Syracuse: 1790's to 1840's

Source:  Onondaga or Reminiscences of Earlier and Later Times, Vol. II, by Joshua V. H. Clark, A.M., Published by Stoddard and Babcock, Syracuse, N.Y., 1849, pp. 83-107


"The change is like a vision, an enchantment to the many who lived to witness, in so short a time, the wonderful transition."

CITY OF SYRACUSE - The ground upon which the city of Syracuse now stands, was originally a part of the Salt Springs Reservation, and at the time the county was organized, in 1794, with all that part of the reservation east of Onondaga Creek and Lake, was included in the town of Manlius.

The first locality which received a name within the limits of the present city of Syracuse, was called Webster’s Landing, from Ephraim Webster, who kept a few goods for the Indian trade, on the bank of the creek, a little south of its outlet. Mr. Webster was succeeded by Benjamin Newkirk, in 1793; at which time, there was quite a number of Indian cabins, ranging along the west bank of the creek, enough to form a respectable Indian village. The dark, gloomy and almost impenetrable swamp, now occupied by the city, was then a favorite resort for wolves, bears, wild-cats, mud-turtles, and swamp rattlesnakes. The western portion of the valley about Syracuse, was originally timbered with hemlock, birch and soft maple; the eastern portion with cedar and pine.

Near the west bank of the creek, was an extensive Indian burying-ground, where skeletons have frequently been disinterred, and are occasionaly to this day -- two having been exhumed during the past year. At the time the west locks were constructed at Syracuse, in 1819, over one hundred were taken up. In excavating the canal for the red mill, on the east bank of the creek, several skeletons were found. In 1843, one of extraordinary size was disinterred; one of the lower bones of the leg being set beside the limb of a tall man, reached far above his knee. The skull was comparatively large, and the jaws were surrounded with a full set of double teeth, all around. They were perfectly sound, covered with a beautiful enamel of the most perfect whiteness. Such occurrences are not uncommon, at the several Indian burying grounds throughout the county. In one grave was found a large skeleton, on each side of which was a gun, with flints in the locks, having the appearance of being loaded at the time they were buried. In this grave was also a brass kettle, two pairs of shears, three razors, a tomahawk, and a number of bullets. A large pine tree had recently been cut, which had grown over the grave. In 1842, Mr. Henry Young discovered a paint box, seven inches square, around which clay and gravel had firmly cemented, some four inches in thickness; with it was a brush. The box contained a red pigment, which from the description, must have been vermilion. The gravel had become firmly attached, and a portion of the box petrified. In 1808, while Mr. Young and others were cutting a large hemlock tree, over four feet in diameter, for hewing-timber, after cutting in about a foot and a half, they found near a hundred bullets, which had been deposited in a box, cut in the tree. The number of concentric circles from the bark to the bullets, was one hundred and fifty two; which, taken from 1808, leaves the time at which they were deposited, 1656, at which time the French had established colonies and missionaries at Onondaga.

In 1795, a feud broke out between a clan of the Onondagas and another of the Cayugas, which raged violently for a long period, during which, at sundry times, several individuals of both nations were killed. The last one who fell in this deadly strife, was an Onondaga, called Handsome Harry. He had been followed by a party of Cayugas, from Tuscarora and back, and was overtaken at the sand bank now owned by Mr. Henry Young, not far from the Syracuse pump house. When he found his pursuers hard upon him, he made no effort to escape, but quietly kneeled down, bared his bosom, and was instantly shot dead with an arrow. He was counted the handsomest man in the nation. He was buried on the spot where he fell, and two favorite sisters for a long time daily visited the spot, and mourned the death of their brother with the deepest sorrow.

In 1804, an act was passed directing the sale of two hundred and fifty acres of land, of the Salt Springs Reservation, the avails of which were to be expended in laying out and improving a road running from lot forty-nine, Manlius, to lot thirty-eight, Onondaga, east and west through the reservation. Simeon De Witt, the Surveyor General, directed James Geddes, Esq., to locate and lay out the land, and he did so. The land was advertised for sale, with the announcement that upon it was a good mill site. Mr. Geddes having ascertained that fact, laid out the land in reference to it. The lot was laid out in rather an irregular form,*  and the reason assigned for so doing, was that as much dry land might be secured as possible. But notwithstanding all the precaution of Mr. Geddes, he found it impossible to locate the ground in such a manner as to avoid entirely the swamp, some considerable portion of which was covered with water most of the year; a doleful place indeed, for the site of a future city.

While the subject of this land sale was under discussion, certain persons at Onondaga Hollow, and at Salina, denied the possibility of a water power, and so influenced the Surveyor General, that he put a spirit level into his gig and came out from Albany, expressly to examine the premises. He, assisted by Mr. Geddes, took a level of the creek, and found the power even better than had been represented, as made by the imperfect instrument Mr. G. had used in taking the first level.

It is sometimes curious to see how simple circumstances and events, trifling in themselves, will operate to direct a man’s whole life. The knowledge acquired by Mr. Geddes, in the use of this instrument in leveling this mill power, was the inciting cause by which he became qualified to make the survey and levels on the Erie Canal.

The two hundred and fifty acres laid out and advertised, were sold at auction in June 1804, and bid off by Mr. Abraham Walton, for the sum of six thousand five hundred and fifty dollars, or about twenty-six dollars twenty cents per acre,*  and the lot was thereafter called the Walton Tract.

The commissioners to receive and disburse the money arising from the sale of this tract, were James Geddes, Moses Carpenter and John Young. Mr. Geddes was appointed treasurer, and being absent from home during the construction of the road, Mrs. Geddes became the acting treasurer, and paid out the money, upon the order of the individual who built it. Although the avails of this sale were to be appropriated towards the laying out and improving a road, there was a stipulation in the terms of sale, that the purchaser should, within a specified time, erect or cause to be erected a suitable building for a tavern, or house of entertainment, for the accommodation of travelers. The same season, Mr. Walton laid out lots for a village, and, agreeably to the stipulation, sold to Henry Bogardus, for the consideration of three hundred dollars, half an acre of ground, binding him, within a reasonable time to erect a suitable house for a tavern, and to keep or cause one to be kept. His house was erected 1808. It was two stories high, and thirty-five by forty-five feet on the ground, and stood on the site of the present Empire Block. Mr. Bogardus was succeeded by Mr. Burlingham, in 1808; Joseph Langdon, in 1810; James Ingalls, in 1812; and by Sterling Cossit, in 1815.

At the time of this laying out of a village, it was called, “South Salina,”  and the tavern the “South Salina Hotel.” A Mr. Merrill erected a small frame house the same year that Mr. Bogardus built his hotel, nearly opposite, east, but there was so much sickness in the neighborhood, that he became discouraged, pulled it down and carried it away. Before this purchase was made by Mr. Walton, several persons had erected log cabins in the vicinity of the spot where Mr. Bogardus put up his hotel. The names given of some of them are, Mr. Hopkins, in 1797; Mr. Butler, in 1799. These were located a little west of the Oswego bridge, north of General Granger’s residence, near a spring of fresh water.

In the spring of 1800, Mr. Calvin Jackson came to this place, who lived in a small log house a little south of where the rail-road crosses Genesee street, and there was born Albion Jackson, on the 28th of December, 1800, supposed to be the first white child born within the limits of the city of Syracuse, out of that part heretofore known as Salina. Mr. Jackson is still living, near the Indian Reservation, and is a grandson of Jeremiah Jackson. William Lee and Aaron Cole, blacksmiths, opened a shop in 1805. In 1805, Amos Stanton, father of Rufus Stanton, and Mrs. Wales, now residents of Syracuse, located near the Salina Bridge. Dr. Swan put up a small frame house in 1807. Jonathan Fay settled near the Court-House in 1808. Rufus Stanton kept a tavern near the Salina bridge in 1811 -- building now standing, and occupied as a public house.

The mills were erected in 1805, by Mr. Walton, James Sayles being the master builder. The first dam was erected where the Seneca Turnpike bridge crosses the creek, and the road at this time passed over it. The dam stood only about a year, when it was swept away by a heavy spring freshet. It was re-built several rods further up the stream, but has recently been torn away on account of the supposed unhealthiness of the mill pond.

The name South Salina, was not received with general approbation, and after a time it was changed to “Milan.” This name it bore for several years, and marriages, deaths, and other incidents were announced in the “Manlius Times,” then the only paper in the county, as having taken place at Milan.

The Walton Tract, was a portion of it sold to Michael Hogan and Charles Walton, and they, with the original proprietor, held it in common. After some unimportant changes, it was transferred to Forman, Wilson & Co., in 1814, for about nine thousand dollars. From these proprietors, it passed into the hands of Daniel Kellogg and Wm. H. Sabin, in 1818, who sold it in 1828 to Henry Eckford, Esq., the celebrated ship-builder of New-York. In May, 1824, the Walton Tract was transferred to the Syracuse Company, for the consideration of thirty thousand dollars, which Company consisted of Messrs. William James, Isaiah and John Townsend, and James McBride. The same was deeded in trust to Messrs. Moses D. Burnet and Gideon Hawley, since which, village lots have been extensively sold.

At the time the purchase was made by Forman, Wilson & Co., they erected a large slaughter house in a pine grove, a little in rear of Gen. Granger’s dwelling, north of Church street. They continued the business of packing beef and pork on a large scale, till 1817, having had during the war a heavy army contract.

After the transfer of the Walton estate to Messrs. Kellogg and Sabin, Judge Forman was appointed agent for them, and had sole management of affairs.

In the spring of 1819, Mr. Owen Forman, a younger brother of the Judge, and John Wilkinson, Esq., then a young lawyer, came down from Onondaga Hollow, under the direction of Judge Forman, to lay out the Walton Tract into village lots. The old survey of a village by Mr. Walton was thrown aside and disregarded. These young men proceeded to the work in the month of June, and such was the indefinite position of the ancient land marks, that it was with the greatest difficulty that they could ascertain with any degree of certainty, the starting point. Although in possession of an excellent description, made by Judge Geddes, but for a certain wild plumb tree therein mentioned, it is thought doubtful whether the precise lines as originally run could have been traced. After near a fortnight of hard labor, the village was again laid out, so far as related to the Walton Tract; and what was not included in the village, was laid out into farm lots of from five to ten acres each.

After the survey was completed, Judge Forman named the village “Corinth,” the name of Milan having been relinquished in consequence of an ineffectual attempt to obtain a Post Office, there already one of that name in the State. For several years the place went by the name of “Cossit’s Corners,” after Mr. Sterling Cossit, who succeeded Mr. Ingalls in the South Salina Hotel. Mr. Cossit kept the house from 1815 to 1825, after which it was kept for some time by Mr. Williston.

When this last survey was made, there was but a small clearing in the village of Corinth. The extent of it was from the canal, near Clinton street, south to Fayette street, and east to Warren street. On the north side of the canal, the clearing extended as far back as Church street, and east to Warren street. The rest of the dry ground was a pine grove interspersed with oak bushes.

The first burying ground in Syracuse was on Fayette street, very near where Clinton street crosses it, if any thing a little west. At this spot were buried some fifteen or twenty persons, whose remains have never been removed, and hundreds daily pass over them unconscious that in so public a place lie the remains of individuals who were once as active in life as any now upon the stage. The old burying ground near the west Rail-Road Depot, was laid out by Owen Forman and John Wilkinson, at the time they laid out the village.

Purchases were now somewhat rapidly made, and the business of clearing went vigorously on. Very much of the present city was, however, a dreary waste of swamp, approached only by means of “corduroy” and “gridiron” roads. All along where now is located the beautiful park, was then a famous shooting ground for partridges and rabits, and further back, were plenty of wood-cock, snipe, owls and mud-turtles.

In spring, the water did not usually subside sufficiently to allow people to pass with any degree of comfort, till late in May or June, and those going from Onondaga to Salina, were obliged to pass around on the high ground east of Syracuse, over by-roads, which were cut in every direction through the reservation, for the purpose of collecting wood in winter for the salt works. A person passing over the present improved roads, can have no conception of their impassable condition in spring and autumn, at that period. In fact the only time when they were endurable was in winter, when perfectly frozen and covered with a good body of snow.

In the fall of 1819, Judge Forman removed to Syracuse with his family, and occupied a house a little west of the Townsend Block. At this time there but two frame houses in the village, besides the tavern. Log houses, and plank, and slab cabins, were scattered over the dry ground, most of which latter had been tenanted by laborers on the canal. The pasture of the Judge ran back some fifty rods and east to Salina street; most of it was pine grove. Another lot of twenty acres commenced where the Syracuse House now stands, and there was a set of bars and passage-way to this lot, where the western front door of that building opens to the street. In 1816, Rufus Stanton raised on this ground an abundant crop of rye. It was afterwards occupied as a pasture until 1820. So dense was the forest about Syracuse in 1819, that two young ladies, the present Mrs. E. W. Leavenworth and Mrs. M. D. Burnet, in taking a morning stroll over “Prospect Hill,” became bewildered among the thick brushwood, and finally rambled about till the day was far spent, when they found themselves in the vicinity of the Lodi Locks, greatly fatigued with their labors, and not a little rejoiced at the prospect of deliverance from the terrors of passing a gloomy night in the wilderness. Here they recognized familiar ground, and returned home in safety, after a day of much anxiety and no little inquietude of mind.

Previous to the arrival of Judge Forman, Sidney Dole and Milan C. Taylor, owned and occupied the mill, and kept a store next west of where the late William Malcolm first kept; this was in 1814. They were the first merchants in Syracuse. Northrup and Dexter had a job on the Erie Canal in 1817, and set up a store in place of Dole and Taylor, and conducted business till 1821. In 1821, General Amos P. Granger came down from Onondaga Hill, and set up as a dry goods merchant, on the north-east corner, by the present Salina street bridge. At the this time there was no other store in Syracuse, except two or three small groceries. Mr. Henry Newton opened a store in 1822; Mr. Archy Kasson opened a hardware store in 1822; Kasson and Heermans, dry goods, groceries and hardware in 1823; Mr. G. M. Towle, opened a commission and forwarding store in April, 1823; Geo. Davis & Co., in July, 1823; Henry W. Durnford, groceries, drugs and medicine, 1823; John Rogers & Co., from New-York, November, 1823; William Malcolm, 1823; Haskell & Walbridge, saddlers and furnishers for the trade, 1824. In 1824, J. Vanderheyden, Mead & Davis, A. N. Van Patten, and H. & W. Dowd, established themselves as merchants at Syracuse. Hiram Judson, watch maker and jeweller, 1824; H. Hyde & Co., established themselves as forwarding merchants in 1824. Since this period merchants have become so numerous it is impossible to follow their history with precision.

Messrs. Buell & Safford bought the lot where the Syracuse House now stands, and commenced the erection of the “Syracuse Hotel.” While the building was in progress of erection, Mr. Safford fell from a scaffold, and was killed by the fall; after which, the property passed into the hands of Mr. Eckford, who completed the Syracuse Hotel in 1822. It was three stories high, and the first brick building of any considerable dimensions, erected in town. It was kept several years by Mr. James Mann. After the Syracuse Company came in possession of the premises, the house was rebuilt, and has since been enlarged and improved to its present ample dimensions and style. It was at the time of rebuilding named the “Syracuse House.” after which, it was kept by Mr. George Rust; afterwards by Daniel Comstock and H. T. Gibson; and for a long period thereafter, it was kept by P. N. Rust, Esq. He was succeeded by Gillett & Knickerbocker, in 1848.

In 1822, Syracuse had not more than two hundred and fifty inhabitants, and no place of worship; the whole church-going community was only from thirty to forty; no school-house, only two taverns, and the stores before mentioned.

The first physician was Dr. Swan, who located at Syracuse about the year 1807.

Dr. Basset was the physician during the building of the canal, and did a vast amount of medical business; for, almost every man engaged on the canal was sick. Eye witnesses observe, that the scenes of suffering and distress at that period, were beyond conception. Dr. Colvin succeeded Dr. Basset, and still resides at Syracuse. Dr. Day came in afterwards, and died of Cholera, in 1832. Dr. M. Williams, and other physicians, came in soon after, and the number has become so numerous, that it would be difficult to trace them.

John Wilkinson, Esq., in 1819, was the first lawyer who established himself in Syracuse. He erected an office on the corner where the Globe Buildings now stand, and was heartily ridiculed for setting his office out in the fields. This locality at that time, was quite out of town; but circumstances, and the advancing prosperity of the place, have brought it into the centre of business.

Alfred Northam, Esq., established himself as a lawyer at Syracuse, in 1824. Messrs. Harvey Baldwin and Schuyler Strong, were the next lawyers who located in 1826, and were soon followed by Messrs. Wheaton and Davis, E. W. Leavenworth, Esq., B. D. Noxon, Esq., James R. Lawrence, Esq., and others, some of whom came with the removal of the Court House from the Hill.

Mr. John Durnford, established the first printing press at Syracuse. He was induced to locate at Syracuse, from representations made to him of the growing importance of the village. He issued the first number of the “ONONDAGA GAZETTE,” 2d of April, 1823; it was of the Clintonian school of politics. The first number contained but one merchant’s advertisement, viz.; Kasson & Heerman’s. Other advertisements were of “Lee’s Billious Pills.” “Pomeroy’s Razor Strop,” “Clark’s Commentary,” and “Morse’s Geography.” The name of the paper was changed after the first year, to “SYRACUSE GAZETTE, AND GENERAL ADVERTISER,” and was continued by Mr. Durnford until 1829, when Lewis H. Redfield moved to Syracuse from Onondaga Hollow, bought out Mr. D., and united the “ONONDAGA REGISTER” to it, under the name of “THE SYRACUSE GAZETTE AND ONONDAGA REGISTER.” Mr. Redfield continued the publication of the “Gazette and Register” until the close of 1831, when it was transferred to Messrs. J. H. Clark and J. de Blois Sherman; Mr. R. having had charge of the “Register” at Onondaga Hollow afterwards, “Gazette and Register,” at Syracuse, for a period of eighteen years; during which time, D. D. Spencer editor of the “Ithaca Chronicle,” Lewis Gaylord Clark, Editor of the Knickerbocker, and E. Russell Webb, of New-York, served their several terms of apprenticeship in the “Register” office; all of whom occupy distinguished positions in their respective occupations. Messrs. Clark and Sherman, changed the name of the paper to the “THE SYRACUSE ARGUS,” and gave the “Jackson party” a warm support for a short time, when it was finally discontinued.

In 1825, Messrs. ---- Barnum and John F. Wyman established the ‘SYRACUSE ADVERTISER,’ a “Jackson” paper. Mr. Barnum, however, soon withdrew, and was succeeded in his interest by Mr. Norman Rawson. Messrs. Rawson & Wyman, continued the “Advertiser” until the autumn og ‘26, when Mr. Wyman, who continued alone in the publication of it, until the spring of 1829. The “ONONDAGA JOURNAL,” published at Onondaga Hill, by Mr. V. W. Smith, was then united with the Advertiser, under the name of “THE ONONDAGA STANDARD,” and published by Wyman and Smith. The Standard has since been continued by V. W. & T. A. Smith, Wm. L. Crandall and A. L. Smith; A. L. Smith and Marcellus Farmer; A. L. Smith and P. Agan; and is now published by P. Agan and Moses Summers. The “MORNING POST,” the first daily established in Syracuse, was issued from the Standard office, about four months in 1835.

In 1830, the “ONONDAGA REPUBLICAN,” an Anti-Masonic paper, was established by Mr. W. S. Campbell, and was continued about three years. “THE SYRACUSE AMERICAN” --- National Republican --- was established in 1831, by Mr. ----- Adams; continued through the campaign of 1832, and then discontinued.

In 1834, Messrs. Clark & Patterson, commenced the publication of “THE CONSTITUTIONA- LIST,” a Whig paper, which was continued about two years. This was succeeded by “THE SYRACUSE WHIG,” edited by John K. Barlow, who continued it about two years, when it was merged into a new paper, the “WESTERN STATE JOURNAL,” by V. W. & S. F. Smith; the latter of whom, in 1846, commenced THE SYRACUSE DAILY JOURNAL,” in connection with it. In the spring of 1847, these papers passed into the hands of Henry Barns, Augustus S. Smith, and Edward Cooper, by whom they were continued until the destruction of the establishment by fire, 6th of January, 1849. The Daily and Weekly Journal are now continued by Marcellus Farmer, Vivus W. Smith and Seth Haight.

In 1835, “THE ONONDAGA CHIEF,” by Miller and Burdick, was commenced and continued about two years. The Chief was succeeded by the “EMPIRE STATE DEMOCRAT,” by Hiram Cummings; afterwards by the “FREEMAN,” Abolition, by Tucker & Kinney. The “SYRACUSE DAILY STAR,” neutral, succeeded the Freeman, by the same publishers in 1845, who soon after commenced the publication of the “WEEKLY STAR.” Both papers are now continued by Kinney & Masters. The “RELIGIOUS RECORDER” was established by Terry & Platt, in 1844.

On the first of January, 1849, the following entitled papers were published in the city of Syracuse, viz: Syracuse Journal, daily and weekly; Star, daily and weekly; Standard, weekly; Democrat, weekly; Religious Recorder, weekly; Reveille, daily; and Onondaga Sentinel, weekly; and in March, 1849, was established the “CENTRAL CITY,” by an association of Printers.*

Others have at different periods, been started, but their existence has been short.

A stereotype foundry was established by Messrs. Baker & Tiernan, from Philadelphia, March 1849.

The first religious society organized in Syracuse, was of the Baptist denomination. At first, a Conference was organized in the winter of 1819-20, by Elder John G. Sternes, who officiated as minister a portion of the time. Thomas Spencer, Braddock Dart, David Johnson, James Wilson, Alvin Walker with their wives, and Wyllys Brown, B. G. Avery and Mrs. Wales, were the members. Arrangements were made with the Baptist Madison Theological Seminary, to send out every Saturday, a young man to preach. The arrangement was not perfect, and services were not regularly held. The people of all denominations at that time attended the Baptist meeting in a little low school house, scarcely capable of containing sixty persons.

Elder Nathaniel J. Gilbert came to Syracuse as a missionary, 16th of February, 1821, and became the first stated preacher, in June, 1823. Rev. Mr. Gilbert, united with the Church and became their regular pastor, in November, 1824. He continued in the faithful and laborious performance of the duties of his office, until July, 1832, when he was suddenly cut off by Asiatic Cholera, deeply lamented by the whole community.

On the 29th of August, 1833, Rev. Orsamus Allen became the pastor of the church, and so continued until October 20, 1834. In November following, Rev. Stephen Wilkins became the pastor, and continued until December 1st, 1837. He was then succeeded by Rev. John Blain, who remained with the Church four years.

December 1, 1841, Rev. Joseph W. Taggart was installed pastor, and remained until August, 1847. He was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Robert R. Raymond, who entered upon his duties on the first day of September, 1847.

Their first house of worship, (being also the first erected in Syracuse,) was built in 1824, at a cost of two thousand three hundred dollars, and enlarged in 1839, at a cost of two thousand three hundred dollars. In the spring of 1848, the society made an exchange with Capt. Joel Cody, of their house and lot, for a lot more eligible, situated a few rods east of their old location, and erected on the new site, a brick edifice after the Roman Ionic order of architecture. This building is one hundred and thirty-two feet long, (including the porch in front and lecture room in rear,) by seventy feet in width, estimated cost, about fifteen thousand dollars, making the whole property worth about twenty thousand dollars.

The First Presbyterian Society of Syracuse,” was organized December 14th, 1824, and the following persons elected trustees, vis: Moses D. Burnett, Miles Seymour, Rufus Moss, Jonathon Day, Heman Walbridge, Joshua Forman and Joseph Slocum. Their house of worship was built in the summer of 1825, and dedicated in January, 1826. Rev. D. C. Lansing preached the dedication sermon. The Church was organized with twenty-six members, on the 6th of April, 1826. Elders, Frederick Phelps and Edward Chapman; Deacon, Pliny Dickinson. On the 28th of June, 1826, Rev. John Watson Adams was ordained and installed pastor over this church, and has continued so until the present time, (1849) a rare instance of the true relation which should be sustained between people and pastor. It is believed there is not another instance of so long continuance of a minister with his congregation in Western New-York. Previous to the erection of their house of worship, meetings were held in the village school house.

Park Church” (second Presbyterian) was organized 1847, building completed 1848. Rev. W. W. Newell, pastor.

St. Paul’s Church” was organized 22d of May, 1826, Rev. John McCarty presiding. At this time were chosen, John Durnford and Samuel Wright, Wardens; Amos P. Granger, Archy Kasson, James Mann, Matthew W. Davis, Mather Williams, Barent Filkins, Othniel Williston and Jabes Hawley, Vestrymen. In 1825, the Syracuse Company gave the Episcopal Society a lot of ground for a church, and in September the frame was raised, and covered during the autumn of that year, and in 1827, it was completed. It stood on the ground lately occupied by the Granger Block, now in ruins. The church building was subsequently sold to the Roman Catholic Society, who removed it. On the 12th of July, 1841, the corner stone of the present St. Paul’s Church was laid, and the building completed early the following year. Previous to the erection of the first church edifice, services were held in the school house, and occasionally in the Baptist house. Clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who officiated previous to the organization of the society, were Rev. Messrs. Lucius Smith, Wm. B. Thomas, ----- Wilcox, Wm. J. Bulkley, Augustus L. Converse, and afterwards, Rev. Messrs, John McCarty, William Barlow, Palmer Dyer, Richard Salmon, John Grigg, Francis Todrig, Clement M. Butler, Charles H. Halsey, William Walton, Issac Swart, John B. Gallagher and Henry Gregory. Dr. Gregory was succeeded in St. Paul’s by the Rev. Wm. B. Ashley.

St. James Church,” (Protestant Episcopal,) was organized August, 1848. Rector, Rev. Henry Gregory, D. D.

The “Church of the Messiah,” (First Unitarian Congregational Society of Syracuse,) was organized 3d of September, 1838. First trustees, Hiram Putnam, Nathan Flint and Charles F. Williston. Their first house of worship was a little chapel on Genesee street, dedicated in December, 1838. The new edifice was erected in 1843, and consecrated in December of that year. Clergymen have been Rev. J. P. B. Storer, who commenced with the consecration, and continued till within one week of his death, at which time he preached his last sermon. He died 10th of March, 1844. Rev. Samuel J. May has officiated since, to 1849.

First Roman Catholic Church of Syracuse, was organized Christmas day, 1842. It was purchased from the Protestant Episcopal Society, and fitted up for the Roman Catholics. In 1848, it was considerably enlarged and improved. Rev. Michael Haes, the only minister.

The “First Methodist Episcopal Society” erected a substantial brick church in 1836. Statistics from this society have not been furnished. It is, however, one of the oldest in the city. A new society has recently been organized.

A “Dutch Reformed Society” was organized in 1848. The Rev. J. H. Cornell, minister.

There is an African Church, and several German societies, of different protestent persuasions.

The Onondaga County Bank was incorporated in 1880; Salina Bank, 1832; Bank of Syracuse, 1838, under General Banking Law. Syracuse and Utica Rail-road went into operation 3d July, 1839; Auburn and Syracuse, 1841; Oswego and Syracuse, October, 1848. Telegraph from Albany to Syracuse established 1846. Townsend Block was erected in 1842; The Granger Block in 1844 --- destroyed by fire on 6th January, 1849; Empire Block erected 1845; Globe Building, 1846-7; Malcolm Block, 1847; Market Hall, 1845.

The first packet-boat on the canal, named the Montezuma, arrived at Syracuse on the 21st of April, 1820. It was built and fitted up by a company of gentlemen at Montezuma, from a model furnished by Comfort Tyler. It was seventy-six feet long, and fourteen feet wide. Its arrival created great excitement; hundreds of anxious spectators lined the banks of the canal, to witness this mighty wonder. This practical illustration of the benefits of canal navigation was not without its use. It hushed the hostility of canal opponents, and subdued the fears of the more timorous; visionary theory yielded to simple fact, and wild speculation to the test of experiment. The canal was now navigable from Montezuma to Utica, ninety-four miles, and at once business received a new and vigorous impulse.

The 4th of July, 1820, was a glorious day for Syracuse. The canal was in practical operation, the prospects of the future city began to brighten; a most brilliant day dawned upon a land heretofore a swamp and bog. It was hailed as a day of joy, festivity and rejoicing. Invitations had been extended to the friends of the canal throughout the State, particular in the Western District. Thousands of guests from the surrounding counties came in to witness the novelty of canal navigation, and to celebrate the day. Some of the most distinguished men in the State were present, among whom were Gov. Clinton and suite, General Van Cortland, Myron Holley, Thomas J. Oakley, and John C. Spencer. Judge Van Ness adjourned the circuit, then in session at the Court-House, and the Court and Bar attended in a body. Thaddeus M. Wood, Esq., presided on the occasion. The Declaration was read by N. P. Randall, Esq., and the Oration delivered by Samuel Miles Hopkins, Esq., to more than two thousand people. The numerous procession was formed in front of Mr. Gossit’s tavern, escorted by the Salina Band. They proceeded to a pine grove directly in rear of the Townsend Block. The platform on which were seated the orator, reader and distinguished guests, was under a large spreading pine, which has long ago bowed its towering head to make way for the rapid and substantial improvements which have since been made. This was the first celebration of our national independence at Syracuse, and those who were present number it among her proudest days.

A Post Office was established at Syracuse in February, 1820, and was thus announced in the Onondaga Register --- "A new Post Office has been established at Syracuse (formerly Corinth) in the town of Salina, and John Wilkinson, Esq., appointed Post Master. The name of this village was necessarily changed, there being a Post Office of the name of Corinth previously established in the State." The advertising list in 1823, at the time of the first appearance of the Onondaga Gazette had increased to eight. The Post Office for a time was kept in the store of Gen. Granger, but for the greater convenience of the inhabitants of the village, it was thought advisable to move it to the printing office of John Durnford, Esq. He at first objected on account of the lack of room but finally consented. In due time Mr. Wilkinson came on with the whole contents of the Post Office, mail matter, letter bags, boxes --- the whole concern, on his shoulders, without having occasion to go for a second load; upon which Mr. Durnford concluded he had plenty of room to accommodate all the requisite wants of the department at Syracuse.

On the 9th of June, 1825, the Marquis de La Fayette visited Syracuse. He was escorted from Onondaga Hill, by a large body of citizens on horseback (by way of the Hollow) to the Mansion House, where he received the cordial greetings of the citizens of Syracuse and the surrounding country. Judge Forman, as President of the village, addressed the war-worn veteran in behalf of his fellow citizens, in an appropriate address, replete with generous affection, tendering to the illustrious guest, the heartfelt hospitalities of a grateful people. During the delivery of Judge For- man’s address, the illustrious hero stood with his hat in hand leaning on his cane, with the other on his hip, giving his undivided attention to what was said. The gallant general responded in the following words:
(Rep. Onon. Reg.)

“The names of Onondaga and Syracuse, in behalf of whose population you are pleased so kindly to welcome me, recall to my mind at the same time, the wilderness that, since the time I commanded on the northern frontier, has been transformed into one of the most populous, well cultivated and enlightened parts of the United States; and, the ancient Sicilian city, once the seat of republican institutions, much inferior, however, to those which in American Syracuse, are founded upon the plain investigation, the unalloyed establishment of the rights of men, and upon the best representative forms of government. No doubt sir, but among the co-operators of the Revolution, the most sanguine of us could not fully anticipate the rapidity of the improvements, which on a journey of many thousand miles (the last tour alone, from Washington to this place, amounting to five thousand miles,) have delighted me, and of which this part of the country offers a bright example. Be pleased to accept my personal thanks, and in behalf of the people of Onondaga and Syracuse, to receive the tribute of my sincere and respectful acknowledgments."

This address was received with the most rapturous applause. Salutations were exchanged, a bountiful repast was furnished for the guests, and all passed off the greatest gratification of every one present.

After breakfast, the General and suite, together with the Onondaga committee of escort, left Syracuse in the packet boat Rochester, for Utica, to which place the committee accompanied him.

The conclusion of the great work in which the people of Onondaga had borne so prominent a part, was undoubtedly a primary cause of the improvement of Syracuse. The village was incor- porated by Legislature enactment, 13th April, 1825, with the usual powers granted to like incorporations. The charter was amended in 1829 and in 1834, increasing the powers of village officers regulating water works, fire department, &c.

In 1835, the bounds of the original village were considerably enlarged. (See Records.) In 1839-41, the charter was again amended so as to enable the Trustees to hold real estate for the purposes of a village cemetery, which was subsequently purchased, laid out and beautified. In 1842 and in 1845, the charter was again amended for improvement of water works, to empower the Trustees to borrow money on the credit of the corporation, to purchase a lot for a market and other public buildings, and for other purposes.

 The first meeting for the election of officers of the village of Syracuse, was held at the School House in said village, 3d of May, 1825, at which Joshua Forman, Amos P. Granger, Moses D. Burnet, Herman Walbridge and John Rogers were elected Trustees, (Joshua Forman, President;) James Webb, Alfred Northum and Thomas Spencer, Assessors; John Wilkinson, Clerk; John Durnford, Treasurer; Daniel Gilbert, Justice Peace, presiding.

The trustees proceeded at once to lay out road districts, to organize a fire department, and to purchase engines and apparatus, and other things for the welfare of the village.

The second Board of Trustees was elected 3d of May, 1826. Only fifty-six votes were polled. The Board consisted of M. D. Burnet, H. Gifford, Alfred Northum, Andrew Van Patten and Henry Young (M. D. Burnet, second President;) Peter Van Olinda, Clerk. For officers in succeeding years see village records.

The city of Syracuse justly prides herself upon the superiority of her common schools, which may be deemed the model schools of the county, and are scarcely equalled by any in the State. Districts were formerly laid out when the population was scanty and scholars few. Districts that once contained only a small number of inhabitants, have recently become populous, and where the school was attended by a score of children, it has, increased ten fold. Within the memory of many, there was only a single square hopper-shaped roof building, used for schools, religious meetings, town hall, and for almost every public purpose.

Through the exertions of Messrs. Harvey Baldwin, Oliver Teall, Aaron Burt, and some others friendly to the cause of education, a charter was obtained for the Syracuse Academy. Mr. Baldwin gave the lot, and under many discouraging embarrassments, the building now occupied as the Orphan Asylum was erected and completed for an Academy, which was supplied with competent teachers, and supported by the benefactions of the before named individuals, and a few others. After the Academy went into operation, the enterprise of the people began to be aroused, jealousies in reference to the Academy being a speculation, were awakened, and district school houses sprung up and were patronized. The cause of education profited by the efforts of these first actors, but the founders were, and continued to be losers, and finally the Academy was abandoned, and the house designed by its originators to subserve the cause of education, providentially became the home of the helpless orphan, add the abode of charity.

On the evening of Friday, the 20th of August, 1841, occurred the ever memorable EXPLOSION, at which time twenty-six of our fellow-citizens were launched unwarned into eternity, and ten others dangerously, and forty-three others severely wounded. A fire originated in joiners shop, on the towing path side of the Oswego Canal. Here had been stored some twenty-five kegs of powder, which exploded with the most terrible consequences. A gloom was cast over the village and the county, which betokened sorrow, and mourning was manifest upon every countenance; sadness pervaded every dwelling, and melancholy every heart. The effects of this explosion were felt for more than twenty miles around. A man upon the deck of a packet boat at Fulton, twenty- six miles distant, heard the report. At De Witt and Jamesville, five miles off, persons were started from their sleep, supposing their chimnies had fallen down. At Manlius, ten miles distant, the earth trembled, and crockery upon a merchant’s shelves rattled for the space of several seconds, like the shock from a clap of thunder. At Camillus it was compared to the crash of falling timber. At Onondaga it was supposed to be an earthquake. Although the concussion was tremendous at Syracuse, the report was not so loud as might have been supposed. Glass in the windows a hundred rods distant, were broken. Papers in the County Clerk’s Office were thrown from their places upon the floor, and several buildings were more or less injured. The instant the explosion took place, the air was filled with fragments of the building, bits of lumber, &c., which lighted up the heavens with the brightness of day; but in a twinkling it was total darkness. The explosion had extinguished every particle of fire. The scene at this moment was horrible beyond description; men, women and children, screaming in horror; none knew the extent of the calamity, and all were anxious to learn the fate of their friends. Quickly some three thousand persons were gathered, anxiously looking for those whom they most regarded. Very soon lamps were brought, the wounded were carried off, filling the air with sighs and groans. The dead were sought and found, many of them so much disfigured that they could be recognized only by their clothes or the contents of their pockets. For a long time clumps of persons could be seen with lights in all directions, carrying either the dead or the wounded, to their homes. The scenes of the fatal night will long be remembered by the citizens of Syracuse and the county of Onondaga. The next day the village was shrouded in mourning. The stores were all closed, and business was out of the question. On Sunday the unfortunate victims were consigned to the tomb admidst the sympathies and tears of the afflicted community. The Clergy were most solemn and impassioned in their addresses, and the deepest sadness prevailed, as the several processions wended their way to the lonely tomb.

During the year 1846, Syracuse had so wonderfully increased in size and population, that the subject of securing for it a city charter, began seriously to be discussed. Meetings were held during that and the following year, without coming to any definite conclusion, till the winter of 1847-8, the matter was brought before the Legislature. There was considerable difference of opinion among the inhabitants, as to the extent of territory which should be embraced. Some were for including the whole original Salt Springs Reservation; others, for only the village of Syracuse. Some for more territory, others for less. Several spirited meetings were held in reference to the subject, which finally resulted in the grant of a charter, including the villages of Syracuse and Salina, with the name of Syracuse. At the first election of city officers, in May, 1848, Harvey Baldwin, Esq., was elected Mayor; James Lynch and Elizur Clark, Aldermen for the first ward; Alexander McKinstry and John B. Burnet, for the second; William H. Alexander and Gardner Lawrence, for the third; and Henry W. Durnford and Robert Furman, for the fourth.

From the returns of a census made for the city of Syracuse, first of January, 1849, it contained a small fraction short of 16,000 inhabitants.

In May, 1849, E. W. Leavenworth, Esq., was elected Mayor; Thomas Feagan, of the first ward, Silas Titus, of the second, Amos Westcott, of the third, and Edward B. Wicks of the fourth, Aldermen; --- Messrs. Lynch, McKinstry, Lawrence, and Durnford, holding over.

The opening of the canal in 1820, may be set down as the real commencement of the city of Syracuse. From this time it began to be looked upon as a place inevitably destined to become the grand emporium of the county. There was, however, one continual drawback. During the build- ing of the canal from 1817 to 1820, the sickness had been terrible. No estimate can be made of the fatality of disease at that time. To the foreseeing mind of Judge Forman, something was to be done to improve the health of the place, or his plans would fail; accordingly, during the winter of 1821-22, he procured the passage of a law, in connection with one authorizing the lowering of Onondaga Lake, by which the Commissioners of the Land Office were to draw a map of the swamp and marsh about the villages of Salina and Syracuse. This map was to designate the route of several ditches or drains through the swamp and marsh lands, with an accompanying estimate of the sum necessary to be raised to effect such object. The judges of the county courts were authorized to appoint three discreet freeholders of the county, who should assess the amount of money necessary to be raised on the owners of the lands contiguous to the drains, in proportion as they were supposed to be benefitted. In case of the non-payment of any assessment, the lands could be sold, after being advertised four weeks for the payment, and if not redeemed within six months, with interest at ten per cent., with all costs, the sale was valid and unchangeable.

The citizens were allowed to build their own ditches on their own lands, according to the prescribed rules of the commissioners, and the plan laid down on the map. In case they would not, commissioners were authorized themselves to build them, and charge the owners with the cost, and cost of collection. This law at the time, was considered highly arbitrary; but, it was the only feasible project by which the lands could be drained.

In the summer of 1822, the lands were brought under subjection by draining, the place assumed an air of healthfulness, disease and sickness kept at a distance, a marked difference was manifest at once, confidence was placed in the future, and the past was quickly forgotten. Since the draining of these lands, they have been healthy as any in the country.

The same year, a considerable portion of the Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation was sold under the direction of the Surveyor General. It was parcelled into small lots and sold to individuals, several of which were taken by Messrs. Kellogg & Sabin, which eventually passed into the hands of the Syracuse Company. A large portion of the present site of the city, and which is now covered with costly buildings, was included in these sales. Very much of this land brought only nominal prices. For instance, the lots on which now stand the stately mansions of Messrs. Lester, Colvin, Woolworth, Minard, Coggswell, Sedgewick, Wilkinson, Burnet, Davis, Forbes, Leavenworth and others, together with a large tract, including the cemetery, brought at the sale, only from eighteen to thirty dollars per acre. The lands east of Fayette Park, including L. H. Redfield’s and other lots, sold for six dollars per acre.

General Granger took several of the lots in the swamp, near Lodi, between the canal and turnpike, at ten dollars fifty cents per acre. Citizens agreed not to bid against him, on condition of his clearing the land immediately. This was done at great expense, the same season, and put into a crop of wheat. Most of this ground is now covered with fine buildings.

Another sale of State lands was made in 1828, embracing the lots in the vicinity of the Court- House, and other portions of the reservation.

Directly after this, roads were improved and made substantial and permanent, low places were filled up, logs and stumps were removed, durable stores and tasteful dwellings were erected, churches with their lofty spires glanced upwards, magnificent hotels, and massive rows of buildings appeared in all directions, canal basins were crowded with boats, lading and unlading, at the spacious warehouses upon the wharves, and wheel carriages loaded with agricultural products lined the extended and well paved streets. All these places have within a very few years, become thronged with people full of business, life and activity. The change is like a vision, an enchantment to the many who lived to witness in so short a time, the wonderful transition. But a few years ago, the wild flowers grew in spontaneous profusion, all along where are now lofty stores and hotels, and wild berries were gathered abundantly on grounds now occupied by the older churches of the city, and the reaper, as he bound his yellow sheaves, little thought that so soon, his stubble land would become the great thoroughfare of steam and electricity. The time has been so short, that it is difficult to realize that so great a change has been wrought. In less than a quarter of a century, a city has sprung up from a loathsome swamp, where least of all, the traveler would dream of such an event. There has never been anything like extra exertion to increase the size of the town --- its growth has been steady, healthy and uniform. Through all periods of pecuniary adversity, it has passed its onward career, with a greater demand for dwellings. Its business, from year to year, has increased with great regularity. As new stores were opened, customers increased, and as trade extended itself, the country became more dependant upon Syracuse as a market. Although this has been the course and consequent increase of business and population for near twenty-five years, the same characteristics still exist, and it is no unreasonable prediction to remark, that the growth may be even more rapid for the succeeding twenty-five years, than it has been for the last twenty-five. “Westward the star of empire lies.” The Capitol of the Empire State, will undoubtedly, within that period, be removed to the Central City, and there may be many now living, who will witness the inauguration of Governors, and the organization of Legislatures, in the city of Syracuse.