was born in 1767, died in 
1849. His son, S. G. Spoor now owns nearly all of the original Spoor 
and Harder Purchase. The Spoor family is of Fresian origin, the or- 
iginal immigrant having been Jan Wybesee Von Harlingen who came 
to the New Netherlands prior to 1662. He first settled in the Cat- 
skills and afterwards in Niskayuna. One of his daughters was a vic- 
tim of the Schenectady massacre in 1690. Isaac, the father of Rob- 
ert was born April 15, 1741, married Christina Van Deaser March, 1763, 
died April, 19, 1789. Isaac Spoor, eldest son of Robert, died in Dan- 
ube, unmarried in 1870. John who was a charter member of the Lu- 
theran church at Newville and a delegate to the first session of the 
F. E. L. synod in 1837 died at Newville in 1885. Gilbert died near 
that place February, 1897. Mrs. Christina Hitchcock, the oldest 
daughter, died in Michigan in 1789. Magdalena, the second daughter 
at Newville in 1893, aged 91, Elizabeth, the next in order, near the 
same place in 1890. The other daughters were Mrs. John Sharpe of 
St. Lawrence County, Mrs. John Mesick of Wayne County and Mrs. 
Peter Dingman and Mrs. Dionysios Miller of Freysbush. 

John Harder, Sr., or Captain John Harder, born in 1780, as he was 
known disposed of his farm after the death of his wife in 1842 and 
resided with his son-in-law, David Johnson until his deaih, which took 
place in 1867. He was a lifelong democrat and was supervisor of 
Danube in 1830. John Harder, Jr., his son removed from the farm 
now owned by Calvin Harder to Monroe County in 1853 and later to 
Illinois where he died in 1877. Jacob Harder who resided at New- 
ville, died some time in the thirties. His son, Anson Harder is a 
prominent and influential citizen of Redwood, Jefferson County. 

David Johnson settled on the farm now owned by Sanford Johnson 
in 1800. He died in 1826, aged 67. His son, Silas Johnson, removed 
to Clay, Onondaga County where he spent his life. His son, David 
Johnson, born 1813, father of Ex-Supervisor Sanford Johnson, was for 
many years the most noted figure in Danube. He was Supervisor in 
1850-1. He died very suddenly in the early part of 1883. Messrs. 
Spoor and Harder purchased this farm of Andrew Smith and John 
Shaver, Jr. The farm where G. W. Spoor now resides was after- 
wards purchased by Robert Spoor from a family named Dygert who 
removed to New York Mills. The last of this family, an aged lady 
named Jane Dygert, died in the State Hospital at Utica, in 1892. 

Other early settlers over the hill south of Newville were Young and 
Siver. The Spoors, Harders and Johnsons were all of the "Low 
Dutch" or Netherland origin. William Ostrander, another of the same 
nationality came from Columbia County in 1797 and settled on the 
farm now owned by S. Ostrander of Mohawk. Here he established a 
hotel and for some years after the separation of Danube from Minden 
it was a town center, elections and militia musters being held there. 
The Low Dutch settlers were high church calvanists and in 1816 Rev. 
Jethro C. Tull, organized a society of the "True Dutch Reformed" de- 
nomination among them. This society never erected a house of wor- 
ship, its last services being held in the school house in 1850 by Rev. 
Demorest of New Jersey. William Ostrander died about the middle of 
the century and his son, John possessed the homestead until his death 


in November, 1866. Jeremiah Ostrander, an active democratic politi- 
cian died at the homestead in February 1886. Henry Ostrander set- 
tled on an adjoining farm where he died in 1854. Two other bro- 
thers, William and Jacob, removed to Jefferson County. Thomas J. 
Mesick, a relative of Mrs. William Ostrander, came from Columbia 
County in 1818 and located on a farm adjoining that of Mr. Ostrander 
where he resided until his death in 1868 at the age of 82. and where 
his son, Henry now resides. Before coming to Herkimer County he 
had served in the state militia, and during the war of 1812 he was for 
a time stationed at New York City. He was elected Justice of the 
Peace in lS30i and Supervisor in 1837. He was throughout his life a 
staunch democrat and a firm adherent to the Calvinistic faith. Peter 
Abram Smith who was related by marriage to Thomas I. Mesick was 
born in Columbia County in 1760 and came to Herkimer County in 
1790. His son, Peter P. Smith, who succeeded him in the ownership 
of the farm, died about 1890. He acted with the Whig party until its 
disruption in 1854-5 when he affiliated with the democrats. He was 
Supervisor of Danube in 1846. John Englehardt Wagner, son of 
George Wagner of Weisbach, Baden came to America about the mid- 
dle of the eighteenth century and located in the Canajoharie district. 
His son, Jacob served during the Revolution, a part of the time under 
Colonel Willett. He was one of the survivors of Oriskany, and was 
also one of the American soldiers in pursuit of the Tories and Indians, 
when after the battle of Johnstown, Walter N. Butler was killed. In 
1784 he married Salome Bronner of the Stark family of that name, 
and settled in what is now Danube where he died in 1833, aged 71 
years. His second son, Abram, was born in 1798 and died 1880, the 
third Felix was born in 1802 and died in 1885. Both of these were 
prominent Free Soil and Republican politicians, and active members 
of the Lutheran Church of Minden. Abram's wife (died in 1877) was 
Catharine Walrath, and Felix married Leah, daughter of George Pick- 
ard of Minden, and granddaughter of Martin Bettinger. She died in 
1875. John, the youngest son died in Schoharie County. Henry 
Moyer, David Moyer and Albert Walrath also came from Minden in 
the early part of the century but of them we have little data. Cor- 
nelius Delong was another prominent citizen concerning whom I have 
been unable to obtain satisfactory data. He resided on the farm in 
the Ostrander neighborhood now owned by the heirs of C. E. DeLong. 
He died in 1853. Among his children were Charles of Jacksonburg; 
Cornelius, Jr., of Oswego County; Abram of Onondaga County and 
Polly, wife of Martin Walter of Jefferson County. The latter was the 
last survivor of a large family, dying 1896, having entered his ninety- 
seventh year. Mr. DeLong was known as Squire DeLong but must 
have earned his title prior to the separation of Danube and Stark in 
1827. Cornelius C. DeLong owned the homestead until his death in 
1873, when it passed to his son, Chauncey E. who died in October, 

Andrew Dingman came from the vicinity of Claverack early in the 
century and settled in Danube near the Minden line. Some time 
febout 1835-8 he removed with his son, John to the town of Minden. 
Deputy County Clerk, Alonzo C. Dingman, is a grandson of John 


Dingman who died in 1853. Peter Dingman who married a daughter 
of Robert Spoor removed to Freysbush and died there in 1860. Rev. 
Chester Dingman, a son of Peter Dingman, was recently a resident of 
Little Falls. He is a clergyman of the M. E. Church. Edward Ding- 
man, a grandson of John Dingman, is a Lutheran clergyman at West 
Hoboken, N. J. Of the daughters of Andrew Dingman, Elizabeth mar- 
ried John Harder, Jr., and died in Danube in 1846; Annan died in 
Danube, unmarried in 1866 and Catharine married John Walter, Jr., 
and died in Clay, Onondaga County. Eliza Jenkins the descendant of 
another daughter, died in Danube in 1893. The Dingmans were of 
NeAherland origin. 

Peter Monk, Sr., married a daughter of Jacob Wagner and died in 
1874. The family is now represented in Danube by George H. Monk, 
Jr. John J. Countryman, another resident of this vicinity was noted 
for his extreme religious views. Together with his brother, Isaac of 
Stark, he withdrew from the Lutheran denomination, holding that 
church organizations were not only unnecessary but sinful. He was 
the father of eight sons, four of whom married sisters, daughters of 
Felix Wagner. The majority of his sons removed to Illinois. He died 
in 1866. 

The Cramers were also originally from the Low countries; John 
Cramer was born in Minden in 1760; his son, Abram in the same town 
in 1797 and died in Danube in 1862, his widow surviving him about 
twenty-five years. Of his three sons, Henry born 1822, died at New • 
ville in 1893; Abraham A. born in 1829, died on the home farm, be- 
tween Nev/ville and Indian Castle in 1884; Peter, the youngest son, re- 
moved to Minden and was accidentally killed there while harvesting 
in 1873. Of the daughters of Abraham Cramer, Mary Ann, the eld- 
est, married Philp Baum, Jr., of Danube, and died in Schoharie Coun- 
ty in 1896; Celinda married John Fake of Danube, (died 1866) and is 
still living as is Mrs. Jerome Uhle of Little Falls John Cramer set- 
tled in the south part of the town where he died in 1853, his widow, a 
daughter of Jacob S. Moyer of Stark, surviving until 1871. Of his 
three sons, Jere'miah died in 1857, Adolphus in 1881 and James M. in 
1893. Of his surviving daughters, Mrs. Lodema Cramer resides at 
Fort Plain, Mrs. George O. Pitcher at St. Johnsville, Mrs. Hamilton 
Mickle at Nelliston and Mrs. Reuben Mickle at Starkville. Of the 
sisters of the elder John Cramer, one married James Welden and one 
Abraham Roof of Cramers Corners, Stark. David and Reuben Klock 
were members of the Klock family of St. Johnsville. Nehemiah 
Klock, another member of this family was killed by the kick of .a 
horse in 1850, at his residence near Indian Castle. 

Solo'mon Sanders was born in Minden and settled in Danube about 
1800, and died in 1866. His son, Henry S. Sanders was born in 1814 
and died in 1898. He married a daughter of John Dingman. John 
Sanders, a son of Solomon, removed to Minden where his descendants 
now reside. It is said that nine of the Sne'.ls of Snells Bush entered 
into the fateful fight at Oriskany of whom but two returned. One of 
these was Peter whose descendants still own the Sne'.l homestead in 
Manheim. His wife was a member of the Kilts family. His son, 
Conrad, born in 1777, removed to Danube where he died in 1864. Of 


his children, Isaac resides on the farm, Jacob removed to Minden 
where he died in 1896. Peter B. removed to Palatine, and Lewis be- 
came a Universalist clergyman. In 1866 the buildings on the Snell 
farm were entirely destroyed by fire. Two members of another branch 
of the Snell family resided near Newville, John and David, sons of 
Joseph Snell of Stark. John, who resided on the farm now owned by 
Supervisor W. S. Barrigan who married Mr. Snell's granddaughter, 
died in 1879, his wife was a sister of Henry Link of Little Falls. Da- 
vid, v.ho came to Danube in 1855 died in 1858. He was for many 
years an official and an active member of the Lutheran Church of 
Newville. Henry Miller, the son of Henry Miller and his wife, Eliza- 
beth Zoller of Minden, lived on the river road east of the Indian Cas- 
tle Church. His wife was a daughter of John Davy, Sr. He was an 
active politician and was the first Republican Supervisor of Danube 
in 1857-9. He was Captain of the "Wide Awake" marching club in 
1860 and the first internal revenue assessor for Danube and Stark un- 
der the act of 1862. He died April, 1868. A cousin, Abram Miller 
lived about a mile west of Newville where he died in 1884. He was a 
native of Stark, and his wife was a member of the Link family. 

Jeremiah F. Landt was born in Holland in 1755, and when a child 
of five years came with his parents to Columbia County. In 1793 he 
with his wife (born Elizabeth Dederick) came to Danube and settled 
on the farm now owned by Milo Fake where he died in 1823. His 
wife, who was Nellie G., daughter of William Ostrander, died in Iowa 
in 1877. Mr. Landt was at one time engaged in mercantile business 
in Newville. Three children still reside in Herkimer County, Ran- 
dolph Landt of Little Falls, William Landt, M. D. of Mohavv'k and 
Mrs. Calvin Harder of Danube. 

Alvan Decker, father of Supervisor E. V. Decker of Little Falls, 
and who was related to the Spoor and Roorback families, was born in 
Columbia County in 1807 and came to Danube in 1828. At one time 
he kept the hotel at Newville. It was during the Canadian disturb- 
ances and Mr. Decker was a anember of an organization of sympa- 
thizers with the Canadian "patriots." He afterwards engaged in 
dairy farming, combining with it the business of dealing in dairy pro- 
duce. Politically he affiliated with the free soil and republican parties 
and was Supervisor of Danube in 1874-5. He died in May 1882, his 
wife who was Lydia M. Vanderberg of Saratoga following him in De- 
cember 1885. One daughter, Mrs. A. G. Weatherwax resides at New- 

Cornelius Cronkhite, who was of low Dutch extraction came from 
Dutchess County in 1785. Two of his sons, Henry C. and John C. set- 
tled in Danube, and one, William in Minden. J. W. Cronkhite who 
resides at Little Falls was a son of the latter. Henry C. Cronkhite 
was born in Dutchess County in 1788, died in 1842. His widow (born 
Sally DeLaVarge) died in 1873, aged 84 j^ears. Daniel Cronkhite, their 
son was supervisor of Danube in 1876-7 and at one time was a prom- 
inent official of the State Grange. James H. Cronkhite who now re- 
sides at Fort Plain was Justice of the Peace in Danube about twenty 
years. Cornelius H. Cronkhite died at Fort Plain in 1861, and John 
H. Cronkhite at Minden in 1886. Of Henry C. Cronkhite's daugh- 



ters, one married David Shaul, one Isaac Countryman, Jr. of Stark, 
and one William E. Rickard. John C. Cronkhite died very suddenly 
on the highway in 1860. His wife was a member of the Walrath 
family of Minden. Rev. B. E. Fake, D. D. of Hartwick Seminary is 
a grandson. His son, Jonas Cronkhite died in 1902. A younger son. 
Reuben Cronkhite died in Minden in 1892. Two children of George 
Fake resided in Danube, John H. Fake who died ver>' suddenly in 
1866, and Mrs. Hiram Fake. 

There are many others who deserve a mention here but I am not 
laboring under the delusion that I can exhaust the subject. The 
Deuslers, Adolph Walrath, Lawrence Fox and family, George Coun- 
tryman, Dr. Abram Snyder and many others may possibly deserve 
more space than I have allotted to some who have comparatively 
more mention than they merit. To extend this sketch with no more 
data than I have would make but a barren record of names and dates. 
Hoping that some abler hand will take up this matter and arranging 
these disjointed meTnoranda into something lil^e order and clothe these 
skeleton names and dates with a living flesh of historical record, I 
submit to you this imperfect and unsatisfactory result of my investi- 
gations . 


Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society May 9, 1903. 

The echoes of the great war for independence had hardly ceased 
ere the yeomanry of New England were on foot in large numbers for 
new homes in the West. 

At that period central and western New York were the far west. 
All the territory known as the "land of the Iroquois, a land truly of 
milk and honey", lay almost entirely free from the slightest stroke of 
civilized improvement. 

Here and there savage husbandry had done its work revealing by 
easy effort the marvelous fertilitj^ of the soil. 

With rare judgment the six tribes had selected and made secure 
their forest home. 

It lay along the rich plateau of Central New York, buttressed and 
guarded by great natural advantages. 

At the centre, our own hills and vales, grew the great forests, were 
found the fertile soil, the brooks of water, the rivers and lakes, a very 
net work of use and beauty. 

At the east was the highway of the great river, rejoicing as a giant 
to run its course. 

To the West and North, vast in land and seas, rolled a barrier not 
easily crossed; yet everywhere threaded by the light Iroquois canoe. 
On the South extended a wide country, only partially inhabited by 
scattered feeble tribes, seam.ed by water courses that took their rise 
in the heart of our great state, and were held by the nation as their 
railway open to the riches far down the Atlantic coast. 

It was a goodly heritage owned by a stout hearted race, as savagery 
owns, but to pass unimproved, passes to him who merits the prize — 
in the talents enlarged to the best of well done. 

Even before the close of the Revolutionary War, the fame of this 
forest garden had reached the dwellers in then far off New England, 
but the return of soldiers, who had seen with their own eyes, the El- 
Dorado of the west, quickly fanned the latent flame into a glow of 
ardent longing and most vigorous action. All New England joined 
hands in the exodus, but one "Eminent Domain" was chiefly peopled 
by the citizens of the three states, Massachusetts. Rhode Island and 


Without disparagement of others in the slightest degree, it can be 
truly said of our ancestors that they carried with them to their new 
homes a character that was marvelously fitted for the stout battle on 
the frontier. 

Integrity, industry, courage, a trinity of great virtues, they bore 
with them, all shot through, and inspired by a religious trust, that 
was of itself great, so ever doing great things. Trained religiously 
in a faith that rejoiced in hard thingh to be and do, that welcomed 
the day of trial as the appointed arena, wherein great souls were born 
and made, they had the equipment which stood them in wondrous 
stead, when they grappled with the stern problems of new country 

The wild freedom of the forest life of very necessity broadened the 
souls that came to it, in their belief. 

They could be broadened and broadened, again and again and still 
have a four square massiveness about them, all aglow with a fervor 
that really looked nothing. 

God's free air, forest creatures, life, taken together from the train- 
ing school, that narrows and broadens, broadens and narrows, trains 
with a wondrous fitness which is all things to all men, and not a 
thing awry in the rich returns of the training. 

Our ancestors came out of the home school of inheritance, to the 
home school of their choice, and the fruit of the two was of the savor 
that kept the perfect of the salt. 

Today the traveller from the New England state can take his noon 
day meal at home, and at the ringing of the curfew bell lie down to 
rest in Central New York. 

No such ease or dispatch of movement was known or dreamed of in 
the days of the fathers. The journey then consumed weeks, and was 
prosecuted over trails, through forests, with no claim to the title of 
roadway. Horses, but more commonly oxen, were the 'motive power, 
and the rude cumbersome sled, the vehicle with which the long, toil- 
gome journey was made. 

The spirit of adventure, that distinguishing trait of Angle Saxon 
character, seemed to defy all obstacles, even making light of the 
greatest . 

For that particular time and work our ancestors were admirably 

They were fitted to cope with the difficulties of their day and gen- 
eration, and nobly they met all the demands upon them. 

Linger here for a mcment and note as nearly as possible how our 
Inheritance from the far off giants of the race bears the race on in its 

Venturesome to a fault was the character of the old Northmen from 
whom we are descended. 

Just as soon as they could be and do anything they were ready to 
take all the risks in being and doing. 

They found, as the poet has written, "that their interest was on 
the dangerous edge of things" and they found their way to that edge, 
they burnished it until its keenness fascinated them, and everywhere 
they made full proof of their fealty. 


Over and over in the imperfect hands all along, they wrought with 
motive and object low down in the firmament of their thought and 

They made action wait upon thought and purpose, nay they knew 
no thought or purpose that was other than alive, even action at its 
stalwart best. 

Centuries of push outward did their work made a race men tliat 
In fact and deed eli'minated the impossible from creed and life. 

The time ripe for the reclaiming of a wilderness was the time ripe 
with just the ripe men and women to do it. 

The same spirit that said, and stood by the saying, "All men are 
created free and equal" went out into the new country, the builder 
and maker, with those earnest souls God, and they were pilgrims to 
go and stay, and go again, getting all in giving all, no stay in the on- 
ward march through the years. 

I know that the usual estimate of the settling and improving of the 
new country is one of hardship and trial, and far be it from my 
thought to belittle that idea. 

Any work, anywhere, that is done unto Him who is first and not 
unto onan, is of very necessity, hardship and trial. Watchings, fast- 
ings, failures are in it, a thousand things that hurt and make afraid. 

The great soldier has inscribed on his banner both victory and de- 
feat, and is only great as he turns defeat into victory. 

Out from civilization into the wilds of the forest they went, home, 
old associations, comforts, a thousand pleasant things left "behind; 
but the staunch onsight of character beckoning them forward, the as- 
piration in it all, for happy homes, for victories all along line of life. 
So the hard became easy to them. 

See one of these men on picket duty, foot-sore and weary, "stick- 
ing to his stakes," as frontier parlance puts it, after his long journey. 

He is the advance guard of the coming host in the old town of 
Paris, see him, and in a general way, you see them all. 

By a little spring that bubbles from the hillside, a few rods from 
where your speaker was born, and lived all his early life, he stops to 
spend the night. 

He fixes his camp, prepares his evening 'meal, and alone with his 
dog in the great solitude passes the hours of that September night. 

Someway in the visions of the sleeping hours he sees the resting 
place as his own Bethel, in the great western wilderness. The morn- 
ing clear and bright enlarges the vision. In his own rude way he 
sets up his pillar of stone, and builds his altar, and I am sure, like 
Jacob of old, must have said, "This is none other but the house of 
God; this is the gate of heaven." 

The cabin was soon built, the man and his dog its sole occupants 
all winter long. There was just enough hunting and fishing to sup- 
ply the larder, all the other time being given to the clearing. With 
the advance of spring all the hill side just above the cabin was a 
maze of fallen trees. 

A few days given to a trip to the valley region equipped the yeo- 
man with hia yoke of oxen and log sled. Into windrows the great 


trees were speedily rolled, and then the fire lighted, crept through the 
vast piles like a thing of life. 

A little later with the same axe that had cleared the forest, the 
field was planted (curious corn drill) but it served, and the veteran 
took up the work of tiding the growing crop over the myriad danger.s 
atten3ing the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear. 

The somber wood stood guard on every side, barrier against storm 
and tempest: but from old forest depths came the chief enemies. 

The crows and blackbirds first, but easily frightened away, then the 
deer, and a little later the raccoons and bears. Tradition says that 
the red man put his hand, not to the plow, but to the corn. One les- 
son, however, from the stout hearted husbandman shut away all dan- 
ger from that quarter. The season closed and the settler had in his 
pole crib a hundred bushels of corn, and a year's forage for the oxen. 

Then came the long journey back to old Connecticut, and a little 
later our hero was again in his cabin home, a good wife with him, 
all his joys enhanced a thousand fold. 

Then followed the new plans, the larger ventures, the increase in 
basket and store, more cattle, wider clearing, children in the house, 
work and play, sorrow and joy, right on through the years. Neigh- 
bors multiplied, clearings extended, farms and farm homes dotted the 
land everywhere; savagery and its waste fled away, meadows, pas- 
tures and cultivated fields supplanted the forest, schools and churches 
were built, and the song of health had place in the dwellings of the 

In general, our one settler's experience was duplicated by all his 
fellow settlers. His, I came, I saw, I conquered, was the formula for 
all the other farmer Caesar's of his time and race. 

The evolution of that hamlet of the hills obtained throughout all 
the settlements of the Empire State. To trace the growth of one is 
to follow the thought and life of all the others. 

In every stroke of growth; in the work, in the play, in the customs, 
in the architecture of the church, school house and public hall, in the 
character shaping, in short throughout the entire round of being and 
doing our ancestral history is broadly written. 

What is in the man, the village, the state, germane there from in- 
heritance, from general thought and action, is record made, all along 
the inner and outer lines of the common weal and woe. 

And still farther, to know the one now living, or then living, the 
knowledge must embrace the entire round of life, public and private. 

We begin at the beginning and keep step with the unfolding life, 
noting its changes, and the steady flow of that tide of being borne on 
its sturdy shoulders. 

The first houses were log cabins. Every settler could build, and 
most of them did build, each his own. Rude structures they were, 
but strong, made for use not beauty. 

Every noo kand cranny was put to service, in a directness of use 
that made it a constant influence in the daily economy. There were 
no 'waste places in the old time log cabin, and there was no waste 
places In th© bam or on the farm. 


What I mean is, that at that time, life was to real, to earnest to 
have any extended sloughs or slumps in the round of common toil. 

The settlers built themselves into their houses, and went right on. 
the houses building them and they building the house-s. no stay in the 
forward through the years. 

When the frame building supplanted the old log dwelling it con- 
served the old as well as new, it was the cabin home simply writ 

More rooms and fire places, larger cellars and chamber-s, but all for 
use, that one best room for great occasions only, coming a little later. 

In such a training school, general throughout the entire communi- 
ty, there would be,' of very necessity, a common return . 

All ca.ste was barred out, and society knew only the distinction.s 
which real worth enjoins. 

Nothing could be more unconventional, or freer from cant and 
sham than that new country society. As I recall it, it was flavored 
with an originality which was kept inviolate through the years. 

Uncle Joe and Uncle John, Aunt Sallie and Aunt Thankful. Why 
in process of time, their way of thinking and speaking and doing was 
a sort of fixed quantity of pure originality. Not readers as people 
now read, but readers. Thinkers as men are not at the present time. 
Stout reasoners after their kind, each and all of them. 

A terse sort of Shakesperian English fell from their lips, and in 
conversation and arguments quotations from the great bard were apt 
and many . 

The Village Debating Club, no Lyceums in those days, was the arena 
for public discussion, as also were the store and tavern. Jokes had 
place, and the keenest wit was dispensed. War stories were com- 
mon, and the hunting and fishing done at the fire sides, as well as 
elsewhere, could not easily be excelled. 

The household games were limited in number, with checkers well 
at the front. Clearly do I remember the athletes bending over the 
board, and the retainers of the contestants watching the moves with 
steadily growing interest. 

Old sledge was the favorite every day game with cards while whist 
had place on the more furtive occasions. 

Base ball of the olden type was the pastime at raisings, and other 
occasions, while the turkey shoot graced Thanksgiving and Christmas 
days, the only holidays in the colder season of the year. 

Raisings, logging, paring and husking bees were more or less fes- 
tive occasions, and at other times tests of skill and strength were in- 
stituted in wrestling matches, pitching quoits, and other forms of 
athletic exercise. 

Work and play at all times were shaped, of course, after the pat- 
tern the workers and players saw and knew. Each was to the other 
like, and each was in the other weighed, and as a rule, not found 

A common interest made the entire life of the people common, and 
all old and young vied together in promoting the varied interests of 
the community. 


In the homes, at first, society was shaped and colored by the ruder, 
harder experiences of life. 

In one way and another self was sacrificed at every turn. Fro'm 
sU'Ch a school could only come men and women who were living ex- 
ponents of the Sermon on the Mount. 

The caste of stout hearted manliness had place, and no other had 
place. The four hundred of that day were all the hundreds that went 
to and fro in the community. Wealth, position, lineage, outward and 
visible signs, counted at just about the ciphers worth. 

Character was at the front and tenderfooted in that, was tender- 
footed in all . 

What one could do was the coin current everywhere and carried 
with it the image and superscription of real power. 

The man stood for what he was, in the home, the school, the 
church, and in all the ways of public life. The work of the farms 
and clearings, the gannes and .''ports of the hustings, extolled the value 
of personal worth. 

The woman was beautiful and captivating, in proportion as she 
knew all the ins and outs of housekeeping and home making. 

The lore of good cookery, of roots and herbs, of candle and soap 
making, of spinning and weaving, of fashioning garments for the 
household, of being everywhere and doing everything that could pos- 
sibly minister to the well being of a true home. All this was her 
stature, and it was simply wonderful what it was worth to those old 
time homes. They were homes, and homes too that seemed bright and 
cheery as heart could wish. 

Society of one heart and mind, all rank of the stamp of character, 
so employer and employee moved on the same plane of social being. 

The servants knew only the servitude of home. They were a part 
of the family, ate at the same table, attended the same school, and 
of times spent all their years in the service of one household. 

The social intercourse between families was artless in the best of 
art. Well do I recall those old time visits, unannounced, yet always 
most welcome, the entire family, more or less coming early in the day 
and finding the good house wife busy with the cheese or butter mak- 
ing, would join hands in the work, the visiting only accelerated by 
the fellowship of common toil. No butchers shops or carts then, yet 
no embarrassment in the requisite cuisine. The poultry yard yielded 
its best, and the housewife's culinary skill, insured against all de- 
fects in the convival part. It was not a full visit unless the two 
meals, dinner and supper were served. Nothing was known then of 
dinner at any other hour but noon, and to have designated the last 
meal of the day as tea would have been as wide of the (mark, as call- 
ing it biscuit after another of the viands of the evening repast. 

My earliest recollections touches the heart of those old time re- 
pasts, and it certainly was aglow with all the best the old farm could 
offer. After the meals came the smoke and smoke talk. The prac- 
tice was common with both sexes of our country pioneers to indulge, 
if that be the word, in the fellowship of the friendly pipe. A little 
snuff taking had place also, and something to drink was brewed on 
the old hearth, that went home, they said, to the right spot. 



The conversation of one of those old time visits took a range that 
reached far and wide. Of course, the affairs of the day and hour were 
the chief topics, and the range of the home news was large enough to 
give spice and variety to the entire day's visit. 

The burning center of the old time home was the great open fire- 
place. In the first frame houses, they put in as many fire-places as 
there were rooms clustered about the chimney, or chimney stack, as 

they termed it. , , „„/i 

The kitchen fire-place and hearth were built generously large, and 
the kitchen itself was great hearted to a fault. 

On a keen winter's night with half the space of one side of the 
room ablaze with sparkling light, the walls and ceilings adorned 
marvelously with strings of dried apples, pumpkin, and all sorts ot 
herbs, above and on the mantle guns and pipes, the old time tmder 
box, candle sticks, snuffers, and a dozen other well known and use- 
fel articles, the whole family gathered in a half circle reaching well 
out to the opposite wall. Butternuts and cider on the hearth, two or 
three neighbors in the circle, story and jests going the rounds the 
entire room aglow with light, altogether made up a scene that in 
home cheer good and true, we never have excelled. 

My first recollection of such an evening was bemg awakened by 
some burst of merriment from sound sleep, and looking through the 
door from my trundle bed eyrie, the whole scene was pictured in my 
small camera, to remain there among its best treasures forever. 

At an early hour the ashes from the pipes were duly rapped out on 
the great andirons, the fire banked, and the merry hearted party went 
apart to their various places of rest. 

What places of rest they were, those old bed rooms at each end of 
the kitchen, and the chambers, with the ceiling shaped to the roof on 
one side coming down nearly to the floor, and those old canopied bed- 
steads, high and strong, roped together securely and bearing the niat- 
tress of -clean bright straw, surmounted by the old time feather bed, 
a winter luxury that lacks nothing in the way of ease and comfoit. 
Home-made was stamped on it all, and that was safe passport to a 
high grade of "balmy sleep," tired nature's sweet restorer. 

The frost in those days played all sorts of antics as the night waned 
and the sleeper slept. The trees and houses snapped and cracked 
in the cold. 

The owls held converse in their homes high up in the great trees, 
and the occasional bark of the fox or wolf came from the darker 
reaches of the forest. 

' But a morning carnival in an old time home, how clearly it is de- 
picted in all the archives of my most treasured memories. 

The tall clock telling the hour's through the night would sound an 
early revielle. Pater familias meets the call alert and ready. Just 
Ttouch or two and the great fire-place, aglow with its bed of coals 
would break into jets of flame, soon to roar and flash up the great 
throat of the chimney, warming not only the room, but seemingly all 
the space above the house. A loud hallo from the foot of the stairs 
would arouse all the youngsters and servants in the loft. A few 


minutes of rapid toilet work would bring all the household to the 
broad hearth front of the kitchen fire. 

Ah! What a luxury of warmth and cheer in that morning bon fire, 
for bonfire it was in very fact, irradiating every nook and cranny of 
the room. Old jokes were nev/ in such a light, and the new had place 
aglow with a ruddy sparkle. The great kettle hung upon the crane 
and at the fireside was the buckwheat batter, and nearby the rich 
slices of sau.'^age, just what the rustic rhymster saw when he wrote: 

Oft when we get to dreaming of the happy days of yore 
When our life-boat was a floating out from boyhood's golden shore- 
Treasures that were half forgotten come a sailing into sight. 
Starting all the soul to dancing to the music of delight. 
And there isn't one among them puts a yearning in the breast 
Like them fragrant, smoking jewels different from the modern bake 
Buckwheat cakes and sausage gravy like our mother used to make. 

Used to git up in the mornin' — agin the break o' day. 

When the east is full of color that'ld take thur breath away, 

Hustle out and git to chorin', working up an appetite 

That'd throw a streak of glory into every luscious bite, 

Take a wash in that tin basin on the bench out in the yard 

Underneath the old mulberry by the hand of ages scarred, 

Then sit down to a banquet out o' sight, an' no mistake, 

Buckwheat cakes and sausage gravy, sort our mother used to make. 

Used to often stand and watch her beat the batter in the crock, 
Comin', comin', comin', comin', was the way she'd imake it talk. 
See her grease the smokin' griddle with a piece of bacon skin. 
Then pour on the brownish batter with a dipper made of tin, 
There 't'd lay with holes a breakin' out like measles from the top, 
Till she'd loosen it and turn it with an ol' case knift, kerflap, 
O, There aint a modern angel top o' all the earth can bake 
Buckwheat cakes with sausage gravy like our mother used to make. 

Epicures may talk till doomsday o' the toney styles and fovd 
Modern chefs may work on dishes that a god would think was good, 
Fancy printed meno programmes in the taverns and cafays, 
May be full of kitchen triumphs that'd win an angel's praise, 
But if they should spread a banquet that'd make a god rejoice 
Side o' that old kitchen table and tell us take our choice. 
You would see no hesitation in our action as we'd take 
Buckwheat cakes and sausage gravy like our mother used to make- 

The old tin lantern, a sort of cylinder sieve, was duly equipped and 
a push made for the barn, the boys accompanying if the morning 
were not too severe. 

Ah! those old time whinnying.-? and lowings and Growings and coo- 
ings and bleatings and grunts, as the great barn door swung open, 
the entire scene is a picture in my mind, scarcely dimmed in the 
slightest degree by the passing years. 

Then came the boys delight, a scamper and tumble on the great 
mows, a handshake with the calves and lambs, a romp with the 


squealing, bustling pigs, and an ear wide open to the early call of 
the snow buntings and redpolls. 

Then came the old time breakfast, before day dawn, the great fire 
lightino, and warming the room, the menu, buckwheat cakes asd sau- 
sage gravy, potatoes fresh baked in the fshes, boiled cider apple- 
sauce, coffee and a side dish or two of cracklings, sweetbread and 
head cheese. 

The duties of the day followed, housework, school, hauling and cut- 
ting wood, logging, threshing, real winter pleasures in Ye Olden Time. 

Sunday varied the programme, putting with the chores, church go- 
ing, which levied its tribute on almost all the members of our pioneer 

School and church were important factors with our ancestors. Out- 
side of their home life they were fir.':t in their regard. 

Curious how they all stood together on the same platform touching 
school and business matters, and went far apart when the religious 
element was cultivated. 

Curious to say, and yet not so curious really. Human nature, es- 
pecially that which our pioneers entertained, has consistencies and 
inconsistencies as well, must have them, and frequently it will nurse 
for years some belief or notion, which, as time moves on, will gradu- 
ally disappear from the daily curriculum. 

Religiously apart in those early days was a sort of heir loom that 
i^ome way had become such a fixture in the minds of its devotees that 
only a long lapse of time could remove it. It is the product of gen- 
erations, of cultivation and growth, and is only cast out by the same 
rule with which it comes to its mastership. 

Schools and teachers in that age of the pioneers had a savor to the 
manor born. More than at any other time in the history of our 
citizens the schoolsi belonged to the people. The community was 
largely sufficient unto itself. It trained its own after the pattern of 
its own. The school and the entire community were one. There 
was no semblance of divorce between them. 

As a rule the teacher was a member of the district or of some ad- 
joining district, and if from another district brought common train- 
ing to the work. 

The three trustees were empowered to engage and examine the 
teacher, and the occasion was one in which the teacher proved every 
inch of his armor and of his weapons too. 

Each month, and sometimes weekly, the trustees spent part of a 
day in the school, and at least three or four times during the year 
the entire district was summoned to a public exhibition. Spelling 
and singing schools were dropped in oftener. The teachers boarded 
around, a system with disadvantages, and yet of great value to the 
instructor who desired the best knowledge of his field and work. 

With the first generation from the pioneers, and to some extent with 
the second, the school was the field where the Olympian games of in- 
tellect were played. I recall many of the contestants in those stir- 
ring games, runners of redoubtable spirit and substantial success, all 
of >them . 


But a little farther back than my recollection reaches in my native 
place, tradition places some of the greater pedagogic lights. Some- 
where in the twenties a youth came to the village and applied for the 
school. There was something about him that captured the trustees 
at the first stroke. He had every qualification of ripe manliness ex- 
cept the single one of extensive book knowledge, but when he quietly 
told the examiners of his Lincoln like struggle, and what he had 
done in that struggle, and what he hoped to do for the school, for 
himself and for those dependent upon him for support, they said "Go 
ahead I' take the school and we will stand by j'ou. 

He went into the "little red school house," the same that stands 
there today, and from the firirt day to the last of a six years term of 
service "Horatio Reed" held his place in a long line of worthies, as 
the peerless first "wearing the white flower of a blameless life", do- 
ing the great deeds of a right hearted, clear headed, well traind, hard 
working man, in brief, living the "strenuous life" in its glory. Not 
a pupil in the school knew that the teacher, in the first two years, 
studied night and day, and only kept ju£t ahead of the classes, knew 
not until the rubicon of limited knowledge was passed, and the vic- 
tory was won. 

One of his astonishing feats of memory was beginning at the table 
in the old Webster's spelling book, called in o":d time parlance the Ba- 
ker table and pronouncing each word consecutively to the end of the 
book. With the lessons in the different studies, he stood before his 
classes, himself so much the book, that he was never known to use 
that common crutch, in giving the instruction. A man peerless in his 
profession, a little extra in that day of extra things, but only one of a 
large number of teachers who wrought wonders with their limited 

Two advantages they had, 1st: the absolute necessity of using all 
their powers to the best advantage, and 2nd, teaching with the entire 
community and school practically one in the great trust of carrying 
on the common enterprise. 

In one other direction our pioneers were to the manor born. In 
church attendance, in being and knowing church, and in living what 
they knew, there was but little discount from the high plane of the 
duty honored without stint or measure. 

The church building, outwardly, stood in sturdy strength, not beau- 
ty. The best timber, and the biggest went into the structure, and 
|3very stroke meant put together upon honor and to last. I recall 
those of my native village, fine samples of those in all the villages. 
The site sometimes was not a little after that pattern of "God's Acre" 
of which Whittier sings. 

The dreariest spot in all the land 

To death they set apart 
With scanty grace from Nature's hand 

And none from that of Art. 

No trees or shrubs, or even much levelling or adorning of the yard 
around it. Unction of that sort had no place in the practical getting 
on of the day. 


Rude horse blocks, and ruder horse sheds flanked the house usually 
on every side. The boys of the village made it a play g:ound, and on 
general training day the revolutionary veteran stood in a martial row 
at the end of the building, reviewing the half fledged militia as they 
filed past, really the building in place and surroundings and outward 
use was little more than a big public hall, open, on the outside at 
least, to all sorts of uses. 

Within the building there was no waste room, and no waste of any- 
thing else, virtually, unless it were in the opportunity of adorning 
and beautifying. High pulpit and gallery, "three deckers," the pul- 
pits were sometimes termed, sounding board, box pews, and just with- 
in my recollection the stoves and long reaches of rusty pipe. One of 
my early wandering wonderings' at church was, how the smoke ever 
managed to get out and away through those long ranges of long black 
pipe. In one church, not far from my native place, tradition says 
that the first stove used was placed high up, near the gallery, in or- 
der that the choir might be duly warmed with the rest of the congre- 
gation. A brief experience carried with it a scientific revelation and 
the new heater was relocated, greatly to the advantage of all con- 
cerned . 

But the service of worship and preaching in those far off dajs, we 
^moderns have escaped it, and perhaps have gotten in the place of it 
something better, something far more wholesome and inspiring. 

With the mercury in the pews and pulpit at zero, and sometimes 
far below, with the preacher leading the prayer on to sixty minutes 
and more, and with the sermon leading the preacher on to two hours 
and more, only beings of heroic 'mold, asleep or awake, could take it 
all without yawn or murmur. 

Of course, footstoves and shawls, and great coats and naittens help- 
ed the patient sufferers somewhat, for sufferers they were; but after 
all it is not likely that we should ever have known of some of the 
great things our race is capable of, if our forefathers, and foremothers 
too had not climbed the golden stairs as Christian did in Pilgrims 
Progress, carrying all the ordinary and extraordinary burdens of life, 
and never realizing that they were burdens. 

So we come to what must be, the limits of this paper. In this 
sketch of our pioneers, their homes and customs, there is the clear 
perspective, we would fain believe, of men and women, in the work 
of life at their best. Manly men and womanly women. Homes pure, 
sweet, clean and cheery in simple strong character. Society of one 
heart and mind, made up after the pattern of the rugged simplicity 
which is ever "sincere and without offence." 

Schools where teacher and taught were to the manor born, where 
sound minds and right hearts, in sound bodies were the ne plus ultra 
of effort. 

Church, "an open door in heaven,"' and the harder and the more 
diflicult the highway for the ransomed to return on, the more blessed 
and joyous the experience, the more sure "the eternal weight of glory." 

All honor to the nobility of our heritage, its patent made, signed 
and sealed in that rich crucible of life, whose earnest endeavor is: 
The faithful over the few things," whose eternal reward is, "Ruler 
over many things," "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 


Delivered Before 'be Herkimer County Historical Society June 13, 19ii 

The subject of Freemasonry is so broad and interesting^ that I can- 
not refrain frona giving you a little general history before entering 
upon the subject of FVeemasonry pertaining alone to Herkimer County. 

AH members of the craft have been taught to believe that the An- 
cient and Honorable body known as Free and Accepted Masons has 
existed since the building of King Solomon's Temple. "We have been 
taught ho"w and ivhere lodge meetings were held in those early days. 
and, as civilization followed the rising stm ever westward. Freema- 
\sonry has followed, assisting by its pure principles to teach men to 
aid and protect each other. 

Xo doubt many of you have questioned how it is that this ancient 
craft has stood the "lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance and 
the devastatic-n of war." Let me for a moment call your attention to 
some of its fundamental principles. 

First and foremost, it is founded on the Holy Bible. It urges upon 
each of its member^; that he faithfully direct his steps through life by 
the light he t±i«-e shall find. And so long as the thousands of lodges 
'exist, so long "will the thousands of Holy Bibles be preserved as one 
of the silent but powerful witnesset why this institution lives, moves 
and has its being. It believes in the Fatherhood of God and the 
Brotherhood of man. 

It stands because it teaches 'Faith in God. hope in immortality, 
charity to all mankind.'' 

It stands because it teaches "Duty to God, to your neighbor and 

These are some of the eternal principle that are vital to its very 
existence and which \rill ever be guarded and defended by ever>' Free- 
mason as he would guard and defend his life. It exists in every land 
because it helps the needy, btiries the dead, educates the orphan, 
cares for and gladdens the hearts of the old, and gives new inspira- 
tion to the honorable poipo-Tes of the young. 

King Frederick of Prussia once wrote these words: "A society 
which enjoys itself only in sowing the seed and bringing forth the 
fruit of every kind of \-irtue in my dominions, may always be assured 
of my protection.'' 


I quote an extract from the address of Hon. DeTTitt Clinton, Past 
Grand blaster of this state, at the installation of S:ephen Van Rensse- 
laer. He said. "Althoug-h the origin of our Fraternity is covered with 
darkness, and its history is to a great extent obscure, yet we can con- 
fidently say that it is the most ancient society in the world; and we 
are equally certain that its principles are based on pure morality, that 
its ethiCj are the ethics of Christianity: its doctrines the doctrines of 
patriotism and brotherly love, and its sentiments the sentiments of 
exalted benevolence. 

Upon these points there can be no doubt. All that is gx>od and kind 
and charitable, it encoorases; all that is vicious and cruel and op- 
pressive, it reprobates. That charitj- which is described in the mosx 
masterly manner, by the eloquent Apostle Paul in his first epistle to 
the Corinthians, composes its very essence, and enters into its vi-ral 

The celebrated philosopher, John Locke, was much struck v«^th a 
manuscript of Henry \~L, King of England, in which this question -wbls 
asked: "Are Masons better than others T' It was answered in this 
manner: "Some Masons are not so virtuoits as some other men: but 
in general they are better than they would have been if they had not 
been Masons." This is tinquestionably correct. 

George Washington, our first president, said. 'The object of Free- 
masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race." 

Theodore Roosevelt, our present president, said, "One of the things 

that attracted me so greatly to oaasonry that I hailed the chance of 

becoming a mason, was that it really did act up to what we. as a 

government and as a people, are pledged to — cf treating each man on 

his merits as a man." 

Now it is easy for us to understand why the greatest and t-est men 
of all ages have never deemed it beneath their dignity to unite with 
this order. 

Washington. Paul Revere. Benjamin Franklin, Vice President. Dan- 
iel D. Tompkins, DeWitt Ointon. and Genl. "Warren who fell at Bun- 
ker Hill, were all Past Grand Masters, and nearly all of the generals 
in "Washington's army were masons, as well as many of our presi- 
dents. \-ice presidents and governors. It is also very interesting to 
note that fifty -two out of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of 
Independence were masons. 

Free masons! Free country! Not so strange; the principle taught 
in every lodge that all men are created equal, no doubt had its influ- 
ence in prompting the spirit of independence and equality in the 
hearts of these great men. and the Declaration of Independence was 
a natural cortequence of this immortal doctrine. 

Therefore we find that our Englgish and German ancestors were 
practicing Freemasonry long before coming to this fair land of ours, 
and as soon as they could, held meetings in This country, but not tin- 
til the year 1730 did they deem it necessary to organize a body to be 
known as the Grand Lodge of the Provinces of New York. New Jer- 
sey and Pennsylvania. 

History Informs us that one Bro. David Coxe, of New Jersey with 
several other brethren, made applic-ation to the Duke of Atholi, then 


Grand Master o'f England, to have Bro. Coxe appointed Grand Mas- 
ter of said Provinces. The application was formally granted under 
the seal of office at London June 5th, 1730. 

Bro. Coxe held his office as Provincial Grand Master of the three 
provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania until the year 
1737, when on November 15th, 1737, Captain Richard Riggs was made 
Provincial Grand Master of Nev*^ York. He held the office until some 
time during the year 1751 when Francite Goelet was appointed. Bro. 
Goelet served two years and on June 9th, 1753, he publicly installed 
George Harrison as his successor. 

Of the official acts of Bros. Coxe, Riggs and Goelet we have scarce- 
ly any record. Bro. George Harrison served as Provincial Grand 
Master for eighteen years and the records show that he was a very 
zealous and industrious laborer with the craft. During his adminis- 
tration several lodges were formed, one of which is St. Patricks No. 
4 of Johnstown, charter granted May 23, 1766. 

Sir John Johnson succeeded George Harrison as Provincial Grand 
Master, but owing to his adherence to the royal caiil>:e we have but 
few records o£ his official acts. In fact we find no record of the Pro- 
vincial Grand Lodge under his administration after 1776. Probably 
no meetings were held owing to war and his absence. Nearly all the 
Provincial Lodges ceased to exist. 

'.About this time several Military Lodges were formed but the re- 
cords of ma|->t of them are lost. 

While the army had its headquarters on the Hudson, "Washington 
ordered a hall to be built which was to serve as a lodge room for the 
military members of the craft, and when the building was finished it 
was joyously dedicated and called the "Temple of Virtue." 

In 1781 the army lodges of the city of New York took steps to form 
a Provincial Grand Lodge in that city. The Rev. William Walter, an 
Episcopal clergyman, wai; elected Grand Master. He continued un- 
til September 19, 1783, when about to leave the city, resigned his of- 
fice and Bro. William Cock was installed Grand Master. 

From this date, therefore, dates the independent existence of the 
Grand Lodge of the Province of New York. 

In regard to Masonic History in Herkimer County, it will be neces- 
sary to make a statement as to the size of the county at its forma- 
tion, for many warranto were granted to hold lodges in Herkimer 
County that are now situated in other counties. 

Herkimer County was erected or set off from Montgomery County, 
formerly Tryon, on the 16th day of February, 1791. It embraced all 
of that portion of the state lying west of Montgomery County, except 
the counties of Otsego and Tioga which were erected at the same 
time and extended to the eastern boundaries of Ontario County, and 
covered all the territory bounded on the north by Lake Ontario, the 
St. Lawrence River, and the north bounds of the state; easterly by 
Clinton, Washington and Saratoga as they then were; southerly by 
Montgomery, OtUego and Tioga. 

Onondaga was set off from Herkimer in 1794, and Oneida in 1798. 

There are now eleven counties, and parts of two others, embraced 
in the territory first set off as Herkimer. 



On June 6, 1792, a petition waJs sent to the Grand Lodge then in 
session, for a warrant to hold a lodge in Herkimer County, and was 
signed by William Colbreath, John Post and Michael Myers in behalf 
of a number of brethren, praying that a warrant be issued for erect- 
ing and holding a lodge in Herkimer County by the name of Amicable 
Lodge. John I. Morgan was to be Master, John Post, Senior Warden 
and Michael Myers, Junior Warden. 

The petition was granted and warrant issued. The lodge numlber 
was 22. Meetings were held in Whitestown and Old Ft. Schuyler. 
At the time of its formation this lodge had nineteen members. 

The first returns to the Grand Lodge shows that they initiated twen- 
ty-five men from /the 27th day of July, 1792 to the 3rd day of July, 
1793. This lodge was prominent among the lodges of the county un- 
til about 1830. The records in Grand Lodge do not show when the 
charter was surrendered. 


On the first day of January, 1794, at a meeting of Amicable Lodge 
held at their lodge room in Old Fort Schuyler, it was moved by Bro. 
Gaylord Griswold and seconded by Bro. Thos. R. Gould (I quote from 
a letter sent to Grand Lodge) that a separation was wished from this 
lodge by the meonbers from German Flatts and its vicinity, etating 
the distance was too great for them to attend this lodge, and after 
mature deliberation their request was unanimously granted. "We 
therefore recommend them to the Grand Lodge of this state as mem- 
bers worthy your attention." 

Signed, John Post, Master. Michael Myers, Senior Warden and Oli- 
ver Collins, Junior Warden. 
Dated February 5, 1794 at Lodge Room, Old Fort Schuyler. 

The petition sent to the Grand Lodge was as follows: 

"To the Right Worshipful Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, 
Wardens and Brethren oi the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ma- 
rons of the State of New York. 

"The humble petition of the subscribers sheweth; that your peti- 
tioners are mostly members of Amicable Lodge of Free Masons held 
at Old Fort Schuyler in the County of Herki>mer, but that their dis- 
tance from that place renders it inconvenient for them to attend punc- 
tually (as they wish to do) they therefore moved for a separation, 
which was granted. 

Your petitioners therefore pray that a Charter may be granted to 
them, by the name of Amicable Lodge number two or any other name 
which the Right Worshipful Lodge may think proper; and we will on 
all occasions endeavor to conduct, agreeable to the laws and constitu- 
tion of Masonry. And we beg leave to recommend the Hon. Michael 
Myers as Master. John Roorbach, Senior Warden and Uriel Wright, 
Junior Warden." 

Signed by eleven brethren. 

It also states that they wished to hold their first meeting at the 
house of Bro. Captain John Gilbert. 


The charter was granted and officers appointed in compliance with 
the petition, on April 6th, 1794, and the lodge was called "Amicable 
Lodge No. 36." 

The secretary's book containing the 'minutes kept of the meetings 
is now in possession of Herkimer Lodge. 

For some unknown reason the pages containing the records of the 
proceedings for the first four years have been partially destroyed. 

The first meeting of which we have a complete record was held July 
14, 1798. 

Bro. Uriel Wright was then Master; D. Waldo, Senior Warden and 
John Herkimer, Junior Warden. 

'The meetings were held once a month at the house of some one of 
the members. Sometimes in Little Fallte, German Flatts and Herki- 
mer. They frequently met in the afternoon and would arrange to 
confer two degrees, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, tak- 
ing an intenmission of thirty minutes when they would partake of a 
lunch of crackers and cheese. 

The expenses of each meeting were paid before closing and the bal- 
ance, if any, was then turned over to the treasurer. 

The following names appear quite frequently in the records. My- 
ers, Herkimer, Devendorf, Clarke, Wharry, Fox, Fish, Griswold, Alex- 
ander, Feeter and Kelsey. 

In the minutes of the meeting held January 6th, 1800, Bros. Joseph 
Herkimer, Eben Britton, Sanford Clark and Evans Wharry were ap- 
pointed a committee to prepare an address upon the death of Bro. 
George Washington. It was ordered that those resolutions be printed 
in the Albany papers at the expense of the lodge. 

It was re.volved that the members of the lodge should wear crape on 
the left arm and that the Master's chair be shrouded in black for a 
period of three months. 

Our brothers of those early days were very strict adherents to the 
customs of the ancient order. They always observed St. John's day, 
usually having a sermon or an addre'ss appropriate for the occasion. 
A collection was always taken for the benefit of the poor. 

In looking over the old records it is quite interesting to note the 
apparent fraternal feeling that existed. Good cheer and brotherly 
love manifested. If disputes or differences occurred among the mem- 
bers about lodge or business matters a committee would be appointed 
which, after hearing both sides, would render its decision, and I have 
not read of a case where the least dissatisfaction was ever expressed. 

The members were frequently summoned to attend the regular 
meetings or give a reasonable excuse for non-attendance. 

There seems to have been a chapter also in this county. 

In the minutes of the meeting held September 3rd, 1810, the follow- 
ing resolution was passed: "Resolved that a committee of three be 
appointed to join a committee of five appointed by the Royal Arch 
Chapter to confer with Bro. Benj. Kelsey on the subject of renting a 
room for the two lodges." 

I am unable to find any further mention of it. 

The lodce from all appearances, was in a very prosperous condi- 
tion for many years. It increased in numbers quite rapidly. In 1816 

history: of free masonry in herkimer county. 87 

the return to the Grand Lodge shows that it had sixty-one members. 
It was reg-ularly represented in Grand Lodge until the year 1834 when 
its Charter was surrendered. 

aurora lodge no. 52. 

On the 7th day of September, 1796, the following- petition was re- 
ceived and read in Grand Lodge, then in session. (I again quote from 
original papers) . 

"To ithe Right Worshipful Master, Wardens and Members of the 
Grand Lodge of the State of New York. 

The humble petition of the subscribers. Brethren in Masonry resid- 
ing in the towns of Fairfield and Norway, County of Herkimer, Most 
humbly and respectfully sheweth: That petitioners in general reside 
from 10 to 16 miles distant from the nighest viz. Amicable Lodge No. 
36 of which most of your petitioners are at present members. That 
from the badness of the roads, the great di'^tance and consequent dif- 
ficulties of attending said lodge we find it impossible to pay that at- 
tention to the craft which their duty and warmest inclinations re- 
quire. That petitioners from a heartfelt zeal and the most sincere 
regard for the propogation and welfare of Masonry and for the main- 
taining that '. ocial harmony and brotherly affection which should ever 
distinguish masons froan the rest of mankind are desirous of having 
a lodge established in a more convenient place when they may have 
it in their power to apply themselves to the business of masonry and 
to pay that attention thereto which the dignity and honor of the craft 

That petitioners therefore mo'st humbly solicit their Brethren of the 
Grand Lodge to grant them a warrant to hold a lodge in the town of 
Fairfield, County of Herkimer, to be distinguished by the name of Au- 
rora Lodge and that they will constitute Bro. William Lappon, Mas- 
ter; Bro. William Satterlee, Senior Warden; Bro. David Underhill, 
Junior Warden of the same." 

Signed by twenty-one df the Brethren. 

The following letter of recommendation signed by Bro. Michael 
Myers accompanied the petition. 
"To the Master, Wardens and Brethren of the Grand Lodge: 

This is to certify that we, the Master, Wardens and Secretary of 
Amicable Lodge No. 36 are thoroughly acquainted with the said pe- 
titioning Brethren, a number of them being at present members of our 
lodge and the reist having at sundry times visited the same. That we 
know them to be worthy and respectable characters in private life and 
as masons useful and ornamental. That from their great esteem for 
the craft and from the local inconveniences under which they labor as 
stated in their petition, we are solicitous that their prayer be grant- 

A warrant was issued November 4th, 1796, and the lodge was num- 
bered 52 . 

On the 5th day of January, 1797, Jedediah Sanger, Master of Ami- 
cable Lodge No. 22, wa's; commissioned by the Grand Lodge to install 
the officers named in the petition. He accordingly summoned them to 
assemble at the lodge rooms of Amicable Lodge No. 36 where, as he 


says in his letter to the Grand Master, "I proceeded agreeable to the 
ancient rules and customs of the craft." 

On June 23, 1819 Aurora Lodge sent a petition to the Grand 
Lodge asking permission to change it's place of meeting from Fairfield 
to the town of Salisbury. The request was granted September 1, 1819. 
Here they stayed until their Charter was forfeited in June, 1838. 


On December 7, 1796, a petition was sent to the Grand Lodge asking 
for a warrant to erect and hold a lodge in the town of Steuben, Coun- 
ty of Herki'mer, by the name of Steuben Lodge. 

The petition was granted and a warrant issued December 29, 1796, 
and the lodge received No. 54. 

I have been able to procure but little information regarding this 
lodge. It was represented in Grand Lodge as late as March, 1811 for 
on that date they petitioned the Grand Lodge, praying for a total re- 
mission of their dues. 

The Grand Secretary was directed to inform the lodge that upon 
payment of all dues from the 8th of January, 1806, to March, 1811, 
the Grand Lodge would remit all dues from Dec, 1796 to the first 
mentioned period. The register does not show when its charter was 
surrendered but I think it must have been between 1816 and 1820 be- 
cause it is not mentioned in Grand Lodge proceedings at any later 


August 22, 1796, a petition was prepared and signed by James 
Kinne, Thos. Brown, Daniel Perkins, Ephraim Waldo and Joseph 
Farwell, members of Amicable Lodge No. 22 in Whitestown, and sev- 
eral brothers belonging to other lodges, asking permission to erect and 
hold a lodge in Sangerfleld, Herkimer County, by the name of Wes- 
tern Star Lodge, naming as officers, James Kinne, Master; Thos. 
Brown, Senior Warden and Daniel Perkins, Junior Warden. 

The petition was not received and read in Grand Lodge until Jan- 
uary 18, 1797. It was recommenced by John I. Morgan, Past Master, 
and Jedediah Sanger, Master of Amicable Lodge No. 22. 

The petition was granted and the lodge numbered 59. 

The officers named in the petition were duly installed by the officers 
of Amicable Lodge No. 22. Jedediah Sanger, Master. In a letter to 
the Grand Lodge the secretary says: "On the first day of June, 1797, 
Western Star Lodge opened in due form at the house of Ephraim 
Waldo in Bridgewater, formerly Sangerfleld, and proceeded to elect 
the remaining necessary officers." 

lAt the annual meeting held in December the following Bros, were 
elected, Thos. Brown, Master; Daniel Perkins, Senior Warden and 
Levi Ci. penter, Junior Warden. They were duly Installed February 
'5, 11798, by James Kinne, Past Master. 

This, lodge continued in Bridgewater until its charter was surren- 
dered, of which we have no official record. 



On February p, 1807, a petition was presented to Amicable Lodge 
No. (38 by Bro. Rufus Crane and others from the towns of Warren 
and Litchfield, for their approval and praying the Grand Lodge to is- 
sue a warrant for a new lodge to be held in the town of Warren, to 
be called Warren Lodge, for the better accommodaiion of the bre- 
thren in that vicinity. Motion was made and seconded that the re- 
quest be unanimously approved of by this lodge. 

A warrant was issued March 4, 1907, and the lodge's number was 

The information relative to the lodge is^ very meagre. It paid its 
Grand Lodge dues up to 1818, then for about three years it was re- 
ported at Grand Lodge as being in arrears, and I think ceased to work 
about this time. 


The earliest record of Olive Branch Lodge No. 221, is in a form of 
a petition signed by Roswell Holcom'b, Timothy Snow, Jonathan But- 
ler, Theron Plumb, Daniel Aylesworth, Curtiss F. Ross, Joseph Dief- 
endorf, Stephen Frank, Edward Mott, Truman Merry and directed to 
the Worshipful Master DeWitt Clinton, Grand Master of Masons in 
the State of New York, praying for a warrant empowering them to 
form a lodge at Cranes Corners in the town of Litchfield, County of 
Herkimer, N. Y., to be named Olive Branch Lodge and nominating 
Bro. Homon Bush to be Master; Bro. Ralph Merry to be Senior 
Warden and Bro. Stephen Dow, Junior Warden. The petition was 
received by the Grand Lodge March 4, 1812, on the 10th day of June 
of the same year a charter was granted. 

I will now quote from the minutes: "The first recorded meeting of 
the lodge was held July 16, 1812." 

"Pursuant to a charter issued by the Grand Lodge of the State of 
New York, and a warrant authorizing our brother Simeon Ford, Wor- 
shipful Deputy Grand Master, to install a lodge in the Town of Litch- 
field by the name of Olive Branch Lodge. 

The lodge assembled this day at the house of Widow Crane. The 
lodge was duly opened by the Grand Master and his Grand Wardens 
after which they moved in solemn procession to the church under the 
direction of Bro. John I. Pendergrast, Grand Marshall, where an ex- 
cellent and appropriate discoure was delivered by Bro. Eber Cowles. 
The Deputy Grand Master then installed the officersi. 

The proceshion reformed and marched back to the house of the 
Widow Crane where the lodge was closed." 

Then they repaired to a bower where they partook of a repast pro- 
vided by Bro. Ralph Merry where good fellowship reigned, and which 
was recorded in the quaint words of the first secretary as follows: 
"As unity, peace and harmony are the characteristics of real masons 
it is useless to mention how the company returned, only to say that 
they retired at an early hour. Thus concluded the first communica- 
tion of this lodge." 

Until nearly the close of the year 1820 the lodge meetings were held 
at different houses in the town. 


On December 19, 1820, they petitioned the Grand Lodge to move to 
Frankfort. The permission for removal was granted. 

On October 19, 1821, it was voted to remove the lodge to the house 
of Peter Bargy, Jr., in Frankfort. We notice in the record of one of 
the meetings that it was moved and carried that Bro. Douglass Sater- 
lee provide a barrel of cider, a suitable quantity of crackers and one 

It was the custom in the early part of the century to furnish re- 
freshments, consisting of crackers, cheese and liquids at all regular 
meetings and collect a certain amount from each member present, ex- 
cept the Secretary and Tyler, which sum was to pay for the refresh- 
ments and other exepnses. This practice was continued until by en- 
actment of the Grand Lodge the introduction of intoxicating liquors 
within a Masonic lodge room or any room adjoining, was forever pro- 

This lodge has always been noted Tor its charity and progressive - 

In 1822 they appropriated the sum of $50 toward purchasing shares 
of stock in a public library. 

In 1823 they voted the sum of fifteen dollars for the purpose of 
erecting a steeple, purchasing a bell and painting the Baptist meet- 
ing house in Schuyler. 

In the year 1825 they built a two story wooden building or hall. 
The lodge occupying the second story and the first was for many 
years used as a school house, and was also used by the Universalist 
and Baptist societies for holding their religious services. The build- 
ing was used by the fraternity until the year 1896 when it was re- 
moved to make place for a larger and more pretentious one. 

In the afternoon of September 10, 1896, the corner stone of the pre- 
sent edifice was laid with impressive Masonic ceremonies by District 
Deputy Grand Master Joseph Duncan of Fort Plain. Bro. C. E. Mil- 
ler, pastor of the M. E. Church, made the prayer. 

In 1827 the wave of anti masonry swept over the country. Olive 
Branch showed the effects of the feeling against Masonry. Through 
timidity, members withdrew until in 1843 the lodge numbered only fif- 
teen. How strong public opinion wasi against masonry may be in- 
ferred from the fact that only one man was initiated from January 
29, 1828, to January 10, 1844. Yet old Olive Branch pursued the even 
tenor of her way, electing her officers each and every year, and was 
the only lodge in the county that did not surrender its charter. 


On June 15, 1815, a petition, signed by several brethren, was read 
in>^Grand Lodge praying for a warrant to hold a lodge in the town of 
Schuyler, Herkimer County, to be called "Clinton Lodge." The peti- 
tion was referred to the Grand officers and March 15, 1816, a charter 
was granted, and lodge numbered 258. 

I have as yet very little information regarding the workings of this 
lodge. Permission was given this lodge in June, 1825 to move to 
Deerfleld, Oneida County. Its warrant was surrendered in 1836. 



In the "Norway Tidings", a paper pul)lished at Norway, Herkimer 
County, in 1888 by Fred Smith, you will find an account of the next 
lodge formed in this county. 

On June 5, 1817, a warrant was issued to Stephen Babbitt, Thos. 
Manley and Josiah Smith to hold a lodge in Norway by the name of 
Sprig Lodge No. 279. 

June 9, 1820, the Grand Lodge granted permission to Sprig Lodge 
to change its place of meeting from the town of Norway, Herkimer 
County, to the town of Newport, in the same county. 

June 23, 1823, Livingston Billings represented Sprig Lodge in Grand 
Lodge, and Peter H. Warren in June, 1824. June 24, 1826 the name 
was changed to "Newport Lodge." 

There were eighteen men initiated in the year 1818, two in 1819, 
and six in 1821. 

Among the prominent members from Norway we find the names of 
Daniel C. Henderson, Azel Carpenter, and William Forsyth. 

On January 21st, 1818, at the installation of the lodge, the Rev. Dan- 
iel McDonald, Principal of Fairfield Academy, delivered a sermon from 
this text: "Let us love not in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and 
in truth." The discourse was thought to be a masterly production 
and appropriate for the occasion. I copy an extract, "Be cautious in 
the examination of proposed members. An evil member is a diseased 
limb. Better prevent trouble and disgrace than be obliged to attempt 
a remedy. But when necessity bids, resolutely exercise the right of 
purging the society of disorderly members. Reject the branches 
which corrupt the parent stock. 

A small society, but honorable, far excels a multitude that do evil. 

Rev. McDonald was an Episcopal clergyman and the first rector of 
Grace Episcopal Church of Norway, organized in the year 1819. He 
was a man of marked ability and influence. The record does not say 
whether he was a Mason or not, but gentlemen, I believe he possessed 
all of the necessary qualifications. 

The lodge continued in Newport until it surrendered its charter on 
June 5, 1834. 


On June 7th, 1822, a petition was read in Grand Lodge, and duly 
certified to by Amicable Lodge, which was signed by thirteen bre- 
thren living in the town of Warren, Herkimer County, asking that a 
warrant be issued to them so that they might form a lodge and hold 
meetings in a regular and constitutional manner. 

In the petition they requested that the lodge be named Ever green, 
and they also nominated Guy D. Comstock to be Master; Jacob Mar- 
shall, Senior Warden and Enoch Judd, Junior Warden. 

A warrant was granted them on June 13, 1822. They had no regu- 
lar place of meeting, but held their meetings at the home of some of 
the members. I have no record of the work of the lodge, but I judge 
they were true and worthy brothers who tried to live up to their Ma- 
sonic principles, for on October 25, 1825, the Secretary, Ralph R. 
Treadway, informed the Grand Lodge that at their regular communi- 


cation held that day they had expelled one of their members, a resi- 
dent of the town of Columbia, for intemperance. 

The lodge ceased to exist and surrendered its charter in June, 1831. 


On the 6th day of October, 1823, several of the Brethren residing in 
the village of Little Falls and vicinity, sent a petition to the Grand 
Lodge praying for letters of dispensation to empower them to assem- 
ble as a legal lodge. 

In the petition they recommended and nominated Gould Wilson for 
Master, John Dygert, Senior Warden and John McKenster, Junior 
Warden. It was signed by eleven Brothers, among whom we notice 
the familiar names of Robt. Hinchman, Peter H. Bellinger, Job 
Waite, Wm. Girvan, D. Petrie and others. 

The prayer of the request was recommended by Amicable Lodge 
and duly certified to by the Secretary under the seal of the lodge. 
Letters of dispensation were accordingly issued, and the lodge num- 
bered 386, and in June, 1824, they received a warrant from the Grand 

In their report to Grand Lodge made June 1, 1825, the lodge hau 
thirty-six members. 

In June, 1834, their warrant was declared forfeited by the Grand 
Lodge and was surrendered to the Grand Secretary ii 1837. 


At the same meeting of Grand Lodge June, 1824, and pursuant no 
doubt, to a previous petition, a warrant was issued to Henry Brown 
as Master, Robt. Hall, Senior Warden and Adam Hawn, Junior War- 
den of a lodge to be called "Zion Star No. 388" to be held in the town 
of Danube, Herkimer County. This, I thinlc, was the last warrant 
issued prior to the anti Masonic period in Herkimer County. 

I have no record of the work of this lodge. Its life was compara- 
tively short as the warrant was surrendered in 1835. 

From 1827 to about 1850 but very little Masonic work was done in 
t'nis county, as you have observed, all the lodges, save Olive Branch, 
forifeited or surrendered their charters. 

The Morgan trouble, political and religious infiuence all co'inbined 
had a very depressing effect upon the fraternity. 

Popular writers and editors, powerful politicians and some of the 
ablest divines of the day were openly against the order. The feelin>j 
became so intense that families were nearly broken up, quarrels were 
indulged in among members of churches, and the political policy of 
the country was largely influenced. Right in this county the Norway 
Baptist Society disfellowshiped Masons. 

We in this county and country were not alone in the feeling against 
the craft, for we read that our Holland ancestors were being perse- 
cuted in a like manner. In 1735 the Grand Master of Masons of Hol- 
land was ordered before the judicial courts of the country and com- 
pelled to state publicly, that be would never again attend a Masonic 
meeting. A further order of the court prohibited the assemblage of 


Masons. Nevertheless a lodg-e meeting was held in Rotterdam, speed- 
ily followed by a court summons and trial. 

Through faith in the justice of their cause they refused to recant, 
and offered, by way of answer, to initiate one of the judges. The of- 
fer was accepted and the judge made a Mason. His report to the 
full bench was so favorable that each member of that court was ini- 
tiated and became a zealous craftsman. 

It seems strange to us in these days of freedom that public senti- 
ment could have ever been aroused against such a law abiding, pub- 
lic spirited and charitable institution. Some of our grandfathers must 
have forgotten how, in 1793, the Grand Lodge assembled in New 
York and demonstrated their loyalty to the government by voting to 
invest all the money of the Grand Lodge, seven hundred dollars, in 
the funds of the United Stlates. 

They had forgotten how on August 22, 1S14, the Grand Lodge was 
again assembled by order of that noble statesTnan and worthy Broth- 
er, DeWitt Clinton, then Grand Master of Masons in the State of New 
York, and following his leadership all of the lodges in the city vol- 
unteered to perform one days labor on the fortifications then in pro- 
cess of construction to protect their own and their sister city. And 
how, two weeks later they again met pursuant to a resolution and 
performed one more day's work to complete the fort. Their work 
must have been well and faithfully done as it resulted in one of the 
forts being named "Fort Masonic." The official record states that 
they "diligently labored" as operative m.asons and loyal men. With 
all their zeal and loyalty to government they did not' forget to be 
charitable or the duty they owed to God, their neighbor and them- 
selves. They quickly realized that one of the things needed to bet- 
ter perpetuate the young republic was education. So, at a communi- 
cation of the Grand Lodge held December 1, 1808 a committee was 
appointed to devise a plan for the education of the children of indi- 
gent masons. 

Without going into detail as to how the plan was perfected I will 
say this much: The lodges of the city were to pay into the funds of 
the Grand Lodge three hundred dollars annually, and this amount 
was placed in the school committee's hands, and each lodge had the 
privilege of sending two children to school and the committee looked 
after their welfare, by way of purchasing books and clothes when 
needed. It is interesting to follow this committee and read their re- 
ports as to the progress made by the children. 

At the same time other committees were looking after and caring 
for the poor and distressed worthy Brother, widow and orphan, never 
forgetting one of the three principle tenents of our profession, that 
of relief. Following these worthy beginnings came the Morgan ex- 
citement already referred to and the grasping of this opportunity by 
unscrupulous politicians to rai^e the campaign cry, "A good enough 
Morgan until after election." 

This caused "confusion in the craft" and the further advance of 
Free Masonry was retarded, indeed it seemed at an end. 

But my friends, the mere handful of seed sown in our Masonic 


vineyard, while it seemed to have been scattered and well nigh lost, 
was brought again to life because God, wi£:er than man, never permits 
the seed of unselfish endeavor to die. It may lie dormant for a sea- 
son but will surely sprout and grow. 

The seed sown by our Masonic Fathers did lie dormant, practically 
from 1825 to 1850, when it again took root in the hearts of other no- 
ble workmen and has ever since been putting forth leaves and bear- 
ing good fruit. 

This brings us to the time when a revival of masonry began in this 

As previously stated, Olive Branch No. 40 was the only lodge in 
this county that did not surrender its charter during the anti-ma- 
sonic period, we shall therefore consider and treat ner as the parent 
lodge of those now in this county. 

In 1839 the Grand Lodge renumbered all th3 lodges in this jurisdic- 
tion that were then in good standing. This accounts 'for Olive Branch 
now being number 40. 

Little Falls, No. 181, was the first lodge to ask for a return of its 
old charter or t'o send in a request for a new one. 

On July 30, 1849, a petition, signed by eight of tiie members of the 
original lodge was sent to the Grand Lodge asking that their old 
warrant be returned to them. The Grand Master advised them that 
owing to circumstances beyond his control he was prevented from re- 
turning the old warrant, but he issued a dispensation to them August 
10, 1849, empowering fhem to meet as a regular lodge. And a char- 
ter was shortly thereafter granted. 

All the signers of the petition are dead. The lodge now has two 
hundred and ten members in good standing. Frank F. Stacey 's 

Brothers William H. Waters and Ivan T. Burney have represented 
this Masonic district in Grand Lodge as District Deputy Grand Mas- 
ter. And Macaiah Benedict for a number of years was Master and 
also received Grand Lodge appointment. 


In June, 1852, a petition, signed by several brethren and recom- 
mended by Olive Branch Lodge, was sent to Grand Lodge asking for 
a warrant for a lodge to be held in Mohawk to be called "Mohawk 
Valley Lodge." 

The charter was granted in August, 1852, and lodge numbered 276. 
Nathan Whit'ing was made Master; Amos H. Prescott, Senior War- 
den and Joseph Strauss, Junior Warden. 

The charter members are all dead. 

The lodge is now in a very flourishing condition, having one hun- 
dred and forty members in good standing. 

Frank C. Davis is Master, and Bro. J. D. Fitch a Past Master now 
has the honor of being District Deputy Grand Master of the Nine- 
teenth Masonic District. 

In 1901 and 1902, the lodge erected a temple which is a credit to 
the lodge and an honor to the fraternity. 



On the 24th day (Vf January, 1857, a petition asking for the forming 
of a new lodge in the village of Herkimer, County of Herkimer, State 
of New York, to be named "Herkimer Lodge" was signed by S. W. 
Stimson, Sr., J. C. Lawton, C. D. Lounsbery, B. F. Brooks, Ezra 
Graves, Jacob Spooner, Charles A. Burton, G. W. Tompson, R. Rarl 
and H. H. Morgan. 

This petition was presented to Hon. John L. Lewis, Jr., then Grand 
Master, who granted a dispensation on the 7th day of February, 
1857, upon the hearty recommendation of Mohawk Valley Lodge No. 
276, Hon. Amos H. Prescott being then its Worshipful Master, and 
the charter was given June 20th, 1857. It is interesting to note in 
this connection that Ezra Graves and Amos H. Prescott were Wor- 
shipful Matiters of their respective lodges at the same time and I am 
informed exchanged numerous fraternal courtesies and that each of 
these distinguished Brothers honored their lodges and this counfy, 
by serving as County Judge and Surrogate each for the space of six- 
teen years. 

The charter members were: Robert Earl, Ezra Graves, C. A. Bur- 
ton, J. Addey, H. H. Lewis, J. G. Bellinger, C. H. Batchelder, Wil- 
liam Hilts, J. Clark, H. H. Morgan, William H. Harter, E. Taylor 
and J. P. Rice, all of whom are now dead. 

Ezra Graves was the first Mast'er, Charles A. Burton, Sew^or War- 
den and George W. Tompson, Junior Warden. 

Brother J. G. Burrill, who is now living, has the distinction of be- 
ing the oldest member of this lodge. . He was initiated September 
15, 1857. 

Herkimer Lodge has been signally favored by the Grand Lodge of 
Free and Accepted Masons of the State o(fi New York. 

Brother John C. Graves held positions in the Grand Lodge as Sen- 
ior Grand Deacon, Grand Sword Bearer, District Deputy Grand Mas- 
ter, Commissioner of Appeals and Grand Lodge Representative. 

Brother Clinton Chatfield was for years appointed Assistant Grand 

Brothers William B. Howell and William I. Taber each served as 
'District Deputy Grand Master. 

William C. Prescott served as Grand Marshall. 

^Referring to the Masonic record of another member of this lodge 
'I quote from an article that appeared some time ago in the "New 
York Tribune": 

'^John W. Vrooman was made a Mason at the age of twenty-one 
years, in Herkimer Lodge, No. 423 and served the lodge as Secretary, 
Senior Deacon, Senior Warden, Acting Master and as Worshipful 
Master for three years. He was appointed Senior Grand Deacon of 
the Grand Lodge by five successive Grand Masters, then elected Jun- 
ior Grand Warden two years. Senior Grand Warden two years, and 
Deputy Grand Master four years. At the annual session of the Grand 
Lodge of the State of New York held in June 1889 he was elected by 
a unanimous vote Grand Master and In June 1890 he was unanimous - 


ly re-elected, and also unanimously re-elected in June 1891. He de- 
clined to accept this re-election. 

During each year of his official service as Grand Master he person- 
ally visited each Masonic District in the State which consumed of 
actual time more than ;*our months and of railroad travel more than 
fourteen thousand miles." 

The article also contains this statement: 

"It is a rearkable fact that Brother Vrooman was elected by eight 
hundred representatives in the Grand Lodge eleven successive years 
to various positions, and in no instance was a candidate named 
against him nor a single vote ever east against him." 

Herkimer Lodge now has one hundred and ninety-four members, 
and Judson Bridenbecker is Master. 

The lodge has just purchased a lot of Brother GeorgeGraves upon 
which it contemplates the erection in the near future of a Masonic 


Early in the year 1859, a petition was sent to Grand Lodge asking 
for a dispensation to hold a lodge in Newport, officers named there- 
in were George W. Skinner, Master; Albert Buell, Senior Warden; 
William S. Benchley, Junior Warden. 

A charter was granted June 10th, 1859, and the Lodge was called 
'Newport" No. 455." Brother Edward P. Hadcock is the only one 
of the petitioners now living. He was formerly a member of Herki- 
mer Lodge but affiliated in Newport on October 19, 1861. 

The lodge now has one hundred eighty-seven members. Brother 

B. K. Brown is Master. 

Brother Charles L. Fellows was District Deputy Grand Master in 
1896. Brother George H. Hurlbut was secretary of the lodge for 
twenty-three yearst. 

In the spring of 1902, Brother Joseph T. Woost'er donated a site on 
which the lodge built their present Temple. The corner stone was 
laid July 23, 1902. and it is to be dedicated some time during the pre- 
sent month. 


Illon Lodge No. 591 was organized October 9th. 1865. 

Dispensation issued October 19, 1865. 

Charter granted June 23rd, 1866. 

In the petition Thomas Richardson was nominated Master, Floyd 

C. Shepard, Senior Warden, Albert C. Stevens, Junior Warden. 

The petition was recommended by Herkimer Lodge and duly cer- 
tified to by John C. Graves, Master. The lodge started with twenty- 
cne charter members, only two of whom are now living. They are 
Brother S. P. Sargent, Raised March 23rd, 1859, in Blazing Star 
Lodge No. 11 Concord, New Hampshire, and Brother J. C. Day, 
Raised July 16, 1858, in Mt. Tom Lodge, Holyoke, Mass. 

Brother Joseph A. Johnson represented this district as District 
Deputy Grand Master in the year 1876-77-78-79. 


The lodge has two hundred and seventy-one members and Brother 
William M. Canary is Master. 


A charter was granted a number of brethren to form and hold a 
lodge in West Winfield, June 12, 1866. It was named "Winfleld Lodge 
No. 581". 

Of the original petitioners only four are now living. 
Brother James E. Lines was nominated t'o be and wasi first Mas- 
ter, Edward E. Walker, Senior Warden, Jerome B. Walker, Junior 

The lodge has ninety-three members and Dr. John H. Stephens is 


To Dolgeville, the youngest of the lodges in this county, was Issued 
n, dispensation on September 22, 1888. 

The charter was granted June 6, 1889, by Brother John W. Vroo- 
man. Grand Master, this being his first official act. The officers were 
A. L. Leavitt, Master; J. L. Carnwright, Senior Warden and Eli 
Fenner, Junior Warden. 

Nearly all the charter members are living. 

Through the efforts of Brother Philander Mallett the old Jewels 
used by Aurora Lodge No. 52 were secured and are now being used 
in the 'lodge. 

Brother Mallett was the last surviving member of Aurora Lodge. 
Hie secured a demit from the Grand Lodge in 1889, and affiliated with 
Dolgeville. He died Noveimber 16, 1896, at the agei of ninety-four 
yearsi, five months, having beben a Mason a little over seventy-two 
jlears . 

The lodge has now one hundred and twelve members in good stand- 
ing, and Carlton J. Spofford is Master. 

A brief review shows us that there were twelve lodges given char- 
ters in Herkimer County prior to 1830, all of which save one, sur- 
rendered or forfeited their charter. 

We now have eight in the present bounds of the county with a to- 
tal membership of 1387, all working in harmony. 

There are now in the state seven hundred fifty-seven lodges, with 
a membership of one hundred eighteen thousand one hundred eighty- 
five. The craft owns real and preserved property representing about 
three million dollars and is without any debt. 

That their labor has not been in vain is evidenced by the beautiful 
Home and School, just over the border of our county, in Oneida 
County, which cost three quarters of a million dollars, where with 
loving attention and careful education, three hundred men, women 
and children are provided with a happy home and comfortable sur- 
roundiings. Thus practically proclaiming to the world that the Ma- 
sonic Fraternity, by doings, not sayings, does believe, "in the Broth- 
erhood of man and the Fatherhood ofl God." 

I need not cite another instance. Freemasonry no longer needs a 
defender; its teachings and sublime principles are before the world 


for inspection and criticism. It has survived all persecution because 
its foundation is fne solid rock of the Holy Bible; its superstructure 
'•living stones" tried by love and loyalty to God, by love and charity 
to man. 

Our Masonic Fraternity will remain a model "of wisdom and 
strength" throughout all time, if we continue to live "true to our 
government and just! to our country," to abide in "Faith, Hope and 
Charity," and to labor with "Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance and 



Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 

12, 1903. 

First, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, and, througli you, the 
distinguished Society of which you are the head, for the compliment 
paid to me by your invitation to address the Society. Your society 
is an honor to Herkimer County, and you, Sir, are an honor to tli© 
Society. So far as I know, you have made but one mistake in your 
administration, and that is in your invitation to me. I will forgive 
> ou, but I doubt if the Society ever will. 

Secondly, I wish to say that I claim very little for this paper on 
the score of originality, or perhaps I should say novelty. Twenty 
years ago, or thereabouts, when among other duties I attended to the 
advertising of the Remington typewriter I collected many facts and 
wrote much fiction about the Remington typewriter. "Fiction" is 
I'.ot my own word, for I told the exact truth, but some of our com- 
petitors called it "fiction" because they were unable to answer it, and 
sought to minimize it's effect by discrediting its veracity. I wrote 
many articles myself, which were printed at the time, but as my bur- 
dena increased I employed others to put into shape facts which I fur- 
nished. Thus, for instance, three magazine articles appeared writ- 
ten by three different literary men of considerable prominence. Later 
still Mr. R. McKean Jones came to be my assistant, and to him, 
when my health gave out, the entire work of our Advertising De- 
partment was confided; and since that time he has been the most 
prolific writer upon typewriter topics, as he is to-day perhaps the 
best authority in the world. To him I am much indebted, in the 
preparation of this paper, for the more recent chapters of the history, 
as well as for some of the old which were fading from my memory. 
I have quoted liberally from his writings, in some of which I recog- 
nize my own language of twenty years ago; but in his rich experi- 
ence he has done work to which I could not aspire. 

I have also, in many instances made literal copies of official docu- 
ments, and I am further indebted for facts to our friend and neigh- 
bor, Mr. W, K. Jenne who from the beginning has been the faith- 
ful and efficient Superintendent of the Remington Typewriter Works, 
and to Mr. Oscar Woodward, formerly Examiner in the Patent Of- 
fice at Washington, but now associated with fhe interests of the 


Union Typewriter Company. Mr. Woodward is, without doubt, the 
best authority in the world on typewriter patents. 

Many of the articles Wiiich I have consulted have touched the 
chords of memory. They come back to me like a long-forgotten 
dream. The days when they were written were days of small things 
when Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict occupied a little corner of the 
Remington store at 283 Broadway and I, unaided, kept our books, 
supervised our advertising and wrote the advertisements, attended to 
all our foreign^ business and found time in the long and strenuous 
hours of each working day, to share with Mr. Wyckoff and Mr. Sea- 
mans in the discussion of measures and the shaping of our general 
business policy. 

Those were the days of enthusiasm and anticipations. We were 
still ascending the upward slope of life, and the future was radiant 
with promise. Now, Mr. Seamans and I are descending the after- 
noon side, and for our dear brother Wyckoff the sun has long since 

So much ofl this paper then, I siay, has been printed before by my- 
self or others that scarcely more novelty can be claimed for it than 
exists in the arrangement and the adaptation to the place and the 

The title I have chosen is: 


and the facts are set forth, I believe, with absolute accuracy. 

If I understood correctly your President's letter inviting me to pre- 
pare this paper, what you want is not a history of the Remington 
typewriter simply, but a history of the typewriter. 

It is natural for us in the Mohawk Valley to think that the Rem- 
ir.gton is the only typewriter. It was the first practical machine; it 
remains, I think, the most practical machine. It started first, and 
remains longest. In the principles which it embraces, in the excel- 
lence of its mechanical construction in the scope and quality of its 
work, in the organization which produces and distributes it, and in 
the volume of its business and the character of its clientele, I think 
I may be pardoned for saying that it is, and that it seems destined 
to remain, pre-eminent and unparalleled in the world. But it would 
b© a mistake to suppose that there are no other typewriters. There 
have been issued in the United States 2451 ptaents for typewriting 
machines, and 1768 patents for accessories used in connection with 
the typewriter. In countries other than the United States it is es- 
timated that abou 400 patents have been issued for typewriting ma- 
chines; the number for accessories is not known, but Is not large. 
These figures may seem surprising; they show, at any rate, that the 
writing machine of the present day is the product of many minds. 

I propose to give you first a history in outline of the invention and 
development of the Remington typewriter; afterwards I shall con- 
sider the various earlier, as well as the more prominent later inven- 
tions . 


During the winter of 1866-67, two acquaintances of long standing, 
C. Latham Sholes, a printer and editor by trade, although at that 
time Collector of Customs for the port of Milwaukee, and Samuel W. 
Soule, also a printer, inventor and farmer, were engaged together in 
developing a machine for serially numbering the pages of blank books 
and the like. At the same shop in which they were having the arti- 
san work done, Mr. Carlos Glidden, the son of a successful ironmon- 
ger of Ohio, was also engaged in developing a mechanical "spader" 
to be used instead of a plow. Sholes and Glidden, thus thrown into 
almost daily contact, became much interested in each other's inven- 
tions. Mr. Glidden evinced great interest in the Sholes machine and 
one day chanced to remark to him, "Why cannot such a machine be 
made that will write letters and words instead of figures only?" 
Thus was the seed of thought dropped without any knowledge at the 
time of speaking that such an idea had ever before been suggested. 
Nothing further was said or done at that time_ but the sequel showed 
that the suggestion was not an idle one, and was destined to bear 
abundant fruit in due season. In the Spring of the following year 
(1867) a copy of the Scientific American, which quoted an article 
from "Engineering," a London technical journal, fell into the hands 
ol Mr. Glidden. It described a machine called the pterotype (winged 
type), invented by one John Pratt, of Centre, Alabama, which was 
designed to do just what Mr. Glidden had suggested. 

An editorial article in the paper pointed out the great benefit to 
mankind which such a machine would confer, as well as the fortune 
which the successful inventor would acquire. This was brought to 
the attention of Mr. Sholes and strongly appealed to his imagina- 
tion. He was a man of intellectual temperament, though, perhaps, 
somewhat lacking in the more severely practical qualities necessary 
to carry out an enterprise such as he was about to inaugurate. He 
determined to try what could be done, and, as Glidden had first sug- 
gested the idea, he invited him to join in the enterprise. Soule was 
subsequently invited to join. All made suggestions. Glidden, who 
was of a mechanical turn, suggested many devices, but the sugges- 
tions of the others seemed to be of a more practical nature, so that 
it finally turned out that Glidden's principal sharei in the invention 
was in the value of the general suggestions which he made. The 
first crude model constructed was largely the work of Soule, who sug- 
gested the pivoted types set in a circle, and other minor details. 
Sholes contributed the letter-spacing device. The work went stead- 
ily on, and by September of that year the first machine had been 
made. It was a success in so far as it was able to write accurately 
and with fair rapidity, but it soon showed that it was far from being 
an acceptable practical writing machine' But many letters were 
written with it and sent to friends. Among others, one was sent to 
Mr. James Densmore, then of Meadville, Pa. This proved to be a 
fortunate thing for the nascent enterprise, for it brought into it a 
man of practcal affairs who had sufficient enthusiasm to purchase, 
as he shortly thereafter did by the payment of all expenses already 
incurred, an interest in the enterprise without so much as having 
seen the machine. Mr. Densmore had been both editor and printr. 


and could well realize the importance of such a machine; but it is 
no small tribute to the characteristic energy and foresight of the 
man, that he was thus willing to embark his means in a device so 
entirely new and untried, for it must be remembered that the present 
inventors had no knowledge of any previous efforts in this line ex- 
cepting that of Mr. John Pratt above mentioned. 

The first patent upon the new machine was g-ranted to the three 
associated inventors in June, 1868 (U. S. Patent No. 79,265, June 
23, 1868) . It describes a machine with a circle of type-bars striking 
upwards to a common printing point. The keys resembled those of 
a piano. The paper was held horizontally in a square sliding frame 
moving across the top of the machine and provided with lateral and 
transverse motions for line and letter spacing. An arm extending 
from the rear of the main frame supported a small platen at the 
common center. An inked ribbon passed across this platen from 
spools situated on either side of it, and was caused to move on 
slightly at each stroke of the keys. The action of the type, there- 
fore, served to carry the paper against the inked ribbon, so the im- 
piession was upon the side of the paper opposite to the side upon 
which the face of the type struck. The type-bars were actuated up- 
on the depression of the keys by means of a cam or arm upon the 
inner end of the key lever. The motive power for the carriage mo- 
tion was provided by a falling weight unwinding a cord from a drum 
at the side of the machine. This machine would write, but, to the 
practical mind of Densmore, it only served as an indication of what 
might be accomplished. In July of the same year another patent to 
Sholes, Soule and Glidden was granted. It shows a machine sub- 
stantially the same as the one just described, excepting that the con- 
nection between the key levers and type-bars is made by means of 
connecting wires and rods. Urged on by Densmore, Sholes con- 
tinued to make improvements and to construct model after model, 
until some twenty-five or thirty experimental instruments had been 
made, each a little better, though still lacking the essentials of a 
successful machine. Every detail of the machine came under the 
test of practical service, and one device after another was tried and 
rejected as experience showed it to be faulty. In 1871 the machine 
had assumed a form differing in many particulars from the original 
model. A patent issued to Sholes in this year shows the use of a 
cylindrical platen around which the paper was passed lengthwise. 
The letter spacing was accomplished by a double rachet on the axis 
of the cylinder, which was operated upon by a "twofold vibratory 
ratchet," as the inventer called it. This permitted the cylinder to 
turn the space of a leitter only at a time. The shifting of the line 
was accomplished by a screw cam upon the cylinder engaging the 
teeth of a rack placed beneath it upon the top of the frame. An ex- 
tra wide notch in the ratchet wheels marked the ilne on the cylinder 
where the edges of the paper overlapped one another. While the 
cylinder revolved past this point, the screw cam. engaged the teeth 
of the rack, and threw the cylinder, which turned loose upon its 
shaft towards the rear of the machine a sufficient distance to make 
the line spacing. The inking ribbon passed across the type-basket 


in a direction parallel to the line of writing as in the present Rem- 
ing-ton macnine, but at right angles to the line of travel of the cyl- 
inder. Numerous models were turned out but in the hands of prac- 
tical users (stenographers and others) each of these was proved to 
be in some respect defective, and broke down under the strain of 
constant usage. This process was kept up until the patience of 
Sholes was well nigh exhausted. Doubtless if the enterprise had 
bten solely in his hands, it might have failed at this critical point 
and this attempt to produce a writing machine would have shared 
the fate of the many previous ones and come to naught. But the 
shrewdness and common sense of Densmore proved the salvation of 
the enterprise, for he insisted that such criticism and tests were just 
what were needed to reveal the weak points. He insisted that the 
whole thing might as well be abandoned unless the machine could be 
so constructed that anybody could use it. At this juncture another 
difficulty threatened the enterprise. Fortunately, the typewriter had 
now been brought to a point which warranted the thought of manu- 
facturing it for general sale to the public but tiie means of the pro- 
moters were pretty well exhausted. So far the machines which had 
Jbeen made were but crude products of the shop of an ordinary me- 
chanic, and showed a roughness of construction which would not at 
all answer to offer for sale in a large way, even if they could have 
easily been constructed. With a view to enlisting the interest and 
assistance of manufacturers commanding the control of a sufficiently 
extensive plant to make the machines, and having sufficient capital 
to carry along the enterprise until the public could be made to un- 
dei-stand and appreciate the value of the new invention, Mr. Dens- 
more came, early in the year 1873, to the great gun works of E. Rem- 
ington & Sons, Ilion, New York. As a man of few words, more given 
to action than speech, he was somewhat doubtful of his ability to 
persuade the Remingtons to undertake the business. He, therefore, 
invited an old acquaintance of his, Gr, W. N. Yost, to accompany 
him to assist in presenting the case to the Remingtons — to play the 
part of an Aaron to his Moses, as it were. In justice to the memoxT 
of the two men, since departed this life, it is but right that their true 
relations to the business should be thus recorded. 

Densmore was successful in his mission, and, after much negotia- 
tion, the Remingtons agreed to undertake the manufacture of the 
new machine. The ample resources and skillful workmen available 
at the great Remington factory were now employed in the improve- 
ment of the machine which was thereafter designated as the "Rem- 
ington Typewriter," a name by which it is now known in every quar- 
ter of the globe. 

The first machines were ready for the market about the middle of 
1S74. The first ones sold for general use differed very materially 
f)om the crude hand-made models which came to Ilion in the previ- 
ous year. Nothing but the fundamental principles survived the work 
of the skilled mechanics who took the work of improvement in hand 
at Ilion. The names of William K. Jenne, (now and for many years 
Mechanical Superintendent of the Remington Typewriter Works at 
Ilion) ; Matthias Schwalbach, an ingenious clock-maker who had been 


employed by Mr. Sholes at Milwaukee upon the early models of the 
machine; Jefferson M. Clough; Byron A. Brooks, a professor of the 
higher mathematics; Lucien S. Crandall, and others were at differ- 
ent times engaged in the work of improving the machine. The No. 
1 Remington, as the new machine was called, contained the germ of 
the present machine. In general appearance it was not unlike a 
japanned box with a japanned cover on the top, and with the key- 
board projecting toward the operator at the bottom. The roller, 
around which the paper passed, ran from side to side as in the pre- 
sent model, the key levers were directly connected with the outer 
ends of the type-bars by means of a connecing wire or rod, and the 
spacing was done by a crude rack and dog mechanism resembling in 
principle the present device. The carriage was returned by the ac- 
tion of a foot-treadle upon a pulley at the side of the machine, ne- 
cessitating a special table with each machine, — a form which was 
subsequently abandoned and a side hand lever substituted. 

It also contained one of the principles invented by Sholes at the 
time the machine was first brought to Ilion, in the form of a slotted 
disc forming a guide for each individual typebar — a device which 
was long supposed to be essential to the preservation of alignment, 
but which later experience has shown to be a hindrance rather than 
a help. 

The No. 1 Remington was exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition 
",t Philadelphia in 1876 and attracted much attention from multitudes 
of visitors. Samples of its work were scattered far and wide. The 
machine was well constructed and did surprisingly good work, but it 
gained the public favor but slowly, and sales were slow, disappoint- 
ing the expectations of both manufacturers and promoters. One 
great objection was that it wrote capitals only. This objection wa.s 
so great that the point received the earnest attention of inventors and 
experts. A solution of the difficulty was arrived at by the joint ef- 
forts of two inventors — Lucien S. Crandall and Byron A. Brooks. 
Crandall devised and patented a method of carrying more than one 
type upon the type-bar. His original attempt was to simplify the 
machine and render it less complicated and expensive by reducing the 
number of parts. His idea was largely accomplished by swinging the 
platen a fixed distance, sufficient to remove the line of printing from 
the centre common to one set of types to a point forming a centre 
common to all of another set uniformly placed upon a different por- 
tion of the type-bar; and in part by the oscillation of the keys, which 
effected a sufficient vibration of the type-bars to cause either one of 
two adjacent types to present themselves at the printing point. In 
his patent (U. S. No. 170,239, Nov. 23, 1875), Crandall exhibited six 
types carried upon one type -bar. The swinging motion of the platen 
caused it to move to any of three positions, each serving hs a 
common centre to a pair of types. The oscillation of the keys 
served to determine which of two adjacent types on the type-bar 
should be brought to the printing point. The device was an ingenious 
one, and, as Brooks demonstrated, contained the germ of a most valu- 
able improvement which did much to popularize the typewriter. Al- 
though perfectly practical in an experimental way, commercially speak- 


ing it proved too slow, as it involved too much care in the manipu- 
lating of the machine to be deemed successful. Byron A. Biooks 
applied Crandall's idea of multiple type to a type-bar carrying two 
types only, one being a capital letter and the other its corresponding 
small letter. The change in the printing centre was accomplished by 
sliding the platen in a direction transverse to the line of writing 
by means of an extra key and corresponding mechanism. By properly 
adjusting the curve of the cylindrical platen to the distance between 
the type on the bar, and by sliding the platen a proportionate distance, 
it was possible to print either one of the two letters caried on the type 
at will. This solved the problem of devising a machine which would 
write both capitals and smal letters without increasing the si/e of 
the keyboard, adding to the number of the type-bars, or in any way 
complicating the mechanism — the importance of these inventions was 
quickly appri'ciated, and the doub)e case Piachme, the Remington No. 
2 — was immediately undertaken, and was placed on the market in 187S. 
One of the first machines made of the model was exhibited at tne Paris 
Exposition in that year and was awaried a gold medal. 

The introduction of the No. 2 machine proved to be a long step 
in advance. The sales increased materially, although still disapoint- 
ingly slow. The practical energy of the Remington concern with 
the skill of their mechanics who were kept steadily at work improving 
the machines secured excellent work in the construction. The selling 
agenccy passed through my hands. The first agents were the firm 
of Densmore & Yost, for Mr. Densmore recognized the assistance which 
Yost had rendered in the negotations with the Remingtons by giving 
him an interest in the selling business. The commercial side of the 
venture was a chequered one. Many disadvantages had to be en- 
countered. The general public still had to be convniced of the utilits 
0? the machine, and this was a matter of difficulty. Under the man- 
agement of Yost, the selling agency was not successful, and the load 
of debt upon the enterprise grew steadily heavier and heavier under 
the successive managements of Densmore & Yost, Densmore, Yost & 
Cc, Yost & Co., General Agents (the style for a time assumed when 
Densmore personally withdrew from the selling agency), and finally 
under the form of Locke, Yost and Bates, which was composed of D . 
R. Locke (famous as Petroleum V. Naseby, the humorist), G. W. N. 
■5 ost, and J. H. Bates, now a successful advertising agent in New York. 
Their efforts failed to compel success and for a time the selling de- 
partment was entrusted to the hands of the well known house of 
Fairbanks & Company (the celebrated scale makers). As the busi- 
ness of the Fairbanks concern was well organized, it was thought 
that their facilities would largely increase sales. The business grew, 
but not to the extent which was expected. E. Remington & Sons then 
assumed control of the entire business, and Mr. C. W. Seamans was 
placed in charge of typewriter sales. 

In August 1882 the newly organized firm of Wyckoff, Seamans & 
Benedict asurned charge of the commercial department of the busi- 
ness as sole seJing agent? for the world. 


The increeased sales resulting- from the arrangement encouraged the 
makers to pursue a policy of conf.tant improvement, In 1886 Wy.koff, 
Seamans & Benedict purchased from the Remingion Company all oi; 
the plant and franchise used in the manufacture of the typewriter, 
and organized the Remington Standard Typewriter Manufacturing 
Company to continue the business of making the machines. The 
manufacturing was continued by this company until 1892 when it 
became a part, by consolidation, of the corporation of Wyckoff, Sea- 
mans & Benedict, which was then organized to continue the enorm- 
ously increased business of tlic firm. 

The present models of the Remington arc too well known to call 
for any extended description. The well known No. 2 machine was 
long the standard and the favorite in the Uniter States, and in fact 
'throughout the world but now, the No. 3, the No. 4, and the No. 5 
have given place to Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9. Many improvements in de- 
tails of design and construction have been made, but through aU the 
original prin.^ipies remain the same. So far as has yet appearea. it 
would seem as if the three friends working in the Milwaukee ma- 
chine shops had discovered the true fundamental principles of a suc- 
cessful and practical typewriter. 

The Remington typewriter of to --day represents in numberless de- 
tails of design and construction the results of constant study on the 
part of many able inventors and mechanics of the problem of producing 
the best machine for doing writing. 

Many improvements have been made both in the details of the ma- 
chine itself and in the methods of its construction. Special machinery 
has been devised for many purposes, and still neither pains nor expense 
has been spared to perfect to the utmost every detail of the machine 
and of the process of construction. 

Among the more notable imt r >ven!-jnt& which may be menti'^ned is 
the improve'.nt in the s"ze and spicing of the types, giving the 
machine's work that open, clear and legible appearance for which it 
is distinguished. No small amount of skill has been expended in the 
improvement of the process of making the type. Formerly it was 
necessary first of all to engrave an originol type, and this required 
the services of a highly skilled engraver. This original was used to 
form a matrix from soft metal, which was subsequently hardened, 
and onto which in turn the type metal was forced, thus making the 
type. Now it is only necessary to have an imprint, or correct draw- 
ing, of the letters of any alphabet, and then, by means of what might 
be designated as a mechanical lantograph, the engraving of the 
majtrix is quickly and with absolute accuracy done by machinery. 
The machine that does the work is most ingenious and interesting and 
whereas form'erly the cost of preparing the first machine to write a 
new language, as the Greek or Russian for instance, amounted to 
nearly a thousand dollars, and occupied several months, it may now 
be done quickly and at a moderate cost. 

The method of making the faces of the types to fit tne curvature of 
the cylinder upon which they strike, which was introduced a few years 
ago, served to improve the appearance of the work greatly. 


Much atLention has also been given to the action of the machine, 
and great improvements have been introduced. As typewriter oper- 
ators increased in number and skill, it was found that the old models 
were sometimes pushed to the limit of their capacity for rapid work 
by an unusually skillful operator. Since that, changes have been 
made at different times in the spacing mechanism, which have entirely 
obviated this difficulty, and have rendered the machine capable of doing 
good and legible work at the most extiaordinary speed — far beyond tlie 
reach of even exceptional operators, — and there is no longer any doubt 
that the machine is now capable of any speed that can be attained by 
aixy operator. 

Another very important improvement in the typewriter is the Tabu- 
It tor, which fits it for a vast variety of work. It is now possible for 
all billing to be done at a great saving of time by the tabulator, and 
a great variety of forms used by railway companies, insurance com- 
panies and others are now filled up with great rapidity by means of 
the tabulator, which formerly had to be written out slowly and labor- 
riously by hand. 

I will now proceed to a general history of the predecessors of the 
liemington typewriter, returning later for a few last words concerning 
the machine in which the people of Herkimer County are naturally 
most interested. 


The first record of an attempt to produce a machine for writing is 
found in the records of the British Patent Office. These show that a 
patent was granted to one Henry Mill, an English engineer of dis- 
t. notion, on the 7th of January, 1714. 

No description of his machine is in existence, and all that is now 
known of it can be derived from a description of its puipose given in 
the records of the British Patent Offiice, in which it is described as 

an artifical machine or motive for impressing or transcribing of let- 
ters, singularly or progressively, one after another as in writing, 
whereby all writings whatsoever may be engrossed on paper or parch- 
ment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print." The 
specification goes on to state some of the uses of such a machine in 
the foUwing language. "Said machine or motive may be of great 
use in settlements and public records, the impression being deeper 
ai!d more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or 
counterfeited without manifest discovery." 

By some this machine is supposed to have been, like many other 
attempts in this direction, intended for the blind, but of this there 
seems to be no authentic information. This record, together with a 
machine which is said to have been invented for embossing printed 
characters for the blind in the year 1784, constitutes the earliest men- 
tion of any typwriting machines that can be found. Nothing further 
is known of the 1784 invention. 


The first record of an American invention of a typewriter is found 
in the description of the device patented in 1829 by William Austin 


Burt, of Detroit, Michigan, better known to the world as the inventor 
of the solar compass. The first model, as described in the patent 
issued July 23rd, 1829, shows a machine which the inventor termed a 
typographer. Owing to the destruction of the original model in a 
fire in the U. S. Patent Office in 1836, only an imperfect description of 
the orginal machine is now extant. 

The original patent, however, was not lost. Some years ago a 
gentleman who gave his name as Hiram A. Burt, of Detroit, walked 
into the Patent Office with a patent which he said he had inherited 
from his grandfather, and asked if it was of any value. It turned out 
to be this identical Burt patent. Chief Examiner Woodward, to whom 
I have already referred, had the patent reproduced, and I have here a 
copy of it which I shall be pleased to show to any one in the audience 
who may wish to see it. You will observe that it bears the signature of 
Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, and Martin Van 
Buren, Secreary of State. 

The machine was a very crude affair, and owing to the lack of 
mechanical facilities at the disposition of the inventor in those days, 
the model appears to have been very roughly made. 

His device seems to have consisted of a r'actangular box or frame, 
mounted upon legs and open at the top. In the centre of this, and 
parallel to its length, was placed a platen, and just below it a roller 
from whch the paper passed over the top of the platen. Acrobs one 
end of the frame work was a bar, its ends sliding and turning in 
grooves in the sides of the frame and at right angles to the platen. 
An arm, or lever, somewhat longer than the platen, was attached to 
this bar by means of a pin, thus giving its opposite end or handle a 
lateral motion. This lever carried a typeholder curved to the arc of 
a circle, of which the distance from the pin (connecting it to the 
transverse bar) to the point where t'le typeholder was attached was 
the radius. Across the end of this box near the randle of the K-ver, 
was a rack or guage, the notches in which were marked with letters 
and characters corresponding with those in the typeholder. 

The operation of the machine was effected by pressing down the 
lever carrying the typeholder into the notch upon the rack or gauge 
marked with the character to be printed. 

Letter spacing was effected by moving the lever with the type, etc., 
endwise the distance of one letter space after each impression. Line 
spacing was effected by means of a small crank attached to the end of 
the roller carrying the paper. Inking pads were placed upon each 
3 de of the impression bar, by which the types were inked. 

Although it is said that the machine was a m'echanical, though not 
a commercial success, it is evident that in design as well as con- 
struction, it was an exceedingly crude device. It does not seem to 
have contributed anything of importance to the progress of the art, 
although the principle in a modified form is now shown in some of 
the modern toy machines. The interest attaching to it is, therefore, 
merely historical, as it was beyond question the first American at- 
tempt to produce a writing machine. 


In 1833 a French patent was granted to Xavier Progrin (Pro jean?) 
of Marseilles, for a device which he described as a Ktypographic ma- 


chine or pen. An engraving or description of the machine is to be 
frund in Brevets d'Invention, Vol. 37, First Series, Plate 36. Neither 
engraving nor description is entirely complete therefore an exact de- 
scription cannot be well given. The inventor had three purpo^,es in 
mind: one was to print "almost as rapidly as one could write with an 
ordinary p?n", secondly, to impress sterotype' plates for use in ordinary 
presses; thirdly to copy music and to make sterotype plates of the 

This machine consisted of an assemM> of type-bars arranged in a 
circle. Each type struck downward upon a common centre; each type- 
bar was actuated by a rod extending upward through the top -plate 
of the machine. It was operated by the depression of these upright 
rods, thus causing the type to strike down upon the platen beneath, 
'ihe paper was held upon flar, surface over which the frame con- 
taining the type-levers moved. Suitable ratchet mechanism provided 
for longitudinal and transverse motions of the type-bar carriage, thus 
accomplishing the line and letter spacing. The top plate of the ma- 
chine was marked with the letters and characters contained on the 
tjpe-bars, so that the operator could readily perceive which rod to 
strike. The fall of the type-bar having imprinted a letter upon the 
paper, the operator was obliged to raise the upright rod again (the end 
of it being furnished with a hook for that purpose). The body of the 
machine was then pushed lightly with one hand, allowing small spring 
pawls to pass from one tooth to another of the rack. This movement 
marked the distance of the small letters. A movement of two notches 
was necessary for the distance of the capital letters or the space be- 
tween two words. At the end of the linte a string enabled the operator 
to lift the pawls from the rack and return the machine to the beginning 
of the line, and at the same time the frame was moved one notch 
further along in the transverse rack, thus providing for line spacing. 
The types were inked as they fell to the paper by striking against a 
small inked pad. 


While the necessity of a machine to do the work of the pen had been 
experienced long before, and quite a number of attempts had been 
made to produc such a machine prior to the invention of the electric 
telegraph, there is no question that much of the progress made in 
later years was due to the efforts of electricians to provide a means for 
printing, by means of eleotricty, letters or other symbols by which in- 
telligence could be conveyed to distant places. Contained in an Eng- 
lish patent (No. 9204 June 21, 1841), issued to Alexander Bain and 
Thomas Wright, for the invention of improvements in applying elec- 
tricity to control rail'way carria,ges and engines, mark time, to give 
signals and print intelligence at distant places is found a description 
of a mechanism containing some of the principles of the modern type- 

The fifth claim of this patent is for "The application of the deflec- 
tion of the electric conductor to print intelligence at distant places. ' 
The mechansm shows an arrangement of type-bars each carryng a 
single type, and adapted to print at a common centre. Each of these 
type-bars was actuated by electricity, a current being sent through an 


electro magnet, which operated upon an iron armature attached to 
what may be called the connecting red of tne typo-bar. This terved 
to carry the type towards the centre of the circle. In the centre was 
placed a magnet common to all, which served to attract an armature 
upon the type-bar, forcing the type against the ribbon of paper upon 
which was laid a narrow ribbon containing an inking mixture. The cur- 
rent ca,using the impression after leaving the magnet was conducted to 
another part of the machine and served to operate a rachet and pawl 
whereby the paper was moved i letter space. 

The macnine was designed for telegraph purposes alone, and the 
work was performed upon a narrow ribboif of paper which was un- 
rolled from one reel and re- wound upon anoiher after the piinting 
was performed. The type-bars of this mechanism were mounted upon 
cne end of shafts of considerable length, — substantially the much dis- 
cussed broad bearing of the type-bar whi^h has since heen adopted 
and claimed by several American mechanics, and which, though tested 
and rejejcted by some of the most skillful, has been incorporated in 
one of the modern machines on txie market. 

Another po;tion of this p.atent described a machine with a type 
v^heel mounted upon a vertical shaft. This was actuated by a clock- 
work attachment governed by an electnic current. The motion of ihe 
clock-work served to revolve a device somewhat like the old style of 
governor, the remainder of the time being occupied in withdrawing the 
the face of the type upon the paper. An ingenious eccentric device 
provided that the type wheel should be pressed against the surface of 
the paper for about flve-sixths of the period of the movement of the 
governor, the remainder of the time being occupied in withdrawing the 
type-wheel; thus an impression was made by the type on the face of 
the wheel, and the type removed a minute distance from the paper to 
enable it to move forward a single space for the next letter. 

These inventors seem to have had no idea of making use of their 
device save for the purpose of the electric telegraph, and as such 
methods of telegraphy were soon superseded by more rapid methods, 
their device attracted little attention. 


The next step in the progress of the art was taken by Charles 
Thurber, of Worcester, Massachusetts, to whom two patents were 
granted (No. 3228 on August 26th, 1843, and No. 4271, on February 18th, 
1845). The mechanism described in the 1843 patent represented a 
typewriter practical in every point save that of time. In operation it 
was so exceedingly slow that it was really nothing more than a 
sceintific curosity. In the actual construction of the first model, 
Thurber departed quite ^materially from the plan described in his 
patent, as further study of the device enabled him to materially im- 
prove several of its features. 

The essential features of his invention consisted of a flat horizontal 
wheel, carrying on its periphery a number of upright rods having a 
type at the lo-^er end and finger key at the upper. The desired letter 
having been moved to the printing point by revolving the wheel, the 
depression of the type rod served to imprint the character upon the 



paper beneath. In the patent he describes the paper as carried upon 
a flat table supported upon a stout framework which was operated in 
two directions by suitable mechanism to produce the letter and line 
spacing movements. As finally constructed, he hit upon a mucn more 
practical method (now generally adopted in typewriters) of placing the 
paper around the circumference of the roller or cylinder, which was 
operated step by step by means of ratchet and pawl mechanism to 
produce the letter spacing, while tne revolution of the cylinder made 
the spacing between the lines. The inking was accomplished by passing 
the face of the type across an inked roller. A permanent guide served 
to insure the depression of the type at the right spot upon the paper. 

The machine did good work, but was so slow that it was abandoned 
as a practiQcl device, and so- far as known, the only mod§l that was 
ever constructed is one which was discovered a few years ago, and 
which is now preserved as an interesting relic by the "Worcester 
(Massachusetts) Society of Antiquarians. 

The machine embodied one of the essential principles of the modern 
typewriter that of the paper-carrying cylinder rotating on its axis to 
procluce line spacing, and moving longitudinally to accomplish letter 
spacing. These operations were separately performed by the operator. 

Thurber's second device, as covered by his patent of 1845, was for a 
•writing machine proper as distinguished from a typewriter. It con- 
sisted of elaborate mechanism whereby a stylus or pencil was made to 
operate against paper carried upon a flat platen held in a vertical 
position. If was designed to peiform the motions of the hand in writ- 
ing, and was intended for the benefit of the blind. So far as is 
known, nothing was ever done with this machine in a practical way, 
and it is doubtful if the inventor succeeded in making it perform the 
work for which it was intended. 


A Mr. Littledale, of York, England, invented a typewriter for the 
benefit of the blind, which, however, seems not to have been patented, 
at least 1 have been unable to learn of any patent issued to this in- 
v<"'ntor. The following note, taken verbatim from the records of the 
Section of Mechanical Sciences of the British Association for Vne 
Advancement of Science, proceedings of the fourteenth meeting held at 
lork in the year 1844, gives the only description of tlie invention 
which I have been able to find. 

"Into a case probably a yard long and three or four inches square' is 
fitted a slide something like one section of a letter rack such as used in 
printing offices for depositing type when not in use. This slide is 
adapted to any alphabet or to arbitrary characters. At one end of the 
case there is a hammer under which the paper is placed. As the letters 
are brought up successively by the application of an ingenious con- 
trivance at the opposite end of the case, the nammer is raised and by 
its fall they are impressed, or rather embossed, upon the paper, so 
that blind persons may distinguish them by the touch. When the first 
letter of a word is printed the hammer is raised and that causes the 
better to move away; at the same time a space on the paper for the 
next word is produced. The blank between each letter or word may 


increased by raising tlie hammer twice or thrice, instead of once. 
Successive letters are brought to the hammer by means before alluded 
to. There is also prepared paper (black) which may be put over the 
white paper at discretion, the object of which is to enable people who 
have their sight to read the printing letter. The force of the hammer 
cfiuses the black paper to 'set off'. At the hammer end of t^n.e case a 
piece of cloth is attached and placed between the hammer and type, 
so that a letter may not be bruised. 

The type in the slide is madei of wood, but to metallic letters the 
device would be equally applicable." 


On the 19th of January, 1849, a machine was patented in France by 
Pierre Foucault, a blind teacher of the Paris Institution for the blind. 
It was designed for the purpose of printing embossed characters for 
ihe use of the blind. The type in this mcichine Were formed on the end 
of a number of converging rods sliding in grooves cut in the surface 
of a plate to a com.mon printing point. These rods were simply 
pushed to the point of convergence by the finger, the upper 
part of the rods, which were placed in a row, containing a finger key. 
At the stroke of each letter, the machine moved itself one space, and 
V'-hen the end of the line was reached proper mecnanism caused the 
paper to move a line space. Wnen used for the blind the type vvere 
made to imprint their face into the surface of the paper. The invent- 
or also apeared to have made use of the machine for ordinary print- 
ing by the use of carbonized paper. 

The machine attracted great attention and was awarded a gold 
medal at the World's Fair in London, 1851. Several of them were con- 
structed and were for a long time used in the various institutions for 
the blind in different parts of Europe. It does not, however, seem to 
have come into any very general use or to have contributed anyrhing 
In the progress of the art of manufacturing a writing machine. 


The invention of Oliver T. Eddy, of Baltimore, Maryland, (U. S. Pat- 
ent No. 7771, of November 12th, 1850), was designed to furnish the 
means of substituting printed letters and signs for written ones in the 
tiansaction of pvery day business, to use the inventor's own words 
His specifications and drawing show a v/eli grounded attempt tj 
solve the question of a writing machine, but the means employed, 
though highlj creditable to the gcnirs of die iru'entoj-, proved to be 
too elaborate and resulted in nothing. Eddy lavished many years of 
labor upon his machine, and is said to have died in poverty after a 
futile appeal to the Government for assistance to enable him to per- 
fect it. 

In this machine the printing was accomplished by seventy-eight 
type arranged in six rows of thirteen each. These were assembled in a 
vertical position above the paper table, a flat horizontal plate of iron 
covered with cloth, which was adapted to move in lateral and longi- 
tudinal directions, thus providing for letter and line spacing, Between 
the paper table and the face of the type-form was an inked plate, 


having a hole in the centre large enough to allow of the easy passage 
of the type, one at a time. The type-form was also capable of lateral 
and transverse movements whereby any one of the type in tae form 
cculd be brought over the central printing point represented by the hole 
in the inking plate. The actual impression of the type face upon the 
paper was acoompiished by the action of a pLmger rod operatmi,- 
vertically above the printing point. The descent of this plunger upon 
the head of any one of the type-bars contained in the type form 
caused it to descend through the hole in the inking pad and imprint an 
impression of the type upon the paper beneath. The type were held 
and returned to normal position after the printing by springs. 

The -.nach'ne contained very many ingenious provisions for accom- 
plishing its purpose. It was provided with a system of gauges for 
s< curing the exact regulation of the relative position of both the paper 
and type, also with a contrivance lor increasing the blow of the 
i-lunger, and also checking any rebound or secondary blow. 

So far as is known, but one of these macMnes was ever constincted. 
Ite size aijjd neccessarily complicated and expensive construction pre- 
cluded the idea of ever manufacturing it for sale. It is said to have 
done very neat work, but it is evident, from its construction and the 
movements i.ecessary to operate it, that it must have been very slow in 
operation and m efffeot impiacticable foi the purpose for which it was 


In 1850 a patent was granted to J. B. Fairbanks, for a machine which 
he designated a color printing machine, which was intended for print- 
uig patterns on cotton fabrics. I;i design and construction it i,hculd be 
"classed among typewriting machines. It consists of a series of con- 
verging rods, bearing types upon the lower ends and keys ot the upper 
ends. To operate this machine these rods were caused to descend to 
the common printing point on a roller beneath, each rod converging to 
the same point. It was impracticable even for the purpose for which 
it V as especially designed, and appeal s never to have been used. 


In 1852 a patent was granted to on^- J. M. Jones, of Clyde, New- 
York, for a machine which he designated a Mechanical Typewriter. A 
second patent for improvements in this machine was also granted in 
1856. It contained several devices which are found in modern type- 
writing machines. 

The different types, representing the letters, numerals, punctuation 
marks, etc., were placed underneath the rim of the horizontal wheel. 
Ihis wheel had two motions: one in the direction of its axis, which 
was vertical; the other rotai-y, upon its axis. The paper was carried 
upon a cylinder, which was mounted upon a carriage moving out- 
wards from the centre of the machine as the printing of the line pro- 
gressed. This cylinder also rotated upon its axis to provide for the 
spacing between the lines. 

The horizontal wheel was rotated and was also depressed by means 
of a lever. Surrounding the horizontal wheel was a circular s> alien- 


aiy rack, having a projecting rim on its outer edge. This rim was 
marked with letters and characters corresponding to all the types set 
in the wheel, a letter or character being opposite to each tooth in the 


An index was attached t^ the horizontal wheel and so adjus'^ed :nat 
when the end of the index was placed over the niche or groove in the 
rack, and the horizontal wheel depressed by means of the lever, a type 
pressed upon the surface of the paper carried upon the cylinder just 

The letter spacing was accomplished by mechanism which caused 
tlie carriage to move outward a distance equal to one space when the 
lever was depressed and bfore the type had time to reach the surface 
oi the paper and make an impression. 

"When the carriage had reached its limit of travel from the centre of 

the machine, the line was completed and it was returned inwards in 

the direction of its axis towards the centre of the machine, and at 

t he same time rotating a fixed distance to change the position of the 

paper for the next line. 

Provision was also made for the correct spacing of types of unequal 

It will be readily seen that this machine contained some of the 
essentials afterwards embodied in practical typ writers. Th'e carriage 
bearing the rotating cylinder for carrying paper, resembles in principle 
the device for that purpose in the standard modern machines, although 
in the latter the principle is differently applied. The device of a hori- 
zontal type-bearing wheel is one which is now used in some of th» 
smaller or toy machines. 

This machine marked some progress in the direction of a practical 
writing machine, but was impracticable for lack of speed and was 
soon forgotten. 


In 1854 (U. S. Patent No. 10995, May 30), R. S. Thomas, of Wilming- 
ton, North Caiolina, took out a patent for a machine he termed a typo- 
graph. It was intended to do printing, but was a cheap affair oi 
simple construction. It might be said to be the father of the numer- 
ous toy machines which have appeared on the market during recent 


The invention of A. Ely Peach, of New Tork, then one of the editors 
of the Scientific American, marked a considerable degree of progress 
corresponding to the one marked upon that niche of the rack was 
towards the construction of a practical writing machine. In 1847 he 
invented a machine in which the paper was supported upon a roller 
m a sliding frame. It had a keyboard, made due provision for letter 
riv.d line sps:'ng and feeding of the paper, and also contained a signal 
bell for giving warning as the end of a line approached. Inking (to 
use a Hibernianism) was performed by means of carbon paper. It had 
a series of finger keys connected with printing levers which printed in 
i circle and struck at a common point upjn the roller. This machine 
worked fairly well, but the quality of its work was not satisfactory to 
the inventor and he laid it aside for further improvements. 


In 1856 the same inventor was granted another patent (U. S. No, 
lci64, June 1:4) for a machine which marked a decided advance npof 
anything which had yet appeared. It consisted of a series of type- 
carrying levers arranged in the mv. fannliai form of a circular uajkel 
all of which printed at a common center. 

The machine was mainly designed for the benefit of the blind, print- 
ng raised letters which they could read by the sense of touch. It was 
furnished with two sets of typo-bars, one carrying depressed type strik- 
ing the paper from below, while the other, carying raised type, struck 
tli'3 paper from above, embossing on it the required character. Letter 
spacing was secured by a clock-work mechanism in connection with 
an escapement and pawl which was released by the action of tnc kej s 
upon a cord. The machine is also applied to ordinary typewriting. 
For this purpse only a single set of Lype-bars was employed, wnich 
struck upon a small table over which the ribbon of paper was con- 
ducted. The ink was furnished by an endless band of carbon paper 
or inked fabric, which passed over rollers at each side of the basket 
A downward stroke of the type-bar caused an impression of the type 
to be imprinted upon the paper. One of the rollers over which the 
inking sheet passed was so geared into tne clock-work motion that it 
n'.oved on simultaneously with the paper. 

This machine did good work of the character for which it was prin- 
cipally intended, but was slow in its operation. The model w'.iich was 
made is still preserved. The method of printing was closely akin to 
that subsequently brought to a practical outcome by others but it will 
be perceived by the decription that it only provided for the printing 
of characters upon a narrow ribbon of paper, and was, therefore un- 
suited to meet the requirements of a practical writing machine. 


In 18o6 (U. S. Patent No. 14907, May 20th) a patei.t for a "print- 
ing machine" was granted to J. H. Cooper of Philadelphia. This ma- 
chine employed a tjpe-wheel, having type arianged radially. This 
revoilved beneath a disc bearing characters corresponding to those upon 
the type -wheel. The wheel was revolved by means of a crank handle. 
Lpon the top of the plate or disc the vertical axis of the wheel was 
mounted up^n a lever which operated a prosser arm, which forced the 
paper against the surface cf the type, thu? causing impressions to be 
"nade upon it. The crank, by means of which the type-wheel was 
operated by hand, carried a conical point attached to a spring arm 
crnnected with a counter-sunk hole in the disc, each marked with a 
character to correspond with those on the type-wheel. The pressure 
upon the crank first secured the locking of the type-wheel in corr'ect 
position for printing the character which the crank indicated, and then 
i-ressed the paper agams^ the surface of the type which had previous - 
y been inked by contact with the printing roller. It had a carriage 
containing two rollers between which the paper was held. Letter spac- 
't g was accomplished by means of a rachet and pawl. The line spac- 
ir g was done by the hand of the operator. 

This device never emergen from the e>perimental stage, and while it 
showed a great deal of ingenuity and an advance over former methods, 
it was too slow for any practical use. 



In 1857, Di\ Francis, a well known physician of Newport, Rhode 
Island, and subsequ''ntly a resident of Ne-sv York, took out a patent 
(CJ. S. No. 18504, October 27) for a typewriter which was based upon 
the principle of the piano-forte action. 

Francis arranged "nis types upon a series of hammers which were 
arranged in a circle and moved to a common printing point upon a 
snxall circular platen, which was supported from the fiamework and 
which it was necessai^y to remove in order to insert a fresh sheet of pa- 
per. The keys, which resembled those of a piano, were arranged in a 
straight line across the front of the machine. The depression of a key 
actuated an upright lever rigidly attached to it. This, by means of a 
connecting wire, pulled forward a rocking pin which operated in a 
catch attached to a hanger from which the type-hammer depended, 
( -using the type to rise towards the common centre and print its face 
upon the paper through an inking ribbon so arranged that it pre^enved 
■! fresh portion of its surface at the printing point at each depression 
of the keys. The paper was hsld flat in a rectangular frame, which 
traveled to and fro over the type-basket. The motion of this frame 
was accomplished by a drum containing a coiled spring to which it 
was attachea by a cord. Another spring upon the opposite side of the 
machine was also connected with the frame. It also contained a device 
lor letter spacing. At the end cf a line the frame was drawn back, 
ohus rewinding the spring and at the same time moving the paper for- 
ward a line space. It was provided with a bell which notified the oper- 
ator when approaching the end of the line. It also had a device for 
preventing collision of two or more type-hammers at the common 
point. Two copies were printed at once by letting the ribbon run be- 
tween a thick and a thin sheet of paper. 

The machine printed clearly and with a speed exceeding that of the 

pen, but was cumbrous, occupying a space of about two square feet. 

Only one machine was made under the patent. As Dr. Francis made 

it simply as a matter of diversion no attempt was ever made to put 

t on the market. 


In 1858 a paent was granted to Henry Harger (U. S. No. 22423, 
December 28) for a machine for typewriting which was to some slight 
degree suggestive of the modern Hall typewriter. 

The paper was laid upon a table which traversed the bottom of the 
machine. The type were carried in a holder wihch traveled longitudin- 
ally in a direction at right angles to the line of the movement of the 
pap'8r. A lever extending across the upper part of the machine was 
fitted with 8. little plunger to press upon the upper end of the type, 
which projected above the top of the holder, thus causing them to be 
depressed and brought in contact with the paper. 

The device, like many others, was of no advantage in point of speed 
or convenience, and never came into practical use. 


This machine is of interest for the reason that it contained a principle 
which has since Ween much experimented with, but never successfully 


applied. Tae machine is the invention of Mr. G. House, of Buffalo, 
N. Y. and dates from 1865. It employed the circular basket of type 
consisting- of J shaped type -bars carrying type inserted in a socket 
and striking upward to a common centre. The type-bars were hung 
upon loose joints and the principle abve alluded to consisted of a 
central guide or hole through a plate covering the basket. This was 
intended to secure the alignment of tne type, and was long supposed to 
be the method by which good alignment could be secured; but the ex- 
perience of inventors and users of type-writers to which it has been 
applied proves that perfect alignment of type cannot be secured in 
that manner. 

The paper carrying device of the House machme consisted ''f a 
cylinder about which the sheet was wrapped. The letter spacing was 
performed by the partial revolution of the cylinder after every stroke 
of the keys, and when a line was completed, the paper was shifted by 
moving the carriage a line spacet It was a cumbrous instrument, and 
the action q# the keys which were placed in two rows along its front 
is said to have resembled that of an organ 


This machine (U. S. Patent No. 12 7739, june 11, 1872) is a cmious 
specimen of misplaced ingenuity which, however practical it may 'have 
.seemed to be in theory, proved to be an entire failure in practice and 
is now unknown to the users of typewriters proper. 

A type-wheel, revolving upon a horizontal axis above a cylinder bear- 
ing a sheei: of paper, was brout;ht in contact with the paper uy the 
.operation of the keys entering slots cut upon a cylindrical sleeve 
attached to the type-wheel; each character having its own peculiar 
slot differing from every other one secured the proper impression. 


The writing ball invented by Rasmus Mallng Johan Hansen, a clergy- 
nan of Copenhagen, Denma,rk, is perhap.s the best known European 
4nvention of the kind. In America U is known only as a curiosity. 
Linited States patents were issued upon it in 1872 (No. 125,952, April 
?3,), 1874 (No. 158,071, Dec. 22); 1875 (No. lb8,S98, Oct. 19); i87S (No. 
211,010, Dec. 17). 

It was exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 
and received a gold medal. There are m. dels of this machine in the 
latent OfRce and also in the National Museum in Washington, hat so 
far as is known, none have been sold or are in use in the United States 
although quite a number are said to be sold annually in Continental 

The main feature of the machine, from which it took its name, is a 
horizontal brass shell inverted over the paper-carrying and spacing 
mechanism. The types are carried upon 54 rods or pistons which pro- 
trude through this shell, radiating in different directions from the 
centre of the sphere which is the common printing point. The face of 
each type cairied on the lower end of these rods is cut at the appro- 
priate angle to print upon the surface of the paper beneath. The 
upper ends of these rods, as they rose above the shell, were furnished 
with finger keys marked with the character on the lowCi- end of tlie rod. 


Different modifications of tlie paper-carrying device have been applied. 
One model (:hows the cylinder for the paper which was also iiovided 
with the customary mechanism for the line and letter spacing'. An- 
other show-! a flat paper carriagp, the impression )eing received on a 
kind of anvil supported upon the frame of the machine, while the third 

model employs a curved plate forming a sector of a cylinder. 

The first designs for this machine provided for the use of an electri- 
cal mechanism to move the carriage. The machine was furnished with 
a bell to indicate end of line, scale to shjv»f locality of impressions, etc., 
etc. Thj cype pistons were provided with sp.ngs to secure the prompt 
return of the type from the paper, and the spacing mechanism was ac- 
tuated by a slight depression of the ball or hemisphere which followed. 

the depression of the key. 

The machine is compact, substantially made, and durable, weighing 
only about eight pounds; but it is costly, and too slow in operation to 
satisfy modern requirements, thougli the character of the work it per- 
forms is said to be excellent. 


John Pratt alluded, in his paper read before the Society of Arts of 
London in 1867, to an invention for writing and printing, which had 
been patented in the previous year by one Abner Peeler. The device 
(U. <S. Patent No. 57, 182, Aug. 14, 1866) was a complex arrangement of 
pulleys and levers which was entirely impracticable and was nothing 
more than a curiosity. It employed a type- -plate and printed upon a 
fat table. It somewhat resembled the pantograph or instrument em- 
ployed by draughtsmen for transferring drawings which they wish to 


In the year 1867, John Pratt, of Centre, Alabama, read a paper before 
the London Society of Arts de.scriptive of a machine of his invention 
virliich was intended to write with types. He named the machine 
"Fterotype" (vt^inged type). 

The machine described by him proved to be impracticable and never 
came into general use. It has been claimed, however, that it was a com- 
ment upon John Pratt's invention in the Scientific American of July 
6th, 1867, together with the editorial remarks of Mr. Beach, himself a 
typewrter inventor which fell under the eye of C. Latham Sholes 
and his colleagues which incited them to attempt the contruction of the 
progenitor of the now famous Remington. 

John Pratt's Pterotype of 1867 aimed at producing a machine free 
from the difficulties incident upon the conv'3rging type lever system 
en the one hand and the type-wheel on the other, he having experi- 
mented with both. In the paper referred to above Mr. Pratt describes 
this machine subtantially as follows: 

"The whole mechanism is contained in a small case, composed of 
two rectangular frames, mounted the one on the other, giving the side 
elevation an "L" shape. A number of levers furnished at one end with 
keys extend from front to back the interior length of the case. Ex- 
tending across and a short distance above these key levers, near the 
back of the case, are two oscillating plates or rocking frames. Be- 
tween the fulera of the key lever and the oscillating plates just men- 


tioned is a third oscillating plate also placed above and across 
the key levers. These three oscillating plates are moved sim- 
ultaneously by each key and perform simultaneously the three dif- 
ferent operations already mentioned as requisite in a machine 
for writing with type, namely, bringing the types in arbi- 
trary succession to one point, forming a corresponding im- 
pression there, and moving the paper. The types are disposed 
in slight converging lines on the face of a thin metal plate, whic'n, for 
economy, is electrotyped in the ordinary manner. This plate is worked 
•by the simultaneous and combined action of the two oscillatmg 
plates at the back of the case. With one of these oscillating plates, 
the type plate is connected by a vertical lever to the upper end of 
which it is fixed, being supported at its back by a metal bar. With 
the other oscillating plate, it is connected by a bell crank lever and 
two wire links, one of which extends vertcally from the norizontal 
arm of the bell crank to the oscillating plate; the other passes hori- 
zontally from the vertical arm of the bell crank to the lever to which 
'the type plate is attached. If only one of the oscillating plates be 
moved the type pHate moves in only a vertical or horizontal direction, 
according to the one employed. When both are moved togetner the 
Tresultant motion of the plate is diagonal. By varying the relative de- 
gree of the two movements, the direction of the tYPe-Plate is equally 
varied, and any given type may be moved to any desired point. The 
motion of the type-plate is checked at the proper moment to receive 
toe stroke of the type-hammer by springs which oppose a moderate and 
nearly uniform resistance to the movement of thei oscillating plates^ 
Printing is effected by a hammer, having a face equal m extent to a 
single type, which strikes against tne several types, the instant they are 
brought within its range, a sheet of carbonized paper held m contact 
with a sheet of writing paper. The hammer is oPf/^^ed by an oscil- 
lating plate, with which it is connected by a small rod hinged to its 
butt This rod has at its lower end a catch, which engages an arm 
projecting from the oscillating plate, and having an eccentric move- 
ment which causes it to act in a manner somewhat anologous to tne 
STpper of a piano. The depression of a key lowers this eccentric arm and 
retracts the rod and hammer. Just as the key has been carried through 
its full movement and the corresponding type brought to the proper 
position the catch is pushed off the eccentric and the hammer impelled 
Sgainst the type by a spring. The exact ^^^^^'^L^^l^'l'^^^^Zl 
released from the catch, a matter of great nicety, is determined by a 
screw adjustment. When the key is released, the arm of the oscil- 
lating plate again engages the catch and the hammer is ready for a 

"TorThe^^feed of the paper a square opten frame, which for distinction 
may be termed the page frame, slides in vertical grooves found in the up- 
right part of the case in the plane of the type plate. Within this a 
second frame, which may be term'ed the line frame, moves horizontal- 
K from right to left. The movement of the latter makes the lines, and 
tie former the pages of writing. The movem^ent of the line frame is 
given by a square steel rod revolving in vertical bearings and niov^d 
by a spring which is wound up at the completion of each line by 
striking a key The motion of the rod is communicated to the frame 
by a small pulley, turning with t^ie rod upon which it slides with the 
page frame during the progress of the writing. Its movement is regu- 


lated by an escapement wheel and pallets, the latter being connected 
by a link with an arm projecting vertically from the oscillating plate 
which operates the hammer. The same key stroke which moves the 
hammer produces an oscillation of the pallets and allows the paper to 
move the distance of a letter and space. The oscillation of the pallets may 
be effected by a partial movement of the keys, so that the paper can be 
moved without moving the hammer, when it is required to make a 
space instead of a Tetter. By this means I get rid of the space key used 
in all previous naachines of this or analogous class, every key serv- 
ing as a space key. The carbonized and writing paper are held in a 
clamp resting loosely in an angular projection of the line frame, 

whence they are easily and quickly removed for a fresh sheet of paper. 
To reverse the movement and bring the paper to its starting point for 
a new line, the escapement wheel must first be freed from the pallets, 
which, for this purpose, are mounted on a lever connected by a link 
with one of the key levers, and the depression of which effects the dis- 
engagement. This done, a second key must be struck, which operates 
a link, bell crank lever and toothed sector, thus reversing the move- 
ment of the frame and bringing it to its starting point. 

To make the proper interval between the lines, the page frame is 
provided with a rack, moved by a pawl of peculiar form and adjust- 
m'ent, which leaves the teeth always free, so that the frame may, at 
any stage of the writing be moved in any direction. The pawl is 
operated by aid of one of the' key levers, with which it is connected 
by a vertical link rod. A page being completed, a new sheet of paper 
is placed in the clamp, and the page frame is pushed back to the bot- 
tom of the grooves. 

This machine did not prove the success Mr. Pratt had hoped for, and 
but a very limited number of them were ever made. In the U. S. Pat- 
ent Office, finding himself in interference with Mr. Hammond, w"no had 
made an application for patents on a wheel machine, he finally yielded 

precedence to hm under a compromise which gave him a royalty on 
that machine, and thus ended his efforts in the direction of typewriter 

We have now traced in outline the history of the inventions of Mr. 
Sholes predecessors, and this brings us back to the Remington. 

From small beginnings, with which many of yon are familiar, the 
Remington typewhter enterprise has grown to its present proportions. 
In the first year of its existence, 1874 to 1S75, there were manufactured 
550 machines. The number of employees was about 30. In the second 
>ear 1875, the production was about 1300 machines. In 1876 about 1500. 
'n 1877 there was a falling off owing to a change from the No. 1 to the 
I-, o. 2 machine, and only 526 or 527 machines were produced. In 1878 
the production did not exceed 1200 to 1500 of all kinds. In 1886, as has 
already been stated, Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict bought the factory 
and took over the manufacturing, and in that year the number of ma- 
chines made was 6561. In 1902 the production approached 50,000, whic'i 
reached the limit of the capacity of our factory at that time and left 
the Remington Company largely behind their orders. The production 
.>' the present year, 1903, will largely exceed that of 1902," although wa 
are still unable to utilize all of our increased facilities. 

From 30 employes in 1874 the number has increased to about 1500. 


Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict started as selling- agents in 1882 with 
a selling force of 10 people. Today thei'e are engaged in selling tne 
Kemington typewriter about 4500 persons. The number of branch 
offices throughout the world is 430. 

Regarded at first as a toy — an , extravagant plaything — and 
received by the public with extreme reluctance, the type- 
writer has come to be I'egarded even by those who were 
most skeptical, as a necessity in conducting the business, 
the professional, the educational, the scientific, not to say 
the most conservatism and indifference; professional people might find 
use for the typewriter, but the business man — "No!" Now the busi- 
ress of the world is dependent upon it, and would be paralized with- 
out it. It is in use in all sorts of business houses from the largest to 
the smallest. A few instances of large users of Remington machines 
may be interesting. The New York Life Insurance Co. uses about 
5C0; the Eqi*table Life 175; the Standard Oil Company 300 or more; 
the General Electric Company 400; the New York Central Railroad 
Company 500; the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroal 125; the 
American Tobacco Company 300; the Western Electric Company 250; 
United States Steel Corporation 350; the American Surety Company 
100; R. G. Dun & Co. Mercantile Agency, nearly 1000; the Bradstreet 
Company nearly 1000; and the MetropoUton Life Insurance Company 
of New York nearly 1000. 

Among our European clients we mention: The London & North- 
western R. R. of England, with over 200 Remingtons; the Northwestern 
Railway of France, with over 100. All the State Railways of France, 
the Compagnie International des Wagon Lits, (the Pullman Company 
of Europe), and the State Railways of Belgium are all large users, as 
are also many of the great steamship lines. The great credit agency 
of Germany, W. Schimmelpfeng, with headquarters in Berlin and 
branches all over Europe, uses upwards of 150. The Imperial Bank of 
Constantinople over 150. The Union Bank of Australia 132. The great 
electrical house of Scsukert & Co., Nuremberg, uses about 200 . The 
famous Semens & Halske about 100, not to menton the Krupp Works 
at Essen and a long list of other concerns. 

The Remington typewTiter is used in large numbers by the following 
Governments; United States; Great Britain; France ; Germany; Aus- 
tiia; Hungary; Russia; Italy; Switzerland; Holland; Belgium; Spain; 
Portugal; Sweden; Denmark; Norway; Cuba; Mexico; Peru; Chili; 
Ecuador; the Argentine Republic; Brazil ; Venzuela, and Japan. It is 
also used by the great divisions of the British Empire — Canada, Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Burmah and Egypt, as well 
ae in the small dependencies — Malta, Jamaica, British Honduras, 
Straits, Settlements and Hong Kong. It is difficult to give tiie number 
of machines used by each, but we estimate that the United States 
government makes use of upwards of 5000, the French government 
uses probably 1500; the German 700; and the Italian 600. 

It may be interesting to know that the articles of surrender of San- 
tiago and Manila were written on the Remington, as also the treay of 
Paris, which terminated the Spanish-American War., The articles of 
peace following the Boer War were also written upon the Remington, 
as well as the reciprocity treaty with Cuba. The Remington was very 
largely in use in the South African campaign; it also served in Ashanti 



and in the Spanish -American War, both on land and sea. It has been 
to Khartoum with Lord Kitchener, and to Pretoria with Lord Roberts. 

To fit it for this cosmopolitan career it has been necessary for It to 
acquire facility in the modern languag'es. In addition to English it 
speaks with equal fluency French; German; Italian; Spanish; Hun- 
garian; Swedish; Danish Bohemian; Roumanian; Ci-oatian; Slav- 
onic; Portuguese; Polish; Norwegian; Maya (which is the aboriginal 
language of Yucatan) and Navajo Indian (of Arizona) . These all 
use the Roman characters. Of the languages using other than Roman 
characters the Remington has also mastered the following: German 
text; Bulgarian; Greek; Turkish; Burmese; Urdu; Russian; Servian; 
Aimenian; Arabic; Persian; Hebrew, and Irish. It is also perfect- 
ing itself, and will soon be able to express itself flu'3ntly, in Japanese; 
Korean; Telugu, and others of the Indian and Oriental languages. 

TWe Remngton is used by lawyers the world over; it is used in 
schools and colleges, by clergymen, journalists and writers everywhere. 

Among iitei-ary people whose work has been done by its aid are: 
Conan Doyle; Rudyard Kipling; Justin McCarthy; T. P. O'Connor; Hall 
Caine; William D. Howells; Bret Harte; John Strange Winter; 
Ignatius Donnelly; Frank R. Stockton; Leslie Stephen; Frances 
Hodgson Burnett, and scores of others. A list of public men and 
officials using the typewriter would be of inordinate length and em- 
brace an immense number of individuals ranging from Senator David 
B. Hill of New York, to the Czarina of Russia, the Queen Regent of 
Spain, King Edward VII, and the late Pope Leo XIII, who for a long 
time had a Remington in the Vatican. 

The typewriter facilitates composition, relieves mental strain, saves 

time and strength, and has earned for the world many hundred mil- 
lions of dollars. A very careful estimate, based upon reliable figures, 
show that this industry founded by the Remingtons has given employ- 
ment to from two hundred and seventy-five thousand to three hun- 
dred thousand typewriter operators, whose earnings are more than 
two hundred millions of dollars per annum. Astonishing as this may 
seem, tWe estimate is a conservative one, and, as you will observe, it 
includes only those who operate the machines and takes no account of 
the many thousands engaged in their manufacture and sale, and whose 
annual income you can perhaps estimate as well as I. 

In a word, the typewrifter has "created a new field of industry, has 
opened up new sources of wea'th, and has revolutionized business 
methods throughout the world from the hustling West to the lethargie 
East, and has brought a nsw force to bear in ttie advancement oi 



Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society November 

14, 1903. 

The Primitive and Geological State of the Mohawk Valley in Herk- 
imer County compared with the present age. 

A careless observer of nature in all her varied scenes may see much 
to admire in the beauty of the landscape. Spread out before him he 
sees the mountain ranges, forests, valleys and streams which are ever 
a source of delight to view, and he imagines that the same beauty in 
form and outline now presented has always existed. He will look at 
the formation of the rocky hills, but does not read in them a history 
replete with interest recorded on the pages of their stony books re- 
vealing their hidden and mysterious formation and the changes that 
have been and are continually at work everywhere upon them, througli 
the agency of water. 

A more careful observer will see all the others see, and he will also 
observe that the same view presents evidence of a great change that 
must have taken place at some remote period in the physical condi- 
tion of the same landscape and he need not journey far to witness the 
proofs of the change, and may even behold it within the limits of his 
own county. 

The Geologist says that we are living at the bottom of what was 
once a deep lake, and that the barrier which held this immense valley 
lake was at Little Falls. At this point in the valley the high ridge in 
the Alleghany range of mountains, which divides the head waters of 
the Mohawk and other Atlantic rivers, crosses the Mohawk Valley. 
In the ages long past (ere the great falls of Niagara existed) no doubt 
was formed the crown of a cataract as magnificent as Niagara. The 
rocky bluffs on each side of this gorge rise to an altitude of nearly 
four hundred feet, and if the overflow of water was from this height, 
one can conceive what an immense tract of land lying in central New 
York, beside the Mohawk Valley, west of Little Falls was entirely sub- 

Taking the combined number of feet of all the lock levels of the 
Erie canal from Little Falls to Frankfort village there is only a rise 
of about fifty feet and then we reach a water level extending west- 
ward sixty odd miles. From this we may estimate the depth and ex- 


tent of this ancient body of water which the eye of man may never 
have beheld. 

An obstruction at Little Falls of only seventy feet in height would 
cause this vast body of water to overflow the Rome summit and min- 
gle with the waters of Lake Ontario by way of Wood Creek, Oneida 
Lake and the Oswego River. And if these streams were once the out- 
let of the great chain of lakes, there must have been a reversal of the 
flow of these rivers and there are many indications that this theory Is 
correct. While sinking a well at Three Rivers there was recently dis- 
covered an oak tree nearly three feet in diameter, flfty feet below the 
ground proving that a great water course must have existed and that 
deep channels were filled up and trees covered by the deposit oi' allu- 

The existence of this lake in central New York adds much to the 
correctness of this theory. The valleys of the Mohawk and Hudson 
were the continuation of this flow of water to the ocean and meeting 
with this barrier at Little Falls caused the set back of this enormous 
volume of water. The reversal of these rivers must have been caused 
by a great depression of Lake Ontario, as that Lake is three hundred 
and thirty-four feet lower than Lake Erie, thereby opening the outlet 
of the chain of lakes through the St. Lawrence river and causing the 
existence of Niagara Falls. No accurate computation can be made of 
the ages it must have taken to wear away this formidable barrier and 
mountains of hardest rocks, which is composed chiefly of gneiss, 
granite and hornblend. Different theories have been advanced as to 
the agencies which caused the breaking of this rocky barrier, and the 
mighty flood which took place in the valley below. One theory is 
that it was through volcanic action, and by its lifting power strainina' 
the rocks until the barrier was rent in twain, and the water rushed 
through. But the indications do not support this theory as there is 
no appearance of upheavel in the vicinity and it is not in the region 
of volcanic disturbance. The most reasonable theory is that it was 
by the constant abrasion of water and ice in its season for a long 
period of time. In fact the same agencies are at work at Niagai-a 
Falls, whose rocky walls are receding year by year, and which will, 
eventually, cause a great change to take place in the face of the coun- 
try in the region of these lakes, causing the drainage of Lake Erie, 
which in the course of events may become a beautiful and productive 
valley traversed by a continuation of the St. Clair and Detroit rivers 
and joining the waters of Lake Ontario through the terrific rapids of 
Niagara River. 

Immediately below where this once great mountain barrier and wa- 
ter fall existed there is a basin whose depth is said to be more than 
a hundred feet, which no doubt was caused by the constant over- 
power of water and ice from this precipice, and there is still to be 
seen in this deep water, rocky cones too hard to be abraded, resisting 
the attrition of water falling from this precipice, and in other places, 
high above the water of the Mohawk river, may be seen bowl shaped 
cavities worn in the solid rock by the action of the water falling with 
great force and by the whirling of pieces of stone caught in eddies be- 
low, thus showing that at some period there was an extensive over- 
pour of water. Whatever the extent of this rocky barrier may have 


been it is evident that the breaking away was sudden and caused a 
mighty flood in the valley below and in time transformed that which 
swas a dreary waste of water to the beautiful valley in which we are 
pow living, whose grandeur has been depicted in glowing words by 
the poet and narrated by the historian of the struggles of its first 
white settlers against invasion and massacre by the savage Indian 

For many miles below in the valley are found fragments of this 
same rock which formed this barrier, the largest pieces lying nearest 
Little Falls, and diminishing in size along down the valley demon- 
strating that an immense flood must have taken place to have caused 
their removal such a long distance. 

In the vicinity of the house formerly occupied by General Herkimer 
numbers of these fragments may be seen, some of which have recent- 
ly been used to form the enclosure of his burial plot and monument. 

In the Counties of Albany, Green and Ulster there is a valley three 
miles wide extending from Guilderland in the County of Ulster, a dis- 
tance of about sixty miles along the base of the Helderberg and Cats - 
kill mountains. 

An observer will readily see that this beautiful valley, as well as 
that of the Mohav/k, was once the bottom of a large lake illustratin:^ 
the drainage of other lakes in this part of the State. 

One other interesting feature of this transformation in Herkimer 
County in connection with the drainage of this immense lake is that 
where all four villages in the valley are located, the stony soil was no 
doubt deposited by the action of water flowing from streams empty- 
ing into this lake previous to its drainage or perhaps subsequently by 
some great flood caused by the breaking away of other bodies of wa- 
ter lying high upon the mountains which border the valley, and 
the sources of the present streams, which empty into the Mohawk 
River. In nearly every instance where this deposit was made the 
river takes a bend to the north side of the valley but at Herkimer to 
the south side. The present sinuous course of the river was no doubt 
caused by this earth deposit which originally covered a larger area of 
the Mohawk flats than at present. And when the Mohawk river took 
up its course through the valley subsequent to this drainage much of 
this soil was washed away by the ice and its annual freshets. 

It is probable that the West Canada Creek formerly entered the 
valley at another point than the present one, as the high ridge about 
a mile north of Herkimer village, through which this stream now 
flows, was no doubt once united causing the Creek to take the course 
of the Hydraulic canal around this high ridge and to enter the valley 
where the dam of Mirror Lake now is. Apparently its course was then 
north of where Fort Dayton was located and extended thence souther- 
ly past the old village cemetery to the Mohawk River. The indica- 
tions that this was the course of the stream were more marked sixty 
years ago than at present. The composition of the soil in each in- 
stance, especially at Herkimer and Mohawk, corresponds with that 
which we flnd in the hills and valleys of the streams flowing into the 
Mohawk, being very rich with water worn cobblestones, each locality 
having a liberal supply and the site of Herkimer village was appro- 
priately called the "Stony Ridge," by the first settlers. 


Anotliei' evidence of the existence of tliis large lake, rocky barrier 
and high waterfall is to be found on the north shore of the Mo- 
hawk River a short distance from the New York Central and 
Hudson River Railroad. From thirty to sixty f-eet above the present 
bed of the river is a large circular cavity made by the action of water 
flowing from a precipice and on the side toward the river is an open- 
ing about ten feet square; over the entrance is the appearance of a 
massive head piece of a door frame apparently wrought and placed 
there by the hand of man. 

The cavity is open at the top and there are smaller cavities on its 
concave sides. 

A romantic Indian legend is connected with this spot. 

"Long ago there arose a feud between the Wolf and the Tortoise, 
two young chiefs belonging to tribes of the Indians dwelling in the 
iMohawk Valley. A maiden of the Bear tribe was the cause of the 
feud (as maidens often are) . She was loved by both the young chiefs, 
and for a time she so coquetted that each thought himself beloved by 
her in return. Her father was a stern old warrior and loved his child 
tenderly; both chiefs fought the Mingoes and Mohegans side by side, 
and the bravery of each entitled him to the hand of the maiden. Her 
affections were at length stirred by the more earnest importunities of 
the Wolf, and she promised to become his bride. This decision 
reached the ears of Tortoise and the embers of jealousy which had 
slumbered while both were unaccepted suitors, burst into a flame in 
the bosom of the disappointed lover. He determined to possess the 
coveted treasure before the Wolf should take her to his wigwam. With 
well dissembled acquiescence in her choice, and exprtssions of warm 
friendship for herself and her affianced he allayed all suspicions and 
when her affianced was away the maiden rambled with him in the 
moonlight upon the banks of the river unconscious of danger. The 
day approached for the maiden to go to the wigwam of her lord, the 
Tortoise was with her alone in a secluded nook upon the brink of the 
river, his light canoe was near, and he proposed a voyage to a beau- 
tiful little island in the stream where the fireflies sparkled and the 
V'hippoorwill whispered in evening serenade. They launched out up- 
on the stream but instead of paddling for the island the Tortoise 
turned his prow toward the rapids, like an arrow they sped down the 
swift current while the young chief with vigorous arm paddled for the 
northern shore, and skillfully steered his canoe to the mouth of the 
cavern. Upon the waters brink he seized the affi-ighted maiden and 
'leaped ashore, at the same time securing his canoe by a strong green 
withe. The cave was dry, a soft bed of skins of beasts was spread 
and abundance of provision was there stored. At the top of the cave, 
far above the maiden's reach, an opening revealed a passage through 
the fissure to the rocks above. It was known only to the Tortoise and 
there he kept the maiden many months until her affianced gave her 
up as lost to him forever. At length while hunting on the southern 
hills in the flowery month of May the Wolf saw the canoe of the 
Tortoise at the mouth of the cave. The evening was clear and the 
full moon shone brightly. He waited until midnight when, with an 
arm as strong and skillful as his rivals, he steered his canoe to thvS 
Imouth of the cavern which was lighted up by the moon, and by its 


light he saw the perfidious Tortoise sleeping by the side of his un- 
willing- bride. The Wolf smote the Tortoise but the wound was 
slight. The awakened warrior unable to grasp his hatchet bounded 
through the opening at the top of the cavern and closed it with a 
heavy stone. 

The lovers embraced in momentary joy, but it was brief for a fear- 
ful doom seemed to await them. The Tortoise would soon return and 
they had to make choice of death by the hatchet of the rival chief or 
brave the perils of the foaming cataract. The latter was their choice 
ind in an affectionate embrace they sat in their canoe and made the 
fearful leap. The frail vessel struck propitiously upon the boiling 
waters and unharmed passed on to the quieter waters below. Down 
the broad stream they glided and upon the margin of the lower lake 
they lived and loved for two generations, and saw their children's 
■children go out to battle and the chase. In the long line of their de- 
scent tradition avers came Brant the Mohawk Sachem, the strong 
Wolf of his nation." 

The various changes and modifications which have been made fi'om 
age to age in the physical condition of the earth have been in ac- 
cordance with the plans of the great Architect of the universe and to 
serve wise and benevolent purposes, and each successive change has 
the better adapted it for the habitation of man. 



Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society February 

13, 1904. 

Little is known of the history of Little Falls prior to the Revolu- 
tion. In old patents the Astorogan Rock and "the little falls" or "the 
upper falls" are mentioned. 

The Mohawk Valley was in the 17th and 18th centuries the gateway 
to the West from the settlements near the Hudson River to the fur 
producing Indian settlements of present western New York and ths 
farther West. 

In 1725 the German Flatts or Burnettsfield Patent was granted to 
Germans of the early Palatine immigrations. Of this patent, lot No. 
1" on the north side of the river extended from the Astorogan Rock 
near the paper mill, to a point east of Fifth Street. This lot was 
granted to Mary Eva Stauring, the wife of John Adam Stauring, who 
made his settlement on lot No. 28 of the north side, opposite the pre- 
sent Fort Herkimer. The lot next west was lot No. 12 and was 
granted to John Jost Temuth (Demuth), and extended from a point 
east of Fifth street to a point just west of Lock Street. The next lot 
west, No. 11, was granted to Mary Beerman and includes with its 
eastern part, the Inland Lock, the State Dam and part of the flow 
caused by the Upper Dam. It is extremely doubtful that any of these 
'three lots were used for the purpose of an agricultural settlement by 
the original owners. The land was extremely rough, full of rocks, 
pot-holes, swamps, uneven and apparently not tillable. Local tradi- 
tion says that all three lots had come some time before the revolution 
into the possession of the Petrie family. John Jost Petrie was the 
great merchant of this locality in those days, and he may have fore- 
seen the possibilities of using the water power of the river at this 
point. That the Retries had at an early date landed interests at Lit- 
tle Falls is shown by the following of which the original is in posses- 
sion of Mrs. Arnold Petrie: 

Albany, July 11th, 1761. 

I am directed by his Excellency General Amherst to acquaint you 
both of his being informed of your obstructing his Majesty's Service 
at the Little Falls. Together with the addition of limiting the King's 
highway eight yards, and offering to pull down a house erected for his 
Majesty's Service only, and that if you do not immediately desist from 
such insolent behaviour, he will treat you both with the severity your 
Crimes deserve. 

Your humble servant, 



Outside of the Water Powers, these and the adjoining lots east 
were valuable as they controlled the carrying- place around the Falls 
of the river and the leases of lands for taverns, stores and the license 
of passing the lands would naturally have gone with the title. 

The land east of lot No. 13 of Burnettsfleld Patent was part of the 
Royal Grant, an unnumbered lot, called by Sir Wm. Johnson on his 
maps "The Stripe" and extended along the river from the Astorogan 
Rock east to the present Fincks Basin Bridge. The Stripe was willed 
by Sir Wm. Johnson to his oldest son by Molly Brant, together with 
other property, and was forfeited to the State of New York as Peter 
Johnson as a captain in the British Army during the war of the rev- 
plution had come under the act of attainder. There is reason to be- 
lieve that Peter had assigned his rights in his Little Falls property 
after the death of Sir William Johnson in 1774 to Sir John Johnson. 

It is now proper to introduce certain other personages closely con- 
nected with the history of titles at Little Falls. James Ellice and 
company were during the middle part of the 18th centux'y an import- 
ant firm of merchants connected with the general merchandise, for- 
warding, importing and exporting trade. Phyn and Ellice were alsc 
a large house pursuing a similar mercantile career. Alexander Ellice, i 
native of Edinburg and a close friend of Sir William Johnson, was al- 
so an important and wealthy merchant. All these EUices were of the 
same family and they and their descendants were the pioneer stock ol 
the large fur companies, which later on became such a powerful fac- 
tor in the West and Canada. Alexander Ellice was a large land- 
holder. He acquired several patents in his own name and owned a 
large share in patents acquired by Sir William Johnson and others. 
Most diligent search in the office of record in this State and also cor- 
respondence with the descendants of the Ellices' in England and Scot- 
land, have failed to reveal where Alexander Ellice obtained title to 
lots 12 and 13 Burnettsfleld and the Stripe in the Royal Grant. The 
plausible interpretation is the following: Sir John Johnson acquired 
from his half brother, Peter, the Stripe and from the Retries their ti- 
tle in the Burnettsfleld lots and transferred all these lots to Alexan- 
der Ellice. Alexander Ellice returned after the revolution, or perhaps 
during the revolution, to Europe and remained there for some time. 
He was probably loyal to the British Crown, but avoided committing 
such overt acts which would bring him under the ban of attainder. 
This is plainly shown by the fact that he was permitted to hold his 
various landed interests in this State unmolested and that he was 
even permitted to acquire additional lands which had been sold by the 
commissioners of forfeitures. The other person connected prominent- 
ly with the earliest history of our City is John Porteous, a native of 
Perth, Scotland, who came to America in 1761. After passing tTie 
early years of his life in the occupation of an Indian trader in the 
then far West, near Detroit, he settled as a merchant in New .York 
before the revolution. He was also a seafaring man as shown by a 
log book still in existence. Whether true or not, local romance con- 
nects him also with the business of privateering during the revolution- 
ary war. After the revolution we flnd him in Nova Scotia and until 
about 1790 as a merchant at the City of Schenectady. In 1790 he 


came here to Little Falis where he kept a store at Fifth Street 
about north of the present Watchman' shanty at that crossing. His 
house stood there within memory of living men and was known as 
the Porteous house, or the Yellow house. Porteous was an educated 
"man of literary taste, a fluent writer, a federal in politics and con- 
nected with the politics of the time, and a special friend of the patroou 
of Albany. Many of his papers have come into the writer's posses- 
sion and they fully bear out that John Porteous was a man of higli 
attainments for his time. His papers show that he had been closely 
connected with the interests of the Ellices for many years past and 
that he acted for them in a confidential capacity. All the first ele- 
ments of lasting settlements of this town are due to John Porteous. 
An original map, now in my possession shows that there was in 1790 
only one mill and no other building at this place. Another original 
map in possession of Mr. Loomis, made between 1790 and 95, shows 
on the north side of the river some 12 or 15 houses. The first entry oi\ 
public records concerning the property at Little Falls, north of the 
river occurs in 1801, book 13 of deeds at page 292, when William Alex- 
ander and Henry Frey, as executors of the will of John Porteous (who 
had died in 1798) conveyed to Alexander Ellice the Little Falls prop- 
erty. This deed refers to a lease made by Alexander Ellice to John 
Porteus in 1794 which conveyed lots 12 and 13 of Burnettsfleld and the 
Stripe, stating "Deemed to have become forfeited by the attainder of 
Sir John Johnson." From this period on the chain of title to all Lit- 
tle Falls property is traceable. 

On the south side of the river the land is embraced in the patent 
granted in 1752 to John Jost Herkimer and others and commonly known 
as the Fall Hill Patent. The patentee was the father of the general, 
not the brother. When he, John Jost died in 1775, he left lots 15 and 
16 to his daughter, Odelia Herkimer, the wife of the revolutionary sol- 
dier. Colonel Peter Bellinger, whose homestead Vv^as located just west of 
the Foley Place on German street and is now occupied by the West 
Shore railroad and has entirely disappeared from view. Lot 15 ex- 
tended from a point west of the Driving Park to about the Trask Ice 
House. Lot 16 extended from the latter place to about the Warrior 
Mower Shops. 

Lot 17 extended from the Warrior Mower Shops to Perry's lock and 
was divided into 12 subdivisions; it fell to the share of George Herki- 
mer and through him got as small parcels into different branches of 
the Herkimer family. Lot 18 extended east from Perry's lock, embrac- 
ing both what is known now as Seeley and Moss Island and the Staur- 
ing farm. It was originally the property of the Rosecrants family, the 
wife of the Rev. Mr. Abram Rosecrants, being a sister of General 

The Islands in the river were patented by the colony of New York to 
Peter Winne in 1741 and this patent was also acquired later on by Al- 
exander Ellice. 

After viewing so far the titles let us consider the question whether 
or not a settlement existed at Little Falls prior to the revolution, and 
i.f so of what extent was the same. The name of Little Falls was given 
to this locality in order to distinguish it from the great carrying place 
at Cohoes. In the very early records the name is used in such a way 


as to indicate a small settlement. The carrying place on the north 
side certainly necessitated some buildings. The traffic along the Mo- 
hawk grew with the extension of the settlements towards the west and 
the necessity of supplying the garrisons and carrying on the trade of 
exchange with the Indians. Heavy and bulky loads must have been 
sent around by wagon or by sleds, and shelter for the horses and team- 
sters must have been provided. Early church records show that there 
was here a tavern kept by a man of the name Mac Queen, who figures 
as a witness at several baptisms and weddings. There was a garrison 
of soldiers here, as some of them were married by the Stone Arabia 
Pastors. In the first survey of the Royal Grant in 1764, Isaac Vroo- 
man the Colonial surveyor states that on Friday morning he intended 
to finish his survey from the Little Falls down the river to the land 
granted to Van Driesen, but the Indians had hunted some Beaver and 
Martins during his survey and had sold the same at Little Falls for 
rum and got drunk that it was out of my power to do anything with 
them. Consequently somebody must have dealt in furs and whiskey 
here then. 

Whether a settlement existed or not at that time, the barren, rocky 
land was not an inducement for the German Peasant to settle on. The 
location of all those lands, deep in the gorge between the mountains, 
provided a very unsafe place for a settlement, as the Indians and other 
enemies could creep from all sides stealthily upon any settlement ex- 
isting there. Tradition tells us, that after the Germans began to set- 
tle around that part of the northerly hills formerly known as Riemen- 
schneiders Bush and on the southerly side on top of the Fall Hill, that 
the demand for a mill grinding grist and flour became so great that 
the Ellices, under some agreement with the Johnsons or possibly Virith 
the Petries, established a mill on the north side of the river, which 
took water from the river by a small wing d£;m and also utilized the 
water of Furnace Creek. It was a small mill which must have been 
located somewhere west of Fifth Street, soutli of the New York Central 
and west of the Gilbert Knitting Mill. It is generally believed that 
the so-called Stone Mill on Mill Street (now the property of the Little 
Falls Packing Company) is built on the original site of the ante-revo- 
Intionary mill. I think that this is an error. I have before me the obituary 
of Gersham Skinner, a revolutionary soldier and a native of Connecti- 
cut, who died on February 13th, 1824. In the article appearing in the 
"Peoples' Friend," a few days later it is stated that he was in the Lit- 
tle Falls mill "which stood formerly on the spot now occupied by the 
pond" when torys and Indians set that mill on fire and killed Daniel 
Petrie, son of Joseph Petrie, the founder of Herkimer and Little Falls. 

It is claimed by some that Alexander Ellice had an interest in that 
old mill before the revolution, though proof of this statement is lack- 
ing. After careful researches on this subject I have come to the con- 
clusion that the firm Phyn & BUice of New York, rebuilt immediately 
after the revolution, the mill burnt down at the time of Daniel Petrie's 
death. A mill so located would use only very little of the flow of the 
river and it is probable that a new and better located mill was not 
erected until about the time of the arrival of John Porteous as agent 
for the Ellices and owner of the land by lease. The mill then erected 
is substantially the mill as represented by the foundations of the mill 
variously known as the "Stone Mill" or "Monroe Mill." Let us now 


consider the situation on the south side before we look into the de- 
velopments of the water powers. Colonel Bellinger lived at the west 
end of our present city. There were probably one or two houses on 
that side, among them the Vrooman House a tavern standing just 
west of the West Shore crossing, on German street, and a Johnson 
family lived south of the river just opposite Perry's Lock. Christo- 
pher P. Bellinger and Johnson are said to have been in control of the 
carry on the south side of the river which was established by the Her- 
kimers prior to the revolution. It led from Perry's Lock up to the 
School House, then along Casler Street past the Vrooman House and 
from there to Trask's Ice House. It was established to compete with 
the Petrie carry on the north side. The late Sandy Casler told me 
that Colonel Peter Bellinger and some of his sons built a grist mill 
west of the present Rockton Mill which was destroyed either by flre 
or water. He was under the impression that that mill had been de- 
stroyed twice and then was never rebuilt. After the death of Odelia 
Bellinger, the property, that is lots 15 and 16 went to her children, 
agreeably to a clause in the will of John Jost Herkimer. 

In 1801 Peter Bellinger conveyed to Christopher P. Bellingei-, his 
son, that part of 15 and 16 between the landing place and lot 17. This 
grant was probably intended to convey all the water power rights 
which Peter Bellinger claimed. Before the death of Colonel Peter 
Bellinger the heirs must have found out that the title was not in their 
father, but rested in themselves through their mother and on January 
26th, 1811 all the children of Peter Bellinger and their husbands and 
wives, conveyed to him lots 15 and 16; in that way he was enabled to 
divide his property according to his own notions and he willed lots lo 
and 16; to Christopher P., his son. From .subsequent transactions, it 
appears that between 1801 and 1814 Christopher Bellinger and some of 
his brothers had erected a grist mill. The grist mill occupied the 
ground on which the easterly part of the Rockton Mill now stands' 

With this long introduction, I have brought my statement up to 
about the year 1825, that is to the period at which EUice owned only 
the Grist Mill on the north side and had not given any leases for other 
mills. On the south side Christopher P. Bellinger had bought out his 
brothers and owned the riparian rights and a grist mill and perhaps 
an uncompleted saw mill on the south side of the river. 

Alexander Ellice died in 1808 and the property went to his wife and 
children and Edward Ellice, his son, bought out the other interests and 
became the absolute owner in fee of it. Sir Edward Ellice did not 
visit the property very often. He lived in England. He was a mem- 
ber of Parliament and a man of great wealth. His main interests be- 
ing in the development of the fur trade and he was one of the leading 
members of the Northwest company and later of the Hudson Bay 
Company. Through his influence the great companies were consoli- 
dated in 1821. 

The growth of the country had demanded and accomplished the ca- 
nalization of the Mohawk by means of building the locks on the north 
Bide of the river at Little Falls and at other places. This canal did 
not prove sufficient and the first Erie Canal was constructed, to be 
followed almost immediately with the demand and agitation for an en- 
largem.ent. At that period of 1825, from which I propose to start, the 
first or Clintonian canal had been finished on the south side of the 


river. At Little Falls the settlement had grown up with the old canal 
on the north side of the river, and in 1824, in order not to injure the 
part of the village on the north side, the state was prevailed upon to 
construct the aqueduct. Mr. Ellice gave the land and a liberal con- 
tribution, and the citizens and the State furni.shed the rest. The aque- 
duct of which the remains still stands, for many years connected the 
mills, the manufacturing and the shipping of the north side with the 
Erie Canal on the south side. To those not familiar with the locality. 
I state that from the upper lock of the Inland land and navigation 
company of Lock Street, the old canal was n^sed to a point south of th'^ 
present New York Central Depot; from there a connection was made 
turning at right angles and joining the Erie Canal a little ways west 
of the present lock 38. The basin as an inland harbor was also con- 
structed on land given for that purpose by Mr. Ellice. The site of 
the basin is now occupied by Clinton Park. 



The natural height of the fall at Little Falls was at the time before 
the inland canal was constructed according to the engineers report it 
feet and 7 inches. The erection of the upper dams has raised the 
pond west of the city somewhat and the Five Mile Dam east of the 
city changes also the level of the river below several feet. I have not 
been able to obtain accurate data in regard to these changes, those 
which I have been able to get were contradictory. 

At the west end of the city in the river is located an island called 
Lock Island. It lies closely to the northerly shore. P^rom that is- 
land to the north shore is a dam built and maintained by the State 
and known as the "State Dam." From the pond created there water 
runs through the uppermost lock into the mill race, which carries it 
some distance east to the Gilbert Knitting Mill, is there utilized and 
empties into the river. From the south side another dam reaches over 
to Lock Island known as the "Bellinger Dam." It is of the same 
height as the State Dam and from the pond created water is taken 
into the feeder of the Erie Canal which enters just east of Lock 39. 
There is also water taken from this pond for a number of mills which 
are located along the original Bellinger mill race. This water is car- 
ried farther east and does not enter the pond created by the middle 
dam, but the last of it enters the Mohawk River at about the same 
level of river as the waste water of which powers 9 to 15 on the north 
side of the river. 

The middle dam furnishes water on the north side for the 22 water 
powers of the Powell map, on the south side for the Loomis power 
now occupied by the Kingston Paper Mill. The third dam is the so- 
called lower or Gilbert-Loomis Dam. A fourth dam is still traceable 
under the surface of the water and was erected by Richard Ray Ward 
at a point just below the Gulf Bridge, for the purpose of creating a 
series powers of low head and large volume of water along the pres- 
ent location of the New York Central Railroad. 


We will now consider the various water rights as they were estab- 
lished by the Grants. Christopher P. Bellinger conveyed in 1826 to 


Alanson Ingham the necessary water, "for ihe sole purpose of erect- 
ing carding machine, fulling mill and turnirg lathes and no other o;' 
different machinery or purpose whatsoever, excepting water enough for 
a grist mill with two run of stone and a slit mill." From the deed it 
appears that Ingham had built his mill prior to the conveyance of the 
land. The amount of water is very indefinitely described. It reserves 
to Bellinger all the water except what is necessary to carry the above 
machinery of Ingham. The Ingham property was t,o pay one-third of 
all the necessary repairs and maintenance of Dam, etc. Ingham sold 
the property in 1831 to Milton D. Parker of Utica. In the meantime 
(1829) Arphaxed Loomis had purchased of Bellinger all his water 
rights and he conveyed in 1831 to Parker "forever tihe right and privi- 
lege of using upon the lands now owned by Alanson Ingham and occu- 
pied by him, for his clothing works and machine shop and which the 
said Parker contemplates purchasing, from the water above as grant- 
ed from Loomis by Bellinger, sufficient to carry three run of stone in 
a flouring mill when used on the most approved and economical prin- 
ciple, to use, have and enjoy said water as the same flows to the ex- 
tent above mentioned, for himself, heirs and assigns forever, over and 
above the quantity which said Ingham, has used in said works and to 
which he is entitled by his ■deed, but it is distinctly understood if not 
sufficient water can be had, that said Parker is to bring in said water 
at his own proper cost and expense, through any channels through 
which said Loomis is by his deed entitled to bring in the same which 
privilege of bi'inging in said water Loomis grants to said Parker in 
common with Loomis." In this way the Ingham-Parker Power and 
Right was described and no change has been made since. This prop- 
erty passed from the daughters of Parker to George Ashley in 1863 
and he sold it in the same year to C. B. Leigh and William H. Rob- 
inson. The latter conveyed in 1873 his interest to C. B. Leigh, who 
conveyed in the same year to Michael Reddy and it has been used by 
the Reddys and by the late and lamented Superior Furnace Company. 

At about the time of Ingham's purchase, Henry Heath had leased 
some power and erected a furnace on what is now known as Loomis 
Island. The furnace was later on, in the early thirties, removed to the 
present location of the Warrior Mower Shop on Mohawk Street, and 
the water rights were merged and need not be considered here. A 
turning shop existed also in the vicinity of the Warrior Mower Shop 
and was abandoned when Loomis purchased and the water right was 
merged with the division created by that purchase. 

In 1827 David Sprague and Jesse C. Dann bought by contract of C. 
P. Bellinger the site and the water right now known as the Satterlee 
Mill. Sprague and Dann failed and the foreclosed property was 
bought by Robert and George A. Bartow, and to them C. P. Bellinger 
gave a deed in which he refers to the contracts existing between him 
and Sprague and Dann and describes the power as follows: "For the 
purpose of erecting a paper mill thereon and for no other purpose, to- 
gether with the use of any surplus water for a paper mill to manufac- 
ture paper and for no other purpose and in quantities sufficient to 
propel on that fall three engines and a machine for said mill of the 
size and power of those constructed by said Sprague and Dann, said 
surplus water to be no other than that required for a grist mill and a 


plaster mill." It also obligated the purchaser to bear one-third of all 
the expenses and repairs of maintenance. The Bartows sold their 
property in 1838 to Priest and Page, and from them it passed through 
various conveyances in 1854 to John Satterlee, who conveyed it in the 
same year to the firm of Pease, Stone, Satteilee and Turner. In 1860 
the mill had become the property of Reed and Turner and in 1861 the 
same was sold at mortgage sale to William I. Skinner, who conveyed 
in 1862 to James A. Crosby, who sold it to Chrysler and Mangan in 
the same year. 

In 1828 General Bellinger conveyed to William J. Pardee certain 
land and "the right and privilege of building and keeping a flume and 
conducting water from the dam above along the rear of the Ingham 
buildings and to use sufficient water for the machinery of the paper 
mill now erected. If the Pardees wish to substitute other machinery 
for the kind now in their mill they can do so to the extent of the 
same quantity except that they are prohibited from running a saw mill 
oi a grist mill to grind for customers." There is no guarantee of the 
sufficiency and Pardee is given the right to enjoy his supply from Bel- 
linger shore if he does not injure thereby the rights granted prior De- 
cember 17th, 1827. Here again Bellinger reserves the right to use the 
water below Pardees power. Pardee made in 1832 an assignment to 
Henry P. Alexander, William Small and Parley Eaton who sold the 
property in the same year to Martin W. Priest and William Page. 

Moses Drake ran at that time a distillery at the west, end of the pre- 
sent Rockton Mill and it is probable that he used some power. Some 
say that he did get, his power by a conection from the grist mill ad- 
joining, others that he used an independent wheel. After investigat- 
ing this subject quite fully, I have come to the conclusion that Drake 
had no wheel and if he used any power that it was furnished from 
some other wheel. It is certain that his deeds gave him no right to 
any water. 

It is vei-y hard to determine the succession of rights granted by Bel- 
linger. The first right was the one granted to Ingham, but too inde- 
finite to give us at the present time any idea of the quantity of the 
water. The next right was by virtue of tha contract between Bellin- 
ger and Dann and Spi'ague, the one of the Satterlee Mill. It would 
be a hard task to state at this present time the quantity of water 
which it would require to drive three engines and a machine at a fall 
v/hich cannot be ascertained now. The next power in succession of 
priority would be the Pardee Mill. After Loomis's purchase of Bellin- 
ger's rights, Parker obtained from him a deed defining the amount of 
water and quantity of machinery and giving him the right of manu- 
facturing other things besides what Ingham produced. These con- 
veyances of course, cannot affect the rights of those obtained by Par- 
dee and Spi'ague and Dann. All these three rights are of course sub- 
ject to the reservation of Bellinger in favor "of the grist mill," and 
some to the reservation in his favor "of a saw mill and a grist mill" 
or "a grist mill and a plaster mill." 

The Pardee Mill has been used as a paper mill; it had burned out 
twice but had been rebuilt in nearly the same place. In 1862 William 
Butcher, Robert Lamb and Francis Senior purchased that property 
and they sold it in 1876 to Henry I. Petrie and John A. Owens, who 


isold in 1868 to Joshua J. Gilbert, who conveyed the property to Mi- 
chael Reddy. The additional purchase of Reddy from Loomis does not 
carry any additional water rights. 

In 1829 General Bellinger and wife sold to Arphaxed Loomis certain 
land adjoining the river, and all the right and privilege of the water 
running in the Mohawk River and the water power that exists and 
can be made or created therefrom to the full extent, that the said first 
parties now have the right to conduct the water from each of the dams 
above and adjacent to said premises and conducting the water into 
said dams and to and upon said premises by flumes, aqueducts or oth- 
erwise from and across the land above from the grist mill of the said 
Bellinger and from his dam and through the channel where the present 
supply flows and also from the dam running along the river bank and 
also the right to widen the channel to four rods without interruption 
to the mills. "Bellinger excepts in the Loomis deed the water used by 
a saw mill with other machinery to that extent." He warrants the 
title of the land but not of the water. By this purchase Loomis came 
into possession of all the water on the south side of the river of the 
upper and of the second level and of all the land from the Ingham 
guarddam to the east line of lot 16, and he also purchased from Bellin- 
ger and from some others some lands at the north west corner of lot 
17 which gave him the full drop of the river. 

The Loomis property was surveyed in 1837 by Timothy B. Jervis. 
The land and water rights were divided and the engineer made the 
map known as the Jervis map. The water from the upper dam was 
used by various factories of which only one is remaining now. It is 
the Riverside Mill. The Warrior Mower Factory, once a very pros- 
iperous concern, has long since been shut down and the old plant is 
used for storage only. It occupied partly the buildings erected for the 
eecond Heath furnace. The water of this mill is the tail water of 

The heirs of Christopher P. Bellinger got into litiga.tion over some 
of his property and sold in 1843, as a result of it, the "Grist Mill" and 
water privilege appurtenant thereto to Nicholas P. Casler, Peter Wal- 
rath and Henry Eysaman; from them it passed in 1844 into the hands 
of Stephen W. Brown, who sold it in the same year to the Astorogan 
Company. By a number of conveyances this property passed into the 
hands of Thomas Garner of New York. 

In 1883 Gen. Bellinger conveyed to Christopher P. Smith, the land 
and saw mill and saw mill privilege built by William H. Leigh and 
the right "to use so much of the surplus waters of the said mill race 
for the use of said saw mill as said mill race may contain over and 
above what may be necessary for C. P. Bellinger's Grist Mill as it 
now is or may hereafter be extended, excepting the rights heretofore 
granted to Loomis, Sprague and Dann, William G. Pardee, Alonson 
Ingham and the Grist Mill, with the obligation of paying one-sixth of 
the repairs. This saw mill right was conveyed 1837 and 38 by Smith to 
Benjamin and Charles Lewis and by various transactions became the 
property of the Astorogan Company. Henry P. Alexander acquired 
the saw mill under mortgage foreclosure and sold it in 1854 to Thomas 
Garner who thus became the owner of the Grist and Saw Mill lot. 
The former, it seems, being the lot of first priority but being indefinite- 


ly described, and the other being a right following- after all the others 
and being also indefinitely described as to quantity. 

The narrow flume and the improper construction of the race leading- 
from the Bellinger dam to the Loomis rights below made it necessary 
for Judge Loomis to avail himself of his rights and to widen the chan- 
nel, etc. When Loomis' workmen began actual work they were stop- 
ped by the owners of the Cotton Mill. This happened in about 1860, 
v.'hile the title of that property was in James P. Chrysler and Darius 
R. Mangan of New York. A long drawn out litigation followed. Ex- 
perts were examined. The oldest inhabitants related their knowledge 
of the plants and powei's as they had existed with the usual contra- 
dictory result. The suit promised fair to be a lengthy and expensive 
one. At this junction, in about 1862, James A. Crosby sold the Sat- 
terlee Mill Right to Chrysler and Mangan. This gave them in their 
suit a better standing than they had heretofore. The result was that 
Judge Loomis agreed to a compromise, which was expressed in the 
deed of Arphaxed Loomis to Chrysler and Mangan in 1862 in which it 
was stated that after the purchase of the Satterlee rights the litigation 
is settled by that deed and that Chrysler & Mangan are limited "to 
draw and use water from the river pertaining to the south shore, suf- 
ficient to propel and drive the machinery of the cotton factory with 
125 looms for the manufacture of cotton goods known as print goods 
28 inches wide with 56x60 threads to the inch, and about 7% yards to 
the panel, to be run at a speed of 145 to 155 picks to the minute, with 
all the machinery requisite for the preparation, carding and spinning 
the cotton for that number of looms and of that quality" etc. "The 
water power to be used and applied economically and without waste." 
"The above defined water power includes both that which pertains to 
cotton factory and Satterlee paper mill." Loomis grants by this deed 
the priority and the second party grants all the surplus water. Loomis 
also releases the Satterlee mill pi'operty of the restriction of not man- 
ufacturing anything but paper. In exchange Loomis was permitted to 
construct a 30 foot channel through the lands of the other party. 

Chrysler & Mangan sold the next year to Garner & Co., and Garner 
& Co., in 1864 to Thomas Garner. In 1885, the property, having long 
stood idle, was sold by the executors of William T. Garner, to James 
W. Magill and W. W. Whitman and it is now and has been for some 
years the property of the Whitman Brothers. It is run as a cotton 
and sweater mill. The mill uses one Fuller and Safely wheel under 
about 7% feet head and developes about 73 horse power. The wheel 
was put in 1864, it is a seven foot wheel. 

While this settlement with the owners of the cotton mill settled the 
respective rights of Loomis & Chrysler & Mangan, it did not settle or 
attempt to settle the rights of the present owners of the Ingham & 
Pardee privilege, which privileges were owned by the late Michael 
Reddy. This has become a source of friction, periodically arising anew 
and ought to be settled by a general agreement of all parties, espe- 
cially as the quantity of the power of the cotton mill by looms and 
spindles and threads is one that could not now be sufficiently ascer- 

The Reddy Mill uses in the machine shop under about 8 foot fall a 
60 inch diameter Samuel Day wheel which was probably made at Lit- 


tie Falls about thirty years ago. This runs the fan for the foundry. 
Another 55 inch wheel under 8 foot fall runs the machine shop. The 
wheel in the former Superior furnace shop was a 50 inch wheel under 
a 6 foot fall, it has now been removed. 

I will not at this point go into the disputed quantity of water of the 
Loomis Estate on the south side of the middle dam. 

Old maps show that a dam across the river at and near the place 
where the present dam was in existence in the early thirties. Proba- 
bly a cheap structure and at times washed out by the river. Water 
being more plentiful in those days, repairs were not made so frequent- 

In the forties a Flar Mill operated by Hovej', although destroyed by 
water twice, was operated extensively and was followed at various 
times by other users of the water power. For the last twenty years 
or more it has been used by the Kingstons as a paper mill, for the 
manufacture of building and other heavy papers. They use now one 
30 inch, one 32 inch and one 36 inch wheel, all horizontal, eight foot 
head and of the make of the Holyoke Machine Co. The bottom of the 
race-way of the Kingston Mill is SVz feet higher than the bottom of 
the raceway on the north side and the channel of the river is much 
imore obstructed on this side. Below the paper mill a Last Factory 
has been operated from the same dam but has been abandoned for 
years . 


As stated before in about 1830, the title of the property on the north 
side was wholly in Sir Edward Ellice, of Bath, England. He and his 
family before him were averse to giving title to the property and pre- 
ferred to give, what they called, "durable leases," by which, for the 
payment of a stated small sum per year, people could occupy their 
land. Holding the water power as the most promising part of his 
•property, he had made no sales up to 1831 of any power, but several 
parties occupied mill sites and used quantities of water of which there 
is no definite record preserved. The village of Little Falls was at that 
time in a very prosperous condition and bound to grow, but could not 
on account of the refusal of Ellice to sell land or power. A bill was 
irmtroduced through local influence in the legislature of 1831, which 
practically deprived Edward Ellice as an alien landholder from holding 
and owning any lands in the State of New York; while the bill was of 
course aimed only at Little Falls, it would have affected all his lands 
in the State. His agents, the Bleekers of Albany and George H. Fee- 
ter of Little Falls brought about the following solution of the problem. 
In order to defeat the bill aimed at Ellice, a certain ring of influential 
members of the legislature was persuaded to defeat the bill and Ellice 
agreed to sell to this syndicate and some of their friends in the legis- 
lature, all his right, title and interest at Little Falls for the sum of 

When the sale was completed, the bill was defeated. Little Falls 
rejoiced because the ban was lifted. The new proprietors immediately 
laid out the village on a larger scale but did not pay any attention to 
the water powers. It would be too long to follow the various changes 
from the original six proprietors to the sale by them to Richard Ray 


Ward of New York. Mr. Ward was a member of that family known 
in banking and financial circles of the Metropolis, a lawyer and bank- 
er. To the same family belongs Julia Ward Howe, the authoress, and 
John Ward, Samuel and others connected with Little Falls titles were 
near relatives. Richard Ray Ward was bought from the different 
owners in 1831 and 32 all their interest. They had in the meantime 
sold many of the valuable village lots but had not interfered with the 
water powers. In newspapers of the period attention is called re- 
peatedly to the fact that Mr. Ward did not fulfill his promise and de- 
velope the water power. As a matter of fact Ward employed two en- 
gineers, Doughty and Bridges, of New York, to make a very careful 
survey of the village and of the water powers and he certainly planned 
a more extensive use of the water than ever has been carried out. 
Whether his engineers were not competent or whether he was some- 
what of a rainbow chaser we cannot tell now. From the condemna- 
tion proceedings of the Utica and Schenectady railroad company 
against Ward and from numerous maps left by WaM, it appears that 
he was planning a most intricate scheme of inlets and outlets for the 
use of the water ever planned by an engineer. It is said that the only 
thing that he actually did was the erection of a Wing Dam near the 
present Gilbert Mill and the building of the dam by the Gulf Bi-idge. 
It must be remembered that in the middle of the thirties the great fin- 
ancial depression occurred and that Ward became unable to meet his 
obligations, not to speak of the villages to improve his water power 
brought about a contract between him and Farley Eaton and Moses 
D^ake, who ran in the Mohawk Courier in the spring of 1834 the fol- 
lowing adveriisement: 

"Water Power for sale at auction. On Wednesday the 25th of June 
next will be offered for sale at public auction part of the Water Power 
of the Upper Fall on ihe north side of the Mohawk River in said vil- 
lage recently purchased of R. R. Ward Esq., embracing not less than 
twenty convenient water lots, with each a quantity of water equal to 
propelling four run of stone or four thousand spindles, but shall be 
sold with such amount of water, however, as shall be desired by the 
purchaser. These lots extend from the center of the river north to the 
old canal, which is navigable with canal boats and is connected with 
the Erie Canal by means of the aqueduct across the river, so that they 
possess every facility for transporlation desired for trade and manu- 
factures. The dams necessary to afford an abundant supply of water 
are nov/ complete and the water is conducted through each lot by a ca- 
nal, so that it can be delivered for immediate use free of any addition- 
al expense." They had a survey made of this property by Robert Hig- 
ham, the engineer who located the railroad through this village and the 
Eaton-Drake map is mentioned in records. On West Mill Street this 
allotment is made very similar to the later Powell map, but numbers 
the lots in opposite directions. We can trace to this Baton-Drake di- 
vision the description and quantity of three of the later mill lots. It 
seems that the promoters could not have been successful, because the 
same clamor for improvement of the water powers appears again in 
the newspapers next year. Judge Loomis, who was then the main own- 
er of the water on the south side, was finally induced by Ward, Dud- 
ley Burwell, the Alexanders and various others to take the matter in 


hand and the result was that on August 11th, 1836 Richard Ray Ward 
conveyed to Loomis all his water property except lot 13, lot 8, lot 7 
(Drake & Eaton map) excepting also the running lease of the old red 
paper mill. Judge Loomis gave on that date a mortgage to Ward for 
the same property, which extended all the way from Lock Street to the 
East end of the mill lot occupied within a few years by Rugene Wal - 
rath, and included nearly all the land south of the railroad and between 
the river, including Clinton Park, MacKinnon Mills and the ZoUer Cold 
Storage. On the same date Mr. Loomis and Mr. Ward made an agree- 
ment which is really the essence of the two other transactions. The 
agreement states that the mortgage is payable in five years and that 
Loomis contemplates to improve, allot and sell at his discretion the 
whole of said premises in parcels and at such prices as he may see fit 
within the said five years and in so doing will necessarily incur ex- 
pense and render service and whereas Loomis is now the owner of a 
large amount of real estate adjoining the said property and opposite 
thereto on the south side of the river with water power and appurten- 
lances and in the sale of said pi-operty so mortgaged it may be in his 
judgment expedient to sell more water power to be used with land so 
mortgaged than properly belongs to it, by taking the same from tho 
property now owned by said Loomis, etc. Ward agrees that in case 
the net proceeds of the sales shall at the end of five years fail to 
amount to 50,000 dollars and six per cent, interest and all expenses in- 
curred by said Loomis in improving the same for sale together with 
10,000 dollars in addition thereto, that the said Ward will make good 
such deficiency to said Loomis so as to yield Loomis 10,000 dollars over 
and above the purchase money and such deficiency, and also that the 
water of Loomis is to be accounted for in case of sale and settlement. 
This matter has often been misunderstood. Mr. Loomis was at that 
time among the first lawyers of this State, he had devoted his time to 
the study of hydraulics and he was in a position, if not interfered 
with, to dispose of that property to his and Mr. Ward's and to the ben- 
efit of the village of Little Falls. It is certain that he carried out at 
his own expense a great many of the improvements, digging of the ca- 
nal, building of bulk head and dams and employment of engineers anJ 
so on. Such services of Mr. Loomis were certainly worth the bonus 
agreed upon. It was tacitly understood between Mr. Ward and Mr. 
Loomis, and the records show it now (see judgment roll) that Mr. 
Ward agreed not to dispose of the mortgage. If he disposed of the 
mortgage, Loomis could not give titles, because Ward could not control 
the releasing for any sales. Ward, we must judge at this time, acted 
dishonestly and disposed in 1839 of that mortgage to the 17th Ward 
Fire Insurance Company, which Company was merged into the Na- 
tional Fire Insurance Company. 

As soon as Mr. Loomis had acquired the property, he employed 
Archibald Powell, a well known engineer of his day, to survey it, and 
all the later conveyances are based upon the "Powell Map" or upon 
the combination with a map of Jervis called the "Powell- Jervis Map." 
The property was also much advertised in newspapers and by distrib- 
uting lithographic maps. The scheme of the utilization of the water 
according to the Powell map was to connect the east point of Lock Is- 
land with a point on the north shore on lot 56 (Powell Map) and take 


the water in a millrace to be utilized on the lots west Fifth Street; to 
erect a dam sraight across the Mohawk River about 200 or 300 feet 
above the present dam and run the water in a mill race on the north 
side of Mill Street and across Bridge Street, where it now crosses and 
let out on lot 22. Another part of the scheme was to use the surplus 
water of the basin and feeder on some lands on which now the older 
AlacKinnon Mill stands. 

The failure of Ward to keep his faith with Loomis resulted in the 
foreclosure above mentioned and I will abandon now the general chain 
of title and outline briefly the history of each mill site on all the Ei- 
lice-Loomis-Ward lots on the north side of the river. 



It seems that prior to 1830 a paper mill was erected which was at 
times owned by Sprague & Dann and later by Eaton & Young. Lots 
56 to 62 (Powell Map) were sold in one parcel with the right to use the 
water power of the fall from the State Dam to the main mill dam and 
jears by a saw mill, while on the Shepard lots were a shop, a shoddy- 
mill and at various times other temporary industries. The property 
was afterwards purchased by Bailey & Mitchell and later by the Lit- 
tle Falls Knitting Mill Co., which conducted a prosperous business for 
many years and was reorganized within a few years, when Mr. J. J. 
Gilbert bought the controlling interest of the Baileys, as the Gilbert 
Knitting Company. The large mill situated on this power uses now 
the water from the State Dam through the lock of the first canal and 
has seven feet fall, and a wheel producing 40 horse power. They 
manufacture knit goods and sweaters and over-shirts. Most of the 
power for this mill is obtained by steam. 


The lots are numbered from west to east from 1 to 22 . Of these 
lots the titles of lots 3, 8 and 15 derive from Ward. The title to 2, 13 
and 14 starts from Loomis and of lot 9 starts from the Chancery sale 
in the foreclosure brought by Sir Edward Ellice against Peter Ganse- 
voort and others. The scheme of Mr. Loomis of dividing the rights 
and determining the privileges and charges was adopted by the Mas- 
ter in Chancery in the suit of the National Fire Insurance Company 
against Richard Ray Ward. 

In about 1889 the then owner of the -Stewart Mill property, Colonel 
Albert T. Hilton, refused to pay his proportionate share of the cost 
of repairs and maintenance and a suit was brought by Mr. Watts T. 
Loomis of this city for tihe purpose of determining the riglhts and priv- 
ileges and obligations of the various owners of the powers. Charles 
Rhodes of Oswego, N. Y., an attorney and hydraulic engineer was 
employed to investigate and detennine in his report the different 
rights and also make suggestions for the improvement. This report 
goes very much into details and the attempts of Mr. Rhodes to deter- 
mine the quantities which were originally intended to be conveyed are 
quite ingenious. As to the titles and the rights of the parties, espe- 


cially as to the proportional rights of 'the owners on the opposite sides, 
he is less clear and seems to avoid the question. The subject was 
later on more fully investigated by Senator A. M. Mills and Civil 
Engineer Stephen E. Babcock and set out in the draft oi the judg- 
ment in the action entitled "Watts T. Loomis against the Cheney 
Hammer Company," and others. This judgment determined the dif- 
ferent rights of tllie lots as follows: 

First pi'ivilege, lot No. 3, 36 cubic feet per second, cannot be us'?d 
for running a grist mill but may be used in a flouring mill for the ex- 
clusive purpose of flouring wheat or any other purpose except a grist 
mill. This lot is now owned by the Cheney Hammer Company. 

2nd privilege, lot No. 9, 32 cubic feet of water per second a.ter 3'3 
cubic feet of water per second have been supplied and allowed to lot 
No. 3. This lot is now leased by the Hei'kimer Light and Power 
Company . 

3rd privilege, lot No. 8, 36 cubic feet of water per second after tlie 

rights of lots 3 and 9 have been supplied; this original third priority 

in the use of the water has been transferred to lots 13, 14 and 15. Lot 

8 is owned by Jacob Zoller and James Van Allen and the transferred 

priority is leased to the Herkimer Light «& Power Company. 

4th priority, lots 14 and 15, 'have 42 cubic feet of water per second 
after the rights of lots 3, 9 and 8 have been satisfied. This leaves 17 
other lots, and they by the original deeds and by the judgment in tin 
case of Loomis against the Cheney Hammer Company, are each en- 
titled to 1-17 of the water belonging to the north side of the river af- 
ter satisfying the lots entitled to priority. The original convej'^ances 
(lot 2 conveyed by Loomis to Skinner contains the same provisions'* 
refer to the deed of the National Fire Insurance Company to John 
Brower for lot No. one, which is the standard for the rest of the con- 
veyances. This deed is recorded in book 50 of deeds on page 262. 
The judgment defines the rights of the "ITth s" in brief language which 
I quote: "The defendants are the owners and entitled to the posses- 
sion of the said water lot which is designated and shown upon the 

said Powell Map as lot No With the said lot 

and appurtenant thereto, the said defendants 

by the same tenure and title by which the said lot is held, hold, and 
they, their heirs and assigns are entitled to the right and privileg.i 

and easement, which was originally granted with the said lot No 

to take, draw and use from the said pond, canal and hydraulic works 
1-17 part of the water which properly pertains to tihe north side of 
the river at that point at the elevation of the said pond and main mill 
canal, after first deducting the said water and water power pertain- 
ing to lot No. 3, 36 cubic feet per second, to lot No. 9, 32 cubic feet 
per second, to lot No. 8, 36 cubic feet per second and to lots Nos. 14 
and 15, 42 cubic feet per second, which are first 'to be supplied with 
v/ater, being the water for the aforesaid prior rights, amounting to 
146 cubic feet of water per second, which are first to be deducted and 

said lot No is entitled to an equal 1-17 part of the residue o' 

the water, to be taken, drawn and used in equality of rights with each 
of the other 16 lots and no more." While the action of Loomis against 
the Cheney Hammer Company was pending, a modern stone bulkhead 
wias erected and after the decision, which was rendered in 1893, a stone 


dam across the river was built upon by the associate power owners. 
A dispute arose later on as to what share the Loomis estajte should 
pay of that dam, which resulted in itihe suit of Watts T. Loomis 
against Ignatz T. Lovenheim. This suit promises to be a lengthy 
one. It was tried at the Special Term of September 1902 before Jus- 
tice Wright and the briefs have not yet (February 1904) been submitted 
to the court. It will be remembered that in his transaction witli R. 
R. Ward, A. Loomis alludes to the possible transferring of some of 
his water rights to the powers on the noi-tlh side. The failure of the 
whole scheme as originally planned did away with this prospective 
concession and the Loomiis heirs maintain that they are entitled to 
1-2 of the water of tlhat level, but they have never used an amount 
exceeding much the quantity of one share on the north side. Tlie 
fact of the drawing of water on the south side from the upper dam 
and discharging it below the discharge of what is taken from the mid- 
dle dam, complicates matters on that side. 

I will attempt to give a brief history of each of the 22 lots. 

Lot No. 1, sometimes called Mill Island, was originally sold to John 
Brewer and in 1846 this lot was sold by the National Fire Insurance 
Company to S. M. and A. Richmond who sold it in 1851 to John B. 
Laurent, who estaiblished thereon an ax factory in which at first the 
Richmonds and later on Stephen Farnham became partners. Aft^'r 
the death of Mr. Laurent, Mr. Farnham became the sole owner and 
he sold in 1873 to Henry H. & Levi Walrath. They conveyed in 1874 
to Barney Van Vechten and he in the same year to Henry Cheney 
After Mr. Cheney's death, James H. Ives purchased the property in 
1881 and soM it to Ira F. Trask and George W. Trask. Later on 
James B. Dorr acquired an interest. In 1892 Mr. Ira F. Trask was 
the sole owner of the ax factory. Little Falls axes have always en- 
joyed a g-ood reputation in the market and of late years had become 
a standard make. When the edge tool trust was formed Mr. Trask 
was persuaded to sell out his prosperous Dusiness. The shop was 
closed, the machinery taken away and the promised salary was paid 
only for a short time. In 1896 Dettinger and Draper bought the pro- 
perty and sold to Ig'natz Lovenheim. A disastrous fire destroyed the 
shops on Mill Island a few years ago and Mr. Lovenheim rebuilt the 
same in brick. His factory building and power accommodates nov/ 
the following concerns: The Consumers Electric Light and Power 
Company, the case shop of Dettinger and the Lunstrom Book Case 
Factory. The fall at this lot is 18 feet and the maohinery is driven 
by a 48 inch Camden Wheel. 

Lot No. 2 is a lot sold by A. Loomis before the Chancery Sals. 
The purchaser was William I. Skinner who operated a saw mill on it 
from 1841 to 1866 when Daniel LaDue purchased it. The property 
has remained in the hands of the LaDues ever since and is now suc- 
cessfully managed by William LaDue. He manufactures cheese 
boxes, lumber and in season presses cider. The head at this place is 
18 feet and the power is furnislhed by a 48 inch Risdon Wheel. 

Lots 3 and 4 are now owned by the Cheney Hammer Company of 
v/hich George D. Waterman is the active representative. This firm 
manufactures a high grade hammer which is mainly sold in foreign 
markets and Little Falls hammers are used in all quarters of the 


globe and orders are often received from out of the way places on the 
globe which the firm has ito look up before they can make tlieir ship- 
ping- direction. Lot No. 3 is the lot which owns the first pi'ef erred 
right, 1-2 of which has been connected with the Cheney Hammer 
Company for years. The original lot was sold to William Ingham, 
the father of Schuyler R. Ingham. One half of the lot was at one 
time separated and in different hands but was purchased recently oy 
the company. The other lot, No. 4 was sold by the Master in Chan- 
cery to John Brower and by him to the National Fire Insurance Com- 
pany. James Monroe in the same year purchased the lot and sold it 
in 1847 to William Ing-ham from whom it went into the hands of the 
Cheney Hammer Company. The Cheney Hammer Company intends 
to instal as soon as the water permits, two McCormicks Wheels de- 
veloping 72 horse power. The head at that site is 17% feet. 

The title to lot No. 5 is in the name of Little Falls Package Com- 
pany, but is virtually the property of Mrs. E. R. Gilbert. On this 
lot is situated the mill built after the revolution and known as the 
Stone or Red Mill or Monroe Mill. James Monroe bought this lot of 
the Master in Chancery and sold it in 1852 to Acors and Solomon 
Ratbbun, the remaining owner, sold it in 1864 to George A. Feeter. 
After the disastrous failure of George A. Feeter it was sold by the 
sheriff to Charles Franchot as trustee who sold it in 1881 to Byron K. 
Houghton, who conveyed it to the National Herkimer County Bank of 
which Newell & Little purchased it in a8S2. They sold it in 1883 to 
the Little Falls Package Company. To this miW site belongs also the 
water right (that is 1-34 of the unpref erred water) which goes with 
the west half of lot No. 6. The Little Falls Package Company has a 
42 inch Risdon Wheel and 11 foot head. 

Lot No. 6 is the Red Paper Mill lot, which Page and Priest owned 
under a lease extending to the year 1846. They sold this unexpired 
lease to Francis D. Fish and the Master in Chancery sold the lot 
with the appertaining water to John Brower and he to the National 
Fire Insurance Company. Monroe purchased it and sold to A. G. 
Harris. Harris failed and the sheriff sold his rights to Thomas 
Burch. The executors of Thomas Burch conveyed to William B 
Houghton and the east half of that lot is now owned by the Hough- 
ton family. 

The west half of lot 7 with water appertaining was sold by the assignee 
of James Monroe to A. & S. Rathbun and Benjamin and Acors Rath - 
bun sold the same in 1862 to William B. Houghton. The Houghton 
estate owns in all 1-17 of the unpreferred water. 

Prior to the purchase of Loomis, Richard Ray Ward conyeyed to 
Rodney Durkee the preferred right and the lot No. 8 on which he 
built a mill which is still standing. This is the third preferred right. 
The right of this priority has been transferred and is owned by the 
Herkimer County Electric Light & Power Company. There was in 
early times much litigation about the title of that lot. In 1849 the 
property was sold by the sheriff to Martin W. Priest who conveyed 
it in 1851 to Solomon and Acors Rathbun. Benjamin Rathbun sold it 
in 1866 together with the east part of lot 7 to Henry and D. Lansing, 
who sold in the same year one quarter of the interest in the property 
to Charles B. Fonda, and towards the latter part of the seventies, af- 


ter many transactions forth and back between the Lansings and other 
partners, it was owned wholly by Charles B. Fonda. After Fonda's 
failure in 18S1 the mill and privilege was sold under foreclosure and 
was owned by the National Herkimer County Bank. A few years ago 
it was purchased by James Van Allen & Company and is now occu- 
pied as a custom and gTist mill and the original stone building of 
Durkee is leased to Becker & Company of Amstei'dam, N. Y., who 
manufacture shoddy. There are two wheels for the grist mill under 
18 foot head, both are 24 inch Camden Wheels and develop about 30 
horse power each. The wheel for the shoddy mill is a 38 inch Cam- 
den wheel and developes 60 horse pofwer. 

Lots No. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 with the water appurtenant are 
owned by a syndicate composed of Mr. Watts T. Loomis, William F. 
Lansing, Elijah Reed and Mrs. Louisa L. Burrell. The lands coin- 
ciding nearly with lots 9, 10, 11 and 12, together with all the water 
powers of lots 9 to 15 are leased for a long term of years to the Her- 
kimer County Light & Power Company. The land without water 
rights and coinciding with lots 13, 14 and 15 was sold by this syndi- 
cate to a committee of citizens and presented by this city as a bonus 
to Mr. Robert MacKinnon. The latter has erected on it his large 
Knitting Mill No. 2 and adjuncts. 

Lot No. 9 was the only lot which has no Ward title. It was sold 
under forecJosure of the Ellice mortgage to Thomas Burch and is the 
second preferred right. I have not been able to learn whether there 
was any manufacturing establishment on that lot until it was sold by 
A. Loomis in 1859 to John W. Stitt. 

The chain of title to lots 10, 11 and 12 is very similar. On these 
lots was located the building o&. the Ligneous Paper Company, the 
buildings of which were twice carried away by v/ater. These lots en- 
joy also the distinction of having been occupied by the first mill in 
which pulp was successfully manufactured in America, by one George 
Beards'.ey of Albany. The first pulp-paper manufactured hero was 
made of bass wood. It is pretty well established that pulp was man- 
ufactured here in 1855 or '56. The English patent is dated 1853 and 
the United States patent 1854 but claim is made that pulp waa man- 
ufactured prior to the Little Falls venture elsewhere. Little Falls 
y^'SbS alv.'ays a center of the paper industry and probably merits the 
distinction of being an early home of the pulp industry of the United 
Sts^tes. In 18G3 the lots 10, 11 and 12 became the property of John 
W. Stitt, who sold the same in 1875 together with the other lots from 
9 to 15 to Alexander T. Stewart. 

Lot No. 13 was sold by the Master in Chancei-y and became in 1845 
the property of the National Fire Insuiunce Company, which sold it 
in the same year to the Wool Growers Manufacturing Company, which 
failed in abotit the same year, and the property wad sold to Martin 
W. Priest, who sold it again to the reorganized Wool Growers iMati- 
ufacturing Company in 1851 together with the priority dt lot No. 8. 

Lot. No. 14 and that part of lot No. 15 to wliich the w^ter belongs 
were sold in 1838 by A. Loomis to the Little Falls Wbol Mantifaictur- 
ing Company, and went by the same proce^^ 6£ title into thb hands 
of John W. S;titt and finally Into the hands of Aleianflfer T. Stewart, 
so that in 1875 he owned all the seven lot's. The two mills er'ect'ed 


thereon were known as the Mohawk Mills and the Elboeuf Mills and 
under Stitt and during Stewarts short operation the finest kind of 
wool cloth was here manufactured. Stewart operated the mills only 
a short time and then the same were shut down and allowed to waste 
and decay until they became in about 1897 through purchase from Al- 
bert T. Hilton the property of Watts T. Loomis and were dispose! 
of by him as stated above. The Herkimer County Light & Power 
Company uses on these premises all the water of the seven lots, in- 
cluding, when necessary, the priority of No. 8. The head is 19 feet 
and 9 inches and the wheel is a twin McCormick 36 inches, horizontal 
shaft. The very looks of the genial Superintendent, Mr. Henry P. 
Collins, don't fail to betray the prosperity which the company enjoys. 
Lots 16 and 17, formerly the property of Victor Adams, were sold 
under the first foreclosure and were bought by Titus iSheard in 1879 
of the National Fire Insurance Company and sold by him a year or 
two afterwards to Mr. Adams who conducted thereon for many yeais 
a Box Factory and Knitting Mill, which is driven by a 33 inch Her- 
cules wheel under 21 feet head. 

It would lead us too far to go into all the vicissitudes of titles of 
lots 18, 19, 20, 21. It was owned by many companies and is known as 
the Saxony Mill property. It cannot be said that the operators of 
mills on this lot have been successful and a number of disastrous fail- 
ures are recorded in the titles. This property owns now 3% of the 
seventeenth and one thirty-fourth is owned under a disputed title. 
After the failure of Mr. King, the property has been standing idle and 
is slowly going to ruins. The fall at the Saxony Mill as used is about 
19 feet. One old 27 inch wheel and one somewhat newer 18 inch 
wheel were used in this mill. •> 

The last lot No. 22 was bought by A. Loomis at the foreclosure and 
has been owned by him and by his estate ever since. The Knitting 
Mill has been operated thereon at various times and among others bv 
Abblett & MacKinnon and later on by Rugene Walrath. The head is 
nearly 18 feet and the wheel is a 42 inch Risdon. 


The building of the Erie Canal on the south side of the river 
wrought a considerable change in the alignment of the south shore 
and of the channels. Below the Ann Street Bridge about opposite 
the Zoller Packing House, the river split originally into two parts, 
one channel was the present channel of the river, the other went 
towards the hill on the south and joined the present river again at 
the bay known as the Drummond Hole. This channel was filled up 
and forms a part of the embankment of the canal. In 1832 and 33 
Richard Ray Ward purchased of George H. Feeter and Abram 
Rosecrants two parcels of land which made him the owner of the 
riparian rights from the east line of lot 17 to about the lock now 
know as the Mile Lock. When Richard Ward was foreclosed, these 
lots were sold and acquired by different parties, among whom Aaron 
Seeley purchased in 1841 the Island called Seeley's Island and thus 
obtained the control of the water power on that side. The power was 
used by two mills, one a ' paper mill operated by the Paige family 


and later on by one Dr. Woodbridge, who did not make a great com- 
piercial success of his venture in papermaking. In 1876 this right 
and the mill became the property of J. J. Gilbert, who had in 1854 
built on the adjoining site a starch factory and in 186 4 a large 
elevator. The product of the Starch Factory became famous and 
brought a fortune to the family. After the death of J. J. Gilbert in 
1881, the manufacturing of starch was gradually abandoned and in 
1886 it was converted together with the Woodbridge Factory into a 
Knitting Mill, known as the Astoronga Mill Company. This mill manu- 
successfully by the Gilbert Knitting Mill Company. This mill manu- 
factures cotton underwear and cotton sweaters. The Woodbridge 
Mill used originally five powerful wheels and the Starch Factory 
two iron wheels of 75 and 501 horsepower respectively. The power 
is used under 11-foot head and two Risdon Wheels of 50 and 80 
horse power respectively are now in operation. 

The water power on the other side is owned by the Loomis estate 
and the Little Falls Paper Company in equal shares. The Loomis power 
has never been occupied. Arphaxed Loomis and Thomas Burch sold in 
1854 to E. B. Waite the land and % of the water and this paper mill 
erected by Waite has been continually operated since that time. It 
is safe to say that there has been no location more successfully and 
uniLnteruptedly used for manufacturing purposes in this city. The 
property is now owned by the Little Falls Paper Company, which 
manufactures fine tissue and toilet paper at an average of 2% tons per 
day of finished products. They own also another mill at Newburgh, 
N. Y. The channel of the river runs markedly on the north shore and 
has. always been larger than on the Seeley Island side. The head 
at this site is 14 feet and they use three Camden Wheels of 180, 85 
and 80 horse power respectively and one Reddy wheel of 30 horse 
power. An agreement exists since 1853 between the owners of the 
opposing sides in regard to maintenace, repair and new erections and 
in pursuance of this in 1896 and 97 a new stone dam was erected 
from designs of S. E. Babcock. 

If there ever was any actual power connected with the dam near 
the Gulf Bridge it was probably spoiled when the State built the Five 
Mile Dam. 


It is to be regretted that accurate measurements of the stream .it 
Little Falls exist only for a few years back and if the owners had 
preserved some earlier gauge readings, they might prove of great 
value. At present the U. S. Geological Sui*vey maintains a station of 
daily readings at the Gilbert Dam. It is of course not necessary tn 
dwell upon the fact that the volume of the stream has remarkably 
lessened since the establishment of the first mill, and in dry years the 
mills have to shut down or use steam for long periods. Some un • 
scrupulous owners have also taken more than their share. One of the 
main troubles to the Little Falls Powers is the taking of nearly all 
the water by the State during extreme dry seasons. This leads us to 
a subject with which I will close my paper. 




The Mohawk River as such became at the earliest day of the colony 
a highway or public thoroughfare from slack water of the Hudson or 
from the settlements of New England to the Great Interior Lakes. 
Where the river was navigable it became a "navigable stream." 
Where the heavy falls occurred, as at Little Falls and at Cohoes, the 
traveler had 'to resort to terra firma and carry his goods and boats 
to slack water again. There is no evidence that the Inland Lake and 
Navigation Company purchased any right of Alexander Ellice, the 
owner of the land and the rights to the water. Tradition says that 
Ellice, who was much interested in the forwarding trade and was the 
owner of boat lines, gave the company a license to cross his lands 
with that little toy canal of a few feet in witlth and carrying boats 
of three feet draft. Water was so abundant in the river then that 
that small quantity could not affect his mill sites; besides Mr. Ellice 
could reason that such a canal would build up the lands he owned 
and this was proven by the subsequent growtih of the village on that 
side. There is no evidence that the State at that time made any 
claim to the river. The Canal Company was simply a charter stock 
company, holding certain rights. When the first Erie Canal was 
planned on the south side and built accordingly as related above, the 
aqueduct and basin were constructed and part of the old canal was 
used as a feeder. The land was dedicated for that purpose by Mr. 
Ellice. Before that the old canal had been sold by the company to 
the State assuming under the license of Alexander Ellice to have the 
title to the land. We have in Germany a proverb which says: "If yovi 
give the devil your little finger he will soon ihave both your hands." 
This is the policy which the State has followed in regard to some of 
the water rights on the Mohawk River. In the first place the State 
sold these lands to intending settlers. Ellice, Bellinger and a few 
others owned the land on both sides of the river including the Islands. 
When the State wanted to enlarge the Erie Canal it found that it had 
not sufficient water to supply the levels below Little Falls and a 
large feeder was constructed and has been several times enlarged which 
feeds water below lock 39 and as far as Mindenville. The quantity 
taken is very large, probably at the present time over 500 cubic feet 
per second. 

S.ome time after the coustruction of the feeder the owners of the 
water power brought suit and the final decision in that case deciding 
practically all the others is contained in the 33rd New York and en- 
titled Arphaxed Loomis against the Canal Appraisers. In it the court 
says that the Mohawk River is a public highway, that all the water of 
it Ibelongs by right of purchase and by right of foi-mer user to the 
State, that the rights of the State are based upon the rights of the In- 
land and Navigation Company, that the fact that mills depend upon 
this water is not a concern of the State but that they are welcome to 
all the surplus water. It was one of those decisions produced by the 
desire of Judges to shape their course to suit public policy. To me as 
a layman it has always appeared as if this decision was legalizing 
robbery by the State. The State steps in and takes from private 
owners, that which they and their grantors considered as their own 


and interferes with vested rights which ought to be just as sacred as 
any others affecting property. The decision to the layman reads be- 
labored and instead of tackling the question, it seems to decide the 
case upon said issues. Records show that some of the historic facts 
alluded to by the Judges are wrong. The principal reference in the 
case is the so-called Tibbitts case in 17th Wendell, which furnishes 
the main prop of reasoning. It has been expected for years that this 
decision would meet sometime a reversal by another court, but as it 
happens it has not come up in proper form since that time. 

The proposed construction of the Barge Canal and the probability 
that that canal will take all the water it can get makes it important 
for the Little Falls owners of water property to get together and de- 
fend their rights. There is no doubt that during certain seasons of all 
years, every drop of water from the West Canada Creek and the Mo- 
hawk River watersheds will have to be used to float the large Barges. 
For this reason it is very imperative for the owners of mills at Little 
Falls to form some association for their protection. Such associatio.a 
might also take under consideration whether the water powers at 
Little Falls might not .be better formed into one or several companies 
and use the water only to produce electricity and then furnish the 
owners of each level or dam with his properly metered out quantity 
of power. It would save machinery, atendance, disputes and the sur- 
plus power could be sold. Whatever quantity of electricity should be 
lost in retransmission to the mills would certainly not equal the im- 
mense amount of waste whiclh is now caused by leakage and care- 
lessness. As I have stated several times in this paper the water power 
is one of the essential reasons for the existence of Little Falls. Tak« 
that element out of Little Falls and the tov/n will receive its roost 
serious blow. 

When I undertook to write this paper, I did not imagine that the 
same would be so lengthy and so tedious. A great many facts had to 
be recited over again in order to describe fitly the peculiar situation, 
and I beg your pardon for detaining you so long. I thank you for your 
patience and attention during my reading of this dry paper upon a 
very wet subject. 


Following is correction to paragraph on page 141 



It seems that prior to 1830 a paper mill was erected which was at 
times owned by Sprague & Dann and later by Eaton & Young. Lots 
56 to 62 (Powell Map) were sold in one parcel with the right to use 
the water power of the fall from the State Dam to the main mill dam 
and with the right to construct and maintain a dam from the Island 
to the main shore and to raise the water as high or nearly as high as 
the State Dam. The lots above, 51 to 55, were sold subject to be 
flowed to the height of the State Dam, by a dam to be constructed oy 
the owners of the lots below. James Monroe purchased these lots and 
sold the two lowest of them to Jacob Guiwitts and the four upper ones 
to E. L. Shepard. The Guiwitts lots were occupied for a great many 
years by a saw mill, while on the Shepard lots there were a shop, a 
shoddy-mill and at various times other temporary industries. The 
property was afterwards purchased by Bailey & Mitchell and later by 
the Little Falls Knitting Mill Co., which conducted a prosperous bus- 
iness for many years and was reorganized within a few years, when 
Mr. J. J. Gilbert bought the controlling interest of the Baileys, as 
the Gilbert Knitting Company. The large mill situated on this power 
uses now the water from the State Dam through the lock of the first 
canal and has seven feet fall, and a wheel producing 40 horse power. 
They manufacture knit goods and sweaters and over shirts. Most of 
the power for this mill is obtained by steam. 


Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society April 4, 1904 

Tlhe saying "We are all Socialists now," first attributed to a learned 
Judge, was but an exaggerated staternent of the fact that Social ques- 
tions are not only pressing for attention but are receiving from all 
thinking men increasing consideration. 

Here and there no doubt are still to be mat persons who deny that 
there is a Social question at all. Of one thing, at least, we are now 
certain, the problem of social action cannot be ignored, and as it can- 
not be ignored, it is surely not too much to urge that it should be 

Such studj at the present day involves some examination of Social- 
ism and we have considered in the present treatment of the topic, 
that a general historical and analytical survey would prove more 
interesting than the detailed and necessarily technical address on a 
single feature, which would alone be possible on this occasion. 

The object of this address is to give some account of the nature and 
times of modern Socialism and to discuss its general bearing on pro- 
gress. With the historic Socialism, the avowedly Utopian Socialism 
and the various communistic proposals and experiments it is not pro- 
posed to deal at any length. The contemporary movement has no 
necessary connection with any of these and is sharply differentiated 
from all in its essential particulars. . 

The call for political reform which was so prominent in Europe dui- 
ing the first half of last century was succeeded by the demand for 
social politics, and those who look askance upon all responses made 
by Legislatures in this direction have as a rule chosen to characterize 
the whole movement as Socialistic. This application of that word is 
unfortunate though its popularity is daily in evidence. By the unin- 
formed it seems to be regarded as a most convenient means of de- 
scribing and condemning in a word any proposal concerning society 
which is, or appears to be, objectionable. The term Social Reform 
and Social Reformer, however, while they include Socialism and Social- 
ist, are much wider in their scope, and embrace other proposals and 
other people whose aims and methods are very different. Socialism 
proper is something more than a high ideal for society, an earnest 


desire for its regeneration, or the approval of graduated taxation and 
a comprehensive system of factory laws and labor legislation. It is 
more even, than the existing demand, for a definite economic re- 
organization which it is proposed to accomplish by changes in par- 
ticular directions. 

The essential feature of Socialism is the substitution of a system of 
industrial production, collectively organized and, with the exception of 
human activities, collectively owned, for a system of production in- 
dividually organized and owned. 

Its general policy may be best set forth in the time at our disposal 
by the institution of comparisons with other movements and concep- 

It is a positive not a destructive proposal and in this it is opposed 
to Anarchism, which — in spite of its ideal of ultimate peace without 
government — advocates, as the first step towards progress, the anni- 
hilation of existing society. Socialism seeks to build up a social fabric 
which, whatever its defects, would — granted its initial success — 
abound in opportunities for constructiv^e organization and strong gov- 
ernment. So far from its administration being too weak it would 
probably prove too sirong, and its mechanism too rigid rather than 
too lax. 

Again it is not necessarily connected with violence or revolution, 
though from the attitude of some of its critics one would imagine that, 
in the disorderly fringe which pertains to every such movement, is to 
be found its truest expression. Socialism also is. practical in charac- 
ter and not Utopian. Whether it is practicable or not we have yet to 
ascertain, but its main proposal is of a purely practical nature. It 
does not assume that human nature has undergone a sudden and de- 
cisive change. It supposes that men will continue to be much as 
they have been and are — good bad and indifferent. It has hopes for 
moral progress, but that gain which may come of greater opportuni- 
ties to the mass of men than at present, is expected to proceed con- 
temporaneously with its own development. The dreamy and ideal 
Socialism which required, as an indispensable preliminary, the regen- 
eration of its units, is a thing of the past. Such schemes all suffered 
from one incurable defect — the superb ease with which a few discon- 
tented people could have wrecked the whole elaborately planned or- 
ganization. The contemporai-y movement is not indefinite. It is re- 
stricted in its scope. Socialism and communism differ chiefly in the 
fact that while one would organize a part, the other would organize 
the whole. Communism does not content itself with the introduction 
of a certain order into industrial production like Socialism, it passes 
on to consider what shall be done with the goods when produced and 
it would organize consumption as well as production. Equality of some 
kind is the inevitable corollary. "Each man to clean his own shoes 
and have lentils for dinner" is what we might expect to find in the 
order book of such a regime. 

This kind of thing found its fullest expression in the Parisian Com- 
mune, but the community of goods and equality of persons which 
characterized that brief experiment have no counterpart in Socialism. 
While the former withdraws all the ordinary motives for effective ex- 
ertion and competition, under the latter there is room for a rivalry of 


energy and of skill, for the most able would produce most in any 
working period, and would be valued and paid at the highest rate. 

In Europe the Fabian Society's manifesto — a document subscribed 
by men and women differing widely in their views as to the best 
means of i-ealizing their hopes — vei'y succinctly describes the position 
of contemporai-y socialism in relation to the earlier and later com- 
munistic movements in these words: "In the natural philosophy of 
Socialism, light is a more important factor than heat." "The Fabian 
Society accepts the conditions imposed on it by human nature, and by 
the national character and political circumstances of the people." 
"It sympathizes with the oi-dinary citizen's desire for gradual, peace- 
ful changes, as against revolution, conflict with the army and police, 
and martyrdom." "The Fabian Society does not suggest that the 
State should monopolize industry as against private enterprise or in- 
dividual initiative, further than may be necessary to make the liveli- 
hood of the people and their access to the sources of production com- 
pletely independent of both." "The Fabian Society resolutely opposes 
all pretensions to hamper the socialization of industry with equal 
wages, equal hours of labor, equal official status, or equal authority for 
every one." 

Since the decline of the once popular doctrine of "laissez faire" most 
people have felt that the State should do something with regard to the 
labor question, but what it should do they have not been quite able to 
tell. Among such there is a very common belief that Socialism is the 
particular product of a Democratic policy. This has no foundation in 
fact. Democracy is a political condition. Socialism is a social organi- 
zation. As such, the latter must have some kind of connection with 
politics, which is the recognized mechanism whereby the people sig- 
nify and attain their social aims; but it has no necessary identifica- 
tions with any one form of that mechanism. Socialism is condition- 
ed by but one political consideration, and that is the existence of a 
strong, honest and intelligent government. If such is offered by an 
undemocratic form of government and refused by a democratic one, 
Socialism will have a better chance under the former. 

A good deal of misconception and prejudice is removed when we 
realize that it has no essential connection with Democracy, Republi- 
canism or limited monarchy. The latter indeed would probably prove 
most favorable to the introduction at least of Socialism, which neces- 
sitates a wide extension of State action and makes great demands on 
sound executive ability. A crude and untrained Democracy would be 
equally unfit with a selfish and biased oligarchy for a work of such 
great delicacy. ' 

As/ illustrating the above considerations we should note that it is 
from the strong monarchial government of Germany than a spontane- 
ous proposal has emanated for taking under its wing the Socialists of 
the Fatherland, while this country with the most democratic constitu- 
tion in the world has decisively rejected the first serious attempt at 
a socialistic political programme. 

Socialism is also evolutionary in character. It is not by any means 
essential to a true conception that it should be deemed capable of im- 
mediate and complete introduction. The early notion that Socialism 
was a system which could readily be transferred from a sheet of paper 
to society took to flight under the scientific studies of the later Social- 


ist thinkers and writers who realized that society was too delicate and 
too sensitive to be capable of instant adaption to a new form. The 
length of time required for its period of preliminai-y growth has been 
very variously estimated. The more sanguine may estimate it at fifty 
while the less sanguine put it at five hundred years. 

Excessive as the later estimate may seem there is little or no doubt 
that Socialism, if ever successfully introduced, will be the result of a 
slow and gradual evolution. Its consistent advocate does not neces- 
sarily contemplate legislation on any cut and dry scheme. He looks 
forward to the final realization of Socialism, and he plays his part by 
assisting its development where occasion offers. 

Viewed as a philosophy, apart from the consideration of the mechan- 
ical difficulties it may present, or the moral and social dangers it may 
involve, the acceptance of Socialism as a contribution to progress, de- 
pends upon the way in which the nature and functions of society are 
regarded. On this point there are and have been from all time two 
schools of thinkers. 

Individualism regards society as nothing more than a mere numeri- 
cal aggregate of the units which compose it. Socialism as a system of 
thought, assumes that it has a being, power, and functions apart. 
This conception is common to the economic and State Socialists, and 
involves the belief that the State or society is to improve, benefit or 
otherwise infiuence the individuals that constitute it. Against this, 
individualist, including both "laissez faire" thinkers and anarchists, 
urge that the action of society is always detrimental and futile, that 
p»-ogress depends solely on the voluntary acts of individuals, and that 
these must learn from their own experience. On the other hand 
whole evidence of history is adduced to prove the great extent to 
which individuals learn from the experience of others. 

Yet again it is urged by individualists that science is on their side 
and that progress depends upon the action of the law of the survival 
of the fittest, and that consequently State or social effort, as restrict- 
ing the free operation of this law, is either null and void or retrogress - 
ive. Such a belief coveniently enables its holders to dispense with any 
examination of Socialism and is heartily welcomed by many to whom 
the mere idea is distasteful. A dislike however is not a disproof. As 
a matter of fact the biological analogy is wholly inconclusive when thus 
applied to human society which is capable, it must ever be remem- 
bered, of conscious development. Those who survive are certainly the 
fittest to the environment but that environment may be good or it may 
be bad. Human society, however, can apply its accumulated experi- 
ence to the improvement of the environment or even to the substitu- 
tion of one which is more, for one which is less, worthy. It does not 
and can never discourage the survival of the fittest but it rightly de- 
termines what characteristics make the fittest. Socialism, at any rate, 
officially recognizes society but as we shall see both society and the 
individual require acknowledgement in a progressive community. 

Passing from these general considerations regarding Socialism we 
may proceed to examine its attitude towards the present industrial 

It was In 1776 that Adam Smith placed in the very forefront of his 
famous books the Division of Labor, a growing element then among 
many, it has during the century and a quarter which have elapsed, be- 


come the central principle of industrial organization. The distance 
between consumer and producer has greatly increased and the old 
relation between these factors has almost disappeared, 

(1) Socialists maintain that in spite of the high intelligence and 
skill brought to bear on modern business management, articles 
are often produced merely because it is thought they will be re- 
quired. While in many cases the pushing of wares is effected 
with such dexterity that their consumption is actually occas- 
ioned. Goods are produced which are not wanted, at prices at 
which they are not wanted and in quantities in which they are 
not wanted, for, however accurate the initial forecast may have 
been, there is nothing to prevent too many producers from simul- 
taneously making this forecast in ignorance of each others' in- 
tentions, with resulting overproduction and all its attendant evils, 
iln such a system as has been outlined the one guide is competi- 
tion and, whatever view may be individually taken of it, its in- 
evitable wastefulness is undeniable. Socialism goes further and 
expresses grave doubts as to whether it is successful when ap- 
parently most successful. It asks, do the best doctors get the best 
practices? Do the best articles command the largest sales? 
These and similar questions raise the inquiry as to whether pur- 
chasers, patients, clients, and the like are not often led into tak- 
ing something which is forced upon them by wholly external cir- 
cumstances. In the purchase of a particular soap, for instance, 
however good it may be, it would be difficult to estimate the de- 
grees in which the purchase is due to the knowledge that the 
soap will assist ablution and to the effect of a judicious adver- 
tisement. Even those who deem that, in the long run, the best 
article, as also the best man, comes to the front will admit that 
in the Intervening period there may be a great waste and, so far 
as men are concerned an irretrievable waste. 

(2) A second count in the Socialistic indictment of our industrial 
system is the enforced economic dependence of the worker. This 
has increased greatly of late years, with the lapse of which man 
has slipped more and more from the position of an Artificer, 
largely controlling and completing production, to the position of 
a part, and a very small part, of a process. His individual share 
in the manufacture of any single article has steadily decreased. 
With this increase his own economic independence has of course 

diminished. The result is that the labor of one man ,if it is to 
be of any effect, must be knit in with that of many others, and 
the plea of Socialism in regard to this new economic unity, with 
its corresponding loss to the individual, is that society should 
duly and effectively recognize the claims which individuals, who 
have given up their economic independence on its behalf, have 
upon it. 

(3) A third point of attack by Socialism is capital. As the years 
have passed it has grown in importance, and in the course of 
time multitudes of small craftsmen and small masters have been 
swept away leaving industrial capitalism predominant. About the 
use and importance of capital no sensible person will dispute. 
Even Socialists, though they appear anxious at times to minim- 


ise them, actually vouchsafe to them a recognition as real, 
though possibly not as reverential, as that of admirers of the 
present system. 
It is of course neither the intention nor practice of the Socialist 
to write up the credit side of the modern system but one patent ad- 
vantage of it has been the immense increase in the productivity of 
effort. Society in a word can now gratify more wants with less exer- 
tion and trouble. But while both parties may agree as to this they 
part company immediately after the admission. The Socialists con- 
sidering that the chief fruits of the increased productivity have fallen 
into the laps of the owners of land and capital who do nothing they 
say ,or have been picked up by the profit-mongers, who, they assert, 
play the part of the intelligent vulutres in human society, They claim 
further that, as the increase is due mainly, if not wholly, to society, 
it belongs to what they choose to term the class of workers. 

In reply it is urged by non -socialists that the increase is due to 
the saving of capital on the part of some and to ingenuity and ability 
on the part of others, the organizers or employers. It is pointed out 
also that many critics of the present industrial system fail to realize 
the large amount of brain work and necessary high paid ability re- 
quired to successfully run a great industrial corporation and, indeed, 
all live business ventures at the present day, even where ample capi- 
tal and labor are available. 

It is also noted in attempts to introduce co-operative ownership or 
similar participations in the risks as well as the fnaits of business 
that, in a number of cases, the workman is neither willing nor, indeed, 
able to stand the loss-sharing which non-success implies. 

It is also further alleged in favor of capitalism that the mass of 
the working class has partaken far more freely than any others of the 
the benefit, which is mainly consequent upon the skill of others. Sta- 
tisticians certainly prove that both wages and their purchasing power 
have greatly increased and writers of social history give us no en- 
ticing picture of what is usually termed 'the good old times.' 

On the other hand the Socialist argues that though there has been 
a relative gain to the industrial worker it has not attained anything 
like its proper proportions, considering what an age of invention and 
resources we live in. The divergence is thus not one of theory alone 
but of fact. 

This then in brief is the Socialist's indictment of the statue quo. 
It is not, however, a judgment against society. Some of the evils it 
proclaims undoubtedly menace progress, and their ill consequences 
must be faced and frankly faced. Socialists, however, call for a par- 
ticular remedy, and claim to have a theoretical, historical and prac- 
tical basis for their proposals. The theoretical argument wa^s chiefly 
elaborated by Karl Marx — a German political exile in Great Britain — 
in his great work "Das Kapital,' a monument of industry which has 
only of late years become accessible in the English language. Since 
then the literature of Socialism has grown apace, is now of consider- 
able magnitude and is constantly being added to. The theoretical 
prop for Socialism is derived from Marx's theory of surplus value. 
This is a series of propositions which declare that labor alone confers 
value on produce, that after the costs of production, wages, interest 
on capital, etc., have been met, there remains a surplus which is ap- 


propriated by the capitalist, and which rightly belongs to the creator 
of value, viz., the industrial worker. These contentions have been 
severely refuted and are really not essential to the case of Socialism, 
but Marx in the course of elaborating his argument gave the first and, 
to this day, the most brilliant and masterly historical analysis of capi- 
talism and the factory system of production which it finally called 
into being. From this he and his successors have derived the pro- 
position that economic categories are also historical categories and 
that Socialism is the necessary complement of the slavery serfdom 
and wage labor which have successively preceded it. 

The practical basis is derived fi'om the following among other fea- 
tures which are declared to be inherent in any system in which capi- 
talism reigns and competition is the selective agent; the extreme 
wastefulness of the competitive regime; the haphazard apportion- 
ment of vocations and consequent loss to society; the power, ever tend- 
ing to increase, of the capitalist over the wage laborer; the fact that, 
under present economic conditions, wages inevitably tend towards the 
minimum sum which will afford a bare subsistence to the laborer and 
his family. 

It is not possible, in such a notice as this, to enter into a discussion 
of the avertments just recorded, but that there are elements of truth 
in some of them, which have been neglected, has been generally ad- 

In estimating Socialism as a possible scheme of production and 
system of social and economic life, one question ranks prior both in 
importance and in order to all others. Will it prove itself a working 
system? That it should work, and under certain conditions it might 
work, is no doubt true, but the question is one of fact, or rather of 
high probability. For whatever be its advantages, there can be no 
more unwise course than that of urging on the introduction of schemes 
which will break down in practice, and which will bring about a long 
continued course of fiasco and disaster, from which any government, 
if it emerges at all, will emerge maimed and weak. It is only where 
some sort of probability is assured on this point that we can afford 
to balance advantages against disadvantages. The considerations 
which have already been advanced vary in their importance, and re- 
late to results to a more or less hypothetical charactar. They suggest 
gest, however, one conclusion, the inexpediency of forming a too 
final judgment. Economic inquiries however, as compared with sci- 
entific investigations, bring us face to face with certain grave diffi- 

Popular clamor in some countries declares that a decision one way 
or another ,is necessary, and many of those who raise the cry think 
themselves fitted to give the decision, especially if they have not 
studied the subject. Above all things experiments are difficult and 
such as have been attempted, particularly in the United States, have 
been essentially on communistic lines, and afford no criterion for 
judging contemporary Socialism, which, in its different forms, is very 
far from being the simple question which some, both amongst its ad- 
herents and opponents, assert. It presents a very complex problem, 
the solution of which will come, if it ever comes, after long waiting 
and much experimental legislation. 


A simple issue, however, is raised in one aspect, namely, the ap- 
plicability of Socialism as a present remedy for retrogressive tend- 
encies in the existing economic organization. The conclusion arrived 
at on this head will depend on the view taken of the following mat- 
ters. Is a sudden change feasible? AVhat are the unseen and the seen 
risks involved in Socialism?, and. Is there no alternative? 

To many of those who look for perfection, Socialism has much that 
is alluring in its aspect. To some it presents itself as a consummating 
phase in the long evolution of society. By others it is positively need- 
ed to give any meaning at all to that outward appearance of 
mechanical, commercial, and industrial unity which has emerged 
through the division and specialization of labor, whereby men have 
became mutually dependent for the satisfaction of their common 
needs. These look upon the movement as the revelation of the hidden 
possibility of an inward union of endeavor impossible until the out- 
ward frame-work of a new society had been achieved. But there are 
yet others who make a further step, and ■demand not only a unity of 
form, not merely a unity of conscious aim, but a moral unity. To 
such the message of Socialism is as the breath of life breathed upon 
the dry bones of dead tissues. Society they hope will at last be cor- 
porate and will live for society. 

On the other hand the opponents of Socialism are not without their 
imaginings in which liberty plays the leading part. They see in their 
fears, as it were, the soul of the individual bound to the wheel of a 
tyrannous majority and they clamor for freedom to use their powers 
unimpeded with the desire, let us grant, that they may benefit their 

It may be said that the social future will be determined by sterner 
considerations than those which cumber the brains of dreamers and 
enthusiasts. Like many other sayings which sound wise enough at 
the moment, this is but half the truth and has but a partial applica- 

No Statesman or thinker is wise who undervalues the power of ideal 
conceptions as to progress merely on the ground that they are or, to 
say more truly, that they seem to him impracticable. So far as they 
are impracticable they will fail in practice if attempted at once or in 
the whole. But even unattempted they may do much to direct the 
expedients to which society may resoi't, and possibly to prepare the 
way for some scheme bearing likeness to that which they have fore- 

"Give us order;" "Give us liberty;" are both aspirations which rep- 
resent needs strongly felt and they underlie much that is said for and 
against Socialism as an aid to pi'ogress. 

An enumeration of the seen and unseen risks in Socialism involves 
a recapitulation of its main features. The advantages which it offers 
are of varying probability in respect to their fulfillment. Among these 
the two most prominent ai-e the prevention, to a large extent, of the 
waste which is at present incurred in production, and secondly the 
provision for all of the means, by work, of procuring the necessaries 
of life. A third possible advantage which has powerfully affected some 
economists is the opportunity which the normal Socialism offers of a 
greater correspondence between labor, skill, and ability, and their 
respective rewards. 


A Socialism which insists on equality has, of course, none of thes3 
attractions, and presents, it seems to us, insurmountable difficulties. 
This equality however is an alien element grafted on to the necessary 
conditions, and is proclaimed only by the distinctively communistic 
element in the Socialistic ranks. 

The disadvantages of Socialism on the other hand are in strong con« 
tradistinction to the above considerations. They may be roughly 
divided into those which affect the working of the system and thus 
annul it. Together with its good and evil, and those which must be 
put into the opposite balance should Socialism prove to be a working 
system. Defects of the former kind are of the greater moment. In 
the first place, it is alleged that so great a diminution in production 
will be occasioned as to prevent the community sustaining itself save 
on a very low level of general subsistence; that however equal the 
division there will be so much less to divide and, in the view of some, 
the vast majority will be much worse off than at present. It is no 
answer to this to say that a i-eduction of the general productivity of 
the community will be compensated for by a greater equality in dis- 
tribution. To make this light hearted assertion really forcible, some 
means must be afforrded of estimating the extent to which a diminu- 
tion in productivity is bearable and likely, or otherwise that any such 
is improbable. No adequate answer has yet been made to this forcible 
objection. Again it is perfectly useless to assume that bureaucratic 
administration will be rendered more efficient and less dangerous by 
the introduction of universal democracy. Society before making 
changes requires not assertions but guarantees. Most of these must 
necessarily be derived from experiments in legislation and adminis- 
tration. In one direction, however, Socialists themselves can do much. 
They should make it abundantly evident that the system proposed 
by them does not embrace the notion of equality of renumeration. Such 
a proposition, should it ever be made by recognized exponents of the 
movement, carries with it, in our opinion, as a matter of course the 
condemnation of the whole system. Another risk of a fundamental 
nature is the strain to which a completely socialised^ industrial sys- 
^,em exposes the political integrity and unity of the nation. It is 
illustrated by the very obvious difficulty which has arisen in coun- 
tries where tariff legislation has been attempted, through the in- 
evitable tendency in such cases to vote by interests, and the more 
complete the Socialist organization the more likely is this to occur. 
Even in a well organized and woi'king Socialist regime the members 
might suffer in various other ways. Such a government would 
probably enjoy a partial, if not entire, immmunity from printed 
criticism, and its people would be much less able to obtain a remedy 
for minor grievances without grave legislative friction. Putting aside 
other points of less importance, it will be found that most of the al- 
leged risks of the Socialist system refer more or less to its probable or 
possible infringements on freedom. Some control of men as pro- 
ductive agents is inevitable in such a state, and in many instances it 
will be unable to consult individual idiosyncrasies, thus tending at 
least to restrain any great deviation from the normal. This would 
affect most strongly those higher ranges of work in which artistic, in- 
tellectual and manual excellence display themselves. Nor is the as- 
sertion that the majority are at present greatly limited in their choice 


owing to hardness of circumstances, a competent reply, for individuals 
can overcome circumstances, but they will not, or at least should not, 
be able to overcome the state. It seems highly probable also that con- 
trol under a Socialist regime would not in actual practice cease at 
any given point. This it is true is equally the case in the present 
system, but with this vast difference, that, whereas at present all ex- 
tensions of official control must be accompanied by specific justifica- 
tion, under a Socialist rule it is rather exclusion that will require 

The considerations advanced seem to us sufficient to justify the re- 
jection of the normal Socialism, but many who embrace it as the 
lesser of two evils seem to regard it as the one alternative to unre- 
stricted competition. The truth is that there are many intermediate 
positions between the unpleasant extremes of a soulless individualism 
and the paralysis of Socialism, and though many choose to regard 
these as mere resting places in the going from one or other ideal, that 
journey may be one of many years, if not many thousands of years. 
The realizable ideal of society depends largely on what can be made 
out of human nature, and so long as it is so variable, just so long 
must we be content with governments which occupy themselves in 
utilizing as far as they can the good which is to be found in opposing 
principles. The modern state, as we know it, has a social policy in 
which the individual and society are both recognized without any im- 
plicate of Socialism. Its attitude may be broadly defined as the per- 
mission of an individual freedom which is restricted by consideration 
of the well being of the State; for the State, or all-of-us, has to op- 
erate for state or social ends in contradistinction to the conflicting 
action of various classes of society. Nor is it difficult to trace the 
recognition of this in the social history of the world, great additions 
to which have been made during the last half century. Both by leg- 
islative and administrative action the State has acknowledged its re- 
sponsibility in securing fit conditions of labor and life. In this direc- 
tion operate the Factory Acts and many others, diverse though they 
may appear to be at first sight. All of them are recognitions of the 
claims which individuals have against the State for existence. 

We are now face to face with the conception of the State as some- 
thing more than a supreme power ccntrolling the stinfe between war- 
ring elements. The true State is something more real, more organic 
and more vital. Progress it must have and will have, but if in the 
course of that progress, some labor becomes inefficient and some mem- 
bers of the society unfit, the cost must be borne by society and not by 
the individual. As a matter of fact there are signs in abundance that 
this is recognized as a public duty, and Socialism is not the only al- 
ternative to a policy of rigid and unrelenting individualism. 

The State requires the existence of different classes and different 
individuals. It is still far from proved that neglect can be safely 
shown to any of these, and no attempt has yet been made to prove 
that the conditions which further their development are the same for 
all. It would be foolish to assert, as is often done, that no scheme of 
a Socialistic nature will ever be realized. That none is capabe of im- 
mediate realization we firmly believe. 

Any system to be successful will, we believe, have to take more vi- 
tal account, than has yet been done, of the variable elements in hu- 


man nature and the subtle conditions which underlie order in society, 
security in economics, and the progress of the State. 

Has the Socialist propaganda failed then to make any contribution 
of value in the direction of progress? On the contrary we believe it 
has rendered valuable service though chiefly of a negative character. 
It has on the testimony of our leading economists greatly helped to 
give prevalence to the historical and ethical conceptions of political 
economy, so conspicuous by their absence in treatises on the dismal 
science dating from the middle of last century. 

It has brought the cause of the poor powerfully before the world, 
and made it indeed a prominent question in all progressive countries. 

It has given us a searching though, in our opinion, a somewhat ex- 
aggerated criticism of the present social and economic organization 
and has done excellent service to mankind in strongly emphasizing 
the necessity for further progress. 

This service will continue, for, despite the doubtful theoretical props 
which its educated friends may provide for it, the enthusiasm of its 
rank and file has been and always will be created and sustained by 
the unsparing exposure of the vulnerable joints in our present social 

The positive contribution of Socialism, we believe, will not come un- 
til the unconscious experiments which are ever proceeding in the sure 
laboratory of time have purified it from economic fallacies, and en- 
larged its conception of "the husbandman that laboreth." 

Contemporary Socialism as distinguished from anarchism on the 
one hand, and nihilism on the other has during the last few years un- 
dergone a remarkable transformation. In Germany, Austria, France, 
Denmark and Holland it has ceased mere vaporing and all violence 
and has sought by constitutional methods to obtain representation in 
the legislature and, this obtained, has evinced a simultaneous growth 
in the moderation of its aims and the circumspection of its methods. 
In fact "State Socialism," the agrarian Socialism of Henry George, 
and other special movements have ceased to be questions of the hour 
and both in this country and on the European continent the respon- 
sibilities of success, the exigencies of a position of practical import- 
ance, are rapidly stripping the social Democrats of their former revo- 
lutionary character. Verbally, of course, they still protest against 
the whole existing order of things but, as a matter of cold fact, they 
are now all busily promoting the social reforms which they used to 
denounce as retarding instead of hastening their regenerative revolu- 
tion, while the younger spirits among them, the men of the future, are 
beginning to evince a profound scepticism about the whole revolution 
business and to avow a strong belief that the work of progressive so- 
cial reform which they are now pursuing, is itself the social revolu- 
tion desired, the social revolution realized according to the way of 
nature, who is always fond of slow transitions and averse to catas- 

We have already pointed out that political democracy need not ne- 
cessarily end in social democracy, and that the development will dif- 
fer in different countries. It will be determined chiefly by two con- 
siderations, the national character and the proportion of property 
holders. Even in a democracy like the United States, enjoying the 


greatest liberty, property can only be permanently sustained by dif- 
fusion, and, if the existing conditions should isolate it into the hands 
of the few, the many will be under a constant, and, in emergencies, an 
irresistable temptation to take freedom in their hand, and force the 
distribution of property by law, or nationalize it entirely by a Socialis- 
tic reconstruction. It used to be in Europe a poitical maxim that 
power must be distributed in some proportion to property, but In 
these days of almost universal franchise the rule of social health will 
be found in having property distributed in some proportion to power. 
This is the natural price we must pay for stability under the present 

A penniless omnipotence is unendurable, and must be succeeded by 
revolution, or the granting to a considerable minority of some stake in 
the industrial commonwealth and the opening up, as has already been 
done, of this prospect to all as a possible reward of industi-y and pru 

The recognition of these reasonable aspirations, which — for lack of 
any other medium — have been voiced along with others in Socialism, 
is wholly compatible with the traditions of this land, in which the 
toiler with the brain and the worker with the hands come more into 
mutually respecting daily contact than those in any other civilized 
community . 


Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society Nov. 2, 1904. 

After Sir William Johnson returned from the capture of Montreal, 
in the fall of 1760, he obtained the Royal Grant, and also commenced 
building Johnstown, and his second and last mansion, Johnson Hall, 
which is still to be seen on the State Road about a mile northerly of 

He was the founder of Johnstown, and beside many other things of 
importance which he did, he built a church and school at his own ex- 
pense, and made them free to all. Johnstown grew rapidly for the 
times under his fostering care. 

After the battle of Lake George in 1755, where he won his title of 
Baronet, he lived in true baronial style. 

In 1772 he was instrumental in getting Albany County divided, and 
the new county of Tryon organized. 

Governor Tryon, with his wife, visited Sir William at Johnson Hall, 
and were entertained right royally, and in honor of the Governor, the 
new county was named Tryon, with county seat at Johnstown. Sir 
William's son-in-law, Guy Johnson, was the first county judge. 

Sir William died at the hall in July, 1774. 

The Royal Grant is all that tract of land, not before or otherwise 
appi'opriated, north of the Mohawk River, between the two creeks 
East and West Canada, to the line of Jerseyfield, which line starts in 
the village of Devereaux and runs thence northwesterly through or by 
Gray, across the West Canada, above Hinckley. The line between the 
towns of Norway and Ohio is on the same line. The Grant contains 
about 93,000' acres although Sir William, in his petition to the King, 
called it 40,000. 

iSoon after the war of the American Revolution, and the peace of 
1783, settlement commenced on the Grant, quite rapidly, and westward 
in Oneida County, towards and in the Black River country, through 
Lewis and Jefferson Counties, to Lake Ontario and River St. Law- 

The question was agitated to build a road from the Mohawk Val- 
ley, across the Royal Grant in the direction of the Black River. 

In 1790, the State legislature passed an act, appropriating money to 
build a bridge across the East Canada Creek, at a point three miles 
from its mouth, to the Royal Grant. 

That was not to be as there was nothing done about it. 


The first stage that carried mail west from Albany to Schenectady, 
Johnstown and Canajoharie, was in 1790. There was no great estab- 
lished road in the Mohawk Valley, west from Schenectady, previous 
to 1800, the Mohawk was the only highway until that time. 

In 1792, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company was char- 
tered, which built the locks at Little Falls, and others westward. 

About 1792-97, a turnpike was established from Albany across the 
plain to Schenectady, to connect there with boating on the Mohawk. 

The Mohawn Turnpike from Schenectady to Utica, was chartered in 

On March 26th, 1803, an act of the legislature was passed, authoriz- 
ing the building of certain great roads, and $41,500, appropriated for 
the purpose, to be raised by lottery. That may sound curious in these 
days, but it is a fact that there was lottery at that time authorized by 
legislature, and the proceeds appropriated for public improvement, 
especially roads and bridges. I will mention two bridges built pre- 
vious to 1797, and the money appropriated for payment that year, — 
one between Herkimer and Fort Herkimer, the other over the Mo- 
hawk at the foot of Genesee Street, Utica. 

Johnstown is geographically in the right line for a road fi'om the 
Black River, and the Royal Grant, to Albany, and the route was sur- 
veyed and established in 1804-5, and opened about 1806. 

It was authorized to be run from "Preston's Tavern" in Steuben, 
Oneida County, to within three miles of the High Falls (now known 
as Lyons Falls) of the Black River, and thence to Brownville; and 
eastward from the same starting point to Johnstown. Its location 
fixed the location of Salisbury Corners, Norway Village, Cold Brook 
and Russia Corners. 

Albany was the farmer's market, and as soon as they had some- 
thing to sell, wheat, corn and pork, they needed a road to get there. 

The route is very direct and generally straight, especially through 
Herkimer County; all the villages above named and also Dolgeville 
included are very nearly in a straight line. 

From Johnstown eastward, it connected directly at Tribes Hill, with 
the Mohawk Turnpike: — northwesterly from Johnstown, it passes 
through Garoga, Lassellville, and Openheim, in Fulton County, to 
Brocketts' Bridge, (now Dolgeville) on the line in Herkimer County, 
thence it passes through a corner of Manheim, Salisbury, a small 
corner of Fairfield, Norway, a very small corner of Newport, Cold 
Brook and Russia, to Boons Bridge, on the West Canada near Pros- 
pect, Oneida County, and on through Remsen, to Boonville, Water- 
town and Brownville, crossing the Royal Grant in its widest part. 

There had been a route of travel about on this line for years, nota- 
bly in two wars, — the French War of 1756-63, and the American Revo- 
lution twenty years later. History tells us that war parties came 
from Canada, to the Mohawk Valley, by way of the Black River and 
Jerseyfield, which is to the north of the Royal Grant. The old ford- 
ing place on the West Canada is above the mouth of Black Creek, in 
the present town of Ohio, so in order to reach that it is necessary to 
make a diversion northward into Jerseyfield. 

The last notable incident was the famous retreat of Ross and But- 
ler, from the vicinity of Johnstown, in the fall of 1781, — they came di- 


rectly on this line into Norway — about two miles east of the village 
they turned northward, and after crossing Black Creek, wended their 
way to the crossing where Butler was found dead. There is a monu- 
mental stone set up there. 

For reasons well understood by readers of Revolutionary history, the 
legislature of our State of New York, on the 2nd of April, 1784, struck 
from the statute book, the name of the gi'eat county of Tryon, and 
Montgomery, the honored name of him who fell at Quebec, was in- 
serted in its place; — Johnstown continued the county seat of Mont- 
gomery. Prior to 1817, Manheim and Salisbury had Johnstown for 
their county seat, and it, next to Albany, was the objective point for 
business from the north, and from the Grant. 

This road came to be the "grand crossing" over the Grant, between 
the Black River country and Albany, by way of Johnstown. 

Farmers along the line of road, and others in the vicinity of it, who 
had a surplus of food stuffs — grain, and meat, particularly wheat, and 
pork, as soon as there was snow enough for sleighing, would load a 
sleigh and start for Albany, — those near the Mohawk Valley, and turn- 
pike need not wait for sleighing. 

Potash was quite an important article of commerce in the early 
days when the forest was being cleared away, the ashes from the 
burnt wood gathered and leached, the lye boiled down in those great 
thick iron kettles to potash; a concentrated article then went down 
the road to market. How many of the young people of today, have 
seen those great kettles, and know what they were made for? In 
later days some of them have been used in the sugar bush boiling the 
maple sap, and now one may occasionally be seen in soap making, or 
in hog killing time, heating water. 

Potasheries were plentiful before 1830, most of the merchants had 
them — they bought ashes in exchange for goods. V. S. Kenyon, a 
merchant of Middleville, had one in operation after 1840, he used to 
send a man around with a team — gathering ashes. 

Some individual farmers worked at it, the late Fred Smith in a pa- 
per given this society in 1898, entitled "Fragments of Norways' Early 
History", told of one "Sylvanus Ferris, who came on to Dairy Hill, 
about two miles east of Noi-way Village in 1798 and bought 110 acres 
of land at $6.00 per acre, — the avails of his potash soon paid for the 
land, — other farms were bought and in 1824, he was the owner of about 
400 acres." 

Before the construction of the Schenectady and Utica railroad in 
1835, the State road was a thoroughfare, thronged with teams from the 
Black River country and the Grant. The carriage of grain, pork, pot- 
ash, flax, wool, fish from Lake Ontario, venison, furs and other pro- 
ducts from the field, forest and waters, made an animated scene along 
the whole road. 

Taverns stood at short intervals, and at these the men of northern 
farms and hamlets, found good cheer; — they often brought their own 
provisions, paying moderate sums for lodging and the stabling of their 
teams, — large open fire places piled high with wood, warmed and 
lighted up the spacious bar rooms with a ruddy glow, — a heated iron 
pendant from an iron rod, converted their strong ale into "flip," and 
no exciseman hindered their homely festivity. 


About 1812, according also to Mr. Smith, "cheese dairying was in- 
augurated on Dairy Hill, by Colonel Jared Thayer from Massachu- 
setts with a dairy of 20 cows; — the first of that size in the county or 
state." Atwater Cook in Salisbury, father of Sheriff Jas. J. Cook, 
was another to early adopt cheese making, — others soon followed, and 
then the product of the farm could be sent to market in a more con- 
centrated form. 

Dr. Stephen Todd of Salisbury, a man of ability, thought that 
"dairying would be a boon to the farmers, to help them out of com- 
petition with the west in raising grain, — especially as the land was 
better adapted to dairying than grain." 

Previous to 1840, cheese were sent to the New York market packed 
in cheap barrels called "casks," made of thin unplane-d basswood, each 
containing four to six, or more cheese, according to their thickness. 

As the trade increased and the Erie Canal was opened for business 
about 1825, cheese were delivered at Little Falls, for shipment on the 
boats, which were several days on the way. 

That system continued until about 1840, when round hoop boxes 
were made with adjustable covers, and single cheese sent to market 
in those. Norway was the pioneer, and banner town, of the county 
and state in cheese making, and Little Falls the market after the ca- 
nal was opened. Ferris and Nesbit were the first buyers in Norway. 

The late Harry Burrill, father of David H. Burrill, as a merchant 
founded his fortune at Salisbury on the State road. In addition to 
general merchandising in a counti-y store, he bought pork, and cheese. 
He became a wholesale buyer and leading exporter of cheese, and had 
agents buying for him, — the late Lyman Parkhurst of MiddleviUe one 
of them as late as 1860, also he had two sons, Seymour and Isaac, 
looking after sales in Europe,- — they were older than David; — he owned 
a long line of seven farms on the road between Salisbury and Little 
Falls, which he leased to tenants who made cheese for him; — it was 
said he could export cheese from his own farm dairies. I used to see 
Burrill in Little Falls about 1S6S, he had a fine house built expressly 
for him on East Main street. 

Burrill used the state road much for twenty or thirty years, as did 
all merchants, — business men and progressi\^e farmers, along and in 
vicinity of the road: — there was no other way to market. 

About the time of the close of Burrill's career, and the establishment 
of the dairy board of trade in Utica, after iS'iO, Little Falls was In 
touch with Liverpool and the leading market of the world, for pro- 
ducing sales of cheese. 

The first great, and perhaps most important event connected with 
the State road, was the states' use of it in our war of 1812, with Great 
Britain, in sending soldiers, military supplies, and cannon, over it to 
Sackets Harbor, which was made a rendezvous and depot of supplies, 
as the frontier was considered in danger of invasion from Canada. 

The militia of Herkimer County, and some others was called out 
en masse. I have known several veterans of that campaign; my 
wife's father, George Buell of Fairfield being one. 

My mother was born in 1803, in the northeast corner of Fairfield, 
near and in plain sight of the road as it is. She being nine years old 
in 1812, the sight of soldiers with cannon, going along up the road 


made an impression upon her, which she used to tell me about in my 
boyhood. Her school days were spent on that road. 

The soldiers claimed large freedom on the whole route, and some- 
times took forcible possession of the Taverns — they had too, a festive 
way of fishing out bottles, with nooses on the end of their ramrods 
over the palings that the tavern keeper found needful to protect his 

The road was very useful to the state at that time, and became at 
once a great thoroughfare. It was an important mail route from 
Johnstovv'n northerly, for thirty years or more, and connected in Onei- 
da County, with a route from Utica north. 

Utica had grown and a road had been opened north through Tren- 
ton, known as the Black River turnpike. John Butterfield, in Utica, 
ran a line of stages; Concord coaches, more commonly now called 
tally-ho, with four horses carrying the mail through Trenton, — to 
Boonville and Watertown. 

A tally-ho coach and four lively horses with a good driver was an 
institution;— nearing a station he would blow his horn, then with a 
few cracks of his long whip would get the horses into a smart galloo, 
going up to the station at top of speed. 

I witnessed such an incident in Trenton, about 1836-8. Boy as I 
was, it made a lasting impression. 

Villages grew on the State road as soon as it was opened, but busi- 
ness had been started in some places off from that line. 

I will give one illustration. 

At Norway the first store was located, by the prominent merchants, 
W. H. and Geo. W. Cook in 1793, half a mile north of the present 
village . 

Cooks' store was the rallying point for all town business for fifteen 
years . » 

In my recollection in the years 1836 to 44 there was the annual mil- 
itary parade, (General Training) at some point on the State Road, 
generally at Norway or Salisbury. There were two regiments, one of 
riflemen, and another of militia: — the militia officers wore some uni- 
form, but the private had all sorts of dress, and carried all sorts of 
guns, muskets, etc. 

All men not specially exempt, between the ages of 18 to 45 were 
liable to military duty as militia. 

The riflemen were enlisted for 14 years at age of IS to 32. Each 
company had its own special uniform all alike in the company, but 
each company different from another. The Newport company in 
which was my father, had frock coats of scotch plaid worsted, trim- 
med with yellow braid and brass buttons, and with green fringe 
around the skirt; — the pants were red worsted, trimmed with black 
cord. The low hat or it might be called a cap, was of some kind of 
animal skin, with ornamental brass plate in front, containing three 
black ostrich feathers. 

One company had blue coats, white pants, and white plumes in their 
hats; another company, gray, and so on through the regiment. 

The officers still more gorgeous according to rank, especially the 
brigade inspector general with his staff. 


At bugle call the major would form the reg'iment on the street near 
headquarters; then the Colonel with his staff, in proper matching or- 
der at its head, with martial music, (flfe and drum) and flags flying, 
would take up the line of march for the field (a large meadow) mak- 
ing an inspiring scene for boys ten to fifteen years old. 

The brigade inspector general with his staff came on the field for 
review and inspection of arms and accoutrements. 

The road was a great thoroughfare for droves of animals, cattle and 
sheep, going to market at Albany, for 40 or 50 years; — in the years 
1830 to 1850, in the fall season, hundreds and some days thousands, of 
animals could be seen moving along toward Johnstown; — some of 
them came long distances from points in Lewis or Jefferson counties. 
Some of the droves were very large numbering several hundred. The 
largest one I remember was gotten together by Norman Butler, a 
merchant of Fairfield, about 1840 or 42. 

I am not now positive as to the exact number, but I feel quite sure 
It was 700 or over, probably as many as 900, — I think it was his effort 
to make it 1000. There was much said at the time about Butler's big 
drove, but memory is very uncertain. He took it in sections to the 
State road at Salisbury. That drove may have helped his financial 
failure which occurred soon after. He had kept a general country 
store, also bought cheese, and had made potash. My father was one 
of his creditors for cheese. 

There was all along the road what might be called drovers' taverns, 
that is farmers who made quite a business keeping droves. I will 
mention one only whom I knew personally after he retired to Norway 
village. Palmer Root, it was said made his fortune (a modest one) 
keeping droves on the sand hills between Norway and Cold Brook. 

I have passed over that portion of the road in this county many 
times, it is a hilly hard road to travel. 

About 1843, I passed over the eastern portion twice in the fall sea- 
son, with droves of sheep for Albany, — we took the road at Salisbury 
and staid the first night with Charlie Brockett, in the old Brockett 
tavern at Brockett's Bridge. 

A short time ago the same old white tavern was there, on the east 
side of the creek, apparently about the same as 61 years ago. The 
old wooden covered bridge has been replaced by iron. 

Nearing Johnstown, which was about a mile in front of us, my un- 
cle, Aaron G. Swift, pointed to a house a little distance from the 
road, and said, "That is Johnson Hall, built by Sir William Johnson." 

The house was then probably about as he left it — 70i years before, 
but since that it has been somewhat modernized, with porticos, bay 
windows, etc. 

In 1897, one writer has said that "Mrs. "Wells, whose late husband's 
family, have occupied it for nearly a hundred years, bears the nui- 
sance of living in a house subject to the constant intrusion of strang- 
ers in a most courteous spirit; — the five Lombardy poplars, and the li- 
lacs he planted 140 years ago were fresh in bud as any May." 

In 1902, the Colonial Dames of the State of New York, visited Johns- 
town, and unveiled a bronze tablet in Johnson Hall, in commemoration 
of the services of Sir William: — it stated the house was built in 1762. 


It Is probably the oldest building on the road, out of Johnstown, and 
the one of most historic importance; — next to it in interest may be 
St. Johns' Church (Episcopal) in Johnstown, built by Sir William 
"which after two fires, still preserves in its walls the original cut 
stone brought from Tribes Hill quarry. The Court House, once of 
Tryon County, seems not very ancient, and houses the collections of 
the Historical Society. The jail on a commanding hill, once the old 
Fort in the American Revolution, (built partly or wholly by or at the 
expense of Sir William), with its newly pointed masonry, and smart 
sheriffs' residence looks of today." 

In some of the newspapers not very long ago, was an announcement 
that the Johnson Hall property is now for sale, and the suggestion 
made that it be bought by some organization, or the State, and held 
in a way that the public may have access to it. 

There are all along the road dwellings, some of them once taverns, 
and in the villages, churches 90 to 100 years old. 

Salisbury once had a paper mill, up the road northwesterly a mile 
or so from the corners to and on the Spruce Creek. I first saw the 
building in 1847, it looked old then, and since has been usecj for lum- 
ber as a planing mill, and still called the paper mill. 

The first pioneers, who came into the forest and settled on the line 
of the State road, in this county were of that sterling puritan stock, 
from the New Engiand states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode 
Island and Vermont, — many of them became prominent, useful men. 
I will name only a very few, one or two from each town in this coun- 

In Salisbury, Harry Burrill, has been already mentioned in addition 
to him, there was Atwater Cook, born in 1795, farmer, pioneer cheese 
dairyman, mechanic, merchant, justice of the peace many years, and 
held other offices of trust. Member of Assembly 1831 and 1839. Died 
in 1853 at 58 years of age. 

Dr. Stephen Todd, another prominent personage, came into Salis- 
bury in 1792, was farmer, doctor, and captain of militia in the war of 

Stephen Ayres came into Fairfield in 1792; was farmer, and notably, 
a prominent surveyor, in locating lots on the Royal Grant, and also 
surveying line for the state road, Member of Assembly in 1836. Died 
in 1850, at 81 years of age. His son, Hiram remained at the homestead 
and was also a noted surveyor. That school district No. 1 Fairfield 
is known as the Ayres district. Next to Ayres on the road was Dan- 
iel C. Henderson in Norway, farmer, historian, pettifogger, Member 
of Assembly in 1827. 

At Norway village there seems to have been a north and south road 
before the State road was laid. The Cooks and Coes were a half mile 
north, Tillinghast and Manly, as much south. 

W. H. Cook, came in 1792, was farmer, merchant, sheriff of the 
county five years from 1802. 

Thomas Manley from Vermont, came in 1789, his family in 1790; was 
farmer, supervisor fifteen years. Member of Assembly, 1799, 1809 and 
1820, Died in 1852 at 88 years of age. 


Henry Tilling-hast from Rhode Island came in 1792; was farmer, tan- 
ner, held various town offices, supervisor near 30 years. Member of 
Assembly in 1823. Died in 1841 at 69 years of age. 

According to the record we have of him Sylvanus Ferris, must have 
been an enterprising business man, in addition to his potash industry, 
he bought and sold country produce, and was a partner with Robert 
Nesbit in the butter and cheese trade many years. It is the enter- 
prising that emigrate. 

In 1836, he with his five sons, sold out their holding of 700 acres on 
Dairy Hill, the highest, bleakest, and most uncomfortable place in 
Norway, about six months of the year, and went to Galesburg, 111., 
and settled on government land, which was then plenty at $1.25 per 
acre. He gave each of his sons a section (640' acres) of land, 3,200 
acres for all. My father visited them in 1843, but I cannot now tell 
how much Ferris had for himself. The estate was vastly increased. 
One of the boys had been a captain in that rifle company before men- 
tioned. In the census of 1900, Galesburg had a population of 18,600. 
Norway a little over 80'0 in the town. 

Ferris of Ferris wheel notoriety was a grandson of Sylvanus. 

Dr. Westel Willoughby, the first doctor in Norway came in 1792, at 
23 years of age, and settled on the hills about ten miles northeast of 
Norway village; a rough, cold counti-y for a young man of his edu- 
cation and ability. The Bowens about this time got started at New- 
port, building mills, a saw mill in 1773 and a grist mill 1794 and some 
time before 1806, when the town of Newport was organized, the doc- 
tor left Norway, and found a fine spot for a home at the north wes- 
tern part of the village of Newport. 

At the first town meeting he was moderator, (chairman). The doc- 
tor was a man of fine education and natural ability, and was very use- 
ful in town and county 40 years. Besides having a large practice in 
the valley, he was professor in the Medical College at Fairfield 25 
years, president of the same many years. Judge of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas in 1805, Member of Assembly 1807-8 to 1821, on the medical 
staff of the county in the war of 1812, at Sacketts Harbor, Meinber of 
Congress 1814. I used to see him at Newport in the years 1836 to 
1844, the year in which he died at 75 years of age. 

After the doctor's death, his home place, the Park, has been occupied 
by the fine stone mansions of Perry and Sweezy, the western part by 
Stewart Perry, and the eastern by Sweezy; the house he had built and 
made his home in many years, was moved up the roa-d towards Nor- 
way, to make a home for Deacon Isaac Smith; his office was on the 
corner across the way, now occupied by an octagon stone house, built 
by Ira L. Cady, a son-in-law of Linus Yale. 

Edmond Varney came to Russia, from Dutchess County in 1809, his 
father was a patriot in the American Revolution. 

Edmond, known as Judge, was farmer, Justice of the Peace from 
1812 for 25 years, town clerk 5 years, supervisor 5 years, judge in 
County Court, school commissioner, master in chancery, Member of 
Assembly in 1825, State Senator in 1841. Died in 1847 at the age of 
59 years. 

Mr. Smith, in the paper before mentioned, gave a fine pen picture 
of Norway in prosperity in the years 1820 to 1840, — later he gave an- 


other of conditions in 1898, pessimistic, gloomy, doleful. There are 
several reasons for the change. 

He said "cheese making was universal before 1830." The facts are, 
the successful, grasping dairy farmer, in order to increase his dairy 
would buy out his neighbor, and in time perhaps two or three, adding 
to his farm sufficient to keep 40, 50 and perhaps 60 cows. I knew one 
who in 1869, was keeping 80 cows. 

The hired man or men and girl to help do the milking lived in the 
family; — the houses of those sold out, became tenantless and went to 
decay. In later years one may see them, the pit of a cellar and per- 
haps a few stones left of the chimney foundation, near the fence by 
the road side there may be a few scrubby lilac- bushes, and in the 
rear a few old neglected, decaying apple trees and where the lawn and 
garden should be is a cow pasture. 

Norway never had any very good water power, as the country be- 
came cleared of the forest, the small streams became useless for bus- 
iness, which sought the larger streams in the valleys of the East and 
West Canada. 

At the west side of Norway village, a little creek crosses the State 
road, on which was a wool caMing and cloth dressing mill, operated 
by Mr. Hurlbut, later one of his sons made cheese boxes there. Now, 
where the dam and ditch was that carried water to the mill, it is nice- 
ly grassed over in a cow pasture. 

Cold Brook, at Cold Brook village, is a small but very reliable 
stream, and has always been utilized for small business, as sawing, 
grinding jobbing shops of both wood and iron, and later a cheese box 
factory, a saw handle factoi'y and a planing mill with sash and door 
factory . 

That village is prosperous and grows slowly. The East Canada 
Creek at Dolgeville has power for business of greater magnitude. The 
first in my recollection at Brockett's Bridge in addition to the regular 
mills for sawing and grinding, was a large tannery, operated by George 
Ladue. Later came Alfred Dolge who produced parts for pianos; felt 
and sounding boaixls; also felt shoes were manufactured, which be- 
came quite celebrated. Dolge was instrumental in building a large 
fine school building, largely or wholly it is said at his own expense. 

We are as we are educated to be, the bright boys see that it is the 
educated men, that win the best position in life, and they go for it. 

The college man may be slow in getting started, but he is pretty 
sure to win in the end. 

Who of you will blame the boys or the girls for leaving the farms 
in the hill country and going to the valley and cities. 

Norway has a grand delegation in Herkimer. 



Delivered Before the Herkimer County Historical Society February 

11, 1905. 

There is little of interest connected with the history of the Town of 
Stark since it became one of the political divisions of Herkimer Coun- 
ty. No startling event has taken place within its borders. No men 
of brilliant fame claim it as the place of their nativity, and the gener- 
ations that come and go, indicate that this honor may never come to 
us. We are plain plodding farm folk, tending strictly to our own bus- 
iness, and incidently, to that of our neighbors. The town of Stark 
was taken from the town of Danube, April 28th, 1828, and was named 
after Gen. John Stark, of Revolutionary fame. In 1868, there was 
added to it from the Town of Little Falls, sixteen hundred acres, 
(1600) and in 1869, three hundred (300) w^re taken from the Town of 
Warren, making the total area of the town at this time, nineteen 
thousand eigth hundred thirty nine (19,839) acres. The first census 
taken in 1830, shows the population to have been seventeen hundred 
eighty one (1781); five years later it is given as fifteen hundrer eighty 
one (1581), a loss of two hundred (200), to what cause due, is not de- 
finitely known. In the month of August 1834, a cyclone passed over 
the town from ea,st to west, devastating a strip of country two miles 
in width. Hundreds of acres of forest were laid low, and buildings, 
fences, and crops were destroyed. Van HornesviUe was in this belt, 
and suffered severely. The damage done by this storm is said to 
have been $250,000. The loss in population has been attributed to 
this disaster. No lives were lost, which is quite remarkable consider- 
ing its severity, but it may have been the cause of some families re- 
moving from the town whose homes were in the path of the storm. 
The surface of the town is rough and broken; the hills on the south 
and west rise to an elevation of about sixteen hundred (1600) feet 
above tide water and slope toward the center, forming the valley of 
the Otsquago, through which the stream by this name flows. 

The soil is calcareous sand and argilaceous loam, resting on Trenton 
lime stone, read and gray sand stone, and gray and black slate; the 
stratas appearing in the order named. The soil is quite productive, 
and is well adapted to dairying, which is the principal industry of the 
town. The numerous small streams and springs give an abundance of 
pure water, so necessary to make this business a success. 

The butter and cheese produced is of superior quality. The butter 
manufactured by the Starkville Creamery Company scored the high- 


est, 98.5 per cent at the last State Fair, and was awarded the first 
premium. All other industries of the town are subordinate to the 
dairy interest, and are wholly dependent upon it. 

We have two small villages, Starkville and Van HornesvUle; they 
are located in the Otsquago Valley in the central part of the town and 
contain about one hundred fifty (150) and two hundred (200) inhabi- 
tants respectively. There are also in the north west part of the town, 
two little hamlets, Deck and Smiths Corners of perhaps fifty (50) in- 
habitants each. Other sections have distinguishing names, as the 
Squake, Browns Hollow, Wards Hollow, Cramers Corners, but do not 
denote a concentration of inhabitants, although in the early days, 
more or less business was done in each. 

The stage route from Fort Plain to Cooperstown passes through the 
two villages, giving them a daily mail. Rural Free Delivery routes 
enter the town from Mohawk and Fort Plain, and with the Interstate, 
the Glen, and the Central New York Telephone lines passing through 
the town, we are in close touch with the rest of the world. 

We have five stores, five saw mills, two grist mills, three hotels, five 
blacksmith shops, three wagon repair shops, four cheese factories and 
one creamery. We have one resident minister, and five churches, in 
three of which regular services are held. This comprises all there is 
of the Stark of today. 

Of minerals we have but a trace: Lead, Iron and Silver. Many 
years ago, a Oerman whose name is not remembered, made careful 
search for these metals; his prospecting occupied a period of some 
months, and resulted in his locating a Silver mine on the farm now 
owned by Mr. Harvey Deck, near the hamlet of that name in the 
north west part of the town. He began mining operations, and drove 
a tunnel into the hill about two thousand (2000 feet) . He took out 
a quantity of oar which he claimed to be rich in Silver; encountering 
a large vein of water, his mine was flooded and work discontinued. 

He soon after left the neighborhood and never returned. This was 
the first and last mining venture in Stark. 

There are several mineral springs scattered over the town, that are 
highly saturated with the salts of sulpher and iron. Those at Van- 
Hornesville near the head waters of the Otsquago Creek are very 
strong, and tradition has it, that the Indians attributed to them great 
curative qualities. The water from these springs flow into the Ot- 
sc[uago, and from the medicinal qualities of these waters, the stream 
is said to have derived its name "Ostquage"; the Indian term for 
"Healing Water." We now call this stream Otsquago, but I find that 
on Claud Joseph Sautheir's map of Tryon County, published by Wil- 
liam Fadden of London in 1779, it is there set down as "Ostquage". 
This being the oldest map on which the name of this stream appears, 
I have assumed it to be correct. 

The hills of Stark are outlying spurs of the Adirondack range of 
mountains, which are a part of the Appalachaian chain, that enters 
the state on the north east, and extends in a south westerly direction 
to its center, crossing the Mohawk River at Little Falls. These hills 
form the water-shead between the Mohawk and Susquehanna rivers, 
strictly speaking, the head of the Susquehanna River is Summit Lake, 
commonly spoken of as mud lake, which lays about two miles south 


of Van Hornesville, in the county of Otsego. This lake has an eleva- 
tion of 1363 feet; in the spring, when the water is high, the water 
from the lake flows both ways, that from the north end, in to the Mo- 
hawli by the way of the Otsquago Creek, and tliat from the south end, 
into the Susquehanna by the way of Otsego Lake. This is the only 
lake in this part of the state, that distributes its waters to different 
river systems. 

In the gorge just below Van Hornesville, is an interesting rock for- 
mation. It is Calcareous Tufa, and contains many beautiful speci- 
mens of petrified vegetable matter. It forms a barrier across the 
gorge, over which the Otsquago Creek plunges, forming a beautiful 
cascade, some fifteen (15) feet in height. At some time, the action of 
the water has cut out in this mass, chambers and passage-ways, some 
of which are quite large. One of these is called the kitchen, and will 
shelter eight or ten people very comfortably. It has a natural fire- 
place and chimney, and from their blackend and discolored condition, 
it is evident that many fires have been kindled in this cave. It is 
situated a short distance north of the trail, that lead from the Mo- 
hawk Valley to Otsego Lake and the Susquehanna country; undoubt- 
edly, this was a favorite camping place during those early days. On 
the Tilyou farm, one mile south of Van Hornesville, there is a cave in 
which ice and snow may be found at any time during the year. A 
convulsion of Nature has pulled great masses of rock away from each 
other, leaving broad fissures between them of varying depths. One 
of these leads you into this cave, under the over hanging rock; it is 
not very large, or very attractive, but the perpetual winter found 
there, brings to it many visitors. Just back of what was once a busy 
cotton mill, at Van Hornesville, there is a continuous flow of natural 
gas, from a very narrow crevice in the rock; by placing a funnel over 
the opening, it can be burned. The flame is a pale blue, indicating 
that it is sulphureted hydrogen, and of no value for illuminating pur- 
poses. Near the hamlet of Deck, there is a small stream so highly 
saturated with the carbonate of lime, that where it falls over a ledge 
of rock, the spray from it petrifies the moss, ferns, and leaves, on 
which it falls. The Oheisa is another stream of some size that has its 
source in the town, and flows through it into the Nowadaga Creek, 
which drains a portion of the town of Danube. The fall of this stream 
is vei-y rapid, some two hundred feet to the mile, and it has cut a 
gorge or canyon three and one half miles long, about two hundred 
fifty (250) feet wide at the top, and of an average depth of one hun- 
dred fifty (150) feet. There are two beautiful cascades on this stream, 
one of sixty four (64) feet and one of one hundred (100) feet in height. 
It is well worth ones' time to visit these places as they are very in- 
teresting, and many beautiful bits of scenery are found near them. 

The water shed of the streams of Stark, being so abrupt, subjects 
the town to severe floods. In July 1877, a cloud burst on the hills 
west of Van Hornesville, doing a large amount of damage to that vil- 
lage. No indication of this storm was visible at Starkville, and the 
first intimation the people had of the disaster, was the deep roar of 
the waters as they rushed in a mighty torrent down the Otsquago, 
filled with the debris of buildings and bridges that had been swept 
away. In July 1888, we were again visited by a similar flood of in- 


creased proportions; the furniture ware-house of House Brothers at 
Van Hornesville, in which a large amount of finished furniture was 
stored, was carried away, and a large amount of damage done to mill 
property. The blacksmith shop of Able Maxwell at Starkville, was 
carried away, and not a bridge left standing on the Otsquago or 
Oheisa creeks. The damage this flood ditJ to roads, bridges, and pri- 
vate property approximated $10,000. 

Previous to the Revolution and up to 1784, what is now Stark, was a 
part of the Canajoharie district of Tryon County; all the lands with- 
in its present bounds, except a part of L'Hommedieu's and Vroman's 
patents, were granted by the Colonial Government before the Revolu- 

To whom is due the honor of being the first settler within its pre- 
sent limits, is not known. Youngsfield, or what is now known as the 
Chyle in the town of Warren, was settled in 1765. Some six or eight 
years later, as near as I have been able to learn, Jacob Bronner, Fred- 
erick Bronner, John and George Fetterly, the descendants of whom are 
btill residents of Stark, formed the "Squak" settlement as it was call- 
ed, on the highlands about two miles north west of the present village 
of Van Hornesville. This is said to have been the first settlement in 
what is now the town of Stark. 

It is natural that this point should have been selected as a place 
of settlement, by the pioneers of that early day; they were within 
two n-iiles of Youngsfield which gave them near neighbors; the trail 
from Fort Johnson by the way of Fort Plain to Oneida Castle, passed 
through it from east to west; the trail from the Mohawk Castle by 
the way of the Nowadaga valley and Youngsfield, to the head of Ot- 
fjPf-'o Lake, crossed it from north to south. 

There was also a trail from the German Flatts, that joined the trail 
from the Mohawk Castle, for Youngsfield, in the valley of the Nowa- 
rtag'a, about two miles south west of NewviHe, in Danube. This af- 
forded them frequent means of communication with the larger settle- 
ments of the valley, by using the travelers passing over these trails 
as messengers. Among the early comers, were the Shaul brothers, 
John, Sebastian, and Matthew, and the Betinger and Philips families. 
The settlement continued to increase and at the beginning of the 
Revolution contained about fifteen (15) families. 

In the autumn of 1778, the Shaul brothers, John, Sebastian and Mat- 
thew, were threshing at the home of John, and were captured by a 
raiding party of Indians. When the party reached the head of Otse- 
go Lake, the elder brother, John, either made his escape, or was per- 
mitted to return, upon this point my informant is not quite clear, but 
in any event, he reached Fort Plank in safety, and immediately there 
after entered the army and served until the close of the war. 

Sebastian and Matthew were taken to the Susquehanna Country, as 
it was then called, and were held there until Gen. Sullivan's army en- 
tered it in 1779, when they were taken to Canada. 

They were kindly treated, and in time, their captors became strong- 
ly attached to the young men, and gave them many liberties. 

This gave them an opportunity to escape, and one dark rainy night 
in the early summer, they started on their journey home. They reach- 
ed the banks of the St. Lawrence river in safety, but before they 


could effect a crossing, were recaptured by a party that had been sent 
in pursuit of them. These Indians were very friendly to them, or un- 
doubtedly they would have killed then and there. They plead ear- 
nestly to be permitted to go home, and alter much parleying with their 
dusky friends, Matthew saw it was useless to 'plead further, as his 
brother seemed willing to return, he seized a club and told them they 
could kill him if they wanted to, but he would not go back with them, 
nor should his brother. A demonstration was made as if they would 
attack him in a body, and one threw a Tomahawk at him, but they 
found he was not to be frightened. 

At this point a Chief, and an English officer who happened to be 
present, interferred in their behalf, and they were given their liberty. 
They were taken across the river, furnished with provisions for their 
journey, and arms for their protection. They reached home in due 
time but suffered much hardship on the way. After the close of the 
war, and the Indians could travel unmolested, twenty-six of the tribe 
with whom the Shaul brothers had lived, came to see them one sum- 
mer; they pitched their wigwams on the home farm now owned by 
Mr. David Shaul of Van Hornesville, and remained until late in the 
fall, before returning to Canada. The incidents here related, were ob- 
tained from Mr. David Shaul, who is a grandson of the John Shaul 
referred to here; he also says that to the best of his recollection, his 
relatives were with the Indians about five years, which would have 
brought them back to their homes in 17&3. 

In the autumn of 1781, the Squak settlement was destroyed by Brant, 
sharing the fate of its neighbor, Youngsfield. The inhabitants had 
been warned of the approach of Brant's force of Indians and Tories; 
all succeeded in reaching a place of safety, except Jacob Bronner, his 
son. Christian, his daughter, Sophronia, and Maria Betinger, who were 
captured and held as prisoners. Mr. Bronner and his son were soon 
released, but the daughter and Miss Betinger, were carried to Canada. 
Jacob Eckler of Youngsfield, was one of this party of prisoners, and 
was held eight years before he was released. On his return home, 
he told the parents of the girls where they could be found, and Jacob 
Bronner and Martin Betinger, started for Canada as soon as possible 
to obtain their children. Mr. Bronner had little trouble in securing 
the release of his daughter, but Mr. Betinger was not so successful; 
he found Maria married to an Indian chief. 

She wished to return with her father, but her husband refused to 
release her and said, that if she deserted him, he would kill them both. 
She, knowing that he would carry out his threat, even if he had to fol- 
low them into the States to accomplish his purpose, decided to re- 
main with him. Maria Betinger was the sister of Madaline Betinger 
Smith, the grandmother of Alexander Smith of Starkville, from whom 
the foregoing facts were obtained. 

At the close of the war, the inhabitants returned to their desolated 
homes, and began to repair as best they could the damage war had 
wrought. The rifle and sword were laid aside for the plow and oxe. 
Willing hands, strong arms, and stout hearts, soon restored their 
homes; but at many hearth stones, there were vacant places of loved 
ones whose voices were forever hushed. 


Shortly after the return of the "Squak" settlers to their homes at 
the close of the war, the surrounding country began to be settled, and 
it was for a time, the center of population. 

A store and hotel were opened and a church built. The amount 
of trading done here, must have been considerable, as the store was 
still dong business in 1845. Nelson Philips was its last proprietor 
and closed it out in that, or the following year. The hotel was con- 
tinued for several years longer, but just when dt passed out of ex- 
istence I have been unable to learn. A Mr. Ducher was its last 
landlord. Passing through this part of the town today, there is 
nothing to indicate to the traveller, that this settlement ever existed. 
The church has also disappeared, and all that remains to show where 
it stood, is the silent city of the dead. 

In the spring of 1788, Johannes Smith built himself a home in 
the valley of the Otsquago, at what is now the village of Starkville. 
He is saitl to have been the first settler in this part of the town, 
and his descendant. Mi*. Alexander Smith tells me, the log house he 
built was about sixty feet long, and that he completed it in time to 
return to his home among the Helderberg Mountains for his family, 
returning with them before winter set in of the same year. 

It would seem he could not have been alone in his venture, as 
the amount of work accomplished could not have been done by one man 
in the time stated. 

This was the beginning of the settlement of Southville as it soon 
was called, and in a few years a thriving village had sprung up in 
the wilderness, It was natural that its growth should be rapid, as 
it was situated at the confluence of the Camp and Otsquago creeks, 
which furnished mill power and an abundance of pure water; and 
the trails from the Delaware country, the Susquehanna, and the Oneida 
Castle, joined at this point, the trail to Fort Johnson and Fort Plain, 
crossing the trail from Cherry Valley to the Mohawk Castle, furnishing 
an excellent opportunity for trade and communication. Johannes Smith 
fully understood the advantages of the location; being a thrifty German 
with the business instinct fully developed, he had built his home larger 
than his wants i-equired and on arriving with his family opened a 
tavern for the accommodation of the traveling public. His venture 
was very successful and at his death in 1796, his son Andrew con- 
tinued the business up to 1844. 

Among the early settlers were the Champion brothers from Mass- 
achusetts, Daniel and John. They located here in 1798, and to their 
energy and business ability, is largely due the prosperity that came to 
the little village among the hills. In 1800, Daniel Champion built a 
sawmill on the south side of the Otsquago creek, one half mile south 
west of the village, and the same year a cloth finishing and fulling 
mill, which did a large and profitable business for a number of years, 
under the management of Sherman Wentworth. In 1802, a school 
house was built and is said to have been the first one erected in the 
town; Miles Bristol was installed as teacher, and remained in charge 
of the school a long time. He was very acceptable to the parents 
of the children under his charge, as he was a firm believer in the 
truth of the maxim "spare the rod and spoil the child" and I am 
assured from reliable sources, that none were spoiled under his tuition. 


In 1810, John Champion built a store and two years later a grist- 
mill, and in 1823, he erected a forge and moulding shop, where the home 
of Oliver Hall now stands. In 1814, Jesse Brown built a wool carding 
mill .which later on passed into the hands of Abram Dore, who 
continued to operate it up to 1856. In 1820, Elisha Champion built 
a tannery in which hides wei'e finished ready for the shoe-maker's last 
About this time A. S. & W. Champion erected a large cooperage and 
cabinet shop, and William Gibson began the manufacture of looms and 
spinning wheels. In 1829, a chui-ch was built and incorporated as "The 
First Methodist Episcopal Church of Stark" and Jesse Pomery was its 
first pastor. Southville could at that time, by its own industries, 
supply every v/ant of the inhabitants of the surrounding country, and 
it became the center of trade for a large section. It had become a 
post village, and the mail was taken up and delivered on Saturday of 
each week. The route began and ended at Southville and included Fords 
Bush (now Minden) and Fort Plain. Mr. Alexander Smith at the age 
of eighteen served as post-rider for one dollar($1.00) the round trip. 

In 1848 and 1849, a plank road was built from Fort Plain to Coopers - 
town, and a daily mail route established between the two places. At 
that time the name of Southville was dropped, and Starkville took 
its place as the name of this village. 

The first settler at what is nov>r Van Hornesville, was Thomas Van 
Home, who held the office of Orderly Sergeant in Captain Eckler's 
company of Militia. The date of his locating there can only be 
approximately fixed. He was born in Hunterdon County, N.. J., and 
migrated to Tryon County in 1770, locating in what is now the town 
of Glen, Montgomery County. On October 23d. ,1774, he married 
Maria Frederic, and afterwards moved to what later on became the 
village of Vanllornesville. Henry Eckler was appointed Captain, May 
18th., 1776, and enlisted his company the same year. To have been 
enrolled as one of the officers of this company, he must have been a 
resident of Canajoharie military district, to which he must have 
moved from the Mohawk district between the 23d. of October , 1774, 
and May ISth, 1776, which would have brought him to his new home 
sometime during the year of 1775, and in that year I believe we are 
safe in saying, the settlement of VanHornesville was begun. No 
increase in population came to this place, until the close of the Revo- 
lution. In 1791, Abram VanHorne, a cousin of Thomas, located there; 
he was a man of some note and deserves more than passing notice. 
He was born at White House, Hunterdon County, N. J., August 28th., 
1738. In 1771 he migrated to what was then called Warrenbush, in 
the present town of Florida, Montgomery Co., N. Y. He was a staunch 
Whig, and in June, 1775, he was elected a member of the Committee 
of Safety of Tryon County, and continued a member for several 
years. He was a member of the State Assembly from 1777, to 1781, 
and was appointed High Sheriff of Tryon Co., by Gov. Clinton, May 
22nd. of that year. These honors coming to him in rapid succession, 
show that he had the confidence of the people, and no man could hold 
a commission under Gov. Clinton, whose integrity, devotion, or patriot- 
ism was in doubt. 

He was a man of energy, and the second year after his settling 
at VanHornesville, with the aid of his sons Richard and Daniel, began 


to develop the water-power of the Otsquago creek. A saw-mill, grist- 
mill, and distillery were soon in operation, and are said to have been 
the first erected within the present limits of the town. The two 
run of stone for the mill were purchased at Bsopus, and delivered at 
Fort Plain by boat; from there they were drawn by teams on wood- 
shod sleds to VanHornesville. These sleds were called "Bungoes" and 
were the only means of transporting heavy loads at all seasons of the 
year, as the so called roads were little better than pack trails in 
those days. 

In 1794, Mr. VanHorne opened a store and this little settlement at 
the headwaters of the Otsquago, soon developed into a thriving 
village, and was known as VanHome's Mills, and was so called for 
many years. In 1800, it contained the following industries in addition 
to those already mentioned, a tannery, a trip-hammer shop in which 
axes and scythes were made, a cloth fulling and finishing mill, and 
a cabinet shop. In 1827, Paul Stansil, erected a furnace and molding 
shop, and in 1836, Elias Braman and Co., built a large cotton mill 
oi' nine hundred spindles. This mill was operated up to. 1856 and did 
a very profitable business for some years, but the competition of other 
mills more favorably situated, and the long haul to and from the 
valley, of manufactured products and raw material, forced them out 
of business. This property passed into the hands of Allen and Hanks 
in 1870, and was run as a yarn mill under their management for a 
time but was not a success. All the machinery has been sold, and 
the building, a fine stone structure, stands as a monument to the 
dead industries of Stark. 

In 1823, the distillery built at this place in 1793, was destroyed by 
a fire lighted by the hands of Mary Pope, an insane woman. She 
claimed to have had a vision, in which she saw a little child clothed 
in rags, and reduced by starvation to a mere skeleton, wandering among 
the bags of grain stored in the building, crying, "Hunger! Hunger! 
Hunger!" This was interpreted by her to mean that unless the 
manufacture of spirits was stopped, a famine would come upon the 
people. No attention being paid to her prophecy, she took matters 
in her own hands, and destroyed that which she believed would bring 
upon the people this calamity. The loss was a severe one to the 
VanHorne brothers, as a large amount of grain and distilled spifits 
was destroyed, but business was soon resumed, and later on a sub- 
stantial stone structure was erected, which still stands. In 1856, the 
manufacture of spirits having been discontinued, J. Shipman and Co., 
opened it as a foundry, manufacturing iron and steel axles, and bridge 
material. They continued the business up to 1867, when the plant 
was moved to Fort Plain N. Y. 

This was the fiitting of the last impoi'tant manufacturing industry 
of Stark. Previous to 1814, at a date I have been unable to fix, Henry 
Brown, bought a tract of land on the Otsquago creek, midway between 
Southville and Van Homes Mills. He erected numerous buildings, and 
in 1814, the following Industrie;? were in full operation, in which 
many hands were employed, a saw -mill, fulling mill, carding mill, hat 
factory, and clover hulling mill. 

There was also a store and hotel, and for a while it seemed that 
Browns Hollow was destined to be the leading village in the valley 


Its location, however, was not favoi'able to its growth, being so near 
the natural centers of trade of the town, Southville and the VanHornes 
Mills, about two miles from each, and today there is not building 
standing that was erected by Judge Brown; all that remains is a 
memory of departed activity and a name. 

Carefut inquiry reveals but little of the history of Judge Brown; that 
he was a man of some influence is denoted by his appointment by the 
Governor, in 182:'>, first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Herk- 
imer County. He removed from the town about the year 1838. 

There is one other inhabitant of the town I must mention before 
I close, John Concuponk. He was an Oneida Indian of pure blood, 
who made his home in Stark, until called by the Great Spirit, to the 
Happy Hunting Grounds of his Fathers. His wigwam was pitched 
on the Hawn farm, one half mile south of the village of Starkville on 
the Otsquago creek, just beyond the point of the hill that jaiia out 
close to the highway, and is called by us, Cape Horn. In this shel- 
tered spot, he and his wife, Canadalacadoa, led a peaceful life and 
we trust, a happy life, supporting themselves by making baskets 
and moccasins. Peter P. Murphy, was the resident physician at 
Southville when Indian John was called to his Fathers; needing a 
subject for his students to operate upon, the body soon after the 
interment, was removed in some mysterious way to his dissecting- 
room. He had been buried at the foot of a tall pine, on the crest 
of the hill that sheltered his home from the rough winds of winter, 
and his widow discovered at once that his grave had been desecrated. 
Some one told her what had been done with the body of her 
husband, and in a frenzy of her grief and anger, she attempted to take 
the Doctor's life. Immediatly after this occurrence she was take.i 
to the Reservation at Oneida. 

This is the story of Stark, as I have been able to gather it, froui 
tradition and record, and brings us up to the present time. 

In comparing our past with our present condition, we find that we 
have not kept pace with the majority in the race for wealth, we 
have lost, instead of gained in the struggle. 

One half century ago, all our wants were supplied by our artisans 
at home; the clothes and shoes we wore; the harnesses and saddles we 
put on our horses, the wagons and carriages in which we rode, in fact, 
all the necessary appliances of life, were their handiwork. Today, 
all this has been changed by an industrial revolution of great mag- 
nitude, that has been so quietly and slowly going on, that we hardly 
realize that it has taken place. 

Our population decreased as our industries departed from us, to 
become the foundation of the upbuilding of the great cor- 
porations of today. In 1845, before this change began, our population 
was seventeen hundred seventy five(1775) in 1855, it was fourteen 
hundred fifty eight(1458) and today, according to the last census filed 
in the office of the Clerk of the County, it is eleven hundred ninety 
one(1191)a loss of nearly one third in sixty years, and our farms have 
shrunk in value, in thirty years, sixty per cent. A generation ago, 
the farms are worked by the owners, today tenant farmers are taking 
their places, and the individual ownershhip of property by the ma- 
jority of our population is rapidly decreasing. 


This is not only true of Stark, but of the country at large, and we 
are becoming a nation that will eventually be divided into two great 
classes, those who have, and those who have not. 

We have performed our part in developing the Empire State to 
the best of our ability, and our present condition is due to circumstances 
over which we have no control. 

The whole scene of industrial activity, has been shifted from the 
small villages of the country, to the large cities located on the great 
railroad systems, and waterways; and from numerous small circles 
of trade, controlled by individual effort, to centers of commercial 
activity, that embrace the whole country, and are under the absolute 
control of a few great corporations, that hold within their grasp the 
nation's trade and more than half the nation's wealth. 

To place these corporations under proper government supervision, 
so that individual effort may not be at their mercy to be ruthlessly 
crushed out, has become the greatest political problem of our time. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May 13. 1905. 

Steuben, Frederick, William, Augustus, Baron General of the American 
Revolutionary army. November 15. 1730 — November 28. 1794,born in 
Magdeburg, Prussia. He was educated at the Jesuit's colleges of 
Niesse and Breslau; and at the age of 14 served as a volunteer, un- 
der his father at the siege of Prague. 

In 1747, he was appointed a cadet of infantry, and in 1758 had risen 
to Adjutant General. He was wounded in the battle of Kunersborf, 
in 1761 was conducted a prisoner of war to St. Petersburg, but was 
soon released. 

In 1762, he was appointed Adjutant General on the staff of the 
Prussian King, (Frederick the Great) effected important reforms in the 
Quarter-masters department and superintended an academy of young 
officers, selected for special military instructions. 

At the close of the seven year's war, he traveled in Europe, and 
was appointed Grand Marshall and General of the guard of the Prince 
of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. Visiting Paris in 1777, where the Ameri- 
can colonies in rebellion were favoi'ed by the goverment, he was invited 
by the Count St. Germain, Minister of war, to go to America. 

He arrived at Portsmouth, Virginia, December first 1777. (Jones 
annals of Oneida county says, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) and offered 
his services to General Washington, which were joyfully accepted, 
and he joined the ai-my then in the most deplorable condition, at 
Valley Forge. He was appointed Inspector General, prepared a 
manual of tactics for the army, remodeled its organization, and im- 
proved its discipline. He was one of the officers who composed the 
icourt martial at the trial of Major Andre. In the campaign of 
1780, he had a command in Virginia, and was on the staff of General 
LaFayette at the siege of Yorktown. Generous and noble in char- 
acter as he was capable as an officer, he spent his whole fortune 
in clothing his men, and gave his last dollar to his soldiers. 

Congress made tardy reparation, and in 1790, voted him an annuity 
'of $250i0v and a township of land in New York, both of which he 
divided Tvith his fellow officers. He died on his estate near Utica, 
N. T. (Alden's manifold Cyclopedia, now published by Ganeston, Cox 


and Co. as the Columbian). The new Americanized Cyclopedia 
Britanica says that Congress granted him land in New York, Penn- 
sylvania and Vii-ginia. (Some quotations follow from Frost's American 

"At the commencement of the war between Great Britian and her 
colonies, Steuben was in condition of gentlemanly affluence, and he 
was regarded by the Prussian government as one of their most able 

"In 1777, Steuben at forty seven years of age, on his way to England 
stopped at Paris to have an interview with the Count St. Germain, 
the French Minister of war, and one of his intimate friends." 

"It was well known that France was then, secretly, aiding the Am- 
ericans, both by advice and military stores. At the meeting, St. 
Germain represented the ultimate prospects of the colonist as flat- 
ering; that France and probably Spain, would eventually aid them, 
but their army needed disciplinarians, which want the Baron could 
well supply. These proposals were seconded by the Spanish consul 
and two French noblemen, but the Baron refused to give a decisive 
answer until an interview could be had with the American envoys. 
The latter were unable to give the assurance required, and after 
abandoning his intention of visiting England, Steuben soon after re- 
turned to Germany. On his arrival at Rastadt, he found letters from 
the Count, informing him that a vessel was about sailing for America, 
in which he could immediately embark, with a prospect of having 
every difficulty adjusted." 

"Having received from Dr. Franklin letters of recommendation to 
General Washington, and the president of congress, he embai'ked 
on the 26th of September, 1777, under an assumed name, and after 
a rough voyage, landing in Portsmouth N. H. December 1. 

"His first care was to address his recommendation to General 
Washington, at the same time requesting admission into the service. 
The close of his letter is worthy of preservation thus: 'I could say 
moreover, were it not for fear of offending your modesty, that your 
excellency is the only person under whom, after serving under the 
King of Prussia, I could wish to pursue an art to which I have wholly 
given up myself. 

Washington referred him to congress, as the only body empowered 
to accept his services; and accordingly in February he laid his papers 
before that body. A committee of five was appointed to wait upon him. 

In his interview with them, the Baron stated what he had left to 
engage in the American service, offered them his service, without any 
other remuneration than the amount of his expenses; but, that while 
he expected no reward, should the final result be unsuccessful, yet 
in case of the Americans gaining their independence, he would expect 
an idemnity for the offices he had resigned in Europe, and a reward 
proportionate to his services. Congress returned him thanks for this 
disinterested offer, and requested him to join the army. 

The American main body was at that time wintering near Valley 
Forge. The suffering endured by the troops, their privations and 
diseases during that terrible v/inter, were long remembered as form- 
ing the darkest page of our revolutionai'y history. At the sight of 
them, the astonishment of one who had been accustomed to the well 



provided armies of Europe, may be conceived; and Steuben declared 
that under such circumstances no foreign army could be kept together 
a single month. 

He was appointed inspector-general and intrusted with the difiicult 
task of forming from such material, an army disciplined after the 
European system. Disheartening as were these prospects, and height- 
ened too, by Steuben's ignorance of the English language, he enter- 
ed upon his duties with ardor. An interpreter was found and the 
great work of giving efficiency to the army of Washington com- 
menced. This was something new to the sufferers of Valley Forge, 
and the strictness of the old soldier together with his perfect famil- 
iarity with the most difficult military movements, astonished even the 
Commander himself. 

The great services rendered by the Baron, as exhibited in the rapid 
improvement of the army, did not escape the notice of either Wash- 
ington or congress; and at the recommendation of the former he 
was appointed permanent inspector general, with the rank of major- 

By his great exertions he made this office respectable, establishing 
frugality and economy among the soldiers. 

In discipline, both of men and officers, he was entirely impartial, 
and never omitted an opportunity to praise merit, or censure a fault." 
— Frost's American Generals. 

As if by magic, his wise discipline and indefatigable zeal, soon 
wrought wonders with the undisciplined, but ever heroic Americans, 
and; in an incredibly short time, he evolved a splendid organization 
in all branches of the service. His services in placing the American 
army in a splendid condition of military efficiency, were of the utmost 
value to the American cause, Washington fully recognized his great 
qualities and incomparable services, and to his dying day regarded him 
as one of the most worthy and most helpful Generals of the war. He 
was a military genius, a trained and heroic soldier. 

The first manual of tactics for the American army was prepared 
by the Baron under the title "Regulations for the order and discipline 
of the troops of the United States", and this became the law and 
guide of the army, and was the basis of military regulations of several 
of the various states. 

A little incident illustrates the widespread knowledge and popu- 
larity of Steuben's tactics. Captain Brandt (he was known as Captain 
in the British army) with a strong force of Tories and Indians, on 
the 2nd day of March 1781, was prowling about Fort Stanwix. He 
succeeded in capturing 15 men and a corponal named Betts, and then 
made his way for Niagara. (That was their rendezvous, and winter 
headquarters) . Before arriving there an incident occurred illustrative 
of the caprice of the savage chieitan. Brandt ordered Corporal 

Betts to exercise his men and see if they understood the tactics of 
Baron Steuben. Betts either doubting the ability of his men to 
do justice to the Baron's system, or feeling disinclined to such an 
exhibition in his unpleasant surroundings and disheartening condition, 
wished to avoid the performance, but Brandt peremptorily commanded 
obedience. Betts drew out his men, dressed them in line, and then 
went through the manual exercise, a la Steuben, much to the satis- 



faction of Brandt. Some of the Tories, howevei', were disposed to 
ridicule the manner in which the Yankee had done the thing, but 
Brandt put a stop to their fun by a terrible frown, saying at the same 
time, that "The Yankee went through it a sight better than they 
could, and that he liked to see the thing done well, although it was 
done by an enemy". 

"Steuben saw active service in New Jersey, notably at Monmouth, 
and also in Virginia. He joined LaFayette there in June. On the 
16th of July the Marquis LaFayette met Cornwallis near Jamestown, 
and a slight engagement took place, in which the Americans behaved 
remarkably well, notwithstanding the great inferiority of numbers. 

"The enemy gained some advantage but did not pursue it; and soon 
after the Earl Cornwallis marched to Yorktown, which he began co 

"On the 28th of September, the main allied army of French and 
Americans under Rochambeau and Washington. aided by the fleet of 
De Grasse, sat down before the place. The seige lasted until the 
18th of October, during which time Steuben bore his full share of 
toil and danger. His exact scientific knowledge rendered him ex- 
tremely useful. Washington assigned him. a command in the line. 
His services are honorably noticed by that great man, in the general 
orders subsequent to the capitulation. 

"After this happy affair the Baron returned with the main army 
to the middle states, where he remained until the treaty of peace. 

"On the day that Washington resigned his office as commander- 
in-chief, he wrote the Baron a noble and affectionate letter, the last 
clause of which is. "This is the last letter which I shall write while 
I continue in the service of my country. The hour of my resignation 
is fixed at twelve today, after which I shall become a private citizen 
on the banks of the Potomac, where I shall be glad to embrace you, and 
testify the great esteem and consideration with which I am, my 
dear Baron &c." 

"The neglect with which many of the brave men who had bled 
in our cause were treated by congress, will ever remain a stigma to 
that body. Among them was Steuben; for seven years he made ineffectual 
efforts to obtain a notice of his claims, but in vain. He had left 
affluence and baronial dignity among the monarchs of Europe to 
waste his life in our struggle, and now when the great object had 
been reached, he was poor, homeless and unprovided for. 

"At last through the strenuous efforts of Washington and Hamilton, 
congress was induced to acknowledge his claims. 

"In 1790 they gi'anted him an annual sum of twenty-five hundred 
dollars. Other grants, principally of land had been made by Virginia 
and New Jersey, and on the 5th day of May 1786 the New York assembly 
voted him sixteen hundred acres. Determined not to revisit Europe 
he built a log house upon this land, rented some portion to tenants 
and with a few domestics, lived there until his death, excepting 
an annual visit to New York in the winter. 

"He spent his time in reading, gardening and in cheerful conver- 
sation with his faithful friends. Walker and North, who remained with 
him until death. Occasionally he amused himself by playing chess 
and hunting. 


"On the 25th day of November 1794, he was struck by paralysis, and 
•the 28th his long and active life closed. He died in full belief of 
the truth of Christianity, which for some time had been his consol- 
ation and support. 

"His body was buried in his military cloak, to which was attach- 
ed the star of knighthood, always worn during life. His servants 
and a few neighbors buried him. His grave was in a deep forest, 
which being afterward crossed by a road occasioned a reinterment 
on a spot about a quarter of a mile north of his home. Walker 
performed this duty and afterward placed an iron railing ground the 

"A stone, with the inscription, "Major General Frederick William Au- 
gustus, Baron DeSteuben" the hero's resting place. 

A tablet in memory of him was placed in the Lutheran Church, 
Nassau Street, New York, where he always attended when in that 
city. This was done by Col. North. 

"By his will the Baron left his library and one thousand dollars 
to a young man of literary habits, named Mulligan, whom he had 
adopted, and nearly all his property to Walker and North." 

The above from Frost's American Generals was copied from a book 

.published in 1851. 

Baron Steuben previous to his death had selected a spot for his 
burial. His wish was carried out. His Aid-de-camp, adopted son 
and executor. Col. Walker had the remains re-interred where they now 
repose, and deeded or leased (both statements have been made) fifty 
acres of land to the First Baptist society of Steuben, on condition 
that five acres including the grave of the Baron should be kept 
'fenced and in a state of nature, in deep forest. 

In 1824 a plain monument was erected over the grave, which was 
replaced in 1870-71 by the imposing one which now marks the rest- 
ing place of the patriot. 

Steuben was a bachelor, and it has been said that there was no 
female service i-endered in his log house in the woods. It had been 
his purpose to erect a large mansion on his possessions, but death 
prevented the consummation of his plans. 

The 16,000 acre patent constitutes a lare part of what is now the 
town of Steuben, and I think extends somewhat into Remsen. 

The first person to take up a permanent residence on the patent 
was Samuel Sizer, who came about 1789, to take charge of the im- 
provements contemplated by the Baron. As the Baron had opportu- 
nity he leased his land tract of 100 acres at $10 to $20 per year. At 
the time of his death he had about twenty families living on the patent. 

On the fourth of July 1790 he gave a dinner to all the people on his 
lands and neighboring settlers. It is recorded that whenever he found 
a worthy soldier he would present him a farm of forty to one hun- 
dred acres. 

The town of Steuben was first organized by an act of the legis- 
lature passed April 10, 1792. The amount of territory included with- 
in its bounds would be considered formidable at the present day. 

Steuben was all that part of Whitestown (then in Herkimer County) 
beginning at the mouth of the Nine Mile Creek, running thence north- 
easterly to the northeast corner of Holland Patent; thence northerly 


along the east bounds of Steuben's Patent to the northeast corner 
thereof; thence due north to the north bounds of the state, and also 
from the place of beginning due west to the line of the Oneida Reser- 
vation; thence northwest along said line to Fish creek; thence due 
north to the north bounds of the state. 

The first town meeting was held on the first Tuesday of April 
1793, at the house or Seth Ranney near Fort Stanwix (now Rome) . 
Roswell Fellows was chosen Supervisor and Jedediah Phelps town 

The late Hon. D. E. Wager of Rome, in his history of Oneida county, 
stated that this grant of land to Baron Steuben was from the state 
in 1786 for 16,000 acres, which corresponds exactly with the statement 
before mentioned from Frost's American Generals. Of course 
some one is in error, either the Cyclopedia or historians. I suppose our 
state records will verify the above as to the state grant. 

Not long after receiving the grant, the Baron cut a road through the 
forest all the v/ay from Herkimer, over twenty miles directly to his 
land. The remarkable feat of the Baron in opening the road at that 
time and under such circumstances might be considered formidable and 
its chief historic interest. It was then in Montgomery County. The 
grant was two years before the reorganization of the towns of Her- 
kimer, German Flatts and Whitestown, and five years before the or- 
ganization of Herkimer county. There were no roads of importance 
anywhere abouts. It was seven years or more to the opening of a 
road from Little Falls, west on the north side of the Mohawk river. 

The Steuben road on the line the Baron cut through, is now open 
and much traveled nearly the whole way. Some portion is closed, 
notably a section of about three miles long on the highest range of 
Hassenclever, in the town of Newport. It is very direct and with 
that closed portion open, would be a short and only direct carriage 
road from Steuben and old Trenton (now Barneveld) to Herkimer. 

According to a statement of the Rev. Caleb Alexander, the father 
of Fairfield Academy, Herkimer about that time, 1791-92 contained two 
dutch houses only. Old Fort Schuyler (now Utica) had very little 
more. Previous to 1793, there was no wagon road for general travel 
on the north sitle of the Mohawk east of Herkimer. There were no 
bridges over the two creeks, east and west Cana-da; the travel to and 
from Albany was on the south side, passing over Fall hill to the south 
of Little Falls. 

In 1793 there was an appropriation for two bridges, one over East 
Canada on the road from Tribes Hill to Little Falls, the other over 
the West Canada on the road from Little Falls to Fort Stanwix, 
Herkimer and old Fort Schuyler (Utica) were not mentioned. 

Herkimer got its name through an ignorant blunder in 1788. It 
had been German Flatts for fifty years or more, through two wars 
and it v/as not intended that it should be changed. The two towns 
of German Flatts and Herkimer were being organized in the legislature, 
and the question asked which side of the Mohawk river is German 
Flatts, on the right bank or the left bank? The answer was the 
right bank, and the record was thus made, Herkimer was recorded 
on the left bank, north side. It was in Montgomery county three years, 
until Herkimer County was organized in 1791. 


There seemed to be a tradition that Steuben road did not start out 
of Herkimer, as the so called road now does, but that it started west of 
the village, near a little creek that crosses the road (Old Mohawk 
turnpike, German street) near the old cheese factory, and east of the 
late homestead of George W. Pine. That creek comes a long way 
down through the pasture of the late Col. F. P. Bellinger. The late 
Hon. Robei't Earl, about 1898 said that his grandfather. Dr. William 
Petrie, had a house, barn, and gi'ist mill, up that creek about half 
a mile, burned by Brandt's marauders in 1778, at the same time 
that all German Flatts was destroyed, and that the foundations were 
then visible. About 1870, my children found old timbers in the creek 
up there supposed to be mill timbers. Timber does not rot 
in water. It seems very natural to conclude that a road went there 
in early days. It is a very easy way to go into the road as it is now 
•about a mile from German Flatts. 

Since writing the above I have received additional traditional tes- 
timony as to the road going up through by Dr. William Petrie's 
"place. The evidence is all that way, I have received no other. In 
six years 1868-1874, I lived in Col. Bellinger's house adjoining 
that pasture. I now recall an old track up through there. Then 
I had not thought of Baron Steuben's road. In 1872 went that way 
across to Aaron Harter's.. 

Having examined the Government Typographical map of the Geo- 
logical Survey, will take for a starting point, the corner of Court and 
Washington streets near the site of old Fort Dayton, the highest al- 
titude in the village of Heerkimer, the figures on the map are 406 feet. 
Thence for about three miles up the hill the general course is north- 

Passing two roads that run westerly into Schuyler and continuing 
.on north a mile and a half farther, we come to a third road on the 
town line, leading also into Schuyler. The altitude at this point is 
1,257. A quarter of a mile north is the Ellison place at four corners, a 
road crossing from Osborne Hill. This Ellison place has been a large 
lfa.rm, an old one, in the family about a century. A tavern has been 
kept there, and it is now in possession of of H. Duane, a son of Jacob 
and grandson of Henry Ellison. The place has been of some note, 
it is about five miles straight as a pigeon flies from starting point. 
Below, south, from the Ellison corner half a mile, William (Bill) 
Watson, something of a sportsman and lover of good horses did live, 
and here, the road being even and somewhat level, there was a 
race track in the road. North from the Ellison corner about a mile 
the altitude is 1,420 feet, and a little beyond that a road at the left 
runs to Minott Corners, a mile and a half distant. Continuing on 
north we come to the State road crossing; over this road has been 
the route by way of the County House, through Schuyler, from Middle- 
ville to Utica. At this corner was the Houghton homestead for many 
year from 1835. They commenced in a log house and later built 
a substantial frame one. They raised a family of fifteen children. 
About 1850 it was known as the Widow Houghton's Continuing on 
north we come to Bennett Morris' on high ground, sun from all 
Idirections. A little further on, the road turns westerly across a 
small corner of the town of Schuyler and then we come to a road 


that comes up over the hill from the West Canada creek at the old 
bridge place, a mile above Middleville, near the late residence of 
Nicholas, and later his son Alonzo G. Smith. This crossing in the 
corner of Schuyler is some eight miles or more as the road runs 
from Herkimer, and the ascent is considerable steady climbing all the 

A noticeable feature in the ascent of the road from Hei'kimer 
through the town to this crossing in the corner of Schuyler, is that 
it seems to be on a ridge; that the streams flow either and both ways 
from it to the valleys below, and where any cross the road they were 
mere rivulets that were easily fixed with corduroy, and did not need 

To me that old bridge place and the road from it over the hill into 
Schuyler, is of historic interest. It was perhaps the first bridge on 
the creek, certainly it was the first above Herkimer. It was there 
early in 1790, and was the crossing from the Royal Grant over the 
hills south about the same time that Steuben opened his road. 

There was nothing at Middleville then, Sheffield Kenyon, father of 
the late V. S. Kenyon, merchant, bought the land for the place in 1806. 
The town of Newport was organized in 1806, and the description in 
the town boundary makes this bridge a landmark; thus, on the east 
line next Fairfield running south "to the bank of the West Canada 
creek, by the bridge, near the house of Obediah Kniffin,'" He lived 
in Newport on the south side of the creek. In my recollection in 
1S35, there were two Kniffins, besides the one mentioned the other was 
John, also near the bridge in Fairfield, the house only a very few 
rods east of the late residence of the Smiths before mentioned. At 
seven years of age, in 1836, I was living at my grandfather Johnson's 
at the corner of the road over the hill north, now Dexter's. The 
bridge place and Obediah Kniffins on the south side in Newport 
was in plain sight from grandfathers. It was then my father told 
me how the bridge was carried away by the ice in a flood and none 
built to replace it. Middletown got its name in 1808 and a bridge in 
1810, and the inference is that the first bridge above mentioned was in 
place at that time. 

Smith built his new house about 1840 or 42. The old John Kniffin 
house v.'as there until 1857; Aunt Polly Smith, Alonzo's mother did the 
cheese making there. A few years later Walter P. Griswold built 
a new house on the Obediah Kniffin place, that later has been Myrick 
.Jones'. It is a little up from Jones' crossing on the railroad. My 
wife's father, George Buell of Fairfield, told me of crossing there in 
1790 and 98, and going up by the Bullard schoolhouse and Marvin's 
over the hill as before mentioned into Schuyler and on through Deer- 
field to the county seat. Where? Not old Fort Schuyler (Utica) but 
Whitestown. It was the county seat of Herkimer County from its or- 
ganization in 1791 to 1798, when Oneida County was organized and the 
county seat was changed to Herkimer. The old record books for those 
seven years I have seen in the Oneida County Clerk's office in Utica, 
where tbey are kept. The travel from the Royal Grant to the county 
seat at Whitestown was over that bridge and road mentioned. 

In 1800 the Mohawk turnpike was chartered and then the boom 
began in Herkimer. German Flatts had been destroyed, wiped out 


twice by wax% by the French in 1757 and by Brandt with his Indians 
and Tories in 1778, twenty-one years later. 

The Rev. Caleb Alexander, before mentioned was in Herkimer in 
1801. On the 23rd of November he wrote in his diary: "On the flats 
in the town of Herkimer is a handsome street, a meeting house, a 
court house, a jail, a printing office, merchant stores, about thirty ele- 
gant dwellings and several machine shops. Tuesday 21th took the 
stage at Herkimer and passed through the German Flatts and Minden 
to Canajoharie twenty-six miles distant." 

Resuming our task of tracing the old Steuben road, we commence 
again at the road crossing before mentioned in the northeast corner 
of the town of Schuyler and proceed immediately across the town line 
into Newport and over the high range of Hessenclever, at an alti- 
tude of 1600 feet, and along down the north side in a northwesterly 
course to Martin Corners, about four and one half miles larther down 
to an altitude of less than l.lOOfeet. It is five miles straight from 
the corner of Herkimer. In this distance is the closed sectio.i 

and there are two roads crossing it. The crossing at Martin 
Corners is on the direct road from Newport to Utica, over Honey Hill, 
Bell Hill and Smith Hill. 

John Richards, a wealthy farmer in the town of Newport, lived on 
the old Steuben read a mile or so east oZ Martin Corners, and near 
the western end of the closed portion. Richards raised a large family 
there; two sons, Sidney and Lafayette, now live on the old Mohawk 
turnpike a little west of the Frankfort station on the New York Central 
railroad. They together agreed that the old track grade along down 
the side hill is very plain and direct, and that the closed portion 
through the breadth of four or five farms, is at least two and one 
half miles. The map appears to be abundant evidence of this. Some 
have in winter drawn wood on the old track grade. 

About 1860 some people foolishly got an idea that the Baron had buried 
treasures on that hill, and went in the night and dug holes to find it 
on Lovett farm not very far from the line of Schuyler. They didn't 
know his charactar and habits Three holes were dug about two feet 
deep and several feet wide down to hard clay, and then the job was 
given up for a bad one. Charles H. Buell o; Frankfort, whom I have 
known over fifty years, was then living about a mile away, and went 
and saw the holes. 

What about the Hassenclever, who gave it that name? I did not 
know until I got to be an old man, although born and grown up since 
,for many years have been right in sight of it. 

It is seen not only from the West Canada Creek valley at Newport vil - 
lage and below, but all over the highlands of Norway and Fairfield 
and particularly along the state road through both. 

Soon after the French war, about 1764, Peter Hassenclever, a German 
of great intelligence, enterprise and more enthusiasm than good judg- 
ment came to this country in the interests of a London company of 
which he was a member, to engage in the production of pig iron, hemp 
and pot and pearl ashes, and he imported a large number of Germans 
with their families to work for him as miners, carpenters and others. 
By the end of the year 1776, he had in operation in New Jersey and on 
the Hudson River, furnaces and forges and in the present town of 


Schuyler, this county, a pot and pearl ash manufactory. He had 
obtained about 6000 acres of Cosby's Manor and at about the present 
site of East Schuyler he built two frame houses, and thirty-five log 
houses, which he called New Petersburg. He began the cultivation 
of flax, hemp, madder and the production of pot and pearl ashes. 

In 1769, he with his associates obtained the patent to the tract of 
IS, 000 acres known as the Hassenclever patent, which lies partly 
in the towns of Herkimer, Schuyler and Newport, running out norther- 
ly over the range into the valley of the West Canada. The conditions 
were unfavorable and through various misfortunes and misadventures, 
all his enterprises in this country came to grief and he became bank- 
rupt. He returned to Germany and died in 1792 much lamented. 

The large house of the Widow Martin, at Martin's Comers 
looked old when I first saw it, about 1840. It was built in ISO'e, after 
1840 it was repaired and looked new for awhile, but old again in 186J. 
I last saw it in 1S75, I suppose it is still there. 

I was born in a log house on Honey Hill, Newport, about two miles 
northeasterly of Martin Corners. Continuing on from these cor- 
ners v/ith the Steuben road in the same northwesterly direction, a 
half a mile or so on a much traveled road, we cross the town line 
into Deerfield and continue the same northwesterly course through 
the town to the old Miller place five miles from Martin Corners 
in the tov/n of Trenton, at a junction of a road from Newport through 
North Gage, that Miller place may have been known as Kniffin place 
after 1840. Russell (Russ) a son of John Kniffin in Fairfield, at the 
old bridge place above mentioned, married a daughter of old Mr. 
Miller and went there to live. In coming through Deerfield we 
have crossed two important roads, the well known Walker road, and 
south of North Gage what was for some time after 1850 known as the 
Russia plank road; here is an offset at right angles for half a mile or 
so, and it is hereon the Russia plank road, crosses the Nine mile 
creek, normaly a small stream easily crossed with a little corduroy. It 
might be called at this crossing simply a brook but is the only 
considerable one on the whole route. It is possible that at this crossing 
and offset, which is half a mile or more at right angles, the road may 
have been changed for a short distance. The main line however is 
very direct. 

The Baron had no important bridges to build. Five eighths of a mile 
from the junction, and what we will now call the Kniffin place, Is 
a junction in Toad Hollow with a road from Russia over Comstock 
bridge on the West Canada, less than a mile and a half away east. In 
Toad Hollow, Henry Miller, a brother of Mrs. KnifRn, made a fine 
home; he set out willow trees, they grew vigorously and it became 
Willow Grove, and later nearby was the Willow Grove cheese factory. 
Miller was an old man when I saw him in 1857. 

Less than a half mile north from this road junction is the Steuben creek 
which comes straight from Steuben valley, through old Trenton vil- 
lage to near here where it makes a right angle turn and enters the West 
Canada, which is a short curve less than a mile away east. Near 
the cheese factory is a fine brook crossing the road. From this point 
on through I surmise that the road as opened by the Baron went direct 


and sti-aight to his land, along and not vei-y far away from the Steuben 
creek and that from Toad Hollow to Trenton it may have been closed, 
nearly or quite all the way. It seems a natural conclusion, this Russia to 
Rome road, through Holland Patent and Floyd, crosses the Black river 
turnpike at the old "Dave" Wooster place, later Joy's Hotel, and the 
travel from Toad Hollow to Trenton is that way by the Black River 
turnpike. After these roads were laid so many were not nec- 
essary, and this section of the Steuben road closed. From old Trenton 
village there is a road directly up the Steuben valley 

In the New York Tribune about January 18, 1905, was the following; 
"Washington, Jan. 17— A call has been issued for the Von Steuben and 
McClellan statue commissions to meet in Secretary Taft's office on Feb. 
6th. This will be the first meeting of either commission within a year. It 
has been decided that the Von Steuben statue, for which congress 
appropriated $50,000, shall be placed in LaFayette square; two availa- 
ble corners now remain there. The German officer who fought with 
the American armj^ will probably occupy one of these places, while 
on the other facing Senator Depew's house, the statue of Pulaski, for 
which an appropriation of $50,000 was also made, will eventually stand" 

In 1899, Col. Albert D. Shaw, of Watertown paid a visit to the grave 
of Baron Siteuben in Oneida county, and wrote an article for the Water- 
town Times in which he said: "I had the pleasure yesterday of visiting 
the site of the log house on the heights back of the village of Remsen, 
where Baron Steuljen lived in summer for many years, and in which 
he died, and not far from which he was buried . There is no trace 
left of the humble abode of the famous general, but a painted notice 
is fixed to a post on the spot where the house stood. Col. Walker 
who was the Baron's chief legatee, gave. a Welsh Baptist society in 
the immediate vicinity, a lease of 50 acres of land, including the five 
acres of the burial plot, in consideration that the five acres be kept 
substantially fenced forever, and no cattle or other animals suffered 
to go within its bounds, and the title to fall whenever the lessees 
shall fail in the performance of the stipulations. The time has come 
when some drastic action should be taken to put this plot in better 
condition. The church society holding the lease is merely a society in 
name. The church building is rapidly going to decay. No service 
has been held in it for years. The glass in the windows has been 
broken out,, and the whole surroundings and appearances are decidedly 
unattractive. There is no road leading to the monument from the 
highway as there should be, and the five acre plot should be put in 
better condition by removing fallen timber and making it as it can 
■be inexpensively, a lovely place, fit for the purpose for which it :s 

The Oneida Historical society should take this matter in hand and 
secure legislation to avail themselves of the original lease, and so 
properly look after this precious burying ground of one whose splendid 
service was given to the nation, in the throes of its birth, so romantic 
and so important, deserves the fullest appreciation in every possible 
way, of the pai't of succeeding generations. His history is linked with 
two great nations, and his grave should be the easy point for all who 
can to visit under the best natural attractions, and made beautiful 
through proper attention." 


Under date of May 10th, 1905, the corresponding seci-etary of the 
Oneida Historical Society informs me that the society has had much 
to do in matters connected with the Steuben Monument, and not long 
ago it got an appropriation from the legislature which pertained to 
this monument, and which was expended in that direction. 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society May 14, 1904. 

I have been invited by one of your members to write an article 
to be read before your society on the subject of my experience in the 
Walker Expedition of nearly fifty years ago. It is a subject I am 
sure, with which but few of you can be acquainted, and I am surely 
at a loss to know how any history of my life there, should have any- 
thing to do with Herkimer County; so of course you must assume all 
responsibilities for success or failui'e. 

I began life in the old Bellinger tavern in the village of Mohawk 
on the 2nd. day of October, 1832. I was I'eared in the town of Frank- 
fort, and in 1S48, removed to Oswego County. I v>^as determined to 
go to California, and left for there in 1849, getting free rides on the 
cars at night to New York, where I took ship. 

We crossed the Isthmus on foot, fully one half of our number dying 
of fever while crossing the Isthmus and going up the Pacific coast 
I went to the mines on the branches oi the American river in what 
is now Eldorado County, and while there was fairly successful. In 
1853 I served against the Indians, and was in the battle of Snakes Creek 
and Chimney Rock, and in 1854, fought against the Logtown Indians. 

In 1855 I went to San Francisco, where I fell in with some old 
comrades going to Central America with Walker, the filibuster, the 
wages were to be $100 per month and 300 acres of land for one year'.? 
service; and of course I enlisted. 

In view of the present attempt of the United States government 
to build a ship canal on the dividing lines of North and South Am- 
erica on what is known as the Isthmus of Panama, it may be in- 
teresting to have some reminiscenses of history in regard to the route 
proposed by way of Nicaraugua. On the line formerly occupied and 
operated by the Vanderbilt Transit Company by a line of steamers 
from New York to Graytown on the Atlantic and from there across 
the state of Nicaraugua; then by way of the San Juan river, and 
across the lake to Bretto on the Pacific, for the convenience 
of passengers in 1849 to the newly discovered gold fields of Cali- 
fornia. The wonderful excitement of that time had attracted thousands 
of adventurers from all parts of the United States, and the world. 
Among them was one William Walker, from the state of Mississippi, a 
printer by trade and oorn in Nashville, Tenn. in 1824. He went to 
California in 1850, and not being successful in the mines, went to San 


Francisco, where I first formed his acquainance. He was short in 
stature being five feet in height, weight about 125 pounds, and had 
veiT bright and small gray eyes. He was afterward known as the 
-gray-eyed man of destiny. He seemed to be a born leader of men, 
and had he lived until the rebellion, would have been a thorn in our 
side at the north. 

He soon formed a party of about 800 men to conquer the province 
of Sonora in lower Cilifornia, and annex it to the United States. He 
•vas very successful tor awhile, and easily drove out the Mexicans: 
,fjut having no provisions to feed the men , or money to pay them, 
they soon deserted him and the expedition v/as a miserable failure. 

Walker, however, had gained notoriety, and about the time a re- 
volution occurred in Nicai-augua, and the defeated party invited Wal- 
ker and all the men he couM muster to help reinstate the Liberals, 
as they were termed. He sailed from San Francisco with 58 picked 
men and arrived at San Juan, now Bretto, on May 4th. 185.5. The 
Serviles, as the other party was called, marched from Rivas to meet 
him with four hundred men, intending to crush him before he could 
meet his friends at Gi'enada. Walker's men were all old mountaineei\s 
and Texas rangers, armed with the best rifles then known. Sharp's 
muzzle loaders, and they were the best marksmen living. Five times 
the Spanish general charged, trying to break Walker's line, the screech 
of the Spaniard answered by the deep cry of the mountaineer. Walker 
now formed his men and charged, and swept the Spaniards from the 
field in the wildest confusion. One hundred and eighty of the enemy 
were left on the field of battle, and strange to say Walker lost only 
one white man killed and four natives, and eleven men wounded. 
The Spanish general could not again rally his men, and Walker's 
march to Gi-enada was not interrupted again. 

The place where the battle was fought is now known as Virgin 
Bay, on Lake Nicaraugua, 12 miles i'rom Bretto. Walker now felt him- 
self secure and his ranks were recruited from the passengers that went 
over the ti-ansit route. To supply them with arms he committed an 
act that led to his ruin. He took by force all arms and ammunition 
the transit company had to defend their property on the lake, and 
confiscated the boats of the company and river. 

Walker's power was now acknowledged and he held the position 
of commanding general, with Corral as president. Soon after this 
Walker accused Corral of conspiracy against him. The padre or 
priest begged hard to save his life, but of no use; at eleven o'clock 
at night he was led out on the plaza and shot to death by a platoon 
of soldiers and was buried before daylight. Not one of us believed 
him guilty; and sO perished one of th best citizens of Nicaraugua. 

Walker now proclaimed himself dictator, and for awhile had every- 
thing his own way. He published a paper proclaiming the territory 
open to slavery, and invited southern emigration to the state. So 
far as I know all his men were dissatisfied, but dared not say a word, 
as Vv'alker enforced discipline to the letter, and we were in a country 
with enemies on all sides of us. 

Costa Rica now took alarm, and declared war on Walker, and 3,000 
men were soon in the field. Walker sent a detachment of about 500 
men to meet their foe on their own soil under Colonel Schlessenger. 
After marching to Guanacaste he allowed himself to be surprised. 


and many of his men were butchered; those who escaped were follow- 
ed closely by the Spaniards, and at last reached Grenada in a wretched 
and ■demoralized state. Charges were prefered against their leader 
but he escaped while his trial was pending, and was not heard from 
again. Walker determined noi to be attacked, but at the head of about 
800 men marched upon the city of Rivas, where the Costa Ricans, over 
3,'000i strong, were posted, commanded by English and Frencn officers, 
and armed with Minnie rifles. They thought Walker's men would 
be easy prey. We attacked at three o'clock in the morning. Street after 
street was fought through, barricades were overthrown, houses were 
fired, and the carnage reigned supreme. Many of the best of Walker's 
men were left dead in the street on that eventful day, and as the Span- 
iards gave no quarter it nerved the most timid of us. To retreat 
meant certain death, to be conquered instant execution. The greater 
part of the battle in the streets of Riva was fought hand to han-d, and 
muzzle to muzzle, the contestants often falling dead side by side. 

At last the enemy, unable to any longer withstand such terrible punish- 
ment, broke and ran in all directions, pursued by Walker's men 
until dark, when they returned through the streets made red with their 
blood and soon put the wounded Spaniards out of their sufferings 
or need of medical attendance; in fact it was one of the worst sights 
I had ever seen. Our loss in this terrible encounter was reported at 
only 96; the enemy's at not less than 1,200, Many of the wounded 
crawled into the houses not burned, and escaped death by not being 
discovered. As our ammunition was running low. Walker fell back 
in the night to Grenada. The Costa Ricans were forced to retreat, 
as they did not dare to meet the Americans again. They did not wait 
to bury their dead, but threw the bodies into the wells in the city, and 
from the decaying corpses sickness and cholera broke out and hundreds 
of lives were lost by the unsanitary conditions; and this I believe, 
is as near the truth about the battle of Rivas as has ever been told. 

It may be well to add that there were many brave and good officers 
under Walker who were not satisfied with his actions, in his greed for 
power, and were also much opposed to his views on the slavery question. 
One of his officers was Col. Anderson, a noted scout who had served 
with Fremont and Carson, and one of the bast shots except Carson I 
ever knew. In time of battle he was always in the front, and the boys 
near him always give him their guns to discharge, he handing them 
to be reloaded; and it is needless to say that a bullet fired by him 
never failed to find a victim. When I was at the presideo or mili- 
tary headquarters at San Francisco, in 1903, Captain James of the 
regular army, told me something about the latter days of Col. Ander- 
ison's life. In the late rebellion Col. Anderson served on the Con- 
federate side, and was captain of a company of Louisiana Tigers that 
were annihilated in Picketts charge at Gettysburg by Stannard's Ver- 
monters, in one of the most desperate charges the world has ever 
known. Anderson fell with three balls through the body and was left 
for dead on the field, but recovered. And after the civil war he en- 
listed as a scout in the U. S. Service against the Indians on the plains, 
and was in the Geronimo and Setting Bull troubles; he served, it is 
said with distinction, and was at last killed at the battle of Wounded 
Knee Agency. 


Another man that joined here was Captain Abner Doubleday, a 
graduate from West Point, a man well liked by all of us. Doubleday 
served with much honor in the Civil War, and commanded the 1st. 
Division of the 1st. Corps, in which I served in the second battle of 
Bull Run. After Reynold's death at Gettysburg- on the first day of 
the battle, Doubleday was in commond until the arrival of Howard on 
the field. 

These officers of Walker's seemed to be disgusted with him and took 
the earliest opportunity to resign and leave. The American and En- 
glish consuls on both sides of the Isthmus used all of their influence 
against him, and the enemy were now commanded by English and 
French officers. Still Walker was defiant and proclaimed himself dic- 
tator, and tried to set up an empire for himself, founded on the 
wreck of the Spanish provinces. 

But the death knell of Walker had been sounded; the transit route 
had been broken up and no more reinforcements could reach him. 
Reduced to the narrow limits of Grenada and Rivas, yet he could 
have escaped had he so desired by way of the San Juan, but he 
■would not retreat; his last recruits were 43 in number from Saa 
Francisco. With these and 40jO picked men, he made the foolhardy 
attempt to storm and take San Jorge by surpi'ise. The Costa Rican 
force there was fully 5,000 men, well barricaded. The surprise was 
complete and Walker's men entered the town at daybreak, with not 
a sentry on the alert. Three cheers awoke the Spaniards, who rushed 
into the fort for protection. The Americans were upon them beTore 
they could close the gates, and the Spaniards ran out the other side 
as the Americans came in. Their officers rallied them and Walker was 
really a prisoner inside, surrounded by enemies. 

The fighting around the fort and in the streets all day was des- 
perate and bloody; the enemy driven in one direction would advance 
in another, and at night Walker retreated with the loss of one half 
his force. We here lost Captain Higby, Col. O'Neil and Captain Black- 
burn; all the wounded were murdered, as neither side took prisoners. 

About ten days after this bloody repulse, Walker recruited by 400 men 
from Grenada, advanced again to San Jorge with three pieces of ar- 
tillery; but the enemy would not come out of the fort and after doing 
much damage to the town he again fell back to Rivas, which was a 
strongly fortified place, and the Costa Ricans and Hondurans did not 
dare attempt its capture. 

But the career of Walker was drawing to a close. The American 
consul on the coast denounced the course of Walker, the English 
Government had taken the alarm and was landing its marines in the 
Bluefields, as they had interests there and claimed a protectorate over 
the mosquito kingdom. 

Col. Anderson with less than a hundred men held Grenada, and Fort 
Carlos at the foot of the lake was occupied by the Spaniards; this fort 
commanded the river. Cols. Titus and Lockridge were below at the 
Castillo rapids, and seeing that the game was up they took their men 
and boarded a boat and went down the river to Graytown, where they 
were taken in charge by the English oflacers and sent home to the 


As to the number of men that Walker had under him in his expe- 
dition to Nicaraugua, I never knew, but it was not far from 2,500 all 
told. We had no way to take care of the sick and the wounded 
in any proper manner, and many died, who with proper care would 
have recovered, and I think it safe to say that not half that went over 
there ever returned. 

The g-arrison at Grenada under Anderson, and about 100 men that 
\vere left there to defend it, were besieged by about 500 Costa Ricans 
Anderson knew very well that it could not be successfully defended, 
(and was determined to cut his way out and join Walker at Rivas, 
this he did with a loss of over one Tialf his men. Walker fought his 
way to the coast, after burying $12,000 in the old churchyard at Rivas. 
all in silver, that he had stolen from the people and the banks; and it 
IS there yet beyond doubt, as no one dare go and claim it. 

After the loss of the greater part of his force. Walker reached the 
coast and surrendered to the English, where they were all paroled 
and sent to the states. 

Walker soon after raised another expedition and went there again, 
but was captured on the coast, and given over to the Spaniards with 
Col. Rudler, and others who were shot to death; this ended forever 
the carreer of the noted buccaneer and filibuster. 

It may be well to state at this time I was under Anderson at 
Grenada, and that afternoon before the evacuation at night, he called 
us all into line and told us the condition that we were in and that 
there was no hope for life in case of capture or surrender to the 
Spaniards. Anderson proposed that we cut our way out that night 
after dark, and to this we all agreed, and to try and join Walker 
at Rivas. We were to start at ten o'clock that night. At dark six 
of us on guard at the wharf thought it would be better to swim an 
arm of the lake, get outside of the enemies' line and go down 
the lake and then the San Juan river to Graytown on the 
Atlanticknowing that if we got to Graytown we would be safe. 

We stripped off our clothes, tying them in a small bundle in our 
shirts, with the sleeves tied around our necks; we were to swim 
low and not to splash the water, for that would surely attract the 
attention of tba alligators that were ver-y numerouse in those tropical 
waters and very dangerous. The distance to the point was said to 
be a mile; I started first, the others following me, and I was nearly 
exhausted before reaching the shore, but by floating on my back and 
so resting, I finally reached land. 

In a short time a sailor from New Bedford Mass., one of our men, 
joined me; we waited until morning, but hearing nothing of our 
comrades, gave them up, and we never knew v/hether they turned 
back, were drowned or eaten by alligators. 

Until after midnight we could hear the sharp reports of the rifles 
of our comrades and their pursuers, on their way to Rivas. We envied 
them then, as we thought of our desperate condition, 180 miles from 
the Alantic, with enemies on all sides of us, and no arms except those 
that nature had provided, and no food but that which grew in this 
tropical climate. We concealed ourselves during the day and finding 
some wild bananas and sweet oranges we did not suffer from hunger. 
We were busy during the day fitting oui'selves with good clubs for 


protection against alligators, snakes or other wild creatures. The 
sailor had a good sheaf knife such as sailors always carry and I 
had a stilleto, taken from a Spaniard, who did not need it 
any longer. Living on wild fruit, hiding during the day and travel- 
ing during the night, swimming several arms or bays of the lake, and 
wading creeks, we got along much better than we expected. We had 
several encounters with the alligators, and soon found out that one 
good blow on the head or nose with our clubs would put them out 
of business in a hurry. They did not seem to trouble us only in 
wet and swampy places, where it is said they raise their young. The 
snakes almost always left our path, if not we threw sticks or stones at 
them. Thousands of monkeys in the trees above us were leaping 
from tree to tree and through the vmes, some short-tailed others 
no tails at all, and some cropped off short, regular bob-tails. There 
were flocks of parrots of all kinds and colors All the tropical fruit 
can be produced here in abundance. The country is rolling and ele- 
vated, the water is good. 

One morning just as we were going to hide for the day, we came 
to the cabin of a fisherman near the lake, who saw us first. We 
were discovered, but he seemed friendly, speaking to us in Spanish, 
and invited us into his hut. He appeared to know that we were 
hungry, and told his wife to cook for us. She baked some yams and 
cooked some of the fish that they had in plenty, and gave us cocoa to 
drink; and I think I never had such a good breakfast in my life or 
such an appetite. The man seemed to know who and what we were, 
for he said "no wano filabustero, mucha marlow," (Filibusters no good, 
very bad.) which we well understood as he pointed to the lake. He 
must have known that we were deserting Walker. We asked tu ;^e 
allowed to take the yams that were left and the fish, which they gladly 
gave us and some cold frijoles. After leaving them we went into 
the thicket to hide and for several hours kept a strict watch on the 
cabin to see if they would go to inform on us, but they did not, and we 
went to sleep for the rest of the day. We travelled the next two 
nights and came to Fort San Carlos at the foot of the lake. Here 
we lay in hiding all day, and at ten o'clock at night a heavy rain set 
in, to our great delight as we had concluded to do our utmost to steal 
a boat and go down the San Juan river. The banks of the river 
and the country through here was one mass of vegetation, trees and 
tangled vines, that nothing but wild beast and alligators and serpents 
could penetrate; it is called a jungle and it is well named. 

The sailor did not wish me to accompany him, but told me to go 
around the fort down the river, and wait for him there, I did so and in 
a short time heard the crack of a rifle, then others, and was fearful 
that my partner had been killed or captured. At last I heard a 
whistle, and my joy knew no bounds; I answered and he pulled to the 
shore, took me in and we paddled down the stream. 

In the darkness he had found a splendid yawl boat, locked by a 
chain to a post almost under the walls of the fort, he took two stones 
and holding one under the lock, with the other smashed the lock and 
released the boat. The sentry discovered him by the noise and fired 
his piece almost in his face, but missed him. The sailor instantly seized 
his club and struck the sentry a fearful blow which he thought killed 


him, then he jumpe'd into the boat and pulled out into the lake. Others 
fired at him but only one shot hit the boat. We pulled on the oars 
all night, and at daylight pulled the boat into a small cove, where 
we lay all day sleeping in the boat. Subsisting on some wild bananas 
and other fruit, after another all night ride on the river, we came in 
sight of the Castillo Rapids about sunrise. 

We ran down as near as we dared to the fort, only to fin-d it in ruins 
Lockbridge had blown up the magazine and fired the building before 
he left for Graytown, and we did not know whether the Spanish 
occupied the place or not. The transit company's buildings were 
just around the bend, on the bank below. We drew Iulo cO see A^iiu 
should find out, and the choice fell on me. If it was all right I was 
to return and bring the news; if not my comrade would govern him- 
self accordingly. I went down, and was well received, I inquired 
when a boat was going to Graytow, and an officer accused me 
of being one of Walker's men. This I indignantly denied. He 
went on to tell me that I was in good hands, as all of Walker's men 
had been sent home the week before from Graytown, and the transit 
route would soon be open again. I confessed, but said that I was too 
hungry to tell the particulars of our journey, and that there was another 
man out in the brush as hungry as I. Men were dispatched to bring 
him in, but he could not be found. I went alone and brought hini 
in. We feasted and rested and told our stories over, at which the 
sailor was the best man. We sold our boat for twenty dollars which 
more than paid our board and room for two weeks. At the end of 
that time a boat came up the river from Graytown, to which place we 
took passag^e, and after a stay there of about three weeks, were 
sent to Aspinwall, with a free ticket to New Ooleans. 

I stayed for awhile in the West Indies, but came home in time to 
enlist in the Civil War in April 1861, and served through the war 
with the old Iron Brigade. After the war I settled in Sandy Creek, 
Oswego County, and about twelve years ago moved to Frankfort, 
Herkimer County, at which place I now reside." 


History of Money in Some of Its Unusual Forms, Robert Earl 7 

The Right of Suffrage, Robert Earl - - - 12 

The Right of Suffrage and How It Should Be Exercised, John D. 

Henderson - - _ _ - 20 

Columbia's Early History, Mrs. M. M. Hatch - - 27 

Historical Sketch of the Town of Little Falls, Mrs. Adam Casler 39 

The Town of Winfield, Myron A. McKee - - 44 

A Sketch of Some of the Prominent Families of the Town of Dan- 
ube, Wm. Irving Walter _ . . 55 

Our Pioneers, Their Homes and Ways, Rev. J. B. Wicks - 71 

Histoi-y of Free Masonry in Herkimer County, Edward G. Davis 82 

Evolution of the Typewriter, Harper H. Benedict - 99 

Geological History of the Mohawk Valley, Prof. A. P. Brigham 123 

The Water Power at Little Falls, John B. Koettertiz - 128 

Socialism in Relation to Progress, A Review, John Calder 151 

The Old State Road, Geo. L. Johnson - - 163 

The Town of Stark, Warren Hawn - - - 172 

Baron Steuben and His Road From Herkimer to His Farm in Steu- 
ben, Oneida County, Geo. L. Johnson - - - 182 

With Walker in Nicaraugua, David L. Hamer - - 194 


Historical Society 




1902 TO MAY 1914. 






SEPTEMBER 1902 to May 1914 

Including Presentation of Battle Flag. 34 th Regiment N. Y. S. V., 

to the Society, and a Memorial of the Late Albert N. 

Russell and John D. Henderson. 




LtTTLE Falls, N. Y., 1915 





Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, 
November 11, 1905. 

The reader of current newspaper topics for the past 20 years must 
have heard of the shrine at Auriesville, a little station on the W. S. R. R. 
40 miles west of Albany and 50 miles east of Utica. Hither, since 1885, 
hundreds of thousands of pious pilgrims have come from all portions of 
the State of New York and adjoining States. Each year the number 
keeps on augmenting, crowds coming nearly all summer and even into 
the early autumn. During the past season the Archbishop of Quebec, 
the Archbishop of New York, several bishops, many priests, multitudes 
of lay people, and the ecclesiastical council of Quebec came to the 
shrine in order to institute the preliminary proceedings leading up to 
the beatification and later on the canonization of some heroic char- 
acters who lived and died there more than 250 years ago, and whose 
lives and deeds are the reasons of this paper. There is no reason for 
an explanation of an article of this kind. Those whose praises we try 
to sound came here not for gold or possessions of a material nature; 
they came not to drive the red man from his home; they came not with 
the shouts of war, or the implements of conquest. Theirs was not any 
mission of this sort. They came to bring the blessings of civilization to 
the aborigines and to save the souls of them for whom the Savior of 
all the world gave up his divine life that man might live, not alone for 
time, but more especially for eternity. 

It is fitting that men should mark the places made historic by the 
lives or death of great historical ones. It is proper that a shaft should 
rise over the spot where lies buried the remains of a Herkimer, or 
where fought the valiant sons of the valley at Oriskany, for they 
brought liberty to the land. It is equally fitting that shrines and me- 
mentoes should mark the scenes of the missionary, who blazed his way 
through the virgin forests to bring unto the needy the light of a civili- 
zation befitting man, the noblest of all creation. Most of the great 
lakes and rivers of our continent were first seen, among whites, by the 


eye of the black robe. These men were of heroic build, intent only on 
the good of those whom they sought. No part of our country is more 
illustrious in the memory of those men than our own queenly Mohawk 
Valley, and so long as her waters shall run on to the sea so long shall 
they chant a soft requiem for the devout, simple-minded men who 
taught the tribes on her borders the meaning of this and of a higher 
life; men who sought for the amelioration of their fellows and whose 
names shall remain forever resplendent on the bright pages of American 

Our subject is one of vast dimensions and must necessarily assume the 
color of localization. In the library at Utica are twelve volumes of the 
Jesuit relations of North America containing a full history of the North 
American missions as sent by the missionaries to their superiors at 
Paris, Rome and Quebec. Parkham, Schoolcraft, Martin and others 
have written largely and kindly of this work, but for our limited paper 
we will simply point out the Indian villages of the valley of the Mo- 
hawk and try and recite the brief historical data of some who from 
the standpoint of missionary life have made their lives ever memorable 
in the annals of pristine evangelization. I naturally write of Catholic 
missionaries. Others did valiant work, too, among the Indians, and no 
one will be better pleased than I to listen to their labors of love when 
their spiritual brethren may tell us on some future occasion of their 
deeds of magnificent accomplishment. 


The Iroquois did not carry their firewood to their towns, but carried 
or moved their towns close to their firewood, hence the perpetual 
change in their place of habitation. There were five distinct nations 
of the Iroquois: the Mohawks in the Mohawk Valley; the Oneidas, near 
Lake Oneida; the Onondagas, near Lake Onondaga; the Cayugas, near 
Lake Cayuga, and the Senecas, who dwelt in the Genesee Valley. Among 
the Mohawks, the most easterly of the five nations, there were three 
principal villages at the time of the missionary labors of the earliest 
Jesuit missions. They were on the south bank of the Mohawk river 
and west of Schoharie creek. Ossernenon on an eminence west of the 
junction of the Schoharie with the Mohawk near the present Auries- 
ville. Andagaron about ten miles west of Ossernenon. Tioneontogue 
about twelve miles from Andagaron, directly east of Flat Creek 
near the present village of Sprakers. There was, according to Martin, 
another village some miles west of Tioneontogue. 

Smallpox devastated these villages in 1660-1661 and the inhabitants 
moved westward from the scenes of the plague. 

In October, 1666, De Tracy came through those places with his French 
and Indians and burned their villages. They rebuilt their villages on 
the north side of the river and strongly fortified them against the 
French and their old enemies from Manhaha. Time has pretty nearly 
effaced the sites of those early habitations, but General Clark has suc- 
ceeded in closely locating their positions. Greenhalgh, who passed 


through in May and June, 1677, thus speaks of them: "Cahaniaga is 
double stockaded and is situate upon the edge of a hill, about a bow 
shot from the river side. Canagera is situate upon a flatt a stone's 
throw from the water side. CanaJorha, the like situation, only about 2 
miles distant from the water. Tionondogue is situated on a hill, 9 bow 
shott from ye river. The small village lyes close by the River side, on 
the north side, as the do all the former." 

The Oneidas were originally of the Onondagas, but separated before 
the time of the missions and settled on the lower shore of the lake that 
bears their name, near the mouth of Oneida creek, moving thence to 
the present site of Oneida Castle. Again they moved in 1676, as Green- 
halgh found them in a new abode in a town bearing the name of Ku- 
nawaloa, according to Schoolcraft, Stockbridge, Madison county. 

Whence came the Iroquois may be disputed. It seems probable they 
came directly to New York State from the Algonquins, who lived near 
the present site of the city of Montreal. Their traditions point that 
they were captives of the Algonquins, who simply used them as menials 
of war and in the hunt. Their prowess aroused the jealousy of their 
captors, and rising in their might they struck out boldly for their lib- 
erty and made homes for themselves and their followers along the 
lakes of the Empire State which so proudly bear their names. 


Isaac Jogues was born in Orleans, France, on the 10th of January, 
1607. At the age of 10 he entered the college which had recently been 
opened in his native city. 

His father had died when Isaac was yet an infant and his care devel- 
oped on a pious mother. At the age of 17 he entered the Novitiate of 
the Society of the Jesuits at Rouen, where his novice master was the 
celebrated Father Louis Labmant, afterwards well known in the early 
missions among our American Indians. We are told that he copied his 
Divine Master, whom he was to serve even unto death here in our 
valley of the Mohawk, and thus advanced in wisdom, age and grace 
before God and man. In 1636, at the age of 29, he was ordained a priest 
of the Catholic church, and was thus fully equipped for the wonderful 
life that lay dreamlike in the distance. The desire of the young priest 
was for the foreign missions, which taste was gratified when he was 
ordered to Dieppe where a squadron was about to sail for Canada. In 
a letter from Three Rivers. Canada, dated August 20th, 1636, to his 
mother, he writes: 

"At last it has pleased our Lord that I should stand upon the soil of 
New France. We sailed from Dieppe on the 8th of April, 8 vessels in 
company, and arrived 8 weeks after our departure. I landed on the 
Isle (of) called Miseons, where 2 of our fathers are employed in minis- 
tering to the French, who have one habitation, and in beginning the 
work of conversion among the savages. After spending 15 days with 
them I boarded a vessel which brought me to Tadoussac. This is a 
place where the ships stop, whilst the barks and smaller vessels pro- 


ceed up the great and lengthy St. Lawrence to Quebec, a French post 
which is daily growing. I arrived there on the 2d of July, the day of 
the Visitation of Our Lady." A few days after this our devoted mis- 
sionary was on his way up the St. Lawrence to the country of the 

On the 11th of September, 1636, Father Jogues arrives at the Huron 
village of Ihonateria, sumamed St. Joseph, which place was the point 
of destination. The illustrious superior, Father John de Brebeuf, re- 
ceived him with open arms as an angel from heaven. The most serious 
obstacle to the conversion of the red men was that they held account- 
able the missionaries for all the misfortunes which befel their villages 
in which they came to make their abode. Sickness, smallpox, bad crops, 
want of success in war, were all laid to the charge of the priests. Their 
clock, beads, crucifixes, breviaries, were all suspected of being charms 
for the destruction of the red man. Whole tribes looked upon baptism 
as a deadly incantation. In a word, they were looked upon as mighty 
magicians, masters of life and death. Years of instruction and sub- 
lime example were required to eradicate such false and ridiculous im- 

After three years among the Hurons the new and perilous missions 
of the Tobacco Nation fell to the lot of Fathers Jogues and Garnier. 
The Tobacco Nation lay at a distance of two days journey from the 
Hurons, among the mountains at the head of Nottawassaga. 

Failing to find a gruide at Ossossani they set out alone on their danger- 
ous journey. We are told by Parkman that their reception among the 
towns of the Tobacco Nation was of the fiercest character. Speaking 
of their advent to the principal town, called Ss. Peter and Paul, the his- 
torian tells us they "reached it on a winter afternoon. Every door of its 
capacious bark houses was closed against them and they heard the 
squaws within calling on the young men to go out and split their heads, 
while children screamed abuse at the black robes. As night approached 
they left the town, when a band of young men followed them hatchet 
in hand to put them to death. Darkness, the forest and the mountain 
favored them, and eluding their pursuers they escaped. Thus began the 
mission of the Tobacco Nation." 

In the autumn of 1641 Father Jogues and his companion, Father 
Raymbauet, passed northward along the shores of Lake Huron, entered 
the strait through which Lake Superior discharges itself, pushed on to 
Sault Saint Marie and preached there to 2000 Algonquin Indians. Thus 
our hero was the first to plant the cross on the soil of Michigan. Ac- 
companied by a band of Hurons, Father Jogues went to Quebec for sup- 
plies for the work of the mission. In 1642 they left Quebec in twelve 
canoes, and seeking Lake St. Peter, on account of a furious storm they 
were set upon by bands of the Iroquois. The pagan Hurons leaped 
from the canoes, but three Frenchmen and a few Christian Indians re- 
mained faithful to the priest. At the first attack a catechumen threw 
himself on his knees and was baptized by the missionary. The old chief 


Ahasistari cried out, "My Father, did I not swear to live or die with 
you." Coulterte, a Frenchman, was horribly tortured. Attacking Father 
Jogues they tore out his nails and gnawed his fingers to the very bone. 
The Iroquois embarked with their prey and crossed to a spot on which 
is the town of Sorel, 45 miles from Montreal, at the mouth of the 
Richelieu river. They bore southward up the Richelieu and Lake Cham- 
plain, thence by way of Lake George to the Mohawk towns. On the 
eighth day they learned that a large Iroquois party on their way to 
Canada were near at hand, and they approached their camp on the 
southern end of Lake Champlain. Passing through lines of the savages 
our little band was again cruelly persecuted, the savages mangling 
again the hands of the priest, and applying to his body red hot irons. In 
the morning they resumed their journey. The lake here narrowed to 
the semblance of a tranquil river. Before them was a woody mountain, 
close on their right a rocky promontory, and between these flowed a 
stream, the outlet of Lake George. Here 100 years later rose the ram- 
parts of Fort Ticonderoga. Father Jogues and his companion were thus 
the first white men who gazed on the romantic lake which bears the 
name of the Hanoverian king. The Iroquois landed at the future site 
of Fort William Henry, left their canoes and began the weary march 
to the first Mohawk town. They crossed the upper Hudson and thirteen 
days after quitting the St. Lawrence reached their wretched goal, a 
palisaded town standing on a hill by the bank of the Mohawk river. 
The entrance of Couture, followed by a few captured Hurons, then 
Goupil, by another contingent of the same tribe. Finally Jogues, at- 
tacked again and again by the savages, marked the solemn beginning of 
the Jesuit Mission among the Mohawk Indians. Father Jogues, says 
Parkman, lost no opportunity to baptize dying infants, while Goupil 
was active in the work of instructing catechumens. 

Jogues and Goupil walking one day in the forest and fortifying each 
other with prayer and encouragement, were met by two young Indians 
whose faces spoke the murder that lay in their hearts. Suddenly one 
of them drew a hatchet, plunged it into the head of Goupil, who fell 
unto death, murmuring the name of Christ. Jogues dropped on his 
knees expecting another fatal blow, but his hour of agony had not yet 

Now solitary among the Mohawks he spent his time administering to 
the captive Hurons through the tribe; he daily learned the language of 
the Mohawks and more liberty was accorded him. He accompanied his 
Indian masters to Rensselaerwyck on several trading excursions to the 
Dutch. It was from here, now Albany, in 1643, that Jogues wrote to his 
provincial, in the most eloquent Latin, an account of his labors among 
the Indians. The Indians turning against him, his kindliest friend was 
Dominie Megapolensis, then pastor of a small church in Albany, which 
had in the year we write of (1643) 100 inhabitants. 

A noble Hollander gave the Indians 300 livres for the life of the priest 
and he set sail for New Amsterdam, now New York. 


Arriving at New Amsterdam Father Jogues was received with great 
honor by Governor Kieft, with whom he remained for some time. The 
Governor informed the priest that there were 18 languages spoken by 
the motley crowd of 500 people. Among them were two Catholics, a 
young Irishman and a Portuguese woman. As it was he among white 
men who first saw the waters of Lake George, so it was he who was the 
first of Catholic priests in the great metropolis of our nation. The 
hospitable Dutch gave the priest a new suit of clothes and passage on 
the first ship bound for France. 

He landed on the shores of Brittany on Christmas day, 1643. The 
good Bretons assisted him to Reims where he called at the Jesuit house. 
No one knew him but when the rector was told that the man was from 
Canada he hastened to him to find out about the missions of the far off 
country. The rector knew him not, but inquired if he knew Father 
Jogues. They had heard he was dead, but he who waited was able to 
inform him that he was the one whom he sought for and he fell into the 
arms of his superior. 

The French court received him as a saint and a martyr. Queen Ann 
of Austria kissed the mutilated hand of the man of God and to him was 
given a dispensation to say mass, until then an unheard of grant to one 
possessing unwhole hands. 

Jogues returned to Canada in 1645. In July of 1646 he was present 
at Three Rivers at the negotiations of peace between the French and 
Hurons on the one side and the Mohawks on the other. In May he set 
out for the Mohawk. It was during this journey that he reached the 
shores of Lake George on the eve of the festival of Corpus Christl, and 
he called it the Lac du Saint Sacrament, the Lake of the Blessed Sacra- 

He called at Fort Orange and visited his good Dutch friends, and 
passed to the first Mohawk town where the French embassy was kindly 
received. The mission of peace seemed to be well established. Re- 
turning to Canada he set out again in August, 1646, with three or four 
Hurons, for the land of the Mohawks. 

A presentiment told him that this would be his last. A change of feel- 
ing had come among the Mohawks. The hour of martyrdom was 
now coming on apace. He was severely dealt with as he entered the 
Mohawk territory. One evening he was invited to a feast at the lodge 
of the Bear chief. Accepting the invitation as he entered the lodge an 
Indian in hiding came upon him with a hatchet, and he sealed his 
heroic mission with his blood. His head was placed high in the pali- 
sades, with face turned toward the way through which he had come 
into the land of the Mohawks. 

The materialistic world may wonder and does at the sacrifice of life 
of the missionary. The materialist sees only the material. To compre- 
hend the labors of the missionary, men must rise from the natural to 
the supernatural. The w-orld must look for its explanation to the 
heights of Calvary — on the Good Friday of the crucifixion; must admit 


the infinite force of the atoning blood of the man God, must listen to 
His words, that greater love than this no man hath, than that he give 
his life for his friend, and the labors of the great missionaries of the 
earth shall find their sole and proper definition. 

"O Fear Not" speaks our own Longfellow. 

"O fear not, in a world like this, 

And thou shalt know ere long 
Know how sublime a thing it is 

To suffer and be strong." 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, 

November 9, 1907. 

There is an expression, oft quoted by writers whose accuracy can 
hardly be questioned, and that is "History Repeats Itself." Egypt once 
rose in her grandeur. Her monolithic monuments reared high their 
lofty heads above the fertile banks of the Nile. Spacious palaces, mas- 
sive temples and sculpture work, artistic and cunning in design, dotted 
her verdure clad plains and glistened in the genial rays of a summer 
sun. It is true the Pyramids still remain, but as the tourist sails up the 
river made famous by the Pharaohs, mud-huts and broken arches and 
rifled tombs are about the only vestiges of her former grandeur. 

Proud Babylon like a queen arrayed in purple once sat upon the banks 
of the Euphrates, feared and envied alike by her less powerful neigh- 
bors. But her Hanging Gardens and glittering temples have long since 
crumbled into dust and not a solitary monument remains to mark the 
site of the departed but opulent capital of Assyria. 

Ancient Greece was the birthplace of poetry and histrionic art. The 
very air was redolent of poetry and song. The glories of Marathon and 
Thermopylae still shine with undimned lustre. But her greatness has 
long since departed. Today no European power is so poor as to do her 
reverence. No Plato teaches the doctrine of immortality. No Socrates 
diffuses the sublime truths of philosophy. No Homer pours forth a 
melody of words to charm the listening ear. No Sophocles composes 
those inimitable tragedies that instructed and amused a cultured audi- 
ence. The soil once consecrated by the feet of Demosthenes, Phidias 
and Saul of Tarsus, is trodden mostly by an ignorant peasantry or mur- 
derous brigands. 

Imperial Rome, from her seven hills, once cast forth defiant glances 
that made the nations of the earth quake with terror. No army could 
withstand the fierce onslaughts of the victorious Caesar. No orator 
could cope with the eloquent Cicero. Her superb pantheons and lofty 
coliseums were tongueless witnesses of her majesty and power. But 
they have long since fallen in ruins, objects of interest to the antiquar- 


ian alone. Her praises are not unsung, but they are chanted by those 
of a foreign lineage, and not by her own dutiful children. 

Centuries ago, ancient Phoenicia, now almost forgotten, sent forth her 
richly freighted argosies and controlled the commerce of the world. 
Later on her offspring, Carthage, finally crushed by Roman rapacity, 
was at one time a dangerous rival of her victor. The mighty empire of 
CJiarlemagne was long since dismembered and its identity lost. Once 
the Moor erected his marble palaces in the smiling vales of Andalusia 
only to be cruelly driven across the Gibraltar by the despotic Castillian. 

In England the ancient Briton gave way to the Saxon and the Dane, 
and they in turn to the Norman. Lancaster superceded York upon 
Bosworth field. The Stuarts sought upon the throne of England the 
peace and security which that of Scotland afforded not. But all in vain. 
Cromwell brought Charles I to the block. James II was driven into 
ignominious exile and his sons, instead of receiving the homage due 
scions of royalty, were termed Pretenders. Thus does "history repeat 

The fate of the Iroquois is an example of what has happened many 
times in the old world, and, if the truth could be arrived at, perhaps, 
as many times in the new. Once they were the masters of a domain 
almost imperial, extending from the Mississippi to the Atlantic coast 
and from North Carolina to Hudson Bay. Today their descendants are 
gathered together upon a few reservations, living upon the bounty of 
those whose ancestors despoiled them of their possessions. 

The origin of the aborigines has long been a subject of much specu- 
lation. The consensus of opinion seems to be that the human species 
originated in Asia and thence spread out and populated the world. That 
at some remote period in the world's history a few of them crossed the 
thirty miles of water intervening between Siberia and Alaska, wan- 
dered down the sea coast until they found a soil and climate adapted 
to the wants of man, and there took up their abode. This opinion has 
the merit of plausibility, but is based upon the theory that human 
life originated not far from six thousand years ago. John Fiske, how- 
ever, entertains views at variance with this generally accepted opinion 
and holds to the belief that the humane species originated, not in the 
Quartemary Age, as geologists teach, but thousands of years earlier, in 
the Pliocene period of the Tertiary Age. He also inclines to the belief 
that as the Behring is a shallow sea, its bed is but a portion of a sub- 
merged continent, at some period in the world's history connecting 
Asia with North America, over which our aboriginal predecessors 
might have walked dry-shod. This of course is mere speculation, but as 
newspapers sometimes say, "important if true." 

Ethnologists are of the opinion that the different tribes of American 
Indians all sprung from a common stock. It is also believed that the 
branch known as the Iroquois once occupied the region of the Columbia 
river and Pugefs Sound. Here in a state of savagery they lived a 
nomadic life. 


About ten centuries ago they are supposed to have migrated east- 
ward. They tarried for a while upon the banks of the Mississippi, 
where they acquired, to a limited extent, the arts of agriculture. Here 
the Cherokees broke off from the parent stem, wandering away to the 
southeast, finally locating in what is now known as the States of Georgia 
and Alabama. The main body kept on to the east until they reached 
the Great Lakes. Here they again divided, the Cayugas and Senecaa 
passing on to the south and finally settling in what is now New York. 
The Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks passed to the north of Lake 
Ontario. The Onondagas soon followed by the Oneidas, passed around 
the eastern extremity of Lake Ontario to occupy their historic seats in 
Central New York. The Mohawks drove out the Hurons and took pos- 
session of both banks of the St. Lawrence from source to mouth. They 
were found in full possession of the river with their capital at the site 
of Montreal when Jacques Cartier sailed up the river in 1535. A few 
years later they were driven southward by the combined forces of the 
Algonquins and Hurons and took up their abode on the fertile slopes of 
the Mohawk. The five Iroquois nations were now settled upon contigu- 
ous territory. The Mohawks, upon the east, occupied about all that 
portion of our State extending from Albany to a line drawn north and 
south a little to the east of Utica. The Oneida Nation, next to the 
west, occupied the territory between the Unadilla and Chenango rivers, 
the limital line deflecting at the north so as to include the whole of 
Oneida Lake. Immediately west of this line were the Onondagas, whose 
western boundary corresponded to a line drawn from the mouth of the 
Oswego river nearly due north and south. The Cayugas occupied both 
banks of the Cayuga Lake, their domains extending to about the eastern 
border of Seneca Lake. Lastly, were the Senecas, who after the ex- 
pulsion of the Eries from the southern border of the lake bearing their 
name and the neutral nation from the region of the Niagara, occupied 
the western and remaining portion of New York. 

A glance at the topography of the country will show that their geo- 
graphical position, from a military standpoint, was one of great strate- 
gic importance. Did they wish to visit the Pequods on the Connecticut, 
and collect their annual tributes, they could easily glide down the 
Mohawk and Hudson to the nearest landing place and soon reach their 
destination. Had they an old score to settle with their implacable ene- 
mies, the Algonquins on the St. Lawrence; they could easily reach 
them by way of Lake Champlain and its outlet or by the Oswego river 
and Lake Ontario. Had they reason to administer some cutting rebuke 
to the Dela wares or Susquehannocks; the Susquehanna and its trib- 
utaries afforded an easy mode of access. They could invade the domain 
of their ancient kinsmen but inveterate foes, the Hurons, by gliding 
over the water of Lake Erie. The head waters of the Ohio had their 
source in Iroquois territory, and down that river their canoes floated on 
their way to the land of the Cherokees in the south or the Illinois in 
the west. Their war parties roamed as far south as Tennessee and as 


far west as the Mississippi. It will thus be seen that egress on their 
part was comparatively easy, while ingress on the part of their enemies 
was correspondingly difficult. 

I have alluded to the fact that the Mohawks were the last nation to 
wholly withdraw into the State of New York. This occurred not far 
from 1550, and about the year 1570 they were admitted to full fellowship 
in the Iroquois Confederacy and the league of the Five Nations was now 

According to Lewis H. Morgan, who is followed by John Fiske, initial 
steps towards the unification of the Five Nations were first taken about 
the year 1450. A compact was first entered into by the Oneidas and 
Onondagas for offensive and defensive purposes. The other nations, 
recognizing the utility and advantages of the league, became members 
thereof and thus was formed the celebrated League of the Iroquois. 
For nearly 150 years it existed with no material alteration until the year 
1715, when it was further enlarged by the admission of the Tuscaroras, 
and henceforth the Iroquois were known as the Six Nations. 

The Tuscaroras, having been driven out of their domain in North 
Carolina and being of Iroquois stock, sought the protection of their 
ancient kinsmen. They were assigned the southern portion of the ter- 
ritory then occupied by the Oneidas but were not admitted to the con- 
federacy upon equal terms with the original members of the league, and 
were denied some of the political privileges enjoyed by the latter. 

The institution of the League of the Iroquois, if it did not give proof 
of a high order of statesmanship, certainly demonstrated that the Iro- 
quois were possessed of a high degree of political ingenuity. The gov- 
ernment was essentially an oligarchy. Fifty sachems were distributed 
among the Five Nations, but not in equal numbers. They were charged 
with the administration of all the affairs of the confederacy. They de- 
clared war, concluded treaties of alliance, extended protection to de- 
pendent tribes, received embassies, and instituted such measures as 
tended to enlarge their domain and promote the general prosperity of 
the confederacy. They were all equal in rank, although one of the On- 
ondaga sachems, as the keeper of the wampum, was regarded with 
peculiar respect. They usually convened annually, in autumn, with the 
Onondagas, although if an emergency demanded, at other periods and 
with other nations. This office was hereditary, descending through the 
female line, although in a case of personal unfitness, this rule might be 

In addition to the sachems there sprung up an inferior order of rulers 
known as chiefs. This was an innovation upon the organic law of the 
confederacy, rendered necessary by adventitious circumstances. Their 
office was not hereditary, like the sachemship, but was bestowed only 
upon individuals whose "meritorious deeds had rendered them worthy 
of distinction. Their functions were originally of a civil nature, assist- 
ing the sachems in their deliberations, but in cases of war the com- 
manders were taken from this body so that the organization assumed, 


in time, a military character. Of these chiefs two were selected from 
the Seneca Nation, as being in the most exposed position, who directed 
all military operation when the confederacy was engaged in a general 
war against an alien nation. While they did not usually take the field 
and assume command personally, they could if they so desired. War 
was largely a matter of individual enterprise. Some ambitious warrior 
desirous of gaining new laurels would call a meeting, execute a war 
dance, and while excitement was at its highest pitch, enlist his followers 
and depart through the leafy aisles of the forest in search of booty and 

It now remains to consider the ties that bound together in one homo- 
genious body the various nations constituting the Iroquois Confederacy. 
That the untutored mind of the red man should evolve a political sys- 
tem so completely adapted to meet all the requirements of the people 
shows native talent of a high order. Now the Iroquois nations were 
made up of clans. They were eight in number, known as the Bear, the 
Wolf, the Deer, etc. Some of these clans, as the Bear and the Wolf, 
were common to all nations. Some were common to only a portion of 
them. Now each member of a clan regarded all the other members of 
that particular clan as his brothers and sisters, no matter in what 
nation they might be found. For example, the Mohawk Nation could 
not go to war with the Oneidas without the Mohawk Wolf fighting 
against his own brothers in the Oneida nation. Furthermore, each clan 
was represented in the councils of the league by one or more sachems. 
Their chiefs took part in the deliberations of the league as their per- 
sonal representatives. Members of the same clan could not intermarry 
but sought partners from some other tribe, and thus upon a foundation 
of kinship was reared a political structure which, says a writer, was 
"the most perfect ever devised by the wit of man." While this perhaps 
is a broad statement, there can be no doubt that their government was 
the one best adapted to meet the wants of these rude denizens of the 
forest. For centuries it exercised its restraining and beneficient influ- 
ence upon them, and upon their reservations it is still preserved in all 
its salient features by their children of today. 

As the political institutions of the Iroquois, when examined in all 
their details, were of a complex nature, so also was their religion. It 
was a strange compound of monotheism, polytheism and pantheism in- 
termixed with demonianism. It was monotheistic because they believed 
in one great and good spirit who created the universe, who was the 
source of all earthly comforts, who sent the genial sunshine to warm 
the earth, who blessed the patient toiler with a bountiful harvest, who 
rewarded good and punished evil, and who had prepared for his red 
children a happy hunting ground beyond the grave, where their souls 
might enjoy eternal rest and felicity. Thus the red man, without the 
aid of Divine revelation, had grasped the most sublime truth of the 
Christian theology, the doctrine of immortality. Could he have pinned 
his faith to this one truth how grand and inspiring his example. Un- 


fortunately, however, his religion, was polytheistical, because he be- 
lieved in numerous subordinate deities whose duties were to assist the 
Great Spirit in the discharge of his functions. 

It is not surprising that the Iroquois who lived constantly in close 
communion with nature, should imbibe pantheistic notions. Thus, in 
his superstition he believed in a multitude of spirits who put in opera- 
tion the various phenomena of nature. There was one who launched 
the thunderbolt, one who sent the refreshing shower, another who sent 
the gentle summer zephyr or the fierce blasts of winter. Not only ani- 
mals, but rocks and trees, flowers, fruits and herbs had their protecting 
spirit. Tobacco was an especial gift of the Great Spirit to man and 
with this tenent of the Iroquois religion many will be disposed to agree 
at the present day. By sending up their petitions to the Great Spirit 
with the incense arising from burning tobacco, they felt assured of a 
favorable reply. This certainly was an agreeable as well as an easy 
way of invoking Divine aid. 

I have referred to the sachems as being invested with the civil au- 
thority, to the chieftains as being the sources from which the military 
commanders were drawn; in addition to these they had their religious 
teachers known as the Keepers of the Faith. Thus there seems to have 
been established among the Iroquois three orders of officials — the civil 
and military, and the religious. It was the duty of the latter to incite 
the people to the performance of all good works, to encourage them in 
all righteous deeds, to reprove evil, and if necessary bring malefactors 
to justice. They presided at the various religious festivals which con- 
stituted a large portion of Iroquois worship, and on these occasions ad- 
dressed a prayer of thanks to the Great Spirit and harangued the people 
on the necessity of righteous living, their duty to the Great Spirit, and 
their fellow men. 

These religious festivals were six in number. There was the Maple 
Festival, when the sap began to flow in the maple; the Planting Festi- 
val, when they thanked the Great Spirit for the return of the season 
and asked him to bless the seed about to be committed to the soil; the 
Berry Festival, which was celebrated when the wild strawberry had 
ripened; the Green Corn Festival, which was observed after the corn 
became ready for use; the Harvest and the New Year's Festival. The 
days spent in commemoration of the two latter were the most important 
in the Iroquois calendar. 

The Harvest Festival was celebrated with elaborate ceremonies and 
lasted four days. It was instituted for the purpose of returning thanks 
to the Great Spirit and his assistants and to various objects in nature 
for bestowing upon them an abundant harvest and innumerable bless- 
ings. It will thus be seen that the Puritans of New England were not 
the first to observe a day of thanksgiving, but that this honor belongs 
to our Iroquois predecessors. 

The New Year's Festival occurred about the first of February. The 
same ceremonies, to a large extent, were observed as in the others, but 


in addition a white dog was strangled and burned. White, with the 
Iroquois, was an emblem of purity, and it was believed that the spirit of 
the dog ascended directlj'^ to heaven and there assured the Great Spirit 
of their continued fidelity to his service, and conveyed to him their 
thanks for the blessings they had enjoyed for the year now ended. 

The office of the Keepers of the Faith was simply to instruct the peo- 
ple in their ancient religion. It was not of a sacredotal nature and 
they had no order analogous to the priesthood in the Christian church. 
They were selected from the most gifted members of the tribe, the 
choice at times falling upon females as. well as males, the Iroquois being 
the first in this country to take a position favoring woman's rights. 

As they believed in a good spirit who created all good things, so did 
they believe in an evil spirit who was the author of all evil things. 
Here, perhaps, was a counterpart to his Satanic Majesty. It was sup- 
posed that the Good Spirit could hold the Evil one in subjection, should 
he so desire, but was little disposed to interfere with his administration 
of affairs. Man, it was supposed, was a free moral agent, and could, if 
he wished, eschew the evil and choose the good. 

The Iroquois mind was intensely superstitious. He believed in witch- 
craft with so strong a faith that centuries of contact with civilization 
fail to remove it. Dreams and portents determined the course of his 
life. The simplest phenomenon in nature might be referred to super- 
natural agencies. No fable was so improbable as not to be readily 
accepted; no tale so weird and ghastly as not to find willing credence. 
So great was their horror of witchcraft that it was punishable with 
death, but murder might be compounded by propitiating the surviving 
relatives with suitable presents. In all this chaff of superstition and 
demoniacism it was hard to find a single kernel of true religion. 

I come now to speak of the influence exerted by the Iroquois in shap- 
ing the course of American history. Now the French took possession 
of Canada about the beginning of the 17th century. They did not have 
colonization in view as did our English ancestors. They did have, how- 
ever, two distinct purposes: the monopolization of the fur trade, and 
the Christianization of the Indians. Now the Canadian Indians, the 
Hurons and Algonquins, were ready to assent to any theological doc- 
trine provided it would protect them against the vengeance of the Iro- 
quois, and so an alliance was very readily effected between the two. In 
1609, Champlain being Governor of Canada, the Hurons and Algonquins 
prevailed upon him, with a few of his French followers, to lead them 
against the Iroquois. So he went up the St. Lawrence, up the St. John 
River, out onto the glimmering bosom of the lake that bears his nam© 
and near the site of Ticonderoga, the two bands met in mortal combat. 
It was the first experience of the Iroquois with firearms, and when two 
of their chiefs fell mortally wounded from the well-directed fire of the 
French, they fled in terror, leaving behind their weapons and all their 
stores. The French had succeeded in their designs and had won the 
gratitude of their red allies. But they had made mortal enemies of the 


Iroquois and such they always remained. Truces were patched up at 
times, but were of short duration. Jesuit missionaries were sent among 
them to effect their conversion and win them over to French influence, 
but they generally suffered martyrdom. 

In the long struggle between the French and English for the mastery 
of the North American continent, the Iroquois always interposed as a 
shield of defense between the settlers and their French enemies. It is 
a great debt of gratitude we owe to the Iroquois for the protection and 
friendship shown our colonial ancestors. Had tactful diplomacy or po- 
litical finesse prevailed on the part of the French and the Iroquois won 
over to the Court of Versailles, the French and not the English might 
have gained the ascendency in North America. In either event direful 
indeed would have been the fate of the Dutch or English colonist with 
this band of red demons hovering like an avenging Nemesis upon their 
flanks. The settlement and development of the country would have 
been long postponed and a totally different chapter written in American 

I have alluded to the sachems as constituting the civil power of the 
confederacy. There was, perhaps, one fatal defect in their political 
system. A decision in order to be binding upon all the nations had to 
be unanimous. A majority, however large, was of no avail. When the 
struggle between King George and his revolted colonies began, the 
sachems met around their council fire at Onondaga to decide upon their 
future course of action. The Senecas and Cayugas, almost to a man, 
desired to espouse the cause of the King. The Oneidas and Tuscaroras 
desired to remain neutral. Amidst opinions so conflicting no decision 
could be reached and each nation was left free to act upon its own re- 

Through the influence of the Missionary Kirkland, the Oneidas and 
Tuscaroras either remained neutral or lent active aid to the Americans. 
The other nations to a greater or less extent arrayed themselves with 
the British and Tories. There is no doubt that the greater number of 
the Iroquois were decidedly in favor of the King, and could a majority 
rule have been enforced and they presented a united front to the colo- 
nists, it is not impossible that the patriot cause which long hung quiv- 
ering in the balance, might have resulted disastrously. 

There was a band of Oneidas with Herkimer at Oriskany, small, to 
be sure, but perhaps enough if they had fought upon the other side to 
have turned the tide of that closely contested battle. St. Leger would 
then have marched down the Mohawk and effected a union with Bur- 
goyne. Saratoga might then have worn another aspect. With a united 
army flushed with victory they could, by way of the Hudson, have 
joined Clinton in New York, bisected the new confederacy and dealt 
liberty a blow from which recovery would have been impossible. 

The close of the Revolutionary War found the League of the Iroquois 
broken, shattered and dismembered. Brant and his followers fled to 
Canada, where lands were assigned them by the British crown. With 


those who remained and who had carried tomahawk and torch into the 
hapless settlements, the authorities were disposed to deal harshly and 
despoil them of their possessions. The influence of Washington pre- 
vailed, however, their lands acquired by successive treaties, a proper 
compensation awarded them and they placed upon reservations. 

For this act of commiseration the Iroquois ever afterwards regarded 
Washington with the deepest gratitude and unalterable affection. Upon 
his decease he was assigned a place in the red man's heaven, an honor, 
if such it may be called, never accorded to any other white person. 

It must have been a sad and touching scene as the Iroquois looked 
out for the last time over his ancestral domain. Here reposed in silent 
slumber generations of his forebears. Under the spreading branches 
of the distant oak he reared his wigwam of bark and thither he led his 
dusky bride. From yonder limpid stream he slaked his thirst when 
wearied with the chase. In yon sequestered glade he watched the state- 
ly maize as it grew and ripened in the summer sun, and listened to the 
chirping birds and humming insects as their voices rose and fell in 
melodious diapson. From moss-crowned eminence he gazed upon the 
billowy undulations of the swaying tree tops responding to the playful 
touches of the summer breeze. 

Year after year had nature unfolded before him a shifting panorama 
of beauty; spring with her swelling buds and opening flowers; sum- 
mer with her offspring clad in raiment of darkest green, autumn with 
her variegated and gorgeous tints of surpassing loveliness; winter with 
the hillside evergreen draped in robes of fluffy white, like a bride ar- 
rayed for the altar. As his vision rested upon the scenes hallowed by 
all the associations of the past, and with aching heart he slowly turned 
his eyes to the setting sun, there must have burst from his lips an 
expression best rendered, perhaps, by the Latin sentence, "Sic transit 
gloria mundi." 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society March 13, 1909. 

In order to lead up to the climax, it will be necessary to trace the 
evolution of the higher education of women from the beginning of the 
nineteenth centviry, that she may be able to take her place acceptably 
beside her brothers when the time is ripe and old-time prejudice is done 
away and woman's real capability recognized. 

Prior to the nineteenth century the idea was well-nigh universal that 
a superficial and mainly ornamental education was all that a young lady 
required to supplement the instruction received in the common schools. 

The first person to advocate an enlightened course of study for young 
ladies was Mrs. Frances Hart Willard, who while head of a young 
ladies' seminary at Middlebury, Vermont, which was in proximity to a 
college for men, had been made to feel the disparity between the sexes 
in educational facilities. 

In 1817 she presented to President Monroe a plan for instituting 
public seminaries for girls under the supervision of public men, and in 

1818 she laid it before Governor Clinton of New York, who endorsed it, 
and recommended an appropriation by the legislature of that State. In 

1819 Mrs. Willard having removed her seminary to Waterford, N. Y., 
succeeded in getting it incorporated by the legislature, which also 
passed an act giving to academies for girls a share in the literature 

Her plan contemplated a library, a laboratory, philosophical appara- 
tus, a large staff of teachers, and a board of trustees, and to this end 
she asked for an endowment which the legislature refused, and in 1821 
she removed her seminary to Troy, N. Y., where it attained, as we all 
know, to national fame. In 1819 a liberal-minded man, Rev. Joseph 
Emerson, formerly a Harvard tutor, who believed in educating young 


ladies on the same principles as young men, opened a seminary at 
Byfield, Mass., in which such advanced studies as astronomy and nat- 
ural philosophy were pursued, and one of his pupils, Miss Zilpha Grant, 
was, in 1824, called to become the first preceptress of Adams' Female 
Academy at Derry, New Hampshire, which was founded and endowed 
by Jacob Adams. This was the first institution to provide a systematic 
and thorough course of English study, to make entrance into its grades 
dependent upon examination, and to confer what are now called diplo- 
mas at the completion of the course. In 1828 Miss Grant became the 
principal of a seminary at Ipswich, Mass., associating with her Mary 
Lyon, a fellow pupil at Byfield and assistant at Derry, broadening the 
course of instruction followed at Derry and almost succeeding in ob- 
taining an endowment. In 1832 Miss Grant and Miss Lyon appealed to 
the public to aid them in establishing a permanent school for teachers, 
and although their plans were again frustrated, they were eventually 
realized in the opening in 1837 of Mount Holyoke Seminary at South 
Hadley, Mass., the foundation and frame work were Miss Grant's, and 
the establishment of which was mainly due to the energy of Miss Lyon. 
She purposed to found an institution which should afford a thorough 
education on such terms as would make it available to young women 
of moderate means; and, to preserve habits of home industry, to inspire 
a spirit or true independence and wise economy, it was her plan that the 
domestic tasks of the household should be so divided and arranged that 
each could perform a daily share without taking more time from study 
than was necessary to give healthy exercise. No sooner was this design 
announced than general attention to it was aroused. Many opposed; 
many approved. Miss Lyons' patient and diligent elucidation of her 
design overcame opposition. The needed money was given with enthu- 
siasm. At first buildings and accommodations for 80 pupils were com- 
pleted, but upon the first opening of the school there were far nnore 
applicants than could be received, and the buildings were afterwards en- 
larged to accommodate 300. Mary Lyon was the pioneer in the highest 
culture in American womanhood. She planted the seed of which Vassar, 
Wellesley, Smith and other sister colleges are the fruits. Not beautiful 
in appearance, there was little that told of the energy, persistence, sa- 
gacity and withal great tenderness and constant cheerfulness combined 
with rare executive ability, that sustained and carried through her great 

The world is better for the passage of such souls across its surface. 
There are at present in the United States fully 300 institutions for the 
superior instruction of women, one-half of which bear the title of "col- 
lege," but these provide general instruction, while essentially collegiate 
work is done by a smaller group of institutions, whose admission re- 
quirements, standards of Instruction and general organization accord 
with those that have long been characteristic of colleges of liberal arts. 
The oldest of these, Elmira College, Elmira, N. Y., incorporated in 1855, 
had from the beginning a four years' course, and in 1859 graduated its 


first class, which had received the usual college course of that time, in- 
cluding a two years' study of Latin and Greek. 

The association of the sexes in the same classes for instruction is a 
subject which was widely discussed for half a century, especially in the 
United States, where the experiment was first tried and where the 
most favorable results have been attained. It would make my paper 
far too long to enter into the arguments pro and con of this much 
argued subject. I think it is generally conceded by all right thinking 
men and women that the presence of the two sexes has been a mutual 
restraint; the average standing of women has been equal to and often 
better than that of men; true ideas of manliness and womanliness have 
not suffered in consequence of the association; they do not find women 
have proved burdensome by reason of inferior scholarship; or main- 
tained their equal standing at the sacrifice of health, nor that ill- 
advised marriages have resulted in larger proportion than among the 
educated classes generally, and those most familiar with the working 
of co-educational institutions testify that experience has proved the 
groundlessness of all argument against it. The change of sentiment in 
favor of co-education can perhaps be best learned from the statement 
that, whereas there were in 1867 but 22 men's colleges open to women, 
in 1889 the number amounted to 200, the majority being in the west and 
southwest, sentiment in the eastern States being generally averse to co- 
education, and where they have chosen a middle course and estab- 
lished afl^liated institutions such as Harvard Annex, Cambridge, Mass., 
and Barnard College in New York. Oberlin College was the first to 
i>ractice co-education, as early as 1837 opening its doors to four young 
ladies, admitting them to the freshman class; and the next was Ar.- 
tioch College, opened in 1852. 

The school of fine arts connected with Yale College, established in 
1864, was founded with the stipulation that there should be no distinc- 
tion in matter of sex. 

In 1870 Michigan University and Illinois University gave women per- 
mission to enter, and in 1872 Cornell and the University of Vermont 
followed their example. Boston University, opened in 1871-72, admitted 
women from the beginning, and Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery 
opened its doors to women in 1873. 

The profession of teacher was for many years the only one open to 
women, and that profession was so poorly paid that it was hard for a 
teacher who had any one depending upon her for support to make but 
the most meager living, and if a young lady had not taste for teaching 
and prepared herself by a special course to enter some other vocation, 
she was looked upon with disfavor by men and accused of unwomanli- 
ness and of usurping the rights that did not belong to her, and bitter 
was the struggle of many a brave woman to find recognition and em- 
ploj'ment where her capabilities and education gave her a right to be, 
and then with far less wages than her brother was receiving for the 
same work. 


There are as yet few traditions with regard to the work of educated 
women. There are cases where woman's work is as valuable as man's, 
but they are paid less, for no other reason than it is the custom. A 
well educated woman with an open mind, unhampered by dread of the 
loss of social position, need not long look for work. She may have to 
submit to some preparatory training, to begin low down, but she has got 
the general preparation which will enable her to overcome all diffi- 

We find in New York city out of a total of 184,857 native born women 
in gainful occupations, there are 18,555 in professional work, and in 
trade and transportation work there are 52,090 native born women. I 
quote these Illustrations with the view of establishing the following 
deduction: only in large cities is there a choice between occupations 
for women; in former years and largely now, the choice was between 
factory work and domestic service. Many causes combine to make it 
necessary for an increasing number of educated women to work for 
their livelihood, yet the difficulty of obtaining suitable employment with 
sufficient remuneration remains as great as ever; so we need not wonder 
at the army of women knocking at the doors of government offices 
looking for employment, and you will learn later our "Uncle Samuel" 
does not discriminate between his boys and girls in the matter of wages. 

When Gen. Francis E. Spinner was appointed to the Treasurership of 
the United States the clouds of war were gathering thick over our be- 
loved land, and so many of his clerks responded to the call to arms 
that it became a problem how to get the work accomplished, for it had 
become Herculean from the war and its effects. 

Gen. Spinner's experience as a banker had taught him woman's 
especial fitness for handling money, and when the opportunity came for 
testing her ability he suggested to Secretary Chase the advisability of 
employing women in the government offices, and he carried into effect 
this innovation, though not without much opposition; he fought her 
battles against blind prejudice, political greed and despotic tradition 
with such force and persistence that opposition was conquered and 
Secretary Chase accorded his plan a trial. Knowing full well how 
much depended on it, he chose most carefully the pioneer corps of 
seven who were to clear the way for an army of toiling women, and 
they justified his choice and proved beyond cavil, that in efficiency, 
honesty and faithful devotion to duty, they took rank with the best of 
their brothers. Soon this vanguard was followed by others; one strong- 
hold after another was stormed and occupied, until today thousands are 
employed by the government in the District of Columbia alone. 

General Spinner builded better than he knew; he made an epoch in 
the history of woman by opening to her as a worker the various de- 
partments at Washington to which she had formerly been admitted only 
as a visitor, until today that little corps of seven has multiplied into 
an army, indeed. 

In the Treasury department proper there are now employed 1138 


women. In the bureau of engraving and printing there are 1483. In 
the war department proper there are 209, state, war and navy depart- 
ment 83, department of justice proper 30, post office proper 359, navy- 
department proper 74, department of the interior proper 955, miscella- 
neous branches of the interior 58, department of agriculture 759, de- 
partment of commerce and labor proper 436, civil service commission 
20, government printing office 1181, Smithsonian Institution 40, making a 
grand total of 6440 women employed in Washington alone; and there are 
thousands of others in government employment throughout the length 
and breadth of our land, from New York to San Francisco, and to the 
islands of the sea. In the civil service examinations of 1907 which took 
place in Washington, there were 1884 ladies passed, being 99 per cent 
of those examined, while of the men examined only 84 per cent passed. 

Of the women passing, 132 were employed in the District of Columbia. 

"Women may, at the discretion of the head of any department, be 
appointed to any of the clerkships therein authorized by law, upon the 
same requisites and conditions, and with the same compensation as are 
prescribed for men." 

My first plan for this paper was to give a biographical sketch of Gen. 
Spinner, but when I found that such a paper had already been read 
before this Society by one who knew him personally and intimately, I 
abandoned it, but I have found from communication with those who 
knew him, that he was a man generous and warm-hearted, doing many 
kindly deeds in a quiet and unostentatious manner. I have also seen 
an autograph letter from him to a young lady upon the occasion of her 
marriage, speaking most beautifully of home and the home life, and 
that General Francis E. Spinner is most gratefully remembered and 
honored by the women whom he had been instrumental in placing in 
positions of trust is shown by the beautiful statue which will soon 
adorn Myers Park in this village, and while we of Herkimer county 
are gainers by it, we can but deplore the perversity of Congress in not 
according it the site asked for it in Washington, and which seemed so 
suitable a place for his statue to stand, who had so well earned the 
name of "The Watch Dog of the Treasury." 

No man who plants a single good seed can foretell the tree which 
may grow from it, nor the fruit which it may yield for the healing of 
men and women. 


Deivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society March 13, 1909. 

Second only to Florence Nightingale ranks Clara Barton in the esti- 
mation of the world as philanthropist, and second to her English sister 
only because Florence Nightingale's work began eight years first. 

In America her name leads among those of our most noble, brave, 
self-sacrificing women. Twenty j'ears ago it was written, "CJara Bar- 
ton is the American Red Cross and the American Red Cross is Clara 
Barton." For many years this was practically true, and now that the 
organization is great in itself — not to be summed up in one (or even a 
thousand persons) — the world acknowledges that to Clara Barton alone 
and her untiring zeal the American Red Cross owes its existence. 

She was a New England girl, born in North Adams. Mass., completing 
her education at the Liberal Institute, Clinton, N. Y., from whence she 
returned to her New England home. 

In 1853 she established a free school at Bordentown, N. J., assuming 
the responsibility for three months at her own expense, having been 
assured it could not succeed. She began with six scholars in an old 
building, making the little school grow into two large ones, with 600 
pupils on the roll, necessitating the erection of a large building. Later 
she visited Washington and accepted a position in the patent office, 
where she labored faithfully for three years but was removed during 
Buchanan's administration, it being claimed she was a "black Repub- 
lican." She was reinstated but resigned at the beginning of the Civil 
war for a broader field. 

Her work was entirely independent of any of the State organizations, 
or the Sanitary or Christian commissions. 

She advertised that if comforts and necessities for the soldiers were 
sent to her apartments she would attend to their distribution. Confi- 
dence was immediately given her, and when the boats went down the 
Potomac she was on board with her precious freight for the hospitals. 
But when she offered to go beyond the lines there seemed no place for 



her. She appealed with tears on her face to Assistant Quartermaster- 
General Rucker, who bade her "God speed." 

Thrilling and almost incredible are the tales of the heroic bravery of 
this noble woman upon the battlefields. Lucy Larcrom writes: "We 
see her at the terrible battle of Antietam, (where the regular army 
supplies did not arrive till three days after) furnishing from her wagon 
cordials and bandages for the wounded, making gruel for the fainting 
men from the meal in which her medicines had been packed, extracting 
with her own hand a bullet from the cheek of a wounded soldier, tending 
the fallen all day with her throat parched and face blackened by sul- 
phurous smoke, and at night, (when the surgeons were dismayed at 
finding themselves left with only one half burnt candle, and amid 
thousands of bleeding, dying men.) illuminating the field with candles 
and lanterns her forethought had supplied. No wonder they called her 
the "Angel of the Battlefield." Hours could be spent recounting her 
deeds of mercy. After the close of the war she superintended the mark- 
ing of soldiers' graves at Andersonville, finding when she went to the 
work between three and four bushels of letters of inquiry awaiting her. 
Congress afterward awarded her $15,000 for her services. 

In 1870 Miss Barton was in Germany at the outbreak of the Franco- 
Prussian war, and was invited to go into the field and witness the work 
of the German Red Cross. She enlisted in the work and in Strasburg 
led in beneficence, aiding under the Red Cross flag the bewildered 
women and children. When Metz passed into German hands she again 
entered that city with loaded cars bearing food and clothing to help 
the stricken inhabitants; afterward in Paris at that awful hour when 
the "Commune fell" and the streets were black from fire and red with 
blood, this American woman was in the midst, bearing not only the 
necessities of life, but words of inspiration. 

In 1873 Miss Barton returned to America, enthusiastic over Red 
Cross principles, promising to use her influence with our government 
to open the Red Cross treaty. She told of the perfect accord between 
the military and the Red Cross relief. There was neither medical nor 
hospital work save through and under the treaty of Geneva. The Red 
Cross Brassart flashed on the arm of every agent of relief, from the 
medical director in the headquarters of the King, to the little boy 
carrying water to his wounded lieutenant; from the noble Empress 
Augusta and her court and poor Eugenie (while she had one) to the 
patient, tired nurse in the lowliest hospital or tent by the wayside. No 
record of needless inhumanity stains the history of that war. 

In order that my compound subject may be made clear it seem essen- 
tial here to speak of the origin of the Red Cross. It began with the 
experience of a Swiss, M. Henri Dunant, who after the battle of Sol- 
ferino in 1859, was a witness of the terrible and unnecessary sufferings 
of the thousands of wounded because of lack of adequate medical care, 
hospital accommodations and supplies. 

Soon after he wrote a little book describing those horrors and sug- 


gesting how, by organization, great relief might be given. It attracted 
such general attention that it lead in three months to the calling of a 
preliminary conference at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1863, followed in 1864 
by the Geneva Convention, where the Red Cross Society was organized. 
The treaty being signed by eleven of the powers, America was be- 
sought to join, and it is recorded that our then Secretary of State, Mr. 
Seward, gave as reason for the United States' declination, that we were 
in the midst of a "cruel and relentless war which did not give time 
for considerations of that kind." The desire of the convention was to 
establish a link between the civil and military element, on the domain 
of charity, by which they might be made to work harmoniously side 
by side. Ten resolutions, with several suggestions following, were made, 
the gist of which was this: "Surgeons, nurses and ambulance trains 
have long been held to be non-combatants." The Geneva Convention 
declared them neutral (provided, and this was the important step) 
they wore the badge of a Red Cross on a white ground, which had been 
previously stamped, passed and issued by the medical authorities. The 
badge is the Swiss flag, with a reversal of its colors. The convoy of 
prisoners under escort, bearing that sign is safe; no officer can fire up- 
on them by mistake. An international committee was then formed, 
through which each national organization must communicate. Several 
other nations joined and excellent work was being done. 

America remained indifferent. Clara Barton was ill after returning 
from abroad and it was several years before she could call for the un- 
used documents in our State Department. The communications were 
all in foreign languages, and seemed almost incomprehensible to the 
American mind. 

From '77 to '81 she appeared in a new role. She translated, wrote and 
lectured, all at her own expense. In constant communication with for- 
eign government, but it was not till the winter of '81 and '82, at the 
commencement of President Garfield's administration, that her labors 
met success. Before the Presidential message was written. Presi- 
dent Garfield was among the martyred, but President Arthur car- 
ried out his plans and the American Association, with Clara Barton as 
president, was ratified by the international powers in the congress at 
Berne. Clara Barton says: "that night (for I had cabled it by request) 
the accession of the United States to the Treaty of Geneva, lighted bon- 
fires in the streets of Switzerland, Prance, Germany and Spain, and a 
little four line paragraph in the Evening Star of Washington alone an- 
nounced it to America." 

Thus our America, of which we are so justly proud, our America 
which claims always to be a leader, always first, filed into line, the 32d 
nation to join the Red Cross. 

However, at the suggestion of Miss Barton, the privilege of aiding 
not only in time of war, but at any national calamity, was first em- 
braced by the American Red Cross. 

Miss Barton writes: "Thus the spring of 1882 found us — a few people, 



tired and weak, with five years of costly service, a treaty gained, with 
no fund, no war, nor prospect of any, and no helpful connection with, 
or acknowledgement by, the government." Soon the news of "Half the 
State of Michigan on Fire" called to action laws of civil relief. A 
little draft on the purse of the President of the Association and an 
agent was sent to the field. Others generously joined, supplies were 
sent, and thus the first civil field work of which we have record in the 
United States was commenced. 

The following year the flood from the Ohio River called for Red Cross 
aid. There was little loss of life but crops were ruined, and through 
the Association, Mr. Sibley, noted seed dealer of Rochester, sent $10,000 
worth of seed for replanting. Besides this some funds were sent from 
the first Red Cxoss Societies formed in this country, namely those at 
Dansville, Syracuse and Rochester, this State. The Association mean- 
while decided that to be of real service in sudden disaster it must be 
independent of the slow, ordinary methods of soliciting relief. It would 
not pay salary to officers, paying only those employed for manual labor, 
and that it must always be in possession of a stated sum of money. 
This sum to be independent even of the closed doors of a bank, which 
might prevent leaving for a scene of disaster on a Sunday or holiday, 
(as happened at Johnstown and one or two other calamities.) So Miss 
Barton placed a sum of $3,000 upon momentary call at the service of 
the Association. 

Soon another rise in the Ohio River, followed by a terrific cyclone, 
brought Miss Barton and the Red Cross again to the front. Four hun- 
dred miles of destitution along the river banks, with homeless people 
and their little ones freezing and starving. A boat was chartered and 
Miss Barton says: "I found myself that night on the first Red Cross 
relief boat in America, with a staunch crew of thirty men and a skilled 
captain, and the boat under my command." Most exciting are the de- 
scriptions of how they wove the river diagonally where homeless, shiv- 
ering people were gathered, calling for the most responsible person, a 
clergyman if possible, leaving supplies and hastening on, receiving only 
gratitude and wonder at who we were, where we came from, and what 
that strange flag meant. Then came the Mississippi flood in 1884. In 
'85 the Texas famine. In '87 the yellow fever in Florida. In '88 the 
Mount Vernon cyclone. In '89 the Johnstown flood. In '91 the Russian 
famine. In '93 the Sea Island Relief. In '96 the Armenian Relief. In 
'98 the Cuban war. In 1900 Galveston. And between 1900 and the 
present, I have not just the dates, the Philippines, Italy, Chili, Canada. 
In 1906 the California earthquake, and now the Messina. To all of these 
representatives of the Red Cross were promptly sent. 

The President, Miss Barton, usually in the lead, her executive ability, 
her power of organiaztion, her wonderful forethought in providing the 
articles most necessary in disasters calling for means utterly unlike the 
preceding one, made her work remarkable. Not merely doling out 
charities, but vitalizing and making the people left, self-reliant by 


work; presenting the truest of all ways, that of helping themselves by 
helping others, and founding workshops wherein employment could be 

Miss Barton was appointed to represent the United States in inter- 
national conferences at Geneva in 1884, Carlsruhe '87, Rome '92, Vienna 
'97, St. Petersburg 1903. 

From the early nineties a general feeling of dissatisfaction had arisen 
in regard to the amount accomplished by ovir Red Cross as compared 
with that of other nations. By the Italian Society the funds alone re- 
ported in 1904 were over $800,000; the Austrian over $17,000, and the 
Japanese over $4,000,000. Ours reported $1,702. The Japanese was 
largest in membership — over 800,000 adherents — our membership was 

The independent organization of our Red Cross and the semi-inde- 
pendent operations of its field force in time of war, had always given 
rise to a certain amount of friction and jealousy. When our Red Cross 
went to the front at the beginning of a campaign, although by permis- 
sion of the President, it seemed by its attitude to infer that the medical 
staff of the army was somewhat incompetent, and it had come to supply 
the deficiency, and as it carried out its own ideas regardless of the 
military force, it was occasionally resented. Unity of plan seemed 

The experience of Japan had proven that the people would support a 
Red Cross that is under the direction of the military authorities, as 
generously as one that tried to take the field in an attitude of semi- 

A congressional committee of investigation was appointed and it was 
deemed best for Miss Barton and her associate officers to resign in 
order that a re-incorporation might be effected, and changes thus 
brought about which would greatly enlarge its usefulness by placing it 
in close relation with the government. 

So by an act of congress in 1904 the American National Red Cross 
was re -incorporated and brought directly under government supervision. 
Mrs. John Logan acted as president for a brief period, then President 
William H. Taft was chosen to fill the position, which he still holds. 

Resolutions of the most kindly feeling were extended Miss Barton. 
Col. William Cary Sanger of Oneida County is the president of the New 
York State branch. A national meeting is held annually in which all 
State branches confer. 

At the meeting held in Washington last December two new features 
were introduced which will better enable the Society to carrj' on its 

The new office of National Director was created and Mr. Ernest Bick- 
nell, who for eleven years has been Superintendent of the Chicago Bu- 
reau of Charities, fills the position. He is to give his entire time to 
the work, taking official charge and carrying out distribution on scien- 
tific lines. 


In order to supply the expert assistants the director must have, a 
new class of members, called Institutional members, was established 
and will be drawn from the great charitable organizations in the promi- 
nent centers of the country. Under the new plan of administration, 
even when a community can itself provide all the money and supplies 
necessary, the Red Cross inay render valuable assistance by giving the 
services of the national director and his trained agents, thus aiding 
where heretofore it could not. 

The work is divided into three departments — Emergency, War and 
International Relief. While there is no organic connection between the 
Red Cross and the War Department, there is the most cordial co-opera- 
tion, the Red Cross having its quarters in the War Department Build- 
ing, the department standing ready to furnish tents and other supplies 
in time of need. 

Its entire support, however, comes from the members' dues, the in- 
come from a small endowment, and contributions. 

When the last insurrection in Cuba began, Miss Barton, with her as- 
sistants, established the Red Cross hospital in New York city; this met 
opposition, but has been more than justified by subsequent events. It 
prepared skillful nurses and familiarized members of the Society with 
ambulance and hospital work and teaching first aid to the injured. 
This hospital still exists and is now a regularly organized hospital under 
the State laws, and is, moreover, the only hospital in this country 
established under the name and by the authority of the National Red 

Its object is to exemplify in time of peace the principles of humanity 
and neutrality, which are everywhere recognized as the great princi- 
ples of Red Cross work. It receives patients for treatment and opera- 
tions, and is training nurses pledged to render service in time of war or 
calamity at the call of the National Red Cross. 

The nurses are called Sisters, but the term has no religious signifi- 
cance, whatever. Our valley has now a personal interest in this insti- 
tution, as Miss Inez Lynch of Ilion has recently been given charge of 
the operating room. 

The Red Cross has also the most approved portable hospitals. Its 
ambulance and stretcher bearers are in the rear of every army, while 
electric lights and antiseptic dressings are established facts on every 

It has also its fleet. Its flag ship is the State of Texas, which is at 
once a training ship, a storehouse and floating hospital. A smaller boat 
i8 called the Red Cross, and a gunboat is named "Moynier," from the 
President of the International Association. (The latter was purchased 
by readers of the Outlook.) 

The organization is now reprsented by 43 nations, with a total mem- 
bership of about five millions. 

On December 27th, 1908, I cut this from the Tribune: 


Society to Go Out of Existence This Week. 

With the end of the old year the San Francisco Relief and Red Cross 
Society, which has handled $9,500,000 in contributions since the great 
earthquake and fire, will go out of existence. This huge sum was dis- 
tributed at an expense of 2.3 per cent. There are nearly $400,000 left, 
which will be transferred to various charities. The Society not only 
fed and lodged thousands for several months, after the lire, but it has 
provided eight thousand permanent homes for thirty thousand people 
and has established a permanent home for the aged and infirm at a 
cost of $375,000. Of the money contributed. New York gave $2,250,000. 

That, you will recall, was December 27th; on the 28th occurred the 
Messina earthquake, and the $400,000 mentioned was immediately sent 
on. The great work in Messina is still fresh in all our minds, while 
intensely interesting, I can only take time to quote the amount sent on. 
In all it exceeds $840,700. For the purchase and shipping of lumber for 
houses, $100,000. The houses constructed with this money will be de- 
signated by a small sign bearing a disk with a Red Cross and the words 
"American Red Cxoss, 1909." $225,000 has been presented Queen Helena 
for establishing an agricultural colony in Calabra or Sicily for the or- 
phans in the earthquake district. The colony will be under the super- 
vision of the American Embassy in Italy. 

As I have said, the Italian Red Cross is one of the largest and best 
equipped, and the American work has been carried on chiefly through 

Not content with the fitful work of occasional calamities, the organ- 
ization has begun a campaign with our ever present scourge, tubercu- 
losis. This crusade had its origin in the German Red Cross ten or 
eleven years ago, when it had on hand many hundreds of portable 
houses which had been used as hospital barracks in time of war. These 
Avere used for housing tubercvilosis patients. From this has grown the 
highly developed work of the present day. Few people know that the 
great International Congress on Tuberculosis held in Washington in 
September and October, 1908, was the outgrowth of this remarkable 
work of the Overman Red Cross. In January, 1908, our Red Cross de- 
cided to concentrate its efforts first on establishing tuberculosis day 
camps in or near cities where patients may find conditions essential to 
cure, — rest, air, light and proper food. The first American camp was 
opened in Schenectady, June 29th, and was conducted three months in 
co-operation with the Municipal Tuberculosis Dispensary and the local 
charities. The District of Columbia soon opened another. The largest 
day camp is in New York city and was opened December 1st, this winter. 
It is on the roof of the Vanderbilt Clinic. The CJinic fitted the roof 
and furnishes physicians. The expense of nursing and feeding the 40 
patients is being met by the New York County Red Cross. Eventually 
they will accommodate 100 patients and the camp will become a night 



camp as well. Other camps will be opened in several other cities this 

The sale of the little Christmas stamp to aid this cause originated 
with the Portugese in 1904. In this country Delaware was the first to 
try the stamp sale and the receipts, $3,000, were devoted to the erection 
of a tuberculosis hospital in Wilmington. Pennsylvania next tried the 
sale and this year it became a national affadr. 

Jacob Riis, himself a Dane, highly favored the scheme, saying, "it is 
not merely for making money, it is educational. Every one who sees 
this stamp wants to know what it means, and when people want to 
know, the fight is won. It is because people do not know a few amaz- 
ingly simple things that people die of tuberculosis." 

Scientists state that it would be possible to stamp out the Great 
White Plague entirely from this country in fifty years if proper atten- 
tion were paid the subject and sufficient funds raised to defray ex- 

The net amount realized by the stamp sale in New York city alone 
was $11,270.38. The complete report I have not seen but I read an esti- 
mate, between the holidays, that it would exceed $30,000. 

Just a few words more regarding Miss Barton. She holds decora- 
tions, or diplomas of honor, from ten foreign nations. She has written 
four books regarding Red Cross work which show marked literary 
ability. Her present home is in Glen Echo, a suburb of Washington, 
D. C, and the trolley station nearest it is called Red Cross. Although 79 
years of age, she leads a busy, active life. In 1905, soon after retiring 
from the presidency of the Red Cross, she was elected president of the 
National First Aid Organization. In this, lectures and lessons are given 
to classes in which the best methods are taught whereby first aid may 
be given the injured. It is especially useful to police and firemen. She 
is also president of the Children's Star League. 

It is said of her personal appearance: "Her hair is still dark, her 
eyes are the sweetest in the world. They challenge you to tell only 
what is absolutely true. They appeal to that which is best in you." 
She still has the same unselfish heart, the hopeful nature and helpful 
spirit. A few years since Sarah K. Bolton wrote Miss Barton asking 
for information for a sketch she was about to write of her. In the 
modest reply she wrote: "The humdrum work of my everyday life 
seems to me quite without incident. I know of nothing remarkable I 
have done." 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society May 14, 1910. 

From that pioneer of native born American authors, Cotton Mather, 
down to our present day writers of fiction, there is perhaps no one name 
in our field of letters more unique, about whose memory clusters more 
affectionate remembrance, than that of James Fenimore Cooper. 

It has been said of Cooper that he deserves the honor of being the 
most national of our authors. He did not pattern his efforts after the 
novelists of the old world, as was said of his contemporary, Washington 
Irving. His aim was to spread abroad the praises of the natural scen- 
ery of the country and the pioneer life in its early history. The new- 
ness and greatness of his efforts grew into a popularity that has made 
his name famous in every land. 

He was the eleventh of a family of twelve children born to William 
Cooper and his wife and he was born at Burlington, N. J., September 15. 
1789. The elder Cooper was a Quaker and his wife a Swede. Soon 
after the Revolution, William Cooper came to that site of the town 
which he afterward named Cooperstown, in the interest of New Jersey 
mortgagees who had loaned money to one Greorge Croghan, the same 
Croghan having mortgaged 100,000 acres of land to these Jersey parties. 
So impressed was the elder Cooper with the surroundings that he after- 
ward went to this wilderness and became the founder of the town 
which bore his name. It is to be here noted that Cooperstown was 
named for William Cooper, its founder, and not for his son, the dis- 
tinguished novelist. 

In this picturesque region, with its mountains, lakes and woods, James 
Fenimore Cooper passed his early days. The settlers were mostly 
French, German and Irish, together with the woodsman, the hunter and 
the Indian. Little wonder is it that here among this strange admixture 
of humanity, with their tales of the just passed Revolution, the inspira- 
tion came to him in after life to portray in prose the scenes of earlier 
and rigorous days. 

Cooper's early education was gained at the local academy which his 
father had assisted in founding. Afterward he studied at Albany under 
the private tutorship of an Episcopal rector. That his education waa 


neglected is deplored by his critics who, however, unite in proclaiming 
him the greatest portrayer of natural scenes. 

At the age of thirteen Cooper entered Yale, the youngest student but 
one in that institution. He is responsible, himself, for the statement 
that he put in his time there at play or walking about the beautiful hills 
or the bay at New Haven. In his third year at Yale he was expelled 
for some boyish pranks, the nature of which has not come down to us. 
His deficient education is responsible for his lack of refined taste, and a 
certain crudeness to which the aforesaid critics point. 

Next we learn of him in 1808, he had entered the navy. Here he was 
to meet with more experiences that he afterward used to novelistic ad- 
vantage. His father was now in congress and to his influence can be 
ascribed the son's appointment in the navy. For a time he was sta- 
tioned on Lake Erie on board the Wasp and under the command of the 
intrepid "don't give up the ship" Lawrence. It is said the two became 
great friends. But love played havoc with his naval career and he mar- 
ried a Huguenot lady of Westches'ter, a Miss DeLancey. In June, 1811, 
one year prior to the outbreak of our second war with England, he 
resigned from the navy and settled in Westchester. Three years later 
he was back in C/x)perstown. Again he took up his abode in West- 
chester and followed the occupation of a farmer. 

A mere accident was here responsible for his taking up a literary 
career. It was said of him that he had a strong, dominating will, that 
only the gentleness and tact of his wife could control, and that her 
control over him assisted in many difficulties, and through her assist- 
ance and advice he began his writing. The accident above referred to 
was this, — he had been reading to his wife a novel in which the author 
had described English society and its tastes. The book did not please 
him. Putting it aside he exclaimed, "I could write a better book my- 
self!" The wife, who believed in him, urged him to try his hand and 
in 1820 he published his first work, "Precaution," a book in which he 
thought to portray English life as the other had not. He knew nothing 
about the subject about which he wrote, and the attempt was a flat 

His father's prominence in political affairs gave him access to the 
great men of the day and it was at the house of the first chief justice 
of the supreme court, John Jay, that he heard related the story of a 
spy who had played between the opposing armies in the Revolution. 
It was a theme about which he was more familiar than English life 
and he took it up as a subject, and a year later produced the book 
called "The Spy." It was a success and soon met with a sale that no 
book up to that date had enjoyed. It was translated into many lan- 
guages and gave its author at once a place in literature. 

Three years later, in 1823, came "The Pioneer," a story that endeared 
him to the generations of his native heath. The scene was laid about 
Cooperstown and Otsego Lake. Here his pen eloquently described the 
scenes so familiar to his boyhood days and in it he tells of the mode 


of living of his former friends and neighbors. One of his biographers 
has said that in this book he drew more upon his memory than upon 
his imagination. In it he again arouses the ire of his critics by the 
story of the encounter of the heroine, Miss Elizabeth Temple, daughter 
of Judge Temple, with a panther. The Miss Temple and the Judge 
Temple were his sister and father, whom he used under these names. 
In this encounter Cooper points out the claws of the panther extending 
"inches" from its feet. He indulges in several extravagant statements 
and in a style none too true. However, the novel, which proved to be 
the first of the Leatherstocking tales, enjoyed an immense sale, and we 
are told that a crowd awaited outside the publisher's door for it, and 
before noon on the day of Its appearance thirty-flve hundred copies 
were sold in New York. But before "The Pioneer" was published 
Cooper was hard at work upon a third novel, "The Pilot." Cooper, we 
are told, wrote this to eclipse Sir Walter Scott's "The Pirate," which 
had just made its appearance. Cooper objected to parts of its nautical 
references and boldly criticized it, and said that it was written by a 
landsman and not by one who had experience as a seaman. Again he 
told his wife he must write one more book to show what could be done 
by a sailor. John Paul Jones here enjoys the distinction of being the 
hero. Instead of Natty Bumpo he introduced Long Tom CofTin and 
made of him a sailor hero to be admired. 

The best of his books, "The Last of the Mohicans," followed in 1826. 
Its success was instantaneous and once more the author found himself 
popularized before the reading world. 

Cooper was now rich and had taken up his residence in New York 
city where he became a prominent figure in society, as the papers of 
that day show. Here he formed a club which had for its patrons men 
like Jarvis, the painter; Durand, the engraver; Wiley, the publisher; 
Morse, the inventor of the telegraph; Bryant and Halleck, the poets. 

Now he was able to put into execution his long cherished desire to 
travel, and the next seven years were spent in Europe. He was made 
United States consul to Lyons, where he served three years. While he 
visited most of the capitals of Europe it was at Paris he made his 
longest visit, spending most of his time while abroad there. Contrary 
to his liking, he was here lionized and many honors were bestowed up- 
on him. Here of an evening he met Scott and of him the latter wrote 
that night in his diary: "Cooper was there, so the Scotch and American 
lions took the field together." 

But his time abroad was not spent in society alone. Here he added 
to his works "The Prairie" and "The Red Rover." So great was his 
popularity that five editions of "The Prairie" were arranged for at once, 
two in Paris, one in Philadelphia, one in London, one in Berlin. It is 
said that in the world outside of England he was more extensively read 
than Scott. His friend, Samuel F. B. Morse, visited Europe at this time 
and wrote home: "The works of Cooper are conspicuously placed in 
the window of every bookshop. They are published as soon as he writes 


them in thirty-four different places in Europe. They are seen in the 
language of Persia and Turkey, in Constantinople, in Egypt, at Jeru- 
salem, at Ispahan." 

However, so great a populairity could not endure. We see it often 
that he who is the people's idol sooner or later is doomed to lose his 
hold upon the public. It was so with Cooper. I have already hinted 
that he was pugnacious. It is true. He was also proud, proud of his 
own achievements first, and proud of the fact that he was an American. 
Nor was he the man to conceal his opinions. Far from it. He pub- 
lished letters and pamphlets setting forth the grandeur of Americam in- 
stitutions, her prosperity and her growing power as a world Influence. 
What has since been accomplished, he, with unerring prophecy, fore- 
told. He undertook to enlighten and correct certain impressions of his 
home country that had erroneously prevailed abroad. Not content with 
the publis!hed pamphlets along this line, he wrote three books respec- 
tively, "The Bravo," "The Heidenmauer," "The Headsman." In those he 
tried to tell the Europeans that their form of government was obsolete, 
and that our popular form of government would some day prevail 
abroad. The effect can be imagined. All Europe, especially England, 
was aflame with indignation. His popularity waned. He became as 
one marked for acrimonious misrepresentation. 

The year 1830 had seen him at the height of popularity. The year 
1833 witnessed his downfall abroad. Nor was he in the least downcast 
or repentant. Abroad he had "lived like a prince." His fortune was 
now spent and in this last mentioned year he returned to his native 
land and purchased his father's estate at Cooperstown, where he was 
to spend the last eighteen years of his life. 

Cooper had changed during his absence and so had America This 
change he could not and did not understand. His former pride in 
American institutions was lost. The years abroad spent in the capitals 
of Europe had so changed him that his home people seemed crude, and 
he frankly told them so. The religions of New England became a 
target for his pen. He extolled the Episcopal church to the detriment 
of other doctrines. All these criticisms he worked into a tale called, 
^'Home as Found." He also took an unusual interest in American poli- 
tics and bitterly upbraided those who disagreed. It is needless to say 
that at home he was, if anything, less popular than abroad. 

With an experience common to many Americans he sought to re- 
store his depleted fortune by si>eculation in stocks and in this he lost 
heavily. To add to his discomfort, the title to his estate was now ques- 
tioned, as his father had leased much land to settlers in early days, 
and the heirs of these settlers soug'ht to enforce these claims. The 
newspapers of the country championed the cause of the tenants and 
bitterly denounced the great author. Cooper retaliated and brought 
many suits against the editors of his State. Among those he sued were 
Horace Greely, Thurlow Weed and James Watson Webb. He conducted 
his own suits, trying his own cases and won every suit, which, though 


it did not endear him to the people at large, silenced his critics. 

During these days of animosities his pen was not at ease. He sought 
to regain his wealth by more writing, and from 1839 to 1850 he pub- 
lished no less than sixteen books, some of them his best. In order to 
further his claim upon his Cooperstown estate he published three novels 
bearing on the demagogic anti-rent war of that day. They are "Satans- 
toe," "The CJiain Bearer," "The Redskins." The first of them contains 
the best description of colonial life in New York ever written. 

I have been able to find the names of thirty-five books Cooper pub- 
lished, and I have also found mention made of several more. The 
names of those I have found are: 

"Precaution," "The Spy," "The Pilot," "Lionel Lincoln," "The 
Last of the Mohicans," "The Bravo," "The Prairie," "The Red 
Rover," "Water Watch," "Home as Found," "History of the Navy 
of the U. S.," "Pathfinder," "The Deerslayer," The Two Admirals," 
"Wing and Wing," "Satanstoe," "The Chain Bearer," "The Red- 
skin," "The Wept of Wish-ton-wish," "The Heidlemauer," "The 
Headsman," "Sketches of Switzerland," "The American Democrat," 
"The Chronicles of Cooperstown," "Homeward Bound," "Mercedes of 
Castile," "Wyandotte," "Ned Myers," "Afloat and Ashore," "The 
Crater," "Jack Tier," "Oak Opening," "The Sea Lions," "The Ways 
of the Houn." 

Cooper never forgave the American people for the criticism and harm 
done him. While he was proud enough to hope that his fame would 
live through his novels, he left word that no data concerning him should 
ever be given to any biographer, and that wish his family has closely 
observed. While Lounsbury in his American Men of Letters gives more 
facts than are elsewhere found, these are brief and the most that can 
be gained of Cooper has to be compiled from many sources, none of 
which is complete and all of which leaves the searcher chagrined and 
sorry that Cooper did not write his own memoirs. 

Cooper died at Cooperstown, September 14, 1851, aged 62. One of my 
boyhood friends, then an old man, told me years ago he saw his body 
lowered into the ground. Shakespeare said of one of his heroes that 
"after life's fitful fever he sleeps well." None who have considered 
the turmoil of Cooper's existence will deny that his life was a "fitful 

Cooper's greatness, recognized and then lost, was speedily rehabili- 
tated. Six months after his death a public meeting in his honor waa 
held in New York. It was addressed by William CuUen Bryant and 
Daniel Webster. This meeting did much to atone for the great wrong 
done him. It was the re-starting of the ball of public opinion in 
Cooper's favor, and it may be said it is still rolling. 

Bryant said of him: "He wrote for mankind at large, hence it is 
that he has earned a fame wider than any author of modem times. The 
creations of his genius shall survive through centuries to come, and 


perish only with our language." Balzac said: "If Cooper had suc- 
ceeded in the painting of character as he did in the painting of the 
phenomenon of nature, he would have uttered the last word of our art." 

Cooper was of splendid physique and handsome of face. His massive 
head was crowned with plenteous gray hair, his forehead high, his nose 
straight, his eyes bright and piercing. He was proud, austere and a bit 
important, perhaps, but for these faults we can forgive him. for he was 
truly great otherwise. His family relations were most pleasant. 

Among his six children he was most happy and content. His daughter, 
Susan Fenimore Cooper, was the only one of the children to inherit his 
literary talent and she published three books entitled, "Roural Hours," 
"Rhyme and Reason of Country Life," "Mount Vernon to the Children 
of America." She was born in 1813 and died at Cooperstown in 1894. 
She showed no marked literary ability. 

It has been told me that Susan Fenimore Cooper, in the days of young 
womanhood, was engaged to marry Samuel F. B. Morse, and that the 
engagement was broken off through the influence of her father who, 
little dreaming of Morse's brilliant future, objected to him on the ground 
that he was too poor to marry his daughter. I will not vouch for this 
story, as it may be idle gossip. 

In the yard, beside the Episcopal church he so much loved, he sleeps 
among his kindred and those who under names other than those that 
mark their graves, he made famous. 

Just beyond the place of the mentioned panther scene on the eastern 
shore of Otsego Lake, high up on the wooded hillside in Lakewood 
Cemetery, the Authors of America have erected an Italian marble mon- 
ument to his memory, properly inscribed. In this inscription the 
achievements of the honored dead are told. Its cap is crowned with a 
figure of the author's famous "Leatherstocking." hie dog is beside him, 
and both with zealous glance scan the lake at their feet. With their 
sightless eyes we contemplate the fanciful and real scenes of other days 
which the author's pen has wrought. Below and to the left is the be- 
ginning of that river which in its tortuous route is said to spell its 
name, the Susquehanna. Here during the revolution. Gen. Clinton built 
the dam that held back the water, that released later carried his army 
to Tioga Peint and to join Sullivan in his expedition against the Indians 
of central-western New York. Here at the river's mouth is the Council 
Rock where the wise men of the Five Nations met for arbitration. 
Across the lake we witness the fi-rst pledging of friendship between 
Deerslayer and the Indian, Chingachgook, a friendship that carried both 
through heroic scenes and made of them a David and Jonathan. 

At the head of the lake we see the cabin of old Tom Hutter built upon 
the poles driven in the earth under the water. Yes, the feeble-minded 
Hetty and the intrepid and the not guileless Judith, her sister, are there 
also; and we see these two and their father, old Tom, going in a boat 
to the burying place of their mother and gazing down into the clear 
waters of the Glimmerglass, view the bones of the dead. 


The scene shifts and the eyes of the watchers on the monument top, 
look upon the present day. Stretched before them as of yore is the 
peaceful lake dotted with craft, whose names are taken from the fanci- 
ful characters of the grreat novelist's men and women. The beautiful 
town that bears their creator's name is peaceful, prosperous, proud and 
happy that it has an honored name and a place in history. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society 

September 17, 1910. 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: — I am free to confess that I 
have been desirous of meeting the members of this Society for some 
time past, hence you are assured of my great pleasure in coming here 
today. Within the past year I have axJdressed the historical societies 
of Westchester, Orange, Schenectady, Essex, Oneida, Montgomery and 
Cayuga counties. I have believed that the State Historian should 
meet at close range those who are locally banded together for the study 
of the importaJit history of this State. We are mutually interested in 
keeping alive the memory of men and the remembrance of deeds that 
are inseparably linked with the past history and present prosperity of 
our State and Nation. It is our privilege to co-operate in the expansion 
of historical study and in the promotion of an intelligent and sane 

The State of New York has been spasmodically generous in appro- 
priations to aid the cause of history, but the execution has been un- 
systematic, and many of her published records are exceedingly inaccu- 
rate and mischievous to historical research. In addition to this inac- 
curacy of published texts, we find that many of our old original records 
are lost, or neglected, or inaccessible, or fast going to destruction. To 
bring some order out of chaos, I have urged the desirability of adding 
functions to the State Historian's office that would permit him to oper- 
ate as a triune factor for promoting the historical interests of the State, 
as follows: To foster the careful preservation and classification of the 
local public records throughout the State and make their character 
known through registers, inventories, calendars, or other hand books 
for the use of interested students; to publish important bodies of the 
public records in accordance with the standards exacted by the best 
critical canons; to correlate the local historical interests in the State 
and promote friendly intercourse and exchange among the local his- 
torical societies. We have here the suggestion of a scientific plan which 


would be productive of results that should be a wonderful boon for the 
advancement of historical scholarship. Do you realize that this State 
is doing nothing now, officially, for the safety of the public records — as 
Massachusetts and other States are doing, and nothing for the correla- 
tion of local historical endeavor — as provided for in Wisconsin and other 
States? It is true that the proper execution of this triune function 
would tax the physical and scholarly resources to the utmost. But this 
work ought to be done. It should be legalized by the State before many 
more of our original public records are lost or consigned to limbo, and 
the prosecution of this task should be entrusted to someone who has the 
instinct, sympathy, conscience and ability to grapple with it. 

[Here the State Historian will present an important document of 1752 
to the Herkimer County Historical Society.] 

I have come here today to address you on "Local Historical Societies 
in their Relation to History and Patriotism." Perhaps you will perceive 
that this visit, although unofficial so far as the State is concerned, is 
along the lines that I have just predicated, namely, the function of cor- 
relating historical interests. My message is one of sympathy and will, 
I trust, be of some service to this community. Already you have 
aroused in others an interest in the history of the county, State and 
Nation. But there are yet many more persons in this county who need 
to be awakened to the pleasures of historical study and the duty of its 
promotion through this Society as a nursery. 

Local historical societies are to a large extent the products of env- 
ironment — of local conditions and opportunities. They necessarily de- 
pend upon persons of self-sacrificing enthusiasm, of erudition, of busi- 
ness ability and historical perspective for their successful administra- 
tion and growth. It has been said truly that what is everybody's busi- 
ness is nobody's business. A local historical society too often may be 
more or less moribund for the want of a guiding star who, seeing clearly 
opportunity and duty, dominates its affairs and brings it up to the full 
measure of usefulness. We realize, of course, that the work that any 
society can undertake to do is greatly dependent upon the size of its in- 
come. If its only resources are a small number of membership fees its 
activities are restricted. But as "necessity is the mother of invention," 
the guiding star whom I have mentioned will find out ways and means. 
He will attract persons who are engaged directly and indirectly in his- 
torical work or criticism, and also persons who will perform work in 
the direction of collecting and preserving historical materials. I>r. 
Thwaites, at the head of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 
speaking of the function of interesting the public, shows that "obvi- 
ously this should be an intelligent, discriminating interest," and he 
adds: "Field meetings, popular lectures, work with schools, some meas- 
ure of co-ordination with pioneer and old settlers' societies of the dis- 
trict, pilgrimages to places of historic interest, the promotion of anni- 
versary celebrations, and the placing of tablets upon historic sites, all 
of these are within the province of the Society. Popularity and exact 



scholarship are not incompatible. One of the principle aims of an 
historical society should be the cultivation among the masses of that 
civic patriotism which is inevitably the outgrrowth of an attractive 
presentation of local history." (1) 

Professor J. Franklin Jameson, now director of the department of 
Historical research in the Carnegie Institution at Washington, has given 
expression to the following strong argument: "Energy cannot always 
be commanded; the work of socities must be done by the members they 
possess, and fortunate are those who possess a group of active and 
resourceful members; doubly fortunate if their organization is such as 
to give the control to these rather than to those eminent for something 
else quite alien to the business of history. But the counsel of courage is 
for all. Placed in the midst of material influences, our historical so- 
cieties are charged with immaterial, one may even say spiritual, inter- 
ests. They must be in and of the world. But they are wanting in in- 
sight and in that faith in American humanity which the study of 
American history should create if they do not believe it safe for them to 
cherish high and even austere ideals of scholarly endeavor; and they 
are recreant to their high trust if, having formed such ideals, they fail 
to pursue them in all the great work that lies before them, confident 
that before long their communities will appreciate and sustain their 
efforts. Like all of us in this complex and vulgar world, they must 
make compromises and adjust themselves with outward cheerfulness to 
the actual conditions of their life; but at least let them economize their 
concessions and keep alive an inward regret and dissatisfaction over 
every sacrifice of their true ideals." (2) 

There are historical organizations whose function is limited and well- 
defined, hence there is no difficulty in hewing to the line. The Sons of 
Oriskany, The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument Association, etc., are 
examples of this kind. But we approach a complex problem when we 
consider the functions, scope, purpose or object of sectional or local 
historical societies, particularly in a great State like ours. Let us con- 
sider what their mission is, as viewed by persons whose information and 
experience are worthy of acceptation and assimilation. 

The first national conference of State and local historical societies 
was held in Chicago, December 29, 1904, in affiliation with the annual 
meeting of the American Historical Association. Similar meetingsi 
have been held each year since under the same auspices. There grrew 
out of the meeting just mentioned a Committee on Methods of Organi- 
zation and Work on the Part of State and Local Historical Societies,. 

(1) Thwaites. State and Local Historical Societies, in The Iowa 
Journal of History and Politics, Vol. IV (1906), pp. 258-9. 

(2) Jameson. The Function of State and Local Historical Societies, 
etc., in Annual Report of American Historical Association, 1897, pp. 58-9. 


which made a report in December, 1905.(1) Dr. Thwaites, the chair- 
man, wrote also a condensation of that report, (2) from which I quote. 
He says: 

"In the judgment of the committee, an historical society, be it sec- 
tional. State, or local, should collect all manner of archaeological, an- 
thropological, historical, and genealogical material bearing upon the 
particular territory which that society seeks to represent. 

"Such an institution may properly make an accurate survey of the 
archaeology and ethnology of its district; not only itself acquiring a 
collection illustrating the same, but entering into fraternal relations 
with neighboring collectors, private and public, and perhaps publishing 
a co-operative check-list. The records of the county government (or of 
the town, the village, or the city), of the courts, churches and the 
schools should at least be listed . . . Diaries of origrinal settlers, 
mercantile account books, anniversary sermons, private letters describ- 
ing early life and manners, field books of surveyors, etc., are valuable 
manuscripts worthy of systematic collection. Local newspaper flies are 
an important source of information and should assiduously be collected 
and preserved. Pioneers should be interviewed by i>erson8 themselves 
conversant with the details of local history. All manner of miscel- 
laneous local printed matter should be secured, such as society, church, 
and club year books, programs of local entertainments, catalogues and 
memorabilia of educational or other public and private institutions 
within the prescribed field of research — nothing of this sort comes amiss 
to the historical interest. 

"Collections are naturally classified into libraries, museums, and por- 
trait galleries. Into the library are properly deposited all manner of 
manuscripts, books, pamphlets, leaflets, broadsides, newspaper files, etc. 
They should be scientifically catalogued, so far as funds will allow, th« 
manuscripts being if possible calendared, or in any event indexed; the 
least that can be expected is, that manuscripts be properly listed on 
standard catalogued cards. In the museum and gallery there should be 
deposited all portraits or relics bearing on the manners, early life, or 
personnel of the community or region. Public museums are frequently 
presented with embarrassing gifts; but tact and diplomacy can usually 
be depended on for eventual elimination. Perhaps in no department of 
a society's work are common sense and the trained judgment of the 
professed historical worker more frequently needed than in the conduct 
of the museum. This is one of the most valuable features of collection, 
when properly selected and administered; but unfortunately too many 
of our American societies are the victims of undiscriminating antiquar- 
ianism — collection for collection's sake, without method or definite no- 
tion as to the actual scholarly value of the relic. Nothing is more 

(1) American Historical Association. Annual Report, 1905, Vol. I, 
pp. 249-325. 

(2) In Iowa Journal of History and Politics, "Vol. 4, (1906), pp. 244-26«. 


deadly, in historical work, than unmeaning museums or "popular at- 
tractions.' " 

Professor Jameson has asked the following- question: (1) 

"Would not fresh life be brought in if the society were to perceive 
clearly that its field of work is, rightly stated, American history locally 

He is right. A local historical society should not pursue its course in 
any spirit of mere provincialism. Its work, its resources and its sym- 
pathies should fit into the warp and woof of our national history; for 
why should the hand say to the foot: "I have no need of thee?" Or to 
the body: "I have no need of thee?" Or to the head: "I have no need of 

Professor Henry E. Bourne, adverting to the diversity of aim and or- 
ganization of American historical societies, has said: "This diversity 
is encouraging, for it proves that the interest in history and the desire 
to collect historical material are not restricted to a few communities 
nor dependent upon two or three groups of individuals. The conse- 
quence must be a broader interpretation of American history. Students 
naturally inquire with filial care into the origins of their State or sec- 
tion, and out of a friendly strife of these rival interests comes a more 
catholic curiosity." (2) Speaking of the activities of the societies, Pro- 
fessor Bourne says: "The programs of the State and local historical 
societies are varied, but the work for which they provide may be an- 
alyzed as follows: The associations of those actively engaged in his- 
torical investigation or who wish to exert an influence toward the pro- 
motion of historical studies; meetings of members to read papers or to 
listen to addresses; the collection of manuscripts, books, and historical 
relics, maintaining those collections as public libraries and museums; 
marking historic sites; publication of papers or of documents of his- 
toric interest; reprinting rare pamphlets and books, and the support 
of public lectures. How many of these functions a society shall per- 
form depends often as much upon circumstances as upon the preference 
of its managers." (3) 

Another student(4) of the work of historical societies has said: "To 
gather and preserve the details of 'The every day life of each particular 
time and country;' to deal with facts rather than with fiction; to estab- 
lish the truth of history by irrefragable proofs; is the mission of the 
State, the county, and the town historical societies." He suggests that 
local societies should collect the local printed documents in full series; 
also church records, old local sermons, transcripts of monumental and 

(1) American Historical Association. Annual Report, 1897, p. 56. 

(2) American Historical Association. Annual Report, 1904, p. 117. 

(3) Ibid, p. 120. 

(4) The Value of Local History. By Richard C. McCormick, in Year 
Book of Suffolk County Historical Society, 1897, pp. 33, 36. 


tombstone inscriptions, genealogies of families and personal biographies, 
memorabilia or personal reminiscences, biographical compilations, In- 
dian traditions and relics, files of local newspapers, newspaper clippings 
on special topics of local interest; and labor for the preservation of his- 
toric trees, historic sites and historic houses. And he calls attention 
to the fact that some of the American historical societies "have done 
much to unite and interest the people not only in State and local his- 
tory, but to advance legislation and good government, and to promote 
literature, science, art and all that promotes intellectual development 
and ethical culture. More than this," he adds, "they are to be credited 
with doing much to inspire the large number of writers for the press 
and magazines of this country, who now make a specialty of historical 
topics, and furnish much interesting and profitable material for the use 
of the public." 

I have presented these citations, even though verbose, because it is 
not unworthy to believe that in the multitude of these counselors there 
is to be found wisdom. Now that we have had a general perspective 
view of the scope of historical societies, let us endeavor to burrow 
somewhat more analytically into the mine of history and extract the 

"This is the time," says Professor Hart, of Harvard University, "to 
sweep up local and transient publications, and put them where the 
next generation will find them safe. . . . Transient publications, 
pamphlets, fugitive reports — what the Germans graphically called 
Plugschriften — these are the worry of the tidy housekeeper and the 
prize of the local library."(l) Another observer has said: "Very few 
original written or printed papers are entirely without value. The pre- 
sumption is always in favor of preservation. ... A paper or book 
is often most valuable, not for the purpose for which it was originally 
designed, but for the sidelight which it throws on the condition and 
opinions of those by whom or for whom it was prepared. Old account 
books are of no value as proofs of indebtedness, but they are often of 
the greatest consequence in preparing tables of prices for the use of 
economic investigators. Old letters which have served their purpose as 
vehicles of information and even as remembrances of affection, often 
are most useful in delineating manners, in picturing the hopes and 
fears and aspirations of the society from which they spring, and even 
occasionally as tending to prove the continued life of the writer or his 
presence at a certain place at the time of writing." (2) Professor Henry 
E. Bourne also has said: "Many societies serve as convenient reposi- 
tories for family documents or letters of permanent interest. This 
function is particularly useful in a country where few families retain 
their public importance more than two or three generations, so that for 

(1) American Historical Review, October, 1898, p. 16. 

(2) George M. Carpenter, in Proceedings of Rhode Island Historical 
Society, 1891-92, p. 67. 


lack of family archives such papers may be dispersed or lost."(l) In 
an article on "The Gathering of Local History Materials," (2) Dr. 
Thwaites says: "That with which we are all familiar is commonplace, 
and generally held in slight value; but the commonplaces of one genera- 
tion are the treasured relics of the next. Interest in the things with 
which our fathers were familiar is not mere idle curiosity. Relics in 
museums enable us more accurately in imagination to redress the stage 
of history; but the literary ephemera of other days, preserved in libraries 
are still more valuable as mirrors of the past. The chance advertise- 
ment in the old newspapers, the tattered playbill, the quaintly-phrased 
pamphlet, or musty diary or letter of a former time, are of inestimable 
value to the modern historian. In early days history was thought to 
be simply the records of royal courts and the conduct of military com- 
paigns; but the history of the common people is now what interests us 
most — how the John and Mary of old lived in their wayside cottage; 
how Peter and Paul bargained in the market place; how the literati 
toiled in Grub street, and seafarers journed over the face of the deep. 

"It is the office of the historian to keep the world's memory alive. 
There will never be an end of the writing of history. Some one has 
truly said that each generation must write all past history afresh, from 
its own changing standpoint. But that this may continue, and with 
increasing advantage, there must never be an end of accumulating 
historical material; each generation must accumulate its own, for the 
benefit of its successor." 

Again, another writer, (3) pointing out the desirability of recording 
contemporary facts, said that "it unfortunately happens that in the 
greater number of cases the things which everybody knows are the 
very things as to which no record will be made. They are familiar to 
all, no record or remembrance is needed for present use, and the most 
favorable time for collecting and arranging the necessary information 
is long past before any suggestion is made as to the importance of a 
permanent record. This defect in the records has continued down to 
the present time, and we have doubtless in the present age been guilty 
of great omissions in this regard." 

The suggestion of keeping diaries and of writing out personal recollec- 
tions or memorabilia, is very well put in an article on the "Value of 
Local History, and the Importance of Preserving It," (4) from which I 
may quote briefly, as follows: "The personal recollections of individuals 
are of the first consequence to the history of a country. They are not 

(1) American Historical Association. Annual Report. 1904, p. 121. 

(2) Wisconsin Historical Society. Bulletin of Information, No. 25. 

(3) George M. Carpenter, stipra, p. 64. 

(4) William B. Connelley, in Transactions of Kansas State Historical 
Society, 1897-1900, Vol. VI, pp. 288-289. 


to be confounded with history; they are the materials from which his- 
tory is written — the foundation of history, or one of the foundations. 
. . . Many of the facts of history rest upon the statements made in 
diaries of private individuals and public officials. Five hundred years 
from now the daily life of the present will be as much a mystery as is 
the private life of a bygone age to us. It is in such diaries . . . 
that the small things of life are recorded, and as time passes these 
small matters are lost in the ever-changing customs of a people. This 
makes these diaries works of worth, and their value increases with 
every year of their age." 

As much has been said about the accumulation of materials for 
library and museum, it may be worth while to speak briefly of systema- 
tizing and methodizing the materials with a view to accessibility. The 
things that enter into the library should be classified. There are vari- 
ous systems of library classification, and the one best suited in each 
case must be carefully considered by the aid of an expert classifier, 
and perhaps best by co-operation with the trained librarian of the 
nearest public library. In a local historical society the regional ele- 
ment in classification is particularly important. Clippings of obitu- 
aries or other personalia can be mounted on note size paper and be 
filed alphabetically in standard size pamphlet cases. If you have a 
series of clippings on one subject, as the history of a particular insti- 
tution; the genealogy of a family; the description of your park system, 
water works, or what not, these may be mounted on standard octavo 
sheets in such a manner as to be made up into individual pamphlets, 
thus forming entities. Programs, lecture announcements, leaflets, po- 
litical campaign literature and similar ephemera can be filed in manila 
envelopes of a standard size, each envelope lettered as to its contents 
and arranged alphabetically, chronologically or topically in pamphlet 
boxes. As this material grows in bulk it can be subdivided regionally 
by county, city, town, village, etc., as a closer method of arrangement. 
If the amount of such matter is not great this method will suffice to 
make it readily available. But as soon as it bulks large, a catalogue is 
necessary. Standard catalogue cards, guide cards and other desirable 
library appliances are within easy reach through the library bureau and 
similar commercial agencies. Here again the advice of your trained 
librarian can be enlisted. The museum exhibits should be properly 
labeled, and the exhibits should be frequently changed or rearranged, 
so as to whet the interest of visitors to the collections. Much interest 
can be aroused by procuring loans from persons and institutions'. 
Teachers and pupils of the schools should be interested in these col- 
lections. This is a very good way to arouse and maintain public 

Another function of historical societies is the publication of original 
materials or what is known as source-material, and monographs, essays 
or addresses. Competent editors are needed quite as much as indefatig- 
able collectors. These publications should be printed on good paper 


and in an attractive typographical dress. If the funds are wanting for 
purposes of publication, enlist the local newspapers. They will often 
be glad to print records or monographs in successive installments, 
which can be allowed to stand in type for rearrangement and reprinting 
as separate pamphlets. This is by no means as difficult as it seems. A 
county historical society may succeed in obtaining a subsidy from the 
county for the publication of certain county records. It has been done 
many times in this country. Professor Jameson believes that the pub- 
lishing activity of a society should favor documentary materials. He 
says: "Documentary publication is the work which counts in the long 
run, the work which gives permanent value to the society's volumes. 
Look over the volumes published by the societies a generation ago. 
Nearly all the articles and essays are obsolete or antiquated. Such of 
them as were ever worth doing will have to be done over again. But 
the original documents then printed are still valid, still useful. The 
real glory of an historical society is a series of volumes of important 
historical documents, original materials selected with intelligence, sys- 
tematically ordered, edited ably, and with finished scholarship." (1) 

A county historical society may well interest itself in promoting the 
preservation and careful custody of the public records of its county, 
cities, towns, villages or other official jurisdictions. In our State we 
have been singularly derelict in this matter. Our local records have 
suffered tremendously from fire, damp and neglect. Many of them have 
been lost to posterity. Many of them are yet kept in wooden buildings 
used for business purposes or in private houses where they are in con- 
stant danger of being burned. Many are stored in packing boxes, in 
lofts, cellars and sheds with household or other rubbish. I believe 
that it is the State's business to supervise the care and custody of the 
public records throughout the State. Our historical societies can do 
much toward promoting this consummation so devoutly to be wished. 
Meanwhile they can do something in their own communities to awaken 
the conscience of the public officials, who too generally look upon their 
records from the standpoint of immediate practical use in administra- 
tion. The reason why so much has been lost and is now being neglected 
or destroyed is that there is a natural tendency of men to neglect or 
destroy such things as are not useful to themselves, or which for the 
moment seem to have passed their usefulness. 

In referring to the now well recognized duty of preserving historic 
sites and historic buildings, I cannot do better than quote Professor 
Albert Bushnell Hart,(2) who says: 

"Too little attention has so far been paid to the geographical and 
topographical side of American history; and a prime duty of Ameri- 
cans is the preservation and marking of our historical sites. In foreign 
cities not only are famous houses carefully preserved, such as Durer's 

(1) American Historical Association. Annual Report, 1897, pp. 58-59. 

(2) American Historical Review, October, 1898, pp. 2-4. 



in Nuremberg and the Plantins' in Antwerp, but memorial tablets 
everywhere abound. In America some of the stateliest and most me- 
morable buildings have been sacrificed, like the Hancock mansion in 
Boston; but at present the tendency is to preserve really handsome 
public and private edifices; and good people everywhere give money and 
time to keep these causes of civic pride before the eyes of their coun- 

"By this time the principles which ought to govern the use of an his- 
toric building are widely recognized; it should be restored so far as 
possible to its condition at the time of its greatest historical import- 
ance. ... It should be called to the attention of the wayfarer by a 
suitable, permanent tablet of stone or brass; if possible, it should be 
kept up as a public monument or at least freely opened to public view. 

"Even if the building be worthless or destroyed, the site may fitly be 
commemorated by a permanent inscription. We moderns are so over- 
whelmed with reading matter that we do not fully understand the effect 
of inscriptions which stand in public view — the literature of the book- 

"Tablets upon public buildings or within them are too little regarded 
in this country, though senseless decorations are not uncommon. 

"The time to mark the sites of buildings and the scenes of notable 
events, the time to note the houses and the rooms once occupied by 
famous men, is the present, while they can be identified. Many are 
already lost or disappearing." 

I have already touched upon the idea of co-operation. As "no man 
liveth to himself," so no historical society can wax strong if it lives a 
self-centered life; if it does not co-operate with other societies having 
the same aspirations. In union there is strength. The opportunity for 
co-operation has many outlets, and I may mention only a few of them — 
representation by delegate or delegates at the annual conferences of 
American historical societies in conjunction with the meeting of the 
American Historical Association, which met last December in New 
York city; an exchange system with other historical societies; partici- 
pation in celebrations of civic, religious and other societies of the 
county; and moral support given to any honest plan to co-ordinate the 
historical interests of the State. 

Any historical society which will undertake to do the major part of 
the work that has been expounded in this address, will be a signal factor 
in promoting patriotism in its people. The sentiment of patriotism is 
the heart of a republic. "We need it every day and every hour. We 
need it in our business; we need it in our homes; we need it in our 
local government; we need it in our national life. We need to value 
the immaterial aspect of things more, and the material less. We need 
more of beauty and less of utility. We need more of the ideal and less 
of the real. We need to value more the thoughtful man and less him 
who has simply accumulated bags of money." (1) 

(1) Ferree (Barr). Sentiment as a National Asset. New York, (1908.) 


"God bless our native land! 
Firm may she ever stand 

Through storm and strife; 
When the wild tempests rage. 
Ruler of winds and wave. 
Do Thou our country save 

By Thy great might. 

"For her our prayers shall rise 
To Grod, above the skies; 

On Him we wait; 
Thou who art ever nigh, 
Guarding with watchful eye. 
To Thee aloud we cry, 

God save the State!"(2) 

(2) John Sullivan Dwight's variation of the poem by Rev. Dr. C. T 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society 

February 11, 1911. 

To have lived in those quickening times preceding the Civil War, 
which saw the assembling of the mightiest host ever called out to do 
arbitrament of the sword, was a privilege. To have been the counsellor 
of such foremost abolitionists as Wendell Phillips and Charles Sumner 
was a greater privilege. But to have been the friend, the guiding hand, 
the financier of John Brown of Osawatomie, was greater than either. 
Such was the observation and experience of Gerrit Smith of Peterboro. 
The historian, in accounting for the intrepid past, touches only the 
"high places." The detail is lost. Few persons of today know Gerrit 
Smith. Two generations ago his name was on every lip. If John 
Brown's raid precipitated the Civil War, if John Brown's proclamation 
of freedom to the slaves was the harbinger of Lincoln's emancipation 
proclamation, then to the everlasting credit of Gerrit Smith of Peter- 
boro let the glory and responsibility of both be ascribed. All hail to 
Gerrit Smith, abolitionist, orator, philanthropist, millionaire, prophet, 
philosopher, politician and religionist. 

He was not a stranger to Herkimer, for Peterboro, Madison County, 
N. Y., lies only a few miles back from the town of Oneida, and as he 
had many friends in our own village we can almost claim him as our 
own. Permit me here to interject that in his enterprise, the underground 
railroad, he had the assistance of Judge Ezra Graves of Herkimer, 
whose son, Dr. George Graves, now recalls many interesting details of 
the harboring of escaped slaves by his father. 

Gerrit Smith was the son of Peter Smith, who was born and lived on 
the farm near Tappan, N. Y. It was on this farm that Maj. Andre, the 
British spy, was executed. Peter was 12 years old at the time. After 
serving years of clerkship in New York city the elder Smith engaged 
in partnership with John Jacob Astor in the fur trade. It was his 
custom to come to Albany by sloop in summer, thence to proceed up 
the Mohawk by foot, penetrating the central and western part of the 
State, trading meanwhile with the Indian tribes of Mohawks, Oneidas, 
Cayugas and Senecas. In order to gain proximity to the Indians, Peter 



Smith moved to Utica and took up his residence in Bleecker street. 
Here in a corner of his house he continued his fur traffic. Frothingham 
tells us that Peter Smith's neighbors were mostly Indians and a mi- 
nority white population, largely Dutch. 

The partnership referred to was later dissolved, Astor investing his 
profits in New York city real estate and Smith investing his in acres 
in the central part of the State. He possessed in 1802 nearly 500,000 
acres. Frothingham aptly states it. "his land holdings were measured by 
square miles." 

He was very religious, as his diary shows, and seemed constantly to 
worry that he had committed the unpardonable sin. Later he moved 
to Madison county and became its county judge. The town in which 
he lived was named Smithfleld and the village Peterboro. Gerrit Smith 
first saw the light of day in Utica, March 6, 1797. He entered the 
academy at Clinton in 1813. Later he entered Hamilton College and 
was graduated in 1818. He was the valedictorian of his class. In 
1835 we find him back at the college commencement, and so anxious 
was he to reduce that institution's debt that he loaned $5000 for the 
project. On the 11th of January, 1819, he married Wealthy Ann, 
daughter of Dr. Azel Backus, first president of Hamilton College. She 
died seven months afterward. Three years later he married Ann Carrol, 
daughter of William Fitzhugh of Geneseo, N. Y. 

He inherited his father's desire to acquire property and we find him 
buying land wherever he saw an opportunity to turn the same to profit. 
Pages might be written of his experience in land holdings, including 
village and city property. He acquired interests in steamboats and 
built plank roads. 

That he had already a hold upon political affairs is evidenced by the 
fact that through his efforts the custom, house at Oswego was created 
and the first act of Canadian reciprocity passed by congress. That his 
interests were large is proven when we are made acquainted with the 
fact that for twenty-five years his Income averaged more than $50,000 
per year, an income that in those days was princely and seldom equalled. 
During a business depression it is recorded he borrowed from his 
father's old partner, John Jacob Astor, the sum of $250,000. But Gerrit 
Smith has not come down to us as the mere possessor of great wealth. 
His estimated fortune of two millions of dollars, great as it was for his 
day, furnished, as he would have it, only a small part of his claim upon 
posterity for greatness. 

Gerrit Smith was deeply and eminently religious. On March 17th, 
1826. according to his diary, he and his wife united with the Presby- 
terian church of Peterboro. It was his custom to keep a journal of his 
doings, and into this journal for thirty years he recorded the text of 
every sermon to which he listened. I quote from his journal January 7, 
1833: "I this Wednesday attended the Church conference. It was a 
solemn meeting. The question considered was whether we would set 
about promoting a revival of religion." Again, Sept. 6th, 1835: "I fear 


that I have lost that increased interest in religion which the death of 
my dear baby was the occasion of producing in me." In later sentences 
he seemed to have acquired the fear that was his father's, that he was 
not as near his Maker in thought and deed as in the past. 

Temperance was another theme upon which his mind settled as a 
world-wide necessity, and by writings and preachment he undertook 
to impress the world with the fact. In 1839, he concluded that secta- 
rianism in religious matters was a hindrance to the spread of Chris- 
tianity, and he undertook to convert all denominations to his views. 
His writings upon this topic are most interesting, and if we are in sym- 
pathy with the present day movement along this line, by perusing them, 
we become convinced that he lived and thought in advance of that day 
and time. 

In 1840 he called together as many clergymen as would participate in 
a convention held at Oswego. N. Y. Its object was to organize one all- 
powerful church. The Presbyterian and Baptist churches took open 
action against him. The Universalists, Unitarians and Quakers were in 
the affirmative. The other denominations remained quiet. Resolutions 
were passed denouncing denominations of every name. Gerrit Smith, 
himself, introduced a resolution condemning slavery and advocating 
war to exterminate it. His resolution was lost. 

November 29, 1843, was observed by the residents of Peterboro as a 
day of prayer and fasting. A public meeting was held and the Ciiurch 
of Peterboro was founded, a church which was to observe the ideas of 
religious broadmindedness as revealed by its founder; a church in which 
should be taught the broad, self-sacrificing religion of the brotherhood 
of man and the Fatherhood of God. In other words, the religion of 
Abou Ben Adam. Back of all this, as we view it from the distance and 
with the keenness that time lends to our vision, can be seen the desire 
of Gerrit Smith to institute a church in which could be preached the 
doctrine of anti-slavery. For it is well-known that many of the cler- 
gy of that day believed in slavery as a divine ordinance, because the Old 
Testament seemed to sanction it. 

He took up the cudgel against the theological and ecclesiastical spirit 
as leading to dogmatism and sectarianism. In 1865 he published an 
open letter to William Llyod Garrison. This letter bore three captions, 
as follows: "The Theologies, the Great Enemies of Reform; The 
Theologies, the Great Hindrance to Justice and Reform; The Theolo- 
gies, The Great Curse of Mankind." His writings and preaching upon 
this subject of religion alone would fill volumes. They include almost 
everything in the line of advanced religious thought. I will quote from 
his views upon eternal hell: 

"Eternal hell, no man does and no man can believe it. It is untrue 
if only because human nature is incapable of believing it. Moreover, 
were such a belief possible, it would be fatal. Let the American people 
wake up with it tomorrow and none of them would go to their shops 
and none of them would go to their fields and none would care for their 


homes. All interest in the things of earth would be dead. The whole 
world would be struck with paralysis and frozen with horror. The or- 
thodox preacher of an eternal hell would himself go crazy if he be- 
lieved his own preaching." 

If he developed into an enemy of dogmatic theology, if his immense 
comprehension caused him to rebel at the teachings of Dante and his 
present day following, it may yet be said of him, he never lost his faith 
in God. 

His love of the human race showed best in his acts of humanity. A 
golden stream literally flowed from his purse at all times. He received 
applications for benefactions averaging for years more than $10,000 
daily, and his generosity cost him an average of $40,000 a year. For- 
tunes went for immediate distresses, the aged and infirm were not for- 
gotten. He paid off mortgages and sent boys and girls to college, who, 
otherwise would have not been educated. Famine sufferers in parts of 
England, Poland and Greece each drew $1,000. Canastota's fire sufferers 
were given $1,000. The Irish famine fund was enriched $1,000, as were 
the victims of grasshoppers in Kansas. An early Cuban insurrection 
drew $5,000. To enforce the Missouri Compromise and keep slavery out 
of Kansas cost him $16,000. The free library at Oswego was given 
$30,000. Hamilton College was given $20,000. Colleges throughout the 
United States, both north and south, were remembered. After the 
Civil War he gave to R. E. Lee's Washington College, Berea College in 
Kentucky, and to Storer College at Harper's Ferry, and to many other 
southern institutions. Before the Civil War the maintenance of the 
underground railroad cost him from $3,000 to $5,000 per year. In Au- 
gust, 1846, he gave away three thousand small farms of from thirty to 
sixty acres. These went to colored people and were approtioned by a 
committee whom he chose, the only restriction being that none be given 
to drunkards. In May, 1849, he gave away one thousand farms to in- 
digent white people of New York State apportioning the land to every 
county except his own, as he already had given Madison county's resi- 
dents their portion of his bounty. A gift of $10 in money accompanied 
each farm. A large part of what is known as the John Brown tract in 
northern New- York was given away by Gerrit Smith, and John Brown's 
mortal remains repose in ground purchased from Gerrit Smith. It is 
said of him that at his dinner table the New Testament direction of 
gathering those from the highways and the byways was fulfilled. Says 
one who knew him: "I have seen eating in peace at one time at dinner 
at his home, all welcome guests, an Irish Catholic priest, a Hicksite 
Quakeress, a Calvanistic Presbyterian deacon of the Jonathan Edwards 
school, two abolition lecturers, a Seven Day Baptist, a shouting Metho- 
dist, a Whig, two slavery members of congress, a Democrat of the Sam 
Young school, a southern ex -slave holder and a runaway slave, Lewis 
Washington, his wife, one or more relatives and Aunt Betsey Kilty, and 
he managed them all. No one was neglected. He did the honors of his 
table, carving his meat like a gentleman bred and to the manner born. 


conversing with each in such a sweet way as to disarm all criticism, 
and making every one feel that if he could be other than himself he 
would rather be Gerrit Smith than any other living man." 

Gerrit Smith grew up with his father's slaves. The Emancipation 
Act of New York of 1799 gave freedom to all children born of slaves 
upon reaching the age of 28 for males, and 21 for females. So Gerrit 
Smith knew of slavery, but only in a mild form, yet he early formed 
strong anti-slavery sentiments. In 1828 he attended the State Convention 
held to nominate a President of the United States. In his masterly and 
brilliant manner he addressed this convention and made mention of 
slavery in a way not over insistent. In 1834 an Anti-Slavery Society 
was organized in Peterboro, and it may be said that from that date 
"the fight was on," and the next twenty-six years of his life he was 
devoted to the downtrodden negro. 

In all ways he rendered assistance, not only by generous contributions 
from his purse, but in organizing effectively a system of secreting and 
of rendering aid to the runaway slave. These efforts grew into what 
was known as the underground railroad, of which he was the leading 

But it was not in philanthropic work that he most assisted the cause. 
As a speaker and as a writer he became as well known as William 
Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. While attending a dinner in 
Syracuse of the Liberty Party, October 1, 1831, the fire alarm sounded 
the news that a black man had been captured under the "Fugitive Slave 
Law." The slave, one Jerry McHenry, was being arraigned when lie 
broke loose and fled. He was easily captured. That evening a mighty 
roar was heard in the streets of Syracuse. It was an opportune time 
for the Liberty Party. Gerrit Smith was in the front of the mob that 
drove a battering ram through the jail door. The prisoner, believing 
his time had come, was dragged forth and put into a carriage. As 
money was thrust into his hands a great voice bade him seek freedom 
from the laws of oppression in Canada. 

In passing, let me here interject that in the same city nearly two 
years before, Gerrit Smith had been publicly mobbed while on his way 
to attend an abolitionist meeting. 

In 1852 he was elected to congress. This was not his advent into poli- 
tics. The Industrial Congress put him in nomination for President in 
1848. The Land Reformers nominated him again for President in 1856. 
In 1858, while yet in congress, he was nominated for Governor of New 
York by the Anti- Slavery Party. 

All this time he was teaching, preaching and writing the doctrine of 
anti-slavery, or, as he put it, his object was "the creation of a public 
sentiment that would demand the abolition of slavery." He was invited 
everywhere to speak. His diary contains a copy of a letter from CJiarles 
Sumner, written in 1835, inviting him to address a mass meeting in 

He stood alone and worked out his own theories and methods. These 


constantly brought to him many criticisms and denunciations. What 
he advocated seemed impossible to the masses. Many looked upon him 
as one deluded by a single idea. Thurlow Weed denounced him "as one 
wildly possessed of one idea," that "he lived for nearly thirty years of 
his life in a state of political hallucination," that "his mind had hovered 
on the brink of insanity for more than a quarter of a century." 

The Kansas-Missouri warfare was seized upon by him as an oppor- 
tunity for action. Everywhere he went he upheld the principles of anti- 
extension of slavery. One of these speeches was made before the joint 
session of the legislature at Albany. Referring to the border warfare he 
said: "To no man living is so much praise due for beating back the 
tide of border ruffianism and slavery as to my old and dear friend, John 
Brown of Osawatomie." This tribute to John Brown was sincere, and 
if here Gerrit Smith thought of future plans in which John Brown as a 
tool loomed large, it can be justly laid to this devotion to his cause 
rather than to reason. To Gerrit Smith, John Brown was "the sword 
of the Lord and Gideon." 

Smith's friendship for John Brown dates from April, 1848, when Brown 
purchased the land among the colored portege of the former in Essex 
county. Both were abolitionists. One was a dreamer, the other prac- 
tical. Both were brave. So it is little wonder that Harper's Ferry 
followed closely on the border warfare, nor that it grew mutually out of 
their meditations. 

Visionary John Brown, fresh from the conquest of Kansas, grim 
humored and grave, fanatical and fearless, was just the man to connive 
with Gerrit Smith, brilliant, sound, and likewise fearless. Smith, as his 
diary attests, had in July, 1857, sent John Brown money for his needs. 
Brown, the following February, in 1858, called on Gerrit Smith and re- 
mained a week. He was there again in April of the same year, again 
two weeks later. At this last visit Brown addressed a meeting in 
Peterboro in which he told the story of his exploits in carrying slaves 
from Missouri to Kansas, and asked for funds to continue the work. 
Smith headed the subscription with four hundred dollars, and followed 
it with a speech in which he said: *Tf I were asked to point out the 
man in all this world I think most truly a Christian, I would point out 
John Brown." 

The plan evolved and finally agreed upon later as to a way by which 
slavery would be eliminated was as follows: In a place remote in some 
State bordering upon the slave holding State, a purchase of a large tract 
was to be made. To this would be bidden the entire slave population of 
the south, as well as the military of the United States to assist, to give 
them arms to defend themselves against State and governmental troops, 
keeping open a way of escape to the north, but working steadily to the 
south. In time it was hoped that the slaves would be entirely redeemed 
in this way. The conspirators were not unmindful of the consequences, 
the years of time it would take the insurrection, nor of the bloodshed it 
entailed. But believing themselves guided by a Divine Providence, 


and that the ends justified the means, they continued. No discourage- 
ment was in sight, no shadow crossed their plans. Enthusiasm dis- 
pelled thought of the consequences. Finally a draft of the plan was 
written out in the home of Frederick Douglass at Rochester, in January, 

Thus was laid the scheme that resulted in Harper's Ferry, that pre- 
cipitated the Civil War and brought freedom to four millions of blacks. 
Several men, including Theodore Parker, were invited to a conference 
at Peterboro to discuss plans; only one came, F. W. Sanborn by name, 
whose articles in the "Atlantic Monthly" a decade and a half later, con- 
firmed the suspicion already firmly fixed that Gerrit Smith contributed 
his brain and wealth to John Brown's fanatical scheme. 

On this occasion Smith said to Mr. Sanborn: "Our friend John Brown 
has made up his mind to this course of action and cannot be turned 
from it. We cannot give him up to die alone, we must stand by him." 

In Maj' of the next year Smith held a secret meeting in his room in 
the Revere House in Boston, at which the situation was discussed and 
on account of threatening disclosures the execution of the plan post- 
poned to the next year. Money had already been raised and rifles pur- 

Buchanan's Secreary of War, Mr. Floyd, received a letter from a 
traitorous person who was aware of the project, but John Brown to 
Floyd was not a menacing proposition, and no attention was given the 

Preceding the attack on Harper's Ferry, Brown and his little band 
went south and for a time stayed at Chambersburg. That Gerrit Smith 
was a party to what was proposed is further strengthened by the fact 
that John Brown here received money from Smith, and when arrested 
later at Harper's Ferry, a check for one hundred dollars drawn by 
Gerrit Smith on the State Bank at Albany was found on his person. 
Many other instances, tending to prove the implication of Gerrit Smith, 
to prove that his hand guided, that his means financed John Brown's 
raid, might be given. The miscarriage of the plan and the outcome of 
the capture of the arsenal at Harper's Ferry are too well known to here 
recite. Consternation held the land in its grasp. The audacity of the 
conspirators was amazing. Public sentiment first aghast, turned toward 
acrimony and vindication. During the hue and cry F. B. Sanborn 
escaped to Canada, as also did Frederick Douglass, while Theodore 
Parker found that the climate of Europe was beneficial to his health. 
Gerrit Smith stayed at home and bore the brunt of the attack. So 
great was the calumny heaped upon him that his house was guarded 
night and day, and he and his family went about armed. 

The hanging of John Brown as a traitor so shocked the acute sensi- 
bilities of Gerrit Smith that he lost his reason and for a time reposed 
in the State asylum at Utica. His enemies accused him of cowardice 
and claimed that his insanity was feigned, and that fear of a fate 
similar to John Brown's formed a pretext for his insanity. Three 



months later, after the fury had spent itself, he was back at his 
home in Peterboro, a man broken in health but not in spirit. Years 
afterward he published the voluminous correspondence to prove that 
the knowledge he had of John Brown's intentions was superficial, that 
he had no thought as to the extent to which Brown would go. He 
brought suit against newspapers which had implicated him and pursued 
his persecutors with tireless energy. But in no place can it be found 
where he directly denied being the financial backer, the brains and 
the motive power of John Brown's insurrection. 

The Civil War which followed undoubtedly brought to him keenest 
satisfaction. Addressing a meeting nine days after the attack on Fort 
Sumter he said: "The end of slavery is at hand. That it is to end in 
blood does not surprise me." His great kindness of heart showed forth 
in the closing words of that address: "The armed men who go south 
go more in sorrow than in anger. They must still love the south, con- 
quer her and most completely do both for her sake and our own." 

The close of the war brought to him great peace and joy. In com- 
mon with Horace Greeley and many broad-minded citizens of the north, 
he signed Jefferson Davis' bail bond. 

Nothing he wrote or said was ever more prophetic or more beautiful 
than his tribute to John Brown, written in a letter to Frederick Douglass 
in 1867: "Men begin to ask why a monument to John Brown has not 
been built. The day for building John Brown's monument has not 
come. It will be built where stood his gallows, and it would not yet be 
welcome there. Its base will be broad and its shaft will pierce the 
skies. But the appreciation of his sublime character is not yet suffi- 
ciently just and widespread to call for the rearing of such a structure. 
In executing this work of love and admiration, southern hands will 
join with northern hands. In rendering this tribute to the grandest 
man of the age, southern zeal will not fall behind northern zeal. In- 
deed it may well be expected that the generous and ardent south will, 
ere the cool and calculating north is ready to do so, confess the enor- 
mous crime of the nation against the black man. But the north and the 
south will both come right. They will repent of having for generations 
trodden out the life of the black man. And then they will love each 
other. And then God will make them the happiest nation on earth. 
Blessed, indeed, will be the the day which shall witness these things. 
Then John Brown's day will have come, and then will John Brown's 
monument be built." 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society May 13, 1911. 

Little is on record of who was the first white inhabitant where now 
is the Cdty of Little Falls. It is known that a colony of German Pala- 
tines settled a short distance from the city in the year 1722, and before 
the Revolution there were many Germans in all directions from Little 
Palls, but there was only one habitable dwelling and a gristmill within 
the present city limits. This mill and dwelling was erected in the 
year 1725. 

History tells us that about the year 1739 a tract of land was granted 
by the Crown to Jacob Glen, which consisted of 25,000 acres and con- 
tained the eastern portion of the town of Herkimer, the southern half 
of Fairfield and all of Little Falls north of the Mohawk River. In 1770 
about eight thousand acres, comprising most of Little Falls south of the 
Mohawk River, was granted to John Vaughn and others. History also 
tells us that the lands south of the Mohawk River on the site of Little 
Palls was a part of a patent granted to John Joast Herchkeimer and 
another person in the year 1752, known as the Fall Hill Patent, and the 
lands on the north side of the river were embraced in the Burnettsfield 
Patent granted in 1725 to John Joast Petrie. 

In the early history of Little Falls it was known by native Indians by 
various names, some of which were "Ostenrogan," meaning Under the 
Rock; "Ta la que ga," small bushes; "Astenrogan," swift water; "As- 
teroga," and various other names; and it was called by the early white 
navigators, "Little Carrying Place," presumably on account of being 
obliged to carry their boats and traps around the rapids. It was named 
by Sir Henry Moore, a colonial Governor of New York State in 1768, 
"Canajoharie Falls." It has retained its present name from the time 
of its first settlement except for a period of about two years (1850 to 
1852) when it was named "Rockton." 

The first settlers were undoubtedly attracted to this site by its ad- 
vantages as to water power rather than its scenic beauty; and in this 
they builded better than they anticipated, for from a scenic viewpoint 
it excels in beauty any section in the Mohawk Valley. The graceful 
winding of the river as it comes into the city from the west as calm and 



peaceful as a lake, then as it reaches the immense dams, (used for power 
and canal feeders) and dashes over the rocks below, cannot fail to im- 
press one with the great power and strength of water; and again, when 
you look to the east, as it leaves the city, and see it gently threading 
its way (after its battle with the rocks) between the mighty hills on 
each side, of which on the north are the foothills of the Adirondacks 
and on the south the foothills of the Catskill mountains, it is a sight 
such as can only be seen in this beautiful Mohawk Valley and has at- 
tracted travelers interested in nature's grandeur from great distances. 

The old gristmill and dwelling which was erected in the year 1725 was 
destroyed by fire during the Revolution in June, 1782, and was all of 
Little Falls at that time. The destroying force was a party of Indians 
and Tories and was of the same cruel and fiendish character which 
marked similar occurrences throughout the Mohawk Valley. This mill 
was of great importance to all settlers in the vicinity and an absolute 
necessity to the garrisons at Forts Herkimer and Dayton. In the build- 
ing at the time of the raid were about eighteen persons, seven of whom 
were soldiers from the garrison. The men were not prepared for an as- 
sault and offered little resistance; two of the soldiers escaped and five 
were taken prisoners. In the few shots fired Daniel Petrie was killed. 
When the Indians entered the mill the occupants tried to escape; two 
of the men secreted themselves in the raceway under the water wheel 
and probably escaped death; two others jumped in the open raceway, 
but the light from the burning mill disclosed their hiding place and they 
were captured. 

About the first settler of note that we have a record of is John Por- 
teous, the Scotch pioneer of Little Falls. From papers which were pos- 
sessed by the late William G. Milligan it appears Porteous was a man 
of considerable ability. He left Scotland in 1761, was in the Indian 
trade near Detroit about ten years, and returned to Scotland in 1784. 
About a year later he returned to New York and settled in Little Falls 
in 1790. He rebuilt the gristmill and erected a few dwellings. The 
mill was located on the river near the old Inland Navigation Canal, 
where the Dettinger sawmill is at present, and was fed by Furnace 
Creek. The yellow house (the first dwelling) occupied by Porteous 
stood on the west side of Furnace Street near Elizabeth Street. John 
Porteous was very active in building the first canal. It was said he 
was musical. He was a Ward McAllister of his day, very gallant when 
occasion arose, an extremely profane person, but he could entertain the 
circuit preacher and would drink Scotch toddy as long as the supply 

In the year 1801 a noted missionary by the name of Rev. Caleb Alex- 
ander made a trip across the State, stopping on his way back at Little 
Palls. His object may have been to improve the morals of the people, 
but I am inclined to think it was for the purpose of criticism and to 
allow the impression to reach the English people that in the vast terri- 
tory which had recently been their possession, morally the inhabitants 


were incapable of self-ffovernment. The following is taken from his 
observations of Little Falls: 

"Nov. 1801 Monday 23rd, set out from Fairfield on my journey home- 
ward, cold weather, rode south seven miles to the Little Falls with a 
view of taking a boat at falls down the river to Schenectady. Found 
the river covered with ice, then rode up the river seven miles to (Jerman 
Flatts to take the stage, finding that the stage did not run until to- 
morrow, I crossed the Mohawk to Herkimer Court House, two miles. 
Around Little Falls the country is hilly and very rocky, near the river 
on the northern bank are seven locks and a canal for conveyance of 
boats. Here is a village of forty house, several merchant stores, me- 
chanical shops and a new meeting house of octagon construction. The 
people are principally English and they seldom have preaching. The 
place abounds in vice, especially profanity. Since my arrival on the 
river I have heard more swearing, horrid oaths and imprecations than 
in ten years past. They fell chiefly from the lips of boatmen (on the 
river.) In some taverns were English and Dutch farmers, drinking and 
swearing, and the English appeared the most abandoned. They regard 
not the presence of a clergyman, for the dominie drinks and swears as 
much as the common people." 

This was a frightful state of affairs, if true, and is positive proof that 
the view of the optimist is correct that the morals of the i>eople have 
vastly improved in Little Falls since 1801. 

The population of the village at the beginning of the eighteenth cen- 
tury was about six hundred; for a number of years after, the gain was 
small, principally on account of the lands being owned and controlled 
by a man named Alexander Ellice. The policy adopted by him to secure 
a revenue from his lands and water was repulsive to the American 
idea of fair dealing among men in real estate, and was in part the 
cause for which the people of the colonies had fought to free their 
country. The lots were leased in perpetuity with a rental value of 
three milled Spanish dollars a year; in the leases the people were not 
allowed to sell goods or merchandise, as this was reserved for EUice's 
agents. The water power was neither sold nor leased. Upon the death 
of Alexander Ellice in the year 1808, the property descended to his chil- 
dren. Among them was Edward Ellice, who acquired the interests of 
the other heirs and he continued the methods used by his father. The 
policy could not be otherwise than detrimental to the growth of the 
village. It was in the year 1820 when the first parcel of land was sold 
for a fulling mill, and again in 1824 another was sold to Sprague & 
Dann for a paper mill; after 1831 numerous other parcels were sold and 
the village began to grow. 

In the year 1811, upon the petition of William Alexander and others, 
the legislature of the State granted a village charter to Little Falls; 
it took effect on the 30th day of March, one hundred years ago. It did 
not receive the approval of the people; it was very limited in giving 
power to trustees to designate or lay out streets, or other needed im- 


provements; to be eligible for trustee one had to be a freeholder, and 
this grave Edward Ellice and his agents absolute control of the govern- 
ment. It is difficult to understand why the early historians have not 
recorded acts or functions performed under this charter of 1811. Evi- 
dently there is a space of about sixteen years that is a blank, officially, 
as far as the village of Little Falls is concerned. We know there was 
a charter, but who the first president or trustees were, or what acts they 
performed for sixteen years, there is nothing on record to tell. 

Judge Benton, who was a prominent citizen at this time, writes in his 
history that a "charter was granted in 1811, but was of little value." 
There must have been a form of government, for under the charter of 
1827 among the first resolutions of the new trustees was one adopting 
the seal used by the former board. After about fifteen years of this go- 
as-you-please form of government the citizens became thoroughly 
aroused and demanded a better charter. The agents and attorneys of 
Mr. Ellice were very influential at this time and bitter feeling existed 
against them among the villagers. They, taking notice of this state 
of affairs and becoming alarmed, allowed a new charter to be consid- 
ered. Accordingly in 1826 a public meeting was held for that purpose; 
only a few were allowed to see the proposed new charter, and when 
those at the meeting discovered that freeholders only were to be allowed 
to be voted for as trustees there was intense feeling against the Ellices. 
Judge Sanders Lansing was chairman of the meeting; he abandoned 
the chair in disgust and the meeting broke up in a row. The next year, 
1827, Judge Benton presented a new charter to the legislature providing 
that a majority of the trustees should be freeholders and giving the 
trustees "power to open streets which had been dedicated to public use 
as laid down in map made in 1811." 

The following was the notice issued for the first election: 
"We, the undersigned Justices of the Peace residing in the territory 
of the Village ©f Little Falls, do hereby certify, that, at an election held 
at the old Stone School House in said village on the twenty-ninth day 
of May A. D., 1827, pursuant to public notice given for that purpose ac- 
cording to the provisions and directions of the act incorporating said 
village passed at the last session of the legislature of this State, Na- 
thaniel S. Benton was duly elected President of the Village of Little 
Palls for the ensuing year, and that Christopher P. Bellinger, Wm. 
Girvan, Sanders Lansing, James Sanders, Gould Wilson and John Mc- 
Michael were duly elected Trustees of said village for the ensuing year. 
That Robert Stewart, Jacob Osborn and John Phillips were duly elected 
fire wardens in said village for the ensuing year; that Henry P. Alex- 
ander was duly elected Treasurer of said village for the ensuing year 
and that Jeremiah Eaton was duly elected collector in said village for 
the ensuing year. And we do further certify that the inhabitants of 
said village, did at said annual meeting vote that the sum of one hun- 
dred dollars should be raised by a tax upon the taxable inhabitants of 
said village the ensuing year to defray the contingent expense thereof. 


Given under our hands this 29th day of May A. D., 1827. Signed William 
Brooks and C. P. Bellinger." 

It will be noted that the first budget was one hundred dollars and by 
resolution of the board of trustees the bond of the collector was fixed 
at two hundred dollars. 

The first meeting was held at H. Holmes' Hotel, and a committee 
was appointed to examine grocery and victualing houses; at the next 
meeting the committee reported and the president was authorized to 
grant licenses to several persons in relation to groceries, ordinaries and 
victualing houses the cost of which was about six dollars each. 

The seal was adopted in the following manner: 

"Be it ordained by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Little 
Falls, that the seal used by the former Trustees of said Village with 
the following device and words, to wit: Little Falls Corporation upon a 
circle, with a plough, a sheaf, a rake and scythe in the center, shall be 
and the same is hereby adopted as the common seal of this corpora- 

Under the new charter the power of the board of trustees was very 
liberal. Among some of the things they authorized were to regulate 
the size and quality of bread, to keep hay scales and regulate the price 
to be charged for weighing, etc. The new village could not be extrava- 
gant in its expenditure of public money, as the charter provided that the 
budget could not exceed three hundred dollars. 

To Nathaniel S. Benton, the first president of the village, great credit 
should be given, not only for wise guidance of the village government 
in trying times, but also the people of Herkimer county are indebted to 
him for much valuable information as to our early history, written and 
published by him in Benton's History of Herkimer County. He was 
born in New Hampshire, February 19, 1792, served as a warrant officer 
at the battle of Plattsburg in 1814, and was admitted to the bar in 
1817; was the first president of the village, 1827 and 1828. He was the 
first judge of the county, 1832 to 1835. In 1836 he was nominated by 
the Democratic party for state senator for a term of four years and be- 
fore his term expired he was appointed United States District Attorney 
for northern New York. He was appointed Secretary of State in 1846. 
Throughout his life he was deeply interested in public affairs, so much 
so that he devoted little of his time to his profession. He died June 19, 

About four years after the village charter was in force the Ellices 
decided it would be well for them to dispose of their property. Much 
of it was bought by Richard Ray Ward. Peter Gansevoort and James 
Monroe. Immediately the village began to prosper and expand. Among 
the first acts of the trustees was to form a fire department consisting of 
eighteen men; a few buckets were purchased and a claim was audited 
of six dollars and fifty cents for two ladders for use of the fire de- 

The population of the village was three thousand in the year 1842. 



That winter experienced a great temperance revival and over one thou- 
sand signed the pledge. The same year occurred a freshet which car- 
ried many houses down the river. Apparently the temperance wave did 
not have use for all the available water. In 1850, after much discussion, 
the name of the village was changed to Rockton. The advocates of the 
change argued that the village had become of sufficient importance to 
have a name of its own, and not longer exist under the title given the 
town. The change was made, notwithstanding the opposition of the 
old€r citizens, who believed a change unnecessary. In less than a year 
the change proved unpopular, and in 1852 the village was again Little 

At the beginning of the Civil War the village was in a flourishing 
condition; there was great activity in building and general prosperity 
could be seen throughout the village. This, of course, was changed as 
the great struggle for the preservation of the union advanced. Little 
Falls was the center of military activities of the county, her citizens 
gave freely of their time and means for the success of the cause, and 
when the veterans who survived the ordeal returned to their families 
and friends in September, 1865, they received a welcome such as can 
only be described by those who witnessed it. 

In March, 1865, the greatest destruction of property by water oc- 
curred that Little Falls ever experienced. A great many dwellings and 
buildings were carried down the Mohawk River. Mill Street, Elizabeth 
Street and Bridge Street were many feet under water. At the time a 
large four-story, stone mill two hundred feet long, which had just been 
completed, and much machinery which had not been uncrated, went 
down the stream. 

At the close of the war the village resumed its business activities. It 
was the hub of agricultural and manufacturing industries of central 
New York, and notably the cheese sold on the Little Falls market began 
to attract the attention of the buyers of that article all over the world. 

Cheese was made in Herkimer county as early as 1800. The first 
regular buyer of cheese was Ferris & Nesbeth, coming to this county 
about 1820 from Massachusetts; at that time the largest herds number- 
ing about forty cows each, were owned by four men in the northern 
part of the county. The above named firm had a monopoly of the cheese 
trade, when in 1826 Mr. Harry Burrell of Salisbury, later of Little Falls, 
started in the business. He at once became a large factor in the trade; 
by offering the farmers an advance over the figures of the Massachu- 
setts firm, in a short time he had control of the trade. Mr. Burrell was: 
the first person in the country to open up a trade with the English 
market, which was in 1830. Soon after he became the principal dealer 
in dairy goods in central New York, and often purchased the entire 
product of cheese made in the United States. Up to the year 1857 
cheese was made entirely by individual farmers; at that time Mr. Jesse 
Williams of Oneida county conceived the idea of the factory system. 



The first factory was erected by Avery & Ives at Salisbury, and proved 
a success. The number of cows in Herkimer county sending milk to 
the factories in 1875 was 34,070, and the number of factories 88, 
all of which was sold in Little Falls. In 1861 the dealers began to meet 
in Little Falls. A short time previous Samuel Ferry of New York, 
formerly of Herkimer county, had attempted to control the export 
trade and, as usual in such cases, he made a failure of it, carrying with 
him many prominent dealers and farmers. Monday was selected as 
market day and seller and buyer found it of mutual advantage; cheese 
could be sold for cash or nearly so and in the future avoid the liability 
of financial difficulties just experienced. Monday, or market day, in 
Little Falls soon became known to the cheese trade throughout the 
world. Hundreds of farmers, each with his wagon loaded with cheese 
waiting to be unloaded at the freight house, could be seen on the street; 
buyers from New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and occasion- 
ally shippers from England could be seen examining, testing and bidding 
for the load. 

In 1864 the weekly reports of Little Falls market, then as well as a 
long time after the largest interior market in the world, were published 
in all the leading newspapers. The quantity sold on the market in 1865 
was 16,808,352 pounds, and butter, 313,756 pounds. The above figures 
were about the same for a number of years after. 

Until 1871 the cheese and butter market at Little Falls had been 
transacted on the street, and early in January steps were taken to or- 
ganize a Dairy Board of Trade for the State. A meeting was called and 
largely attended by leading dairymen. Judge Geo. A. Hardin was chair- 
man of this meeting. The association was formed under the name of 
the "New York State Dairymen Association and Board of Trade." 

This was the first dairymen board of trade organized on the continent. 
Soon after similar associations were organized in Elgin, 111., and Utica, 
N. Y. The first president was Professor X. A. Willard, who was per- 
haps the most widely-known writer and lecturer on dairy subjects in 
the United States; his lectures and essays on dairying are considered 
and quoted as authority. In 1866 Mr. Willard traveled in England, 
Scotland, Ireland, France and Switzerland, observing European methods 
and lecturing on dairying. In 1869 he wrote works for the Royal Agri- 
cultural Society of England. During his lifetime he delivered addresses 
on agricultural topics at fairs in nearly all the States in the union. 
Much is due to Mr. Willard for the high standard of cheese made in 
Herkimer county and its great reputation abroad. He died suddenly on 
his farm near Little Falls and at the time was engaged in writing an 

White Little Falls today does not show the outward appearance of 
article on the dairy for the Encyclopedia Britannica, his last work, 
the great activity in the cheese trade that it did some years ago, caused 
mostly by better facilities for transportation and nearer shipping points 
for factories, it still ranks as one of the largest inland markets, ex- 
ceeded perhaps by not more than two places namely, Elgin, 111., and 
Utica, N. Y. 



As heretofore stated, the water power was the attraction for settlers 
to locate at Little Falls, and the gristmill was the first use made of this 
power. Shortly after 1800 a sawmill was built adjacent to the grist- 
mill. The sawmill was owned and operated for a great many years by 
D. W. Ladue, and at present by Jacob Dettinger. The next use of water 
for mill purposes was on the south side in 1810. Gen. Christopher Bel- 
linger erected a grist and sawmill, and later a distillery was connected 
with the gristmill. 

About 1840 these buildings were torn down and a stone factory four 
stories high was built on its site for a cotton manufactory, operated by 
Garner & Go. It is now in possession of Whitman Bros, and used for 
the manufacture of knit goods. At one time Little Falls was noted for 
its manufacture of fine woolens and its beginning was in the Mohawk 
Mills situated on West Mill and South Ann Streets. The original fac- 
tory was built by Stephen Brown about 1842. In 1852 the firm of S. B. 
Stitt & Co. operated it and continued for fifteen years, after which John 
Stitt was in possession. Much was due to the Mohawk Mills for the 
prosperity of the village, as it employed about three hundred people, a 
large number for that time, and the reputation and quality of its 
woolens was known throughout the country. The woolens from this 
mill were sold on a commission basis by the firm of A. T. Stewart & Co., 
New York. About the year 1874 Mr. Stitt was notified by this firm that 
the goods from their mill had been accumulating in the warehouses for 
a long time without a market for their sale; as all manufactured goods 
were continually dropping in price for a number of years after the war, 
this unexpected intelligence was more than Mr. Stitt could stand and 
the outcome of it was that A. T. Stewart & Co. secured this fine mill 
property, using the same method which had given them control of sev- 
eral other mills throughout the State. I mention the above fact for the 
purpose of showing that after nearly a half century on the same spot 
is now one of the large MacKinnon Mills, and how history has repeated 
itself and that a similar occurence has deprived Little Falls of one of 
Its most progressive and public-spirited manufacturers. 

The principal industry in Little Falls today is the manufacture of knit 
underwear and sweater coats and jackets the Robert Mackinnon Co. 
and the Gilbert Knitting Company being two of the largest and most 
complete plants in central New York. Altogether there are about 3,500 
people employed in the knitting mills, with a daily capacity of 5,000 

The manufacture of dairy implements and machinery by the D. H. 
Burrell & Co. plant is a large factor in the commercial activities of the 
city. In this large establishment is manufactured nearly every article 
needed by the dairyman to lessen labor and reduce the cost of produc- 
tion of milk product. The latest invention brought out by this firm, 
after years of research, is the famous milking machine, and it has 
proved a wonderful success; it is bound to revolutionize the method of 
conducting a dairy farm. 



Among the many manufacturing plants are ten knitting mills, three 
shoddy mills, two box and case factories, one foundry, one bicycle, two 
knitting machinery shops, three paper mills, one tannery, two cold 
storage and warehouses, one felt shoe factory, and numerous other 
smaller manufacturing plants. 


The first edifice used for religious purposes was built about the year 
1796, but was not completed to be occupied at all seasons of the year 
until 1818. It was built octagon shape, situated on a beautiful piece of 
sloping ground on CJiurch Street. It soon was named the "Pepper Box" 
and looked very much like its name from a distance. It was what might 
be called the universal church of its day, for it was of no particular de- 
nomination; it was recorded that the Episcopal Society used it in 1824, 
and was lastly used by the Catholics in 1842, after which it was torn 
down and a brick school house erected in its place. 

The first sectarian church society formed in Little Falls was the 
Presbyterian, when in 1812 six persons organized a church and a year 
later elders were chosen. The first Episcopal services in Little Falls 
were in 1820 at the Octagon church; in 1823 the vestry of Emmanuel 
church was incorporated with N. S. Benton and George H. Feeter war- 
dens. While the Methodist church did not have a church organization 
until 1832, it is known that preaching of that faith occurred as early as 
1789, and frequently after that date; a bishop visited Little Falls in 

The Baptist church was organized in 1829 and the first church was 
built in 1832. St. Paul's Universalist church was incorporated in 1851, 
and the German Evangelical church in 1857. 

The first Catholic church was erected on John street in 1847, and was 
a frame building. During the building of the railroad and Erie Canal 
it is recorded that various Catholic clergrymen visited Little Falls and 
conducted services, but there was no resident priest until 1847. The 
church was dedicated the same year and named St. Mary's. This 
church was burned and a large brick church was erected in 1869 on 
Alexander street. It was condemned as unsafe, and the present beau- 
tiful stone edifice on John Street was completed in 1878. The Catholic 
people have one of the finest parochial properties of any religious so- 
ciety in this section, with their school, sisters' home, deanery and 
church, a grroup of buildings the city is proud of. 

The first school house was erected over a hundred years ago and 
was of stone construction. It is used now as a tenant house and is a 
splendid example of masonry of that time. It is situated on Church 
Street to the rear of The Richmond hotel. The first teacher of record 
was Elijah Case. It is reported that he had no need of a physical cul- 
ture teacher while he was drilling into the minds of the youngsters of 
that day the three subjects necessary for education, namely — reading. 



writing and arithmetic. He believed that to spare the rod would spoil 
the child, and dealt with his pupils accordingly. The academy was 
built in 1845, at the corner of Alexander and East Main Streets. About 
ten years ago it was torn down and the present high school erected at 
a total cost of about $125,000. Little Falls has a fine school on Church 
Street, and also one on Jefferson Street. St. Mary's parochial school 
was erected at a cost of $35,000, and ground has been broken this year 
to double its capacitj'. The improvements will cost $45,000. 


The first hotel, or inn, was located where the Porter building now 
stands, and in the days of the stage coach was managed for a time by 
John McKenster, H. Holmes and others. The Richmond, corner of Main 
and Ann Streets, was originally built by Eben Britton for a residence; 
it was repaired by N. S. Benton and used as a hotel, and called the 
Benton House. A few years later it was increased in size and called 
the Girvan, and about ten years ago it assumed the name of The Al- 
lerton. The building was torn down three years ago and the present 
beautiful Richmond was erected in its place, which is the pride of the 
city. Little Falls has several other hotels, namely, the Metropolitan, 
Rockton, etc., which are well managed. 


There are two excellent and prosperous national banks. The National 
Herkimer County Bank, with capital stock of $250,000, David H. Burrell, 
president, and George D. Smith, cashier; and the Little Falls National 
Bank, capital stock $100,000, L. O. Bucklin, president, and F. G. Teall, 
cashier. . 


The first newspaper published in Little Falls was called the "Peoples' 
Friend;" was first issued in 1821, was Democratic in politics and was 
edited by Edward M. Griffin. After ten years the name was changed to 
the "Mohawk Courier" and controlled by Chas. B. Benton & Co. In 
1856 Mr. Allen W. Eaton came into full possession of the paper and po- 
litically it espoused the cause of the new political party, called Republi- 
can. The paper changed hands in 1861 when Mr. Eaton sold to Wm. Ayer 
and T. S. Brigham. They conducted it until 1864, when it was purchased 
by Jean R. Stebbins, who was then the owner of the Journal, and the 
two papers were consolidated under the name of The Journal and Courier. 

The Herkimer County Journal was removed from Herkimer in 1849 
by Orlando Squires. In 1858 X. A. Willard assumed editorial control of 
the paper and Daniel Ayer was business manager. Mr. Ayer died in 
1861 and Jean R. Stebbins purchased the paper from the widow and 
formed the consolidation as stated above. In 1866 George G. Stebbins 
was admitted to partnership, and in 1883 Ivan T. Burney secured an 
interest. In 1889 J. R. Stebbins sold his interest to his partners, who 
have conducted it up to the present year, when the business was in- 



corporated under the name of "The Journal and Courier Company," and 
G. L. Dussault was taken in the firm. 

Mr. Jean R. Stebbins was an able and forcible writer, particularly on 
political subjects, and during the early struggle of the Republican 
party his journal exerted a powerful influence throughout Herkimer 
county. With Mr. Ivan T. Burney in the editorial chair the high stand- 
ard of his predecessor has been maintained. Whenever he has thought 
his party has been in error on many matters political he has been free 
and fearless in stating his views, but at all times fair and consistent. 

The Herkimer County News first saw light in Little Falls in 1870 and 
was published by Williams and Perkins. In 1871 this paper was pur- 
chased by Chapman and Chappie, Mr. Chapman retiring in 1874 and his 
interests were purchased by H. A. Tozer. On account of ill health Mr. 
Tozer sold his interest to Mr. Chappie in 1877. Mr. Ciiapple conducted 
the business a number of years and then Mr. N. D. Olmstead was ad- 
mitted to partnership. Upon the death of Mr. Chappie about two years 
ago, the paper became the property of Mr. Olmstead. The News in 
politics has been Democratic and for nearly forty years was ably 
edited by the late W. R. Chappie, whose sharp and ready pen was sure 
to be felt by his political opponents when engaged in debate. 

The Evening Times, the only daily in the city, wa.s founded in 1886 
as a co-operative printing company by a number of journeymen printers. 
John T. Devlin was its first editor. In 1888 it was sold to a syndicate 
and E. M. Pavey became editor. He was succeeded by J. W. Lee and 
Jay E. Klock. In June, 1891, John Crowley. Jr., assumed editorial 
charge and from that date The Times began to prosper and develop and 
soon became a factor in the business activities of the village and city. 
The policy of the paper has been independent. 

An event of great importance to the prosperity and welfare of the in- 
habitants of Little Falls occurred in the year 1885, when the people voted 
by a large majority that they should have a supply of pure and whole- 
some water, adequate for domestic, fire extinguishing and manufactur- 
ing purposes. Previous to this time water had been secured from the 
neighboring hills and carried through the village by aid of hollowed logs, 
and reservoirs were placed in each park for fire purposes. Now it was 
proposed to bring water from Beaver Brook, eight miles to the north, 
which would give ample supply for all purposes. In 1887 the system 
was completed to such an extent that all who desired water in their 
houses were accommodated. It was cause for great rejoicing among the 
people, and while at times there has been difference of opinion as to the 
needs of some of the additions to the source of supply, particularly the 
addition of Spruce Creek and Klondike reservoir some years later, all 
are agreed that Little Falls has a great gravity system, and consumers 
have water at very low cost for maintenance. Up to the present year 
there have been large outlays for improvements and alterations which 
only experience could have avoided. Now it is thought they are all 


corrected and the cost for maintenance in the future will be smalL The 
system has cost approximately $500,000. There have been $90,000 worth 
of bonds retired and at the present time there is $335,000 of outstanding 
bonds. The revenue derived amounts to over $30,000 yearly. A sinking 
fund has been established and it is estimated that in twenty-five years 
the bonds will be paid and the city will then derive a fine revenue from 
its water system. 


Little Falls was incorporated a city by special act May 8, 1895. The 
population at that time was 8,783. The first election for city officials 
occurred the 28th of the same month, when CJiarles King, Republican, 
received 1220 votes for mayor; John McCauley, Democrat, 954, and D. 
J. Tittle, People's Party, 51; King's majority being 215. The young city 
started with bright prospects for the future. The framers of the 
charter builded well, as it is recognized as being one of the best of 
any city in the State. The Mayor, Common Council, Treasurer, Re- 
corder, Justices, Assessors, three members of the Board of Education 
and two Supervisors are elected. The members of the various boards 
are appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, and must be 
equally divided between the two dominant political parties. The wis- 
dom of this method has been fully demonstrated. The city has been 
well governed, all employees are under civil service, police and firemen 
are appointed from the eligible list and can be removed for cause only. 

The method of collecting taxes and assessing property is superior to 
the laws used by many cities and towns. Taxes are collected very 
promptly and it is impossible for the city to have back taxes that are 
a year in arrears. In this it will be noted the city is a long way in 
advance of the neighboring towns and cities. 

On account of the hilly character of the streets of Little Falls the cost 
of maintaining the highway is expensive. The city has about twenty- 
five miles of streets to care for, three of which are brick, one-half mile 
of bitulithic, ten stone macadam, and the balance gravel or dirt. This 
year considerable bitulithic pavement will be placed on the streets. 

The spirit of the public has been shown in the beautiful hospital 
which has been erected on Burwell street. It is a monument to the 
perseverence of the women who have labored so faithfully to accomplish 
the building of such a fine edifice, which is clear of debt and has cost 
about $40,000. The city appropriates $1,200 a year for a room for un- 

The bonded indebtedness of the city is $335,000 for water works, $53,- 
000 for school building, and $30,000 for paving, a total of $418,000. 

The larger part of the indebtedness is for the water system. The 
bonds are being retired from revenue derived from this source, which 
is sufficient to pay at least $10,000 per year on the principal debt after 
the interest charges and maintenance are cared for. The taxpayers have 
never paid a dollar in direct tax for this purpose. Considering the above, 
they can justly feel that it has the lowest bonded indebtedness of any 


City in the State, as well as the lowest tax rate. The budget for the 
present year is $83,000, of which the cost of maintaining the schools is 
$39,000 and the city government $44,000, at a tax of $17.85 per $1,000. 
valuation $4,600,000. 

The names of the mayors since being incorporated a city are: Charles 
King, Timothy Dasey, Hadley Jones, E. H. Kingsbury, Dr. E. H. Doug- 
las, Rugene Walrath, A. B. Santry and Timothy Dasey. The population 
of the city is at present about 13,000. Through the generosity of the 
late Judge Rollin H. Smith the city has become the possessor of his 
beautiful residence to be used as a public library. It was a noble gift, 
coming from a public-spirited and noble man. 

The history of Little Falls would not be complete without mention of 
the many beautiful parks, which are the pride of all her people, old and 
young, and saying a few words of the men, Richard Ray Ward and 
James Monroe, whose foresight and generosity made our park system 
possible. When in the year 1831 Edward Ellice, the owner of all the 
valuable property in the village, decided to dispose of his real estate, 
James Monroe and Richard Ray Ward were the principal purchasers, 
Mr. Ward coming into possession of much of the eastern portion of the 
village. The park called Ward Square, or Eastern Park, was presented 
by Mr. Ward to the children of Little Falls for a playground. Sheard 
Park on Furnace Street, the triangle lot below Church Street school, the 
school lot and playgrounds on Burwell Street, were all the gifts of Mr. 
Ward. Western Park was the gift of James Monroe, Peter Gansevoort 
and others. 

Little Falls should cherish the memory of these benefactors, and par- 
ticularly as to Richard Ray Ward, the principal donor. 

This being the centennial anniversary of the incorporation of Little 
Falls, I would suggest that the people of the city cause to be placed in 
Eastern Park a tablet or proper monument so that strangers will know 
that we appreciate our benefactor, Richard Ray Ward. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society 

September 16, 1911. 

Of the various political organizations which since the formation of 
the government have sprung into existence, there has been none which 
has rendered a greater service to the country, been less understood or 
more fiercely and unjustly maligned, than the Federal Party. 

It had its faults, as have all its successors. It made grievous mis- 
takes, for which it dearly suffered, but when all these are taken into 
consideration and weighed against the inestimable service rendered 
the country, it will be seen that the latter as greatly exceed the former 
as the light of the sun surpasses that of the palest star in the dome of 

The Federal Party, or those who afterwards shaped its policies, laid 
the foundation of our government. To it we are indebted for our pres- 
ent political system. Out of an unorganized, amorphous mass of politi- 
cal material they moulded a shapely structure, from which have radi- 
ated, in rich profusion, civic perfections and untold public blessings. 
To fully appreciate this fact we have only to consider the political 
conditions prevailing at the time the convention was called, ostensibly 
for the purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation, but really 
for the framing of the Constitution of the United States. During the 
Revolutionary War the presence of a foreign enemy upon our soil was 
the cohesive element that held together, in an apparent shape of har- 
mony, the thirteen colonies. When, by the treaty of peace in 1783, we 
were invested with the attributes of self-government, England had little 
confidence in our ability to long maintain our sovereignty, and we came 
dangerously near fulfilling her expectation; for when the hostile troops 
were withdrawn state pride developed to such an alarming degree, and 
mutual jealousies and political animosities asserted themselves with so 
much rancor, that they were fast plunging the so-called government 
into the fathomless abyss of anarchy. 

By the Articles of Confederation the Colonial Congress, which consti- 
tuted all that we possessed in the way of a central government, was 


invested with very little authority. It had no power to levy a tax and 
provide means for its self-support. It could only ask the States for 
certain sums apportioned among them in proportion to their supposed 
financial ability. The States could comply with the request of congress 
if they saw fit, but they frequently found excuses for evading it, or 
else ignored it entirely. To make a recommendation of congress ef- 
fective the consent of each State had to be secured. 

Thus in 1781, when the country was in a desperate plight for lack of 
funds with which to carry on the war, congress asked of the several 
States permission to levy an import upon goods of foreign production, 
and the little State of Rhode Island, comprising one-sixtieth of the 
entire population, flatly refused her consent, and this most salutary and 
vitally important measure failed to become effective. 

During the Revolutionary War France made to this country generous 
loans, for the payment of which, both principal and interest, the faith 
of the nation was pledged. In 1783, when interest upon the loans was 
falling due, congress again asked permission of the States to impose a 
duty upon imports that it might redeem its promises to its foreign 
creditors. The most of the States finally consented, some uncondition- 
ally and others conditionally, but New York, under the leadership of 
General Clinton, attached so many provisos to her consent as to prac- 
tically nullify the action of the other States, and again the scheme for 
raising revenue became inoperative. 

The fact is, a large proportion of the people did not care to pay their 
debts. The spirit of repudiation was rife. Legislatures, influenced by 
the debtor class, were too ready to pass laws interposing obstacles to 
the collection of debts and impairing the obligation of contracts. 

Each State could pass such laws as it saw fit regulating the issuance 
and control of currency. Thus, yielding to the clamor of the debtor 
class, who desired some easy way of meeting their obligations, seven 
States enacted measures providing for the issue of large sums of 
irredeemable paper money, which rapidly depreciated in value and to- 
tally failed to relieve the distressed condition for which it was intended. 

Massachusetts refused to resort to so puerile an expedient and it 
led to the Shay Rebellion. In New Hampshire a mob of agitators at- 
tempted to overawe the legislature and compel it to adopt this chimer- 
ical scheme for the relief of financial distresses. Her lawmakers re- 
sisted this unreasonable and senseless demand, but in obedience to the 
resistless spirit of inflation, enacted a statute making all species of 
propertj', at its appraised value, a legal tender for the payment of 
debts. Under such conditions all financial operations came to a stand- 
still. Capital dared make no venture in the field of finance, not know- 
ing what it might be compelled to accept in payment, or whether it 
would receive any consideration whatever. 

Congress, also had no power to regulate commerce. 

When Great Britain cut off our trade with the West Indies, except in 
vessels owned and manned by British subjects, congress asked for au- 


thority to regulate for a term of years all the operations of commerce 
that it might make such counter restrictions as the exigency might seem 
to require. 

Permission, however, was not granted. Massachusetts, New Hamp- 
shire and Rhode Island, acting individually, enacted retaliatory legisla- 
tion against Great Britain, while Connecticut, taking advantage of the 
attitude of her sister States, opened her ports to goods of English man- 
ufacture free of duty, but imposed a tariff of five per cent upon all 
imports from her neighboring States. New York in turn levied a duty 
upon all articles that Connecticut and New Jersey might ship within 
her borders. 

If our currency and finances were in a deplorable plight and a state 
of indescribable confusion, our commercial interests were in a condi- 
tion equally as bad. The repeated requests of congress for power to 
effect needed measures of reform were usually refused on the ground 
that permission would endanger the liberties of the people. But liberty 
without law, or wholesome restraint, is anarchy. It is an unchained 
tiger and a dangerous menance to the stability of society; indeed, we 
stood upon the very verge of anarchy, and a slightly increased degree 
of propulsion would have sent us over the brink into the dismal abyss 
of political chaos. In truth, the oft-quoted expression that the govern- 
ment was merely held together by "a rope of sand" seems peculiarly 

It was, as Pisk terms it, the most critical period in our history, not 
even excepting the dark days of rebellion when the fate of the nation 
hung quivering in the balance. It was at this juncture of affairs that 
the future leaders of the Federal Party, in a spirit of lofty patriotism, 
displaying a degree of statesmanship rarely equalled and never sur- 
passed, gave to the people that immortal instrument — the Constitution 
of the United States. 

Strictly speaking, there was no Federal Party until after the forma- 
tion of the Cvonstitution and its submission, for ratification or rejection, 
to the several States. Then those who favored its adoption were called 
Federalists, and those who opposed it were known as Anti-Federalists. 
The Anti-Federal was a short lived party. As the Constitution became 
popular, as it rapidly did, this organization passed out of existence and 
was succeeded by the Strict Constructionists, States Rights Party or 
Jeffersonian Republicans, which came to be known in Gen. Jackson's 
time as Democrats, which term should be employed as being more in- 
telligible to the minds of the rising generation. 

The first national election resulted in a complete Federal victory, 
and this party found itself in full control of the new government. Its 
first legislative act was to make provision for the payment of its just 
debts and so a duty was levied upon imports that a revenue might be 
secured for that purpose and the general expenses of the government. 

The tariff act was passed in Jul5% 1789. In September of that year 
the Treasury Department was created and Alexander Hamilton, the 



greatest political genivis of the age, was appointed secretary thereof by 
President Washington. From this time onward, all the legislative meas- 
ures designed to place the new government on a firm financial basis, 
and for which the Federal Party stood sponsor, originated in the fertile 
brain of that gigantic statesman. 

His first step was to fund the national debts, which, with arrears of 
interest, amounted to about fifty-five millions of dollars. This was ac- 
complished by the issuing of six per cent bonds. There was much 
debate as to whether the domestic indebtedness should, or should not, 
be funded at its face value. Many certificates of indebtedness had so 
depreciated in value that they were worth only about twenty to twenty- 
five cents on a dollar. They were largely in the hands of those who 
had purchased them for speculative purposes and it was argued that 
they ought not to be funded at more than their actual cost to the 
holder. This procedure, however, would have imposed upon the fiscal 
agents of the government a task impracticable, if not impossible of 
performance, and, as Hamilton argued, the newly established govern- 
ment ought not to tarnish its fair fame by any species of repudiation. 
His views wisely prevailed, and the certificates of the domestic indebt- 
edness were funded at their face value. 

The proposition that the general government assume the State debts 
provoked a prolonged and acrimonious discussion. All the States in 
the prosecution of the Revolutionary War had incurred liabilities of 
greater or less magnitude. Some of the States, like Massachusetts, had 
paid little or none of this debt. Some like Virginia, which had sold off 
some of her public lands, had paid a large proportion. It was a close 
question and valid arguments could be brought to bear upon either 
side. The friends of assumption at first won out by a small majority 
in the committee of the whole. Then North Carolina, having ratified 
the Constitution and her Congressional Delegation being admitted, the 
vote was reversed. In the meantime there came before congress the 
question as to the permanent location of the National Capital. The 
northern members favored some place in Pennsylvania as Lancaster or 
Philadelphia. The southern members preferred a location on the banks 
of the Potomac. Hamilton cared very little about the location of the 
National Capital, but he did care a great deal about the assumption of 
the State debts. So he adroitly trapped Jefferson into an agreement 
whereby the latter furnished southern votes for assumption, and Ham- 
ilton in turn secured northern votes for locating the National Capital 
on the banks of the Potomac River. 

It will thus be seen that the imposing city of Washington owes its 
origin to an intrigue between the two leaders of their respective politi- 
cal parties. 

The indebtedness of the new government now amounted to not far 
from eighty millions of dollars, a stupendous sum in 1790, when the 
available resources of the country are considered, but a mere bagatelle 



at the present time, when the annual appropriations of congress exceed 
one billion of dollars. 

It may properly be asked why the Federal Party was so desirous of 
assuming so great a burden of debt. The answer is not far to seek. Every 
creditor is interested in the prosperity of the debtor, as upon that issue 
depends the payment of the debt. So every possessor of an obligation 
against the government was desirous that it should be established upon 
a firm financial basis; and for selfish reasons, if actuated by no higher 
motive, gave it a willing support. These securities, necessarily, were held 
by people of more or less wealth, men who wielded an influence in their 
respective communities. Now we may decry wealth as much as we 
please, and yet barring inherited fortunes, or those secured by some 
lucky stroke of fortune, the fact remains that it requires intelligence to 
accumulate wealth. To a great degree they go hand in hand, and so, 
to a great extent, the wealth and intelligence of the infant republic 
were constrained to yield a cordial support to the new government. 

The Federal Party, at the instigation of its great leader, next turned 
its attention to the incorporation of a United States Bank. The bill 
chartering this institution was strongly opposed by the Democrats but 
President "Washington, after weighing the arguments advanced by 
Hamilton in its favor, finally gave his consent to the measure and it 
therefore became a law. As four-fifths, or eight millions of its stock, 
was subscribed for by private individuals another contingent, intelli- 
gent and highly respectable in character, was brought to the support 
of the national government. It was believed, and the belief was well 
founded, that the bank would be of great value in handling the reve- 
nues of the government and providing the people with a stable cur- 
rency, as a United States mint was not established until two years 

It seems strange in this day and age of the world, when banks are 
considered as necessary in commercial transactions as the nervous 
system to the physical well-being of the body, that they should have 
been regarded as foci of corruption, engines of oppression and a menace 
to the liberties of the people. Yet such was the case, as a perusal of 
the pages of history, State and National, will abundantly prove. 

McMaster tells us that when the books of the United States Bank 
were opened July 4th, 1791, there were three banks in the United States, 
and ten years later their number had increased to thirty-one only. 
While valid arguments, no doubt, could be brought against the estab- 
lishment of a national bank, as the fortunate possessors of its stock 
found their holdings increased 50 per cent in value in less than a year, 
yet on the other hand, it can be safely asserted that it subserved a most 
useful purpose, assisted greatly in developing the resources of the 
country, and inaugurated a comparatively long era of prosperity. 

When in 1811 its charter expired and congress refused to re-charter, 
there supervened a financial condition almost chaotic in character, so 


that in 1816 congress, under the lead of Calhoun, was only too glad to 
pass a bill re-establishing the bank almost identical with the Hamil- 
tonian plan. Clay, who opposed re-chartering in 1811, lent active as- 
sistance in 1816, and President Madison, who lead the opposition in 
1791, affixed his signature to the measure, whereby it became a law. 
The United States Bank met its Waterloo in the person of Andrew 
Jackson who, in 1832, vetoed the bill giving it a new lease of power, 
and who subsequently caused the government deposits to be removed. 
The frightful panic of 1837 followed, resulting in the defeat of the Demo- 
cratic party in 1840, for the first time in forty years. 

The year that marked the passage of the bill chartering the United 
States Bank also gave birth to an excise act, imposing a tax upon all 
distilled spirituous liquors. At this period no tax was so universally 
execrated by the English speaking people as the excise. But the reve- 
nue was needed to defray the expenses of the government, and, accord- 
ing to Lodge, Hamilton's biographer, the secretary, in order to infuse a 
new element of strength into the government, was desirous of demon- 
strating its right and power to levy and enforce the collection of such 
a tax. The so-called Whiskey Rebellion that resulted required the 
strong arm of President Washington to quell effectually. But it taught 
the malcontents an important lesson. They learned that they were no 
longer dealing with the old Continental Congress. Their rulers were 
no longer suppliants, but masters, fully invested with power to enforce 
all legislative enactments. When we consider the vast sums daily 
pouring into the State and National treasury as the result of the excise 
system, and without so much as a whimper, it seems strange that the 
insignificant excise tax of 1791 should have encountered such fierce 
opposition. One thing, it seems to me, can be said without fear of 
contradiction, and that is, that when the Federal Party settled the ex- 
cise question beyond controversy they conferred upon their successors 
in office a great benefit and substantial advantage. 

I come now to speak of the influence exerted by the Federal Party in 
shaping the political sentiment of the nation during the last decade 
of the 18th century, when our official relations with France became 
subjected to a high degree of tension. As this constitutes a long chapter 
in our diplomatic history, only the most important issued involved in 
this controversy can receive consideration. At the present time a war 
in Europe creates in our own country only a ripple of excitement, and 
is discussed chiefly as to its probable effect upon our commerce or the 
Wall Street market. At the time of the French Revolution, however, 
it was vastly different and caused party lines to be closely drawn. On 
one side was the Democratic Party, desirous of rendering assistance to 
the French Republicans, and on the other was the Federal Party, equally 
desirous of maintaining a strict neutrality. 

Now we were under great obligations to the French nation for the 
substantial aid rendered us in our struggle for independence. The first 


treaty made by the Colonial Congress was a treaty of alliance with the 
French government in the year 1778, and in pursuance of such treaty 
France furnished us with men and means to maintain the contest with 
Great Britain. When, therefore, the French people, who with a few 
notable exceptions had for centuries been ground beneath the iron heel 
of tyranny, rose in their majesty and asserted the right of self-govern- 
ment, it was but natural that the people of one republic should sympa- 
thize with those who for good reasons were trying to establish another. 
The views entertained by the two political parties as to the proper 
course to pursue with the French nation were diametrically opposite. 
The Democrats were strongly in favor of aiding our old ally in her 
efforts to break the trammels of despotism. The Federal Party was as 
strongly opposed to any alliance whatever with that nation. The ques- 
tion now is, which party, as shown by the light of subsequent events, 
acted for the best interests of the country. While perhaps historians 
are not yet agreed upon this point, yet it must be, I think, generally 
conceded that the Federalists had the best of the argument. To aid 
France was to war against England. While that power had given us 
great provocation, had preyed upon our commerce, impressed our sea- 
men, and had not complied with the terms of the Treaty of 1783, still, 
upon the whole, it was probably better to pocket the insults and await 
a more favorable opportunity for their settlement. We were a weak, 
struggling nation, deficient in the sinews of war, and a conflict with 
Great Britain at that stage of our national existence, would have seri- 
ously imperilled the independence we had so recently achieved. Wash- 
ington, therefore, unmoved by the clamor of the so-called French Re- 
publicans, issued a proclamation of neutrality. This course was dictated 
not only by prudence and self-interest, but was fully justified by the 
subsequent developments of the revolution. The Girondists, or mod- 
erate party, who first directed the movements of the revolutionists, 
were soon displaced by the Jacobins, any political alliance with whom 
would have been a disgrace to a civilized nation. Under their sway 
liberty gave way to license, license to anarchy, and anarchy to a worse 
despotism than ever characterized the most depraved Bourbon monarch. 
The French people lay prostrate at the foot of an ignorant, unprincipled 
and bloodthirsty mob. Fair Paris became a human shambles, reeking 
with the blood of her best citizens. Innocent victims were guillotined, 
shot and drowned, until sunny France became a scene of desolation. 
It was regarded a crime by these red demons to bear an honored 
name, to possess wealth, or even to be a respected member of society. 
The trial of suspects was a vile travesty upon justice. 

The French minister, Genet, who arrived in this country two weeks 
after Washington had issued his proclamation, endeavored to bring 
prizes into our ports and to fit out privateers therein to prey upon the 
commerce of a nation with which we were then at peace, notwithstand- 
ing the known wishes of the government to maintain a strict neutrality. 


He also endeavored to raise men and money to assist his government, 
contrary to the law of nations, until his arrogant and supercillious 
conduct compelled the President to demand his recall. In the mean- 
time our ministers to France were treated with contempt, money was 
demanded as the price of negotiations until our ambassadors were com- 
pelled to leave the French capitol to save their self-respect. 

The Federalists, as it has always seemed to me, very properly claimed 
that they were the party of law and order, and that the principles ad- 
vocated by the Jeffersonian Party, so far as they concerned our diplo- 
matic relations with France, would, if put in operation, result in political 
disorder. They argued with great force that the government with which 
the treaty of 1778 was concluded no longer existed. The kind old King 
who had furnished us men and money in our sore distress had been 
brought to the block by the revolutionists who now demanded the ful- 
fillment of that compact. But it might have been further asked if 
France, in our Revolutionary struggle, acted entirely from disinterested 
motives. Were the Bourbons so imbued with the spirit of progress that 
they desired to establish a republic where none had existed, or were 
they actuated by a desire to administer a stinging blow to her old time 
enemy, England, by depriving her of her fairest colonies? The latter 
view seems to afford the only reasonable explanation, for our independ- 
ence was scarcely assured before France showed symptoms of jealousy, 
demanding to be a party to the peace treaty of 1783, and endeavoring to 
wrest from us a large slice of territory east of the Mississippi and be- 
stow it upon the Spanish monarchy. In justice to the Democratic 
Party, however, it must be said that they were not unable to adduce 
strong arguments in support of their policy. The hatred against the 
mother country, engendered by the long revolutionary struggle, had in 
no way subsided, but had, in fact, become intensified by the subsequent 
arrogant course of England in violating treaty obligations and ignoring 
the rules of international law. Prof. Bassett, in his "Federal System," 
expresses the opinion that it would have been better for American in- 
terests if Washington had assumed a firmer tone and compelled England 
to fulfill her treaty stipulations or contend against us on the field of 
battle. Still, considering our weakness as a nation, both numerically 
and financially, it must, I think, be conceded that the Federal view 
which prevailed is the one which most commended itself for prudence 
and sagacity. 

As our relations with England became strained to the highest ten- 
sion, Washington, desirous of maintaining pea.ce, sent John Jay as am- 
bassador to London to settle so far as was possible the matters in 
dispute between the two nations. Time will not permit a discussion of 
this treaty. Suffice it to say, that it was not what we deserved, and 
not what we had a right to expect; but at the same time it was a distinct 
amelioration of existing conditions. It was a concession on the part of 
England to treat with us upon any terms. Some of her statesmen re- 
garded its provisions altogether too liberal. 



Washington, after giving the subject careful consideration and acting 
upon the advice of Hamilton, gave his consent to its ratification, upon 
condition that an objectionable article relating to the West India trade 
be expunged. He was sustained by a Federal Senate, the alteration 
agreed to by the British government, and Jay's treaty became the 
supreme law of the land. As the Democrats denounced the treaty with 
unmeasured severity, all credit for its adoption must be given to the 
Federal Party, who were responsible for its inception and successful 
conclusion, and who rendered a service of great value to their country- 

I come now to speak of the cause which led to the downfall of the 
Federal Party. During the administration of John Adams, the excesses 
of the French Republicans had solidified and greatly strengthened the 
Federalists. They had the President, both houses of Congress, and, to 
all appearances, the support of a large majority of the people. Their 
future never seemed brighter, and a long lease of power apparently 
awaited them. For years they had been denounced, maligned, traduced 
and satirized. Smarting under the aspersions of their enemies they re- 
solved to take revenge. So in an evil hour they passed the Alien and 
Sedition Laws. The Alien Law clothed the President with arbitrary 
power and authorized him to send out of the country any alien whose 
presence he might deem a menace to the peace and safety of the na- 
tion. The Sedition Law punished by heavy fines and imprisonment 
any person who participated in any riotous or insurrectionary proceed- 
ing, or who should utter or publish any sentiment defamatory of the 
government, the President, or either house of Congress. It was danger- 
ous exercise of power, against which Hamilton warned his party, and 
one which the people would not tolerate. These measures, so utterly 
repugnant to t)he American sense of justice, together with the vmfortu- 
nate feud between Hamilton and President Adams, led to the complete 
overthrow of the Federal Party in the national election of 1800. The 
Federalists did not make a good minority party. Captious and cen- 
sorious to the extreme, the stand they took in opposition to the measures 
of the dominant party was usually ill-timed and ill-chosen. They 
opposed the Louisiana Purchase on the grovmd of unconstitutionality, 
and that it would destroy tihe balance of power then existing between 
the north and the south, little foreseeing that in less than half a cen- 
tury an opposite condition would exist, and that this objection would 
come from the southern and not the northern States. They opposed 
the embargo measures of Jefferson, made necessary, as he believed, by 
the Berlin and Milan decrees of Napoleon, and the Orders in Council 
by England, which interdicted our commerce between these two nations 
and their allies. 

While this procedure was probably justifiable, (as the embargo sev- 
ered all commercial relations with foreign powers and inflicted a deep 
and lasting injury upon our export trade,) it did not justify the radical 
element of the Federal Party in their threats and intrigues to break up 



the Union and erect an Eastern Confederacy. This was a contraven- 
tion of the established principles of Federalism, a practical endorsement 
of the Kentucky resolutions of 1798 which, at the time, they soundly 
denounced. Bryce, in his American Commonwealth, calls attention to 
the fact that the Constitution nowhere makes provision against the 
secession of a State. This defect the Federalists would gladly have 
remedied could they have been permitted to do so, but so distrustful 
were the States of any curtailment of their privileges, that an explicit 
declaration of this kind would have resulted in the defeat of this in- 
strument, which escaped, as it was, by a narrow margin only. 

The question of State rights and State sovereignty was, therefore, left 
in abeyance, the source of endless bickering and contention, and was 
not fully settled until Lee laid down his arms at Appomatox. 

Probably the cause which led to the total disruption of the Federal 
Party is to be found in its unpatriotic course in not sustaining the 
government in the war of 1812. England had not fulfilled her treaty 
obligations of 1783, had impressed our seamen, harrassed our commerce, 
and endeavored to awe us into abject submission to her tyrannical de- 
crees. If ever a nation deserved a severe castigation, it was she, yet 
the Federal Party bitterly opposed the war and, with a few individual 
exceptions, as in the case of Rufus King, did all in its power to em- 
barrass the administration. The last public appearance of the Feder- 
alists was in the Presidential election of 1816, when they could muster 
but thirty-five electoral votes. These were cast for Rufus King, a wor- 
thy and patriotic citizen, and the most distinguished representative of 
the party. Their work was now ended. Nothing now remained but to 
close the books, for the record was made. All in all. there was in the 
Federal Party much that was worthy of the highest commendation. It 
had attracted to its standard a large proportion of the wealth and in- 
telligence of the country. It found a nation torn by conflicting inter- 
ests, distracted by mutual jealousies, on the verge of disintegration, its 
component elements animated by repulsion and not cohesion. Out of 
these discordant elements it reared a national fabric, beautiful in design 
and majestic in its proportions. It left a nation forging ahead by leaps 
and bounds to the highest pinnacle of fame and glory. As with a ma- 
gician's wand, it touched the corpse of public credit and behold, there 
flowed through every vein and arterj' the healthful current of commer- 
cial life. It crushed the prevailing sentiment of narrow provincialism 
and developed a spirit of nationalism which knows no bounds, and re- 
joices in the prosperity of everj' section over which the stars and stripes 
cast their dancing shadows. 

Well may the record of the Federal Party be inscribed upon the 
tablets of memory, and as we contemplate its past history, now fading 
away in the misty hazes of the long ago, well may we laj' a wreath 
upon its grave, exclaiming in the vernacular of the church, 

"Requiescat in pace." 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society 

November 11. 1911. 

Near the terminus of one of the rocky spurs of the Helderbergs there 
is a quiet nook that is rich in landmarks of the past, but these land- 
marks are fast disappearing, and even the knowledge of tihese historic 
spots is half forgotten by many resident descendants of these colonial 
ancestors. If the dust of these stalwart men and heroic women who 
once inhabited this hamlet could rise and stroll again in the lanes of old 
Andrustown, not a single tablet erected to their memory would meet 
their wondering eyes. 

You, who can "find sermons in stone and good in everything," shall 
be at no loss for matters of thought in the huge volume which time has 
bound together. The leaves are closely written upan, filled with notable 
life records of the pioneers, the patriots, and the martyrs who lived and 
died among the hills of Andrustown; and it is with difficulty that we 
are able to glean a word here and there from the great manuscript so 
dimly inscribed with the historic events of a century and a half or over. 

When the thirty years religious conflicts swept the German empire 
with firebrand and crimsoned sword, warning the disciples of the Refor- 
mation to seek a haven in other climes if they would not bow the knee 
to a different faith, among the unfortunate refugees who had lost par- 
ents and seen the surrounding country lit up at the midnight hour by 
the red flames of his father's burning dwellings, was Paul von Grimm. 
With a last look at the old homestead by the mountains of the Rhine, 
burdened with a few possessions, he and his two brothers fled through 
the wild darkness of the night to the coast. 

In the harbor, idly rocking to the movement of the current, lay an 
English ship. When all were aboard and the vessel 'had weighed anchor 
the wretched, heart-broken Germans turned their faces toward the land 
of their birth. The melancholy swish of the sea against the bleak cliffs 
of the deserted shore and the moan of the waves, seemed to forecast as 
dark a future to the emigrants as that of the land they had been forced 


to leave. In the distance columns of black smoke floated seaward, rising 
from burned hamlets, and through the pale, white mists above the rest- 
less waters they saw in the dreary heavens immense flocks of carrion 
birds, which wheeled and circled over the dead stricken inhabitants of 
ruined villages, and the sun hid his saddened face below the darkened 
horizon in a gloomy farewell as they sailed away. 

The weary pilgrims were landed in the British Isles and after a short 
interval in London Town, at the dictation of the sovereign, embarked 
again on the trackless deep towards the New World. After weeks of 
lonely endurance spent in the rough cabins, starting in restless slumbers 
from their crude bunks at the creaking and groaning of the massive 
timbers of the ship, walking the worn planks of the narrow deck under 
the dim starlit sky, listening to the mournful sea breeze as it sighed 
among the dingy mists, still the ship pursued her way slowly and 
heavily, tossed by the great waves of the Atlantic and impeded in her 
progress by the angry lashings of the sea. The dismal dirge howled by 
the fierce, relentless gale, and the weird, uncanny screams uttered by 
the gulls flapping past the boat, were forgotten as the crew sighted 
land and the Germans reached a harbor in old New York. 

With glad hearts and benedictions they stepped forth on the soil of 
the Empire State and hurried up the crooked streets of this quaint city. 
After some moons spent here amidst strange faces and unsought advice 
given in a babel of tongues of which they only understood one, as to 
the numberless locations, coupled with the innumerable directions to 
new western villages, and prosperous towns in New England States many 
of the voyagers left the city by the sea and were ready to tempt Dame 
Fortune in other parts of the primitive commonwealth. So a small band 
of acquaintances from the Fatherland paddled up the Hudson stopping 
at Schoharie, perhaps with a view to business interests, or the hope of 
seeing some familiar visage among the Germans toiling in the great pine 
forests making pitch and tar preparations for the use of the British 
naval stations. 

The solitary envin;inments of the camps and the myterious rustling of 
the immense pine w<^ods which circled around the rude hovels for miles 
and miles amazed tjhem. The tops of those solemn old trees met so 
closely that even **'n a bright day the settlement seemed bathed in a 
gloom. Then, added to the weirdness of the scene, the crows flew 
through the red rays of the dying sunset in twos and twos, like witches 
flying home to their infernal ogres deep in the heart of the great black 

Then the quaint innumerable Dutch superstitions stamped for cen- 
turies on the German race came quickly to the surface and caused a 
fall in their spirits, and they shook their heads ominously and prepared 
to journey on, and at length reached the twin villages of German Flatts. 
separated by the calmly flowing Mohawk. 

When Paul von Grimm and the other homeless wanderers reached the 
two Palatine towns in the beautiful and romantic valley of the Mohawk, 


it was almost in the same form in which it had left the hand of the 
Creator. A beautiful winding river, much larger than the present 
dwarfed and insignificant stream, pursued its course between heavily 
wooded hills, fed by innumerable sparkling streams which came tum- 
bling down, through rock-ribbed ravines, or creeping leisurely through 
the dense underbrush of the swamps which in places bordered the river 
on either side. These swamps were practically impenetrable except by 
the corduroy roads constructed by the settlers, or the tortuous trails of 
the Indians. Here and there was a rude log cabin, fortress-like in its 
stability, in the center of a small clearing hewed out of the wilderness 
by the axe of the brawny pioneer. There and yonder arose the white 
smoke from the wigwams of the treacherous aborigines. 

The river teemed with fish, affording easily obtained food for white 
and redman alike. Within the deep shades of the forest grazed herds 
of deer more numerous than the white inhabitants of the region. Over- 
head circled flocks of wild pigeons equalling in number the multitudes 
of partridges and quail which drummed and whistled among the rotting 
logs beneath. Rude canoes were propelled up the river by half nude 
Indians or scarcely less savage white men, conveying supplies from the 
towns in the east to these settlements of what was then termed the 
west, and returned with products of hunt and supplies of grain, with 
which the fertile soil of the valley rewarded the pioneer. 

At this period of the middle half of the eighteenth century the Bur- 
netsfield patentees held rightful sway of the most desirable lots and 
were not predisposed by pity or mercenery reasons to negotiate favor- 
able terms in the way of a purchase or rental to the newcomers. Paul 
von Grimm spent days viewing acres on the outskirts of both villages, 
but the blooms of the blueflags and the brown cat-tails waved off all 
favorable decisions; great green-backed frogs and long striped lizards 
perched on partially submerged rocks or hidden at the foot of sheltering 
marine weeds, seemed to read the reason of von Grimm's call to the 
wilds in the silver ripples of the pools, and loudly bellowed -and shrilly 
piped negative replies to his thoughts. 

Almost two decades after the issue of the Burnetsfield Patent a mili- 
tary man in the ranks of George II, had been awarded a good -sized 
tract consisting of several thousand acres in southern highlands above 
the Mohawk. Three years after von Grimm's arrival in the German 
Flatts he and another purchased of the executors of the British officer 
ten lots for two hundred pounds. The deed, a huge affair itself of ram- 
bling penmanship, scraggly signatures, with daubs of red wax, and 
curiouslj'^ worded restrictions, stated that all water and streams found 
on the land was included in the sale, and that buildings were to be 
erected and highways laid out and the place settled within four years 
from the date of the document, and the primitive village to be known 
as "Hendersonton." 

As a youth, Paul von Grimm had lived among the mountains of Ger- 


many, and he longed again to dwell among the hills. A few weeks 
after the execution of this document he penetrated the howling wilder- 
ness and near the foothills of the Catskill range hewed down moss- 
covered forest monarchs and built the first log cabin south of the Mo- 
hawk. The country stretched before him in its pristine state, untrodden 
save by the foot of the Indian and the trapper, who had left scarce a 
trace of their footsteps or a mark of their hands upon it. Here it had 
lain from the creation of the world, with its varied and mighty re- 
sources slumbering through the countless ages, waiting for the stroke 
of the Saxon's arm to awaken echoes of progress and bring the blessings 
of civilization. 

Three years after von Grimm founded the primitive village of Hen- 
dersonton there came the great struggle between the nations of France 
and England for the supremacy of the American continent. Three other 
families had purchased lots and became his neighbors. Time passed on 
but the dark wings of war were fluttering very near, and their vibrations 
disturbed the peace of the inmates of those four cabins. Through the 
influence of the French, part of the Oneida tribe left their old camping 
grounds and departed for new pastures furnished them on the St. Law- 
rence. Many members of the Tuscaroras shared the same sentiments 
as their sister tribe and the same land. The remaining tribes of the 
Iroquoic confederacy adhered to the opinions of Sir William John- 
son. The surging of the conflict came near. Scalping parties led by 
Indians whose acquaintance with the lay of central New York made 
them valuable acquisitions to the French, but caused terrible devasta- 
tion among the homes of the isolated. Border people shuddered as they 
realized their dangerous exposure in the isolated, distant settlements on 
the forest covered bluffs. The blaze of distant cabins warned all to be 
on the alert and ready to seek the hamlets on the Mohawk Flatts, where 
numerous stockaded works and small stone buildings gave more of a 
sense of security. The waves of war became more turbulent towards 
the Mohawk Valley. Savages from Montreal Missions accompanied 
Canadians on trips to subdue the enemy, and these aborigines from the 
north were bloodthirsty in the extreme. They would scalp and torture 
unfortunate captives with the same fiendish zeal as their heathen com- 
panions who had never been instructed to follow in the footsteps of the 
great Nazarine. 

In the spring of 1756 a band of the enemy under cover of darkness 
silently glided through the forest and made stealthy attack upon Ger- 
man Flatts. Less than a score were slain, and among this number sev- 
eral Hendersonton settlers succumbed. 

The snow of 1757 had scarcely melted away when the horrified colo- 
nists on the hill saw a strange illumination flash upwards in the gray 
dawn like gigantic northern lights. Faint savage yells borne on the 
morning breeze plainly told them it was the murderous work of the cruel 
and savage allies of the French, and not nature's pencil writing fire 


lines on the blue dome of the heavens — but the stern realities of war, 
and the hamlet known as Fort Dayton was no more. 

When the peonies were dropping their red petals, like crimson stains, 
to the Hendersonton dwellers of the heartless raging conflict, a German 
settler by the name of Brantz, or "Dutch Brandt," as he was known, 
came and settled to the south of the colony. He was a staunch ad- 
herent of the French cause for mercenary reasons and apparently the 
love of feud. Brantz plainly showed he was in league with the com- 
mon foe and supplied various important information to the government 
of his choice. He became very obnoxious and his place proved to be 
headquarters for French and savages. Several times all narrowly escaped 
being murdered during the night by these parties, induced hither by 
Brantz, and matters grew worse. A child who chanced to stray after 
May flowers in the direction of Brantz's cabin was scalped alive and 
managed to crawl back with the withered blossoms still held in his tiny 
hands to die near his father's doorstep. This incident incited the set- 
tlers to such an extent that some nights afterwards they surrounded 
Brantz's log house and after an exchange of several rounds of mus- 
ketry and wounds received on both sides, Brantz, being now disabled, 
was captured and fastened to the floor of his cabin and his supplica- 
tions for mercy were unheeded and the torch was applied to the timbers. 
A glance at the ruins of his dwelling next morning told the story of his 
fate to any chance passer or curious visitor. 

Even this barbaric retaliation did not protect them from the invasions 
of the French. Amid the early year of 1758 the Andrustown pioneers 
chanced to receive a timely warning as to the nearness of the enemy 
and fled. In the flight to the fort at the Mohawk's brink these devoted 
home builders were attacked and fought their adversaries back of huge 
boulders and from the rear of fallen trees as slowly they worked their 
way to the valley. Early records throw no further light on this mat- 
ter except to state that one Andrustown woman was scalped alive. 
When the colonists finally reached the Mohawk Flatts they found a 
general alarm had been spread and the families about had hurried to 
the white stone building, and the four families from Andrustown 
learned there was no room for them. 

Several laborers begged admission to the fort but they were like- 
wise refused protection, though they had brought the baggage of Gen. 
Gage some hours previous to the fort. These strangers were sheltered 
by the families of Andrustown and shared with them the horrors of the 
savage attack. After several persons had been slain, the fortunes of 
war turned in favor of the Henderson settlers and the enemy fled, 
though all the cabins, it appears, were fired, but the ones occupied by 
the Andrustown people. 

At length, after a reign of five years more of repetition of these In- 
dian barbarities, the war ended and the settlers went back to the hills. 
Twice their cabins had been destroyed and the little they owned ap- 


propriated by the enemy. Months passed. Where blackened stumps 
stood and whirlwinds plaj'ed with flakes of ashes, fields of grain waved 
and the sound of the hammer took the place of the musket reports, 
and the peaceful lowing of cattle echoed where Indians had shouted their 
exultant yells of success. 

Ten more winters rolled away, other families had traveled to Hen- 
derson, laid out farms and commenced the duties of life. Many mar- 
riages had occurred among the settlers' children; some had wooed and 
won sweethearts from the valley, and their babes first saw the light of 
day amidst the wooded dells of Andrustown. Several of Paul von 
Grimm's children had wed. His daughter Margaret became the bride 
of George Passage. Dorothy von Grimm had wed Frederick Pell. Jacob 
von Grimm had married Elizabeth, daughter of Coonrade Frank, a well- 
known character in the history of the times. There were eleven families 
dwelling in Ahndreas-town — those of von Grimm, Frank, Starring, 
Leoppard, Pell, Bulson, Pooler, Passage, Shipperman and Reese. When 
the hostilities of the Revolutionary War began the heads of these fam- 
ilies were enrolled in General Herkimer's brigade. 

Another year rolled by and there came another wanderer by the 
name of Powers. This was the thirteenth family to come to Andrus- 
town, and the odd number proved to be a fatal figure to all. They un- 
consciously selected the land formerly occupied a score of years before 
by Brantz. A log cabin was erected and the wife of Powers being a 
lover of flowers, planted the root of a damask rose of pink hue by her 
door. It was said to be a plant brought with her from her parent 
cottage on the river Thames. The shrub thrived and grew and blos- 
somed, and the buds and flowers beautified the little spot, where but a 
few rods distant was a collection of stones and ashes and rank grass 
and weeds which screened a ghastly half-consumed skeleton. This 
cloak of green had sprang up and bravely attempted to cover the mortal 
relics of Brantz from the eyes of the beholder. 

Powers procured the Tory sign, which was a horse's skull placed on a 
stake on sympathizers' premises to show which side of the issue they 
belonged. This emblem of his Royalist views he elevated in his yard 
for all Loyalists to take notice that he was on their side, and all others 
of the settlement who did not display the proper symbol of the King's 
chosen were legitimate game and their scalps and property a common 
grab-bag to all Tories and savages, provided they could obtain posses- 
sion of the same, though the proposed ownership would not be a very 
peaceful venture at first. Powers proved to be as strong a Loyalist to 
the English as the deceased German had been to the French. 

The high winds of the bluff would whirl the old head on the cedar 
pole in first one direction and then in another. Often it faced the trail 
leading to Youngs Settlement, then with a creak-like groan it would 
swing back, and the staring, malevolent eyes and the great grinning 
teeth would gaze down on the settlement. The Tory sign proved to be 


more significant that they had dreamed. The settlers felt a strange 
premonition when they learned the newly elected captain of the Six 
Nations bore the same name as the treacherous German of twenty 
years before, whose remains still lay among the weeds and stones of 
his partially consumed log hut. In their hearts there dwelt a fear 
which would not be quieted, as though some terrible calamity was 
about to break over their heads. 

Powers commenced to secretly entertain suspicious nightly characters 
in the shape of red -patched, skulking Tories, and slinking, gaudy- 
blanketed savages could be seen stealing away from his cabin before 
the rise of the sun. A letter written in the Tory cypher by Powers was 
lost; it chanced there were men in the settlement who could read these 
strange marks. The substance of the note dropped by the savage was 
to the effect that Brant should come any time, as cattle were plenty, 
goods likewise; all thought him a good rebel like themselves; but some 
dark night thejr would know that he was a King's man. 

The settlers would have rendered him a burnt offering to his Moloch 
in the yard when, by chance he learned of their intentions, and with 
his family fled to Canada. He soon returned and associated himself 
with a company composed of atrocious Mohawks and merciless Loy- 
alists disguised as savages. With the terrible weapons of war, the 
scalping knife and torch, they roamed about the country like some un- 
satiated tigers. Only the shades of the many unfortunate settlers 
hovering over their nameless tombs could have revealed the butchery of 
this murderous gang as they wandered over the frontier or hovered near 
the vale of the Mohawk under the captainship of Sir William's Indian 
son, the treacherous half-breed — Thayendanecea. 

Two years after the commencement of the Revolutionary War, Gen- 
eral Herkimer learned that a large force of British, Indians and Tories, 
were about to sweep down the Mohawk vale, and the commander of 
the Tryon County militia issued his proclamation that every man be- 
tween 16 and 60 should hold himself in readiness to take the field 
against the enemy. The Oneida Indian, Thomas Spenser, carried a 
message from General Herkimer to Paul von Grimm, who acted as 
Mayor of Andrustown. The men in silence heard the friendly savage 
deliver the Hollander's message with his crude Indian eloquence. They 
returned to their cabins and took down flint lock muskets from branch- 
ing antlers on the wall and carefully prepared them for the coming 

Paul von Grimm, though some years beyond the age limit, knew what 
defeat meant at the hands of this savage horde that threatened the 
lives of loved ones, their homes on the hillside, and their rights and 
liberties. When the day arrived Paul von Grimm and the other men of 
Andrustown cheerfully responded to their country's call and shouldered 
their muskets and left their wives, mothers and sweethearts and chil- 
dren on the hills and marched to the valley. The next day they met the 


enemy at the pass of Oriskany. No braver record of service inscribed 
on stately marble or wrought in bronze, or deeds quoth from ancient or 
modern verse, can surpass that of brave Herkimer and the crude farm- 
ers of the Mohawk. It was through the efforts of the men of Andrus- 
town, though few in number, coupled with that of the men in the valley, 
that the folds of the first glorious red, white and blue waved to the 
breeze from the flagstaff of Fort Stanwix in New York State on that 
eventful day so many years ago. 

After the battle of Oriskany the pioneers from the hills experienced 
more hardships. Another settler by the name of Shaffer came to dwell 
among them. Small bands of marauders were lurking in the shade of 
the forest ready to fall upon the settlers. The women kept guard while 
the men worked; half-grown children learned to act as scouts and read 
the signs in the grass and woods of the enemy and be on the alert. 
During the winter of 1777 they were obliged to go to Fort Herkimer and 
remain there several months. A few men would journey to the hills, 
look after the stock, and then return to the valley. In the spring the 
settlers, heavily armed, ventured back to plant the crops and many of 
the women returned to look after material for clothing in the way of 
wool and flax. 

Ever since the battle beyond old Fort Schuyler a sable-clad spectre 
had been creeping from the red battle ground towards the hills of An- 
drustown, with firebrand in its skeleton hand. Tradition avers that by 
the hand of Andrustown patriots a celebrated chief and a prominent 
officer of St. Leger's forces fell. Miles back in the deep ravine of Orisk- 
any they lay, one wrapped in a scarlet blanket and the other dressed 
in military coat of red. Both lay amid the trampled grass and dead 
fiowers staring towards the waving treetops surrounding the happy 
village in Henderson. Slowly, very slowly, the dark spectre crept up 
the great hills towards Andrustown. As it neared the precincts of 
happy domiciles established by those patriarchs of old it paused and 
wrote with its bony finger in the rich Hendersonton soil — "revenge" — 
then stealthily crawled onward. The days were now but few when this 
spectre would rise and hurl its firebrand in their midst, and that hour 
came at last. 

In the summer a furlough was granted the Andrustown settlers that 
they might resume their agricultural tasks on the Helderbergs. Some 
clothed in homespun and others in tattered regimentals, bearing heavy 
flintlock muskets, journeyed up the hills to the settlement to hoe the 
corn and make the hay. The bright sunlight of July 18th, 1778, smiled 
on the pastoral scene and no hint was there that its parting rays would 
gleam on the blood of slaughtered victims and the flames of their 
cabins, redder than its sinking light. The birds sang sweetly in the 
thickets and the prattle of little children broke the quietness of the 
morn. The inhabitants were at their usual vocations. Near the cabin 
of George Passage stood a huge Dutch oven where the housewives as- 


sembled once or twice a week to do the family baking. All was peace 
within the hamlet; some were humming songs as they toiled among the 
tall green stalks of corn, with its rustling leaves; others whistled merry 
tunes as they swung the scythe and laid low the swathes of grass. 
Suddenly there arose a strange sound above the forest wind. It came 
nearer. Then the sound came again — a blood curdling chorus of strange 
barking screams, as from the throats of maniac women. It was the 
Indian war-whoop. 

Paul Grimm chanced to be near his cabin, and trained in the science 
of savage warfare, heard the sounds of the Indians from afar. He 
rushed to his cabin and hurried out with his pioneer partner and son 
Jacob's wife and her two children to the yard. But he knew not where 
to hide. He was cut off from the forest by the coming enemy, and the 
open fields and hills before him offered no protection. Then in despera- 
tion he pointed to a small, inadequate place, a secretive nook at last. A 
large tree had been uprooted some days before in a violent windstorm 
and an excavation had been formed where the roots and earth parted 
company. The women and little ones concealed themselves in these 
cramped quarters. Paul Grimm hid by their side in a brush pile near 
the large trunk of a fallen tree. Then came from the thicket the sovmd 
of whistling bullets and the sharp crack of guns. A swarm of savages 
came leaping from the bush in the direction of the southwest. It was 
a horrible spectacle. Naked, yelling demons, hideously disfigured by 
daubs of red ochre and jet black markings. A bunch of fresh scalp- 
locks dangled from the belt of each, and on their legs beneath the 
scalps something darker than the red stain trickled downward, ming- 
ling with the warpaint. The murderous, befeathered band rushed forth 
upon the inhabitants of that little town. Foremost among the savages 
was the familiar figures of Powers, though color-smeared and garbed 
as a forest denizen. The blue eyes of the Tory shone with a malicious 
light through his paint-streaked visage, as with uplifted hatchet he 
struck down women and children, dashing into the thickest of the fray, 
rendering often the scalp yell in chorus with the savages. As the death 
halloo was raised about its victims, as its mingled tones of triumph and 
horror reached the forest glens, back in falling cadences came its un- 
canny echoes from the hills of Andrustown. 

Proudly stalking forward with an indescribable gait, feline-like, yet 
awkward, carrying his high shoulders almost hunched, came Joseph Ta- 
yadanaga, called Brant. Clothed in green military coat, with towering war 
bonnet with rainbow hues amongst its feathers, and trailing downward, 
splendid in his pride of red ochre, yet there was something serpentine, 
hypnotic in the very presence of this native monarch. Gone were the 
civilized and courtly ways he had assumed in the salons of London 
completely thrown aside, as one sheds a wornout garment. His expres- 
sion, attitude and demeanor had undergone a radical and most discon- 
certing change. He paused beside the old brick oven where the inter- 


rupted baking stood in its shining pans of tin. Of liim it might be fitly 
said that he had a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan. A 
cloud of the early morn cast a shadow on his malignant yet intellectual 
face. This massacre was real. Here was life. His nostrils dilate as he 
sniffs the smoke, and his braw^ny fingers clasp and move like a brood 
of young vipers until he grips the dirk at his hip. The eyes of Brant 
smoulder in their hollow sockets like glowing coals of fire as he views 
the horrible tragedy staged in its black setting of murder and deviltry. 
The refining influence of civilization is gone; forgotten are his school 
days, the courtly airs and influence of the senior Johnson. All this 
has receded from his mind into a remote past. His heavy body quivers 
as his snake eyes gaze before him. The purposeful cruelty of the man is 
inert, it is entirely unassumed. His English is perfect, though at times 
his W'Ords are oddly chosen and the delivery is alternately gutteral and 
sibilant. Had you chanced to meet the reptilian expression conveyed 
by those eyes, haunted forever more are your dreams. Now he leans 
like a sinister statue half hidden behind a swinging cabin door, and 
malignant glances dart from his glowing orbs as he watches Great 
Britain's allies subdue her own. 

Then with long strides to the front came the renegade, Sir John John- 
son, and other infamous Tories who were in the rear laughing in de- 
moniac fashion at the terrible melodrama enacted each second in that 
isolated settlement above the Mohawk. An Indian suddenly discovered 
the head man and family are missing. With tomahawk in hand, show- 
ing many ghasitly marks, and a dripping scalping knife between his 
teeth, the savage leaps upon a fallen tree whose great unearthed roots 
shield a rough dirt hollow which holds more than three. Standing in 
his moccasined feet on the old tree the savage thought to discern 
through the thicket the fleeing occupants of the deserted cabin. From 
where Paul Grimm lay crouched amid the head of brush he could 
plainly see the color-smeared face of the redman. The savage placed 
one hand over his brow and wickedly blinked for only a glimpse of the 
runaway Grimms. Grimm, scarcely concealed by brush and branch 
hastily piled, noted the belligerent air and gleaming eyes of the savage. 
The whole expression of the Indian was one of mad hate and rage; 
of cruel and malignant viciousness over the scalp losses caused by the 
absence of the family of Grimms. The savage shifted his position, 
peered sharply to the right then to the left, swinging in his mighty hand 
a stout, oddly-shaped war club with a bone handle. It is a human thigh 
bone, surmounted by a head of polished flint and garnished with a fillet 
of gaudy feathers. Some strangely fashioned articles of copper are 
tied to the handle, and below the ornaments dangled an object hideous 
in outline — a severed and shriveled human hand. A score of Indians 
came quickly into view. Half nude they were, all lithe and muscular 
and terrible to look upon. The faces of some were smeared more deeply 
than others with red ochre till it seems as though blood w^ere flowing 


from their cleft skulls. One savage sported a necklace composed of 
some kind of teeth, bits of blue crockery and beads. Another wore a 
red flannel night shirt and a pair of brass-rimmed spectacles — the 
mournful loot, doubtless, of some dead and long forgotten missionary. 
Grimm shivered with horror at the savagery of the scene. The warrior 
on the fallen, moss-grown tree jumped down and led a plunder raid into 
Grimm's house. One color-streaked Indian brought out the great Ger- 
man Bible that Paul von Grimm had brought with him from Prussia, and 
placed it on a boulder. All then assembled and cautiously opened the 
brass clamps and an Indian with reddened hands slowly turned the 
pages as all intently looked at the quaint biblical pictures. Suddenly 
the savage with the war club gave a screech and half raised the weapon 
at several who showed a disposition to convey the book away. The 
effect of this interruption caused a savage to jolt heavily against the 
individual wearing the red shirt, who lost his glasses. Angered at the 
disappearance of his cherished spectacles he pushed several violently 
out of his way. He rescued his glasses and replaced the big brass 
spectacles. Then the owner of the war club commenced to gesture 
wildly and articulate loudly. Among the band were two or three pray- 
ing Indians, as converted savages were called, and they told the other 
aboriginies to leave the book alone, as it was filled with talk of strange 
Gods, and if the Indians maddened these unknown deities they would 
cause some serious calamity to fall upon the savages. The others 
obeyed and left the Bible on the rock. Then the savage in the red 
shirt found a babe lying in a crude cradle near a burning cabin and 
held it aloft, thinking that the mother would return when she heard 
its feeble cries and he could secure another scalp for the British gov- 
ernmenit. But the mother was deep in the depths of the great swamps 
and heard not its sobs, and the Indian carried the babe to a huge 
boulder, poised the infant by its tiny feet for a moment in the air, 
and then a little crushed figure was flung among some stalks of im- 

A few inhabitants fled to the swamps, others died where they stood, 
many were taken captives. The torch was applied to every cabin but 
that of Powers. All fruit trees were chopped down, the cattle driven 
away or killed. 

The smoke of Grimm's burning cabin settled low and hid everything 
for a time. Hours passed and the night fell. The great red harvest 
moon rose on the dreadful scene, the yelp of the wolves commenced, 
now distant, now coming nearer, coupled with the weird hoots of the 
owls from the boughs of the huge trees which stretched out their great 
limbs in the darkness as if striving to lend their mute assistance. Then 
a dog began to howl somewhere near the site of Pell's cabin, a long, 
agonized wailing, as if from sorrow. The cries of the wounded had 
ceased; death's touch had silenced all, but their still forms lay percept- 
ible in the pale moonlight, and the mournful notes of the whippoorwill 
were their requiem that night. 


Paul Grimm and his family came from their secretive nook and stood 
within the shadow of the forest and sadly gazed at the scene before 
them. To the south was the cabin of Powers staring with its vacant 
windows at the death-stricken place, and a clump of weeds waved 
wildly and showed the shallow grave of Brantz. And the night wind 
sighed and moaned about rocks and trees. The gruesome Tory emblem 
on the stake was like some hideous heathen God as it stood half hidden 
in the shadow of the lone, deserted cabin looking down on the ruined 
and desolate settlement. And the wind shifted the skull so it gazed 
towards Little Lakes, from whence the murderous band had come and 
hence they went. Then with a creak the evening breeze rising from 
the Waonthia Lakes of Young's Settlement swung the old skull back 
into place. And the Tory's sign seemed to jeer as it gazed and smiled 
on the work of its worshippers. Paul Grimm picked up his grandson, 
Paul, and the great German Bible and started with his family for the 
white fort within the valley. But the frightened child needed his care, 
the big book seemed a ponderous weight, and the two worn women 
needed his attention. Lany Stahl, wife of Paul Grimm, bore in her arms 
the infant, Mary Katharine. By her side walked Mrs. Jacob Grimm 
with some ungainly looking bundles collected from the few articles 
strewn about her burned home. Paul Grimm was forced to leave his 
precious heirloom on a stump in the depth of the woods. As they 
hurriedly went on their way through the thick primeval forest to their 
place of refuge miles below in the rocky valley. Often in the distance 
the shine of luminous decayed vegetation composing the mystic jack-o'- 
lanterns would appear and startle all and seem to be an Indian camp 
fire near at hand. Every sigh of the wind through the thicket made 
them tremble, and every shadow seemed a lurking savage about to leap 
forth. Occasionally the chant-like dirge accompanying notes which 
proclaim an Indian war dance would drift on the night wind to their 
startled ears, followed by the fiendish yells of success as Brant's Mo- 
hawk braves celebrated the event of their murderous mission at An- 
drustown. Even shadows cast by trees seemed terrifying amid the 
dim moonlight in the grim silence of the night. The weird-like whispers 
of the wind among the forest tops caused a dismal anticipation and 
apprehension which even the cheering words of Paul Grimm could not 
dispel. When the faint light of morn shone from the east on the weary 
three, the white fort was reached. Among the captives was Grimm's 
daughter Margaret. Her husband, George Passage, had been among 
the first slain; and Grimm's young grandson, Richard Pell, was also a 
prisoner in the hands of the savages, and now they were miles away 
tramping on their lonely journey to the Indian reservation in Canada. 

The story of this massacre is too well known to give further repeti- 
tion. There were many who wandered for days in the woods and 
fields before they reached the forts. Tradition gives some fifteen or 
more among the slain. Frederick Lepper and his wife were with their 
neighbors at Fort Herkimer when it chanced one day Mrs. Lepper went 


out to pick fruit from a nearby tree and a savage lurking- nigh grabbed 
her by her braided hair and with her young babe she was taken to 

Days and months flew by, but oft the settlers' memory gates would 
open wide and a current of sad thoughts carry them back to the dia- 
bolic scenes of that blood-reeking settlement on the hill, where beneath 
the long grass many a butchered matron, man, maid and babe lay. 
The wild flowers bloomed and spread a pall of petals over the rough 
mounds. The tall green sward waved over their tombs, and the black 
snake would often glide through the nodding grass and then vanish 
under the stump monuments. The scream of the hawk and the howl 
of the wolf frequently echoed through the deserted, fire-swept hamlet, 
but the silent inhabitants heard it not. A year later, as several An- 
drustown pioneers were in the woods near the ruined settlement, Paul 
Grimm chanced to find the German Bible he had left on a stump in 
the woods when he fled on that fatal night to the valley. Autumn 
leaves had protected the sacred volume from the elements and he car- 
ried it back to the fort. The snows of five winters had melted when 
three of the former families, the Osterhout, Hoyer and Frank, re- 
turned and built their cabins, only to flee again. Then the great war 
drew to a close and a few of the prisoners that survived their ten 
years' captivity were brought back. Among the few were Mrs. Lepper, 
Margaret Grimm Passage, and Richard Pell. Frederick Lepper had now 
recovered his wife with his strangely dressed semi-civilized little boy, 
and he sold his lands on the hills of Andrustown and departed for 
Amsterdam. Richard Pell did not long survive his freedom and the 
hardships of his boyhood, and he was laid to rest beside his friends. 
Mrs. Passage and Mrs. Lepper both lived to reach nearly the century 
mark, but their lives were sort of shattered and family links had been 
broken during the ten long years spent on the Indian reservation. 

Early in the spring of 1786 Samuel Clealand journeyed hither from 
the New England States with the intention of purchasing a farm in the 
vicinity of Andrustown. He bought land adjoining the tract on which 
the early settlers had built the hamlet of Hendersonton. The survivors 
of the Indian raids had as yet not returned to re-build their cabins. 
While digging a cellar he found the charred bones of a man. It was 
thought the remains were those of Paul Grimm's son-in-law, Frederick 
Pell. Still the Andrustown men and women did not leave the shelter 
of the peaceful valley for the uncertainties of life on the bleak Helder- 
bergs. Oft from out the forest bush would suddenly appear a flock of 
half-starved guinea hens belonging to a former settler. They would fly 
to the top of some tall chimney which, sentinel-like, guarded the de- 
serted border town, or perch upon the bleached bones of slaughtered 
cattle and utter their shrill cackle, "Come back! come back! come 

At last a day of freedom came, and the human vipers who had raided, 
pilfered and murdered broadcast throughout the border and the valley 


were crushed out of existence. A year elapsed before the settlers left 
the river's brink passing over the old trail road, now grass-grown and 
rough, to the summit on the great bluffs. Back to the former sites of 
their old homesteads with the fixed determination to re-establish fire- 
sides once more. They had dwelt during an uninterrupted career in 
many cabins in the valley and though manj' of the settlers had reached 
life's autumn, they knew the Indian summer still remained, and one of 
the great missions left for them was to found a home again. For, 

"A home is built of bricks and stone. 

Of sills and posts and piers; 
But a home is built of loving deeds. 
That stands a thousand years." 

Near the close of the eighteenth century Paul Grimm built the first 
frame house, followed shortly by George Hoyer. Grimm's is still stand- 
ing on the original tract. The Tory rose planted before the battle of 
Oriskany blooms and blossoms and the breeze sweeps its petals from the 
marks of the old doorsteps of the Tory cabin to the ashy sepulchre of 
Brantz. And a lone tree guards the grave of Passage, and each sum- 
mer and autumn the petals of the pink rose and the red leaves of that 
solitary maple scatter their symbols about the ruins of the Tory cabin 
and the grave of the martyred Brantz as if to blot out the past with 
their beautiful emblems. 

Gone are the sons of the bow and arrow by the banks of the once 
majestic Mohawk, and from the depth of the thinned primeval forest 
the name of Andrustown is but an echo of the past. Many of its in- 
habitants sleep the eternal slumber in unknown and unmarked graves 
in the valley and on the hill, under the green grass and the blue skies of 
the great republic for which they fought and won in the days of '75. 






Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May 9, 1914. 

The legal fraternitj' of Herkimer has impressed itself not only upon 
the history of Herkimer, but upon the history of our county. State and 


On September 21st, 1792, Gaylord Griswold, aged about 24 years, lo- 
cated in this village, then called the German Flatts. 

He was well educated and admitted to the bar at Windsor. Connec- 
ticut, his native place. He is probably the first lawj'er located here; 
he soon obtained a good practice. 

In politics he was an active Federalist, was Member of Assembly 
from this county in 1797 and 1798; was representative in Congress in 
1802 from the 15th Congressional district, composed of the counties of 
St. Lawrence, Oneida and Herkimer. 

He died in 1809 at the age of 41 years. He was the ablest lawyer of 
this county during all of his seventeen years of practice. 


Sanford Clark was one of the early lawyers of the county. One his- 
tory saj^s he was in practice in this village as early as 1792, and was a 
contemporarj' of Gaylord Griswold. 


Matthias B. Tallmadge, a native of Dutchess county, graduate of l''ale 
College, student in the law office of Chief Justice Ambrose Spencer at 
Hudson, and a son-in-law of Governor George Clinton, took up his resi- 
dence and commenced the practice of the law in this village in the year 

Mr. Benton, in his History of Herkimer County, speaks of him as 
follows: "Mr. Tallmadge was, no doubt, sent into the county as a 


political leader and by this movement Gov. Clinton extended his family 
influence to an important point in the State, thence fast filling up with 
population from the older southern and eastern counties, and from the 
other States, principally New England." 

In 1801, with Evans Wharry and George Rosecrants, he was a member 
from this county of a convention called to revise the Constitution of 
the State. 

In April, 1802, he was elected State Senator, one of the eleven sena- 
tors from the western district, which comprised all of the State west 
of Schenectady, including Jefferson and St. Lawrence. 

He was appointed United States District Judge for the District of New 
York, by President Jefferson in 1805, and held this office until his death 
in 1819. After he was appointed Judge he moved from this county to 
New York City. 


Michael Hoffman was born October 11th, 1787, in Saratoga county, 
studied medicine, obtained his diploma, practiced medicine one day, gave 
away his saddle bags and began the study of law. He was admitted in 
1813. His name is found on the rolls of this county in 1815. In 1816 he 
formed a partnership with Aaron Hackley. He early became active in 
politics and about 1819 removed to Seneca county, but returned in a 
few years and resumed the practice of law here. He was appointed 
District Attorney in May, 1823, again in 1836, and resigned in the fol- 
lowing September. In 1824 he was elected to Congress and was a 
leading member of that body during four terms. 

He was appointed a Judge of this county in June, 1830, and held the 
office until 1833. Appointed Canal Commissioner in 1835, represented 
this county in the Assembly in 1841 and 1842, and again in 1844; was a 
member of the Constitutional Convention in 1846 and one of the ablest 
of that body. He went to New York to reside and died in Brooklyn, 
September 27th, 1848. Michael Hoffman was a lawyer of great ability. 
In a paper upon the career of Michael Hoffman, read by the late Hon. 
George W. Smith before this Society, he said: "Among the public men 
of Herkimer county, Michael Hoffman j« the most striking and inter- 
esting figure, and historically his caree*- is the most notable. The im- 
pression made by him upon the legisl»»k)n and policy of the State are 
marked and permanent. 

"His was the leading and constructive mind in what has aptly been 
called the Herkimer School of Politics, as it was known prior to the 
period that preceded the breaking out of our Civil War, and his counsel 
and public actions swayed largely, and sometimes decisively, the policy 
of his party throughout the State. 

"He was a distinct and strong personality in the galaxy of statesmen 
in which Silas Wright, Martin Van Buren, Preston King, Samuel Young, 
and in this county Arphaxed Loomis, Abijah Mann, Nathaniel S. Benton, 


William C. Grain, Francis E. Spinner, Abijah Beckwith, Alexander H. 
Buell, F. F. Bellinger, Ezra Graves, Standish Barry, and their compa- 
triots were conspicuous." 


Simeon Ford first saw the light of day at Berkshire, Mass., in 1777. 
He came into this county prior to 1797 and after his admission to the 
bar was associated with Gaylord Griswold under the firm name of 
Griswold & Ford, which firm had a large practice. He was appointed 
District Attorney early in 1819 and held the office until May, 1823; he 
became very proficient as a criminal lawyer; was Member of Assembly 
in 1821 and in 1822 from this county. In 1825 he was appointed by Gov. 
Clinton to an office at the salt springs in Syracuse; after a few years 
he resigned this office and moved to Rochester, where he resided five 
years. He returned to Herkimer and resumed the practice of law here 
in 1832. After remaining here four years he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, 
where he died in 1839 at the age of 62 years. 


Lauren Ford, a graduate of Union College and a nephew of Simeon 
Ford, studied law in the office of his uncle at Herkimer and upon hia 
admission to the bar in 1812 became his law partner, under the name of 
S. & L. Ford. This was one of the foremost law firms in this county. 

He became proficient in the history of families, and also with land 
titles and patents throughout the county. 

He moved to Little Falls in 1840 and continued to practice there for 
some years. He was appointed Surrogate in 1841, elected District At- 
torney in 1857, resigned in 1858, and moved to Brooklyn, where he died. 


William D. Ford was either a native of this county or came here at 
a very early age; studied law with Griswold & Ford at Herkiemr and 
was admitted in 1809, and then went to Fairfield, this county, to prac- 
tice, where he remained about nine years. He was Member of Assembly 
from this county in 1816 and 1817. In 1818 he moved to Watertown 
and in the next year he was elected to Congress; at Watertown he was 
associated with David W. Bucklin in the practice of law. 


Aaron Hackley, Jr., a graduate of Union College, came from the town 
of Salisbury, and studied law in the office of Gaylord Griswold and was 
admitted in 1807, after which he commenced the practice of law in 
Herkimer; he was a Member of Assembly from this county in 1814 and 
1815; was elected County Clerk in 1812, and again in 1815; was repre- 
sentative in Congress 1818 to 1822; afterwards appointed United States 
Collector of the Port at Ogdensburg, at which time he moved there. 
Later he returned to Herkimer and in 1828 was appointed District At- 


to^ne5^ Later in life he went to New York and lived until his death, 
with his son. who was a professor in Columbia College. 


Charles Gray was born in the town of Palatine in 1796. He came to 
Herkimer in 1819 and entered the office of S. & L. Ford; was admitted 
in 1822 and settled in Herkimer. 

He was influential and prominent in the politics of the county for a 
long time; was Member of Assembly in 1835; was one of the Judges of 
the Court of Common Pleas from 1838 to 1840, and for several years he 
held the office of Master in Ciiancery of the county. 

He was elected a Judge of the Supreme Court at the first election of 
Judges of the Supreme Court under the Constitution of 1846 and drew 
the shortest term, two years, of which one was in the Court of Appeals. 
He was fond of military duties and for many years held the office of 
brigadier general, commissioned by Governor Marcy. 


James B. Hunt was a native of the West Indies; came to Fairfield to 
attend the academy and after leaving the academy studied law in the 
office of S. & L. Ford; was admitted in 1824, and at once formed a 
partnership with Michael Hoffman. He was elected District Attorney in 
1832 and served one term of three years; then his health became poor 
and he moved to Michigan and settled in Pontiac. A few years after his 
residence there he was elected to Congress, after that was Land Agent 
for the government at Lake Superior, and died in Washington in 1860, 
while holding a position in the department. 


John C. Underwood, United States Judge in Virginia after the war, 
Avas born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, in 1808; graduated at Ham- 
ilton College in 1832; studied law here and when I came to the bar was 
well remembered by many of the old residents of this village. 


Ezra Graves was born in the town of Russia in 1803; began the study 
of law in Herkimer in 1832 and was admitted in 1835. In 1845 he was 
appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and Surrogate. 

In 1847, after the change in the Constitution, he was elected County 
Judge and Surrogate, and re-elected in 1859., 

In 1872 he was elected Inspector of State Prisons on the Republican 
State ticket. He died at Herkimer, January 8th, 1883, in his 80th year. 

Judge Graves possessed a large amount of broad common sense and 
good judgment, was affable, cheerful and loyal; was strong, knew every- 
body and was a friend to everybody. 



Charles A. Burton was a native of the town of Newport, a civil engi- 
neer, and was a member of the engineering corps engaged in the con- 
struction of the Illinois Central Railroad. Afterwards he came to Herki- 
mer, studied law with Judge Graves and was admitted February 16th, 
1845. He was alert, had an analytical mind and became very proficient 
in the science of law. Roscoe Conkling said that Charles A. Burton was 
the best lawyer he ever knew. He died in 1858, aged about 40. 


Volney Owen practiced law in Mohawk for many years before coming 
to Herkimer. He was District Attorney two terms, from January, 1851, 
to January, 1857. 

In 1862, in the memorable contest between Amos H. Prescott and John 
H. Wooster for the Republican nomination for County Judge and Sur- 
rogate. Owen had three delegates from the town of Herkimer, which 
was the balance of power; neither Prescott or Wooster had votes 
enough to nominate; Wooster's delegates joined the three delegates of 
Herkimer and nominated Owen. He was elected and served for the 
full term of four years. After his term expired he moved to the State 
of Illinois where he died. He was an able lawyer and possessed a won- 
derful memory. 


Clinton A. Moon, a native of the town of Russia, graduate of Union 
College, came to Herkimer in 1860; he was then 33 years of age. In 
the following year he was elected District Attorney and remained here 
during his term of three years; in 1864 he moved to Ilion and formed a 
partnership with Thomas Richardson; in 1876 he moved to Newport 
and practiced there vmtil the time of his death. 


Maurice Pikes was born in the town of Warren, was admitted in 
April, 1869, was very bright and practiced with success for a few years, 
dying in 1874 at the early age of 28. 


Jacob H. Weber, a native of this village and a graduate of Union 
College, was Clerk of the Surrogate's Court during the term of Volney 
Owen; afterwards he practiced law here up to the time of his death in 
1889. He was a Justice of the Peace of the town of Herkimer during the 
latter years of his life. 


Amos H. Prescott was born in 1823, studied law with Volney Owen at 
Mohawk and was admitted in May, 1847, and from that date until 1857 


was a partner with Owen, and after the dissolution of the firm he con- 
tinued to practice alone at Mohawk until 1870, when he moved to Herki- 
mer and resided here until his death, October 11th, 1887. 

In 1855 he was elected to the Assembly from this county by the Native 
American Party; in 1867 he was elected County Judge and Surrogate 
by the Republican party for four years, and re-elected for two suc- 
cessive terms of six years each. Judge Prescott was a prominent lawyer 
and a public-spirited and progressive citizen. He was a dignified, up- 
right, fearless and kind-hearted Judge. 


Samuel Earl, a native of Herkimer, was born August 9th, 1822, studied 
law with Michael Hoffman at Herkimer, and with Peckham & Colt at 
Albany, and was admitted in 1847. Upon his admission to the bar he 
opened an office in this village, and upon the admission of his brother 
Robert, in 1848, they were associated together and practiced law under 
the firm name of S. & R. Earl until Robert was elected County Judge 
and Surrogate in 1855, and then again after the expiration of Robert's 
term as County Judge and Surrogate until Robert was elected Judge of 
the Court of Appeals. 

This was one of the leading law firms in this locality and they had a 
large and lucrative practice. 

Upon the election of Robert Earl, Judge of the Court of Appeals. Hon. 
George W. Smith of Utica, and afterwards Edward A. Brown of Low- 
ville, came to Herkimer, and with Samuel Earl, the law firm of Earl, 
Smith & Brown was formed, which for a number of years did a large 
and extensive business. 

After the dissolution of this firm Mr. Earl and William C. Prescott 
became associated together under the firm name of Earl & Prescott, and 
this firm continued for several years. Later Mr. Earl and Mr. Charles 
E. Snyder were associated together under the firm name of Earl & 
Snyder, Mr. Earl being the senior member of this firm at the time of his 
death, October 10th, 1891. 

Mr. Earl was a thorough lawyer, outspoken, frank and fearle-ss. He 
was well informed in, and was a recognized authority upon, local and 
county history. 


Josiah A. Steele was born at Columbus, Ohio, in October, 1841. He 
served in the Union army in the Civil War, came to Frankfort in 1863 
and studied law with Thomas Richardson; was admitted to the bar and 
opened an office in Frankfort; he came to Herkimer June 1st, 1874, and 
with A. B. Steele formed the law firm of J. A. & A. B. Steele, which 
continued until January 1st, 1880, at which time this firm was dis- 
solved, Mr. A. B. Steele having been elected District Attorney. For 
some time Mr. J. A. Steele practiced alone, and then he and Hon. George 
W. Smith were associated together under the firm name of Smith & 


Steele, which firm continued for several years. Upon the dissolution of 
this firm, Mr. J. A. Steele and his son, Robert E. Steele, were associated 
together under the name of J. A. & R. E. Steele, which firm continued 
until his death in 1902. 

J. A. Steele was well grounded in the science of the law. He very 
quickly grasped the salient points of a case. He was resourceful, cool 
and a good advocate, was generous and kind-hearted, and ever ready to 
assist the younger members of the bar. 


Robert Earl was born in Herkimer, September 10th, 1824; graduated 
at Union College in 1845; read law in the office of Hon. Charles Gray, 
also in the office of his brother, Samuel Earl, and was admitted in 1848. 
He was the junior member of the firm of S. & R. Earl from the time 
of his admission in 1848 to his election on the Native American ticket 
in 1855 as County Judge and Surrogate, and also after expiration of such 
term of County Judge and Surrogate until he was Judge of the Court of 
Appeals. In 1869 he was elected a Judge of the Court of Appeals on 
the Democratic ticket and served as Chief Judge until July 1st, 1870, 
when the new Court of Appeals, by an amendment to the Constitution, 
came into existence and he became a Commissioner of Appeals, and 
served as such until July, 1875. From July, 1875, until the following 
November he and William C. Prescott were associated together under 
the firm name of Earl & Prescott and practiced law here. 

In November he was appointed by Governor Tilden, Judge of the 
Court of Appeals, to fill vacancy caused by the death of Judge Grover. 
He served under the appointment until January, 1877. 

In the fall of 1876 he was elected on the Democrat ticket Judge of the 
Court of Appeals for a full term of fourteen years from the 1st of 
January, 1777. In the fall of 1890 he received the nomination by both 
the Democrat and Republican parties and was again elected Judge of 
the Court of Appeals for a full term of fourteen years. 

By appointment of Governor Flower he served as Chief Judge during 
the year 1892, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Chief Judge 
Ruger. He received the decree of LL. D. from Union College and from 
Columbia College. He died at Herkimer on December 2d, 1902. 

It will be noticed that Judge Earl was elected County Judge and Sur- 
rogate, and Judge Prescott Member of Assembly in 1855 on the same, 
the Native American, ticket, and afterward that Judge Earl was elected 
a Judge of the Court of Appeals three times on the Democratic ticket, 
and Judge Prescott was elected County Judge and Surrogate three times 
on the Republican ticket. 

On January 2d, 1896, Judge Earl and Mrs. Earl gave their residence in 
this village to the Herkimer Free Library and then by his will left an 
endowment, the income from it to be used in the purchase of books. 
He was President of this Society from its organization in 1896 until his 



death, and contributed and read many valuable papers upon both local 
and historical topics. 

As a lawyer Judge Earl was the superior of any man at the bar in 
Herkimer county. He is its most distinguished jurist; he digested and 
assimilated the great principles of the law; he was a great lawyer and a 
great judge. He was courteous and modest. He had a large number 
of personal friends both within and without the bar, and lived a noble 


George W. Smith was born in the town of Salisbury, this county, 
September 12, 1823; graduated at Fairfield Academy in 1844; began the 
study of law with Judge Graves at Herkimer in 1845; took charge of the 
Herkimer Journal and edited it for a period of three years; was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1848 and shortly afterward went to Watertown 
and became editor of the Northern State Journal, a Whig paper. In 
1851 he opened a law office at Boonville, and for two years was editor 
of the Boonville Leader, an independent paper. For some time during 
the year 1855 he was editor of the Utica Morning Herald. In 1859 he 
was elected County Judge of Oneida county on the Republican ticket, 
and re-elected in 1863. 

In 1861 he moved from Boonville to Utica. In 1870 he came to Herki- 
mer and became associated with Samuel Earl, and afterwards Edward 
A. Brown, under the firm name of Earl, Smith & Brown, which associa- 
tion continued for a number of years. 

At one time he and Mr. Josiah A. Steele were associated together, the 
firm being Smith & Steele. After that for some time Judge Smith 
practiced alone and upon the admission of his son, Sidney A. Smith, in 
1896, the firm was G. W. & S. A. Smith. 

In 1883 he was elected Member of Assembly from this county. He 
died at Watertown, September 20th, 1906, at the residence of his son, 
Romeyn H. Smith. 

Judge Smith was a student all his life; he was well versed in the 
science of the law and for many years he was the wisest among us. He 
possessed a wide fund of knowledge and knew many things. He was a 
charming conversationalist and a learned and graceful writer; was 
logical, forceful and eloquent and had a wonderful command of pure 


Sidney A. Smith's professional career was brought to a close by ill 
health ere it had hardly begun. He was admitted in 1896, and departed 
this life only a few days after the death of his illustrious father. 

George M. Wirt was bom at Ancras, N. Y., in 1857. He attended 


Union College and graduated from the Albany Law School. He came 
to Newport, this county, in 1879, and formed a partnership with P. C. 
VanWirt for the practice of law, under the firm name of Wirt & Van 
Wirt; after some time the firm was dissolved, Mr. Wirt continuing 
alone at Newport until 1899, when he came to Herkimer, where he prac- 
ticed until a short time before his death in November, 1909. He was a 

Mr. Wirt was a well-read lawyer; was painstaking and careful; had a 
pleasing manner and a keen sense of humor. 


John Dryden Henderson was born in the town of Norway, this county, 
July 13th, 1846, and graduated at Hamilton College in 1868. He came to 
Herkimer in December, 1868, and studied law in the office of S. & R. 
Earl and was admitted to the bar in April, 1869. 

He opened an office in Herkimer in 1870, but on account of ill health 
spent the year 1871 in the vineyards at Himrods, N. Y., returning to Her- 
kimer in March, 1872, where he practiced alone until in January, 1885, 
when he formed a partnership with the writer under the firm name of 
Henderson & Bell, which continued until in 1908, when it was dissolved, 
Mr. Henderson continuing alone until his death. May 31st, 1910. 

Mr. Henderson was a Democrat and took an active interest in politics 
and in public affairs. He held many village offices, was Member of 
Assembly in 1890, Trustee of the Herkimer Emergency Hospital, Trustee 
of the Herkimer Free Library, and Treasurer of this Society from its 
organization to his death. 

He has written considerable, both of prose and poetry. He wrote a 
number of valuable papers for this Society; he was what is sometimes 
called "a ready writer;" he had a large fund of information; he was 
large in stature and large in manhood, broad in vision, ever ready to do 
his part, and upright in all things. 


Edward A. Brown was born at Turin, Lewis county, N. Y., October 
30'th, 1848. He studied law with his father, Hon. Edward A. Brown, 
County Judge of Lewis county, and was admitted to the bar in Sep- 
tember, 1871, and commenced the practice of law in Lowville. 

He came to Herkimer in 1872 and was associated with Samuel Earl 
and George W. Smith, under the name of Earl, Smith & Brown, which 
firm for a number of years did a large and extensive law business. 

This firm dissolved in 1876. Afterward and until 1887 Mr. Brown was 
associated with Mr. E. B. Mitchell, under the name of Brown & Mitchell. 
In 1890 Mr. Brown was called to Dolgeville to act as counsel for the 
large interests of Alfred Dolge, where he remained for a number of 

He came back to Herkimer in 1902 and w^as associated with his son 


under the name of E. A. & E. M. Brown until his death, February 10th, 

Mr. Brown was a Republican and a member of the Constitutional 
Convention of 1894, and always interested in public questions and in 
public improvements, and believed in doing things well. 

He had a courteous and gracious manner and a genial disposition, 
and was thorough in his work. 


Abram B. Steele was born at what is now C/5lumbus, Ohio, January 
10th, 1845; he attended the Seminary at New Rochelle, Illinois and 
Wheaton College. 

He came to Frankfort in April, 1867, and entered the office of his 
cousin, J. A. Steele, and was admitted to the bar in April, 1868. They 
then went into partnership under the firm name of J. A. & A. B. Steele, 
which continued at Frankfort for about a year, when Mr. Steele went 
to the State of Nebraska where he remained about three months, when 
he returned to Frankfort, where he remained until February, 1870, 
when he came to Herkimer. 

The firm of J. A. & A. B. Steele did a large business up to the time 
of its dissolution, January 1st, 1880. 

In October, 1882, Mr. Steele and William C. Prescott became associ- 
ated together under the name of Steele & Prescott, which firm con- 
tinued until Mr. Steele's death, on March 28th, 1913. 

Mr. Steele Avas a Republican and early became interested in politics. 
He was District Attorney two terms, 1880 to 1885, inclusive, member 
of the Constitutional Convention of 1894, and Member of Assembly from 
this county for three successive terms, 1904, 1905 and 1906, and faithfully 
discharged the duties of a number of village offices. 

He was active, energetic, a hard worker, and did his part well. He 
was a good trial lawyer, worked untiringly for his clients' interest, and 
yet at the same time he was genial and had a high sense of justice and 


Robert E. Steele was born in Fra.nkfort. this county, on June 19th, 
1869. He came to Herkimer with his parents in 1874. He studied 
medicine for some time and then studied law in his father's office and 
was admitted to the bar in 1893, soon after which he formed a partner- 
ship with his father under the name of J. A. & R. E. Steele, which con- 
tinued until the father's death in 1902. He was Village Attorney, Dep- 
uty Attorney General of the State, and then for a time was Special 
Attorney for the State Banking Department. During about the last 
five years of his life he was Auditor for the General Electric Company 
at Schenectady, where he died March 4th, 1913, having been a sufferer 
from ill health for over two years. 


Robert E. Steele had capacity and he industriously developed that 
capacity He had a gentle and pleasing personality and early attained 
for himself recognition in the profession. 

He was patient and bore his illness with great fortitude, and was held 
in the highest regard by all of his associates and acquaintances. 

This sketch of the professional and public service of the deceased 
members of the Herkimer Bar is necessarily brief, by reason of the time 
allowed for such papers; but I am pleased to leave for the records of 
this Society even this brief narrative of the service of my deceased 
brethren, who so earnestly endeavored to faithfully execute the trustee- 
ship of their many and varied trusts. 


Colors of the 34th Regiment Turned Over to the Societj'. A Great 

Patriotic Gathering in Herkimer. Fine Speeches by Well Known 

Ladies and Gentlemen. 

Wednesday, September 17, 1913, marked the 50th anniversary of the 
battle of Antietam and the day was fittingly observed in Herkimer, 
when at a public meeting held at the Court House the colors of the 
fighting 34th regiment were presented to the Herkimer County Historical 
Society for safe keeping. There were 40 odd members of the 34th 
regiment present, besides many members of G. A. R. Posts in the county. 
Sons of Veterans, representatives from all the county chapters of 
Daughters of the American Revolution, members of the Woman's Relief 
Corps with Mrs. Gay, president of Chismore Corps, Ilion, Mrs. Gris- 
wold, president of Aaron Helmer Corps, Herkimer and president of Gal- 
pin Corps, Little Falls. Commander Garlock with other members of 
Col. John W. Vrooman Camp of Spanish War Veterans acted as ushers. 
Representatives of F. C. Warner Camp of Spanish War Veterans were 
also present, and assisted. 

It was a patriotic gathering which enjoyed to the full the fine pro- 
gram which had been arranged. Col. John W. Vrooman, president of 
the Historical Society called the meeting to order and introduced Rev. 
James Dean (a comrade) who opened the proceedings with an invoca- 
tion. Col. Vrooman told of the work which was being performed by 
the Historical Society in the preservation of historical facts and relics 
and asked for the co-operation of the public, by a larger membership 
so that the work of the society could be carried on by many rather than 
a few. 

George M. Elmendorf, superintendent of the Herkimer schools, was 
introduced as chairman of the meeting. He said in part: 

"I am indeed grateful for the privilege of acting as your chairman. 
As 50 years ago you, the Grand Army of the Republic, returned from 
noble sacrifice and brave service amid the plaudits of your neighbors 
so now, your neighbors, from every city and village of Herkimer county. 


meet again to do honor to the 'Gallant 34th' and to publicly testify love 
and allegiance to the flag for which you fought. We would pledge fealty 
to the great 'Union.' We would render thanks to the God of Nations for the 
blessings we have enjoyed under the flag of Colonel Suiter and the 
'North' and would be especially grateful that today there is 'no North, 
no South,' but the opportunity for common blessing and common service 
indeed we must not do less than to consecrate ourselves anew to the 
sacrifices and services of Peace. 

"It is true that the excitement of internecene struggle is not upon us, 
yet the fact that bloodshed and carnage are happily past, does not 
indicate that the gigantic problems of a race are likewise past. A half 
century since the selfish 'South' for the right to use the black 
man. Today our problem — only one of many — of the fair division 
of the proceeds of labor and capital, is still unsettled. In too many 
cases selfishness threatens our re-united nation. Again we find brought 
into play every artifice of organized cunning. Men are urged to forget 
their mutual dependence, to ignore the principles of fraternity and 
equality — on which the war was fought and the slaves freed — and set 
themselves against each other in classes. We must indeed consecrate 
ourselves anew to a more unselfish patriotism. May this day remind 
us of that duty. 

"I fell that it should be an inspiration to all of us to touch shoulders 
with these veterans to glimpse again at these hallowed and blood-stained 
colors — an inspiration, I hope to truer citizenship and nobler endeavor." 
Upon concluding his remarks the chairman introduced Sergt. O. E. 
Hayden of Syracuse, who interestingly told how he had strayed down 
into this territory from his home in Onondaga county to work, and 
three weeks later had become identified with Herkimer county's "boys 
of '61." The sergeant interestingly sketched the career of the Thirty- 
Fourth and mentioned how heroically its flag had been preserved, an 
incident being the finding of Color Sergeant Charles Barton at Antietam, 
wounded five times and too weak from the loss of blood to stand, bvrt 
lying with his arms clasped about the flag. Sergeant Hayden was him- 
self among the wounded of that dreadful battle. 

An interesting part of the program was the reading of the address of 
welcome given in Little Falls to the 34th on its return from service in 
June, 1863. This was written by Miss Wright, a famous teacher in 
Little Falls, and was recited by some of the girls of her school, several 
of whom were present at the exercises Wednesday. Mrs. James Yule 
of Mohawk, who was one of these, read the address which expressed 
in well-rounded phrases the pride of the people at the service of their 
regiment and gave an appreciation of the significance of the occasion. 
After this, strains of "America" were heard and about 35 children 
from the South Side School, with their teacher. Miss Margaret Tuger, 
marched in carrying a flag and with a drum beating sang the four 
verses of the national song. They followed this with a spirited salute 
to the flag after which they took seats at the side of the room and heard 
the program, making an occasion that they will long remember. 



Presentation of Flag. 

James A. Suiter, a son of the late Col. James A. Suiter and president 
of the 34th Regiment Association was introduced and in fitting words 
presented the colors which had been carried through the war, to the 
society, saying: 

"Mr. President and members of the Herkimer County Historical So- 
ciety: After the death of Major Wells Sponable, February 24, 1911, 
Mrs. Sponable presented me with the old battle flag of the 34th New 
York Volunteer Infantry of which he was the major. Battle scarred 
and riddled with rebel bullets the Major had preserved it upwards of 
fifty years, and Mrs. Sponable thought perhaps I would best know 
where to place the same for future preservation. 

"It gives me great pleasure to present the same to your society, 
knowing that it will be properly cared for and kept sacred as a re- 
minder of the gallant service done by the 34th New York. The Color 
Sergeant, Charles Barton of Company C of the regiment was the color 
bearer and after safely passing through the Peninsular Campaign and 
the seven days' retreat from before Richmond, still carried it through 
second Bull Run and South Mountain, and until Antietam where he 
was struck down with four wounds, and in falling called for some 
comrade to take it. Three succeeded, but were struck down when Pri- 
vate Haskins secured it and bore it from the field, for which gal- 
lantry he was promoted to a sergeant at the time by my father. 

"After the battle of Fair Oaks, in recognition of the charge made 
there by the 34th General Sumner said: 'Colonel Suiter, that was 
the most gallant charge I ever saw made. Who ever saw a regiment 
charge and fire all the time? The charge won the battle. Have in- 
scribed on your banner in letters of gold "Fair Oaks" '. But as comrade 
Rathtaun says we did not get the letters of gold, but we baptized it in 
'Blood at Antietam.' 

"Take the old flag to your keeping; preserve it as a memento of 
the service done by the boys of the old 34th and a constant reminder 
to the coming generations of patriotism and honor to their country's 

The Acceptance. 

The old flag was handed over to Col. John W. Vrooman, who called 
on CJiarles Rathbun and John Rank, of Co. C, the color company of the 
regiment, both of whom were in every engagement and were wounded 
in service, to hold the flag up. As the flag that is significant of more 
than can be imagined or appreciated was vmfolded and held out, the 
entire company rose out of respect and reverence for it. Col. Vrooman 
then accepted the gift as follows: 

"The Herkimer County Historical Society reverently accepts this 
silent witness of the bravery of the heroes of Colonel Suiter's fighting 
regiment. It is a signal honor to be designated as its permanent custo- 
dian and the society will carefully guard it as one of the most priceless of 


the many relics committed to its keeping. We have invited representatives 
of patriotic organizations to make fitting responses, as this historic 
emblem calls for an acceptance and an appreciation from the entire 

"May I take a moment of your time to speak a few personal words? 
This tattered flag vividly recalls other days when many of my boy- 
hood friends followed it during long and weary days of strenuous ser- 
vice and untold sacrifice, while others fell on the field, pierced by the 
bullets of the enemy. The starry emblem of law and liberty gave cheer 
to our gallant men in the terrific fight at Fair Oaks; it gave courage 
to our boys at Seven Pines and Savage Station; it gave strength to our 
soldiers at White Oak Swamp and Glendale; it was proudly carried at 
Malvern Hill and South Mountain, which led up to that life and death 
struggle at Antietam, where this bullet pierced bunting, victoriously 
waved over the brave men of the 34th, but at the frightful cost of many 
killed and many wounded. 

■"With such an unparalleled record, all of which was witnessed by this 
flag, we receive it as an ever present reminder of duty faithfully and 
loyally performed, which has resulted, thanks be to God, in giving us 
a united country, with a government the best on the globe." 

From D. A. R. Representatives. 

As typical of the interest of the occasion to all patriotic organiza- 
tions of the county, representatives of all the chapters of the Daughters 
of the American Revolution gave brief addresses, the first being Mrs. D. 
T. Lamb, Past Regent of Astenrogen Chapter, Little Falls. Mrs. Lamb 
called to mind the service rendered by the women at home during the 
war at "lint-pulling parties" for the soldiers and she expressed her pride 
in being able to remember those stirring days. 

The regent of General Nicholas Herkimer CJiapter of Herkimer, Mrs. 
Truman Snell, spoke particularly of what the D. A. R. is accomplish- 
ing to prevent the desecration of the flag and urged that the children 
be taught to reverence it. Mrs. Frank D. Callan, regent of Mohawk 
Valley Chapter of Ilion was expected to speak but a telegram was read 
from her from Schenectady where she had been unexpectedly called on 
business. The need of impressing on the rising generation and on the 
immigrants the meaning of living under such a flag as ours was em- 
phasized by Mrs. Abbie E. Harris, regent of Col. Marinus Willet Chap- 
ter of Frankfort, who pointed out the responsibility that we all have 
to continue the development of America as the type of the finest civilza- 
tion. Miss Mabel J. Wood, regent of Kuyahoora Chapter of Herkimer, 
spoke of what the flag symbolizes of purity, honor, life, steadfastness, 
hope and loyalty which have made us the nation we are. 

Interesting reminiscenes of war times were given by Mrs. Deligt Keller, 
regent of Col. William Feeter Chapter, who said we of today can honor 
more highly than the people of the past generation, those who fought 
in the war because we appreciate the meaning of it all more keenly. 
She talked particularly to the children present, urging them to live 


lives so pure and honorable as to never stain the flag and to grow 
ready for the service which the country is demanding today. Mrs. 
Charles W. Crim, regent of Henderson Chapter of Jordanville, spoke 
of the inspiration that is to be gained from the lives of those who have 
made the country what it is and she suggested that young people should 
be brought into the historical organizations in order that they may come to 
realize what has been done for the country. 

At this point Col. Vrooman introduced to the assembly Mrs. Spon- 
able, widow of Major Wells Sponable of New York, of the 34th regi- 
ment, who for nearly fifty years kept the flag of the regiment safely. 
The entire company rose and greeted Mrs. Sponable with a Chautauqua 

From G. A. R. Commanders. 

Brief addresses which were replete with reminiscences of war times, 
were given by commanders of the different G. A. R. Posts, the first 
speaker being Col. S. C. Clobridge, president of the Herkimer County 
Veterans' Association and commander of Aaron Helmer Post. He spoke 
of the formation of the Grand Army of the Republic for pa