History of Kirkland, NY
FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
OF Oneida County, N. Y. For 1869.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1862



KIRKLAND, named in honor of Rev. Samuel Kirkland, who came here as a missionary to the Oneida Indians, in 1792, was formed from Paris, April 13, 1827. Marshall was taken off in 1829; a part was annexed to New Hartford in 1834, and a part of Paris was annexed in. 1839. It lies in the interior of the County, south of the center. Its surface is a hilly upland, divided into two general ridges by the valley of Oriskany Creek. The hills are from two hundred to five hundred feet high, and the declivities are generally steep. Oriskany Creek flows north-east through the town near the center. The soil is a rich calcareous loam. Near Clinton village are quarries of good building stone. Iron ore is found and a large amount is shipped by the Chenango Canal to various parts of the country. Great attention is paid to fruit growing, and more is raised in this town than in any other in the County. The greatest interest in the town is derived from its extensive educational institutions, which have given it the appellation of the "Literary Emporium of Oneida County."

Clinton, (p. v.) named in honor of Governor George Clinton, was incorporated April 12, 1843. It is a station on the Utica, Clinton and Binghamton Railroad, and contains six churches, viz., Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Universalist and Roman Catholic; Hamilton College, Houghton Seminary, Cottage Seminary, Clinton Liberal Institute, Rural High School, a newspaper offlce, two hotels and about 1,800 inhabitants.

Hamilton College is located in a beautiful park of fifteen acres, laid out in the modern English method, with trees and shrubs scattered over it, singly and in groups, and with carriage-ways and foot-paths winding through its different parts, giving the visitor a view of the entire surface. The principal college buildings, containing the dormitories of the students, are of stone, three in number and four stories high. They are designated as Dexter Hall or North College, Kirkland Hall or Middle College, Hamilton Hall or South College. They are ninety-eight feet long and forty-nine feet wide. The Chapel is of stone, three stories high, eighty-one feet long and fifty-one feet wide, and contains the Lecture Room and Library. The Observatory consists of a central building with two wings on the east and west side. The central building is twenty-seven feet square, two stories high, and surmounted by a revolving tower twenty feet in diameter. The great Equatorial in the tower, constructed by Spencer & Eaton, is one of the finest instruments in the country.. Charles A. Spencer, Esq., of Canastota, who still continues the manufacture of optical instruments, has no superior as an optician. The Observatory is furnished with clock, transit instrument and other apparatus necessary for a firstclass establishment. Eight of the Asteroids discovered during the last eight years were discovered at the Hamilton College Observatory. A new building for the Library has recently been erected called the "Perry H. Smith Library Hall," in honor of the principal contributor. The building is two stories high above the basement; seventy-five feet long and fifty wide. The alcoves in the Library Room are arranged in three tiers, one above another, and, with the adjacent walls and the Librarian's rooms, will furnish a place for over 60,000 volumes. Over the entrance hail and Librarian's rooms there is an apartment for a Memorial Hall and Art Gallery, to contain tablets and portraits of the Alumni and other students of the College who have served their country; also portraits and other memorials of the founders of the College, its officers and benefactors. The College and Society Libraries at present amount to 12,000 volumes. They have recently received an accession of the valuable library of the late Edward Robinson, D. D., LL. D., which consists of 1,420 volumes and about 100 valuable maps. The law library of the late William Curtis Noyes, numbering about 5,000 volumes, was also bequeathed to the College. The cost of the Library Hall was about $30,000. Besides the buildings already mentioned, there are a Gymnasium, a Chemical Laboratory and Hall of Collections in Natural History, which are large and valuable. The movable property of the College, including Library, Apparatus, &c., is valued at $100,000; the real estate at $150,000, and the productive funds at $153,000. From the report to the Regents we learn that the income of the College for 1867 was $14,451.94, and the expenses for the same time $15,202.98. The Catalogue for 1868 shows eleven Professors and 171 students. The course of study embraces a collegiate and a law department. The course of Instruction in law includes the thorough and careful study of the most approved text books, which are furnished by the Institution and loaned to the student without charge. At the completion of the course the student is entitled to the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and is admitted to practice as an Attorney and Counselor without further examination.

The germ of Hamilton College was Hamilton Oneida Academy, incorporated by the Regents, January 31, 1793, chiefly through the exertions of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland. The next year a commodious building was erected, the corner stone of which was laid with appropriate ceremonies by Baron Steuben; and in the latter part of the same year a school was opened under the charge of Rev. John Niles. Rev. James Murdock was associated with him a part of the time. The Academy was highly successful, and the rapid development of Central New York suggested to its friends the importance of more ample facilities for instruction and an extension of the course of study. After mature deliberation a subscription was opened to endow it as a college, and Stephen Van. Rensselaer, the patroon of Albany, headed the subscription with $1,000, and Govervor Tompkins followed with $500. Others contributed liberally and "Hamilton College" was chartered May 26, 1812, and went into operation soon after under the Presidency of Rev. Azel Bockus. The College was highly prosperous under his administration, but his career of usefulness was brought to a close by death, December 9, 1816. Rev. Henry Davis, D. D., was elected his successor, and for five years prosperity attended his administration. At length dissensions arose between the President and the Trustees, and insubordination among the students which continued for several years, and came near ruining the Institution. So near the verge of dissolution did it come, that in 1829 and 1830 no class graduated. Better counsels at last prevailed, and the Institution gradually grew in favor until now it occupies an honorable position among the colleges of the State and of the Nation.

The Clinton Liberal Institute was founded in 1832; it is under the patronage of the Universalist denominatiop and has a male and a female department. The building for the former is of stone, ninetysix by fifty-two feet, and four stories above the basement, and has accommodations for 100 students. The female department is an elegant structure, 144 by 60 feet, two stories high above the basement.

Home Cottage Seminary is a private institution, established in 1854 as a Ladies' Seminary.

Kirkland (p. v.) is a small village in the northern part, containing a church and about twenty houses.

Clark's Mills, (p. v.) in the extreme north part, contains an Episcopal Church, a cotton factory, a grist mill and about forty houses.

Franklin Iron Works, (p. v.) near the center, contains extensive iron works, a hotel, a store, and between 200 and 300 inhabitants.

The first settlement of this town was commenced in March, 1787, by eight families; Moses Foote and his three sons, Bronson, Luther and. Ira, and his son-in-]aw, Barnabas Pond, were of the number. Levi Shearman, Solomon Hovey, Ludin Blodget, Timothy Tuttle, Samuel Hubbard, Randall Lewis, Cordial Storrs, John B alien and Captain Cassety, were among the early settlers. The first habitations were constructed with crotches and poles, sided and roofed with bark. They were without floors, doors or windows. Mrs. Solomon Hovey was the first woman who moved into the town, and something extra had to be provided for her accommodation. Her husband felled a large hollow tree, and cutting off a piece of suitable length, split and hewed off one side, raised it upon the end, fitted several shelves into it and placed it in his shanty for pantry, cupboard and wardrobe. This settlement was made on the site of the present village of Clinton. Gen. Washington was joint owner with Gov. Clinton of quite a tract of land in this County, now embracing valuable farms. The nearest mill was at Whitestown, seven miles from Clinton, and no road, not even an Indian trail, through a part of the distance. Going to mill was a tedious business as there was . only one horse in the settlement and that was soon stolen by the Indians. In June, 1787, the settlers cleared a road sufficient for the passage of an ox cart, and the next day Samuel Hubbard drove the first team to Whitestown and returned with six bushels of corn. Capt. Cassety built a grist mill the same season. In September it was so far completed as to be ready to commence business. Sam'l Hubbard, Ludin Blodget, Jesse Catlin and Salmon Butler, each shelled a peck of corn and then cast lots to see who should carry the grist to mill. The lot fell upon Mr. Hubbard, who took it upon his shoulders to the mill, where it was ground free of toll, it being the first grist ground. A saw mill was erected the next year.

The first child born in the town was Clinton Foote; the first marriage that of Roger Leveret and Elizabeth Cheseborough, and the first death that of Miss Merah Tuttle, a young lady of 17, drowned in Oriskany Creek. Skenandoah, at Oneida Chief; died in March, 1816, aged 110 years. On Sunday, the 8th of April, 1787, the first religious services were held in the cabin of Capt. Foote. The exercises consisted of prayer by Capt. Foote, singing, and the reading of a sermon by Caleb Merrills.

In the summer of 1787 the settlement suffered greatly for want of food. At length' a supply was procured of Isaac Paris, of Fort Plain, causing great rejoicing in the community; they agreed to pay for this with ginseng the next fall. For many years a stone pillar stood at the corner of the Village Green and College street, Clinton, with the following inscription: "Moses Foote, Esqr., in company with seven other families, commenced the settlement of this Village, March 3d, 1787." On the other side were the words, "Nine miles to Utica." This stone was subsequently taken down and accidentally broken. A new one has recently been erected to commemorate the same event, containing, in addition to the inscription upon the former stone, the names of the seven families. Some of the early settlers of this town were from Brimfield, Mass. Among them were Judah Stebbins, Cutting Earl, Samuel Ellinwood, John Carpenter, Hananniah Ellinwood and Nathan Marsh, with their familie. Several of these started from Brimfield in March, 1790, with ox teams, and on the fourteenth day at evening arrived at Farwell's Tavern, the house opposite the residence of Mr. Crosby, on the Utica road. The late Mr. Reuben Ellinwood, then a lad eleven years of age, walked the whole distance and drove a lot of swine. The snow was two feet deep and there was no track except that made by the cows which were driven ahead. Though advised to remain over night the pioneers decided to go forward. So laborious was the journey that they had only reached the mill stone lodge at midnight. The women and children were suffering intensely with the cold, and the teams being nearly exhausted, it was decided to return on foot to the tavern. The next day they proceeded to their new home. Mr. Ellinwood bad previously made arrangements to have his house in readiness, but for some reason it was not done. Only one-half of the roof was on and both gable ends well open, and no door, floor or chimney had been constructed, leaving the snow as deep inside as out. The snow was shoveled out and a fire made as near the wall as safety would permit; a floor of split logs and hemlock boughs took the place of bedsteads and there they passed the first night in their new home. Many others were prominent during the early settlement of this town, and by their energy and enterprise aided in making the town what it has since become.

Rev. Mr. Taylor, referred to in other places, says of Clinton in 1802: "This people is considered to be the most harmonious, regular and pious of any in the northern part of the State of New York. In this town, or rather parish, is an academy which is in a flourishing state. A Mr. Porter, an excellent character, and a preacher, is preceptor." There were then about sixty scholars in the school, arid some who had been educated there had become preachers. "Piety is very much encouraged in it." "There is in ye town a few Universalists and a small Baptist Church, but not a sufficient number to have any influence."

The population in 1865 was 4,044, and its area 19,759 acres.

The town contains fifteen school districts, employing fifteen teachers. The whole number of children of school age is 1,462; the number attending school, 766; the average attendance, 361, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $4,401.08.


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