CONDUCTED BY DR. ERL
AUGUST 8, 1930
PRICE OF BOOKLET 25C
Program of Events
9 A. M. Eastern Standard Time
Champlain's Battle Site at Nichols Pond 12 M.
PETERBORO 3 P. M.
Continuation of Tour to Morrisville and Cazenovia
Booklet Compiled by A. I. Tyler
MADISON COUNTY HISTORICAL PILGRIMAGE
After several centuries of triumphant progress in the discovery, exploration, settlement and exploitation of the American continent by the westward moving European emigrants, we have now reached a period where we can pause in the present era of prosperity and look back on the accomplishments of the page; giving in some measure our appreciation to those pioneers as a tribute to the hardships endured and the obstacles they overcame in laying the foundations upon which our republic has been built.In doing this it is fitting that we also give tribute to those first Americans, the Indians, who almost always and certainly in Madison County, gave their co-operation to the white men in making first settlements possible. Dr. Erl Bates of Cornell University, has inaugurated a historical tour to commemorate by visitation many of the points of interest with the County. At first it was hoped to cover all points in one day. Later it was decided that the mileage would be too great for a comfortable one-day tour with sufficient time spent at each point of interest. For this reason the tour will be made in two days instead. The Western portion of the County will be covered in 1930 and the Eastern portion in 1931. Unlike similar tours in the Old World we cannot take you to gaze upon stupendous ruins of departed magnificence in settings of a decadent present. We have no ruins as Greece, Rome or Egypt to exhibit. Madison County, like hundreds of other counties of our country, has spots hallowed by the blood, the sweat, the tears of those brave hearts of other days who have known the joys of success, the uncertainty of cherished projects, and the bitter pangs of defeat, hallowed by those who in passing have left us a heritage to be improved by our present generation for those generations yet to come.
Old Fort On The Bitz Farm
A fitting rallying place for beginning our tour is at the site of a former fort on on the Bitz farm between Kirkville and Bridgeport. Our present generation needs no knowledge of woodcraft in following dim forest trails or winding waterways to locate this spot on an improved road between the villages mentioned and between the junctions of the Butternut and the Black Creeks with the Chittenango Creek. (Look for flag and marker "H. T. No. 1" Set speedometer at zero.) Appropriate exercises will be held at this Canaseraga or Tuscarora form from (9:00 to 10:00 and all cars parked facing north.
It was here on the 23rd of October, 1780 that an American force of about 50 soldiers from Fort Stanwix, led by Capt. Walter Vrooman captured the fort from a guard of British and Indians of the force at that time busy in burning and devastating the upper Mohawk and Schoharie valleys. In 1779 General Sullivan had led a force of Americans through the heart of the Iroquois Confederation, burning their towns and destroying their crops. In retaliation the Indians led by Brant, and the British led by Sir John Johnson came down from Canada and made this spot their base of supplies while raiding eastward. Vrooman's men sunk the boats, burned the stores and threw them in the creek as the did the cannon and thus accomplished their mission. In the meantime the British forces, having been defeated at Klocksfield, returned and captured the Vrooman party. Four Americans were given to the Indians to be tortured and burned and the rest carried as prisoners of war to Canada. It is recorded that after the massacre and burning at the stake of these soldiers a rude turtle was carved on a nearby tree to mark the spot and for over 30 years members of the turtle clan were accustomed to assemble annually to celebrate the event we are now noting on its sesqui-centennial year. As the burned ashes of these patriots were scattered by the winds and covered by the hands of nature, any spot on the environs of this old fort is suitable for being marked a revolutionary soldier's grave.The fort is gone as have its defenders. Mrs. Hammond in her history of Madison County speaks of it as an old French fort. Its identity is shrouded in mystery. It is very likely it was first built by the Tuscarora Indians who had adopted many of the white men's ideas. During the French and Indian War in 1756 Sir William Johnson sent Jacob Vrooman to add a blockhouse, an oak gate of three inch plank with iron hinges and make such repairs to the stockades as the Tuscarora sachems might desire. The blockhouse was made of hewn logs, 20 feet square on the first floor and 23 feet above with a sentry box on the roof. The site of the fort is one of strategic importance to this waterway and may have been the same place where Champlain and the Hurons captured 11 prisoners on their way to attack the Oneida fort. Some confusion in the location of this fort has been caused in the past due to the fact that Chittenango Creek has been known by the names of Canaseraga, Tuscarora, Owahgena and Chittilingo with numerous variations in spelling. Free translations of Chittenango and Owahgena may be given as, "Place in the sunlight" and "Perch place".
H. T. No. 1 (Historical Tour, Place Number One, Bitz Farm) cars are expected to park facing northward towards Bridgeport. At the first call of the bugle at 10 A. M. assemble at the cars for tour. Set speedometer at zero. Start on second call. At speedometer reading of one mile you cross Back Creek, 3.4 enter Bridgeport. Turn right on Route 31. At 8.5 miles turns sharp right at Lakeport and journey southwards across the Vlaie or "fly" lands. 9.8 miles cross Black Creek. Note that much of the former worthless Tuscarora swamp has been turned into valuable muck lands or pasturage by the cutting of the Douglass drainage ditch which enters the Oneida
Lake at Lakeport. 12 miles Chittenango station. Straight through the village, across the N. Y. C. R. R. and the West Shore-third rail tracks.H. T. No. 2, 14 miles, marker and flag calls attention to original Erie-canal of 1825. 14.5 miles, subsequent Erie canal of 1835. In the past two miles we have crossed one of the greatest arteries of commerce in the world as we turn left upon Route 5 at 15 miles. Please proceed slowly until caravan has re-formed in line.
H. T. No. 3. At 15.9 miles we strike the Old Indian Trail and Seneca Turnpike which went westward over the hill to Chittenango. We are also within the boundaries of the old Indian Village of Canaseraga, the capital of the Tuscaroras. These Indians, after a disastrous war with the white settlers in the Carolinas, moved north and settled in Madison County about 1713.
H. T. No. 4. We are now traveling along the trail taken by the detachment of Col. Ganesvoort returning from Sullivan's raid upon the Indians of Central New York. Gen. Sullivan's orders were, "Take particular care that your men do not offer the inhabitants (Tuscaroras and Oneidas) the least insult. Make reparations for any damage done."
In 1790 a settlement was made near this place by ten soldiers and their families. These men had been members of Capt. Vrooman's party in 1780 and liked the land they saw before their capture. They were: Capt. Jacob Seeber, James and Joseph Pickard, Garret and George Van Slycke, John Palsey, John Freemyer, Jacob, David and HonYost Schuyler. (The latter was probably the lad used by Benedict Arnold to cause confusion and dispersal of of St. Ledger's army before Ft. Stanlix by rushing in and shouting that the Americans were coming whose numbers were as the leaves on the trees and have his assertion corroborated by a friendly Oneida warrior a few minutes later.) The Oneidas complained about these squatters on their lands and the Governor sent Sheriff William Colbraith with six armed deputies who burned the cabins of the settlers after removing their household goods. The Oneidas then gave the homeless families new grants of land near Chittenango village and descendants of these soldiers are still living in the county.
19.7 miles, Quality Hill, once the main settlement when Canastota was "The Lonely Pine Tree." 20.5 Canastota. The swamps around Canastota were noted for the excellent basket material the Indians secured here. 21.1 turn right towards Peterboro. 23, Clockville settled by Conrad Clock in 1792. Turn right. 23.2 turn left and ascend the Oxbow. 25, Ingall's Corners, straight through. 25.8, Alene four corners. Turn to right. 26.1 Turn to left.
"Although one of the later organized towns, Fenner has a pioneer history coeval with several of those organized at an early day. More remote than is pioneer records, is an unwritten history of Indian hunters' encampments, and of scouting parties from the warring tribes in their strategic detours to ascertain the strength and movements of the Oneidas. Here vast forests offered them secure retreats, and those elevated heights presented most favorable lookouts over the plains of the Oneida country, (now the towns of Lenox and Sullivan,) above the woodlands, across the marshy lowlands and incipient lakes, and beyond and over the beautiful expanse of Lake Oneida. The curling smoke of the wigwams ascending here and there above the trees of the low country forest, would indicate to the watchful eye of the enemy that the tribe was scattered about in the peaceful avocations of Indian life, hunting, fishing, basket making, or seeking the curiosities with which they manufactured their wampum belts, thus predicting to them a favorable opportunity to descend upon and destroy their villages." ....History of Madison County by Mrs. L. M. Hammond
Champlain Battle Site At Nichols Pond
A special program will be provided here led by Prof. Erl Bates assisted by Onondaga Indians who will give tribal dances,. A picnic dinner will be in order at this spot. As the Indians celebrated many events with the roasting of a white dog, so we may celebrate this tour at this spot in a more humble way by roasting a hot dog.Points of interest to note at this site are: grain pits on east side of the road and north of the Perry homestead, background of Oneida Indian group in State Museum at Albany across the road on west side, Oneida stone west of road and south of brook, Village site west of this point.
A brief description of this battle may be of interest although well known to many of the readers. Early in September 1615 Champlain set out from near Lake Huron with a small force of French musketeers and four or five hundred Huron Iroquois Indians. He had previously sent his lieutenant Brule with a guard of twelve Indians to make his way to the Susquehanna and secure the services of 500 Andastes or Susquehannocks who were willing to fight against the five nations. The trip was made to Lake Ontario and a crossing made near the Thousand Islands. The canoes were hidden near Famine river and the party began a journey inland until they came to Oneida Lake. Skirting its southern shore and turning southward they captured 11 Iroquois engaged in fishing. The next day they came in sight of the fortified village of Oneidas at Nichols pond. This was on October 10, 1615.
The Oneidas were surprised while harvesting their crops of corn, beans and squashes. They were probably saved from complete disaster by the impetuous charge of the advance guard of the Hurons who attacked without waiting for Champlain to come up with the main body of men. The Oneida archers quickly threw themselves between the enemy and their women and children harvesters and held ground until all had retired to safety. They then shut the gats to the village leaving six Hurons wounded and taking a few others inside with their own wounded to provide a later entertainment for the village if it survived the attack.
Champlain left us a rather complete diagram and description of the Oneida Village. It had orderly laid out streets between the bark longhouses. The village was well protected with four rows of log palisades thirty fee high. These interlocked at the tops for greater strength and at a suitable distance from the tops was a gallery for the defenders who were protected by timbers fasted to the upright palisades. At intervals along the walls were piles of stones to supplement the arrows of the archers. One corner of the fort projected into the spring fed pond and provided water to quench fires that might be started. Champlain withdrew his force to the southeast of the village behind a sheltering ridge and drew up a plan for the assault of the fort. This did not differ much from those used by Caesar with the exception that he relied upon fire to reduce the wall rather than a battering ram and must use a mob of excitable warriors in the place of disciplined troops. He began the attack on the l1th by having 200 warriors bring up a movable tower overlooking the walls in which he had stationed some
musketeers to sweep the galleries by their fire. A testudo was provided under which the Hurons could advance to the wall protected, build a fire and then leave it as a protecting roof to shield the flames from water. The walls were cleared by the musket shots but the excitable Indians forgot their well made plans in their efforts to show their personal bravery. The testudo was abandoned. Fire was placed by unprotected warriors to the walls. Others added bundles of fuel. Most of them wasted their efforts by shooting arrows in the wooden walls. Unfortunately the fire was placed on the wrong sides where the wind blew the flames and smoke away from the fort. The Oneidas ran their water gutters through crevices in the walls and extinguished the fires. They kept up such a shower of arrows on the besiegers that they were obliged to retire to safety taking about a score of wounded with them. Among these was Champlain with an arrow in his thigh and another in his knee.
Unable to burn the walls or force the gate, they rested in their camp waiting for the expected reinforcements. On the 16th of October a heavy snow storm began and an orderly retreat back to Lake Ontario was made. On the 18th the force under Brule arrived at this fort but was quickly dispersed by the elated Oneidas. It was three years afterwards before he was able to rejoin Champlain.
Thus at this place history was made. Champlain's dreams of a New France here were shattered. The Iroquois Confederation became the foes of New France and formed, a sturdy barrier behind which the English colonies on the Atlantic seaboard were allowed to develop. The five nations quickly saw the advantage of firearms and soon began exchanging their furs for them with the Dutch traders. They almost annihilated the Hurons and the Susquehanna tribes and absorbed the survivors. They repaid Champlain's unfriendly call with many bloody ones on the more northern territory of New France. Here was started that embryo which later in its development caused this section to be populated with English speaking people; just as a few miles east were sown the seeds whose harvest freed the colored race from bondage.
Home of Peter Smith
At first call of the bugle, assemble at your cars. Second call start for Peterboro. At 27 miles turn left at Mile Strip school. At 27.4 bear to left. At 27.7 turn right on Peterboro road. 28.7 you are passing the Peterboro swamp, once a part of the underground railroad that carried the escaped slaves to freedom under another :flag. At 30.5 is the farm formerly of Gerrit Smith, now owned by his grandson Gerrit Smith Miller.
H. T. No. 6. Note tablet erected by the New York Holstein-Friesian Association to Kriemhild Herd, the first Holstein cattle brought to this county by Gerrit S. Miller. This importation was made in 1869 and consisted of one bull and three cows from whom the greater percentage of the 1,800,000 animals now registered in the Holstein-Friesian herd book have descended. The breed now outnumbers all other dairy breeds combined and produces 70 per cent of all dairy products consumed in northern centers. Mr. Miller stands in the position of having witnessed the whole development of this breed from its beginning down to the present day.
31.1 miles, H. T. No. 7, turn left and park in front of Gerrit Miller Mansion on village green. Exercises will be held at this point at which places of interest in Peterboro will be explained. A tribute is offered to its most famous citizen, Gerrit Smith, who possessed a mind and conscience so clear that he could think a half century or more in advance of the mass consciousness of the nation. Many of the ideals he worked for as a pioneer in thinking have come true and many more have still yet to come. We find him standing at times almost alone amid the storms of angry passions and blind prejudice and championing the causes of: Anti-Slavery, Anti-Saloon, Woman Suffrage, World Peace, Consolidation of Christian Religions, Free Trade, Abolition of Secret Societies from Politics, etc.
Late in the eighteenth century there moved into what is now Madison County a family destined to leave deep and lasting traces in the history of that county, and of the state and nation. The hardy and resourceful leader of this pioneer family was Peter Smith, a descendant of an honorable Dutch family which had settled in New York when that territory was New Netherlands. By dint of hard work, plus careful and thoughtful saving, the Smiths gathered unto themselves some wealth and much reputation, and left as a heritage to Peter Smith a position which indeed was most enviable.
Peter Smith was born at Tappan on the Hudson in 1768, where he seems to have obtained an education which stood him in good stead at a later date. For a time, he seems to have been employed as a clerk in the mercantile house of one Mr. Herring, a prominent business man of New York City. Somewhat later he met John Jacob Astor, with whom Peter Smith entered into a life long friendship, and for a few years as a partner in the fur trade. These activities took Peter into the virgin country west of Albany and in the 1790's we find him living at Fort Schuyler, now Utica. Here he built a general store on the site of what is now Bagg's Hotel. He was the first sheriff of Herkimer County, before the apportionment of Oneida County, and was also the first judge of Madison County. In 1805 he moved his family to Madison County where he purchased a tract of 75,000 acres of land from the Oneida Indians. In the center of this estate he built the Homestead, called the village Peterboro, and the town Smithfield.
For the next twenty years, Peter Smith of Peterboro, as he liked to sign his name, was most active in the buying and selling of land. And although he continued to pursue this trade until his death in 1837, he gradually turned over the greater share of the business to his son Gerrit Smith.
Gerrit Smith, the third child of Peter, was born at Old Fort Schuyler, March 6, 1795. Quite naturally, he became most interested and efficient in the business of his father, and although sent to Hamilton College for a time, Gerrit returned and took upon himself the task of handling a land fortune which on the eve of the Civil War was valued at a million dollars and more. By this time, however, the name of Gerrit Smith was well known throughout the county for far different reasons.
Fortunately for Madison County and the State of New York, Gerrit Smith never allowed his vision to be warped by the millions of acres under his control. Instead, he ever looked upon these holdings as a sacred trust, and that as steward, he should manage the same for the welfare of man. Driven on by this religious philosophy, Gerrit Smith dipped deeply in the great humanitarian efforts of the 1830's and 1840's. For a few years he gave considerable attention to the cause of the American Colonization Society, to which he was a most generous giver. Later, however, he threw himself body and soul into the Abolitionist movement and became counted,
both north and south of the Mason-Dixon line, as one of the outstanding leaders of that organization. His home became the rendezvous for those of like faith and purposes. Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, Horace Greeley, Samuel J. May, John Brown, Salmon P. Chase, William L. Garrison and James G. Birney frequented his home and laid many a plan for the continuation of their ideals and aspirations. Many a runaway slave found the Homestead a convenient station of the Underground railroad. Freesoilers and Liberty men and the like, and in time the Republicans, counted Gerrit Smith of Peterboro as a valued friend and helper.
Fortune smiled, as is well known, upon the efforts of those men who deemed it a violation of a "High Law" to enslave human beings, and none worked harder for this end than Gerrit Smith. His interests, however, did not stop at this. Temperance was ever dear to his heart, and many an ancestor of the Prohibition party and cause gained counsel and aid at Peterboro. Peace activities also attracted the efforts of Gerrit Smith, who from 1837 to 1875 was a vice president of the American Peace Society. Naturally, therefore, William Ladd, William Lloyd Garrison, Edmund Quincy and others who counted war a sin against God and man, visited the Homestead and left weighed down with help and encouragement for this cause. Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and those devoted to the cause of women's rights also were welcome visitors at Peterboro and were urged to greater efforts by the kindness and gifts of the great humanitarian.
By the spring of 1875 it was evident that though the spirit of Gerrit Smith was more active than ever before, his body, weakened by continued toil and service, was at its journey's end. His death, which occurred that year, marked, however, only the passing of a great and good man, but the work and spirit of the Homestead was to be continued by his illustrious grandson, Gerrit Smith Miller, who likewise built his efforts on wise business activities. His devotion to the cattle industry is well known to all, and has won for him well nigh universal recognition and renown. True, however, to the traditions of the Smith family, of which he has ever been so proud, Gerrit Smith Miller has found plenty of time and opportunity to help and assist those whose efforts and purposes were honorable and noteworthy. His deep interest in the George Junior Republic and the priceless gift of his grandfather's correspondence to Syracuse University are but examples of this generosity;
Today, Gerrit Smith Miller, some eighty-five years in age, steps through the halls and rooms of the Homestead which has been the scene of much which is of interest and value to the people of this state and nation. The Homestead, to be sure, is the cherished home of Mr. Miller, but to others who know its history, it is a historical shrine of great value. What better recognition could the Empire State make of the services of these three outstanding citizens–Peter Smith, Gerrit Smith and Gerrit Smith Miller–than to pledge itself to preserve and maintain the Homestead as a State Historical Museum and Park. It is hoped that steps in this direction will be taken, and that the Homestead will continue to remind its visitors of the services made by the original owners to the people of New York and of the nation.
East of the Smith property is the house of Harriet Russel. H. T. No. 8. In 1822 Smith bought and freed the Russell family and gave them this place. For over 108 years it has remained in the hands of the descendants of this colored family.
First bugle call assemble. Second call start to Morrisville. At 31.4 turn night. At 32.6 "H. T. No. 9", is the house where Smith held an important conference with John Brown before he started south for Harper's Ferry raid. At 33.5 leave concrete and go straight through on old road.
H. T. No. 10. Location of old toll-gate. (Photo of old Toll Gate on Swamp Road)
Abram Antone was born in the year 1750. His father was a Stockbridge Indian, his mother the daughter of an Oneida chief. In the year 1776 he took up arms in favor of the Americans. He claimed that he was in three battles and also that at one time he was employed by Gov. Geo. Clinton on a secret mission.
Antone was accused of and later confessed to several murders, one of which was the murder of his own child. History states that liquor was probably the cause of this act. The murder for which he was convicted and executed was that of an Indian named John Jacobs, who furnished the evidence by which Antone's daughter was convicted and later executed.
Authorities tried for a long time to bring about his arrest and finally by trickery he was captured and placed in jail at Morrisville. He was executed Friday, September 12, 1823. When word was spread about of his capture, the whole population, of this region breathed more freely for he was feared as well as hated and when it was decreed that he was to be publicly executed, the people far and near came to witness the execution. Hunters came with their rifles as they feared that the tribes would try to rescue him at the last hour. However, there was no disturbance and Antone went to his death like the stoical warrior that he was.
Smith in his history of Madison and Chenango Counties says that the ferocity of Antone, who is represented as a most wily and ferocious savage, has been greatly exaggerated by tradition and history and that he had many noble traits of character. This trial was the last at which the Indian's rights in a judgment before his own people had to give way to the courts of civilization.
H. T. No. 11. Near this spot Antone was hanged. On the left may be seen the natural amphitheater where the people from all over the region witnessed the execution.
H. T. No. 12. The village of Morrisville was founded in 1796 by Thomas Morris who once resided in a house on this site.
At 36.8 turn left on Cherry Valley Turnpike, thence east turning around the flagpole and cannon at 37.2 to view the New York State School of Agriculture buildings. Continue on west over C. V. Turnpike. The red brick building was the Sheriff's home and the jail. This building replaced an old wooden building which was also used for jail and Sheriff's quarters. In this original jail the Indian Antone was confined. The wooden building was the third Court House to be built on this site. The second burned in 1865 and was replaced in 1866. The yellow brick building was the County Clerk's office. The building now stands on the site where the original County Clerk's office stood. The hangman's weight used in the execution of at least two prisoners in the jail yard may be seen on the walk in front of the old court house. Just below the old county buildings you see the Methodist Episcopal Church which was founded in 1835. The next church was called the First Baptist Church of Eaton and was formed in 1809. The third. church is the Congregational Church and was started in 1805. Morrisville is the home of the oldest existing paper in the county. It was started in
Cazenovia by Rice and Hall in 1821, who removed it to Morrisville in 1822. It was then called the Madison Observer.
H.T. No. 13. Just north of this spot was located the Arsenal of Civil War times.
At 37.9 you are crossing Callahan Brook, the headwaters of the Susquehanna River.
40.7 Buck Woods. Named after John Buck who was murdered in his home here.
43 miles. Tog Hill. Said to be a corruption of Tug Hill" so named because of the disaster to harnesses on the early road over this hill.
44.6 Nelson. Once called Nelson Flat.
47.6 miles. Site of ancient Onondaga Indian village just south of the village reservoir. 48, Cazenovia. Straight through to Lakeland 49.1. Turn left then keeping on U. S. 20.
48.6 Fairchild residence on left. "Lorenzo" Charles Fairchild was Secretary of the Treasury under President Cleveland. 50 miles: Turn left to West Shore R.R. Station for a turn around. On right is Cazenovia lake which in the past has borne the names of Owaggena, Lincklaen Lake, Canaseraga. Around its shores at different places are found sites of former Indian Villages both Iroquois and their predecessors the Algonquins. Two miles westward over the hill is the Onondaga village site known as the Atwell fort and said to be of the Hiawatha period. Returning to village at 51 miles turn left on Sullivan St., then first right on Seminary St., thus passing the front of Cazenovia Seminary.
H. T. No. 14. The eastern portion was the county seat building for Madison County from 1810 to 1817. Cazenovia Seminary opened in 1824 and is one of the best schools of its type.
Turn left on Lincklaen Street and left on Nickerson Street for view of Seminary Campus. Continue straight through to lake road. On right is the village training green of early days and the new Cazenovia Central School. History in the making. The tour is here disbanded.
MULLER HILL SITE: Take road to DeRuyter, turn left on road through Quaker Basin. Straight through avoiding the right turn on improved road (near top of Crumb hill road is an abandoned road leading to site of the Cornell Pottery works where the founder of Cornell University passed his boyhood). Follow left fork on dirt road straight through and up Muller Hill, the road coming out again on an improved road at Georgetown.
CHITTENANGO FALLS PARK: Turn left from Cherry Valley Turnpike at the Hiawatha Trail. At site of old Sash and Blind factory is a place where one road fell down on top of another road following an earthquake a few years ago. East of Bingley is an Iroquois village site on Schmidtka farm, probably the best natural fortification found in Central New York. Indian village sites are found on hillsides northeast and northwest of Chittenango Falls.
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