Buildings in Herkimer Seventy Years Ago
Transcribed by Dick Nabinger!
Source: "Papers Read before the Herkimer County Historical Society During the years 1896, 1897, and 1898," Compiled by Arthur T. Smith, Secretary of the Society, Herkimer and Ilion, N.Y.: Citizen Publishing Company, Publishers. 1899.
Note: Grammatical and spelling errors are as in the original document.
Buildings in Herkimer Seventy Years Ago
An Address by Col. James A. Suiter of Herkimer
Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, November 10, 1896.
I was born in the village of Herkimer in the yellow house which stood on the lot now occupied by A. B. Klock, near the bridge over the hydraulic canal on German street, on the 29th day of April 1816. Herkimer has been my home since that time. I have been absent from the village less than four years including the time when I was in the United States service during the Civil war. I am the only male inhabitant of the village of Herkimer who was born here over eighty years ago. There are now but two inhabitants of the village who were born here prior to 1816, namely; Mrs. Elizabeth Gray, the widow of Gen. Charles Gray, who is in her ninety-first year, and Mrs. Nancy Gray, who is in her eighty-second year.
I believe that the following list of buildings in the village seventy years ago is substantially correct. In most cases I have also made mention of the buildings of seventy years ago which are now standing. In many cases they have been enlarged and repaired.
Buildings on the North side of German Street
Commencing at the west line of the corporation the first house was that of Frederick Doxtader, which is now owned and occupied by Lewis Mead; next was the farmhouse of Christopher Bellinger the grand-father of Jacob G. Bellinger, which is now occupied by George W. Pine. Next was the store and tavern of Jacob Weaver, the Indian trader, commonly called, "King Weaver." This is the building which was destroyed by fire about two years ago. Next was the tannery where Horrock's desk factory now stands. Next was the farm-house of John and Richard Syllaboch, which stood where William Horrock's now lives. Next was a school house which stood near the white house now occupied by Mrs. Strouse and back of that and near the little creek (called Helmer's creek) but on the opposite side, was a house occupied by John Adam Hartman, and a short distance up Helmer creek was a grist mill; near the hill and back of the house now occupied by Fred Bellinger, was the farm-house of Peter Bowman. This house was moved to the site of the house William Horrock's now lives and was destroyed by fire and then the present brick house was built. Where Fred Bellinger now lives was a house occupied by Mrs. Hamlin; on the flat land in the Bellinger pasture was the house of Frederick Myers. Next was the house of Maj. Gen Michael Myers, where C. L. Avery now lives and which is owned by Peter F. Bellinger. Next was the house of Dr. William Petrie, grandfather of Samuel and Robert Earl, now occupied by Robert Earl 2nd. About where George F. Miller an A.O. McMath now live was the old store of King Weaver. This store was moved to the south side of German street and now is the double house owned by Louis Turnier. At the head of Main street was the house of Jacob P. Weaver, now owned by Mrs. Dr. Pryne. A short distance east of the Jacob P. Weaver house was the Talcott tavern; this building was moved by Charles Spinner and is now the south part of the Mansion house on Main street. Across the hydraulic canal was the house of my father, John Suiter, where I was born; this building was a hotel until the great western turnpike was built, and as that road was laid out down Main street, the hotel lost its custom and the Talcott tavern above mentioned was built. On the corner of Dorf lane and German street was a tobacco factory owned by John Suiter. East of the machine shop of A. B. Klock was the house of George F. Hilts; next was the house of Con. O'Rorke. Next a house owned by Peter Weaver, brother of Jacob P. Weaver, which was where the tenant house lately owned by William Smith, now stands. Next was the homestead of John, Nicholas and George Smith, which was the house where William Smith lived and died. Next was the house of Mathew Smith which stood where W. C. Prescott recently lived. Next the house of Nicholas F. Smith. Next a house occupied by Timothy Smith, Paul Custer and others near Lake street; next a house of Peter Weaver also near Lake street. Next the house of Mr. Bisby which is the one on the place now owned by Dr Pryne; next the dwelling house and blacksmith shop of Peter Myers on the place now owned by Mrs. Perry G. Wires, next the house occupied by John Welter and others, which is the old house a short distance east of Mrs. Wires place, and east of this and the last house in the corporation was the residence of Frederick J. Helmer; this house is still standing but has been moved out of the corporation.
South side of German Street
Opposite the Horrock's desk factory was the tannery dwelling house which is near the cheese factory and now occupied as a dairy house. Next was the house of Frederick and William Helmer, which was an old wooden and mud house; this house was moved back and the present brick house was built, The bricks to build this house were obtained on the farm on the north side of the turnpike. Where Jacob G. Bellinger lives was the house of Henry Helmer; this house was moved to the east side of Main street and is the double house next to Alonzo Rust's. Next was the house of Frederick P. Bellinger which is now occupied by Henry H. Bellinger and his sisters. At the corner of Washington and German streets was a tenant house owned by Jacob P. Weaver; this house was occupied by poor people; in those days the three poor masters of the town sold the labor of the paupers to the person who would take them for the least sum and support them and Mr. Weaver was often a purchaser. Next was the house of Melchert Folts about where Miss Kate Folts now lives. Nearly opposite the dairy house of William Smith was the dwelling house and factory of Levi Morehouse. Nearly opposite the places now occupied by Perry G. Wires and Jacob H. Harter was a saw mill and cloth factory of Mr. Bisby.
East Side of Washington Street
The next house below the tenant house of Jacob P. weaver on the corner of Washington and German streets was house of Mr. Daniel Chapman, a lawyer, which house I now own and occupy. Next was the house of Joel Tubbs which is now occupied by Mrs. Lints. Next, where L. J. Folts now lives was the school house; in the rear of the school house was an old tenement house. The house where Glen P. Munson now lives was the residence of Lauren Ford, a lawyer. A potashery stood where Frank H. smith and Henry McNeal now live, next was the residence of Simeon Ford a lawyer; the building is known owned by Michael Foley. Next was a rectifying house about where Joseph Folts now lives, but back farther from the street. Next was the house of Dr. Harvey W. Doolittle where W. B. Howell now lives; this house was moved to the west side of Prospect street and is the second house north of Judge l. R. Devendorf's. Next was the residence of Mr. Munger and is the house next south of Dr. Shaper's and is now owned by Elisha Lyon. When I was a small boy there was no house south of this one on the north side of the turnpike.
Lots on Washington street sixty-six feet front then sold for forty dollars a lot.
The house where Stephen Taylor now lives was built by Asa Wood. Next was the house of Mrs. Carlisle, which stood where W. P. Munson now lives; this house was moved back and is where William Hartman now lives. Where the store occupied by Trenbeth & Co. now is, was the residence of John Earl, father of Robert and Samuel Earl. The rear part of the store is a part of the old residence. Next was John Earl's blacksmith shop.
West Side of Washington Street.
The house belonging to the Myers estate stood on the site of old Fort Dayton, back of Mrs. Goldsmith's place and I believe the house is still standing.
On the corner of Washington and Court street was a house owned by Walter Fish; this house was moved several times and is now on the northeast corner of smith and Pine streets.
Where M. Foley has recently built two new houses was a tenement house belonging to the Griswold estate, and where Father Halpin now lives, was also a tenement house belonging to the Griswold estate.
The house in which Mrs. A. H. Prescott now lives was a part of the house of Dr. Elihu Griswold. The next building was the blacksmith shop of Mr. Avery at the lower corner of Green and Washington streets. Andrew Bartow lived on the lot now owned by Mr. Metzger in a house which is now a tenant house in the rear of the houses on Green street and is owned by Mrs. George Myers. Mr. Horace Morse lived on a lot owned by Adam Dager in a large house which was recently torn down. Where H. A. Deimel now lives was the cabinet shop of Benjamin Kelsey and in the second story of this building was the Masonic hall. C. D. Lounsberry lived in a house across the railroad on what is now railroad property; this building was moved to the north side of the turnpike on or near Deimel street.
East Side of Main street
The first house was the Winnie house in which Mrs. Taber now lives. Next was the store of Farwell & Woodruff on the corner of Court street where Dr. Suiter's house is; it was afterward used as a dwelling house and was moved away when Dr. Suiter build his house.
On the farther corner of Court and Main Streets was the old jail and court house, a wooden building which was burned in 1834. The house where J. A. Steel now lives was built partly of the office of Gaylord Griswold.
The house on this lot was moved to the east side of Washington street and is now owned by C. A. Snyder; next where the Episcopal church now is, was the residence of Gaylord Griswold; it was moved to the west side of Main street and has lately been remodeled and is now occupied by H. P. Witherstine. The hotel of Windsor Maynard was on the corner where Mrs. Monroe lives.
Next where the furniture store occupied by John Campabell is, was a small building occupied as a mechanic shop; where the Fox block now is was a block of wooden stores which were burned and a block of brick stores was subsequently built.
Where the Waverly hotel is, was the Whiting hotel which was burned and rebuilt. Where the Herkimer bank is, was a jewelery shop. The Stimson house is a portion of the hotel and residence of Thomas G. Barnum. The store of Thomas G. Barnum and his cabinet shop was on the Washburn place. Where W. B. Howell's store is, was the dwelling house of Jacob Aldrich. Next, where the Metzger block is was the store of James Byers, who was the grandfather of the Addys and Mrs. J. Horatio Huyck, and the jewelry shop of Mr. Munger. The store of James Byers was moved to Smith street when the Metger block was build and is the house which was recently owned by Garrison Smith. In the rear of Byers store was the printing office of the Herkimer American published by Edward Seymour. On the other corner of main and Green Streets was a large building called the town house which was burned. Next was the store and residence of James VanAntwerp, which is the building where Mrs. Peter I. Lepper now lives.
The house in which Dr. graves lives was a portion of the hat and cap factory of Bloomfield Usher Sr. Next was the dwelling of James Claghorn and Benjamin Derby, which stood on the site of the Graves brick building; the old building was moved down the street and is now occupied by N. P. Mount as a liquor store; where the Deimel & Schermer block now is, was the hotel of Joach n Van Valkenburg. The building occupied by Casper haller was the harness shop of Alfred Putman. Where the Nelson house now is, was the hotel of Asher Heacox; the rear part of the Nelson house is a part of the old building.
On the south side of the turnpike about where the depot now stands was the store and dwelling house of Ralph Merry; this building is now one of the Putman double houses on the east side of Prospect street. Below Ralph Merry's place and on what is now railroad property, were four old dwelling houses.
West Side of Main Street
First was a tenement house on the place now owned by Judge Smith. Next was the residence of John Harter which is still standing, being the house next north of W. C. Prescott's. Next was the blacksmith shop of John Harter about where G. M. Helmer now lives.
Next and about where the Herkimer County Grange store now is, was the harness shop occupied by F. E. Spinner and tinshop occupied by John Suiter. On the lot now owned by A. B. Steel was the slaughter house of Warren Caswell, father of ex-postmaster Warren Caswell. Next was the Dutch reformed church, then a wooden building which was burned in 1834. Where the jail now is was a cow bell factory and a dwelling house in the rear occupied by Cornelius Conover; this dwelling house was moved to the north side of Church street and is now on the back part of John Campbell's lot. The north part of the present Mansion house was the Smith hotel. The meat market of I. G. Miller was the dwelling house of Mr. Norris. Where the Palmer house now is, was the store of P. M. Hackley and where Dr. Kay now lives was a building occupied by Horace Morse as a drug store; a portion of this building is still standing. Where C. R. Snell lives was the residence of Mr. Gill. The house now owned by D. M. Burgess, was the residence of Philo M. Hackley. Where Mrs. Elizabeth Gray now lives was the house of Mr. Lapham, which was moved to Green street and is now occupied by Dr. Backus. On the property given by Judge Earl and wife to the village for a library, was the residence and shop of Mark Batchelder and the residence of Mr. Blair, who was a son-in-law of Elihu Griswold. The residence of Mr. Batchelder is a part of the Monroe Building at the corner of Main and Mary streets; the shop was moved to Pine street and is owned by Harvey Reese. The Blair house was moved to the east side of Washington street and is the second house above J. A. Suiter Jr. The Lawton house on the corner of Main and Liberty streets, now owned by Dr. Kay, was the residence of Dr. Andrew Farrell. The building on the other corner owned by Dr. Pryne was the house of Dr. Tomblin and the office now owned by Dr. Pryne is the same office used by Dr. Tomblin. The house occupied by Mr. Cyrus Kay was the house occupied by Edward P. Seymour. The dwelling house of Dr. Abrams, was where Warren Caswell now lives. The rear part of the house of Mrs. Murrary was the residence of Alfred Putman. There were two tenement houses owned by Alfred Putman about where the Democrat printing office and J. T. Colcord's store now are. The law office of William B. Goff was where Prowse & Thomson's store now is, and the residence of Mr. Goff was where the Arnold block now is; this house was moved to the site of the Universalist church. Below the railroad on what is now railroad property was the wagon shop and residence of Alexander McKennan, grandfather of John A. McKennan. The residence and cooper shop of Boaz Draper, grandfather of Mathew Draper, was near the E. C. Munson premises.
East Side of Prospect Street
The first building, on the southwest corner of Prospect and Church streets, was a distillery conducted by James Byers. Where the Misses Chatfield now live was a tenement house owned by P. M. Hackley. Next was the residence and cooper shop of Samuel Luke, just south of H. M. Quackenbush's shop.
Next on the corner of Liberty street was the residence of Jonathan Dye. On the south corner was the residence of Jabez Fox, now occupied by John Zintzmaster. The last house on the street and at the foot of the street was the residence of Rev. John P. Spinner, afterward owned by Peter B. Spinner.
West Side of Prospect Street
Where Morris Marks now lives was the distillery of P. M. Hackley; where James Fagan lives was potashery of P. M. Hackley. Where Albert Wilbur now lives was the tannery of Mr. Rasbach, grandfather of Charles Rasbach. The house owned by Jacob W. Petrie was where H. M. Quaackenbush now lives. This house was moved to Pine street and is now occupied by Heman Rowland Next was the residence of Enoch Talcott. The last house on this side of the street was the residence of Judge John Mahon which stood about where the Methodist parsonage now is.
On the south side of the turnpike nearly opposite the shop of J. A. Suiter was the house of Bloomfield Usher Sr. This house was moved to the west side of Washington street.
On the north side of Albany street where the Edick house now is was the hotel of Benjamin Kelsey.
Near the West Canada creek north of the turnpike was a large grist mill, saw mill and whiskey distillery and stables where they fatted cattle and hogs in great numbers. These buildings were owned by Windsor Maynard. On the turnpike, and this side of the old toll gate was a dwelling house occupied by the Millers.
On the south side of Green street were hay scales, but not of the kind used today. To weigh a load on a wagon they used to hitch a chain to each of the four wheels and pull the wagon up by ropes run on pulleys.
On the north side of Green street where Mrs. Nichols lives was the house of Nicholas Sterling and the dwelling house of James Byers was a part of the tin shop of John Metzger.
There were no buildings on Mary Street except on the corners.
David Petrie had a tenement house near the present clerk's office. The blacksmith shop of Joel tubs was nearly opposite Levi Lawtons.
On the north side of Liberty street was the office of Dr. Andrew Farrell. This building was recently torn down by Charles B. Perry to make room for his new house.
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