Historical Souvenir of Mexico,
Oswego County, NY
Many thanks and appreciation to Esther
Rancier for contributing this information. Esther is researching in
Richland and Mexico the Soul/Soule,Brace
and Daniel P. Smith families, and would appreciate hearing from
anyone researching these surnames.
The famous Miller Spring Lumber Wagon was
patented Sept. 1, 1891, by its inventor, Lewis Miller, of Mexico, N. Y.,
whose name it bears. This wagon, because of its many superior qualities
readily came into favor and use; and it is difficult today to sell any
other wagon in competition with the Miller Spring Wagon. The following
are a few of the many features which make this wagon so popular. It has
four half- coil springs made from the best crucible steel and fully tested
under each bolster, attached to the axle near the arm, also a spring running
lengthwise under each bolster acting as a check-spring. The wagon with
the springs is lower than the common stiff-bolster wagon without springs.
The bearing coming close to the arm and the gearing being under the axle,
makes it one of the easiest drawing wagons known. The claim is made, which
many will verify, that one fourth more can be drawn on a Miller Spring
Wagon with the same power attached. All material in these wagons is carefully
examined and nothing but the best used. All wide rims are riveted each
side of spoke. The stakes are made of maleable iron rendering them very
strong as well as tasty. The wagons are made in sizes ranging from eighteen
hundred to five tons capacity. They have only to be seen to be appreciated
and used. G. B. Cusack, formerly of Clifford, N.Y. came to Mexico in October,
1901, to take the management of the manufacture of these wagons.
Lewis Miller, the founder of the Miller Spring Wagon Works and inventor and designer of that famous wagon, was born Sept. 26, 1830, in Dorf Harste, by Gittengin, the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany. When he was 10 years old, he accompanied his parents to America, landing at Quebec, thence going by steamer to Troy, N.Y. The superintendent at the emigrant office at the latter place, Emory Mathews discovering that the lad was master of both the Dutch and German languages, secured his services as interpreter under indenture until he became of age, made with his parents, agreeing to pay them $_00; whereupon they proceeded to Wisconsin.
At the close of navigation, the same year (1846), Mr. Mathews brought him to Mexico, where he remained in the family of Myron Evarts, Mr. Mathews' brother-in-law, two years attending school winter terms and doing farm work the rest of the year. On Apr. 1, 1848, he was apprenticed to Cyrus Turner, wagon maker for $35 and board the first year. This was doubled the second year. The third year he worked for Nims & Williamson under instructions, his salary this time being again doubled.
On Dec. 7, 1852 he married Harriett Whitney a school mate. He bought the residence of James Law at the corner of Main and Washington streets and lived there fifteen years. Since then he has occupied his present residence which he purchased of the Ames estate. Being of an inquiring and inventive turn of mind, and industrious, he learned all of the branches of the wagon and carriage buusiness and the year after his marriage became a partner of Mr. Nims. Nims & Miller's shop was then in the building now occupied by Herbert Adams.
At the outbreak of the Rebellion Mr. Miller was turning out a large number of wagons of all sorts of which are still in use and in good condition. In 1854 he bought the old academy building, which he moved onto a lot now occupied by Henry Penfield's residence where it was permitted to stand during the winter on trucks. In the spring of 1855 he bought the lot across the street, where the factory building still stands, of Orson Ames, and moved the building on to it, converting it into a factory and securing valuable water power privilege. The original academy was three stories high. Mr. Miller cut off the lower story and built on an addition, giving the whole edifice a uniform height. In making the sale of the academy, the bell in the cupola was forgotten by the trustees, one of whom afterwards called on Mr. Miller and suggested that if he didn't want it (the latter claiming title to it) the trustees did. Mr. Miller returned the bell. In 1878 the great influx of cheap factory work forced down prices and Mr. Miller with a great many wagons on hand, brought his inventiveness to bear on the difficulty, and produced the eight coil spring lumber wagon. He secured the patent in September 1891, and formed a company to manufacture it.
This is the famous Miller Spring Wagon, hundreds of which have been shipped all over the country, which is now being manufactured on a larger scale than ever before by Mr. George Cusack who succeeded the Miller Spring Wagon Company as owner of the plant. Mr. Miller, industrious for one of his years, can be found nearly every day around the works taking a pardonable pride in witnessing the progress of the industry which he created.
SOURCE: "Grips" Historical Souvenir
of Mexico, N.Y.  p. 60- 61.
In 1801 John Morton put up a log house in Mexico. Three years later he erected a saw mill which was also combined with a mill for grinding feed and the pioneers brought corn on their backs from miles around to be ground there. Matthias Whitney & Son bought the mill in 1811 and put in two run of stone. In 1827 it passed into the hands of Dennis Peck who sold out to Wm. Goit and he in turn to David Goit. Almeron C. Thomas in 1864 was followed by his son Amos C. Thomas, who was succeeded by his brother Frederick A. Thomas. The mill was turn down within the past two or three years. The Osborne Mill stands on the site of this old building. Leonard Ames succeeded Morton in running the saw mill.
SOURCE: "Grips" Historical Souvenir
of Mexico, N.Y.  p.37.
2002/2003 Esther Rancier