A History of Oneonta from its earliest settlement to the
present time by Dudley M. Campbell. Oneonta, NY G. W.
Fairchild & Co. 1906
Transcribed & Contributed by Sandy Goodspeed
Recollections of Harvey BAKER.
AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF "BARN HILL."
Barn Hill, long before the white man beheld the Empire state, or
it had a name and defined location in New Netherland, was occupied
by the Iroquois Indians, and was numbered among their most noted
"Susquehanna possessions." After the province of New York had
been formed it was within that province as a parcel of Albany county.
After the close of the old French war and before the days of the
American Revolution, it was located in Tryon county. After the close
of the war of 1784, the county name was changed to Montgomery,
and in 1788 it was in the town of Otsego in that county. In 1791,
when Otsego county was formed, Barn Hill was in the town of
Unadilla in that new county. The towns of Otego and Suffrage were
formed in 1796, and Barn Hill was then in the southern portion of the
latter town. In 1801 the name Suffrage was changed to Milford, and
in 1817, when the post office was formed and named, it was in the
village of Milfordville, its first officially defined locality. In 1830
town of Oneonta was formed by state legislative enactment and
Barn Hill was then as now near the central southern boundary of the
town and near the middle of the new-formed village of that name.
Its precise location is nearly south of the junction of Main and
Chestnut streets and just on the southerly line of the Albany and
Susquehanna railroad and distant about eighty-two miles westerly
from Albany and sixty-one miles easterly from Binghamton. Barn
Hill was originally an oblong hill of an elevation of about thirty feet
above its surroundings, and in olden times embraced an area of
about three acres of land. Its top was level and it was clear from
trees or even shrubs when first seen by white men, although it was
surrounded with an evergreen forest of large trees, dense in foliage
and of great height.
On its northern, eastern and western sides it was surrounded by
an impassable swamp, and close under its base on the south flowed
the stream known as Silver creek, which furnished the power for the
first mill erected within the limits of the town.
The hill was united to the highlands on the northwest by a ridge
which, passing as a sort of roadway between the two northern and
western swamps, also formed the route for the Indian trail which
came down Main street. The trail passed close under the western
base of Barn Hill, then followed westerly and southerly along the
western bank of Silver creek to where its clear, cold waters joined
The ridge before named passed almost directly where the railroad
line now is, and it was removed, when that work was constructed.
This ridge also formed an easy passage to the top of Barn Hill, both
on foot and with teams, and was for many years a means for ingress
and egress to and from the top of that notable eminence. It received
the name "Barn Hill," from the fact that years ago William ANGEL, a
pioneer citizen of Oneonta, and a carpenter of remarkable skill,
erected a barn upon it.
Previous to that time the eminence was called Indian hill from the
fact that the Six Nations had long been accustomed to occupy it as a
council ground and a lookout.
These traditions are confirmed by the fact that from the top of the
hill can now be seen the site of the Indian orchards and the Indian
village of Wauteghe, just east of the mouth of the Otego creek, and
also the Indian village of Onahricton, located just westerly of the
"Adiguatangue" or Charlotte creek, the exact location of which was
correctly settled by the investigations pursued for its proof by our
townsman, W. E. YAGER.
This level topped hill, ever since settlers began to form a hamlet
in its vicinity, has filled an important niche in the village history.
was a place of athletic sports, quoits, ball plays, wrestling matches
and foot races. It was the place for bonfires and for feats of
marksmanship. It was the first and only place used for the booming
of cannon in announcement of success of all important events. Here
echoed forth the guns fired in honor of the opening of the Erie canal
in 1825, of the passage of the turnpike and railroad charters in our
county and state, of the triumph of free suffrage, of free schools, and
every important public measure of our country's early civil and social
The McDONALDs early became the owners of this memorable
hill, and its nearby surroundings. Some years later William ANGEL,
one of Oneonta's pioneers in public improvements, obtained and for
some years had possessing of this coveted hill, and erected a barn
thereon, known then, as before stated, as Barn Hill, and first as
Indian Hill, it was once called "Barren Hill," as not a tree or shrub
grew thereon. It was but a trifling change of sound from "barren" to
In the decade of 1820 Mr. Angel took down the barn and moved
it to the corner of Mechanic and Main street. The writer has himself
moved some of the old foundation timbers and some of them still
remain. After Sylvester FORD, the father of Eliakim R. FORD,
purchased the place now known as the PETERS place, the barn
was moved on the land of COLLIER & GOODYEAR, near where
Fairview street now stands; and in 1842, by an arrangement with
Collier & Goodyear, this barn came into the possession and
occupancy of Mr. Ford. Later it came from Mr. Goodyear into the
ownership of Mr. PETERS.
The old Indian trail passed down at the western base of the hill,
and to-day (July 23d, 1895), I saw in the excavation for the sewer
the base of one of the piles of stone gathered by the Indians.
Another and larger pile was directly at the southwest corner of the
hill and just east of the northeast corner of the old house which was
torn down by M. N. ELWELL about two years ago. This pile of
stone was removed in 1842 and used in repairing the saw mill dyke,
which then had begun to form a breach. The large yellow willow
now standing near the new mill sprang from one of several branches
driven in at that turn to strengthen the embankment.
To-day (July 27th), the workmen engaged in excavating the
sewer unearthed the bottom of the old mill dam at a depth of nine or
ten feet and a few rods further south the flume and rack, which
conveyed water to the first grist mill erected by the McDONALDs,
were also unearthed. The water power to supply the saw mill, the
clothing works and grist mill first erected by the McDonalds, was
all furnished by Silver creek, and it was several years before any
water was received for such use from the river.
In speaking of the Indian piles of stone it should be mentioned
that it was the custom of the Indians to mark their trails by piles of
small stones, each Indian passing adding one to the pile as they
were journeying past them.
In May, 1841, the old McDonald saw mill was repaired. In
1843 I tore it down and built the one which was a few years ago
removed. The sites of these mills are now buried beneath the earth
of Barn Hill.
This hill and mill property was purchased by Peter COLLIER and
Jared GOODYEAR of James McDONALD in 1829, and from that
date until the present spring the title of most of this property was not
changed, sixty years being a long time for lands in the very heart of
Oneonta to remain unchanged in title or actual possession. From
1842 to 1850 I was half owner of the mill property, but Barn Hill was
not included in the purchase.
I have stated that the booming ground for cannon had been on
Barn Hill for almost an entire century. During these years two
two accidents worthy of notice have occurred in that dangerous
business. On the evening of May 18th, 1842, the young men of
the vicinity met on the booming ground to try a new cannon. Among
them was Roe, the youngest son of James McDONALD. He was
an employe in the office of the "Oneonta Weekly Journal," which was
then published by William J. KNAPP, a son of Roe's half sister. By
some means Roe was struck by the discharge of the cannon and the
flesh of his leg from the knee to the hip was blown or torn off to the
bone. Dr. HAMILTON and Dr. S. H. CASE dressed the limb, and he
was carefully carried to his home, the old McDonald house on the
north corner of Main and River streets. For weeks these physicians
together daily dressed the wound, their care and attentive nursing
bringing Roe slowly but surely from death to life. It was late in
September before the victim was able to move about the room and
yard. During these long warm summer months of suffering Edgar
REYNOLDS (the eldest son of John REYNOLDS, and brother of our
townsman, George REYNOLDS of Grand street), was the constant
attendant and nurse of the suffering boy and no doubt this care
helped its full share toward final convalescence. A better or kinder
man than Edgar Reynolds never lived.
Young McDonald recovered, and for ten years thereafter carried
on his occupation of printer, and finally, on June 22d, 1852, he died
at the home of his mother in Oneonta of consumption. His remains
now rest in the family plot in the Riverside cemetery.
July 4th, 1872, another accident occurred on Barn Hill. It was a
day noted as one of tea gift sales, clambakes, and sport of various
kinds. General S. S. BURNSIDE loaned the state brass cannon to
add its full share to the interest of the day. While Peter R. GREEN
was engaged in ramming a cartridge into the gun the charge
exploded and literally blew the arm from the young man's shoulder.
Great as was the shock, he survived, and still lives and has a fair
promise of still many years of useful life. After this accident the
state called in the gun. The cannon which wounded Roe was never
seen after that memorial May night in 1842. No doubt it rests in one
of the nearby swamps, to which somebody trusted its future safety.
A short time hence Barn Hill, with its traditions, memories,
incidents and accidents, will be numbered among the things of the
past. The march of improvements has decided its fate, but its best
days of usefulness are, no doubt, in the future. Its past is but
history. Its future is opening a term of progress and great
development, fulfilling in part at least the prophecy of the millennial
day when every valley shall be exalted and every hill brought low.
THE ONEONTA MILITIA.
Oneonta's militia record will require but a short chapter. The
first of such record found in the adjutant general's office which
comes near our locality is of the date of 1806. At that date
Mathew CULLY of Milford was made lieutenant colonel in the Sixth
regiment, and Alfred CRAFTS of Otego, now Laurens, was made
captain. The two commissions bear date March 19th, 1806.
The commission of John McDONALD as captain of an infantry
company, which was the first company of militia ever formed in this
town, bears date February 29, 1812. Joseph MUMFORD of Milford
was lieutenant colonel. The company roll of 1928 shows Eliakim R.
FORD its captain, David MARVIN lieutenant and Jacob NEWKIRK
ensign. This roll is under date of September 1st, 1828, and is in
Captain E. R. Ford's handwriting. John M. WATKINS was first
sergeant, William SMITH second sergeant, Leander McDONALD
third sergeant and Clark W. BAKER fourth sergeant. The roll
contains forty-one names of officers and privates. The roll of 1831
shows David MARVIN as captain and John M. WATKINS as ensign.
This roll contains fifty-eight names as attending drill September 4th,
1831. John M. Watkins was commissioned captain of the company
to date from August 25th, 1832. But the commission was signed by
Governor W. L. MARCY and Adjutant-General John A. DIX, the 5th
day of January, 1833. The roll of September 3d, 1832, contains
eighty-eight names, of which sixty-three were present at drill.
Among the list are the names of most of the old citizens of this
region. Jacob MORRELL and Sylvanus SMITH were fifers. Jacob
HILLSINGER and Henry SMITH were drummers. Among the
privates we find the names of John CUTSHAW, Levi TARBOX,
Abram BLEND, Aaron FORD, Joseph and James FERN, Henry
YAGER, David and Daniel SULLIVAN, Frederick BORNT, besides
many other familiar names and old citizens of this vicinity. Joseph
WALLING was first sergeant, John D. YAGER second, Harvey
CARPENTER third, and Peter YAGER fourth. Solomon YAGER was
first corporal, Chauncey M. BREWER second, Oliver McDONALD
third, and David YAGER, jr., the fourth. In 1834 John M. WATKINS
resigned his commission, and was granted an honorable discharge.
This shows sufficiently the standing and position of the militia of
Oneonta at that early date. It also shows that its commanding
officers were at the time receiving their commissions comparatively
young men. John McDONALD was commissioned captain at the
age of 27 years. He was the eldest son of James McDONALD, and
was a man of fine physique, well educated for the times. Mrs. John
M. WATKINS and Mrs. Andrew G. SHAW were his daughters. He
was born in 1825.
John M. WATKINS was born in 1806. He was commissioned
captain a the age of 26 years. His residence was in this town from
his birth until his death, except the few years which he spent in the
Merchants' hotel in Albany. He died April 25th, 1890, in his 84th
The Third Separate company was formed August 5th, 1875, with
Henry G. WOOD as captain. Captain Wood's commission bears the
date of July 26th, 1875. The general order for the organization of
the company was issued August 10th, 1875, Franklin TOWNSEND,
adjutant general. At its organization it had 103 members, including
officers and privates. Its first officers were men who had earned
fame in the great war of the rebellion. Captain Wood was an officer
under Generals CUSTON and SHERIDAN in the cavalry. He was an
able and competent officer, well versed in military tactics, and also
in civil affairs as private citizen. The first lieutenant of the
company was William H. MORRIS, the second was Nathan
HEMSTREET. Simply the names of the first three officers of the
Third Separate company are alone enough to warrant its success.
To such an extent had this company inspired the public
confidence that in 1885, on Thursday, the 18th day of June, the
corner stone of a state armory was laid and the work completed
that year. The public-spirited people of Oneonta, by private
subscription, had the year previous purchased the site for the armory
and conveyed it to the state. The result was the erection and
sustaining of a state armory and drill room and shooting hall, which
are alike an honor to the state and also to the village of Oneonta.
The building occupies a prominent position on the eminence on the
north side of Fairview street, at a point where it is in fair view of
the travel upon the line of the D. & H. railroad as well as from the
public highways approaching the village.
Captain Walter SCOTT was the second commissioned captain of
the Third Separate company. His commission bears the date of
September 28th, 1886. Under the command and able management
of Captain Scott the company lost none of its prestige or high moral
and military standing.
Captain Scott resigned in 1898, when he was commissioned as
Major of the First regiment of the State guard. He was succeeded
by Ursil A. FERGUSON, under whose command the company served
during the Spanish-American war. Captain Ferguson retained the
command until November 22, 1905, when he resigned. During the
absence of the Third Separate, now known as Company G, a
provisional company was organized, which, after the return of
Company G was disbanded. This company was known as the 103d
Separate Company, and Douglas W. MILLER was commander.
THE SITE OF THE BAIRD BLOCK.
Previous to the Revolution, the traditions of the early settlers
name the site of the Baird block as the location of an Indian wigwam.
The old Indian trail passed just south of it, nearly where the center
of Main street now is. Upon this corner and the STANTON block
corner and the lands of Chestnut street, between them was a high
knoll or ridge with a steep bank upon its south and with its north side
flanked by a narrow but almost impassable marsh. The marsh
extended from near the old LINDSAY house on its west end to some
distance above the Stanton block, its northeastern terminus. On the
opposite or south side of the trail, at the foot of the bank,
commenced quite a large swamp, which extended from the old river,
at the hill east of the depot, and included all the flat lands now lying
south of Main street and north of the mill race. The creek, now
known as Silver creek, then wound its meandering course through
the swamp, and found its discharge in the river at the same place
and in the same channel as now does the waste water from the
mill pond and the flow from the upper Main street sewer.
At what date the original forest was cleared from this lot,
tells not. There early stood upon the site an old log house, and the
stumps of the former forest had then wholly disappeared. This old
house was occupied by the parents of the late David MORRELL of
Dietz street. He was born in that old log house April 15th, 1806, and
there spent the early years of his boyhood life. These facts were
related by Mr. Morrell himself.
As the swamp above named occupied all the space between this
ridge of land and the river, of course the first road of the white man
must have taken the line of the former Indian trail. Such is almost
conclusive evidence that this land was cleared and occupied
previous to the Revolution, as we know Oneonta had many
occupants previous to that war. That the house was old and
dilapidated at the time of Mr. Morrell's birth is evidenced by the
further fact that it was torn down and others erected on the site
previous to 1815. About that date a small frame house was erected
on each front or Main street corner of the lot. The one on its
southwest corner was afterwards occupied by David FAIRCHILD,
the father of Mrs. DeWitt FORD, and the one on the opposite or
southwest corner by William KNAPP.
The next building erected on the site of the block was a story and
half house built by a firm known as SMITH & COUSE. Business
complications broke up this firm, and the property passed into the
possession of William ANGELL. That building formed the oldest
portion of the hotel. It was a very good building for those days.
Edmund MEIGS, about 1833, purchased the house and lot of Mr.
Angell and took immediate possession of it. He also purchased a
farm of him which embraced most of the lands in the northwestern
part of the third ward of the village. These farm lands were
afterwards owned by Enoch COPLEY and later by Solon
HUNTINGTON. Mrs. Dr. S. H. CASE was a daughter of Mr. MEIGS,
and her marriage was solemnized in the southwest front room of
that house, it then being the front parlor. The ceremony was
performed August 20th, 1834. Later another daughter of Mr. Meigs
was married in the same room.
After a few years the property passed again into the possession
of William ANGELL and from him to Elijah KING, and later to the
possession of Roderick J. and Carlton EMMONS. They opened and
kept the first hotel upon the premises. This was about the middle of
the dark decade of 1830. They kept it as a public house a year or
two, and were followed by a man by the name of GRISWOLD, who
also kept a public house. Its next occupant was Elihu BROWN. He
moved into it about 1837 or 1838. He continued the hotel business
until the spring of 1841 when it passed into the hands of Alfred
POTTER. Its name had now become the "Otsego House," and the
hotel was advertised under that name in the Oneonta Weekly
Journal, the first paper published in Oneonta.
In 1841 it started again under the firm name of FISH & GREEN.
James GREEN was a son-in-law of the late William RICHARDSON.
They soon commenced making arrangements for its enlargement,
and the following year, 1843, another story was added to its height,
it was enlarged, and a piazza added to its Main street front. They
soon dissolved and James Green alone for a year or so carried on
the business, when he failed and went west.
After this John M. WATKINS was its landlord for a year or two,
and he was followed by Silas SULLIVAN. Then about 1850, came
N. & S. M. BALLARD, who were followed by a Mr. WHITE about
1856. Then came PLACE & HUNTINGTON. They were succeeded
in 1865 by PLACE & MORRIS. Then came John TICE. Some time
during the decade of 1860 the name Otsego House was changed to
Susquehanna House. Next it was kept by BALLARD & BOWEN.
They dissolved and were succeeded by S. M. BALLARD, who
continued for a while and was followed by W. M. POTTER. His
successor was O. M. HUGHSTON. After Hughston came S. M.
BALLARD again, after whose death came STANTON & CAMP.
They dissolved and were succeeded by L. A. STANTON, and it
finally closed in 1892 with MARSHALL & ODEKIRK. The number,
counting two landlords while run by firms, is 27 in about 57 years.
But counting the landlords as single individuals, the number would be
nineteen, making an average continuance of about three years each
on the business.
SUPERVISORS OF ONEONTA.
In 1807-8 James WESTCOTT was supervisor of Otego, of
Oneonta was a part. In 1809-13, Ezra ADAMS was supervisor. In
1814 John MOORE was supervisor. In 1815, John DIETZ. In
1816-17, John MOORE. In 1818, John BADGER. In 1919-24,
Peter COLLIER was supervisor. In 1825-26, Jacob DIETZ was
supervisor. From 1827 to 1830, inclusive, Peter COLLIER was
In 1830, April 17th, the town of Oneonta was formed, taking
therefore a portion of each of the towns of Milford, Otego,
Huntsville and Davenport, and the year following it commenced
electing its own town officers. The following is list of supervisors
the order of their election and terms of service:
1830-3, William RICHARDSON; 1834-5, William ANGELL;
1836-8, Samuel BETTS, jr.; 1838-9, William ANGELL; 1840, Samuel
H. CASE; 1841, William W. SNOW; 1842, Timothy SABIN; 1843,
Carleton EMMONS; 1844-6, Eliakim R. FORD; 1847, Enos S.
BROWN; 1848, John M. WATKINS; 1849, Carleton EMMONS;
1850, Jonathan BREWER; 1851, Luman S. OSBORN; 1852-3,
Carleton EMMONS; 1854, James F. DEAN; 1855, David J. YAGER;
1856-7, Samuel H. CASE; 1858, Harvey BAKER; 1859, Silas
SULLIVAN; 1860, Hosea A. HAMILTON; 1861, John COPE, jr.;
1862-3, Stephen PARISH; 1964-72, John COPE, jr.; 1873-4, William
W. SNOW; 1875, George SCRAMLING; 1876-7, William H.
MORRIS; 1878, Walter L. BROWN; 1879-80, Henry G. WOOD;
1881, J. R. L. WALLING; 1882-8, Walter L. BROWN; 1889,
DeForest WILBER; 1890-9, Henry BULL; 1899-03, M. C.
HEMSTREET; 1903---, Charles SMITH.
ONEONTA VILLAGE INCORPORATION.
The first corporation of the village of Oneonta was obtained in
1848. Application was made at the June term of the court of
sessions of Otsego county, "in the matter of the incorporation of
Oneonta village, in the town of Oneonta, county of Otsego, in which,
upon the petition of Samuel J. COOK, Worthington WRIGHT, Collis
P. HUNTINGTON, Samuel H. CASE and others, on reading and
filing a surety, census, notice of application, etc., * * * on the
of Horace LATHROP, James R. ANGELL, and H. G. HARDING,
dated August 15th, the county judge James HYDE" ordered that an
election be held and a vote taken for or against such incorporation.
The order named the 14th day of October for such vote, and the
hotel of John M. WATKINS as the place of holding such an election.
Such vote was taken and the certificate of the inspectors of such
election, who were John McCRANY and E. C. HODGE, shows that
"the whole number of votes given at such election was eighty-two,
of which the number having thereon the word 'yes' was sixty-six and
the number having thereon the word 'no' was sixteen."
Of all the eighty-two names contained in the above named poll
list the following still live in Oneonta village, viz: Andrew G. SHAW,
William McCRUM, Timothy D. WATKINS, and DeWitt FORD.
After a careful examination of the list, I can remember but a single
voter within the corporate bounds whose name does not appear on
the list. That one name is that of William H. OLIN. Why he did not
vote I cannot assign an satisfactory reason, for he was the active
party in obtaining the incorporation. This certified poll list becomes
a part of the official incorporation papers. It was a move of much
importance to our people, and my recollection is that nearly every
legal voter cast his vote either for or against the measure.
The completed papers of Judge HYDE, the clerk's certificate
and the map and bounds of the incorporated tract, containing 657
acres of land, all bear date of October 27th, 1848.
It will thu (sic) be seen that the affirmative vote of sixty-six of
citizens decided the question of our incorporation as an incorporated
village, which was affirmed by Judge James Hyde at the date above
Oneonta's first village election was held December 2d, 1848.
The following are the names of officers elected: for trustees, Eliakim
R. FORD, Hezekiah WATKINS, William BRONSON, William S.
FRITTS, Samuel J. COOK; assessors, John CUTSHAW, Elisha
SHEPHERD, Ephraim C. HODGE; village clerk, William H. OLIN;
treasurer, Andrew G. SHAW; collector, John McCRANY;
poundmaster, Solon HUNTINGTON; street commissioners, Collis P.
HUNTINGTON, Harvey BAKER, Hosea A. HAMILTON.
The poll list of the village election shows that 28 votes were
and E. R. FORD was the only candidate who received the entire 28
votes. The town inspectors again acted as inspectors of this first
officer election. E. R. Ford was by the trustees made the first
president of Oneonta village.
William H. OLIN (the late Rev. Dr. Olin), was then a rising young
lawyer in Oneonta, and on March 7th 1849, it was resolved and
adopted to levy the sum of fifty-six dollars and five cents upon the
taxable property within the incorporation for the purpose of paying
Wm. H. Olin the necessary and proper expenses of procuring the
incorporation. This resolution was indorsed by E. R. Ford, president.
We had already a fire organization and a small fire engine and C.
P. HUNTINGTON was foreman of the company. I will relate an
incident that occurred about 1845 or 1846. The fire company,
under the command of their foreman, came down to the mill race
between the saw and grist mill for practice, as was often the
custom. After practicing for some time throwing water in various
directions, some one proposed to try the stream on the grist mill
window in its westerly gable. I was then half owner of the mill
property with Messrs. COLLIER and GOODYEAR, and had it under
my charge. Mr. Huntington himself had the hose pipe in hand and
asked me, "Shall I try it?" "Yes, fire away, I will risk the window,"
was my prompt reply. No sooner said than done. The sash and
glass were shattered in an instant. "Don't throw water in the mill,
as I have grain there," was my immediate appeal, but the position
was so oblique that scarcely any water entered it. A bin of from
100 to 150 bushels of wheat was nearly under the window but it
received no damage. Mr. Huntington offered to pay me for the
window, but I assured him it was my risk and not his. The quickness
of its destruction was a source of much satisfaction as well as
surprise to the fire company. Our townsman, William McCRUM,
was one of the fire boys who had hold of the engine brake at the
time. "How's the grist mill window and the bin of wheat?" was the
inquiry I often heard for some weeks after the incident, when I
happened to meet one of the boys. Mr. Huntington made a splendid
head officer for a fire company.
The second corporation was held March 7th, 1849. The poll list
is not preserved but the inspectors' list is. Eighty-three votes were
cast. Eliakim R. FORD, Hezekiah WATKINS, William BRONSON,
Samuel J. COOK were elected trustees. John CUTSHAW, David T.
EVANS, and Ephraim HODGE were elected assessors. Hosea A.
HAMILTON and Harvey BAKER were elected street commissioners.
Solon HUNTINGTON, poundmaster, by eighty-three votes.
The third officer election was held March 10th, 1850. E. R.
FORD, H. WATKINS, James T. WILD, S. H. CASE, and E. W.
BENNETT were elected trustees. W. H. OLIN, clerk; John
McCRANY, collector; Solon HUNTINGTON, poundmaster. On the
16th day of September, 1849, the trustees leased of Solon
HUNTINGTON, "a piece of ground for the purpose of being used as
a pound lot, and also a passage or driveway thereto for the said
village, for the full term of twenty years in consideration of one
This pound lot was located nearly where the WINDSOR hotel
barns now stand. The lease covers a full page of legal cap, and is
signed and sealed by the trustees and Mr. Huntington. At a later
date the first village prison or lockup was erected upon this lot. It
was a structure of stone.
At the election of 1851, Eliakim R. FORD, Harvey BAKER, John
T. WILD, Err W. BENNETT, and Hezekiah WATKINS were elected
trustees, D. W. FORD was elected clerk, David J. YAGER,
treasurer. An especial election was held April 9th, 1851, at which
the following resolutions were passed:
Resolved, That the sum of fifty dollars be raised by tax in the
incorporated village of Oneonta upon the taxable property therein
to defray the expenses of building one or more water reservoirs in
Resolved, That the sum of thirty-five dollars be raised by tax in
the incorporated village of Oneonta upon the taxable property
therein to defray the expense of purchasing some engine hose to be
used in the extinguishing of fires.
Eighty-five dollars contrasts considerably with the thousands
At the election March 3d, 1852, Harvey BAKER, S. M. BALLARD,
John McCRANY, John M. WATKINS, and William BRONSON were
elected trustees; A. G. SHAW clerk; D. J. YAGER, treasurer; E. B.
SHOVE, collector; S. HUNTINGTON, poundmaster. A tax of twenty-
one dollars and ninety-nine cents was voted for this year.
A map of the village as incorporated in 1848 is preserved. It
shows the east bounds of the village as then to be the west bounds
of the Joseph WALLING farm, now the J. R. L. WALLING farm. Its
west bounds are the east line of the Andrew PARISH farm, now the
SCRAMLING farm. Its south bounds are the Susquehanna river.
Its north bounds are the Otego patent line. This corporation
continued in force until April 20th, 1970.
At that date an act was passed under the title of "An Act to
incorporate the village of Oneonta, Otsego county, New York,"
which was passed at the date above named and Oneonta became
an incorporated village by legislative enactment.
The following year, March 14th, 1871, an act was passed which
extended the bounds of the corporation to their present limits, viz:
the westerly line of the Conrad WOLF farm for its westerly bounds
and its easterly bounds to the westerly line of the John I. COUSE
farm. Its north boundary still remaining the Otego patent, and its
south the Susquehanna river.
The people of Oneonta, finding the charter of 1870
unsatisfactory, in the fall of 1884 called a public meeting and
appointed a committee to prepare a new charter. Harvey BAKER
was by the meeting appointed chairman of such committee. The
committee held many sessions and prepared the present charter
with much care.
The village was divided into six wards and a trustee or alderman
assigned to each ward and only two of them are annually elected;
so that four members of the previous board remain over each year,
thus giving a majority of experienced men continually in the board.
This new charter was passed by the legislature February 23, 1885,
which, with some amendments, is still in force.