History of Lenox, NY

The Old Town of Lenox and Its Subdivisions.

The old town of Lenox was formed from Sullivan March 3, 1809, and at the time of its formation contained 54,500 acres of land. About 5,000 acres were taken off and added to Stockbridge in 1836. In 1896 the old Lenox was divided into three towns, named Lenox, Lincoln and Oneida. This division is fully treated in an earlier chapter and for gazetteer purposes the three new towns will be described as a whole. The old Lenox was bounded on the north by Oneida Lake, east by Oneida Creek, south by Stockbridge, and west by Sullivan. The surface is level in the northern part and moderately hilly in the southern part, which now constitutes the town of Lincoln. The soil in the northern part is allu vium throughout the great swamp in that region, and gravelly and clayey loam in the southern part.

Settlement in Lenox began in 1792, with the arrival of the Kiock family on the site of Clockville. To the same locality came the Snyder, Moot, Forbes, Tuttle, Bruyea, Kilt and Betsinger families at an early day. Early settlers on Quality Hill were Sylvanus Smalley, Dr. Asahel Prior, David Barnard, Aaron Francis, Abiel Fuller, David Barnard, jr., Dea. Ebenezer Cadwell, Isaac Senate, Samuel Louder, Nehemiah Smalley, Selah Hills, Job Lockwood, Nash Mitchell, Ichabod Buell, and a few others, all of whom had located prior to 1802. Other early settlers were Jason Powell, Joseph Phelps, Joseph Bruce, Col. Zebulon Douglass, Reuben Hale, Gen. Ichabod S. Spencer, Col. Thomas W. Phelps, Harvey G. Morse, Edward Lewis, William I. Hopkins, Thomas Spencer, Walter, Hezekiah and Linus Beecher, John Hall, Nathaniel Hall, Everard Van Epps, John and Gift Hills, Martin Vrooman, Willard Cotton, Benjamin Smith, Capt. William Jennings, and others to be mentioned.

The early records of this town were destroyed in the great Canastota fire in 1873, and it is impossible to give proceedings of town meetings. A complete list of the supervisors has been compiled from the records of the county clerk's office and is as follows:

1810, Joseph Palmer; 1811-12, Walter Beecher; 1813, William Hallock; 1814, Asa Dana; 1815-16, William Hallock; 1817, Sylvester Beecher; 1818-19, William Hallock; 1820-22, John Whitman; 1823-27, Pardon Barnard; 1828, John Whitman; 1829, Samuel Hitchcock; 1830, John Whitman; 1831-32, William Hallock; 1833-34, Sylvester Beecher; 1835, Nathan T. Cady; 1836, William Spencer; 1837-39, Giles Whitman; 1840-41, Martin Lamb; 1842, Ambrose Hill; 1843-44, Joshua Duncan; 1845, Charles Stroud; 1846-47, Gideon Raymond; 1848-49, J. N. Whitman; 1850-51, N. S. Cady; 1852-53, Lucius Brooks; 1854, E. R.White; 1855, John Montrose; 1856, Duncan McDougall; 1857, Sanford P. Chapman; 1858, Ralph H. Avery; 1859-60, Duncan McDougall; 186!, R. H. Avery; 1862, D. W. C. Stevens; 1863, Perkins Clark; 1864, J. A. Bennett; 1865, Duncan McDougall; 1866, J. A. Bennett; 1867-69, D. McDougall; 1870, George B. Cady; 1871, George Berry; 1872, G. B. Cady; 1873-74, George Berry; 1875, Fred C. Fiske; 1876, B. F. Chapman; 1877, H. L. Rockwell; 1878-79, Walter E. Northrup; 1880, Loring Munroe; 1881-84, Walter E. Northrup; 1885-87, Fred C. Fiske; 1888, Charles E. Remick; 1889, E. Emmons Coe; 1890, Charles E. Remick; 1891, Fred C. Fiske; 1892-95, Francis Stafford; 1896-97, Francis W. Doolittle.

Canastota.-This is a thriving and active village on the line of the New York Central railroad, and within the boundaries of the new town of Lenox. It was first incorporated in April, 1835, and again reorganized on April 12, 1870, under the general law. The first election was held on the first Tuesday of May, 1835. Among the early merchants of the place were James Graham, who kept a grocery on the canal bank in 1817. Reuben Hawley and his brother John kept a store soon afterward. Frost & Kibbe, the Crouse Brothers, and others followed. Leading merchants of the present are the Farr Brothers, hardware, started in 1879; J. E. Warrick, furniture; H. C. Brown's Sons, general stock; P. T. Weaver, crockery; J. W. Wilson, drugs; C. F. McConnell, drugs, and C. A. Jones, in the same business.

The Canastota National Bank was established in 1856, and went into voluntary liquidation in 1890. The present First National Bank was established in September, 1890, with capital of $50,000. The State Bank of Can astota succeeds the private banking business established by Milton De Lano in 1876.

Within comparatively recent years the village has become an important manufacturing center, the leading establishments being the Canastota Glass Company, organized in 1881; the wheel rake manufactory of Patten & Stafford, brought from Clockville in 1882; the Smith & Ellis Company, makers of desks, book cases, etc.; the Watson Wagon Company; the cider and vinegar works of Harrison & Co.; the Lee Chair Company, and the canning factory of Fred F. Hubbard.

The post-office was established in 1829, with Ichabod S. Spencer, postmaster. The Canastota Herald was started in 1865 and is now conducted by the Bee Publishing Company, in connection with the Bee, with which paper it was consolidated. The Canastota Journal was started as the Canastota News in 1881. It is successfully conducted by P. F. Milmoe. The principal hotels are the Twogood House and the Lewis House.

Canastota has a good fire department, an excellent water supply, and electric light service. The churches of the village are the Baptist, organized about 1819; the Episcopal, organized in 1883; the Reformed Protestant, organized 1833, which became the Presbyterian; a second Baptist church, organized in 1868, and the Catholic society.

Oneida.- This thriving and enterprising village in the new town of the same name, which was set off from the old town of Lenox in 1896, is situated on the Central railroad, in the eastern part of the town. Its early business interests were established as a result of the open ing of the railroad, trade in that vicinity having previous to that time been mainly centered at Oneida Castle and at Durhamville. Sands Higinbotham was one of the most prominent of the early settlers on the village site, where he was a large landowner, as before described. He built the Railroad House and sold lands to settlers on such terms as to attract residents and develop the place. John B. Cole built the first store, which was opened by Amos Story. George Hamilton, Newman Scofield, Stoddard & Lype, Lyman Morse, S. H. Goodwin & Co., Ambrose Hill, and others were among the early merchants in the village.

The post-office was established in 1841, with Erasmus Stone, postmaster, whose successors have been Asa Smith, I. N. Messinger, Ephraim Beck, John Crawford, Watson A. Stone, Walter E. Northrup, John J. Hodge, Richard M. Baker, and again John J. Hodge.

The first resident attorney in the village was Isaac Newton Messinger, who died here in 1895. The first physician was Dr. Earl Loomis. The later and present professional men are noticed in the preceding chapters on the bar and the medical societies.

Until comparatively recent years manufacturing in Oneida was not extensive, but at the present time such important industries as the National Casket Company, the Oneida Iron Works, the Westcott Chuck Company, the Oneida National Chuck Company, the Oneida Silver Ware Manufacturing Company, and many less important establishments contribute materially to the growth and activity of the place. The mercantile interests are also extensive and prosperous, as elsewhere shown.

The Oneida Valley Bank was incorporated in 1851 and in 1865 became the Oneida Valley National Bank, as at present; capital $105,000. The First National Bank of Oneida was incorporated October 1, 1865, with capital of $125,000. It went into liquidation January 1, 1874, and was succeeded by what is now the National State Bank of Oneida, with capital of $60,000. The Farmers and Merchants State Bank was organized June 3, 1892, with capital of $50,000. The Oneida Savings Bank is a very prosperous institution, which was incorporated February 19, 1866. The Central Bank is a private institution which was established in 1870, with William E. Northrup, president.

The first school in Oneida was opened in 1841, and from that small beginning and through much opposition, the present splendid educational system of the village has been developed. There are now a well conducted High school, a Union school district, established in 1882, and adequate buildings for the large attendance of pupils. In the old town of Lenox, previous to the division, there were twenty-four school districts with school houses, and the report of 1895 shows an attendance of 2,700 pupils. The report of 1898 shows attendance in the new Lenox of 910; in Lincoln, 193, and in Oneida 1,498. The value of school buildings and sites in the old town was $63,864; in the new Lenox, according to the report of 1898. the value was $32,588; in Lincoln, $2,850; in Oneida, $34,039.

Oneida village has a sewer system which is now well advanced towards completion, and several of the principal streets are well paved. Gas and electric light is supplied and a street railway runs from the village to near Oneida Castle; this was constructed in 1885. A public water supply was installed in 1883, by private enterprise and the works were purchased by the village in 1895. The efficient fire department has grown from the usual small beginning, and since the establishment of the water works has consisted chiefly of hose companies and adequate equipment, and a hook and ladder company with truck, etc. The principal hotels are the Allen House, which is the same as the old Railroad House, built by Sands Higinbotham many years ago; the Madison House, the Brunswick, and a few smaller houses.

The Oneida Dispatch is a flourishing weekly newspaper, which is the descendent of the Oneida Telegraph, established in 1851. It is now published by the Dispatch Company, with Charles E. Roberts, editor and manager. The Democratic Union is published by Baker & Maxon, and is now one of the best weekly newspapers in the State. It was started in Hamilton in 1856, but was removed in 1863 by W. H. Baker to Oneida. The Oneida Post is published every Saturday, by Hugh Parker. It was founded in 1883 by the Post Publishing Company.

St. John's Episcopal Church was organized in May, 1843, and the present edifice was erected in 1895. The Oneida Presbyterian Church was formed in 1844, and a house of worship was built in 1845; it was superseded by the one now in use. The Baptist Society was organized in 1842 at Oneida Castle, and took up its existence in the village of Oneida in 1848. This present edifice superseded the first one in 1888. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in November, 1850, and soon afterward the first meeting house was erected, which was superseded by the present edifice. St. Joseph's Catholic Church was erected in 1893 and a school building in 1898. St. Patrick's Catholic Church was formed in 1843 and a small meeting house built. The old St. Patrick's church was built in 1851 and the present beautiful edifice in 1888-89. St. Paul's Evangelical Church was organized in 1890 and the meeting house was dedicated in 1891. A Free Methodist Society was formed about 1875.

Clockville. - This is a mere hamlet about two miles south of Canastota, and now in the new town of Lincoln. The post-office was opened many years ago, with Peleg Card postmaster. There was formerly considerable manufacturing and mercantile business here, as before described, but most of it has disappeared. The grist mill was burned in 1896, and an old saw mill, with a cheese box factory and a cider mill in connection are still in operation. There is one hotel kept by Charles Suits, and Frank Clow and John Ritter are merchants.

The Methodist Church at Clockville was organized in 1848 and the present meeting house was erected in 1894. The Baptist Church was organized in 1847 and long ago passed out of existence.

Wampsville is a hamlet and post-office on the Central Railroad in the southeastern part of the town of Lenox. There is at the present time only one store kept by A. A. Loucks. The Wampsville Presbyterian Society was organized in 1828; the first meeting house was built in 1832 and was remodeled in its present condition in 1872.

Other hamlets in the new town of Lenox are Oneida Valley, in the extreme notheastern part, with post-office in which Fred C. Parker is postmaster, and a store and hotel; the Presbyterian Church here was organized in 1847; and Oneida Lake, in the northwestern part of the town.

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