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


The first settlement in the vicinity of Ilion had been made in 1725. Palatine Germans had been given a grant of land called the Burnetsfield Patent and each of the 94 patentees had received 100 acres of land. Of the twelve who drew the lots that lay within the area that became Ilion were six or seven women and one child, four or five only, being men (Is Apolone Harter a man or woman) which may account for the fact that none of these became permanent residents. But some of them must have fulfilled the conditions necessary under the Patent to hold their land and about 1730 the lot, through much of which runs Steele creek, was sold to Rudolph Stahl (Staele, Staley, Steele) who became as far as records can show, the first permanent settler. On the creek he built a saw mill and grist mill. In the mid-1700's came Augustinus Clapsaddle who bought land which now lies in the heart of Ilion. East of the Clapsaddle farm was the Myers farm. These three families survived the dangers of pioneer life up to the Revolutionary War and contributed to the defense of the colony during that War.

When peace returned to the valley, there came the great New England migration to the West and over the years came such men as Reuben Earl whose home became the London Hotel, Thomas Gillespie who ran a store and distillery nearby, Matteson, Yeoman, Bloodgood, Stark and others who named their little community New London. Here also was the County Poor House which was moved to West Street in 1837. "But alas for London, tradition says it drank itself to death..."

Along Steele's Creek sprang up various mills; the Steele mill about where 81 Second Street is now, the Dexter oil mill and saw mill about where Weber Avenue is now, the Ingersoll plaster mill, and saw mill near Philip Street and a fulling mill close to present Richfield Street.

A great change was brought to this self-sufficient community when, in 1825, the Erie Canal was completed. Its building brought new people, among them John Ingersoll, Jr. who bought a Steele farm which comprised a great deal of Ilion lying south of Third Street. The Cherry Valley Turnpike had been a commercial outlet for the farms to the south, but the canal presented a cheaper route and created a new business, "Forwarding" by canal. The grain, wool, butter and cheese, salt meat and hops were shipped from the store houses of Morgan and Dygert, and the hamlet of Morgan's Landing came into existence.

An occasional shipper by canal was a young man, from up the Gulph, by the name of Eliphalet Remington II who dropped to a passing boat a package of excellent gun barrels, wrote down the name of the boat, sent the name to the consignee who collected the merchandise.

In 1828 the combined facilities of canal and creek, together with the urging of friends, persuaded Mr. Remington to buy the Clapsaddle farm and move his forge to this convenient location. He first built a tavern where the Bank Block now stands to use as a home and for the accommodation of such customers as came from a distance and stayed until their orders were filled. This was built next to the Clapsaddle farmhouse with its gambreled roof and large wooden chimney which stood where the Loan is now. This building, after two removals and some changes, was finally torn down in 1931 when the present Niagara Mohawk building was erected. Back of this home was built the smithy, a race way dug to bring water from the creek, the machinery installed and the manufacture of the utensils and gun barrels again continued. The coming of the Remington business gave the community a new name and for about 14 years it was known as Remington Corners.

The business and community grew slowly until in 1843 a post office was desired, to obtain which a name must be chosen. Mr. Remington objected to the use of his name. About thirty names were suggested, among them Ilium or Ilion was put forth by David D. Devoe, Vulcan for the forge and Fountain, some authorities say the creek suggested the name, others that the fountain in the Remington door yard was the inspiration. Fountain carried the day but the name did not find favor with the men who were to present the application to the Government, and Remington was substituted. The people were pleased but not Mr. Remington. He used German Flatts as his address, which post office was at Paine's Hollow, and had to ride there for his mail. After a year's confusion with post offices of similar names, he and Mr. Devoe, without consulting their fellow townsmen, sent in a new petition to change the name to Ilion, having searched in vain for an Indian name connected with the locality.

Other businesses included the raising of broom corn on the river flatts and its manufacture into brooms. Samuel Remington was engaged in this business for a time as well as in the forwarding business which he had bought from the Morgan Estate. In 1857 we find the broom manufacturing in the hands of Philip J. Pryme, a trustee of the young village; the Mohawk Sentinel said: "P. J. Pryme of Ilion is making the best article of Brooms it has been our privilege to examine in a long while, which he is selling at moderate rates."

For many years brick making was carried on in Ilion, the flat land containing a fine quality of clay for that purpose. The first one mentioned in the 1840's was west of Central Ave. run by a Mr. Suiter. In 1870 Fred Rasbach started making brick just east of the Catholic Church, Main Street; in the 1870's A. N. Russell operated a brick yard; and in 1883 S. E. Coe of Mohawk started a brick yard on the land west of the brewery (now electric light station), the excavation made being called the "clay pond" when later it had filled with water and became a favorite place for bullhead fishing with the small boys. Are some of our old brick houses built of Ilion brick?

Another business, destined to become highly important, was started in 1856 and became known as the Remington Agricultural Works. This started with the manufacture of a cultivator tooth, invented by Charles Sayre of Utica, of such superior quality and design that the Ilion Independent said, "but demand is so great, that order after order is returned to the parties soliciting a supply of this valuable invention." Besides farm implements, (hoes, plows, hay tedders, reapers, mowing machines, shovels, etc.) the Works manufactured horse power fire engines, the Baxter Steam Car which was the forerunner of the trolley, cotton gins, cotton planters, force pumps, printing presses and iron bridges of the Whipple patent.

Early Ilion Industries:

Remington Armory
E. Remington & Sons
Remington Typewriter Company
McMillan Typesetting
Tucker Filing and Cabinet Company
Remington Rand, Inc. (successor of Remington Typewriter Co.)
Ilion Manufacturing Company
Rix Bicycle
The Novelty Works
Yetman Transmitting

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Established: 10/9/99
Last Updated: 10/9/99
Copyright © 1999 Paul McLaughlin/ Judy Breedlove/ Martha S. Magill