The Old Mohawk Turnpike Book
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
83 YORKVILLE 12
1920 population, 1,512; sea elevation, 404 ft.; incorporated 1902 as a village.
On the Sauquoit, just south of Yorkville, at New York Mills, the first cotton mills of this section
were started in 1804. Sauquoit creek (meaning "smooth pebbles in a stream") enters the Mohawk on the east side of
Pliers are made at Yorkville.
The Utica Golf and Country club is located at New York Mills.
The Sadaquada Golf club is on the west side of the Sauquoit creek, on Hart's Hill, just west of New
York Mills. Hart's Hill is 280 feet above the Mohawk and ends in a bold bluff (about 200 feet above the river) at
Whitesboro, extending west to Oriskany.
84 WHITESBORO 11
By New York Central R.R., New York, 241 m., Buffalo, 198 m.; sea elevation 404 ft.
New York, 248 m.; Buffalo, 200 m., by highway. 1920 population, 3.038. Village chartered 1813.
Chief manufactures are knit goods, furniture and heating furnaces. Bridge here across Mohawk. Just west of Whitesboro
is Barge canal Lock No. 20; here is east lock of summit level running to New London, 16 m. w., forming the water level
divide between Atlantic and Great Lakes, on the Erie section of the New York State Barge canal route.
Trolley to Rome and Utica. Bus lines to Utica, Rome, Hinckley, Sylvan Beach. Roads north to Black
river valley and Adirondacks, south to Seneaca Turnpike and Susquehanna valley.
Between the Sauquoit (at Whitesboro) and Oriskany was the camp, August 5, 1777, of General Herkimer's
American army, on the night before the Battle of Oriskany. Whitesboro was settled in 1784 by Judge Hugh White, from
whom comes the name. This was the first permanent settlement (by New Englanders) of Oneida county, marked here by a
On the north side Mohawk Turnpike, just west of Marcy Corners, opposite a point midway between
Whitesboro and Oriskany, are the fine new modern buildings of the New York State Hospital for the Insane, which was
formerly located at Utica.
Summit (amusement) Park, just south of Oriskany, is reached by road just east of Oriskany.
87 ORISKANY 8
By New York Central R.R., New York, 244 m., Buffalo, 195 m.; sea elevation, 420 ft. (Barge canal
New York, 251 m., Buffalo, 205 m., by highway. 1920 population, 1,101. Chartered a village in
1914. Bridge here across Mohawk. Oriskany creek here enters Mohawk. Site of an Oneida Indian village (1775). Here
is the Home of the Order of the Eastern Star. Oriska (original name) was an Oneida word meaning "the nettles."
Iron castings and paper maker's felt manufactured here.
Two miles west is the
89 ORISKANY BATTLEFIELD MONUMENT 6
New York, 253 m., Buffalo, 203 m., by highway; sea elevation, 420 ft. (Barge canal summit level.)
Site of the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777. An American regiment of Mohawk valley militia,
under General Nicholas Herkimer, marching west over the Old Mohawk Turnpike to the relief of American Fort Schuyler,
was ambushed by a British-Tory-German-Hessian-Indian force under General St. Leger. Americans drove enemy from field.
Bloodiest and one of the most vital battles of the Revolution and part of the 1777 Burgoyne campaign terminating in
American victory at Bemis Heights Oct. 7, 1777, and the British surrender at Schuylerville, on the Hudson, Oct. 17, 1777.
The British-Indian ambush was formed around the road where it passed through the gully to the east
where the first terrible assault was made. The Americans fought their way to the high ground on which the monument and
marker stand, bordered on the west by Bloody Gulch. On this high spot they formed in circles, beat off the enemy
attacks and drove them from the field. (See detailed description of the Oriskany Battle in the body of the book.)
A monument (obelisk) marks the site of this crucial battle of the Revolution, on which is a roster
of (some of ) the Mohawk valley American soldiers who gallantly fought this forest fight. A 1912 D.A.R. marker located
the site of the beech tree under which the mortally wounded General Herkimer sat and cooly directed the battle.
The Mohawk valley chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1912 marked Herkimer's
line of march from Fort Dayton (Herkimer) to Oriskany.
The markers begin at the General Herkimer Homestead (34 m. e.) and end here at the Oriskany
The monument is a landmark visible for miles, standing on a low hill, 550 feet above the sea and
120 feet above the Mohawk.
Barge canal summit level feeder from the Hinckley dam enters river here on north shore through Nine
The Rome Country club and golf links are at Stanwix, just east of Rome, on the south shore Turnpike.
95 ROME 0
By New York Central R.R., New York, 251 m., Buffalo, 188 m.; sea elevation, 420 ft. (Barge canal
New York, 259 m., Buffalo, 197 m., by highway. 1920 population, 26,341. Chartered a village in
1819, a city in 1870. Rome is on the narrow flat divide between the Atlantic ocean waters of the Mohawk and the Great
Lakes waters of Wood creek - the old portage of the Indians and early settlers. Barge canal junction locks here.
Barge canal channel here runs westward from the Mohawk to Oneida lake. Black River canal, used as a Barge canal feeder,
connects here. Great Barge canal Delta dam 5 m. n. w. Bridge here across the Barge canal.
Rome is famous as the place where the first military raising of the Stars and Stripes took place - on
August 3, 1777, and where Old Glory first flew in the smoke of battle, August 6, 1777. The site where the flag was
raised was the northwest bastion of Fort Schuyler, marked by a cannon in front of the Rome club, close to which grows a
great elm, which was a sapling in the Revolutionary fort.
The Oneida county fair is held annually at Rome in the Fall.
Chief manufactures are (1921) copper and brass products, knit goods, bar iron, metal beds, canned
fruits and vegetables, locomotive repairing, house trim, plastic fire brick, soap, toys, fishing tackle, sporting
Rome is one of the leading copper and brass manufacturing centers of the United States. One-tenth
of the copper manufactures of the country are made at Rome.
The slogan of the Rome Chamber of Commerce is "For Rome, Romans and Results." The Oneida Indian
name of Rome was De-o-wain-sta, meaning "carrying place between two streams." The Te-u-ge-ga Country club and golf
links are at Lake Delta, 5 m n.
First civilian settlement made here in 1760, abandoned 1777.
Settled 1785 largely by New Englanders. Site of British Fort Stanwix (1758), called Fort Schuyler
(1776-81), besieged by St. Leger's British army August 2-23, 1777; American battleflag first raised, August 3, 1777;
scene of Willett's battle sortie (August 6, 1777), when the American defenders sacked and burned British camp, during
Battle of Oriskany; site of great Iroquois Indian council of 1788; work begun here on Erie canal July 4, 1817; statue
of Gen. Gansevoort, defender of Fort Schuyler.
Roads north to St. LAwrence, through Black river valley, northwest to Oswego and Lake Ontario, west
to Oneida and Syracuse. End of Old Mohawk Turnpike. Trolley connection east to Utica and Little Falls.
New York Central service and terminus of New York Central branches to Oswego and Watertown and of
New York, Ontario & Western R.R.
Bus lines to Camden, Utica, Sylvan Beach, Cleveland, Oneida, Oriskany Falls, Point Rock, West
Open Free to the Public on the Old Mohawk Turnpike
The following historical collections, situated on the Mohawk Turnpike, are freely open to the
public. Their location and distances, going west from Schenectady, are as follows:
Schenectady, Schenectady Historical Society, 13 Union St.
Amsterdam, 16 m., Guy Park, 1766, under care of Amsterdam chapter, D. A. R.
Fort Johnson (1749) 19 m., owned by Montgomery County Historical Society.
Johnstown, 30 m. (by detour from Fonda), Johnson Hall, (1763), under care of Johnstown Historical Society.
General Herkimer Homestead (1764), south side, near Fall Hill (by detour to south side), 56 m., under care of General
Herkimer Home Commission.
Herkimer, 65 m., Herkimer County Historical Society.
Utica, 80 m., Oneida County Historical Society.
The Rome to Oneida and Utica to Syracuse (Seneca road) route summaries follow, beginning on the
ROME TO ONEIDA
The Old Mohawk Turnpike ends at Rome. However, the usual division of the New York-Buffalo
Highway (448 m.) is into three parts, viz: New York to Albany, 149 m.; Albany to Syracuse, 145 m.; Syracuse to
Buffalo, 154 m. To make the route description herein complete from Albany to Syracuse, a condensed description of
the route and towns between Rome and Oneida and between Utica and Syracuse are here appended.
The run westward from Rome to Oneida (13 m.) and Oneida Castle is through a fertile farming country
with only the hamlet of Greenway and the small village of Verona on the way, which are New York Central railroad
stations. The Rome State School is passed just west of Rome.
This route over the Rome-Oneida Highway generally follows the main line of the New York Central
UTICA TO SYRACUSE OVER SENECA ROAD
The 1922 main New York to Buffalo Highway route runs from Utica to Syracuse over the old Seneca
Turnpike (chartered 1800), formerly called the Genesee road (prior to 1800) or "the road to the Genesee country,"
sometimes appropriately called the Iroquois Trail. From it Genesee street, Utica, takes its name. This route generally
parallels the West Shore R.R. from Utica to Oneida (23 miles) and both the Central and West Shore R.R. to Syracuse.
In 1921 a movement was started to make the New York to Buffalo Highway a "Road of Remembrance,"
dedicated to the soldiers from New York State who fell in the World war, with memorial trees planted throughout its
448 miles; 10,000 trees were scheduled to form the initial planting, in 1922, between Utica and Syracuse.
The Utica-Syracuse road runs through a generally fertile country with but five towns of over 1,000
population, New Hartford (a suburb of Utica), Sherrill, Oneida, Canastota and East Syracuse (virtually a part of
West of Utica to Syracuse, the New York Railways Co., electric line, parallels the Seneca road to the
north and runs through Clark Mills, Hecla, Vernon, Sherrill, Oneida Castle, Oneida, Wampsville, Canastota, Sullivan,
Chittenango, Kirkville, Minoa, East Syracuse to Syracuse. This electric road uses the West Shore R.R. tracks from
Utica to Syracuse.
The Utica to Syracuse highway first passes through Genesee St., Utica, to
Miles from Miles from
3 NEW HARTFORD 47
By highway, New York, 247 m.; Buffalo, 201 m. Village incorporated 1870; 1920 population, 1,621.
Named from Hartford in Connecticut by settlers from that State. It is on the Sauquoit creek.
Sea elevation, 520 feet. Settled 1788. Furniture, cotton cloth, knit goods and metal emblems made
here. Yahnundasis Golf club here located, also Utica Country Day School.
New Hartford is virtually a part of Utica, socially, commercially and industrially, with which it is
connected by railroad and trolley.
About 3 m. west of New Hartford, going west, a road leads by detour southwest to
9 CLINTON (HAMILTON COLLEGE) BY DETOUR 45
On Oriskany creek, the site of Hamilton College.
By highway, New York, 242 m.; Buffalo, 198 m. Village incorporated 1843; 1920 population, 1,664.
Sea elevation, 560 feet. Settled 1787. Canned goods and knit goods made here. Metallic paint made
at Franklin Springs at southern limits, where iron mines were worked for years. Bus line to Waterville and Hamilton.
Clinton is named for Dewitt Clinton, Governor of New York, "father of the Erie canal," candidate for
President and Vice President of the United States. Hamilton College was named for Alexander Hamilton, the celebrated
Revolutionary American statesman, and the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Hamilton was a trustee of 1793 and a bronze statue of him stands on the picturesque campus before
the chapel. The college campus has a sea elevation of 900 ft., 300 ft. above the Oriskany and 500 ft. above the Mohawk
Prospect Hill, 1,380 ft. to the west, and Crow Hill, 1,303 ft., and Paris Hill, 1542 ft. to the
east, are heights overlooking Clinton.
Samuel Kirkland, the missionary to the Oneida and other Iroquois Indians, founded here the Hamilton
Oneida Academy in 1793. This developed later into Hamilton College, founded in 1812. Kirkland began missionary work
among the Iroquois in 1761 and, in 1767, went to the Oneidas, where he labored as a missionary 40 years until his death
in 1808. Together with the great Oneida chief and his close friend, Skenandoa, he kept the Oneidas loyal to the
American cause in the Revolution. Skenandoa (who lived to be over 100 years old) requested that he be buried next to
his white missionary "brother," and Kirkland and Skenandoa lie side by side in the cemetery at Hamilton
Kirkland was given lands by the Oneidas and by the U.S. Government and with much of this land he
endowed an academy for the education of the Oneidas, which developed into Hamilton College. The college is picturesquely
situated on the high hills rising from Oriskany creek. It is an educational institution of the highest standing,
numbering famous men among its graduates.
Hon. Elihu Root is a native of Clinton (born on the college campus), a graduate of Hamilton
and (1922) a resident here.
Going west, the motorist returns to the New York-Buffalo highway by running 1-1/2 m. to
7 KIRKLAND 43
By highway, New York, 251 m.; Buffalo, 197 m. On Oriskany creek. Sea elevation, 530 ft. 1920
population, 200. Named for Samuel Kirkland, the celebrated missionary to the Oneida Indians from 1767 to 1808, and
who lies buried in the Hamilton College cemetery at Clinton.
OSWEGO RIVER VALLEY
3 m. e. of Vernon you run from the Mohawk valley into the Oswego river watershed - from the U.S.
Atlantic slope across the divide into the Great Lakes basin. Vernon is on Skenandoa creek, entering Oneida creek at
Oneida. The Mohawk river and Oswego river valleys form a water route (followed by the Barge canal) of over 225 miles
across New York State. The watershed of the Oswego has an area of 5,098 square miles. Over the New York-Buffalo
Highway, the run in the Hudson valley (New York to Karners, west of Albany) is 156 miles, in the Mohawk valley (Karners
to 3 m. e. of Vernon) is 101 miles, 257 miles of the 448-mile route lying in the Hudson valley watershed, of which the
Mohawk valley is a part. The run from 3 m. e. of Vernon to Buffalo, 191 miles, is in the Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie)
watershed. The divide between the Mohawk and the Oswego river valleys is 3 miles east of Vernon at an elevation of 720
feet on the highway, at a point 6 m. w. of Kirkland.
16 VERNON 34
By highway, New York, 260 m.; Buffalo, 188 m. Village settled in 1794, incorporated 1827; 1920
population, 541. Vernon is on the West Shore R.R.
Sea elevation, 598 feet. Condensed milk and milking machines made here.
Vernon fair, with races, etc., is held here annually in the Fall.
20 SHERRILL 30
By highway, New York, 264 m.; Buffalo, 188 m. Village settled in 1794, incorporated 1827;
1920 population, 1,716. Sherrill is the smallest city in the state (1922); a manufacturing center of the Oneida
Community, Ltd., which makes silverware, traps, etc. Sherrill is on the West Shore R.R. Sea elevation, 480 feet.
Three miles west of Sherrill is
23 ONEIDA CASTLE 27
By highway, New York, 266 m.; Buffalo, 182 m. Incorporated as a village in 1841; 1920 population,
466. On the Oneida creek and the West Shore R.R. Factories of the Oneida Community, Ltd., are located at Kenwood,
just south where was the original location of this communal society, now a flourishing industrial corporation. The
old Community house still stands.
Sea elevation, 460 feet.
Sewing silk and canned goods are made at Kenwood.
The Sherrill Golf club is located at Sunset Lake, Kenwood.
First known Oneida castles were to the south and southwest. Oneida castle was built by Oneida
Indians before 1760. It was burned by Brant after the Battle of Oriskany in 1777, in revenge for the loyal stand
of the Oneidas with the American patriots. When white settlers first came (before 1790) Oneida creek valley was dotted
with the log cabins of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras. Skenandoa, the famous Oneida chief, lived at Oneida Castle, where a
marker located his house. Samuel Kirkland, the white missionary to the Oneidas, was a close friend of Skenandoa, who
lived to be over 100 years old. Kirkland was for forty years (1767-1808) a missionary here (excepting the Revolutionary
war years) and he, with Skenandoa, kept the Oneidas loyal to the American cause, and many Oneida warriors fought on the
Oneida is an Iroquois word meaning "people of the sacred stone," referring to their ceremonial
boulder which is now placed at the entrance to Forest Hill cemetery, Utica.
Oneida Castle abuts on the southern limits of Oneida city.
24 ONEIDA 26
By New York Central R.R., New York, 264 m.; Buffalo, 175 m.
By highway, New York, 262 m.; Buffalo, 184 m.; Utica, 24 m.
1920 population, 10,541; sea elevation, 400 ft. Incorporated as a city 1901. In Madison County,
on Oneida creek, 6-1/2 m. s. of Oneida lake; 3-1/2 m. s. of Oneida is West Stockbridge hill, 1,320 ft. sea elevation and
920 ft. above Oneida creek at Oneida. The is the most northerly of the Appalachian mountain foothills and the last high
hill you pass on the New York to Buffalo automobile highway. Automobile roads run north to Sylvan Beach, and around
Oneida lake, and south through the Oneida creek valley to the Unadilla and Chenango river valleys.
The geographical center of New York State is six miles southeast of Oneida and three miles
of Kenwood, at the foot of Eaton Hill, 1,340 feet sea elevation.
Bus lines to Sherrill and Kenwood, to Durhamville and Sylvan Beach, to South Bay and Syracuse,
Bridgeport and Cicero, Munnsville and Morrisville, to Verona and Rome.
Oneida is on the New York Central, West Shore and New York, Ontario and Western railroads.
Interurban trolleys connect with Utica and Syracuse. The principal industries are the manufacture of caskets, cigars,
furniture, wood and steel pulleys, canned goods, traps, lathe and drill chucks, carriages and wagons, milk bottle caps
and knit goods. The city is in the center of a fertile farming country and is an important milk shipping station.
Aeroplane landing field here.
In 1834 Sands Higinbotham located here on his farm and present Oneida was farmland until 1839. When
the Utica and Syracuse Railroad was constructed (1839) Oneida was called Oneida Depot, being the station for Oneida
Castle. A village speedily grew up around this new railroad station.
The Oneida Gold club is located west of the city on the Turnpike.
Three miles west of Oneida is
27 WAMPSVILLE 23
By New york Central R.R., New York, 267 m.; Buffalo, 172 m. An unincorporated hamlet; population,
255; the county seat of Madison county, and has a handsome court house here. Three mils west of Wampsville is
30 CANASTOTA 20
By New York Central R.R., New York, 269 m.; Buffalo, 170 m.
By highway, New York, 268 m.; Buffalo, 178 m.; Utica, 30 m.; Rome, 20 m.
1920 population, 3,995; sea elevation, 400 ft. Six miles south of Oneida lake; 2 m. se. is a
hill 840 ft. high, 440 ft. above Canastota.
Bus lines to Syracuse and Peterboro. Electric railway east to Little Falls, west to Buffalo.
Incorporated as a village in 1835. Canastota is on the New York Central, West Shore, Elmira &
Cortland branch of the Lehigh Valley R.R., and on the interurban trolley system connecting with Utica and Syracuse. The
principal industries are vegetable canning, furniture, wagons and cut glass. An important farming center of a section
devoted to dairying and vegetable raising (largely for canning).
Capt. Reuben Perkins bought the site of Canastota from the Oneida Indians about 1810, a few Oneidas
then living here in log cabins. The building of the old Erie canal in 1825 started the town's growth. Canastota comes
from the Oneida word Knis-te-sto-ta, meaning "clump of still pines."
At Peterboro, south of Canastota, was the residence of Gerrit Smith (cousin of Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, a frequent visitor here). It was a chief center of abolition activity and advanced liberal thought, prior to
the Civil war, and here many important anti-slavery conferences were held by the chief abolition national leaders.
33 SULLIVAN 17
Three miles west of Canastota is Sullivan station, the village lying one mile to the south.
Over New York Central R.R., New York, 273 m.; Buffalo, 163 m. By highway, New York, 277 m.;
Buffalo, 171 m. At Sullivan the first American hydraulic cement was discovered in 1818 and used on Erie canal
(1817-1825) construction work.
35 CHITTENANGO 15
By New York Central R.R., New York, 275 m.; Buffalo, 164 m.
By highway, New York, 276 m.; Buffalo, 170 m.; Rome, 27 m.; Utica, 35 m. Incorporated 1845;
1920 population, 650.
Chittenango is an Iroquois word meaning "waters running north."
The village lies in the steep valley of Chittenango creek, of which Cazenovia lake is the
headwater. The highway passes through the northern part of Chittenango village, this point being 15 miles from
New York Central railroad stations, between Chittenango and Syracuse, going west, are Kirkville
(42 m. w. Utica, 11 m. e. Syracuse), Minoa (45 m. w. Utica, 8 m. e. Syracuse), East Syracuse (5 m.w e. Syracuse).
Leaving Chittenango the road runs 7 m., through Mycenae and Manlius Center to East Syracuse, a
suburb of and five miles east of Syracuse. Syracuse is distant from eastward New York to Buffalo towns as follows:
Rome, 43 m.; Utica, 50 m.; Schenectady, 130 m.; Albany, 145 m.; New York, 294 m. Westward: Auburn, 25 m.;
Geneva, 51 m.; Canandaigua, 67 m.; Rochester, 97 m.; Buffalo, 154 m.
A New York Central freight junction with the West Shore R.R. is located at Kirkville. This is
the west junction in this 50-mile section of the Mohawk division, Schuyler junction being the eastern. The West
Shore R.R. from Utica to Syracuse is used for electric railway express and local traffic between the two cities.
The New York Central R.R. Mohawk division begins at Albany and ends at Syracuse, 148 m. west.
CHITTENANGO TO SYRACUSE (VIA FAYETTEVILLE)
The latest Chittenango to Syracuse route runs through Fayetteville and Dewitt with alternative
route through Manlius, where St. John's Military Academy and summer cavalry camp of the New York National Guard are
41 FAYETTEVILLE 10
By highway, New York, 282 m.; Buffalo, 164 m. Sea elevation, 360 ft. 1920 population, 1,584.
Village incorporated 1844. On the Chenango division of West Shore R.R., 10 m. from Syracuse, with which it is connected
by trolley. Limestone quarries here and timber available.
Three and a half miles west of Fayetteville by this highway is Dewitt, a southeastern suburb of
Syracuse, the center of which is six miles northwest. The Fayetteville-Syracuse road form the western end of the Great
Western Turnpike (Albany to Syracuse).
The industries mentioned in the foregoing Summary are those of 1922. Industrial additions and
changes are constantly taking place. Similar additions and changes are occurring in bus lines cited, some of which
run only in the Summer months. Changes also are possible in the automobile routes and detours. Consult nearest
automobile clubs or ask at garages, etc., as to routes.
This ends the Summary of the Albany-Syracuse (145 m.) highway section of this great New York-Buffalo
transportation tri-route - by highway, railroad and waterway. The detailed and illustrated description of the Old
Mohawk Turnpike section (Schenectady to Rome, 95 m.) will be found in pages following the foreword (entitled "The Old
Mohawk Turnpike and Mohawk Valley") - the description beginning under the heading of Schenectady. The foregoing
summarized matter, from Schenectady to Rome, is therein given with many illustrations and with more interest and
particularity. It you read it you will "know your route."