Atwell's Cazenovia, Past & Present, Chapter II, pages 11-19
Atwell's 1928 Cazenovia,
Past & Present
A Descriptive and Historical
Record of the Village
pages 11 to 19
Daniel H. Weiskotten
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Atwell, Christine O., 1928, Cazenovia, Past & Present,
A Descriptive and Historical Record of the Village. Florida Press,
Inc., Orlando, FL
Some spelling corrections have been made and a few notes to update
or clarify the text are added in square [ ] parentheses. Atwell's
Footnotes and my Comments and Notes follow at the
end of the text.
Founding & Settlement
Industries and Institutions
pages 11 to 19
<:11> When the first settlers
came in there was not a road in the county. There were two principal
routes by which they came, the north and south water rout~the former, the
Hudson and Mohawk rivers; the latter, the Susquehanna; and the most navigable
streams were the most frequented highways for some years after they arrived.
Many, however, compassed the entire distance from the far New England states
on foot, bringing nothing with them but an axe. Those who came with
their families generally came with ox teams drawing sleds, sometimes wood-
shod, or covered wagons, often performing the entire journey in this manner
and frequently driving a few sheep, cattle and other animals before them.
Many, however, resorted to this mode of conveyance only to and from the
termini of the water routes. The winter season was generally selected
as then they could reach points in the wilderness which were inaccessible
to their rude conveyances at other seasons.
Many who came by the northern
route threaded forests unbroken from Whitestown, except by the few scant,
rude clearings made by the Indians. Blazed trees were the forest
guide boards, and by their aid the forests were traversed from one locality
to another. But these human denizens could not prosper in their isolated
settlements; they must needs open communication with each other, and to
this end roads were indispensable and of the first importance. The
pioneers first followed the Indian trails and from these branched off into
routes indicated by marked trees. The earliest authentic representation
of these trails indicates one extending southwest from the Mohawk at about
the locality of Utica, through Oneida to Cazenovia Lake and thence westward
It need not excite our wonder
that in those days people were anxious for better and speedier means of
communication, a better means of getting from and to the new settlements.
As a turnpike road at that day was regarded as furnishing the best possible
facilities for postal and commercial intercourse, turnpike companies were
early formed to afford the desired relief. The turnpike fever was
as virulent in its day as was the plank road fever at a later day.
Our first settlers came
in by the Genesee Turnpike north of us, so our first roads ran north to
connect with it. To unite the inhabitants of the more northern portions
of the county, to make easy their communication with eastern friends, and
to facilitate their market journeyings, the Peterboro turnpike, extending
from Cazenovia, through Peterboro to Vernon, <:12> was laid out in 1804
(Comment). A road was soon built to the older
settlement of Pompey Hill.
Local roads were rapidly
opened in the various towns. The Holland Land Company opened the
following roads at the commencement of the settlement, viz:
The necessities of other towns,
however, required for them a more direct communication with the outer world,
so the "Third Great Western Turnpike" or the more familiar name of "Cherry
Valley Turnpike" was the result of these needs. Col. Lincklaen, who
was the president of the turnpike, was the principal person in causing
it to be built from Cherry Valley to Manlius Square. The turnpike
has proved to be a most important benefit to the country through which
it passes, but was unfortunate for the original stockholders.
1. From Chittenango to Cazenovia.
2. From Cazenovia to Manlius Square.
3. From Cazenovia south to the branch office in Brakel.
4. From Cazenovia through the first and second towns, eastwardly
to go to Utica via Paris, and New Hartford.
5. From Cazenovia to Pompey Hollow.
6. From Cazenovia, on the east side of the lake, to intersect
the Genesee Road near the "Deep Springs."
A coach road, begun in 1799,
from Albany to Cherry Valley, had been completed. The enterprising
prime movers in the grand scheme of constructing a good wagon road from
Cherry Valley to Manlius, through towns and counties of dense forests,
over the most hilly country known outside of veritable mountainous districts,
with no rich towns along the route to bond, or even to aid them by subscription,
formed a company, went courageously into the work, obtained a charter in
1803 and completed the grand enterprise in 1811 at a cost of over $90,000.
Cazenovia men were foremost in the great work, devoting their time and
investing their capital without prospect of full compensation. The
turnpike brought Cazenovia into special notice and placed it on an equal
footing with towns of established reputation further east; no village in
the county had greater consequence and influence than this. All roads,
such as they were, then led to Cazenovia - Cazenovia was on the great highway
to the west; it was in the public eye. It has become a strong trading
center; it had more business, more manufacturing industries and a greater
population than any other village in the county. The selection of
Cazenovia as the county seat in 1810 and its continuance as such during
seven years doubtless also contributed in some degree to the business importance
of the village.
When the Cherry Valley Turnpike
was completed to Manlius where it connected with the Genesee turnpike,
the embargo was raised and everything <:13> thing desirable in facilities
for travel seemed to be accomplished. It was not at that time supposed
that better facilities for travel could ever be provided. A line
of stages was run, "Four Horse Post Coaches" they were called by the Postoffice
Department, and no one was allowed to carry the mails without means for
conveying passengers. When a turnpike had a line of stage coaches
run upon it it seemed that improvement in that direction had found its
utmost limit. But some thought the world was being turned upside
down and that all the wealth of the country would be in the grasp of aristocratic
stage proprietors and the bloated turnpike stockholders, insomuch that
the liberties our fathers "fout" for would be seriously endangered.
Some considered the turnpike a nuisance, as letting an undesirable class
of people into the country, besides opening it to the importation of all
the foreign knickknacks and they had no doubt there had been as much as
a cartload of crockery brought into town. The outlook was appalling.
A stage passenger was considered
to be above the common herd and was charged double price for what he had
at the tavern. Those who used to sit in front of Hickok's tavern
(now Cazenovia House) during intermissions of the meeting Sunday noon saw
Jerry White, who drew the reins over the foaming steed for many a long
year, drive up with prolonged toot of horn and crack of whip. The
landlord would open the door of the coach, let down the steps and assist
the exhausted people, who were sufficiently wealthy to afford a ride in
a stage coach, into the sitting room, the wonder of the gazing crowd of
children of all ages from ten to four-score years. Then might be
seen the obsequious landlord with a salver containing goblets of prepared
beverages to renew the flagging spirits of the aristocratic, but wearied
Meanwhile the "lackeys"
that always hung around the tavern, would bring water for Jerry to water
his team of which he would allow each one a prudent share, rubbing their
noses with it first, adjusting their headstalls, and portions of the harness
that seemed misplaced. Then a boy would bring the Great Western Mail
from the postoffice nearby which he would toss up to Jerry to be deposited
under his seat. When "all ‘board" would ring out in stentorian tones,
the refreshed passengers would resume their seats in the coach, Jerry placing
the four reins properly between his fingers, the long lash of the whip
would crack like a horse pistol, and away with dashing speed would go this
most brilliant equipage, the stage coach. How boys used to crave
and aspire to be elevated to the position of stage driver! Two days
and nights were required to reach Albany, one hundred and thirteen miles
Toll-gates were established
every ten miles, so when the traveler had made the trip from the western
to the eastern terminus and responded to the many money demands of the
toll-gate keepers on the way he had paid <:14> a good round sum for
his passport Yet the old highway was traversed daily by a motley throng
of people and every conceivable type of vehicle common to those days.
Population increased with
wonderful rapidity and the public means of transportation were inadequate
to meet the demands upon them. They were supplemented by private
freight wagons, which carried to Albany the surplus productions of the
farms and returned laden with merchandise. A caravan of teams from
a neighborhood would go in company and assist each other, by doubling teams
up steep hills and through the deep sloughs. These long journeys,
the round trip often occupying two weeks, were thus cheered by mutual aid
and sympathy, and were rather interesting episodes in the routine of early
farm life. At the hospitable inns, which arose by the wayside every
few miles, these hardy and happy teamsters would pass a noon, or night,
as cheerfully as any modern traveler in the pretentious hotels of today.
Besides these farm teams, heavy transportation wagons were run, often drawn
by seven, sometimes nine horses, and carrying a proportionate load.
The wagons were massive, with very broad-tired wheels, to prevent them
from penetrating the road bed. It was no uncommon thing to see long
strings of these farm wagons, laden with produce, approaching some central
and important mart, to the number of fifty or a hundred. In 1804
the settlers sent cattle to Philadelphia in payment for land. A pair
of oxen brought $64 and it cost $5 to send them. Farmers along the
road profited from the pasturage of droves of cattle. It was worth
$2 per hundred to transport goods to Albany.
One of the veteran stage
coach drivers was George Shute of Cazenovia, who drove for over sixty years,
his route being to Manlius and return. The Syracuse stage met him
at Manlius to transfer the mail. His stage coach is in existence
and will doubtless become a part of Henry Ford's collection. A timetable
for the Cazenovia-Syracuse route, dated April 10,1860, reads:
[woodcut of stage and horses running]
Journal Steam Press
April 10, 1860.
H.J. Mowry, Prop'r.
[penciled in at bottom = "Dwight Eggleston and George
[this is reformatted slightly from Atwell's text]
here to see an image of the actual table, still to be found at the Cazenovia
A DAILY STAGE (Sundays excepted)
WILL LEAVE CAZENO-
VIA at 6:30 A.M., for SYRACUSE, passing through the following
places: Oran, Manlius, Fayetteville and Orville. Leaving Manlius
at 8 A.M., and Fayetteville at 8:30 A.M., arriving at Syracuse at
10 A.M., in time for the EXPRESS TRAIN GOING EAST,
RETURNING, will leave Syracuse at
3 P.M., arriving at Manlius
at 5 P.M., and at Cazenovia at 6:30 P.M.
THE STAGE will connect at Manlius
with stage for Delphi, on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
OFFICE. --- Brintnall's Hotel, Syracuse; Fox's Hotel, Manlius;
Jewell's Hotel, Cazenovia.
A new coach was put on the
Syracuse-Cazenovia route in 1864, which <:15> excelled in beauty, convenience
and comfort anything in the stage coach line. The body was hung on
thorough braces, and finished with great elegance. It cost $1,000.
The road to Chittenango was built to give us an outlet to the canals.
In 1866 a stage line was run from Cazenovia to Chittenango Station and
another one to DeRuyter.
Present day motor traffic
demands the best possible roads. The United States Government is
mapping out transcontinental routes. The Cherry valley Turnpike,
formerly a part of route 7 in this state, becomes a section of route 20
of the transcontinental highways. Route 20 starts at Boston, passing
through Massachusetts to Albany, thence along the Cherry Valley Turnpike
to Cazenovia. There on to Auburn, passing south of Buffalo and directly
across country to Chicago. From there the route crosses Nebraska
and passes on to Yellowstone National Park. In passing over the Rocky
Mountains it becomes a part of route 30, eventually following the course
of the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Route 20 is the only
transcontinental route passing through New York State. It was doubtless
the intention at the start to run the Cherry Valley Turnpike over the hill
at the foot of Cazenovia Lake, into Pompey Hollow, over the continuous
hills and into the intervening valleys, that might well discourage even
a more energetic class of men and it would have rendered the road at that
time and for the immediate purpose wanted, nearly worthless. The
work of completing the unimproved stretch from Cazenovia to Auburn was
begun in the Spring of 1927.
The Cherry Valley Turnpike
Association was formed in September, 1926. Its purpose is to exploit
the historic turnpike, to protect and advance the interests of it as the
most attractive motor route between Albany and Syracuse as to distance,
running time, freedom from congested traffic and scenic beauty.
Concrete roads radiate north,
east and south of Cazenovia. During 1926-1927, a concrete road was
built on the Chittenango Falls road from the High Bridge to the village,
the course of the road being changed from the west side of the creek to
the east side, from the bridge to the top of the Falls, through the State
Park. This road affords a much more beautiful view of the Falls than
the old road did. "Hiawatha Trail" has been suggested as an appropriate
name for the new state road. Hiawatha was the father of the first
League of Nations, the Iroquois Confederation of Indian tribes (Comment).
The following interesting
article written by Mrs. Roy D. Armstrong of West Winfield, N.Y., is reproduced
here by permission (Comment):
Look out of the window and listen! Perhaps the old Cherry Valley
Turnpike has a message for you. I'll try to tell its story as it
has seemed to tell it to me.
<:16> "I'm an old, old
trail awinding from Albany to Syracuse, called the Cherry Valley Turnpike.
I like that old word "Turnpike." It means a road on which are toll-gates,
but tho' the last toll-gate has long since been torn from my side, the
old flame still lingers, for which I am glad. I am also known as
Route No. 20. When I was young I was called the Great Western Turnpike
(Comment), but as more roads were built to the west
and perhaps also to distinguish me from my neighbor, the Skaneateles Turnpike,
I was called the 'Cherry Valley' and that is the name I prefer. What
memories that name brings to my mind, the saddest in all my long history.
"November eleventh is now celebrated
as Armistice Day, but to me it has another meaning, for it was the morning
of November 11, 1778 that I saw the Indians and Tories steal down from
the wooded hilts, where they had hidden during the night, and begin their
terrible slaughter. I was only a road and helpless to aid what had
been my most prosperous settlement. How well I remember it!
(Comment) The enemy had learned from a
scout which they had taken, that the officers of the garrison lodged in
private houses outside the fort, as the settlement had thought itself secure.
‘Hark! Hark! Methinks I hear some melancholy moan,
Stealing upon my listening ear,
As though some departing spirit were about
To soar, amid the horrors of a massacre!
Yes, the savage fiend, with glittering knife
And tomahawk, reeking with infant blood,
Stands in awful prospect before my vision.'
"Col. Alden and Lieut. Col.
Stacia, with a small guard, lodged at Mr. Welk's. A Mr. Hamble was
coming on horseback from his house several miles below and when a short
distance from Mr. Wells' house was fired upon and wounded by the Indians.
He rode in great haste to inform Col. Alden of their approach and then
hastened to the fort. The Rangers stopped to examine their fire-locks,
the powder in which had been wet by the rain. The Indians, improving
this opportunity, rushed by. The advance body was composed principally
of Senecas, at that time the wildest and most ferocious of the Six Nations.
"Col. Alden made his escape
from the house and was pursued toward the fort by an Indian who threw his
tomahawk and struck him on the head and then rushed up and scalped him.
Lieut. Col. Stacia was taken prisoner. The guards were all killed
or captured. The Wells family were all killed, leaving one son who
was away at school. A Tory boasted that he killed Mr. Wells while
"Mrs. Dunlop, the minister's
wife, was killed in the doorway of her home, but Rev. Samuel Dunlop and
a daughter were saved by a friendly Mohawk, though Mr. Dunlop died about
a year later as the result of the <:17> shock of that day. Thirty-two
inhabitants, mostly women and children, were killed, and sixteen Continental
Soldiers. Many were taken prisoner and others escaped to come creeping
back a few days later to a desolate scene, as every building in Cherry
Valley had been burned.
"But my memories are not
all sad ones. In 1798, I was considered very popular as there were
twenty four-in-hands each way going over me every day and inns were placed
at my side a mile apart. In my early days, what is now Guilderland,
eight miles from Albany, was known as 'The Glass House' in memory of the
fact that Alexander Hamilton once established there the manufacture of
glass. Here was ‘Sloan's' a famous tavern. In its low barns
was stabling for three hundred horses and the inn could accommodate a like
number of guests, but of not one bath room did it boast. Those were
the days of the ‘Covered Wagon.' How many families have I seen pass
over me on their way to form a new home in the Genesee Valley, or to journey
farther west. They took with them all of their worldly goods and how strange
would look theft oxen drawn vehicles if they were to appear on me today.
"As I see cattle riding
over me in comfortable trucks, I recall the droves of other days and the
tired cattle and their drovers who had walked many weary miles for many
days perhaps. Each night a farmer must be found who would rent a
pasture, but that was not difficult as that was a regular business with
the farmers who lived beside me.
"Droves of sheep there were
also, sometimes a thousand, a slow-moving, compact, bleating mass.
And the flocks of turkeys! Imagine if you can several hundred turkeys
being driven two hundred miles or more to Albany. The driver rode
in front on a horse and from a bag of corn, scattered a frail of kernels,
which the turkeys followed unerringly all day, but as soon as it began
to grow dark all would fly to the nearest trees and no amount of persuasion
could induce them to go a rod farther until morning.
"Many were the loads of
produce that went to Albany. Butter in wooden firkins, bundles of
wool, a little flax and cakes of tallow, while the returning load brought
molasses, codfish, some calico and sometimes a piece of silk for the wedding
gown of the daughter of the household.
"Many were the horseback
riders and often a lady fair rode behind on the horse. But the stage
coaches and their four shining horses were the admiration and excitement
of the day. How fast they traveled eight miles per hour. How little
I thought then that I would see the time when automobiles would rush over
me at sixty miles per hour, but no Pierce Arrow nor Marmon of today causes
the thrill that did the passing of the stage coach in those bygone days.
"Many old roads have outlived
their usefulness, but not so with me as I never was so popular as at the
present time. A score of years ago I feared <:18> that I had seen
my best days; in some places grass was growing in my midst, but with the
coming of the auto all this has changed. Now that an Association
has been formed to do me honor, I can but feel proud and happy and look
with hope toward even better days to come.
"Time has indeed wrought
great changes. I have seen the ox-cart give place to the horse and
carriage and later replaced by the automobile. Inns came and went
and now have sprung up again twenty fold. The hitchingpost has been
taken down to make room for the gasoline tank. The blacksmith shop
has become a garage. And when I think of the ‘Hot Dog' stands I sometimes
wonder what a road may come to.
"The covered wagon belongs
to the past, but the spirit that in it moved westward with the sun, still
finds expression among people, to whom new lands are no longer possible,
in trying to make better the land in which they dwell."
THE OLD TOLL GATE
It stood about two miles
west of Morrisville on the old Cherry Valley turnpike, which was at that
time the only correct route to Cazenovia. Recollections of it date
back to the early forties before the California gold fever had struck the
United States or the railroads or telegraphs had struck the world; and
the dirt roads were the only avenues for climbing about the country.
Just how the old toll house looked and the old toll gate and all of the
surroundings is engraved in memory as distinctly as a photograph and as
indelible as a blot of axle grease on a parr of white duck pantaloons.
Comments and Notes by Daniel
"There is a memory comes from the dim, distant past,
When the world and its people didn't travel as fast
As they do in these days of lightning and steam;
When everything goes on a gallop, it would seem.
Then railroads and telegraphs were unknown in the land,
And people who traveled had to travel by hand.
They jogged and they jolted over rough rocky roads,
On horseback and in wagons made for carrying loads.
Then light running buggies and fast trotting teams,
Were things never dreamed of in our most fanciful dreams.
The lumbering stage coach with its thorough-brace springs,
Was considered the acme of elegant things.
And the long lines of travel to the east and the west;
Went over the dirt roads that were shortest and best.
The old fashioned turnpike was a thoroughfare then,
For long droves of cattle and of migrating men.
And along down the line were stations and gates,
Where travelers paid toll at the advertised rates.
How the old toll house looked to my mind now appears,
And the old man who had tended for a long line of years.
With his broad brimmed felt hat and his old fashioned clothes,
And his massive steel spectacles astride of his nose.
The old man was peculiar, but an honest old soul,
As he stood by his gate post and pulled in the toll.
And each one that came by most certainly knew,
That be must come down with the dust or he couldn't go through.
But the lordly old stage driver made his every day trip,
He was proud of his team, but more proud of his whip.
The gate would fly open when the stage would appear,
He wouldn't stop for the toll for he paid by the year.
And the long droves of cattle, of sheep and of swine,
Couldn't go with a rush, but must march through in a line.
He would not leave the score number to a guess or surmise;
But he counted them all with his spectacled eyes.
When he took in a shilling, or a dollar or a dime,
It went into the cash box for the road every time.
The old man had been there so many long years;
That his habits were fixed as firm as his ears.
When the sunset occurred as it did every day,
One could see him come out in his habitual way,
With his watch in his hand and his almanac by his side,
To observe if his watch or his almanac lied.
And be knew without fail when he looked at the sky,
If the next day would be wet or would it be dry.
He would stand there in the twilight at the close of the day,
And gossip with any travelers that were passing that way.
And if he felt like it he would kindly unfold
All the news in his paper a week or two old.
The old man went to Heaven many long years ago,
And the toll gate went where such thing always go.
And those who travel that road with their hurrying ways,
Have no thought of those tolls of those long ago days."
II Roadways, page 11
The early maps do not show any road or trails leading through Cazenovia.
All pre-settlement (1800) maps clearly show the trail that connects the
Indian Villages, which became the Genesee Road, and is now NY 5.
II Roadways, page 12
The Peterboro, or Oneida, Turnpike, which left the Genesee Road at
Vernon and passed through Peterboro and on to Cazenovia, was chartered
in 1801 and construction was completed by the end of 1803.
II Roadways, page 15
Cazenovia school teacher and Indian relic hunter, Arthur I. Tyler,
was the foremost promoter of the use of the name "Hiawatha Trail" for what
is today NY 13 through the Chittenango Gorge. Tyler mistakenly believed
that this was a part of the route that Hiawatha took while on his heroic
voyage which resulted in the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy.
II Roadways, pages 15 to 18
The source of the text by Mrs. Roy D. Armstrong as published (if it
was published) is not known.
II Roadways, page 16
The turnpike from Albany to Cherry Valley was the "Great Western Turnpike."
The extension from Cherry Valley to Cazenovia and Manlius was built a few
years later and was officially called the "Third Great Western Turnpike"
as it was the third turnpike to stretch westward across the state.
The whole route from Albany to Cazenovia became known as the Cherry Valley
Turnpike. When NY 20 was built as a concrete highway in the 1920s
the name was applied to that much longer route across the state.
II Roadways, pages 16 to 17
Mrs. Armstrong strays away from the history of the Turnpike here -
the turnpike was built nearly a generation after the 1778 "Cherry Valley
massacre". The original "Great Western Turnpike" to Cherry Valley
was opened about 1798. The well traveled route mentioned was probably
not the GWT which ran in the uplands.
Proceed on to Chapter III