The village felt the shock of the cholera epidemic in 1832 severely and prompt measures were instituted to mitigate its effects. On the 23d of June the village was divided into four wards, the northwest division being numbered 1, the southwest 2, the southeast 3 and the northeast 4. A "Committee of Inspection to carry out the village ordinances" was appointed, consisting of E. B. Wicks and Silas Ames, First ward; Henry Raynor and Theodore Ashley, Second ward; W. H. Alexander and Daniel Comstock, Third ward; Paschal Thurber and Benjamin C. Lathrop, Fourth ward. The principal duties of this committee were to abate nuisances and provide proper disinfection. On June 25 a resolution was adopted by the trustees that no canal boat with cholera on board should be permitted to approach within a mile of the village until it had been quarantined fifteen days, and men were stationed at Lodi locks to inspect all passing boats. The physicians of the village were constituted a board of health, and they issued a manifesto of instruction and counsel to the people. The trustees were authorized to raise not to exceed $1,000 for health purposes. Dr. Jonathan Day, the leading physician, was commissioned by the governor to go to Montreal to study the disease, but no good resulted from his journey. The first case of the disease in Syracuse occurred on the 17th of July, when a laboring man who had been careless of his physical condition, was taken down and soon died. On the following day Rev. Nathaniel J. Gilbert, who had been pastor of the First Baptist church since 1823, preached the funeral sermon over the first victim, and the next evening was taken with the disease and died in a few hours. Mrs. Gilbert was also attacked, but finally recovered. Dr. Day attended both of these cases. Two domestics in the Gilbert family became frightened and left, but both soon died with the disease. After the first few cases very few funerals were held, and physicians and undertakers labored with heroism. The number of cases increased daily, and soon the detention of boats at the locks caused great anxiety. After two that were filled with passengers had been stopped, another came on westward from Albany with sixty emigrants on board. At Utica cholera broke out among them, the captain being the first victim, and when Syracuse was reached there were a number of dead bodies on board. This boat was followed by another with fifty passengers, of whom six were dead when Syracuse was reached. It was seen that this wholesale quarantining of the dead so near the village would prove more dangerous than hurrying them through the place, and this course was finally adopted. In the midst of the scourge faithful Dr. Day was stricken down. This calamity added greatly to the general dismay, and great numbers of the terror-stricken fled from the village. In some instances whole families were prostrated within a few hours. The dead were rolled up in their clothing, laid in rude, plain coffins and hurried into their graves. Grief and gloom pervaded the whole community. There were about 100 deaths in Syracuse and Salina, among the more prominent victims being Dr. William Kirkpatrick (1), one of the most influential citizens of the place, Anson Richmond (uncle of Dean Richmond), I. Dunscombe, Dr. Jonathan Day, ___ Halcombe and Rev. N. J. Gilbert. The disease again made its appearance in 1834, but in a milder form. On the last Sunday in July of that year Theodore Ashley, the undertaker, had ten funerals, seven of which were in charge of Charles F. Williston, his assistant.
The health of the village in 1833 was good, and extensive public improvements were inaugurated. The new bridge on Salina street had been finished, and a tax of $1,000 was levied for the building of others at Lock and Franklin streets. A. N. Van Patten (2) was given the privilege of erecting "a packet boat office at the southeast corner of the new bridge on the public square, for which he paid $20 annually. In 1834 the population had reached about 3,800, and the village then contained the following number of business and public institutions:
Twenty-two grocery and provision stores, 16 variety stores, 2 hardware stores, 4 clothing stores, 5 boot and shoe shoes, 4 drug stores, 2 book stores, 3 printing offices, 3 silversmiths, 2 flouring mills, 1 lumber mill, 1 planing mill, 3 tin shops, 3 furnace and machine shops, 2 carriage shops, 3 cabinet shops, 2 leather manufactories, 1 morocco manufactory, 1 soap and candle manufactory, 1 distillery, 1 brewery, 3 marble yards, 1 board yard, 15 salt blocks, 4 churches (Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Methodist), and 3 lyceums.
The "Franklin Buildings," as they were termed, were built this year (1834) on the south side of Hanover Square, partially as they exist at present, and about this time new structures were erected on Salina street south of the Syracuse House. The Exchange Hotel (where the Merchant's Bank is now) was begun in 1831, and the north and south walls fell before the building was finished, crushing some of the old structures on the north. The Exchange Hotel was kept for a time by Van Patten & Crane. Library Hall was in the upper part, and for a number of years was the most important place for public meetings and entertainments. A revision of the village charter was made by Moses D. Burnet, John Wilkinson, B. Davis Noxon, Stephen Smith, Hiram Putnam, E. W. Leavenworth, L. H. Redfield (3), Harvey Baldwin and Henry Davis, who were appointed in February, 1834. The trustees also ordered the paving of the following streets:
Salina street from the bridge across the Erie Canal on the line of said street, to the south line of Church street; also the south side of Clinton Square from Salina street to the west line of the intersection of Clinton street; also Water street from Salina street easterly to the east line of Warren street, then Warren street from Water street to the south line of Genesee street, and then Genesee street from Warren street to Salina street; also Genesee street from the east line of the intersection of Warren street to the west line of Center Square; also, Genesee street, from the west line of Salina street to a running from the northwest corner of lot number 1, in block 85, to the southwest corner of lot number 9, in block 76 in said street. The said pavement to embrace the north half of Clinton Square and Genesee street, between the lines above mentioned. Also, the half of Salina street fronting the tavern and lot owned and occupied by William B. Kirk; to be done inside of three months.
The first paving was not laid, however, until 1835 when Salina street between Fayette and Church streets was paved by Utica contractors. In the year 1836 Salina street was paved southward to Onondaga street, and Warren from the south line of Genesee street to Jefferson street; the "square formed by the crossing of Salina and Foot streets" was also paved at this time. Hanover Square was paved a little later and the paving of other streets rapidly followed. The first Clinton street bridge (excepting a foot bridge before mentioned) was built in 1835 at a cost of $1,730. In 1836 over $3,000 were appropriated for paving, and the total expense for improvement of streets and squares in that year was $6,782. A public well with a railing around it was provided for Hanover Square, at a cost of about $275. These were important and extensive works for that early day, and clearly indicate the prevailing public spirit of the community. Land on Prospect Hill and forty acres near the Lodi locks were sold in 1836 for $1,000 an acre, the latter tract by the Syracuse Company, and according to a local newspaper of that year, "the farm of Mr. Forman one and a half miles east of the village has been purchased by H. Baldwin, esq., for $40,000, being $200 the acre."
The financial crisis of 1837-38 was felt in Syracuse, of course, but the village suffered far less than many other places of similar size. Although business was somewhat crippled for a time, the solid financial foundation on which the industries of the village rested, its reputation for business stability, and its great natural source of income and profit were not vouchsafed to many localities, and carried the place through the panic that overwhelmed many villages and cities with comparative safety.
In 1838 the preliminary steps were taken for building a public market. The old canal basin, before described, had for years been an intolerable nuisance, and the project was actively discussed of filling it up and erected a market on the site. It is difficult now for us to understand how the people of the village could have seen a prospect of success and profit in the enterprise; but, like the inhabitants of most other similar villages, they determined to try it. The plan contemplated a building with market stalls on the lower part and a public hall above. The discussion over various proposed sites was protracted and warm, and the work was not finally accomplished until 1845, when the trustees were authorized to raise $20,000 for the purpose, to be paid in annual installments of $1,000. On March 20, of that year, it was resolved to buy the site, and a public meeting was held at which a vote of 628 was given in favor, and 304 against the project. The building was erected as it appeared in the old City Hall, except that twenty feet were added to the Washington street end at a later date. The stalls were readily leased to leading retail market men and butchers, who properly displayed their wares, while the square in front was soon taken as a stand for farmers' wagons. It looked well, but it did not pay; it was ahead of the time and not adapted to so small a village; customers did not like it, nor did the rival dealers, who soon deserted the building. The public hall was, however, a great convenience.
Meanwhile the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad, chartered in 1836, was opened from Auburn to Geddes on January 8, 1838, and soon afterward was continued to Syracuse. On the 4th of April, 1837, an act of Legislature was passed authorizing the commissioners of the land office to sell to the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad Company such portion of farm lot number 253 of the Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation in the town of Salina, lying between the Erie Canal and the streets crossing said lot, as might be necessary for the track of the road and for a depot, and for the construction of a basin for the use of the company. The land thus mentioned is that on which the railroad was constructed in the city and embraced the site of the old depot on what is now Vanderbilt Square. Between Auburn and Geddes the road was laid with wooden rails, and Sherwood's stage horses were employed to draw the cars until June 4, 1839, when the first locomotive took their place. The bridge across the old mill pond was finished in the spring of 1839 and on the day just mentioned an excursion train, the first steam railroad train to enter Syracuse, was run over the line. The engine was appropriately named "Syracuse," (4) Landlord Philo N. Rust, of the Syracuse House, used to offer wagers that he would drive his spirited team to Auburn quicker than the cars would make the trip; but he seldom found any takers. After the locomotive was introduced on the road, and on the 10th of September, 1839, an excursion was made by many prominent men in celebration of the event. The Syracuse and Utica Railroad also was rapidly becoming an accomplished fact. Chartered in 1836, its construction was pushed with energy and on July 4, 1839, the line was opened. John Wilkinson and other prominent men of Syracuse were largely influential in advancing this important enterprise.
It was in 1838 that Yellow Brook was finally disposed of. A few years earlier the Syracuse Company partly filled the channel between Jefferson street and the creek; but in order to more effectually complete the improvement the company laid a conduit or culvert from a little east of Salina street to the creek.(5) When the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company built their road in 1838 the remainder of the brook was filled by them in return for their franchise.
In 1838-40 E. W. Leavenworth was president of the village and displayed his customary public spirit in the promotion of public affairs. He was always zealous in the interest of the aesthetic side of improvements and labored for broad streets, more parks, and shade trees. In 1838 he prepared the resolution under which Vanderbilt Square was preserved. Here the old railroad depot was built by Daniel Elliott, to stand until it long outlived its usefulness. In the winter of 1839-40 General Leavenworth drew the law under which the trustees were enabled to contract with the Turnpike Company to so change the course of the road between Mullberry and Grape streets as to pass around what is now Fayette Park, instead of through it as before. In the next year "Forman Square" was officially made a public park, and Washington street was extended east to Chestnut street and Fayette from Beech to Cherry street.
With the inauguration of these various improvements; the great success of the canal, the railroads entering the village from east and west; the activity in building, and the generally growing belief that the early predictions of Judge Forman and some of his associates would be fulfilled, it is not surprising that city incorporation became a topic of discussion at this time. The subject was first brought before the trustees in a resolution in December, 1838, but it went no further, for several years.
German immigration to Syracuse in any considerable numbers did not begin until about 1830, but many settlers of that nationality came into Onondaga county long previous to that year, locating in the various towns. Of those who came previous to 1821 the majority settled in Manlius, with a few in Pompey; among these were the Houser, Real, Fesenmeyer, Uth, Eb, Suiter, Schneider, Herbener, Schepp, Bucher, Heller, Helfer families and others, in Manlius, and the Bush family in Pompey. The first Germans to settle within the present bounds of the city were John Jacob Mang, Christian Usenbents, and henry Philip Bentz, who together settled in Salina in 1804. Mang was a physician in Wurtemberg, but did not practice after he arrived in Salina. Bentz was his nephew then aged sixteen years. Maria Agnes Bentz, niece of Mrs. Mang, became acquainted with Christian Usenbents on the voyage over and they were married in Baltimore soon after their arrival. The party removed from Baltimore to Constantia, Oswego county. Traveling on foot through the forest from that place to Salina, they arrived in the summer of 1804, their wives following them a little later. Mang and Usenbents engaged in the early salt industry and the latter became quite prominent in the business, owning four blocks in 1812. After a few years Mang settled on sixty acres of land between Salina and Green Point. Mang's house stood on North Salina street just west of Wolf street, and there he made bitters and wine which he sold to his friends. His dwelling was a gathering place for the many immigrants who came in later. He died December 16, 1842, at the age of eighty-four years. Of his two children, Eva Regina married Asahel Alvord, uncle of Thomas G. Alvord, and Christina F. married Thomas Wheeler. Usenbents, of whom little is known, died January 12, 1832, aged sixty-five years. His son, Christian, born November 13, 1808, was the first child born of German parents in what is now Syracuse. A few other Germans came to Salina and vicinity during the first quarter of the century, but none remained until 1826, when John Graff, father of the late John Graff, came with his father from Alsace; he removed to Erie county four years later. In 1828 Nicholas Grumbach came from Alsace; he was father of Col. Nicholas Grumbach, who won an honorable military record. In 1829 Jacob Drumma, long overseer of the poor in the First ward, and Martin Bahrle, from Alsace, settled in Salina. In the same year Frederick Schneider, from Wurtemberg, and John M. Werner, from Baden, settled here; and in 1831, Blasi Schemel came from Baden. During that year Christian Rupprecht, Joseph Flick, and George Ruscher, with their families came from Alsace. Henry Herbener, a Prussian musician, came about the same time, and furnished music for the German social gatherings. Mr. Herbener was long leader of the old Syracuse band, in which played also J. F. Phelps, M. W. Hanchett, Joel Owen, and Myron Jacobs, and J. W. Barker, L. W. Marsh, Henry Kellogg, Parley Howlett, Abram Harris, H. W. McGowan and John Beckler, deceased. By the year 1840 the German element in the population had become large and important and has so continued to the present time. In 1833 a colony, originally from Hesse-Darmstadt, came from Cape Vincent, Jefferson county, and located here. Among them were Ernest Hoecher, Frederick Schnauber, John Miller, and George Lupp, with their families. Mr. Hoecher's name was afterwards anglicized to "Hier;" he was father of George P. and John P. Hier. Of the 1,000 or a little more Germans who were here in 1840, many have had descendants living in the city; among whom are the following Alsatians:
Nicholas Shafer, Gabriel Blumer, Jacob Pfohl, John Henesberger, John Bauer, John Buch, Jacob Klein, Lorenz Becker, Theobald Schnevelin, Caspar Schneider, Theobald Kieffer, John Briggs, George Salladin, Philip G. Kuester, Joseph Schneider, Philip Dausman, Christian Futsch, Andrew Lienhardt, George and Jacob Meier, Ignatz Fiesinger, and Philip Rapp. The following Bavarians: John Oertel, Anton Zimmer, Philip Schaeffer, William Ruebbel, Peter Miller, Fred. Hess, Peter Fisselbrandt, George Koening. The following Prussians: Michael Meizer, Joseph Afferdick, Nicholas Sharrer, John Schwareen, Jacob Weiland; the following from Baden: Francis Blos, Andrew Bodemer, George Reinschmidt, Andrew Fiesenmeyer, Charles Webber, Joseph Hakelin, Charles and Jacob Meebold, Jacob Miller; and the following from other parts of Germany: Adam Listman, Ludwig Pollman, Henry Lammert, Francis Middendorf, Louis and John Yehling, Philip Zahn, Frederick Strangeman, John and George Koehnlein, Jacob Heagle, John Kagi, and John J. Lucksinger.
All of these settled in Syracuse in or before 1838, and many of them and their descendants have been prominent citizens. Their churches, their benevolent organizations, their Turn Verein and other social and fraternal societies are numerous and well sustained, while as a factor in the general up-building of the city, in its political life, its business industries and public spirit, the Germans of Syracuse as a whole occupy a conspicuous position.
As the fame of Syracuse spread abroad, men of means and energy continued to seek it as a home. Horace White (6) settled in the village in 1838 and was followed the next years by his brother Hamilton (7). Their career as bankers, railroad promoters, and as honorable and influential citizens is well known.
Dr. John M. Wieting (8), then a civil engineer in the employ of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company, became a resident of Syracuse in 1837. Peter Burns (9), who later became a leading citizen and businessman, settled in the village in 1836. Hiram A. Deming built up the corner of James and Salina streets. This was occupied many years by George and Peter Waggoner who became successful business men; and not long afterwards Horace and Hamilton White erected the building on the corner of Washington and South Salina streets, where the Onondaga County Bank and the Bank of Syracuse were located, with the American Express office in the lower part for many years. (See engraving.) This was removed to clear the site for the White Memorial Building.
The so-called "patriot war," in which a motley band of volunteers made a foolhardy attempt to free Canada, as they called it, in the fall of 1838, created considerable excitement in Syracuse and Salina, and particularly among the German population. Of the thirty-five persons who joined the movement from Onondaga county, nine were Germans from Syracuse or Salina, and one of them a leader in the person of Gen. S. Von Schultz. The details of the disastrous expedition are too well known to need repetition here; most of the "patriots" were quickly overpowered and captured by the disciplined English troops. Von Schultz was tried by court martial and executed at Kingston, Can., December 8, 1838. Martin Woodruff and Chris. Buckley, two subordinate officers, were also executed, the former on December 19, 1838, and the latter on January 4, 1839. Among the remaining eight who were executed were Leman Leech, of Liverpool, who was executed February 11, 1839. Von Schultz was well known in Syracuse and vicinity, where he resided two years before he started on his ill-fated mission; he was highly educated and had the respect of the community; he was engaged to be married to a woman in the First ward at the time he joined the enterprise which cost him his life. Some of the Onondaga county volunteers were exiled to Van Dieman's Land and were released under the amnesty of 1849. The others, who were mere youths, were pardoned and returned home.
The second railroad into Syracuse came almost with the echo of the first locomotive whistle. The Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company was chartered in 1836 and six of the commissioners named in the "Act for the construction of a railroad from Syracuse to Utica," were prominent citizens of Syracuse, namely: Vivus W. Smith, Miles W. Bennett, Horace Wheaton, Thomas J. Gilbert, Elihu L. Phillips, and Aaron Burt. Oliver Lee, of Syracuse, was the engineer in charge of construction and was appointed the first superintendent. The line was opened in 1839, the same year in which steam was introduced on the road to Auburn. These early railroads were quite primitive in methods of construction and in their equipment. The first engines were single drivers, with small trail wheels under the cab, which consisted of a roof hung around with oil cloth during the winter. The weight of the locomotive was from four to six tons. The first cars had only four wheels. The conductor passed along on the outside and collected the fares. As late as 1843 the cars had no protection over the platform, and were low and ill-ventilated. For several years the engines had no pilots; some had two splint brooms set in front in such position as to sweep each rail, and others flat iron bars bent forward and sharpened at the ends; this was the "cow catcher." In winter a large wooden plow was placed in front of the engine. The earliest track was a flat rail, with the spikes drive entirely through them, which sometimes made havoc by turning up at the ends and shooting up through the bottom of the cars--"snake heads."
In locating the depots and routes through Syracuse, certain conditions were required of the company--providing that they should build a sewer along the track in Washington street from Yellow Brook on westward, and plant trees on both sides of the street as far east as Beech street. The trees now standing on that street are the ones planted by the railroad company. Early passenger and freight rates show the competition between stages, canal packets and railroads. Rates between Syracuse and New York "for those who travel in the steerage of canal boats and on barges towed by steamboats, and find themselves, $3.50;" for first-class passengers, "found by the owners of boats, $6.25." Packet fares were four cents per miles, "including board." Freight rates from New York to Syracuse were 49 cents per 100 pounds for "heavy goods," and 59 cents "for light goods." This was in 1835, when the total length of all railroads in the States was 100 miles, divided among seven companies.
Early in 1840 the city incorporation scheme was considered in a public meeting, but it was abandoned for the time as "not expedient." The abandonment of the old cemetery on Franklin street had been often discussed and in this year the matter was referred to John Wilkinson, Lyman Clary, and Samuel Larned. The result was the purchase of the Rose Hill tract in December at $300 per acre.
The turbulent element of the population now seems to have become too unruly to be controlled by the old constabulary, and a committee consisting of the trustees of the village, with T. T. Davis, John Wilkinson and David S. Colvin, was appointed early in 1840 "to report amendments to the ordinances that will give the village a more vigorous police." In May it was resolved by the trustees that "there shall hereafter be a police justice in Syracuse, who shall be appointed in the same manner as the judges of the County Courts," and an act of Legislature was procured for this purpose.
It was in this year also that the Legislature incorporated the Syracuse Library and Reading Room Association, the executive committee of which comprised John G. Forbes, Moses D. Burnet, L. L. Chapman, H. W. Van Buren, Grove Lawrence, J. Watson Adams, Stephen W. Caldwell, Hiram Putnam, Daniel Dana, Lyman Clary, Daniel Pratt, A. Howard Hovey, and Philo D. Mickles. It was under the auspices of this association that some of the early lectures and entertainments were given.
Referring again to the local newspapers it is seen that the volume of business had greatly increased in the village by 1840, as shown by the following summary, most of the establishments named being in addition to those given on an earlier page:
Butler and Hobby were in dry goods trade on East Genesee street. Madame A. J. Raoul was conducting the "Onondaga Bookstore and Syracuse Bazaar," on Water street, Hanover Square. J. P. & A. Wind had a music store on the west side of Salina street, just north of Railroad street, where they had "received two superior iron harp Chickering pianos." S. Gardiner, jr., kept a music store in the Franklin Buildings, and the "City Drug Store" was conducted by E. Hough, on the west side of Salina street above Railroad street. Lewis H. Redfield's bookstore was on East Water street, and Barnet & Gurnsey, boots and shoes, had then recently taken the store "lately occupied as a dry goods store, second door west of the Mansion House." A. Root & Co. sold boots and shoes where Stevens & Adams have a hat store. Cook & Fitch (Volney Cook and George S. Fitch) were selling dry goods on East Water street near Warren, and at the same time were members of the grocery firm of Cook, Fitch & Town (Ezra Town). The "Syracuse Crockery Store" was kept by Ransom Curtis and S. P. Pierce (10) at No. 2 Slocum Building; it was located about where the Coville & Morris grocery is on East Water street. Charles Pope carried on a plating business "fifty rods east of the Syracuse House on Genesee street." Mr. Pope became a leading citizen of the city. Charles Rust sold furniture in the "Prison Wareroom " adjoining W. & H. Raynor, one door west of Wright & Wheaton, who were in the dry goods trade; these latter stores were on West Water street. Philo D. Mickles, stoves and hardware, "sign of the padlock;" this store was on the Wieting block corner. Mr. Mickles was a son of Nicholas Mickles, the proprietor of the early furnace between the city and the Valley. The family moved to Onondaga Hill in 1800, and in 1827, on the death of his father, Philo D. removed to Salina, and a little later to Syracuse, where he established the first furnace in the village; it was situated on Canal street, and there he made plows and some of the early stoves. Failing in the crisis of 1837, he afterwards recovered and in 1838 opened a "temperance grocery store" where the McCarthy & Redfield store was afterward located. He became successful and is said to have been the first man in Syracuse to do a business of $150,000 a year. In 1839 he engaged in hardware trade and in 1849 went to California and returned two years later. He died in 1874, the 19th of April. Barnes & Stapley had a furnace and machine shop on the Oswego Canal "a little north of the weigh lock." Jason C. Woodruff, associated with J. Butterfield & Co., of Utica, advertised their stage lines in opposition to the new railroad. The competition between these two methods of travel and the packet boats, became very active, and for a few years it was an open question which was the more desirable--or even which was the quickest of the three. Runners from the packet docks haunted the railroad station and used all their eloquence to persuade passenger to come on board their safe and delightful vessels, which they guaranteed would make as quick time on the average as the cars, while the advocates of the stage lines taxed their imagination for counter-arguments as to the safety and expedition of their elegant coaches. Both the boats and the coaches soon disappeared. Hargin & Shaw were dealers in stoves and hardware on the corner of Water and Warren streets, and the "New York Cheap Bookstore," Louis D. Pomeroy, proprietor, was situated on West Water street. H. W. Durnford & Co. were grocers on the corner of East Water and Warren streets, opposite the site of the Bastable block. Hall, Rhoades & Sherman did a large hardware business on the site of the Everson Building. William H. Alexander & Co. offered stoves, etc., at their furnace, corner of Water and Franklin streets. Malcolm & Hudson were in the hardware trade second door west of the corner of Salina and West Water streets, and Zaccheus T. Newcomb and Charles A. Baker had joined the earlier attorneys.
The great gunpowder explosion came like a thunderbolt upon the community on the 20th of August, 1841, by which twenty-six persons lost their lives and many more were injured. The story of this calamity has been often told, and a brief account will, therefore, suffice for these pages.
About half past nine o'clock in the evening a wooden building standing on the Oswego Canal towpath, nearly in rear of the old County Clerk's office, caught fire; it had been occupied by Charles Goings for a carpenter shop. The alarm sounded and the fire engines were soon throwing water upon the rapidly spreading flames. At this juncture some one in the assembled crowd cried out, "Gunpowder! There is gunpowder in the building!" At this many of the crowd fell back, but most of those nearest the building did not credit the outcry and remained there. A tremendous explosion followed, scattering death and destruction on all sides. When the sound died away, there was a moment of stillness, after which the air was filled with shrieks and groans of the injured and dying. Confusion reigned. Tearful cries from the crowd for friends or relatives mingled with the moans of the injured and their appeals for help. Rapidly the bodies were taken from the ruins, and everything possible was done for the sufferers; the hotels were thrown open and a train of cars was sent to Auburn for medical help (11).
A public meeting was held on the 23d and a committee appointed to ask subscriptions for the sufferers and their families; the committee consisted of Daniel Dana, M. D. Burnet, Amos P. Granger, Charles L. Lynds, and Wing Russell. The sum of $1,800 was subscribed at the meeting, of which the firm of Malcolm & Hudson, to whom the powder belonged, subscribed $500 and William Malcolm $500 in person. The verdict of the jury in the coroner's inquest closed as follows:
That Hugh T. Gibson (here follows a list of the dead) came to their deaths on the night of Friday, August 20, 1841, by the explosion of 27 or 28 kegs of gunpowder, in a carpenter's and joiner's shop, then on fire, in the village of Syracuse, and which the said deceased and others were attempting to extinguish; that the said powder was the property of William Malcolm and Albert A. Hudson, of Syracuse, and was secretly stored in said shop, with the knowledge and consent of the said William Malcolm, contrary to the published and known ordinances of the village of Syracuse, and without the cognizance or consent of the trustees thereof.
In closing its account of this terrible catastrophe the Onondaga Standard said:
Such is a brief sketch of this awful calamity--a calamity which, from the careless, avarice, or malignity of one, two, or three, has sent or probably will send not less than thirty of their fellow beings from time into eternity, and most of them without a moment's warning. What a subject for reflection! Let those who escaped feel grateful to that good Being, whose ways, though inscrutable, are always just. Mr. Hudson, firm of Malcolm & Hudson, the owners of the powder, in his testimony before the jury, stated that there were twenty-three kegs, containing twenty-five pounds each, and four kegs containing twelve and a half pounds each, making in all, six hundred and twenty-five pounds deposited in the upper story on or about the 12th instant.
Public feeling was long very bitter against those who were responsible for this calamity and it was many months before the pall of gloom and sadness was lifted from the community. Although Mr. Malcolm was not directly responsible for placing the powder in the building, he felt the shock of the disaster intensely and it probably hastened his death. While he lived he contributed generously to the support of many of the sufferers. Three survivors of those injured are known to be now living--Samuel Hurst, Paul Shaw, and Nelson Gilbert. Thomas G. Alvord is the only survivor of the coroner's jury.
Syracuse at about this time gained, justly or unjustly, an unenviable reputation for lawlessness. In 1841 there were seventy-five places were liquor was sold; gambling places were in existence; horse-racing was conducted which it was claimed brought disreputable characters to the village, and incendiarism was feared. A resolution adopted in August said:
We will united our best efforts with those of the civil magistrates, not only in bringing to punishment and driving out from among us the numerous blacklegs, gamblers and incendiaries by whom we are said to be infested, but also in uprooting the infamous dens and resorts in our town, in which they are made, sustained and concealed, whether existing as groceries, billiard rooms, bowling alleys or brothels.
It is possible that while smarting under the recent awful sacrifice of life, this resolution exaggerated the facts. However this may have been, the sum of $600 was appropriated to provide a night watch, the members of which were Nathan W. Rose (captain), Joseph Flick, Joseph Mesmer, James Burrell, Charles A. Huntoon and Thomas Griffith. They were paid each $1 per night, and after a few months were disbanded.
The principal events that took place between the year 1842 and the incorporation of the city, were the laying of the first wooden pipes for supplying the village with water in 1842-3; changing the names of the east and west streets from First North, First South, etc., to their present names; the building of the Townsend block on West Water street in 1842, and the building of the Empire House block in 1844-5, which passed into possession of Col. James L. Voorhees in 1850; the erection of the Globe Hotel block in 1846; the completion of the market (the old city hall) in 1845; a riot in the Cook Coffee House in 1842, which was precipitated by a party from Salina, and which was quelled by the Syracuse Cadets; and the adoption of measures for the incorporation of the city.
During the year 1846 the subject of a city charter was conspicuous in the discussions of the Board of Trustees and among citizens. The proposed change was generally approved, but there were wide differences of opinion as to details, especially regarding the territory to be included in the city limits. Many good citizens of both Syracuse and Salina were mildly opposed to including the latter village in the new city; the old feeling of rivalry was not wholly extinct; but the majority of the more influential men approved of that plan. Active measures toward accomplishing the desired end were instituted early in 1847 in both villages. A public meeting was held in Market Hall on January 5, of which E. W. Leavenworth was chairman and John F. Wyman secretary; it was called "to consider the expediency of applying to the legislature for a city charter." During the proceedings W. B. Kirk moved that the application be made and that it embrace Salina. After animated discussion, in which the plan of including Geddes also, and even Liverpool, as suggested by one person of decidedly advanced ideas, Mr. Kirk's motion was adopted. On the 11th of January a meeting was held at the house of James Scott in Salina, at which resolutions were adopted to the effect that the village unite with Syracuse in forming a city, provided Salina be made one ward; that the Bank of Salina remain in that ward; that the post-office be continued in existence and the salt and canal offices be not removed. Thomas McCarthy (12), Noah Wood and Ira H. Williams were appointed a committee to present the resolutions to the Syracuse authorities. These conditions were substantially satisfactory to all concerned, and during the same month a committee was appointed to draft and report a charter. The members of this committee were John Wilkinson, Moses D. Burnet, Hiram Putnam, George F. Comstock, J. R. Lawrence, Amos P. Granger, Harvey Baldwin, C. B. Sedgwick, Hamilton White, Lyman Clary, Thomas McCarthy, Noah Wood, and Warren H. Porter. The act of incorporation was passed under date of December 14, 1847 (chap. 475 session laws), and the limits of the city defined as follows:
The district of country constituting a part of
the town of Salina, and including the villages of Syracuse and Salina,
in the county of Onondaga, within the following bounds, that is to say:
Beginning on the northeasterly corner of Manlius L, running thence to the northeasterly corner of the village of Salina, thence along the northerly line of said village of Salina to the northwesterly corner of the same, thence southwesterly to the Onondaga Lake, thence along the southeasterly shore of said lake to the center of Onondaga Creek, thence southerly along the center of said creek to the line of the village of Syracuse, thence westerly and southerly along such line to the south bounds of the town of Salina, thence east along the south bounds of the town of Salina to the east bounds thereof, thence northerly along the east bounds of said town to the place of beginning, shall hereafter be known as the city of Syracuse.
Section 2 of the act divided the city into four wards as follows:
All that part of the city lying east of Onondaga Creek and north of Division and Pond streets was made the First Ward; all the remainder of the city lying north of the center of the Erie Canal, was made the Second Ward; the Third ward included that portion of the city lying south of the Erie Canal and west of Montgomery street as far south as Burt street, thence west of Salina street to the southern boundary of the city; the remainder of the city constituted the Fourth ward.
And thus Syracuse swallowed up its old rival. The election on the acceptance of the charter was held on the first Monday of January (the 3d day), 1848, at which 1,072 votes were cast in favor, and 771 against; in Salina, 385 in favor and 39 against.
This absorption of the village of Salina brought an addition of about 3,000 to the population of the young city. The early history of Salina will be found in the history of that town in later pages, and is continued as we shall see, in the succeeding city history. At the time of the city incorporation the manufacturing industries at Salina had become very extensive and were carried on by men of enterprise and energy, whose later operations contributed their full share to the growth and welfare of the city. The spirit of local pride that was abroad at this time is shown in the following paragraph from an issue of the Syracuse Journal of August, 1848:
Syracuse in 1820 consisted of one house in a swamp, and now it is a fine little city of upwards of 15,000 inhabitants. It owes its prosperity to its situation on the canal and its salt works.
As a point of freight shipment the place had already become of importance. During the month of January, 1848, the following were the shipments to Utica and intermediate points:
Pork, 177, 974 lbs.; poultry, 46,545; butter, 61,492; whisky, 23,800; lard, 21,126; cheese, 1,356; cattle, 78,000; wool, 16,442; sheep pelts, 12,920; live sheep, 51,073; dried fruit, 13,713; beans, 2,433; ashes, 20,782; flour, 5,564; miscellaneous, 30,916.
It was a period of rapid development. The plank road era had opened and those useful thoroughfares were successively extended to many outlying villages, which thereby contributed more and more of their trade to the city. The first plank road in the United States was laid between Central Square and Syracuse in 1846, and before 1850 others reached out in all directions from Syracuse.
The first regular theater in the city was opened in the old Baptist church in 1846, under the name of the "National."
In the spring of 1849 E. W. Leavenworth was elected mayor. A law was passed under date of January 25, providing for the filling in of the old mill pond and reclaiming of the State lands bordering on Onondaga Creek (formerly covered with salt vats), at a cost not to exceed $4,000. When General Leavenworth assumed his office he had a map made of this tract, with a large park reserved, which he laid before the commissioners of the land office, by whom it was conditionally approved. The tract was sold at auction in lots, and brought over $15,000, a far greater sum than could have been obtained for the territory as a whole, including the park reservation. This proceeding gave us Armory Park.
The decade from 1850 to the breaking out of the Civil war, while characterized by rapid growth in Syracuse and large general public improvement, with corresponding increase in all kinds of business industries, was not marked by any very remarkable event, if we except the Jerry Rescue, as it is known, which took place in October, 1851. A public meeting was held in Market Hall, as one of the details of the active Abolition movement, at which a series of resolutions was adopted expressive of extreme Abolition sentiment, denouncing the fugitive slave law, and declaring that no fugitive slave should ever be returned to bondage from Syracuse. There never was. In the winter of 1849-50 an intelligent slave arrived in the city from Mississippi, on his way to the promised land in Canada. Feeling safe in Syracuse, he decided to remain and found employment in the cabinet shop of Charles F. Williston. He possessed mechanical ability and soon opened a shop of his own; but the slave hunter was on his track, and on the 1st of October, 1851, Jerry, as he was known, was taken into custody by a Southern officer, and lodged in the building then standing on the site of what is now known as the Jerry Rescue block. Sylvester House was the police justice, and had his office in that building. Henry W. Allen was United States marshall and James R. Lawrence was attorney for Northern New York. William H. Sabine was United States commissioner, with his office in the Townsend block. Before him Jerry was taken by his captor. The room was crowded and soon Jerry, watching his opportunity, made a break for freedom, running eastward, but he was quickly pursued, captured near the railroad tunnel and lodged in the police office. By this time indignation was high and plans were made for the slave's rescue, Democrats as well as Whigs joining in the work. The evening of October 1 was a beautiful one and the time was ripe for operations. A rescue party gathered, surrounded by a curious crowd, and upon walls and doors fell the blows of stones, axes and timbers until the amazed officials inside began to think more of their own safety than of the security of their captive. One of them jumped from a window on the north side of the building and broke his arm with the fall. Finally the frightened official who had immediate charge of Jerry, pushed him out into the arms of the rescuers, exclaiming, it is said: "Get out of here, you ___ nigger, if you are making all this muss." Jerry was hurried to a place of concealment which was so well chosen that he remained in it safely for about ten days, although it was near the center of the city. At the end of that time he was placed in the night in a wagon supplied by Jason C. Woodruff (a Democrat), and was driven by Jason C. Hoyt over the first stage of the flying trip to Canada, where the hero found a haven of safety (13). This act was a bold defiance of law and its results were heralded throughout the North; the anniversary was celebrated annually for several years in Syracuse. Of the rescuing party eighteen were indicted; but not one was ever convicted (14).
There was considerable depression in the salt business at this time, possibly an ominous shadow of the financial crisis soon to sweep over the country; but public confidence in Syracuse was not easily shaken as seen from the following from a local paper in March:
At no time has the growth and prosperity of the city been more flattering. To all appearance we are going ahead as rapidly as at any former period, and it is believed by the best judges that the population and business of Syracuse are destined to improve many years before they reach a culminating point.
These pleasant words were supplemented in July of the next year by the following:
The many and varied improvements going on in our city is a matter of surprise to stranger who visit us, and of gratulation and encouragement to our own citizens. In a few years Syracuse has grown and increased to a wonderful extent. Four years ago this (the Empire block) was the building. But now, what a difference. The Bastable, the Norton, Dillaye and Sheldon blocks have been built and mostly occupied, and recently the Wheaton block which bids fair to outstrip and surpass all the rest.
The Wheaton block mentioned as then building, was the building on the corner of South Salina and Water streets, built by Horace and Charles A. Wheaton (15), and sold to John M. Wieting; it contained the public hall and was burned January 5, 1856; was immediately rebuilt better than before, and again burned in 1881.
D. McCarthy was elected mayor in 1853 and promptly brought to bear his energy, executive ability and sound judgment upon the conduct of public affairs. The city had a floating debt of $36,000, and on June 6 the mayor was requested to communicate with the local representative in the Legislature, asking him to secure the passage of a law authorizing the Council to raise $20,000 to apply on the city's floating debt. This measure was probably not carried out, for in April of the next year (1854) a law was passed empowering the corporation to borrow $70,000 on bonds of the city, with which to fund the public debt. On the 10th of April the comptroller was authorized to advertise for a loan, and $60,000 of the amount was supplied by Rufus H. King; the loan was to be paid in annual installments of $10,000.
In 1853 the four wards of the city were subdivided into eight, as shown on maps.
On March 28, 1854, a law was passed by the Legislature appointing Charles Tallman, Stephen D. Dillaye, and Harvey Sheldon commissioners to straighten Onondaga Creek "from the point where the south line of the city strikes the creek to the intersection of the bend of the creek with the westerly point of block 160." (See map of 1846.) This was a great improvement to the southern part of the city.
A law of April 4, 1854, authorized the commissioners of the land office to sell the lands of the Syracuse Coarse Salt Company situated in the Fifth ward, comprising a little more than ten acres, and to buy fifteen acres in the Third ward at not to exceed $600 an acre. The removal of the salt vats from the Fifth to the Third ward was ordered to be made between the 1st of October, 1854, and the 1st of March, 1855.
In alluding to salt lands north of the canal, General Leavenworth wrote as follows;
The State owned that part of the city lying west of Plum street, north of the Erie canal, east of Van Rensselaer street, and south of the salt water reservoir, and a portion of the Onondaga Creek, which lands were used for the manufacture of coarse salt. The removal of the coarse salt works having been ordered by the Commissioners of the Land Office, from those portions of said tract lying on each side of West Genesee street sixteen rods in depth, the Commissioners resolved at my suggestion to survey and map the whole tract and appointed me to supervise and direct in regard to it. I caused it to be laid out substantially as it now appears upon the maps, straightening Genesee street, laying out the lots on each side 100 feet front and 16 rods deep, making the second class streets eighty feet wide, instead of sixty six, as they are in other parts of the city; laying out a park near the center of the tract, as large as the Commissioners would sanction, surrounded by ample lots, and with a broad avenue 120 feet wide leading from this park to the vacant State lands near the Pump house.
The Common Council honored General Leavenworth by giving his name to this park and avenue. The salt of the salt lands in the Fifth ward took place in June, 1855, when eleven lots on block 241 were sold for $13,895; eighteen on block 242 for $11,385; sixteen on block 243 for $9,220; eight on block 184 for $3,890. These prices indicate the value of real estate in that vicinity at that time.
On the 5th of January, 1856, the first Wieting block was burned. On January 20, the building on the site of the present Jerry Rescue block was burned. On the 2nd of February, the fine Dillaye building on the site of the McCarthy retail stores, met a similar fate, and three days later the old court house on Division street was destroyed by fire. These and other fires at about that time caused a storm of popular indignation, which was intensified by a simultaneous era of lawlessness and crime; a condition caused less by general depravity among the people than by inadequacy and inefficiency of the police force and lack of vigor in other branches of city government. Moreover, the old volunteer fire department was then in existence, and it was believed that many of the prevailing fires were instigated by the intense spirit of rivalry that had grown up among the fire companies. This state of affairs led to the prompt inauguration of better methods. A public meeting was held at the city hall in February, 1856, for the purpose of securing "the better and more economical management of the affairs of the city." Meanwhile a committee had been appointed who were charged with the duty of improving the police system; their work resulting in creating the office of chief of police (abolished a few years earlier) and giving the chief broad and well-defined duties and powers, retaining the eight policemen then constituting the force. At another meeting held February 11, a committee was appointed consisting of James L. Bagg, Horace Wheaton, Rowland H. Gardner, John J. Peck, Lewis T. Hawley, James R. Lawrence, and Patrick Cooney, who were to prepare a bill for the Legislature embodying several charter amendments. Another meeting was held February 14 to consider how to better protect the city from incendiaries, burglars and other criminals; it consisted of Lewis T. Hawley, Heman W. Stillwell, Daniel S. Gere, P. S. Stoddard, and Dr. Van Slyke. A petition was circulated asking the Council for the appointment of a night watch. Charles F. Williston (Democratic), was elected mayor, with six Democrats and five Know-Nothing alderman out of the sixteen. Still another meeting was held on the 17th of March to consult upon the suppression "of rowdyism and incendiarism," and the sum of $3,000 was offered for the "conviction of the incendiaries infesting the city." Meetings followed each other with rapid succession and on the 27th of March another was held at which charter amendments were approved, fully re-establishing the office of chief of police, the officer to be paid $800 a year; increasing the salary of the police justice to $1,200 a year, and policemen's pay to $600 a year. These and other charter amendments which were soon put in force, gave the city a period of greater peacefulness and safety. J. C. Cuddeback had occupied the office of police justice, and was now succeeded by Andrew Y. Thompson, who served to 1860, when L. L. Alexander was elected. Thomas Davis was appointed chief of police, held the position a short time and was removed for political reasons.
In November, 1856, a disastrous fire swept away $200,000 in property in the First ward, on the block north of Salina street, between Wolf and Exchange streets. But general prosperity must have reigned, for a local paper said towards the close of the year:
Ten years ago Salina street south of Fayette presented a dreary, cold and gloomy aspect, and not a lady would promenade farther south than the corner of Fayette, or if in the evening would not think of venturing farther south than the Central depot. How is it now? South Salina street is crowded with promenading ladies and gentlemen, and is the most healthful and business-like part of the city.
The year 1857 was characterized by financial stringency and depression that was felt throughout the country, bringing bankruptcy, ruin, suspension of specie payments and other distress. It moreover awakened many enterprising communities to the fact that they had been living beyond their means, not only as individuals, perhaps, but as municipalities. In this class was Syracuse. Staring blankly forward upon an oncoming wave of financial disaster, the people began to realize that the management of the affairs of the city had been loose and extravagant. As noted of the earlier panic of 1836-7, Syracuse possessed resources and a financial foundation not granted to many localities, but in this instance nothing could avert from the community the distressful consequences of the storm. That the business men of the city met the calamity with courage and hopefulness is shown by the fact that a large public meeting was held on the 14th of October to give expression to the views of leading business men upon the situation. Remarks were made by Harvey Baldwin, Dennis McCarthy, John A. Green, and others, and a series of resolutions was adopted pledging the support of the business community to the crippled banks and approving of the suspension of specie payment. In December a previously appointed committee reported upon measures for the relief of the poor and unemployed, recommending that the Legislature be asked to pass a law authorizing the city to borrow $10,000 to be expended in improving the streets, the work to be given to the poor. Meanwhile on the 13th of February, pursuant to a call, a public meeting was held, its chief purpose being the preparation of such charter amendments as would give the city a more economical and less complicated administration. John A. Green presided at this meeting, and Thomas G. Alvord reported amendments providing for one overseer of the poor instead of two; for four assessors instead of three; creating the office of treasurer and tax receiver; abolishing the office of ward collector; reducing the number of aldermen from sixteen to eight; making the number of school commissioners eight. All of these amendments were approved. Others were adopted a little later making the date of charter election on the second Tuesday in March, instead of the first; providing that no local improvement should be made without it was requested by a majority of the owners of the property along the line of proposed improvement; that all public work should be done by contract, except temporary repairs; that no debt should be contracted except by authority of the Council; that all resolutions of the Council authorizing the expenditure of money should specify the amount; that each new Council should immediately examine the accounts of their predecessors and "commence and prosecute suits for recovery of any excess of expenditure above that authorized by the charter against said aldermen;" giving the Board of Education power to contract for lots, buildings, etc., and requiring the city clerk to report monthly to the Council all moneys authorized to be expended. These were sweeping and very salutary changes, and immediately inaugurated a radical improvement. The report of the finance committee covering the year 1857 closed with the following:
For the second time, and the second time only, since Syracuse became a city, the financial year closes without leaving a burden of promiscuous floating debt to transmit and annoy our successors...No city in the State of New York is to-day in as healthy financial condition as Syracuse.
The city debt was then a little more than $84,000.
In 1858 William Winton (Dem.) was elected mayor and the Council was politically equally divided. An era of rigid economy was introduced, and the mayor used his veto privilege frequently to limit expenditures.
At the charter election of 1859 the city turned a political somersault by the election of E. W. Leavenworth mayor by the unprecedented majority of 600, carrying along the whole Republican ticket. The newspapers claimed that this was a "revolution of principle;" that the city had been "misgoverned and the masses would stand it no longer." Provision was made by charter amendment this year to pay aldermen a salary of $100, that of the mayor having been fixed at $500 in the previous year. Near the close of the year (December 29) a great and significant political meeting was held in the interest of the Republican party, the call for which stated that it was "to oppose treason." It was the local beginning of the great political revolution which threw the Democrats out of power in the following year, lifting the curtain upon the great drama of the civil war.
The decade just closing had been prolific in public expansion and improvement, especially in the extension of streets and sidewalks, water mains, pavements, bridges, and the erection of many prominent buildings. Among the latter were the Dillaye building, the rebuilding of the Wieting block, the Pike block, erected by Henry Pike and Thomas J. Keeler in 1855, the old Medical College (now the Fry flats), the block of stores opposite the Syracuse House on Salina street, Corinthian Hall block, North Salina street, the new county clerk's office on North Salina street, the first Bastable Arcade, the First Baptist church, and other structures.
During the ten years beginning with 1860 general history was made more rapidly than ever before, and events of momentous magnitude followed each other in such rapid succession as to amaze the civilized world. The "irrepressible conflict," long foreseen by sagacious statesmen, was approaching its culmination, and the life or death of slavery in the United States was soon to be irrevocably settled.
The city government remains with the Republicans in 1860 through the election of Dr. Amos Westcott (16), mayor. Charters for two street railways had been granted, and in August, 1860, the first one was opened with a public demonstration; it extended from the canal bridge through North Salina street to the First ward. In 1861 Charles Andrews was elected mayor, and re-elected in 1862. The national political campaign of 1860 had been a heated one, resulting in the election of Lincoln and Hamlin, thus giving the Southern slave power their excuse for attempting to destroy the Union. President Lincoln passed through Syracuse on his memorable journey to Washington on the 9th of February, and was welcomed by the citizens and military companies. Finally, on the 12th of April the first gun was fired that ushered in a conflict almost unparalleled in its consequences in the history of the world. The city was instantly aflame with excitement; public business and private interests were neglected; the Union banner leaped from a hundred points; stirring strains of martial music were heard; eloquent patriotic speeches were made in enthusiastic meetings; the military spirit was abroad. Measures were at once inaugurated to offer troops to the threatened government, and at a meeting held in Syracuse to make provision for the families of volunteers, $10,000 were subscribed at once. John G. Butler's company of zouaves, catching inspiration from the recent visit of the famous Ellsworth zouaves, and Edwin S. Jenney's battery of artillery, left the city for Albany in April, and the gallant "old Twelfth" regiment departed for Elmira on the 2d of May. Syracuse thus took her initiatory steps in her honorable career during the great struggle.
The general current of history in Onondaga county during the war period is followed in an earlier chapter of this work, rendering it unnecessary here to do more than glance at conspicuous events in which the city was chiefly interested. It may be stated in general terms that local public improvements were almost at a standstill during the war; the raising and equipment of troops, providing for the payment of bounties and other war expenses, caring for the families of volunteers, and the prevailing fever of excitement were more than sufficient to fill the public mind. During 1862 war excitement ran high; the gallant 122d Regiment was mustered in on the 28th of August and left for New York on the 31st. Recruiting was still energetically pursued, and on the 23d of September the 149th left the city for Washington.
In 1863 the Democrats came into power in the city government by the election of Daniel Bookstaver, mayor, and six out of the eight aldermen; the customary turning out of old and installment of new officials took place. The causes of this political change at such a time were stated by the Republican papers (and tacitly admitted by the Democrats) to have been the general feeling that had grown up, not alone in this region, against the government and its vigorous war policy, the local prospect of a draft, and kindred sentiments. On the 9th of March a special committee reported to the Council in favor of paying the Water Company $8,000 a year for five years, provided the company built a new reservoir at a minimum cost of $20,000; this improvement was effected. On the 21st of May the 12th Regiment, its numbers reduced to about 275 men, returned from the seat of war and were given a warm welcome in Armory park by the mayor, the military, firemen and citizens.
Considerable excitement was caused during the summer of 1863 by the draft under the then recent call for volunteers, but it passed off quietly and without disturbance.
A law was passed on the 4th of May of this year authorizing Alfred Hovey (17), Edward B. Wicks, Harvey Stewart, John W. Barker, D. P. Wood, A. C. Powell (18), William D. Stewart (19), D. Bookstaver and G. P. Kenyon to lay tracks for a street railway in Furnace and Bridge streets to Hemlock, thence to Fayette and thence to Salina street. In the same month another association was authorized to construct a railway down South Salina street to Oakwood Cemetery and Brighton. Both of these lines were subsequently put in operation. The last-named line began running cars on the 25th of July, 1864, an event that inaugurated the period of development which has seen the rapid settlement of the Eleventh ward.
The several calls for troops that had been made were supplemented by another on the 18th of July, 1864, for 500,000 men, necessitating such active and engrossing measures to secure the various quotas that public attention was almost monopolized by war labors. As the conflict progressed with untold slaughter on a hundred battlefields, rapidly lessening available men at home, the difficulties of recruiting increased. Larger bounties were necessarily paid, requiring the most liberal and energetic action by the Board of Supervisors and the various war committees. But county and city labored harmoniously together for the desired end. Under the stimulus of a bounty aggregating about $1,000 to each volunteer, the 185th Regiment was recruited in the summer of 1864 and left the city for the front on September 23. It was the last full regiment raised in the county.
William D. Stewart was elected mayor in the spring of 1865, and re-elected for the two succeeding years; he was a Democrat but the majority of the aldermen were Republican. In September, 1865, the Genesee and Water Street Railway Company was organized with a capital of $60,000, by George F. Comstock, W. H. H. Smith (20), C. T. Longstreet, O. T. Burt, and James P. Haskin (21). The road was built in the summer of 1866.
In the winter of 1864-5 there was an unexampled fall of snow. When it melted in March, the resultant water, with the addition of heavy rains, caused a disastrous flood. Many bridges over the creek were carried away; the Walton street bridge was carried down to the Central Railroad bridge and broken up, and several bridges along the creek were moved from their foundations. The bridge at Gifford street was submerged, and a large part of the eastern and southeastern parts of the city were flooded. On March 16 a public meeting was held to consider the feasibility of further straightening Onondaga Creek, particularly between the pump house and the lake. A committee was appointed to lay the matter before the governor, consisting of Dr. H. D. Didama, Garret Doyle, and John Graff. An act was passed by the legislature creating the Onondaga Creek Commission, which consisted of Carroll E. Smith, Frank Hiscock, J. W. Barker, H. D. Didama, and Charles Andrews. Under this commission about $15,000 were expended and great improvement made; but the work was unfortunately stopped before fully completed through the action of the citizens who voted in public meeting against further contemplated expenditure. The maps show the improvement made. At another public meeting held October 13, a resolution was passed requesting the Council to purchase two steam fire engines, at a cost of not more than $15,000; this was done in 1867. Another citizens' meeting was held December 4, at which steps were taken leading to the erection of the present High School building, which was first occupied in 1869; it cost, with the ground, about $100,000. The principal public improvement of 1867 was the building of the Fayette street sewer at an expenditure of $36,999, of which the Central Railroad Company paid $15,000.
With the beginning of the fiscal year 1868, the city government passed over to the Republicans, by the election of Charles Andrews, mayor, and five of the eight aldermen were Republicans. The new administration found little cause for congratulation in the financial condition of the city. There was a funded debt of $153,500, and a temporary loan of $25,000 for steam fire engines and other current expenses. Mayor Andrews showed in his inaugural address that during the preceding year $30,000 more than was authorized by the charter had been used for city expenses and the public debt; that the city was then liable for temporary loans of $25,190.76, and for $7,000 on the Fayette street sewer. "Take this," said he, "from the $60,000 authorized to be raised, and you have $28,060 with which to pay city expenses and the public debt, which last year required $90,000." He naturally counseled rigid economy.
In February (1868) the mayor appointed B. L. Higgins, R. W. Jones, and
Nicholas Grumbach a committee to request the Central Railroad Company to
remove the old depot from what is now Vanderbilt Square. The company
gave the request favorable consideration, and on Sunday, February 28, 1869,
the old structure built in 1828-29, was pulled down by the aid of a locomotive
and cable, and before Monday morning every vestige of the historic "car
house" had disappeared. During 1868 and 1869, many prominent buildings
were erected, among them the Vanderbilt House, opened March 16, 1868; the
Agan block, corner of Washington and Market streets; the Barton block,
finished in November, 1868; the Larned Building; the Onondaga Savings Bank
building, finished in May, 1869, and others.
1. Dr. William Kirkpatrick was a native of Huntingdon county, N. J., and was born November 7, 1769. He graduated from Princeton College, studied medicine in Philadelphia and began practice in Whitestown in 1795, where he remained ten years. His profession was distasteful to him and he finally abandoned it for other occupations. In 1805 he was appointed superintendent of the Salt Springs and settled at Salina; he held this office twenty-two years. In politics he was from the first a "Republican," or Democrat, as they were afterwards termed. While in Oneida county he was elected to Congress (1808-9). In this county he favored the canal project and was instrumental in advancing the "canal ticket." In January, 1809, in company with Judge Forman, he called on President Jefferson, in Washington, to secure his aid for the Erie Canal, which, as is well known, was refused. Dr. Kirkpatrick possessed decided literary tastes, and after his settlement in Salina found opportunity to gratify them by extensive reading and study. He was a man of unblemished character, excellent native qualities and lofty mind. He died of cholera September 2, 1832, leaving sons, William and Donald; the latter died after a useful life, September 19, 1889, and William is a prominent citizen of Syracuse.
2. Andrew N. Van Patten was for many years a quite conspicuous figure in Syracuse. He bought the lot fronting on South Salina and West Onondaga streets, where the Florence flats now stand, and built for a tavern the house afterwards occupied some years by Samuel Larned. This property he wagered on the election of 1829 and lost; and he paid his wager. He afterwards, about 1836, built on the west side of Salina street, near Onondaga, what was for years known as "The Old Line House," a large brick structure shown in the engraving in this work. He was interested also in various other projects. He held the office of village trustee 1826-7, and died January 29, 1847.
3. Lewis Hamilton Redfield was born in Farmington, Conn., November 26, 1792. In 1799 he was brought by his parents to near Clifton Springs and learned the printing trade with James D. Bemis, the early newspaper publisher of Canandaigua. He began the publication of the Onondaga Register at Onondaga Valley, September 17, 1814, an organ of the Jefferson Democracy, and made it a successful journal. In 1832 he removed his office to Syracuse and consolidated the Register with the Syracuse Gazette, started by John Durnford in 1823. Failing health led him to dispose of his paper in 1832, but he continued in the book trade ten years longer, and later was interested in various enterprises. He was president of the village in 1834 and held the office of trustee and assessor. In 1872, at the age of eighty years, he was honored by the Democratic vote of the State for presidential elector. He never lost his early interest in the printing craft. He married Ann Maria Tredwell, a woman of high attainments and character, and died July 14, 1882.
4. The Syracuse subscribers to the fund of $400,000 for constructing the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad were as follows: Stephen Smith, $2,000; L. H. Redfield, $1,000; M. S. Marsh, $1,000; W. and H. Raynor, $10,000; Joseph Savage, $500; John B. Ives, $5,000; James Manning, $500; Thomas Spencer, Agnew & Wood, and Daniel Elliott, $1,000 each; Philo N. Rust (by G. Lawrence, attorney), $200; Richard S. Corning, $1,000; Joel Cody (by J. Manning, attorney), $100; Amos Benedict, $500; John L. V. Yates, $300; John Wilkinson, $2,000; V. W. Smith, $2,000; Henry Davis, jr., $2,000.
5. It was a part of this old culvert that was unearthed during the excavation for the foundations of the new Dey Brothers' building in 1894.
6. Horace White was born in Homer, N. Y. April 19, 1802; his father was Asa White, a native of Massachusetts. In his youth he served as clerk in Auburn, in Albany and in Jedediah Barber's store in Homer, where he remained ten years. Removing to Syracuse in 1838, he established the Bank of Syracuse in 1839, taking the position of cashier, with John Wilkinson as president. For a number of years this was the leading financial institution of the place. The association of Mr. White and Mr. Wilkinson brought them together in the promotion of the early railroad enterprises of the State, and for twenty years he was intimately connected with the various roads that finally constituted the New York Central. He was made treasurer of the Syracuse and Binghamton road in 1851, and upon the consolidation which made the New York Central, he was chosen one of the directors. He was also prominently connected with the salt industry. His business life was governed by the highest principles of integrity and honor. He was a member of St. Paul's church and generous to all worthy charities. He died September 5, 1860.
7. Hamilton White was born in Homer, N. Y., May 6, 1807, and at the age of sixteen years began teaching school. Like his brother he followed clerking for about ten years, at the close of which he began trade in Lockport, N. Y. In 1839 he removed to Syracuse where he was appointed cashier of the Onondaga County Bank, of which Oliver Teall was president. His superior business capacity and his characteristics as a man soon placed him in a foremost position in the community. He identified himself with the growth of his adopted village in all of its varied interests; was one of the incorporators of the Water Works; joined with his brother and others in forming the Geddes Coarse Salt Company; was largely connected with railroad enterprises, and after 1854, when the Onondaga Bank closed its affairs, he began private banking. In the establishment of the Asylum for Feeble Minded Children, the Onondaga Orphan Asylum, the Old Ladies' Home, the County Agricultural Society, the Oakwood Cemetery Association, and various other institutions, Mr. White was a conspicuous worker, and with many of them held official positions. In 1862 he was made president of the Syracuse National Bank, but his health was impaired and he spent the next few years in foreign travel. In 1864 he visited the West Indies, returning in June, 1865. He died in September of that year.
8. For biography of Dr. John M. Wieting, see Part II (see also BIOS on Onondaga Co. gen web site/KC).
9. Peter Burns was born in Dublin, Ireland, July 30, 1814; came with his father to America in 1819, who in 1824 settled in Ulster county. At the age of twelve years he went to Ulster county and lived on a farm five years. He then learned the saddler's trade and at the age of twenty-one went to New York city. Two years later, in 1836, he settled in Syracuse. After graduating from Onondaga Academy, he spent five years as clerk in a saddlery store, and then opened a store himself in the same business; this he conducted until 1853, when he began the manufacture of saddler's hardware in company with Kasson Frazer. At the death of the latter in 1876 the industry had become one of the leading ones in this part of the State. Two years later the business was passed over to his son. A Whig and Republican in politics, Mr. Burns was elected to the State legislature for 1871-72, and made an honorable record. He also held the office of supervisor, police commissioner, and other positions. He was one of the nine persons to organize the Reformed Dutch church, and was instrumental in the care of the Orphan Asylum. Mr. Burns died June 20, 1895.
10. Sylvester P. Pierce was a native of Sauquoit, Oneida county, where he was born September 19, 1814. He served as clerk from an early age in Rome and Utica, with Ransom Curtis in the latter place. In 1839 he settled in Syracuse and began business in connection with his former employer. In December they took the store No. 10 South Salina street, and four years later Mr. Curtis went out of the firm, and from that time until near his death Mr. Pierce carried on a successful trade. In 1854 he purchased the store he occupied, and in 1863 purchased the Clinton street property where in 1869 he built stores for his wholesale trade. He was the head of the manufacturing firm of Pierce, Butler & Pierce, and was associated with other industries. He was a Republican in politics and a member of St. Paul's church. Mr. Pierce died on November 5, 1893.
11. The list of killed is as follows: Thomas Betts, Elijah Jones, Zebina Dwight, William Conklin, Benjamin F. Johnson, Elisha Ladd, George W. Burdick, Isaac Stanton, Hugh T. Gibson, William B. Close, George Gorham, Horace T. Goings, Charles A. Moffit, Horatio N. Cheney, Loren L. Cheney, John Durnford, jr., Hanson Maynard, Noah Hoyt, John Kohihamer, Matthew Smelt, Ezra H. Hough, James M. Barker, Charles Miller, Benjamin T. Baker, and Charles Austin.
These were badly wounded: David Myers, Z. Robinson, W. Durant, a son of John Thorn, Elisha Austin, D. C. Le Roy, Luther Gifford, S. W. Cadwell, Hugh Rogers, Paul Shaw, J. Goodrich, P. Balin, Thomas R. Hall, E. Morehouse, John McDermot, Patrick Denfee, John Eliker, Paschal Thurber, John Jones, ___ Handwright, L. J. Benton, ___ Lucas, Jerry Stevens, Mrs. Appleton, Miss Elliston, Thomas Poe, Myron Jacobs, a son of Peter Lelo, Orson Putnam, Elisha Jones, B. L. Higgins, E. Rosebrook, L. W. Bement, George B. Walter, George W. Benedick, Jonathan Baldwin, John McCaslin, Frederick Strongman, Lewis Corbin, ___ Lake.
The following were slightly wounded: William B. Durkee, Richard Culvert, Oliver Drew, Clozen Spencer, John B. Phelps, Dr. James Foran, David Wheeler, Robert Armstrong, Nelson Gilbert, Mr. Martin, John Burns, D. Brown, Lewis Smith, Luke Collins, Henry Hoag, Thomas H. Ostrander, P. Lowe, John Conklin, S. Packwood, J. Crawe, I. D. Lawson, Samuel Hurst, John Shoens, H. S. Sloan.
12. Thomas McCarthy settled in Salina in 1808 and became the foremost merchant and salt manufacturer. His early store was situated on Free street. He also attained prominence in public affairs; was member of assembly one term; trustee of the village many years and a director in the first Salina bank. He was father of the late Dennis McCarthy, the prominent merchant and politician of Syracuse.
13. The above is the generally accepted version of this event. Another one differing somewhat in detail is to the effect that Jerry was taken in broad daylight from the house of a colored woman where he had been secreted and put in the bottom of "Cale" Davis's butcher's wagon and covered with straw. Davis then drove into the city, stopped at the Syracuse House for his regular cigar, as usual, and then drove out into the country ostensibly on a trip to get meat. This authority gives Dr. Stephen Potter, who was identified with the old medical college, the credit for arranging the details of the flight.
14. Syracuse gained a wide-spread notoriety as an abolition center and station on the underground railroad. In May, 1851, the American Anti-Slavery Society met in the city, and among those present were such renowned Abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith, Frederick Douglass, Parker Pillsbury, Abbey Kelley Foster, and Samuel J. May. The opening sentence of Mr. Garrison's address showed the bitter prejudice then existing towards them and the cause which brought the society to Syracuse; he said: "This society has heretofore met in New York; but we are not permitted by a power that is greater than liberty in our land to hold an anniversary in that city this year, as neither a meeting house nor a hall could be obtained. If driving this society from New York has covered that city with historical infamy, the receiving of it in Syracuse will cover this city with historical renown." Thereafter Syracuse was the meeting place of many anti-slavery conventions. At the meeting of the society on this occasion, a noted controversy was held between Charles B. Sedgwick and George Thompson, an English M. P. It will be correctly inferred that Mr. Sedgwick did not come out of it second best.
15. Charles A. and Horace Wheaton were prominent citizens many years. Horace was elected to the Assembly in 1834 and in 1851 was appointed mayor of the city by the Common Council, Major Burnet having declined to qualify. Charles A. was elected president of the Board of Education in 1853, and both men were given frequent assurances of the esteem of their fellow citizens.
16. Dr. Amos Westcott was born in Newport, Herkimer county, N. Y., on the 28th of April, 1814. He graduated as civil engineer from the Rensselaer Institute in Troy, and in 1835 received the degree of Bachelor of Science. In 1836-37 he taught in the Pompey Academy, at the same time studying medicine. He then attended lectures at the Albany Medical College and the Geneva College, graduating in 1840. In the following year he located in Syracuse, where he took up the study of dentistry, in which profession he was most successful. He became a leader, was connected with a dental college in Baltimore, aided in founding the New York State Dental Society, and was associated editor of Dental Science. With broken health he went to Europe in 1871, but soon returned without improvement, and while in a despondent condition committed suicide in 1873.
17. Alfred H. Hovey was a prominent and respected citizen; was elected mayor in 1850, and died on the 7th of August, 1865.
18. Archibald C. Powell was born in Schenectady, July 25, 1813; was a graduate of Hobart College, and decided to make civil engineering his profession. He settled in Syracuse about 1850 and became a leading citizen; was a trustee of the Onondaga County Savings Bank, mayor of the city in 1864, and long superintendent of the salt springs. He was at one period called to Austria in connection with engineering for that government. Mr. Powell died September 10, 1884.
19. William D. Stewart was a son of David Stewart, and was born at "Salt Point" in 1805. Early forced to obtain his own livelihood, he was employed by Philo D. Mickles on a boat running between Syracuse and Salina. Later he was connected with the early stage lines, and in 1829-30 was in the salt manufacture. With the opening of the Erie Canal and the great demand for transportation facilities thereon, Mr. Stewart took command of a packet, which he continued with success and popularity seventeen years. He afterwards conducted the Welland House in Oswego and next the Syracuse House, which he made very popular during ten years. Captain Stewart was elected mayor of the city in 1865-6-7. He died April 9, 1874.
20. William H. H. Smith was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, June 5, 1814. After he reached his majority he for two years carried on grocery business in Utica. In December, 1839, he took the position of conductor on the then new railroad from Utica to Rochester. Purchasing a tract of land on the highlands in the southeastern part of Syracuse, he settled there in 1852. A man of excellent character and sound practical ideas, he has been called to positions on the boards of school commissioners, assessors, trustees, etc., and has been a generous helper of the various institutions of the city.
21. James P. Haskin settled in Syracuse prior to 1850 and engaged in salt manufacturing. In the latter years of his life he was president of the Morris Run Coal Company, which he was instrumental in organizing. He was a man of great force of character, and indomitable perseverance. He died on January 30, 1873.