"The Ilion of 1852" is taken from "Ilion 1852-1952". We are appreciative to the Mayor, and other officials of Ilion, for granting us permission to provide this information to our visitors.

The Ilion of 1852

In 1852 Ilion became an incorporated village. For the previous nine years it had been a post office, and before that a few houses graced by the name of Morgan's Landing or Steele's Creek.

The person whom history credits as most entitled to be remembered because of this move was John A. Rasbach, a lawyer recently come to the community from Herkimer who spent his own money to help finance the necessary steps for incorporation. Mr. Rasbach had attended Fairfield Academy after going through the local schools, had become a merchant in Herkimer, studied law on the side, and been admitted to the bar. In 1852 he came to Ilion to attend to some of the legal business of E. Remington. He must have been a man of great energy with faith in the destiny of his new home.

Steps for the incorporation were begun in early spring of 1852 at a public meeting of "resident citizens and legal voters" of the territory to be included. A committee was appointed to make the proper application at the Court House in Herkimer. The members of this committee were J. A. Rasbach, lawyer and farmer, I. E. L. Hamilton, lawyer, S. L. Morgan, storekeeper, Philo Remington, J. Paddock, and Isaac Bronson.

These men had an accurate survey made by E. Randall, Esq. and a map drawn. It is said that at the time it was necessary to include a large territory in order to obtain the required number of inhabitants for a village. A census was taken by Solomon Morgan August 10th and duly verified, showing a population of 677. These documents were left with Solomon L. Morgan at the store of Remington and Morgan which stood on the berme bank of the canal where the Wilcox and Union blocks now stand. Here they were subject to the "Examination of Every Person interested" for five weeks. Notices were posted saying that application would be made to the Court, October 1st.

On October 6th the Court of Sessions at Herkimer gave the order of incorporation and appointed as inspectors of election D. D. Devoe who had named Ilion (Ilium-Latin) D. B. Root and E. H. Morse.

This election was held October 30th when the "Electors of the territory" met at the Remington House, later known as the Osgood, and the vote for or against the incorporation was taken. Notices for this meeting had been posted by E. Remington, Jr. at these conspicuous places "at the Remington Armory, at the Mechanics Shop of Alexander (Under) Wood, at the Plank road gate, at the house of Heman Young, at the Post Office, at the Remington House, at the store of Isaac Bronson, at the Tin Shop and store of Keeler and Copernoll, at the Tailor Shop of John Roach (Roche) and at the Black Smith at N. Heckcox, all in the said territory."

The canvass of the votes showed 68 votes cast "of which fifty-seven had thereon the word 'yes' and eleven had thereon the word 'no'". On November 3rd Judge Ezra Graves made out an affidavit that the papers "are in all respects legal."

The first officers elected by the new village were: Trustees, John Harrington, Conrad Folts, Phineas Gates and Samuel Underwood; assessors, Jacob Getman, Lawrence Helmer, William J. Lewis; clerk, Eliphalet Remington, Jr.; treasurer, William O. Barnes; collector, William Breadon; poundmaster, Abraham Fish.

Only a hazy picture of the village of that day can be given. Main and Otsego Streets were fixed as now. The Town Board records the acceptance of First, West and Railroad Streets that year although they had been laid out as early as 1850. The Remington House which had been opened with great ceremony July 4th of that same summer, and four or five taverns, stores and other small buildings were included in the corporation. The school house was a stone building only three years old, situated on a good sized lot and in a "convenient location."

A freight house had been built by the New York Central railroad, mainly through the efforts of the same Mr. Rasbach.

Plank roads extended east to Mohawk, west to Utica, and south to Cedarville and connecting roads to Cooperstown.

Industries in addition to the Armory included forwarding on the canal, farming, raising broom corn on the river flats, blacksmithing, small shops and stores.

The county poor house which had stood on W. Main Street had been moved to West Street which was referred to as "Poor House Street."

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Established: 12/19/99
Last Updated: 12/19/99
Copyright © 1999 Paul McLaughlin/ Judy Breedlove/ Martha S. Magill