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



WESTMORELAND was formed from Whitestown, April 10, 1792. A part of Whitestown was annexed March 15, 1798. Verona and a part of Vernon were taken off in 1802. It is an interior town, lying south of the center of the County. Its surface is a rolling upland with a mean elevation of 150 to 250 feet above the Mohawk. The streams are mostly small brooks. Iron ore has been obtained in large quantities for the Westmoreland, Lenox, Onondaga and Paris furnaces. Several quarries of fine building stone have been extensively worked. Grindstones were formerly manufactured from some of these quarries. The soil is chiefly a gravelly and clayey loam, adapted to grain raising and pasturage.

Hampton, (Westmoreland p. o.) in the eastern part, contains three churches, a hotel, six stores, three carriage manufactories, the "Malleable Iron Works," capital $42,000, and about 500 inhabitants. Two mineral springs near this place afford additional attractions to those in search of health or pleasure. There is a Fair Ground with a half-mile track near the village.

Lowell, (p.. v) in the north-west part, contains two churches, a hotel, two stores, a carriage shop, a saw mill and cider mill, and about 100 inhabitants.

Hecla Works, (p. v.) in the south-west part, contains a large establishment for the manufacture of shelf hardware, employing about thirty hands. It contains about 20 dwellings.

Lairdsville, (p. v.) in the south part, contains a church and about 20 houses.

Spencer Settlement, on the north line, and Eureka, about two miles south, are hamlets.

The first settlement was made by James Dean, upon a patent granted to him under an act of May 5, 1786. In the fall of this year Mr. Dean was married, in Connecticut, and removed to this town, the journey being performed on horseback. Silas Phelps, with his family, removed from Berkshire County, Mass., to this town the same fall. In January, 1787; Ephraim. Blackmer and Nehemiah Jones, from the same place, arrived, and in the spring of the same year, Joseph Jones and Joseph Blackmer Jr., arrived, all locating upon Dean's Patent. In 1789, settlers. came in rapidly. John and Nathaniel Townsend, Benjamin Blacknier, John Vaughn, Josiah Stiliman, Nathan Loomis, Joshua Green, Joseph Blackmer, Sr., Amos Smith, John Morse, Daniel Seely, Elijah Smith, Samuel Starr, Alexander Barkman and Stephen Brigham, located in the town. There is a deed on record in the County Clerk's Office, executed by George Washington and George Clinton to the above named Smith and Starr, for 153 acres of land. This was near the present village of Hampton. The hardships and privations of the early settlers of this town were greater than those of the settlers of most other towns of this County. The nearest grist mill was at German Flats, and the scarcity of horses rendered it necessary that the settler should bring the flour for his family on his back. The season of 1787 was unusually cold, and the early frost seriously injured the corn, but it was their main dependence for food. In 1788, Mr. Dean built a saw mill, and the next year a grist mill. The first run of stones for this mill was manufactured by Edward Higbee, from a granite rock found near Samuel Laird's dwelling. Those stones are said to have been nearly equal to the best French burr-stones.

The first marriage in the town was that of Samuel Hubbard, of Clinton, and Mary Blair, March 23, 1790. The first death was that of Oren Jones, March 19, 1788. The first merchant in the town was Abraham VanEps. The first religious society, (Cong.) was organized September 20, 1792. Rev. Joel Bradley was the first settled pastor.

James Dean, the first settler of Westmoreland, was born at Groton, Conn., in August, 1748. He was destined as a missionary, and at the age of twelve years was sent to reside at Oquago, on the Susquehanna, with an Indian missionary, who was laboring with a branch of the Oneida tribe. Here he learned the Oneida language and was adopted by a native female as her son. His knowledge of the Indian tongue was subsequently of great service to him. Under the instruction of this missionary, he fitted for college, and was a member of the first class that graduated at Dartmouth College. His freshman year in that institution was before the completion of a building for the use of the students, and the class used for a study and recitation room, a rude shelter, formed by placing slabs against the trunk of a fallen tree. fle graduated just previous to the commencement of the war of the Revolution. In 1774, the leading citizens of each colony endeavored to ascertain the feelings of all classes of people in reference to the impending contest. Mr. Dean, from his peculiar fitness for the task, was appointed by the Continental Congress to ascertain the feelings of the Indians in New York and Canada. and to ascertain what part they would probably take in the event of a war. In order to disguise the object of his mission as much as possible, he assumed the character of an Indian trader and was furnished with such goods as were carried to the Indian country for the purpose of trade. He was also furnished with letters, invoices and other papers, from a well known house engaged in the Indian trade. He visited the Six Nations in New York and the tribes connected with them in Canada. While in Canada he was arrested as a spy, but his self-possession was equal to the occasion, and by the aid of his papers he was released. In this expedition he first visited Oneida Castle. During the war he was retained in the public service with the rank of Major, as Indian agent and interpreter. He was stationed at Fort Stanwix and Oneida Castle most of the time. Through the influence of Mr. Dean and Rev. Mr. Kirkland, the Oneidas remained neutral through the war. At the close of the war he settled in Westmoreland, as has already been stated, on a tract of laud given him by the Indians, the title to which was subsequently confirmed to him by the State. He had great influence with the Oneidas and was greatly esteemed by them. Notwithstanding this, he came near losing his life by them on one occasion, and was only saved by the interference of the squaw who had adopted him as her son. For a number of years Mr. Dean was one of the Judges of Oneida County, and was twice elected to the State Legislature. He died September 10, 1823, in the seventysixth year of his age. A manuscript account of Indian mythology, written by him, is in the State Library at Albany. The population of Westmorelaud in 1865 was 2,978, and the area 25,514 acres.

There are seventeen school districts, employing sixteen teachers. The number of children of school age is 995; the number enrolled in the schools, 805; the average attendance, 391, and the amount expended for school purposes for the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $4,114.43.


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