South Ilion, N.Y.

The Cider Mill

The Smokey Run Cider Mill, 1850s
Original Work of Art Copyright © 2000 Jim Parker. All Rights Reserved.

Jim Parker is an Ilionite fine artist who lives in the original Clapsaddle home off Otsego Street. The Cider Mill will open to the public on Sept 28/29, 2000 for the 146th year. Jim's site is

The cider mill was started by my great-grandfather Sam Newton, in "Smokey Run", now known as South Ilion. He put in a mill pond on the creek and powered the cider mill and vinegar works, his full blacksmith shop and his first floor wood working shop. Here were made the first 800 washing machines built in Central NY. He built them under a "Mitchell Patent".

The flood of 1938 took out the mill dam and the back end of the mill. At that time the power source was replaced by a big "hit and miss" gasoline engine. My brother and I were responsible for the filling of the oil glass on top of it. After WW2, it was converted to all electric.

Dad ran it until the late 1980's. I bought the equipment before he died, and moved it to the Whitney/Clapsaddle Farm in the early 1990's. Prior to that, I had planted some 800 apple trees here so that when it became "my turn" to carry on this family tradition, I would have my own orchard.

My great-grandfather, Sam C. Newton, also was an original stockholder in building the new "plank road" from Ilion to Cedarville. The first toll booth was at the bridge in South Ilion, the second at Remington's, the third at the gorge at Jerusalem Hill, etc. We also owned the Ilion to Cedarville Telephone Co., with some 200 subscribers. It was sold to the N.Y. Tel. in about 1930. As a kid, the old oak telephones were all stored in the vinegar room of the cider mill. My brother and I had to break them all up with hammers and axes for my mother to use as firewood, until they were all gone.

My mother's family, Stahl or Steele, were the first settlers of Ilion. Rudolph Stahl built the first grist mill in Ilion at about where the Episcopal Church sits today. All of the Steele men fought at the Battle of Oriskany, as did the Clapsaddles. Major Enos Clapsaddle was killed in that battle in 1777. William Clapsaddle, who built the house we now live in, fought in that battle when he was just 16 years old. Later he was a Colonel in the Continental Troops that fought at the Battle of Sackett's Harbor in the war of 1812. He was also Supervisor of the Town of German Flatts in the late 17 and early 1800's.

The Clapsaddle family sold the land to Remington downtown when he moved his "works" from the Gorge.

The Steele, Stahl, or Staley family (depending on who was pronouncing the name), with 16 other partners purchased 33,000 acres of land from Ilion out and including what is now the town of Columbia. It was called the Staley Patent, and most all of the present deeds on this area reference that Patent by lot number. My 8th great, and 7th great grandfathers were the founding partners in that Patent: Rudolph and Dieterich Stahl.

That is about the foundation of our families' history in Ilion. Steele's creek, which runs through the farm, has our name on it. Mary Steele married Peter Clapsaddle in 1828, thus the connection between the two families.

Jim Parker
September 2000

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Created 9/17/00
Copyright © 2000 Jim Parker/ Paul McLaughlin/ Martha S. Magill
The Cider Mill is an original work of Jim Parker, Artist. Copyright © 2000
All Rights Reserved.