MEMORY OF THE PIONEERS
REMNANT OF THOSE SURVIVING, --- Those courageous men and women who suffered the privations, endured the hardships and toil, that we might enjoy the fruit thereof.
Who have reared our beautiful villages; dotted the valleys with a multitude of hamlets: covered the hills with peaceful homes; who have planted Schools and Churches, established manufactures, promoted agriculture; who have bound our country to the commercial world with many iron bands, and have drawn hither the electric channels of the world's utterances,
With filial and fraternal affection,
No apology need be offered for such a work as this. It is time that the recollections of the pioneers were gathered together, before the last of them shall have passed away; before the eyes that have seen the wonderful changes wrought in the domain of our own county, shall be forever closed, and the lips, which alone can describe them as they were, are forever silent. One by one the landmarks are falling, and the records of memory are fast fading away. Little enough can be gleaned at the present time. A few years hence nothing further than has been written of the earliest days, can be obtained, except by uncertain tradition.
In 1863 the writer began her work, by visiting and conversing with aged people, taking notes from their memories, of the long ago past. The sketches so obtained were properly labeled and laid in their appropriate places, each town by itself, for future use. They were gathered, not so much with a view to publication, as to preserve them, knowing they would, in time, be useful to some one. The material accumulated year by year, but slowly, as only time not devoted to household duties, was used in the pursuit.
In 1867, a brother of the writer, J. M. Chase, joined her in the work, and the two for a season were engaged in connection, collecting historical matter. But, as it interfered with his other labors, required time which he had not to spare, careful thought, and much comparison and sifting, which one whose thoughts were busy with the cares of this work-day world, could not employ, he relinquished the object, and the author went on alone, devoting her energies almost entirely to the work the last years.
From 1867 to 1871 a series of sketches from this history were published in the Oneida Dispatch, the object of which was to awaken public sentiment, elicit information and thus add to the increasing fund of material. It had the desired effect, and by the means a more complete, and by far more correct history is obtained, as the imperfections of the sketches were thus eradicated.
In the aim to furnish a history of this region reaching back to the remotest period, thousands of pages have been intently perused and digested. No work has been oftener consulted and more largely drawn from, than the "Documentary History of New York State." Valentine's "History of New York City", Campbell's "Annals of Tryon" and "Schoolcraft's Notes on the Iroquois", have contributed most useful material for the following pages. In a great measure the different State Gazetteers have served most excellent purpose. Smith's "History of New York", the New York State Census of several dates, the Civil List, the Red Book of various dates, several reports of the New York State Agricultural Society, the "New Encyclopaedia", have been daily references. Barber's "Historical Collections", the "Life of De Witt Clinton", the "Memoirs of Dr. Nathaniel Kendrick", the "Life of Mrs. Judson", and others have been consulted, and in some instances drawn from for biographical sketches.
Local historians have materially aided the progress of the work. Jones's "Annals of Oneida County", Clark's "Onondaga", Turner's "History of the Holland Purchase", Hatch's "History of the Town of Sherburne", --- have afforded useful helps, and the author asks forbearance for having so freely used in extract.
In all sections of the county, old families have been visited, family records perused, and time-yellowed documents examined. Statements have been taken from the lips of many aged men and women who lived through the days when toil and privation was the heritage of all, several of whom are now resting from their labors, and from them no further record can be gained.
To E. Norton, Esq., publisher of the Madison Observer, E. H. Purdy and D. A. Jackson, publishers of the Oneida Dispatch, J. B. Guilford, former editor of that paper; and to E. D. Van Slyck, of the Hamilton Republican, especial obligations are due; to Cazenovia Republican, the Democratic Volunteer, the Oneida Union, the De Ruyter New Era, and to the entire Newspaper Press of Madison county the author is indebted.
For valued assistance and the use of interesting manuscripts, she is under deep obligations to Gen. J. D. Ledyard and L. W. Ledyard, of Cazenovia; Hon. Wm. K. Fuller, of Schenectady; Rev. Wm. M. Pratt, of Louisville, Ky.; W. O. Spencer, Esq., of Lakeport; Hon. John J. Foot of Hamilton; and would here express her sincere thanks for the helping hand they gave.
Also to Col. E. D. Jencks, of De Ruyter; I. N. Smith, Esq., of De Ruyter; J. W. Northrup, Esq., of Georgetown; Rev. W. B. Downer, of Cazenovia; A. A. Raymond, Peterboro; Rev. John Smitzer, of Oneida; Rev. J. H. Enders, of Chittenango, Mrs. Brinckerhoof, Chittenango; Samuel French, Esq., Chittenango; H. H. Hall, Esq., of Lenox; Niles Higinbotham, of Oneida; Jas. B. Jenkins, Attorney and Counselor at Law of Oneida; Mr. S. Watrous, of East Avon; A. M. Holmes, M. D., Morrisville; Lyman Armour, Siloam; James Cooledge, Madison; Calvin Morse, Esq., Eaton; Ezra Leland, Eaton Charles De Ferriere, Wampsville; Wait Clark and Luke Hoxie, Esqrs., of Brookfield, and L. H. Warren, Esq., of Oneida Co., for valuable material and useful and timely help, and to our County Clerk, A. D. Kennedy, Esq., for generous assistance in searching records at the Clerk's office.
In addition to these, there are a host of men and women throughout the county, who have in every way aided the researches of the author, by furnishing answers to inquiries, by looking up long forgotten documents, by assisting in searching records of churches and other societies, and to all she would tender the most grateful acknowledgments for those generous efforts in behalf of the work.
It has been a labor of great care. To make the work as correct and reliable as possible, no pains have been spared in examining and sifting every item of information, reconciling statements, and leaving out all that was wanting corroboration. Each town has been separately reviewed by different individuals, men whose knowledge and acquaintance with the growth and change of their own localities, and whose judgment in the premises gives general confidence in their statements as to its correctness. And yet, notwithstanding all this care, many errors have undoubtedly crept in, unobserved, to be eradicated by the future historian.
This has also been a labor of love, since it has been impossible for the author to listen to the narratives that fell from aged lips, recitals of their own youthful days, of the trials and hardships, of the joys and pleasures peculiar to the days that are no more, without entering into the spirit of the scenes described, and without feeling a tender veneration, a peculiar filial regard for those honored relics of the past.