Among the most interesting
of documents are the reminiscences of early settlers. While it is
true that facts sometimes suffer at the hands of fading memories, such
personal accounts lend a flavor and credence to history which no documented
account by a modern historian can hope to approach. In Cazenovia's
history, the most interesting and authoritative account of Cazenovia's
early history comes from Samuel S. Forman.
Forman was born in Middletown Point, New Jersey in 1763. His father was a merchant. He also undertook a mercantile career which eventually led him to venture into the wilderness of Central New York with John Lincklaen, a young Dutch land agent, to set up a new community, assist in land sales, and to operate the company store. Within a few years Forman purchased the store and expanded his business holdings into several neighboring communities.
In 1813, he built a grand mansion which rivaled the seat of his former employer. Perhaps because his house, which became known as "Lakeland," was built of wood, while Lincklaen's mansion, "Lorenzo," was built of brick, an old but unsubstantiated tradition indicates that the Forman house was built one foot larger in every dimension.
In the 1820's, after Lincklaen's death, Samuel Forman removed to Syracuse where he lived until his death, in 1860
In 1837, at the request of Mrs, Jonathan D. Ledyard, Forman wrote his "Annals" of the first settlement of Cazenovia. Forman recorded his memoirs as he recalled them not necessarily in their order of occurrence. The account was condensed somewhat when it was presented publicly on May 8, 1841, on the 48th anniversary of Cazenovia's founding. Yet another version was published in the Cazenovia Gazette of December 3, 1851. While Forman himself questioned the accuracy of some of his own statements, the account remains a most important document of the early settlement of Central New York.
This text has been taken directly from an account written by Samuel S. Forman.
John Lincklaen Esqr. of Amsterdam
in the kingdom of Holland under the patronage of Peter Stadnitski Esqr.
President of the Holland Land Company was sent to the United States to
explore the new countries and to make a purchase of a tract of land, should
he find a suitable situation. Accordingly in the year 1792 he came
to America with letters of introduction to the Company's agent Theophilus
Cazenove Esqr. then residing in the city of Philadelphia.
Mr. Lincklaen employed two hardy woodsmen to accompany him into the wilderness and having ascended the North (Hudson) River to Albany, went thence up the Mohawk river to old Fort Schuyler (Utica) which 80 miles above Schenectady and 96 miles from Albany. He then steered off in a westerly direction to the back part of Herkimer county in the State of New York. His object was to explore a tract of about one hundred thousand acres being a strip situate between the Military Townships and a tract called the Governor's purchase of 20 Townships. This tract commences about 20 miles south of Oneida Lake and extends upwards of 30 miles south and is about four and a half miles in width. He explored also another tract called Number One of the 20 Townships which is adjoining the north end of the first mentioned tract on the east side in a square of six miles. The two tracts contain about 120,000 acres and are distinguished on the map of the State of New York as the "Road Township" and the "Gore" and "Number One" (of the 20 Townships).
In this wilderness the enterprising young Hollander continued with his little company eleven days - enduring all the hardships and privations such hazardous expeditions are subject to many miles from any habitation and with only pork and bread for provisions.
Pleased with his expedition Mr. Lincklaen returned to Philadelphia, and having made a Report to Mr. Cazenove the whole tract of land above mentioned was purchased by the Holland Land Company, and Mr. Lincklaen appointed Agent (with an interest in the purchase) to settle it.
In the winter of 1793 the
writer of these Memoirs became acquainted with Mr. Cazenove and Mr. Lincklaen
in Philadelphia and received the appointment of Clerk to accompany Mr.
Lincklaen into the "back woods" to commence the new Settlement. In
the following April they went to New York where they purchased every implement
of husbandry necessary to clear the forest and cultivate the lands.
Mr. Lincklaen also requested me to purchase such merchandise as I thought
proper in order as soon as possible after our arrival upon the lands to
open a store for merchandise of all descriptions for the accommodation
and encouragement of emigrants by giving them every facility, and to dispose
of the goods to them at a less advance than usual under such circumstances.
I was also requested to engage a few useful men and accordingly the following were employed by me for one year viz: John Wilson as Carpenter, Michael Day as Mason, and James Smith as Teamster. In April the merchandise implements and hands were embarked on board of a sloop (of Capt. Schaneck [Schenk]) for Albany and from thence everything was forwarded by wagons across to Schenectady where batteaux were employed. These were sent up the Mohawk River and landed at Old Fort Schuyler where they were stored in the only Store House in the place which belonged to John Post Esqr. From thence to the place of destination, a distance of forty miles, they were carted as occasion required. At Old Fort Schuyler Mr. Lincklaen hired the following laborers viz. James Green, David Fay, David Freeborn, Gideon Freeborn, Asa C. Towns, Stephen F. Blackstone and Philemon Tuttle, and a good axe and provisions were dealt out to each before they commenced their march to the lands.
A cart and oxen loaded with
provisions and implements of husbandry was also sent on and Mr. Lincklaen
and myself on horseback with Mr. Lincklaen's two servants Philip Jacob
Swartz, and a large German (whose name is forgotten) followed. The
enterprising little band comprising altogether fourteen souls. The
first day we traveled about 18 or 19 miles, and reached Wemple's Tavern
[at Wampsville] a noted place near Oneida Castle. The next day we
got to Captain John Dana's [John Dennie's at Canaseraga] the Captain being
an Oneida Indian who spoke English and had been in the Revolution, among
the Indians friendly to America. The third day we reached Chittenango
only about a mile and a half and there left the main road (which was then
called the Genesee Road) [Now NY 5 and 173] following the Chittenango Creek
about a mile and a half through a small settlement of Indians and German
Squatters [on Dyke Road south of Chittenango], these latter having moved
from the Mohawk River. Here commenced our toils. The settlers
informed us that we must follow the Indian path up a pretty high and steep
hill [old Wager Hill Road, now abandoned]. The laborers therefore
commenced opening a road for our magazine cart to move on. It being
discovered that more working oxen were necessary, a man was sent back with
my horse to procure them, in the meantime the axemen persevered until we
reached the summit of the little mountain where it became necessary to
make arrangements for the night. Having found a very large tree that
had been blown down it was thought an eligible situation to encamp, as
the trunk would shield us from the wind and by kindling fires in front
we could be made comfortable. Having arranged this, out next thought
was of supper, and bread and raw pork were brought forward and each helped
himself in his own way. The laborers enjoyed their repast very much
laying a slice of pork on a piece of bread and cutting off slices with
their jack knives. Some of us however hesitated at this mode of proceeding
and were advised to cut a long stick, on the point of which to fasten the
pork and thus roast it at the fire. This was tried, and the experiment
proved satisfactory to a good appetite. Our cattle and horses were
also provided for from the contents of the cart. Having lived through
the night we were blessed with the sight of a pleasant morning, when we
made preparations to pursue our journey. Before leaving our place
of lodging however, we took breakfast, and had the same agreeable variety
as at supper.
Mr. Lincklaen here determined to go on ahead, with me, supposing that by night the axemen would reach the spot contemplated for the settlement, which was then about five or six miles distant at the foot of Lake Owagehega (in English "Yellow Perch"). Having now but one horse between us, we adopted the new country fashion of riding and tying, that is one to ride on some distance ahead then to get off and tie the horse to a bush himself walking onward the other walks until he comes up to the horse, then gets on and rides ahead and so alternately.
Having arrived at the outlet of the Lake we met with Charles Roe, Joseph Atwell and [Phineas] Barnes of Pompey Hollow who had settled a year before in that place and had come four or five miles over to the Lake to fish.
When night came on our magazine
not having arrived we were without anything to eat. At the outlet
of the Lake an Indian bark hut was standing, a wear [weir] having been
constructed in the outlet to catch fish as they passed out of the lake.
In this hut we five assembled in the evening and the other party after
the usual interchange of civilities finding who their new acquaintances
were and their destitute situation with respect to eatables cheerfully
extended the hand of benevolence toward us and gave us the same kind of
food we had enjoyed the morning and evening before. I remarked that
their bread was oniony at which they looked at each other and smiled saying
"he means leaky [leeky]". They then told us that it was mixed with
milk and that all the milk was leaky [leeky] as the earliest pasture, the
cows running in the woods found was leaks. The bread was however
very fine and white. The next morning by daylight our three new acquaintances
disappeared and we were left bread and porkless!
We were now in a situation not quite as comfortable as we could have wished and were puzzled what course to take. Concluding however that our people could not be far off Mr. Lincklaen thought it best to return until he should meet them, and started off on foot about six o'clock for that purpose leaving me alone with the horse which had been turned out upon the Indian opening the night before. About the margin of the Lake the land was principally covered with oak timber except an open meadow, the Indians being in the habit of burning it over yearly, and by that means destroying the small timber and underwood which opening the ground to the sun hastened vegetation.
I continued alone until about 10 o'clock a.m. without any prospect of relief and very hungry, for although I had five hundred dollars in the saddle bags it would not afford me a breakfast. I then thought it best to catch the horse ("Old Captain" by name) and with the faithful old dog Lion who had come along with us I retraced the Indian path with the hopes of meeting the cart.
About three quarters of a mile from the out-let I met with two men named Jedediah Jackson and Joseph Yaw who had been sent out by a company of Vermonters to explore the country with a view to settle. After a short conversation they proceeded on towards Township Number One which place they had in view and I walked ahead slowly leading my horse with the dog a little in advance. On passing soon after through a thick piece of wood in a swale the dog suddenly turned about and placed himself between me and the horse, as I was leading him and there showed much uneasiness. I stopt and looked about but could not discover anything, but thought it better to mount the horse, while the dog crept between his legs and there remained while he stood still. On examining the pistols I found to my consternation that they were not charged and as I had no ammunition (the horse and equipment belonging to Mr. Lincklaen) I was in a destitute situation to meet an attack. Thinking however that it was as well to move on as to stand still, and make the enemy whatever it might be believe that I was ready for war I rode on and to my great comfort I met with no interruption, nor did lever know what it was that gave poor Lion such an alarm. I have always thought however that it was a bear, as those animals were very plenty in that vicinity for a long time. The whining and perturbation of the dog was very singular. I continued on my course until I met Schwartz [Swartz] whom Mr. Lincklaen had sent on with some provisions, and so hungry was poor Lion that Schwartz [Swartz] had to hold him until I could divide with him the provisions. We then proceeded onward until I met Mr. Lincklaen and the whole company not far from where we had left them the morning before. The cart had broken down, and the labors proved too great for them to proceed as fast as Mr. Lincklaen expected.
The pioneers now progressed without material obstruction and the whole body arrived at the place of destination on Wednesday (Left Fort Schuyler on Saturday & reached the foot of the Lake on Wednesday) the 8th day of May 1793 where Mr. Lincklaen pitched two tents at the South end of the Lake, one for himself and me and the other which was very large for his hired men.
The men were then set to work to build two large log houses, one of which was designed for a house and store and the other as a residence for the people, they were placed at the South end of the Lake near the shore in the white oak grove [located where now stand the houses at 6 through 12 Ledyard Avenue].
Mr. Lincklaen had already
advertised by handbills to which an extensive circulation had been given,
that he would open these lands for sale on a credit of ten years, requiring
only ten dollars to be paid down and a further condition that ten acres
of each lot should be cleared and a log house built thereon, Interest to
be paid annually.
The lots were laid out so as to contain one hundred acres and the first ten families were to have a lot each at one dollar per acre. The first ten families soon moved on from the Town of Westmoreland, about twenty or twenty five miles distant and we were informed that some young people in order to avail themselves of this fine opportunity to procure their land cheap, shortened their courtship married and moved in.
The farmers having formally represented to Mr. Lincklaen that one hundred acres was not enough for a farm, requested that he would have the lots run out to contain one hundred and fifty acres, which was immediately complied with.
We had been on the road and at the Lake between two and three weeks without seeing a female, our baking and washing having been done at the house of Jacob Schuyler, a German living at Chittenango eight miles off [in the settlement of German squatters on Dyke Road south of Chittenango], when about sunset we were called to see a woman on horseback approaching the settlement, upon which we all ran out as if something wonderful was to be seen! It proved to he a Mrs. Dumont and her husband, who had come to view the place and then passed on to Cayuga Lake.
When the first families moved on they came without having viewed the land or having a place of residence prepared, and to accommodate them the workmen gave up their large tent and went into the log house which was only finished in part. The names of these were Benjamin Peirson [Pierson], Anson Daniel Dean, Noah Taylor and William Gillitt [Gillett] the others I cannot recollect.
The price of the land was now established at one and a half dollars per acre, (the first one hundred acres each to ten families having been disposed of) and so rapid were the sales, that the settlers followed the surveyors, and as soon as two sides of a lot were run out and the number ascertained, they would go to the office and have it booked, when frequently a person would have to name several lots before he could get one which had not been engaged only a few minutes before. At last the press became so great that we were obliged to suspend the sales for a day or two for fear of making mistakes.
Mr. Lincklaen reserved two miles across the north end of the Road Township (This Town took its name from the circumstance of ta being sold by the State, to cut and open the great Genesee Road from Utica to Canandaigua) ran a line parallel with the North line and then began the survey of the 150 acre farm lots. At the North end of this Township, on the East side of the Lake and about the center [of the Township] East and West, he laid out the Village, on a point of land surrounded on three sides by the Lake and its outlet, which after winding round takes a northerly direction and runs parallel with the East Shore of the Lake. The remaining part of the two mile Reservation was afterwards run out into smaller lots of from ten to fifty and sixty acres, a judicious plan for the interest of the company as well as the villagers.
The latter part of this summer a number of Hollanders came to the settlement on their way to view the Great Holland Land Purchase in the western part of the State, beyond the Genesee River and in the Northern part of the State of Pennsylvania. Mr. Lincklaen accompanied them. The party consisted of Mr. Rosettee (a brother in-law to Mr. Cazenove) Col. Mappa, Mr. Boon, Mr. Huydekooper, and perhaps some others. While they were gone a Mr. William Morris came to our settlement, on his return from viewing the Holland Company's purchase, having been sent out for that purpose by Mr. Cazenove. While staying to rest himself at Road Township, he was taken sick with what was then called "the Lake fever" and for a few days was very ill. The country did not afford any very distinguished physician but with the help of "Buchan's Family Medicine" and with pretty good nursing he recovered. While he was recruiting we turned our attention towards finding a name for the contemplated village. Mr. Lincklaen was desirous of calling it Hamilton as he was a great admirer of Gen. Hamilton's character but the settlers in an adjoining Township had already given that name to their Village. On Mr. Lincklaen's return from the West Mr. Morris told him that we had found a good name for his village viz. Cazenovia, and he cordially approving it was so established.
I may here mention an occurrence,
which had it not been discovered in time, might have given us much trouble.
After we had arrived at Cazenovia and the necessary preparations were going
on for the accommodation of the offices, store etc. etc. I went to
Old Fort Schuyler to get my trunk which besides my clothing contained all
the invoices and papers belonging to the Company. On looking for
it, it could not be found and Mr. Post the landlord said that it had been
about the house, but that he was afraid it had been carried away with the
baggage of the Commissioners, who had passed on their way to Presque Isle
to make a treaty with the Indians. At the head of these Commissioners
was Major General Lincoln the same whom Washington appointed to receive
Lord Cornwallis' sword at the surrender at Yorktown, and with the General
I was acquainted having had the honor of an introduction. I therefore
immediately rode up the Mohawk and overtook the Boats at Whitestown.
Having called upon the General and stated to him the business he instantly ordered all the boats three in number to stop. The boatmen were extemely dissatisfied and swore there was no such trunk in either of the boats. The General was however too well acquainted with the character of such men and peremptorily told them that every boat should be unloaded before he would be satisfied and ordered them to begin at once to unload. The rascals knew however perfectly well that they had stolen the Trunk, as it was well marked and easily distinguishable from their baggage which had been unloaded and loaded, repeatedly, so that they began with the boat that contained the Trunk and soon delivered it safely on shore. The General appeared to be satisfied that the men designed fraudulently to take it and reprimanded them severely.
When we were about to give
out the Contracts it was discovered that the printed articles were made
to draw six percent interest. I informed Mr. Lincklaen that in this
State the legal interest was seven per cent, and that in these states the
difference of one per cent would amount to a large sum Whereupon he immediately
suppressed them and wrote to New York to have other articles printed with
seven per cent interest. At this time Mr. Lincklaen did not speak
English so as to be well understood, although he wrote and understood it
himself very well and having employed Judge Benson (of New York) to have
these contracts printed, supposed that they were correct. By this
alteration the company was saved no small amount, had the first been given
out, it would have been very difficult to change it afterwards, and might
have caused great disturbance throughout the different settlements Of the
Holland Land Company.
The sales of the lands continued
rapidly and before the following winter the price was increased to two
dollars per acre, and so continued to rise until it advanced in about three
or four years to from five to six dollars per acre.
The lands are of a good quality interspersed with excellent white pine timber and cedar swamps, well proportioned with upland and swales, and remarkably well watered with fine streams on some of which good mill seats are found; the climate also is very healthy.
The settlement went on prosperously and harmoniously, the southern part of the purchase however was not as favorable for cultivation as the northern it being more liable to frost and the soil not so good. It was also situated out of the direction of the tide of emigration.
In order to afford greater facility and encouragement to the settlement of the lands at this early day a branch office and store was opened twenty six miles south from Cazenovia upon the Occelick [Otselic] Creek, under the care of Adoniah Schuyler one of the clerks of the office at Cazenovia.
The sketch opposite [not included] will give an idea of the position of the purchase of 120,000 acres. The townships were originally called by Mr. Lincklaen after the names of distinguished admirals in the Dutch Navy as Tromp, Brakel etc. he having been a midshipman in that service. They have however since been changed and bear the less appropriate names given to them to flatter political partisans viz, Pitcher, German etc.
About the same time the Cazenovia
establishment was commenced, Garret Boon Esqr. from Rotterdam in the kingdom
of Holland likewise commenced a settlement on a tract of about sixty thousand
acres, belonging to the Holland Land Company situate about twelve miles
north east from Old Fort Schuyler, the village of which he called Oldenbarneveldt
after a celebrated Dutch statesman. The Rev. Doctor Van Der Kemp
a distinguished literary character and Col. Adam Mappa settled at this
place, the Dutch Company having afforded them a place of refuge on their
being obliged to leave their country during the political difficulties
of Holland about 1786, they having both been active patriots in the Dutch
service. Mr. Lincklaen interchanged visits with these gentlemen in
the early times of the settlements about once a year, and the greatest
cordiality and good feeling always subsisted between them. All these
heads of families, with the exception of Mr. Boon who has returned to Rotterdam,
have now gone to their mother earth.
Some few years after the Cazenovia settlement was made Mr. Cazenove went to France and lived until his death in the family of Tallyrand. He was succeeded in the agency of the Holland Land Company by Paul Busti Esqr. an Italian gentleman of high respectability who was much esteemed.
The Vermonters made arrangements
with Mr. Lincklaen to take up their farms in Township No. 1 before that
tract should be offered for sale, as their company was large and they wished
to settle together. Jackson and Yaw the exploring committee before
mentioned and also some of our hired hands were a part of this company.
The committee having returned to Vermont and made such a report as to encourage
the company to emigrate, the next season a large number of families moved
in, the Township having been all surveyed and generally [divided] into
lots of 150 acres. After this company had made their selections the
remainder of the Township was open to anyone who wished to purchase.
This Township was settled principally by emigrants from Vermont, Massachusetts,
and New Hampshire, Road Township generally by people from Connecticut and
Massachusetts who named their village in the south part of the Township
New Woodstock after a town of that name in Connecticut. The Gore
tract (or townships Tromp, DeRuyter, and Brakel) was settled by a more
mixed people, but nearly all emigrants from New England, and it is a fact
very much to their credit that during the first four years (while I continued
in the office) there was but one person who took up a lot of land that
could not write his name.
When the settlement commenced
bears were very plenty in the northern towns small game such as foxes,
racoons, minks, martins & weasels were abundant a few otters were found
in the streams, and there were marks of beavers but none were ever taken.
The lake abounded with Yellow Perch (whence its name) and with trout, suckers
and bull-heads or catfish.
One winter a Mr. Walthers [Frederick Walters], a respectable German in the company's service and myself were on the west side of the lake examining a lot of land which we had made a purchase of (the same which was afterwards called "the Cazenove lot") when as we were walking along our dogs gave the alarm that game was at hand. We hurried forwards and found them barking around a very large hollow tree, having encouraged them to the attack a small terrier dog on putting his nose to a small hole at the roots was seized hold of and drawn almost entirely within the body of the tree. In order to rescue him we poked our sticks, when the animal within let go the dog, which ran bleeding home, and seizing the sticks held so fast that we pulled his nose out of the tree, but what creature it was we could not yet ascertain. We got a large pole and stuck the but end into the hole and Mr. Walthers [Walters] held fast the other end (as it were to a lever) while I ran to the farm house to get a gun and some hands with axes to engage in the combat. On my return with the reinforcement, we found Mr. W. as I had left him grasping the lever and very anxious to be relieved from his state of incertitude. Our first business was to secure the hole, where the stick was which we did by driving into the earth large stakes, which we interlocked with logs. We then cut three windows in the body of the tree about four feet from the ground, making them about seven or eight inches large, so that we could have a fair view of the animal, which we then discovered to be, what we expected a large bear. Having fired upon and wounded it, it became raving mad, raised its paws and put out its nose, gnashing its teeth fearfully and frothing at the mouth its red eyes bespeaking dreadful retaliation were it at liberty. The gun was again loaded & fired, but again only produced a wound. As we were in perfect security, we paused awhile to observe how terrible his angry looks and actions were. A third time the gun was loaded and the shot proved fatal to poor Bruin, who fell lifeless. We now cut one of the windows large enough to get him out and one of the men, after being satisfied that life was entirely extinct went into the winter quarters of Mr. Bruin and after some heavy lifting our game was landed outside of its stronghold. The men got a hand sleigh, and placing the body on it, drew it on the ice over the lake to the village. It was dressed and weighed upwards of four hundred pounds. It was a female and had two cubs in her. The skin was very black and finely covered. I gave the meat to the men, and four dollars for the skin which afforded them much feasting and pleasure.
Another time when the jobbers had set fire to their clearing by the swamp, near where Mr. Lincklaen built his last house the fire drove a large bear out and he passed through the village, no one being prepared to follow him he got off.
On another occasion a man passed a large one and her cub about a mile and a half up the Lake Road. He came to the store and informed us, whereupon we mustered about a dozen men and went in pursuit. We found them up a large leaning oak tree and commenced the attack. We had but one gun and no balls and were obliged to use therefore small slugs and shot. Having fired at the old one several times and perhaps hurt her, she all at once descended to a crotch in the tree, about twelve or fifteen feet from the ground, put her head between her fore legs, and threw herself off. As soon as she touched the ground, as many men as could stand around fell upon her with clubs and other weapons, so that she never rose on her feet again. The next business was to get little Bruin who had ascended as high as the limbs would bear him. It was a little creature about half as large as a middling sized dog, and every time it was fired at would wipe its face with its paws; at last a shot proved fatal and brought it to the ground.
In the Town of Nelson not far from where the Village now is a terrible encounter took place between a bear and two men by the name of Bumpus of the Vermont Company. They saw a bear, fired upon and it is supposed wounded it upon which it turned and coming up to one of the men seized him in a close hug. It happened that they were in the bed of the Chittenango Creek which was shallow and has a strong bottom and the only way the man could save himself was by cramming the bears mouth with stones which his brother picked up and gave him, thus preventing her from biting. They tussell'd [tussled] in this manner until by some means they separated. The man was somewhat hurt but it did not injure him for any length of time. It was thought the bear had young near the spot which caused it to attack. It is a long time since Mr. Bumpus related the story to me.
At a place called Tog wattles hill, in Nelson about five miles east of Cazenovia as a woman was washing near the house, her husband being off at work, a bear came up close to her and reared upon his hind feet, whereupon she caught up her child which was sitting a little way off and ran into the house.
They have been known to come in the night and try to get into hog pens, adjoining the log dwellings, when the noise would alarm the family, who would sally out and make war upon them. Down on the Gore they were very troublesome as were also, wolves. These would come near the settlement and howl, but I never heard particularly of any damage done by therm. A few deer have been killed near the Lake.
These incidents may appear insignificant now, but at the time they created much interest and show that the settlement of a wilderness is attended with difficulties and dangers of various kinds.
The Village of Cazenovia
was laid out by Calvin Guiteau in 1794. It was Mr. Lincklaen's wish
to have it along the east bank of the Lake - with a street along the margin
of the water, which would have given a better appearance to the Village,
but the Company did not own land far enough north for the adoption of that
plan - hence the present site was fixed upon.
The first sales of the Village lots were opened at five dollars, with certain conditions for building on and improving them but they soon rose higher. (The first ten acre job of clearing the heavy timbered land was taken by James Green & D. [David] Fay, next to the Cazenove lot on the west side of the Lake. Next to that 10 acres more by B. [Benoni] Barrett and David Marsh. The price was $10 pr. acre & boarding and six cents pr. bushel for ashes cribbed on the job. Wages were then $8- pr. month and boarding.)
The Company built a large and elegant house - two stories high and about fifty feet square - a frame building and roofed with lead, the lead was however taken off in a few years, as it could not be made tight. This house took fire twice; and the second time it was destroyed, with a great deal of valuable furniture. The spot on which it stood was afterwards sold to Perry C. Childs, Esqr. who built upon it the present mansion [Willowbank, built 1811].
The first grist mill was built on the Chittenango Creek, a little above where it unites with the outlet of the Lake, about a quarter of a mile above the present site of Gen J.D. Ledyard's residence [The Meadows] and the mill pond overflowed all that low meadow. After-wards a better seat was discovered embracing both that stream and the outlet of the Lake where the present one now stands. The first grist mill with a distillery and brewery was burnt down [the mill and distillery that burned, in 1810, was the second mill and stood on Mill Street in the Village].
The second year of the settlement
the inhabitants were enrolled for military duty by Major Moses DeWitt who
resided in Manlius near Jamesville about fifteen miles westward.
Cazenovia then comprised what now forms the Towns of Cazenovia, Sullivan,
Lenox, Nelson and [a small part of] DeRuyter [also Fenner, Smithfield,
and part of Stockbridge, and, since the breakup of Lenox, Lincoln and Oneida
City]. The first company training and election of officers was held
at Cazenovia; on that or the next season, Major [Moses] DeWitt issued orders
for a Battalion training to be held on Lot No.33 in Pompey Hollow, near
where [James?] Stanley's Pottery stood to which place there was only an
Indian path to the west of the Lake and from thence none at all.
The Cazenovia company was so large as to compose one half of the Battalion
which was made up of the companies of Capt. Alcott of Pompey Hill; Capt.
Phillips of Manlius, Capt. Lamb of Pompey Hollow and Capt. [Samuel] Forman
[the author of this text] of Cazenovia. The next season orders were
issued for a Regimental training at Morehouses' Flats in the town of Manlius,
about twelve miles from the Village of Cazenovia. This was very hard
upon some of our settlers, as many had to travel twenty miles to get there
and generally on foot. No Regiment was formed, but two Battalions
under the command of Majors Commandants, DeWitt and Asa Danforth.
When the militia appeared on the ground, the melancholy intelligence of
the death of Major DeWitt was announced. Adjutant Gen. Van Horne
was present, but Major Danforth of course took the command. The Regiment
attended the funeral which was conducted with military honors. The
burial took place in a grove upon his own farm, about a mile and a half
from where the training was held.
At the grove we were compelled to come to a pause for just as the corpse was about to be lowered into the earth Major Danforth came to me and said that no ropes had been brought along to lower the corpse into the grave. I suggested that we should tie our pocket handkerchiefs together - which plan was adopted. After the funeral we marched back to the parade ground and dismissed. Major DeWitt was a gentleman of worth and much respected. His death put the Military into some confusion. From some little delicacy between the two Majors (DeWitt and Danforth) neither was promoted, as each claimed rank of the other. I now called upon Major Danforth, and proposed as an arrangement to organize the Regiment that he should be commissioned Colonel, and Mr. Lincklaen and someone from Onondaga County Majors which plan appeared to be approved of by him. I stated that Mr. Lincklaen had been an officer in the Dutch Marine, and therefore might be of great service, both by his purse and high standing in society and military acquirements. I called also upon perhaps, every officer interested and there seemed to be no objections. A day therefore was fixed and a meeting called of all the officers to be held at a School House in Onondaga Hollow about twenty miles from Cazenovia. When the meeting took place, Major Danforth presided and soon after organization put the following question viz. "Shall we go out of the line of officers to fill vacancies in forming a Regiment" - In taking the votes on the question he called upon each as they sat around the room beginning with the one that was nearest him and immediately opposite to me. The answer was uniformly "No" until it came last of all to me. I then arose and addressed the President recapitulating the object of the meeting and reminding those present that when the arrangement proposed was stated to each individually not only was there no objection raised but it appeared fully to meet their approbation and now in open meeting the gentlemen had voted unanimously against a measure which each had pretended to approve. I further stated that we were so strong in Cazenovia that we thought we could take care of ourselves and that if we withdrew from them they could not form a Regiment, and said I "from this time I declare all military connexion between us dissolved."
The meeting then broke up and having called for Mr. Lincklaen who was waiting for me at the little Tavern, we went home.
I soon after drew up a petition
to the Governor and Council of appointment nominating Mr. Lincklaen as
Major of a Battalion in Cazenovia and giving also names for all the other
necessary officers. The petition was signed by every man who could
be found in the settlement, and in conformity thereto every officer was
appointed. Our Battalion was said was very fine and received the
compliments of the Adjutant General. The Onondagas from losing the
Cazenovia Company were unable to organize for some time afterwards.
This military business was somewhat of a hobby with Mr. Lincklaen, and
when we were to have our first Battalion training (his debut before the
lines) he requested me to make out a list of all the officers, and of such
settlers as held a conspicuous place among us as well as some others in
Pompey Hollow with whom we were in the habit of associating, in order that
he might give them a dinner at the Tavern. He wished those that had
wives to bring them, and young unmarried officers their sisters if they
had any. I asked him jocosely if having neither wife or sister, I
should appoint a young lady for each to wait upon. It pleased him
well and he said "yes by all means". So we had a fine training, a
good dinner with excellent toasts, and all hearts were made glad.
Before getting through the business of the day, it was too far spent for
some to return home through the then bad roads and lonely woods, as many
therefore as could find room in Major Lincklaen's house, took up their
quarters there for the night. All of which afforded us a pleasing
subject of conversation for a long time.
The augmentation of the Militia soon made it necessary to form into a Regiment whereupon Major Lincklaen was promoted to the command and a large Regiment formed.
Shortly after great alterations were made in the Militia - New Brigades formed. Col. Jonathan Forman an old Revolutionary Colonel who moved into Cazenovia in 1796 was commissioned by Governor Jay (the successor of Govr. George Clinton) Brigadier General and about the same time Major Benjamin Ledyard (also of the Revolution) was commissioned Brigadier General likewise. By some erroneous order both Brigadiers and Adjutant General Van Horn arrived and inspected the Cazenovia Regiment, but the order was afterwards corrected and General Ledyard moved to Aurora, on the banks of Cayuga Lake having received the appointment of Clerk of Onondaga County, which included all the military tract so called and which is now divided & constitutes Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tompkins, and Cortland counties. About two years after this Solomon Van Rensselaer was appointed Adjutant General. He was of great respectability both as a soldier and citizen. On account of some unfair proceedings of Governor Clinton, caused by politics General Forman and almost every officer in his Brigade resigned their commissions and for a long time respectable men could not be found to accept commands and the Brigade was totally disorganized.
For a long time Our Cazenovia
settlement belonged to the Township of Whitestown and notwithstanding the
distance which was forty miles, some few of us used to go there to the
town meetings. One spring the election was adjourned to Cazenovia
in order to give us a share of the Town Officers. The early division
of the towns was somewhat singular for in going to Whitestown, the inhabitants
of Cazenovia had to pass through the Towns of Westmoreland and Vernon.
This was owing to the fact that Whitestown comprehended all the lands as
far as Onondaga County originally, and when a new Town was marked off it
had its boundaries designated leaving all that not particularized still
in the Township of Whitestown - thus Cazenovia although still in that Town
was entirely cut off from it. Afterwards Chenango County (Of this
Mr. S. Sidney Breese was appointed County Clerk) was taken from the West
of Herkimer and the east of the military tract. Subsequently Oneida
County was also taken off of Herkimer, the Oneida Creek forming its western
boundary, and from this creek west to the Military Tract, or Onondaga County,
Madison County was formed. For some time the courts of Madison County
were held alternately at Hamilton and Lenox, but the Legislature upon petition
of the inhabitants appointed General Philip Van Cortland, General Stephen
Van Rensselaer and Colonel Jenkins, Commissioners to affix a center for
the public buildings. The first and last named gentlemen came into
the country and after viewing all the places claiming tile preference,
Cazenovia was fixed upon for the county seat. Col. Lincklaen and
Capt. E.S. Jackson were appointed commissioners to build the Court House.
The situation of the County Seat always creates much jealousy and contention. By the stratagem of a vigilant Senator a law was afterwards passed removing the seat of justice for the county, from Cazenovia to Morrisville, in the Town of Eaton, where it has since remained. This at the time gave dissatisfaction to those who were on [jail] limits and they petitioned against it. It was also objected to as Cazenovia was a place of considerable business and afforded employment to the prisoners, but the petition did not prevail. It proved however a favorable circumstance for Cazenovia, as it induced the establishment of a flourishing seminary, the Court House having been sold by the Supervisors to the Society of Methodists who built a fine three story building in addition and made a handsome edifice for a seminary which has become very successful and relieved Cazenovia of all the evils which accompany a Court House and Goal [Jail].
The first winter of our settlement
I made a computation of the size of the Lake, by pacing the distance on
the ice, and found it about four miles long and three quarters of a mile
wide. It appears to be fed entirely by springs as the only inlet
is a stream so small that a person can easily jump over it. The water
is of great depth and very clear; the shores handsome and in some places
the water is almost even with the bank. At the south end the shore
is sandy and the water deepens gradually for several rods, affording a
fine and safe spot for bathing. It is a beautiful little sheet of
water, large enough for recreation, in summer for sail boats and in winter
for skating and sleighing on the ice.
The first winter we were here I went to Old Fort Schuyler and Whitestown in a sleigh. On my return arriving at the head of the Lake, we stopt and examined the ice; cut through it and after some hesitation I determined to venture upon it. James Smith our Jersey teamster was driving. The ice was even with the shore and as we drove on we found that every step the horses took the ice cracked in rays around their hoofs it being very smooth and clear. This made the horses a little skittish and ourselves perhaps quite as much so. I directed Smith to keep a steady gentle trot and not to suffer the horses to gallop.
We had ridden all night and reached the head of the lake at day-light. Just as the people were up we arrived safely at the settlement where we found a number standing upon the bank watching our approach. At first some supposed it was a bear upon the ice. Various other conjectures as to what kind of an animal we were, were advanced and when we drew nigh enough to be recognized, they were very much astonished. This perhaps was the first time that any person ever rode upon this Lake. In the course of the winter the Lake was preferred to the road upon the land. In March when Mr. Lincklaen returned from New York and Philadelphia (where he always spent the winier) he traveled on the Lake, but the water nearly came into his sleigh. Mr. Hendrick DeClercq a young Hollander sent by Mr. Stadnitski to Mr, Lincklaen's care, came with him.
At the time I paced the Lake I also fathomed it and found it to be about sixty feet deep in that which we supposed the deepest place [it is 48 feet deep].
It should not be forgotten
that on the bank of the out-let of the Lake, where the Hay scales now stand
[These stood at the foot of Sullivan Street on the south side of the square
and have since been removed to the square.], there was an old fort which
from the regularity of its appearance and other circumstances must have
been the work of a civilized people. The embankment the holes where
the pickets were put into the ground and two circular holes, supposed to
have been wells, were all easily perceptible; and frequently bits of earthen
ware, were found near the spot. I always have regretted that we had
not curiosity enough to have had these supposed wells opened and examined.
There were also in several parts of the neighborhood indications of the works of a former people. On the west side of the Lake about a mile from its head a large entrenchment was found running from the Lake to the brow of the hill towards Pompey Hollow. About a mile in a north West direction from Delphi there was another fortification and not far from this place, a farmer told me that when he first settled upon his farm there were several places about the size of a log cabin almost covered with bones which he supposed to be human. These spots were in a straight line and at short distances from each other; and it was the opinion of any informant that a number of persons had been massacred, perhaps burned within their quarters. There was also another well defined fortification in a South West direction from this farm, I was also informed that on Pompey Hill there were some others, and that a surveyors needle and some implements of husbandry had been ploughed up.
On the banks of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers there are many large mounds and traces of fortifications which have never yet been satisfactorily accounted for. I once visited a Col. Bragin near the Natchez whose house was built upon a large mound and his barns upon others. All these show that this western Country and that through which the great western waters flow have once been settled by a civilized race of beings of which we know nothing.
The first place of worship
in Cazenovia was a large school house, with a pulpit and plain seats somewhat
like pews but without doors; and we were supplied by missionaries and itinerant
preachers. A few years after the settlement commenced the Rev. Joshua
Leonard from Enfield, Connecticut received a call, which he accepted.
His salary was about $500 a year, besides a present from the Holland Land
Company of one hundred acres of land near the village on the Reservation.
The first three years his salary was paid by assessment upon the property
of those who subscribed for his support as taken by the assessors.
Afterwards it was collected from voluntary subscriptions. Mr. Leonard
continued until about 1812 when his health declined and he asked for dismission.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. [John] Brown. While Mr. Leonard
was with us a Presbyterian meeting house was built a little north of the
village, but within the corporation and the pews were sold to pay for the
house. Several years after this the Baptists built a house in the
Village and the Presbyterians finding that the village grew in a contrary
direction, moved their house to the Public Square, where it now stands.
The Methodists then after their Seminary began to flourish built a fine
stone church and that society increased. It must be remembered that
the village paid a large sum towards building the Seminary, the amount
I cannot recollect but it was in proportion to that which was expended
by the Methodists. The village now contains one Presbyterian meeting
house - one of a sect called "Perfectionists" - one Baptist and one Methodist.
At the last census it numbered sixteen or seventeen hundred inhabitants
and is a place of great business having a bank with a capital of $100,000
- the building of which is a handsome two story edifice, with a granite
[Onondaga limestone] front and fire proof [it burned in 1871 but was rebuilt!].
There has also recently been erected an elegant three story brick building
for a Hotel, which cost with the furniture about $18,000, and has been
called the "Lincklaen House" in honor of the founder of the Village.
The stage runs through Cazenovia each way every day and from Albany and
two other cross stages in other directions,
As a village it is unrivaled, being situated in a fine healthy country, the whole of which is in a flourishing and prosperous condition.