Constantia was formed from
Mexico on the 8th of April, 1808, and at that time included also the towns
of Hastings and West Monroe. Hastings was set off April 20, 1825, and West
Monroe on March 21, 1839, thus reducing this town to it present area of
34,102 acres. It lies in the southeastern corner of Oswego county and is
bounded on the west by West Monroe, on the north by Amboy and Oneida county,
on the east by Oneida county, and on the south by Oneida lake. It was originally
known as Survey township No. 11, or Rotterdam, of Scriba’s patent. The
surface, which inclines generally to the southward, is comparatively level,
except in the northern part, where it is slightly broken into hills and
valleys. The soil is quite sandy, gravelly, and in some places stony, and
along the southern portion is underlaid with the Clinton group of rocks,
in which more or less iron ore exists. In the vicinity of Bernhard’s Bay
and Cleveland extensive beds of glass sand is found, and have been profitably
utilized from an early day.
Dense forests of hemlock and other
timber originally covered the entire town, and for many years furnished
profitable employment to scores of lumbermen. In 1860, when much of the
interior still remained unsettled, there were thirty-four saw mills in
operation, and even down to a later period lumbering continued the chief
industry. In early years large quantities of salt barrels were made, and
sold in Salina. Scriba and Black Creeks and other small streams supplied
excellent waterpower, while the lake afforded valuable transportation facilities.
But the great forests no longer exist. Within a decade or two most of the
mills have disappeared, leaving but two or three now in operation. Those
who had been engaged in the lumber business quickly turned their attention
to more permanent pursuits, and agriculture gradually became paramount
in importance. Productive farms and pleasant homes dotted the clearings,
and grazing, dairying, and hop raising were profitably undertaken. Besides
these, the manufacture of iron and glass was successfully established,
and various other industries were started. In fact considering the prospects
of fifty years ago, no other town in the county has offered so many advantages
or such a variety of natural resources.
Painter Lake, on the line between
Constantia and Amboy, and Kibby’s Lake, in the south part of the town,
are small bodies of water. Near the latter is a steam hoop factory and
saw mill owned by D. G. Ingersoll & Son. George Williams has a saw
mill at Constantia village; another is operated by J. Carter’s Sons, two
and one half miles north; and Washington Dutcher carries on a saw mill
and shingle mill at “Dutcherville.” There are two cheese factories in the
town: One at Constantia conducted by Lewis K. Auringer, and another at
the “Watering Trough,” two and one half miles east.
The designations given on recent
maps and still used in deeds describing land in certain portions of the
town are al follows: Great tract No. 1, lying northwest of the center;
great tract No. 2, occupying the north center; great tract No. 3, situated
in the northeast part; Roosevelt’s tract, comprising the center and extending
to within a short distance of the east boundary; Scriba’s location, occupying
the south part of the town, except the extreme southwest corner, and including
the villages of Constantia, Bernhard’s Bay, and Cleveland; and the disputed
territory, comprising a small strip of land in the central part of the
town between lots 7, 8, 9, and 10 on the east and lots 16, 20, and 24,
on the west.
The history of Constantia is full
of romance and thrilling adventure. Originally the Oneida Indians owned
its territory, which they ceded to the State in 1788, reserving, however,
a tract half a mile square on the shore of Oneida Lake. Of choice
as well as of necessity, this region was the scene of numerous warlike
expeditions and the favorite rendezvous of many camping parties to hunt
and fish. Game was abundant, and the Indians, and subsequently the white
settlers, actively engaged in its capture. The larger animals have disappeared,
yet smaller species, such as the fox, rabbit, partridge, etc., still exist
in limited numbers. For many years fishing and duck hunting have been favorite
To Frenchman’s Island, situated in
this town in Oneida Lake, about four miles southwest from Constantia village,
is attached a romance which will ever remain interesting to resident and
visitor, and to which also is due the credit of being the site of the first
white settlement within the limits of the present town. In 1786 De Vatine
or Desvatines, who claimed to have been a seigneur near Lisle, France,
and who has usually been metamorphosed into Count St. Hilary, came to America
with his newly-wedded wife, “a daughter of the noble house of Clermont.”
After wasting a large portion of his already depleted fortune in traveling
and in business in New York, he became disgusted with civilization and
determined to make his home in the wilderness. Selling the most of their
furniture, but retaining his library and a little silver, the couple with
two children started westward and reached Oneida Lake, then on the great
thoroughfare of travel. This was in the spring or summer of 1791. They
settled on what has ever since been known as Frenchman’s Island, where
Desvatines began a clearing with his own hands. The subsequent experiences
of this man and his family have already been described in an earlier chapter.
Theirs was the second settlement
in Oswego county. Desvatine remained undisturbed until 1793, when an agent
of John and Nicholas Roosevelt informed him that the State had sold the
island with other lands to the Roosevelts and that he must leave it. George
Scriba was then beginning a settlement at what is now Constantia village,
and invited the Frenchman to live there, which offer is said to have been
gladly accepted. It is known, however, that Desvatines was about
this time or soon afterward discovered by Chancellor Livingston, who had
formerly enjoyed the hospitalities of the lady’s family in Paris. He visited
them and spent some time in their rural home, and finally prevailed
upon them to return with him to his mansion upon the Hudson. When Bonaparte
put an end to the reign of terror and restored much of the confiscated
property to the exiles of the Revolution, the family returned to France.
Livingston’s mansion on the Hudson and Robert Fulton’s first steamboat
were named in honor of Madame Desvatine’s family, “Clermont.”
The first settler on the mainland
was a man named Bruce, who built a rude cabin on the site of Constantia
village in 1791 or 1792. He was evidently a squatter and remained but a
short time. In 1792 Francis Adrian Vanderkemp, a distinguished citizen
of Holland, accompanied by Baron De Zeng, a German nobleman, sometimes
called Major De Zeng, and two servants, made an expedition in a canoe into
this region with a view of settlement, and found both Desvatines and Bruce
living in the unbroken wilderness. Monsieur and Madame Desvatines received
them with cordial welcome, and upon learning that the travelers intended
to proceed to Oswego, offered them the use of their safer and more commodious
bateau, which was thankfully accepted. Baron De Zeng was a resident of
Meanwhile, in 1791, John and Nicholas
Roosevelt acquired possession from the State of a large tract of land lying
north of Oneida Lake, which included this town, and on April 7, 1792, sold
their contract to George Frederick William Augustus Scriba, a native of
Holland, then a merchant in New York city, who usually styled himself simply
George Scriba. From him the tract has ever since been known as Scriba’s
Patent. He began a settlement at Rotterdam (now Constantia village)
in the spring of 1793, but did not receive his title until December 12,
1794. His embryo city is thus spoken of in a journal kept by the Frenchmen
sent from Paris in the fall of 1793, by the “Castorland Company,” to examine
the Black River country, and who visited this region on their route:
. . . We then took a view of the
future Rotterdam. It is upon a moderately elevated, sandy plateau, with
a view of the lake and the islands, and at present consists of a saw mill
and three log house, but its location is favorable. Mr. Scriba intends
to open a road from this place to Little Salmon Creek, which is twenty-four
miles by land, and will save more than sixty miles by water as well as
the tedious navigation of the rivers. It is probable that this will become
the route of trade from the lakes, which cannot fail to give it importance,
especially if Little Salmon Creek is navigable, so as to reduce the portage
to six or eight miles, as they assured us could be done. The only trouble
is the landing place, but some piers would remedy this, and timber is plenty.
Mr. Scriba did not settle at Rotterdam
until several years afterward, but carried on his business and conducted
his improvements through agents.
Mr. Vanderkemp, previously mentioned,
was born in Campen, in Overyssel one of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
He came hither in the summer of 1793 from Ulster county, N. Y., where he
had been living. Purchasing 1,000 acres of Mr. Scriba at a point on the
lake which he christened Kempwick, about five miles east of Rotterdam,
he erected some fine buildings which he had framed on the Hudson. There
he settled permanently. It is said that his barn was eighty by ninety feet
in size and correspondingly high. He possessed considerable wealth and
a large number of negro slaves, whom he brought with him, and soon had
a large tract of land cleared and under cultivation. His patent included
a pond, in the northern part, which is still known as Vanderkemp’s Pond.
It was said to contain immense quantities of fish; and Mr. Scriba, becoming
aware of the fact, offered to give Vanderkemp a deed of 500 acres free
of cost if he would relinquish his right and title to a like territory
including this body of water. The offer was accepted. Mr. Vanderkemp removed
to Trenton, Oneida county, probably before 1798.
Two settlers of about 1793 were Major
Solomon Waring and Joshua Lynch. The former located at Constantia village,
where he opened that year the first tavern in the town. It stood on the
site of the present Lakeside House. Major Waring’s son George was born
here April 11, 1796, which was the first white birth on the mainland within
the limits of the present town. In 1794 Scriba laid out his celebrated
road to his other city, “Vera Cruz,” at the mouth of Little Salmon Creek.
By 1795 this region had acquired
considerable reputation and during that year it materially increased in
population. In June Duc François Alexandre Frédéric
de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, the French philantropist and politician
and the founder of “Ecole des Enfants de la Patrie,” visited Rotterdam
in his travels through the United States, and in 1798 wrote his “Voyage
dans les Etats-Unis d’Amérique fait en 1795–97,” in which he speaks
of this place as follows:
Rotterdam is a new establishment
begun eighteen months since, by Mr. Scriba, a wealthy Hollander, and a
merchant, who is the owner of a large tract of land extending from here
to Lake Ontario. He has chosen the mouth of Bruce Creek [now Constantia
Creek] as the site of his principal city, and has begun another at Salmon
River, two miles from Lake Ontario. Bruce Creek is navigable some miles
above Rotterdam, and Mr. Scriba has opened a road from here to his new
city. At present his establishments amount to but little. A dozen poor
log houses, built almost entirely at Mr. Scriba’s expense, constitute all
there is of the city of Rotterdam, so named in honor of the native place
of its founder. The dams for the use of the mill that he has built have
cost much money, and being always poorly built, he has been obliged to
recommence them several times. The grist mill is not yet built, and the
dam appears too feeble for the pressure it will have to sustain. Some work
and considerable money has been expended at the mouth of the creek to make
a landing, but the accommodation is very poor. They estimate that Mr. Scriba
has expended over $8,000 here, and if the work had been well applied it
would be a profitable investment. Mr. Scriba is now building a fine frame
house, in which he intends to place a store. In this he will share
the profits with two associates whom he has as his agents for all these
works. A store is, moreover, in America, the best means for gaining property
rapidly in a new settlement, and he can thus regain the money expended
on his establishment. He will sell, for instance, a quart of brandy for
four shillings and sixpence, or if more for three shillings, flour at sixpence
a pound retail, or ten dollars a barrel, while it only costs him seven.
The profits on other articles are still greater. The land which sold fifteen
months ago at a dollar an acre now brings three dollars, and is not considered
dear at that price. The present settlers of this place came from New England,
and from near Albany. Mr. Scriba’s partners in the store are Hollanders
like himself, and they have a mulatto in charge. This mulatto is also a
doctor and a gardener, and appears to have been well educated; they say
he is a half brother of Mr. Melth, one of the partners. Workmen get in
Rotterdam four shillings a day and board, or six and sixpence when they
board themselves. Boarders pay fourteen shillings per week without liquor.
They paid for bread ninepence a pound, the common price being six. Fresh
meat is eightpence. But notwithstanding the number of workman constantly
employed by Mr. Scriba, provisions are scarce and uncertain, and the price
is always high. This country is also liable to fevers, as is all that through
which we have passed.
The store above mentioned was opened
a year or two later and is said to have contained at one time a stock of
goods valued at $10,000. It was the only establishment of the kind in this
region and consequently an immense business was conducted. The Indians
as well as the whites came here to trade from more than forty miles around.
About 1795 John Meyer located in
or near the village. He was Mr. Scriba’s agent, was appointed a justice
of the peace, and was the first supervisor of Mexico and the first within
Oswego county, being appointed in 1797 by the justices of the county of
Herkimer in default of an election.
John Bernhard, sr., was the first
permanent settler at Bernhard’s Bay, place about four miles east
of Rotterdam which derived its name from him. He was born in Holland October
11, 1754, and married, February 4, 1785, Catherine Vonk, who was also born
there October 28, 1755. The birth of their son John L. occurred in May,
1786. In 1790 the family came to America and located on Staten Island,
whence they removed in 1795 to this town. They arrived late in the fall
and found an old log house at the bay, which had been built in 1793 and
occupied a short time by a Mr. Dayton. For a while they shared the hospitalities
of Mr. Vanderkemp’s rude dwelling, but during the heat of a political dispute
Bernhard declared that he would not live there. Accordingly he moved his
family into the dilapidated log structure, which he attempted to repair,
but without success, and was obliged to return to Vanderkemp’s and pass
the remainder of the winter. In the spring they went back to the bay and
during that season (1796) erected a substantial dwelling and commenced
a clearing. In front of his habitation, about fifty rods out in the lake,
is a little island visible only during low water. It has been claimed that
the Oneida Indians for many years brought hither their squaws who had violated
the Iroquois laws and as a punishment compelled them to swim to the island
and return. Mr. Bernhard died January 11, 1821, and his wife January 9,
1816. John L. Bernhard married, in 1814, Anne B. Bloomfield, who was born
in New Jersey, October 30,1788. They had four sons and four daughters.
He died October 27, 1833; his widow survived until September 1, 1855. Their
son, James M. Bernhard, was born at the bay April 10, 1825, where he still
resides, as does also a brother, John B.
Few settlers had located at Rotterdam
up to 1798. The assessment roll of the town of Mexico for that year contains
the names of John Meyer, Amos Matthews, John and Daniel Bernhard, Henry
Fall, and Major Solomon Waring, besides George Scriba, who was assessed
for the greater part of the town. In 1797 a log school house was erected,
and during the winter of 1797–8 the first school was taught in Constantia.
During the two or three years thereafter extensive improvements were inaugurated
in the village. Many Hollanders were induced by Mr. Scriba to leave their
fatherland and locate here, and the place acquired considerable activity.
Scriba built a five-story grist mill on the bank of Scriba’s Creek, and
to a point about half a mile up that stream caused a canal to be dug, which
he sided with heavy oak timbers. At the head of this channel he erected
a building which he intended for a distillery, but it was never used. He
placed machinery in his mill, but it could not be made to work. Both establishments
were therefore failure. Some years afterward a small addition was made
to the grist mill and a single run of stone placed in operation for grinding
corn. About 1800 Mr. Scriba himself established his residence in Rotterdam
and built the old mansion which is still standing on the north side of
the road just east of the creek, and which is occupied by his remaining
During the succeeding decade settlement
was slow, and in two or three instances was perceptibly checked by events
which will presently appear. John Daffler, who was born in Germany in 1802,
came here with his parents in 1807; he died in January, 1876.
In 1808 the present towns of Constantia,
West Monroe, and Hastings contained a sufficient number of inhabitants
to organize a new town out the original Mexico. Accordingly on April 8,
by an act of the Legislature, this territory was set off under the name
of Constantia, which was given it by George Scriba. The earlier records
of the town are lost and hence it is impossible to give the first officers
In 1811 Mr. Scriba was authorized
to establish a ferry across Oneida Lake, but it failed, like several of
his other enterprises, to produce practical results. The war of 1812 checked
the tide of immigration and materially affected improvements then inaugurated.
In Spafford’s Gazetteer of 1813 the town is described as follows:
Constantia, a post-township of Oneida
county, comprehends three townships, Nos. 10, 11, 13 of Scriba’s patent,
Breda, Delft, and Rotterdam on the surveyor-general’s maps. The population
is at present inconsiderable; from thirty to thirty-five. The land is mostly
low and level, and the soil is represented as good. Some controversies
respecting the title to a part of this town, and its having been represented
unhealthy, have occasioned its slow progress in improvement and population;
but my correspondents say the first obstacle is entirely removed, and the
latter also, having taken its rise from stagnant water, now drained off.
They are a pretty competent number of sites for mills, and a good grist
and saw mill erected at Rotterdam. A very good silicious sand with a small
admixture of clay, suitable for the composition of glass, was accidently
discovered lately at Rotterdam, but it is not yet wrought. Fort Brewerton
was within this town, at the outlet of Oneida Lake. The land is held in
fee, and will probably prove good for grass, and particularly for grazing.
In 1810, the whole population was one hundred and fifty-three, with twenty-six
electors. The post-office was established in 1812.
March 9, 1814, the Constantia Iron
Company was incorporated, but for some reason never commenced operations.
About 1830 this concern was succeeded by the American Iron Company, subsequently
noticed. The cold season of 1816 proved detrimental to rapid settlement,
but immigration from the Eastern States had become popular and the tide
of newcomers soon flowed in more persistently than ever. Many of them were
lumbermen, but not a few engaged in the work of converting the dense wilderness
into fertile fields and comfortable homes. Francis Daniel Caswell, who
is now (December, 1894) the oldest living resident of the town, arrived
here with his parents with an ox team and one horse in December, 1816.
He was the sixth in a family of four sons and four daughter, and was born
in Thompson, Conn., December 8, 1807. His father died aged ninety years,
and his mother at the age of eighty-four. When thirty-two he married Elizabeth
H. Dutton and had four sons. Mr. Caswell resides on the lake shore between
Bernhard’s Bay and Cleveland. Nathan Phillips, a native of Massachusetts,
became a settler in 1818. In 1820 the population numbered 767.
In the foregoing pages we have confined
our narrative to that part of the town along the lake shore west of Vanderkemp’s
location near Bernhard’s Bay, as down to this period no settlement had
been made elsewhere within the territory under consideration. We now come
to the first beginnings of settlement in the southwest corner which the
original settlers often described as a locality of great natural beauty.
In February, 1821, Christopher Martin settled on “great lot No. 131,” in
what is now Cleveland village, being the first white settler within the
present corporate limits. Mr. Martin was born in Weston, Vt., October 1,
1795, and served one year in the war of 1812, receiving a wound at the
battle of Lacole Mills, March 30, 1814. In May, 1817, he married Martha
Johnson and moved to Williamstown, Mass., where he united with the M. E.
church. Coming to Cleveland in 1821 he located where the Catholic parsonage
now stands, and was the first leader of the M. E. class here, serving it
also as steward from 1826 until his death. In 1833 he was licensed to exhort
and in 1839 to preach. In 1841–2 he supervised the erection of the M. E.
church; in 1843 he was ordained deacon and in 1848 elder. He died April
9, 1880. His wife survived until December, 1882. In 1821 Mr. Martin built
a frame house, and during the winter of 1822–3 taught the first school
in the eastern part of the town in an old log dwelling on the Vanderkemp
farm. The first religious services held in the vicinity occurred in his
house in the summer of 1822, the officiating minister being Rev. Mr. Keyes,
a Methodist preacher.
Other settlers in 1821 were Daniel
and Solomon Howard and Isaac Ward, who located in the neighborhood of Cleveland
village. In 1824 Nathan Beebe became a resident, and in that year erected
the first saw mill in the eastern part of the town. In 1824 Horace Hitchcock
also came into that locality.
About 1825 Asher Smith Potter removed
hither with his parents from Oneida county. He was born in Camden, N. Y.,
January 26, 1805. When he was five years old his father moved to Canada,
where the son was educated. When eighteen years old they returned to Oneida
county, whence they came to Cleveland, where the father died aged eighty-one,
and the mother aged eighty-three. Young Potter, after an absence of eighteen
years in New York city and the South, settled permanently in Cleveland
village, where he finally opened a tavern where the Morse building now
stands, and subsequently a store. He held several public positions, and
died in March, 1881, being survived by a widow and four children.
James Cleveland, in honor of whom
the village of Cleveland was named, came here from Peterboro, Conn., in
company with Peter Smith, in 1826, and with Samuel H. Stevens erected in
that year the first regular hotel in the place and also opened the first
store. Mr. Cleveland possessed indomitable enterprise and rare native ability.
In 1827 a post-office was established and Mr. Stevens wanted it named Stevensville.
A compromise was effected, which was ratified by popular vote, which resulted
in designating the office Cleveland and appointing Samuel Highly Stevens
the first postmaster. In this manner the post-office and village acquired
the present name. The tavern just mentioned, subsequently received numerous
repairs and alterations, and became the celebrated Marble House, which
was burned March 25, 1877. About 1840 James and Nehemiah Cleveland built,
four miles north of the village, the first wintergreen distillery in the
town, in the vicinity of which their brother-in-law, Batthias Buck, caught
the first bear known to have been captured in Constantia; the second bear
was shot by Wellington Cleveland, a son of James.
Henry Winn, born in Albany county
May 10, 1801, moved into Constantia in January, 1829, settling on 100 acres
on the Roosevelt tract. In 1852 he removed to Bernhard’s Bay, where his
wife, Mary Powell, died. In 1854 he married Phoebe Green, who died in 1866;
in 1867 he married Mary Miller; Mr. Winn died a short time since.
Among other settlers prior to 1830
were Charles and Samuel F. Dickinson, Ezra Dickinson, and Cornelius D.
In 1830 the American Iron Company,
as previously stated, succeeded the Constantia Iron Company, and commenced
work on a furnace on the west side of Scriba’s Creek a short distance above
the grist mill at Constantia village. The cold-blast furnace had a capacity
of three potash-kettles daily, and the building was 60 by 100 feet in size.
This company consisted of Nathan J. Stiles, John C. Coffin, and others,
and was the means of giving a new impetus to the settlement of the village.
This period also marked great improvements in the development of the town.
The lands were being rapidly settled and industries of all kinds flourished
and increased. In 1834 a second store was opened in the village by Augustus
Marshall. In 1836 the iron business and plant were sold to the Oneida Lake
Furnace Company, which consisted of Moses W. Lester, C. Woodbridge, J.
Tucker, and others. While they were erecting an addition to their stack
in 1839 it fell to the ground and nearly destroyed the building. In 1842
they failed and were succeeded by Newton Dexter, Moses W. Lester, and Hiram
Blanchard, who soon afterward sold the property to a new concern known
as the Constantia Iron Company, of which Hon. Edward B. Judson, now president
of the First National Bank of Syracuse, was the principal stockholder.
They put in a hot-air blast and continued business for several years.
John S. Haight, a Quaker, settled
at Bernhard’s Bay about 1834 and died in November, 1880, aged seventy years.
The next year Ezra Palmer and his parents located in the town; he died
May 10, 1878, at the age of fifty five. Another settler of 1835 was Daniel
W. Ingersoll, who was born of New England parentage in Apulia, N. Y., May
1, 1809, being one of ten children. Educated in the common schools and
Stockbridge (Mass.) Academy, he married in 1831 and four years later moved
to this town. He was prominent in the Congregational, and afterward in
the Presbyterian, denomination and was sent as a delegate to the General
Assembly of the Presbyterian church when the Old and New School General
Assemblies were united. He died May 6, 1881.
Wendell Willis came to the town in
January, 1837, had eleven children, and died here about 1877; his widow’s
death occurred June 1, 1883. Other settlers of this decade were Dr. V.
A. Allen (long a physician of Cleveland), George Dakin, L. Gardanier, S.
R. Harrington, Charles Kathern, Enos P. Turck, Hon. William Foster, and
Cyrus Marble was born in Sherburne,
N. Y., May 7, 1808, and came to Cleveland in 1834. He kept the famous Marble
House for over forty years, making it one of the most widely known and
popular hostelries in the State. He was a prominent and upright citizen,
and served the town as assessor and poormaster and the Plank Road Company
as treasurer. September 25, 1831, he married a Miss Cropsey and had seven
children. He died December 26, 1881.
Charles Kathern was born in Plainfield,
Herkimer county, and settled in Cleveland in 1832. He assumed the management
of the Union Glass Company in 1853. He was a prominent and influential
citizen and died July 7, 1884, aged nearly eighty-two years.
Hon. William Foster was identified
with the village of Cleveland from its infancy until his death in 1893.
He was born in Tenham, County Kent, England, December 27, 1813, and came
to America at the age of sixteen, locating in the town of Vienna, Oneida
county. After spending some time in Richmond, Va., and in the Red River
country, he located in Cleveland as bookkeeper in the tannery. June 5,
1837, he married, at Oswego, Mary, daughter of James Cramp, formerly of
Constantia. He moved to Ottawa, Ill., but about 1840 returned to Cleveland
and settled permanently, entering the employ of James Burke, then owner
of the Eagle tannery. Upon the latter’s death Mr. Foster purchased the
tannery and except a short partnership with Joseph Hallagan was sole proprietor
until about 1870, when he was succeeded in the active management by his
son William H. With Forris Farmer and Charles Kathern he carried on a store
and also the manufacture of glass, being interested in the Union Glass
Company, which was incorporated in 1851. Afterwards Farmer, Kathern, and
Foster became sole owners of these works. Mr. Foster owned large tracts
of land in Vienna and Constantia and was agent for the Roosevelts for the
sale of lands in this vicinity. He was also a large stockholder, a director,
and a prominent organizer of the Midland and other railroads. In politics
he was an active Republican, and in 1871–2 represented this (the 21st)
district in the State Senate. He was the first president of Cleveland village,
in which capacity he served in all four years, and was also supervisor
of the town many terms. Mr. Foster was a representative man of wide and
wholesome influence, of great native ability, and of extensive travel.
He had nine children. His wife died in April, 1883; his death occurred
in August, 1893.
Forris Farmer came to Cleveland in
the thirties and died here. He had ten children. His widow died in April,
1883. He was a merchant here many years and became wealthy.
The most prominent settler of 1840
was Anthony Landgraff, the originator of the glass industry in the town
of Constantia. Born in Germany, where he commenced his trade, he came to
America in 1812, and finally began manufacturing glass for himself in Vernon,
Oneida county. Wood became scarce and in 1840 he settled in Cleveland,
where he built a glass factory, the first in town. He was a man of pronounced
ideas, active and influential in all public and private enterprises, and
inaugurated many radical improvements in the calling which he followed.
In fact he lived in advance of his time, and was more or less ridiculed
for the theories he advocated. But his innovations have since been generally
adopted. He made his own furnaces, pots, etc., used in the manufacture
of glass, and with his four sons, Francis, Harmon, Gustavus, and Charles,
and his son-in-law, George Cowarden, continued the business until 1861,
when the works passed in the hands of William Sanders, who sold in 1863
to Caswell & Getman. In 1876 Mr. Caswell retired, and in 1889 Crawford
Getman sold the property to the United Glass Company. At first Mr. Landgraff
boated his sand from Verona, south of Oneida Lake, but in 1841 discovered
a sandbed upon which his works were located far superior to any he could
obtain elsewhere. This led to the finding of other beds in different parts
of the town and to the permanent establishment of what has until recently
been a very important industry. For many years large quantities of sand
were shipped to other factories in this country and Canada. In the spring
of 1851 the Union Glass Company was organized and incorporated and their
works were erected during that year; they commenced the manufacture of
window glass early in 1852 under the supervision of Charles Hoyt.
Frederick W. Miles settled in the
town about 1841 and died in June, 1876, aged fifty-seven years. He was
supervisor several terms and chairman of the board in 1874. In 1842 James
Carroll, father of Nehemiah, became a resident of Cleveland, where he engaged
in the meat business. With his son he subsequently purchased the grist
mill. He was born in Lenox, Mass., October 9, 1809, and died in December,
1882. Peter Vandenburgh located in Cleveland village about 1846 and died
in August, 1876, aged seventy-one. His son John, who practiced law here
for a time, became a leading criminal lawyer of the State, and at one time
was a partner of Lieutenant Governor Charles T. Saxton in Clyde, where
he died in 1894.
Among other comers prior to 1850
were Abram Todd, I. P. Brown, Eugene Burst, A. L. Dolby, William H. Foster,
John Hall, Carpenter Marsh, S. P. Smith, and William H. Stowell.
In 1846 the town is thus described
in a work entitled “Historical Collections of the State of New York”: “Constantia,
taken from Mexico in 1808; from Albany 140 miles. Population 1,494. Constantia
or Rotterdam, on the Oneida Lake, thirty-six miles east from Oswego, has
about thirty dwellings, Here is one of the most extensive iron foundries
in the State. Cleveland village has about twenty-five dwellings.”
About 1851 Israel J. Titus, Dennis
and Henry Winn, and others erected a glass factory and store at Bernhard’s
Bay, which formed the nucleus of the present hamlet of that name. This
store has always been conducted in connection with the glass works and
is now owned by Potter & Marsden. The factory commenced operations
in 1852 with an outfit of eight pots, which number has since been increased
to ten. In 1863 the plant was sold to Stevens, Crandall & Co.; they
were succeeded by Bennett & Beckley and they in turn by Clark, Hurd
& Co. In 1886 the property passed to Potter & Marsden, and in 1889
to the United Glass Company. In May, 1894, the factory again passed into
the hands of Potter & Marsden, the present owners.
George Harding, born in Wooten-under-Edge,
England, August 6, 1831, came to America with his parents about 1839, and
finally settled in Williamstown in this county. Later he removed to Camden,
learned the trade of harnessmaking, and in 1853 located in Cleveland. In
1857 he married Mary Roney, and had four children. She died November 25,
1877. He was a life-long Democrat and served as supervisor, town clerk,
justice of the peace, postmaster, and trustee of the village, and was one
of the first members and at one time president of the Board of Education.
Joining the M. E. church in 1864 he was long its able class leader, and
for sixteen years was superintendent of the Sunday school. He died November
Dillon Williams, long a prominent
citizen of Cleveland, was born in Colchester, Conn., February 6, 1805,
was graduated from Yale College in 1836 and from the Theological Seminary
in 1839, and was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian church in 1844.
In 1859 he settled in Cleveland and for four years was pastor of the Presbyterian
church. In 1871 he succeeded William E. Hazen as postmaster and held the
office until his death in November, 1879, when he was succeeded by his
daughter Rebecca T. He had six children.
Giles Willard Lane, born in Cobleskill,
N. Y., November 25, 1820, removed with his father to West Monroe in 1837,
but in 1840 settled in Oneida county. In 1860 he located Cleveland, and
with his brother John purchased the old chair factory of Hitchcock &
Son. He served as supervisor in 1861, as collector, as one of the village
trustees, and as justice of the peace from 1864 until his death, April
Prominent among other settlers of
the town may be mentioned Hon. William H. Baker, Edward Crispin, Crawford
Getman, Hon. Julian Carter (who died in 1873), James H. Clark (born in
Ireland in 1809, settled on the Reed tract, and died in May, 1883), Hugh
Smith (born in Scotland in 1804, located on a farm between Bernhard’s Bay
and Cleveland, and died in December, 1882), and Daniel Pettibone (born
in Norfolk, Conn., May 17, 1781, acquired possession of considerable real
estate, and died in February, 1876). Some of these as well as many other
equally worthy of mention are noticed more fully in other pages of this
The growth and development of the
town are best shown in its population at various periods as follows: In
1830, 1,193; 1835, 1987; 1840, 1,494; 1845, 1705; 1850, 2,495; 1855, 3,355;
1860, 3,413; 1865, 3,517; 1870, 3,437; 1875, 3,483; 1880, 3,124; 1890,
Following is a list of the supervisors
of Constantia as far as it is possible to obtain them:
Ephraim Cleveland, 1854; Henry W.
Rhoda, 1855; Albert Morse, 1856–57; Frederick W. Miles, 1858–59; Julian
Carter, 1860; Giles W. Lane, 1861; Samuel P. Smith, 1862; Julian Carter,
1863; Ira P. Brown, 1864; A. Luther Dolby, 1865–66; Henry J. Caswell, 1867;
Clinton Stevens, 1868; Moses Dolby, 1869; Henry A. Baker, 1870; Frederick
W. Miles (in place of Moses Dolby, elected and resigned), 1871–74; George
Harding, 1875–76; Linus P. Marsden, 1877; George Harding, 1878; William
Foster, 1879; William J. Jones, 1880; L. P. Marsden, 1881; Crawford Getman,
1882; L. P. Marsden, 1883; Duane Miles, 1884; Oliver Getman, 1885–88; James
Gallagher, 1889–90; Elden H. Cook, 1891–95.
The town officers for 1894–5 were:
Elden H. Cook, supervisor; Bert R.
Bliss, town clerk; Albert Morse, W. D. Rhines, Henry Morse, and O. W. Harrington,
justices of the peace; Albert A. Yale, George Goodrich, and Ira P. Brown,
assessors; Eugene Dawley, highway commissioner; Richard Lando, collector;
Alfred F. Purdy, 1st district, and John H. Cole, 2d district, overseers
of the poor. There are seventy-three road districts in the town.
Supervisors’ statistics of 1894:
Assessed valuation of real estate, $401,645, equalized, $432,661; personal
property, $11,900; valuation of railroads, 10.33 miles, $86,000; total
equalized valuation of real estate, personal property, railroads, etc.
$444,561; town tax, $4,165.67; county tax, $2,489.54; total tax levy, $7,582.62;
dog tax, $205. The town has three election districts and in November, 1894,
a total of 528 votes was cast.
The first school teacher in town
was Miss Beebe, a sister of the pioneer, Nathan Beebe. Upon being asked
to state her qualifications for the position she replied, “I can repeat
some varses,” whereupon she repeated the familiar hymn: “Teach me the measure
of my days.” She was pronounced qualified and given the school. The first
school house, as previously stated, was a log structure erected in Constantia
village in 1797. Since that year schools have been maintained there with
considerable regularity. The first school in the eastern part of the town,
as already noted, was kept in the winter of 1822–3 by Christopher Martin.
Two or three years later the first school house there was built of logs
on small lot No. 10. The schools of the town have always kept pace with
the advancing methods of education and have been liberally maintained and
The Cleveland Union Free School,
the only incorporated educational institution in Constantia, was organized
in Cleveland village May 18, 1885, with the following Board of Education:
James Gallagher, president; Dr. Foster F. Potter, secretary; George
Harding, Edward Crispin, and G. W. Morenus, all of whom served until 1889.
L. F. Riter has been treasurer since the organization. March 9, 1889, Mr.
Gallagher resigned and George Harding was chosen president and Albert C.
Whitney elected trustee. June 28, 1889, G. W. Morenus became president,
vice Harding resigned; January 7, 1890, he resigned and Mr. Harding was
again elected president. May 4, 1891, Mr. Morenus resigned and George Baker
was chosen trustee to fill the vacancy; at the same time James Gallagher
became trustee in place of Dr. F. F. Potter. March 7, 1892, George Harding
resigned as president and Mr. Gallagher was elected to the position. Other
changes have occurred in the board by which John P. Kime became a member.
The board of Education for 1894–5 consists of:
James Gallagher, R. M. Bernhard,
George Baker, Frederick Kime, and W. G. Babcock. The officers are as follows:
James Gallagher, president, R. M. Bernhard, secretary; L. F. Riter, treasurer;
B. Tracy, collector; W. J. Somers, librarian. The faculty consists of Wesley
J. Somers, principal; Miss Anna Kimbar, assistant, Miss May Breed, intermediate
department; Mabel L. Wart, primary; Miss Mabel Bernhard, assistant. The
course of study is divided into ten grades, and the school has a well selected
library of several hundred volumes.
The town has thirteen school districts
with a school house in each, in which nineteen teachers are employed, and
which were attended in 1892–3 by 604 scholars. The school buildings and
sites are valued at $11,720; the districts have an assessed valuation of
$412,250; public money received from the State in 1892–3, $2,351.71; raised
by local tax, $2,890.09. The districts are locally designated as follows:
Nos. 1 and 5, consolidated, Cleveland; 2, Constantia; 3, Dakin’s Bay; 4,
Painter Lake; 6, Gayville; 7, Shak’s Bush; 8, Constantia Center; 9, Bernhard’s
Bay; 10, Dutcher; 11, Reed Tract; 12, North Constantia; 13, Checkered School
House; 14, Salt Road.
During the war of the Rebellion the
town of Constantia responded promptly to the cause of freedom, sending
over 300 of her sons to the Union army and navy. A number of these received
Constantia Village.—The earlier history
of the village of Constantia, originally known as Rotterdam or New Rotterdam,
has been already narrated in preceding pages of this chapter. Excepting
Frenchman’s Island, it is the oldest settlement in the town, and interesting
also as one of the pioneer places of the county. It is pleasantly situated
on the shore of Oneida Lake at the mouth of Scriba Creek, thirty-four miles
from Oswego, and is a station on the New York, Ontario & Western (Midland)
Railroad. In 1870 it had a population of 487, or about the same as in 1860;
it now has about 250 inhabitants against 355 in 1880. In 1836 the village
was incorporated, but it has long since ceased to exercise its corporate
privileges. Among the merchants who were formerly in trade here were Edward
M. Fitch, who was also captain of a rifle company, continued in business
until about 1845, and removed to Ohio; L. O. Matthews, whose store, as
well as Mr. Fitch’s, was afterward destroyed by fire; Edward B. Judson
& Brother, who traded in a building now owned by Julian Carter’s sons;
Jason Mooar, who died in Watertown, and who kept a store and tavern in
a structure erected by Captain Fuller on the site of the present post-office;
Fitch & Losee, who also owned a saw mill; Lester & Woodbridge;
and Samuel W. Beebe, who died in 1875, and whose brother, George W. Beebe,
is still in business. Captain Fuller at an early day built a schooner which
was “warped” up the Oswego Falls after a smuggling trip to Canada. The
Furnace Company early erected and opened a store now occupied by John Black.
Charles A. Perkins came to Constantia about 1841 and a few years later
engaged in merchandise in a store which he built, and which is now occupied
by George W. Beebe. He was elected member of assembly as a Whig in 1852,
and sheriff of Oswego county in 1857, when he removed to Oswego. He was
collector of the port there from October 1, 1861, to August 1, 1864, when
he returned to Constantia. He was a member of the first company of guards
organized for the defense of Washington in the Civil War, and finally died
I Chicago. Other and later merchants and dealers were Robertson & Brothers,
Moulton Duffler, J. A. Baker (1874), L. Gardner, J. R. Decker, Duane Miles,
and w. G. Talcott & Sons. Robertson & Brothers also owned the tannery,
which was built in 1850, and which became one of the largest concerns of
the kind in the county.
The post office was established as
Rotterdam on January 1, 1798, with John Meyer postmaster. He was succeeded
by John H. J. Wirth on April 1, following, who held the position until
January 23, 1813, when Barnet Dundas was appointed. At the same time the
name was changed to Constantia, which it has ever since borne. The successive
postmasters so far as ascertained have been as follows:
Frederick W. Scriba, appointed May
19, 1823; Edward M. Fitch, January 22, 1838; Henry C. Champlin, May 20,
1842; Jason Mooar, September 21, 1844; Leman Sperry, September 19, 1845;
Albert Scott, November 19, 1845; Julian Carter, September 7, 1847; Timothy
Dakin, February 5, 1850; Sereno Clark, July 28, 1853; Edwin L. Beebe, March
12, 1861; Henry A. Baker, October 13, 1863; James A. Baker, December 19,
1873; Dr. Frederick A. Haville, Ira P. Brown, and Orsemus B. Howard, incumbent.
Ira P. Brown was also an hotel-keeper,
and built the present Lakeside House. Constantia village has in late years
become quite a well known summer resort, largely through the popularity
of Christopher C. King, who became proprietor of this hostelry in 1880
and continued as such until his death in August, 1893, when he was succeeded
by his widow, Mrs. Catherine E. King. Another good hotel is the Welden
House, of which John H. Cole is landlord. The grist mill here was erected
by Julian Carter, passed into the hands of his sons, and is now owned by
Nehemiah M. Carroll. A. A. Beardsley is the present wagon maker.
Cleveland Village.—This is the largest
village in Constantia and is a station on the New York, Ontario & Western
(Midland) Railroad in the southeast corner of the town. It is pleasantly
located on the shore of Oneida Lake, about forty miles from Oswego, and
contains a population of 839, or 115 more than in 1880 and 166 less than
in 1860. Much of its earlier history has already been noted. The village
was incorporated by the Legislature on April 15, 1857, the first officers
being as follows:
President, William Foster; Trustees,
Asher S. Potter, James Carroll, Ebenezer Knibloe, Seth P. Duncan, and Henry
J. Caswell; clerk, Lucian J. Sanders; assessors, Franklin Stevens, James
W. Aspell and Walter D. Sperry; treasurer, Cyrus Marble; constable and
collector, David Hazen.
In 1859 and again on April 9, 1860,
the charter was slightly amended, the last time with respect to the village
officers. The presidents have been as follows:
1857–58, William Foster; 1859, W.
D. Sperry; 1860, William Foster; 1861, Seth P. Duncan; 1862, L. J. Sanders;
1863, Charles Kathern; 1864, Henry J. Caswell; 1865–66, Seth P. Duncan;
1867–68, A. S. Chisholm; 1869–70, Crawford Getman; 1871, William Foster;
1872, Archibald Chisholm; 1873, C. W. Lane; 1874, H. J. Caswell; 1875,
William Foster, jr.; 1876, H. J. Caswell; 1877, George Harding; 1878, Albert
A. Yale (resigned and Edward Sherman elected); 1879, William Foster, jr.;
1880–81, Daniel L. Wilder; 1882, S. P. Duncan; 1883, Oliver Getman; 1884–85,
Daniel L. Wilder; 1886, Oliver Getman; 1887–88, John Kime; 1889, Granville
W. Morenus; 1890–91, Isaac Nickerson; 1892, Crawford Getman; 1893, Charles
W. Morenus; 1894, Dr. William R. Conterman.
The village officers for 1894–95
Dr. W. H. Conterman, president; Israel
Morse, Bradford Tracy, James Burns, Antoine Humez, Dexter Townsend, trustees;
James Gallagher, clerk; Thomas D. Deans, treasurer; Louis F. Riter, James
H. Beebe, John Payne, assessors; Timothy Grow, collector; John Payne, street
commissioner; Albert Morse, police justice.
A regularly organized fire department,
provided for in the charter, is maintained, and in 1890 was equipped with
a chemical hand engine. The first and second engineers are William Wooden
and Edwin P. Sanders, respectively.
One of the early settlers was Samuel
Ward, who became the owner of much of the land within the corporate limits.
He was first the agent in the sale of this real estate for Ingham Townsend.
April 15, 1852, the Western New York Live Stock Insurance Company was incorporated
here, but after transacting a little business it passed out of existence.
Among the merchants who established stores in the village, besides those
previously mentioned, were Joseph A. Turck (just west of the Globe Hotel),
James W. Aspell (in a building now occupied by Edward Foster), A. J. &
J. Morse, Winn & Clough (succeeded by Clayton A. Winn), Caswell &
Getman, Stedman & Hale, Dr. D. F. Whyborn, D. M. Alger, F. J. Allen,
S. P. Duncan & Sons, S. Dunn, N. Gorman, and Ezra Palmer. The post-office
was established in 1827 with Samuel H. Stevens as postmaster. Rebecca T.
Williams succeeded her father in the office, and was herself followed in
December, 1881, by Dr. F. F. Potter. Later W. G. Babcock became the incumbent
and was succeeded by the present postmaster, Albert Morse. Prominent among
the lawyers who have practiced their profession here were Daniel L. Wilder
and Henry Garber. Edward Crispin was also intimately identified with the
growth of the village and for several years was superintendent of the glass
works. The old time tavern keepers have been mentioned. In December, 1878,
James H. Beebe became proprietor of the Globe Hotel, which was formerly
a dwelling. His father, Galusha, was an early settler of the town and died
here March 31, 1884.
The village has suffered from several
fires, notably those of July 21, 1869, which burned the Landgraff glass
works; of July 18, 1876, which consumed the Eagle tannery of William Foster,
entailing a loss of $30,000; of May, 1877, which destroyed the grocery
of Ezra Palmer and the hardware store of M. D. Alger; of March 25, 1877,
which burned the famous Marble House (owned by A. H. Morgan) and the store
and residence of W. H. Foster, the loss being $10,000; of January 11, 1880,
which consumed the Farmer Block and Travis’s meat market, causing a loss
of $7,000; and of December, 1880, which burned the Cleveland Glass Works
and caused a loss of $50,000. These works at that time employed 100 hands.
They were established in 1840, and from 1863 to 1877 were managed by Caswell
& Getman, who were succeeded by Crawford Getman. The Eagle tannery
was rebuilt in 18767 by William Foster and a few years later was permanently
The first newspaper published in
the town was the Lakeside News, which was started at Cleveland village
by Alvaro F. Goodenough in 1871. He soon changed it to the New Era, and
in the spring of 1873 it passed to Charles R. King, the present editor
and proprietor, who changed the name to the Lakeside Press, which it still
bears. It is a twenty-eight column folio, independent in politics with
Populistic tendencies, and ably fills the requirements of a local weekly
paper. Mr. King was born in New York city, August 29, 1847, and has served
as village clerk, trustee, etc.
The first banking business was established
at Constantia by George H. Potter. In 1882 he moved it to Cleveland and
L. P. Marsden became his partner. As Potter & Marsden, and Farmers’
Exchange Bank, they have since conducted the business having branches in
Parish and Dolgeville. Their handsome bank building was erected in 1889–90.
Bernhard’s Bay is a station on the
New York, Ontario & Western (Midland) Railroad and a little hamlet
on the shore of Oneida Lake near the center of the south part of the town.
It is thirty-eight miles from Oswego, and dates its existence from 1850.
About that year Almon Dickinson started a store in a building now the residence
of John B. Bernhard, and remained four or five years. Ever since then a
store has been maintained by the proprietors of the glass works. In 1890
Addison Winn started a second mercantile establishment. Among the postmasters
are recalled the names of Moses Stratton, Elmore R. Crandall, Amos D. Brooks,
Mr. Mary A. Haight, and Frank L. Marsden, incumbent. The place has about
275 inhabitants. It was formerly a village of considerable activity, but
the shutting down of the glass works materially lessened its business.
North Constantia is a postal hamlet
in the northern part of the town. Orris W. Harrington is a merchant there
and was formerly postmaster, being succeeded by the present incumbent,
O. B. Tanner.
Gayville was formerly a place of
considerable manufacturing activity. For several years the large saw mill
of Willard Johnson did a good business. It was destroyed by fire and on
the site Ransom Orton erected a grist mill, which he still runs. William
Sheldon was long the postmaster here; the present incumbent is Ezra Babcock,
who succeeded Rufus Dobson. The place also has a hotel kept by Mr. Hess.
Constantia Center contains a hotel,
of which M. K. Stratton is proprietor, and a post-office with Mrs. Henrietta
Cody as postmistress, who succeeded William C. Empey in that position.
It is a small rural hamlet situated near the center of the town.
Marshville, so named from the Marsh
family who settled there at an early day, is a little settlement two miles
north of Constantia. It formerly contained a saw mill, wintergreen distillery,
etc., all of which have long gone down.
Churches.—Trinity Protestant Episcopal
church of Constantia village was organized as a parish about 1831. In that
year an edifice was erected on a site comprising twenty four acres of land,
which was donated for the purpose, together with the building, by the late
Frederick W. Scriba. It was consecrated by Bishop Onderdonk on September
4, 1833, at which time the officers of the church were Nicholas I. Roosevelt
and Frederick W. Scriba, wardens; George Scriba, Burnet Dundas, John Beebe,
Robert Elliott, Jacob Beebe, and George Scriba, jr., vestrymen. There is
also a cemetery connected with the property. The first rector was
Rev. Timothy Minor; at present the church is without a rector, the last
incumbent being Rev. Mr. Arthur.
The first Presbyterian church of
Constantia village had its inception in a Congregational society that flourished
here several years prior to and after 1835. In 1842 a church edifice was
built under the pastorship of Rev. Archibald Robinson, who remained until
1844. Rev. W. Leonard, who was born in Shrewsbury, Vt., in 1800, and graduated
from Williams College, was sent as a missionary into this region at a very
early day, and it was mainly through his persistent efforts that this church
was built and dedicated. The first Presbyterian society was organized in
October, 1851, with eleven members and succeeded to the property of the
old organization, which some time ere this had disbanded. The first officers
were: Robert McFarland and Daniel W. Ingersoll, deacons; Rollin Blount,
Joseph E. Woodbridge, and Moses Lester, trustees. These and Mrs. Robert
McFarland, Mrs. Robert Blount, Mrs. J. E. Woodbridge, Mrs. Moses Lester,
and Nathan J. Stiles and wife constituted the original membership. The
last survivor of this little band of eleven worshipers was Daniel W. Ingersoll,
who died in May, 1881. The present pastor is Rev. W. I. Coburn. The elders
are James Robertson, Daniel Ingersoll (clerk), and Alvaro Matthews.
In 1846, through the efforts of Elder
and Mrs. John Bedell, a society of Friends was organized at Bernhard’s
Bay with the following members: John P. Dickinson and wife, John A. Hoyt
and wife, Benjamin Bedell and wife, Israel J. Titus and wife, Willard Stratton
and wife, Phebe Bedell, and Patience Hallock. The society ceased to exist
several years ago. Their meeting house was sold to Ezra Dickson and is
now used as a public hall.
The Methodist Episcopal church of
Cleveland was founded by Rev. Christopher Martin, who has been noticed
in preceding pages. Dating from a class soon after 1821 it increased in
membership and spiritual strength until a society was legally organized,
and in 1841–2 a church edifice was erected. The society has about 165 members
under the pastoral charge of Rev. Samuel E. Brown. It also owns a parsonage,
and this with all other church property is valued at $6,500. Under their
care are two Sunday schools with a combined scholarship of about 200.
St. James Protestant Episcopal church
of Cleveland was organized July 22, 1867, with Rev. James Stoddard as rector.
Among subsequent rectors were Rev. R. L. Mattison and Rev. William Long,
of whom the latter died in Oneida, N. Y., in 1882. The present rector is
Rev. G. L. Neide. Among the wardens and vestry of this church have been
William Foster, Charles Kathern, Joseph A. Turck, William H. Foster, Asher
S. Potter, Henry Garber, and others.
The Methodist Episcopal church of
Constantia was organized at a comparatively early day, and in 1868–9 a
house of worship was erected on a lot given for the purpose by Julian Carter.
The structure cost about $5,000 and was dedicated July 20, 1871. The first
pastor was Rev. H. C. Abbott, and the first Board of Trustees consisted
of E. W. Phillips, Chauncey Dunn, and G. J. Prentiss. The present pastor
is Rev. E. B. Topping, who also officiates at Bernhard’s Bay. A Free Union
church was built at the latter place in 1878; later the I. O. G. T. acquired
an interest in the building and gave it the name of Temperance Hall. The
two societies have a combined membership of about fifty and Sunday schools
with 200 officers and pupils. The entire church property, including a parsonage,
is valued at $4,900.
A Presbyterian society formerly existed
at Cleveland village and grew in numbers sufficiently strong to erect a
church edifice. This was accomplished mainly through the labors of Rev.
W. Leonard, who conducted the dedicatory services. He was the grandfather
of Dr. W. H. Conterman, and at the time of his death in 1886 was the oldest
Mason in Oswego county. The society finally disbanded and the property
laid idle for several years. In 1893 a Seventh-Day Advent church was organized
and has since occupied the old building. Services are maintained regularly
on Friday evening and the Sabbath (Saturday).
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church
of Cleveland was for several years prior to 1875 an out-mission from Rome.
In October of that year Bishop McNierney visited the place, confirmed about
170 persons, and consecrated the cemetery. The first pastor was Rev. Patrick
J. Birmingham, under whom an edifice was built. His successors, with the
dates of their appointments, have been Francis D. McGuire, September 29,
1878; James B. Greene, July 9, 1882; John McGlynn, March 1, 1886; and J.
B. Mertens, October 1, 1894.
There is a small Freewill Baptist
church at Constantia Center in which services are quite regularly maintained.
(1)In Indian language, Goienho.
(2)Johnson’s History, p.
(3)French’s N. Y. State Gazetteer,
(4)So named by Mr. Scriba
from his birthplace, Rotterdam, a city and seaport in the province of South
Holland, Netherlands, situated at the junction of the River Rotte with
the Nieuwe Maas or (New Meuse). This village (Constantia) is often designated
by early writers as New Rotterdam.
(5)This house is still standing,
and is known as the “Old Scriba Mansion.” It is occupied by descendants
of the original proprietor.
(6)James Gallagher was born
in Coxsackie, N. Y., January 17, 1855. He was educated at the Assumption
Academy, Utica; read law with D. L. Wilder and H. C. Landgraff in Cleveland;
was admitted to the bar at Rochester in 1879; and the same year began his
present practice in Cleveland village. He has served as town clerk and
supervisor, and has been identified with the Board of Education since its