Miss Louise S. Dwinelle's "Paper on Old Cazenovia," 1908
with an 1811 letter by Justin Dwinelle describing his first impressions of Cazenovia
from the Cazenovia Republican, October 27, 1908

Daniel H. Weiskotten
11/22/1999
Last Modified April 15, 2002
 

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Cazenovia Republican October 27, 1908

PAPER ON OLD CAZENOVIA

by Miss Louise S. Dwinelle, October 14, 1908
(notes and comments are provided within the text in [ ] by Daniel H. Weiskotten)
 (with a letter of 1811 by Justin Dwinelle describing his first impressions of Cazenovia)

See also the Biographies of Justin Dwinelle

Prepared and Read by Miss Louise S. Dwinelle.
Before the Owahgena chapter, D.A.R., October 14, 1908
Giving Some of her Early Memories of Some of the Old homes and the Names of the People Connected with them.
(Published by request of the Owahgena Chapter, D.A.R.)

        Our Regent has requested me, one of the older members, to write down some of my early memories of Cazenovia, its residences and people.  As I have a pretty good memory my dates I feel sure are accurate.  I hope that my paper will contain some things of interest to our Chapter.
        My grandfather, Jeremiah Whipple, was the son of Captain Ezra Whipple, who was a soldier of the Revolution, having fought in both battles of Saratoga, and was present when Burgoyne surrendered to General Gates, October 17, 1777.  My great- grandfather served his country and generation well, for he lived to become the father of twenty-one children.
        He married at the age of eighteen years, his first wife Lydia near the same age.  She was the mother of twelve of his twenty-one children.  His second wife, Abigail Barnum, was the mother of the other nine children.  Fifteen of the twenty-one children lived to mature years - some of them to a great age.  One daughter to her ninety-sixth year and another to the age of one hundred and three years (103).  He left a family of nine little children when he entered the army.
    My grandfather, Jeremiah Whipple, was his fourth child and eldest son.  He was born in Adams, Massachusetts, March 21, 1766.  He came from Wallingford, Vermont, and first located in Nelson, four miles from Cazenovia for a few months.  He came to Cazenovia from Nelson in the year 1795 in the summer or fall.  My mother told me that she was a babe of but a few months, born in May of that year, and was brought here lying in her cradle in the same wagon with their other household treasures.
        Their first home was in a log house where they lived while my grandfather was building a frame house on the hill [9 Chenango Street], the first house on the west side south beyond the Mill street bridge - still standing.  While living there he bought half an acre of land on Mill street, and built another and larger house, which according to New England custom at that time, he erected his new house on the extreme northeast corner within a few feet of the side walk [5 Mill Street; the north half of the front is the original portion of the house, built by Whipple about 1806].
        He sold his house upon the hill to Dr. Isaac Lyman, who came here from Northampton. Conn., about the year 1799.  In the year 1806, my grandfather moved into his new house on Mill street where his daughter, my mother, Louise Whipple, was married to my father, Justin Dwinelle, September 12, 1813.  Justin Dwinelle was born in Shaftsbury, Vermont; but he came to this place direct from Troy where he had been studying law in the office of John Dickinson, a lawyer of great repute at that time.  He came here in the summer of 1811, located and commenced to practice his profession.  In April 1814, my father purchased the property on Mill street [5 Mill Street] of my grandfather, and ever since then it has been known as the "Dwinelle house."  In this house was born to my parents nine children, seven sons and two daughters, of whom I am the sole survivor.
        Both of these houses my grandfather built.  The one on the hill [9 Chenango Street], and the other on Mill street [5 Mill Street], are over one hundred years old, and are both standing in good condition.  They were well built, for my grandfather was a carpenter by trade, and although he was never known to hurt himself with work, he had the happy faculty of making other persons work, and insisted upon its being well done, too.  He was a large, tall, dignified, stern man, very particular in his dress, and wore a ruffled shirt bosom as long as he lived.  The only feelings I remember having for him were those of awe and admiration.  I did not feel at all acquainted with him.  He died while I was but a young girl, and my grandmother died several years before I was born.
        My mother told me that my grandfather had great command of language and when the occasion required his words were very cutting, sarcastic and bitter, so that among his comrades of the same age, he acquired the name of "Jeremiah Wormwood," while his brother William, who was of a sunny, jovial nature, full of fun, was hailed as "Wicked Will."  Their other companions had their characteristic names given then.
        After Dr. Isaac Lyman (who was the beloved physician of my childhood, so gentle and patient) moved from it, the home was occupied by Dr. David Mitchell, and a wing was added on the north side of the house, and a piazza across the front of the old part; but the main portion of the house is the same as when first built.  The house is now [1908] occupied by Mrs. Pierce.
        Mr. Luther Burnell lived in the home opposite my grandfathers on the hill for many years [8 Chenango Street].  I have been told that Mrs. Burnell organized the first Sunday school and its services were held in her house for some time.  This was before my day and I heard mother say that Mrs. Burnell taught her to read.  She kept a daily school for children in her house also.
        During my childhood the home, next north of our house on Mill Street [3 Mill Street, now demolished] was occupied by Mr. Rensselaer Jackson, son of Captain Eliphalet Jackson, who lived on the east hill towards Nelson [2527 NY 20 East].  Next below [7 Mill Street] was my father's law office, still there [Kozlowski DDS office 1999].  Next came the house of Mr. Rufus Allen [9 Mill Street], now occupied by Mrs. D.M. Pulford.  Next were two smaller houses [now covered by one house at 11 Mill Street] the first occupied by Mr. Lemuel White, a dry goods merchant and father of Mrs. John Fox, who at an advanced age, bright and interesting, is still with us.  In the second house lived Mr. Mathew Chandler.  I think he owned the Carding Machine factory on Chittenango creek.  He was a tall, dignified, stately man whom I never dared speak to; but I loved his gentle, little wife with quiet, refined manner, who was always so kind and pleasant to us little children.  These houses were taken down and a fine large house [11 Mill Street] was built on the site of them by Mr. William Burton.  This home afterwards came into the possession of Mr. James Dows, whose wife was the niece of Mrs. William Burton, and ever since then it has been known as "The Dows House."  This house was the home also of our first beloved Regent, Miss Amanda Dows, now of hallowed memory.
        The next house below [17 Mill Street] was occupied by Mr. Joseph Sims, who owned and carried on the Flour Mill just beyond on the Chittenango creek.  After crossing the Mill street bridge the street south of it, is now called Chenango street.
        On the west side of Mill street directly opposite the Dwinelle house, Mr. Benjamin T. Clarke lived - the father of Samuel D. and Augustus P. Clarke.  He built that house [8 Mill Street, now demolished] and the two below it [10 and 12 Mill Street, 10 is now demolished].  In the next one [10 Mill Street, now demolished] lived Mr. Samuel Thomas, grandfather of our citizens Birney and Samuel Thomas and Mr. Cameron, now occupied by Mr. William O. Aikman.  The next house [12 Mill Street] was occupied by Mr. E.G. Weld, the photographer for several years.  After this it was purchased by the members of St. Peter's church for its Rectory and has been used as such ever since.  It is now occupied by the Rev. John T. Rose, the present Rector.  St. Peter's church is next to the Rectory; it was built in 1848.  Mr. Owen Chandler [Oran Chandler?], son of Mr. Mathew Chandler lived in a house a long way back of the street [4-6 Allen Street] in a house still standing on the southwest end of Park House lane [Allen Street], but at that time it was always spoken of as Mill street.
        When I was a very small child my grandfather's brother William Whipple, occupied a house on the northeast corner of Lincklaen and Albany streets where the Lincklaen House now stands.  It was a square two story, white house with hall through the center and two windows each side of the hall.  It was set back from the street as far I think, as the side door of the Lincklaen House.  There was a path from the gate to the front door of the house, on each side of which were lilac and snowball bushes and flower beds; on each side of the house was a yard and a vegetable garden in the rear.  The house was sold after the death of Mr. and Mrs. Whipple and was moved down the hill to Center street where it still [13 center Street] stands opposite the home of the Misses Mann [14 Center Street].
        The Lincklaen House was built in the year 1835 [completed and opened in November 1836] by John Williams and his associates in a stock company.  It came into the sole possession of John Williams in the year 1839, and was in his possession when he died in 1853.  Oliver Jewell leased it from Mr. Williams, from 1841 to 1852.  In 1853, Mr. Jewell purchased the property and kept the hotel until his death in 1877.
        My first recollection of the Presbyterian church, the main entrance was reached by a broad and long flight of steps, and I went to an infant school in the basement kept by Miss Mary Stiles and Miss Betsey Prentice.  At the north side of the main room was a tier of box seats for children, rising from the lowest seat to nearly or quite half of the height of the room.  We children sat in these seats at the opening of the school in the morning, when the older girls went to their desks, and we little ones to the seats arranged for us on the benches.  I could not have been more than four or five years old when I first began going to school.  Once each day we paraded around the big room, boy and girl together, hand in hand.  My companion was always Cornelius Ledyard, whether he chose me or I him, or whether the teacher arranged us I cannot remember.  He was a gentle, merry boy and the remembrance of him has always been a pleasant memory of my little childhood.  He died when but a young lad [died 1836, age 10].  Another room was set aside for a play room on rainy days.  Still another room contained a large bed where some of the youngest children had a nap during the day.
        This room and its furnishings was impressed upon my youthful mind by being punished in it by one of the teachers striking me severely, well deserved I presume, but it roused my indignation, for I felt that no one but my mother had a right to punish me, and to this day I retain the same opinion.  The school was moved to another small building on Sullivan street just above the Presbyterian parsonage, which house disappeared long ago.
        The basement of the Presbyterian church was altered and the Sunday School and Wednesday evening prayer meetings were held there.  After a while a session room was built on the west side near the church; the basement and steps were taken away and the church lowered to its present position, and with it to me, came down its dignity and beautiful proportion.
        The next school I attended was in a portion of the house which had been an hotel.  The Madison County House by name.  It stood on the ground now occupied by the large brick house built by Mr. Cleveland Litchfield [Century House, 36 Albany Street].  This school was called "The Select School," and was kept by Miss Talcott and Miss Dorrance; two refined, cultivated ladies, with quiet, dignified manners, who made a lasting impression upon their scholars by their firmness, gentleness and kindness even when they had to reprove them.  Miss Helen Davenport kept the school in the same place for a year or two.  Then Mr. Goodell and Miss Mary Severance kept a school for both boys and girls, in a building where the Presbyterian parsonage now stands.  After this I attended a school for girls kept by Mrs. Grace Wilson on Sullivan street [at 9 Sullivan Street] in the house facing the west end of Seminary street [actually a bit further north].
        In looking over some of my father's papers I found a copy of a letter written by him to a relative giving an account of his journey here in the summer of 1811, and some of the impressions of this place.  Thinking it may be of some interest to the older members I have copied a portion of it.
 

October 7, 1811
Dear Sir:-

        In pursuance of the promise made to you on leaving your house I shall endeavor to give in this letter, some occurrences which were incidents to my journey, also a partial description of this village.  Monday succeeding the Friday that I left Shaftsbury I made a purchase of a library in Troy; and the next day took a stage and went to Albany.  My library being so cumbersome I could get it carried no further on the stage.  I was under the necessity of looking out for a different mode of conveyance.  I soon found a wagoner from Utica who agreed to take me and my books to that place the next morning, at which time I had calculated to have started on with an empty wagon, but immediately on agreeing with him for my passage, the wagoner went in pursuit of more cargo and found a young man with his wife and child just from Ireland, and took them aboard together with their trunks, chests, provisions, etc.
        In seeing the misshapen load and the company into which I had fallen I had about resolved to quarrel with the teamster on account of his deception and to leave him alone with his foreigners, but on reflecting that I should thereby injure the feelings of the young man and his wife who had not misused me, and also that I should not meet with another wagon in many days, I was induced to retain my anger and appear satisfied.  Wednesday morning left Albany and arrived in Utica on Friday evening.  Just the reverse of expectations I had a very comfortable and agreeable passage.  These Irish people even with their odd and singular manners, are the most pleasant beings in the world.  I cannot but admire their candor and simplicity.  I am convinced that no people can be placed in so low a position in life, but they may if they are so disposed, find thousands of ways of rendering themselves agreeable to all classes of people by little good offices and acts of kindness.
        In the forenoon of Saturday I completed some business which I had to attend to in clerk's office in Utica and purchased some stationery.  In the afternoon I met a gentleman coming to this place who took me and my books into his wagon and brought me to this village before the evening of the next day.
        Cazenovia village is situated on the east side of Cazenovia Lake at the south end, which lake is about four miles in length and three-fourths of a mile in width and lies nearly north and south.  The lake has an outlet from its southeast corner which passes through the south part of the village where it falls in with a small creek running in from the south, which together with the outlet forms the Chittenango creek, which then takes a northern course and runs around the east end of the village.  From the outlet of the lake to the northeast part of the village there is a regular descent making a most eligible place for waterworks in every part of its distance, and there is water enough at any season of the year to carry them on to almost any extent.  There are already erected on the same, a grist mill, saw mill, paper mill and carding machine besides some of the smaller note.  By the last census [1810] of the village of Cazenovia contained four hundred inhabitants and is fast increasing by immigration.  It contains a very convenient Presbyterian meeting house, a new bank, court house and some elegant dwelling houses.  A jail is soon to be erected.  Seven stores and five attorneys.  The Cherry Valley turnpike road runs from east to west through the place and unites with the Mohawk turnpike at Manlius, eight miles west of this place.  The Smithfield turnpike comes in from the northeast.  Several common roads lead to the north, south and southeast.  The place, I think in a few years will become a very great manufacturing town.

        I have hired a room for my office and am already in it.

                                        Yours
                                                Justin Dwinelle.

My father was 26 years old a few days after he wrote this letter.

END