Rome Fire Department
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  • Historical Facts

    Oct 18, 2010

    Rome is a city in Oneida County, New York, United States. It is considered[by whom?] a part of upstate New York. The population was 34,950 at the 2000 census. It is in New York's 24th congressional district. During the Revolutionary War and for years thereafter, the city was originally known as Fort Stanwix, due to the fort being the only existing building in the area. In 1796, the city was founded and named Lynchville. Some time later, the city's name was changed to Rome, assumingly after the Italian city of Rome. The exact time, the reason, and the idea for this name change remains a mystery. Rome is one of two principal cities in the Utica–Rome, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is in the south-central part of the county. In the heart of the Leatherstocking Region made famous by James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, Rome is known as the City of American History.


    Early History: The Oneida Carrying Place

    For hundreds of years, the area occupied by the modern City of Rome, NY has enjoyed great strategic and commercial importance, sitting along an ancient east/west and northern trade route from the Great Lakes and Canada to the Hudson River and the sea. The city is built astride the Oneida Carrying Place, known to the Six Nations or Haudenosaunee people, as Deo-Wain-Sta, or The Great Carrying Place. These names refer to a portage road or path between the Mohawk River to east and Wood Creek to the west, leading to Lake Ontario. Located within the modern city limits, this short portage path was the only overland section of a trade route stretching over a thousand miles between Lake Ontario and the lower Hudson. Boats coming up the Mohawk River from the Hudson had to transfer their cargo and boats overland between 1.7 and six miles (depending on the season) to continue west to Lake Ontario.

    The region was the scene of bloody fighting during the French and Indian War. The British had erected several small forts to guard the Oneida Carrying Place and the lucrative fur trade against French incursions from Canada. However, a combined French, Canadian and Native American force overwhelmed and massacred a British force in the Battle of Fort Bull. Later in 1758, after several abortive attempts to fortify the area, the British sent a very large force to secure the Oneida Carry and build a stronger rampart complex named Fort Stanwix. The fort was abandoned at the conclusion of the war.

    American Revolution: "The Fort that Never Surrendered"

    At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, American Continental forces reoccupied, rebuilt and improved Fort Stanwix. The installation played a pivotal role in the Saratoga Campaign of 1777, becoming renowned as "the fort that never surrendered". Patriot militia, regulars, and their Oneida Nation allies under the command of Col. Peter Gansevoort, successfully repelled a prolonged siege in August 1777 by British, German, Loyalist, Canadian and Native American troops and warriors commanded British Gen. Barry St. Leger. The failed siege combined with the battle at nearby Oriskany as well as the battles of Bennington, and Saratoga thwarted a coordinated British effort to take the northern colonies, and led to American alliances with France and the Netherlands.

    After the British repulse at Fort Stanwix, bloody fighting erupted along the American northern frontier, resulting in terrible losses to American settlers but especially the people of the Six Nations. Fort Stanwix became the primary staging point for American attacks against British loyalist units and their Haudenosaunee allies, including the Sullivan Expedition of 1779, a ruthless scorched earth campaign against Iroqouis villages allied with the British. This campaign was ordered by George Washington in response to fierce frontier attacks and atrocities such as the Cherry Valley Massacre by loyalist irregulars led by Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant and John Butler. The fort continued to shield America's northwest frontier from British campaigns until finally abandoned in 1781.

    Commercial Growth: The Erie Canal

    The Oneida Carry and the critical east/west American trade route through the frontier was formalized by construction of the Erie Canal. On July 4, 1817 construction on the Erie Canal began in Rome;

    Manufacturing Legacy: The Copper City

    Revere Copper Products, Inc. is one of the oldest, if not the oldest manufacturing company in the United States.[1] Revere Copper Products Incorporated was formed in Rome, NY between 1928 and 1929 as a series of mergers between several companies of which one of them being Revere Copper Company located in Canton, Massachusetts. The first president of Revere Copper Products, Inc George H. Allen was formerly the president of Michigan Copper and Brass Company[2] also included in the merger. The early history of Revere Copper Products, Inc is detailed in the book Copper Heritage: The Story of Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. by Isaac F. Marcosson. At one time, 10 percent of all copper products used in the United States were manufactured in Rome.

    Jesse Williams founded America's first cheese factory at Rome in 1851.

    The City of Rome was incorporated in 1870.

    Cold War and Technology Role

    Between 1951 and 1991, the Rome Air Development Center (RADC) was located at Griffiss AFB. In 1991, the RADC was redesignated Rome Laboratory. It remained active as the Griffiss AFB was closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process in 1993. In 1997, Rome Laboratory was made part of the Air Force Research Laboratory and renamed the Rome Research Site. The RADC has been responsible for some of the United States Air Force's major technological accomplishments, especially in the area of radio communications.

    The Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) is also located in Rome, on the site of the former Griffiss Air Force Base.

    The nationally recognized rock festival, Woodstock 1999 was held in Rome, with the city once again making use of the former Griffiss Air Force Base site. The 3-day festival was held the weekend of July 23–25, and drew a crowd of about 200,000 people. Cable network MTV covered the concert extensively, and live coverage of the entire weekend was available on pay-per-view. The festival featured a diverse assortment of acts including Metallica, Kid Rock, DMX, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Wyclef Jean; early reviews for many of the acts were positive; critics particularly praised performances by George Clinton, Jamiroquai, James Brown, Sheryl Crow, and Rage Against the Machine. A full list of appearances can be found at Woodstock 1999.

    In July 2005, New York City developers, Park Drive Estates, purchased the former Woodhaven Housing- formerly the base housing for Griffiss Air Force officers and enlisted military members, and are in the process of re-developing that land into a resort-style active adult community.


    Rome is located at 43°13′10″N 75°27′48″W? / ?43.21944°N 75.46333°W? / 43.21944; -75.46333 (43.219469, -75.463330).[3]

    Rome is one of the largest cities by area in New York State. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 75.7 square miles (196.0 km²), of which, 74.9 square miles (194.1 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (1.9 km²) of it (0.99%) is water.

    A Unique Environment: The Rome Sand Plains

    Located within the city is a rare environmental area: the Rome Sand Plains. The Rome Sand Plains is a 15,000-acre inland pine barrens that consists of a diverse mosaic of high sand dunes and low peat bogs, mixed northern hardwood forests, meadows and wetlands. The Rome Sand Plains harbor rare and unusual species, including carnivorous plants like the pitcher plant and sundew, and animals like the red-shouldered hawk and fisher. It is one of only a handful of inland pine barrens remaining in the United States. Several civic groups including the Nature Conservancy in conjunction with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have successfully preserved portions of the Sand Plains and visitors are able to walk and bike this unique environment.


    As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 34,950 people, 13,653 households, and 8,328 families residing in the city. The population density was 466.4 people per square mile (180.1/km²). There were 16,272 housing units at an average density of 217.2/sq mi (83.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.85% White, 7.58% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.35% from other races, and 2.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.72% of the population. Like other cities in the region, Rome has a large Italian-American presence, which is especially prevalent in the Little Italy in the vicinity of East Dominick Street.

    There were 13,653 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93.

    In the city the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 105.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.

    The median income for a household in the city was $33,643, and the median income for a family was $42,928. Males had a median income of $31,635 versus $23,899 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,604. About 12.0% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.

    Rome averages over 120 inches of snowfall each winter, mostly due to its proximity to Lake Ontario and the lake-effect snow that it produces. The West Rome Riders, Inc. snowmobile club[5] calls Rome its home base, maintaining 41 miles of trails in and around Rome.


    The city of Rome will soon be home to a professional sports franchise, when the Rome Frenzy of the Federal Hockey League begin play in November 2010. The team will play its home games in the recently renovated John F. Kennedy Civic Arena.


    The city government consists of a mayor and a common council. The mayor is elected at large. The common council consists of 8 members who are elected from one of 8 wards. Each ward elects one member.

    Notable residents

    • Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance
    • Walter R. Brooks, author of the Freddy the Pig children's book series
    • Mark Chadbourne, composer and recording artist
    • Archi Cianfrocco, Major League Baseball player
    • Jerry Cook, NASCAR driver, six-time NASCAR Modified Champion, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers, currently NASCAR Competition Administrator
    • Richie Evans, NASCAR driver, nine-time NASCAR Modified Champion, one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers
    • Henry A. Foster, U.S. Representative and Senator from New York, Judge of the New York Supreme Court
    • Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family[6]
    • John B. Jervis, leading U.S. civil engineer of the early 19th century, designer of the Croton Aqueduct, the High Bridge of New York City and the 4-2-0 railroad locomotive
    • Charles H. Larrabee, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
    • Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Executive Vice President for Labor Relations & Human Resources, Major League Baseball
    • Sheila McInerney, WTA tennis tour player; Head Coach, Women's Tennis, Arizona State University
    • Thomas J. McInerney, Chairman and CEO, ING Americas; member, Executive Board, ING Group
    • Tom Myslinski, NFL player
    • Frank Page, cartoonist, Bob the Squirrel comic strip [7]
    • Pat Riley, former NBA head coach; President, Miami Heat
    • Tim Russ, actor, Star Trek: Voyager
    • Tim Sestito, minor league hockey player
    • Tom Sestito, minor league hockey player
    • Richard D. Simons, Associate Justice, New York State Court of Appeals, 1983–1997
    • Anthony Washington, Discus World Champion (1999), four-time Discus National Champion, three-time Olympian: 1992, 1996, 2000
    • Benjamin Wright, Chief Engineer of the Erie Canal
    • Joseph H. Boardman, CEO of Amtrak 2008–Present


    • Rome Railroad Station

    See also

    • Capitol Theatre (Rome, NY)


    1. ^ Revere Copper
    2. ^ "Business & Finance: Mergers: Oct. 22, 1928". Time. 1928-10-22. Click here. 
    3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Click here. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
    4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Click here. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
    5. ^ West Rome Riders
    6. ^ John, Syliva (1982-01-20). "Obituary: Rome Woman Was Friend of Alex Haley". Utica (NY) Observer Dispatch. Click here. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
    7. ^ Meet Frank Page

    External links

    • Jervis Library Local History Links
    • Rome, NY Military Museum
    • Rome, NY official webpage
    • Rome Daily Sentinel (newspaper)
    • History of Rome, NY
    • Rome Historical Society
    • Erie Canal Village
    • Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad
    • Rome Frenzy Professional Hockey Club

    Oct 18, 2010


    The following is a record of the major part of the business interests in Rome in 1848:

    It should be borne in mind that the great fire in January, 1846, which originated in the shoeshop (up stairs) of John McCarrick, in a building then situated where the store of R. Keeney afterwards was, swept away all of the buildings on the northerly side of Dominick street from and including the American corner to a point a little west of the site of the Willett House. In that year and the next the burned district was mainly rebuilt, except that most of the buildings east of where Rufus Keeney & Son’s hat store was were not ready for occupancy until late in the year 1847 and some not until 1848. The Willett House was finished in the last named year and E. R Lewis became its first landlord, and a capital landlord and a prince of good fellows he was. He subsequently removed to Chittenango and kept the Spring House there, and not far from 1857 was chief clerk in the National Hotel at Washington.

    In 1846 William Atkinson was in the clothing business in what became a shoe store next to the Willett House. Mr. Atkinson had clerked in Kingsley’s clothing store in Utica for four years prior to 1847 and in September of that year he came to Rome to start in business. Next east of Mr. Atkinson, Peck & Keeler were in the notion and dry goods trade. Subsequently Mr. Keeler went across the street and the firm of Keeler & Stokes was there established. About 1868—70 Mr. Keeler went to New York. Next east of Peck & Keeler J. Stalker was in the clothing business. He came from New York city in the spring of 1847 and subsequently located on the opposite side of Dominick street. In the store afterwards occupied by Mr. Atkinson, H. A. Wilcox and S. W. Mudge were in the dry goods and crockery trade. Farther east Elmer Brothers carried on a grocery and bakery. Where Wardwell Brothers are, Harmon Emerson was in the hardware business and over this store Dr. J. A. Cowles had his dental rooms.

    In 1847 Daniel Cady had come up from the Armstrong block and located in Jeptha Matteson’s building where J. S. Dyett afterwards carried on business. It was considered in that year quite out of town, as it was the last dry goods store west on that side of the street. Mr. Cady kept dry goods and dealt extensively in merchant iron. H. D. Spencer, H. K. White, and Eugene Vogell were his clerks. Mr. Spencer came to Rome as his clerk in 1845 and Mr. White in the spring of 1846 and a few years later went into business for themselves. The firm of Spencer & White has ever since been in existence and is the oldest in that line in Rome.

    On that side of the street T. J. Hyde and A. H. Edgerton were in the grocery business. Francis Bicknell was in jewelry trade near there and also J. S. Hovey. S. B. Stevens was in the boot and shoe business in the store afterwards occupied by M. M. Davis; he came to Rome in 1826. Robert Walker and Morris Chappell were merchant tailors in the store afterwards occupied by Robert T. Walker. Near by, Levi Scofil and Richard Dunning were together in the grocery and provision business. Jeptha Matteson was engaged in the cabinet and furniture business. He came to Rome in 1820 and started in the business in 1824. C. F. Williams and Jabez Wight were partners in the hat, cap, and fur business in the store long occupied by N. P. Rudd, and Rufus Keeney was then in their employ. J. A. Dudley and H. S. Hill were in the drug business where F. J. Hager & Co. now are. Henry Veazie was a merchant tailor just east of Dudley & Hill. Dr. J. M. Sturdevant had come from Lewis county that year and had his office in the Empire block, the same building where a quarter of a century later he was found dead in a chair in his office.

    The American was kept by A. Rowe, whose rotund form and genial face will be remembered by some of the older Romans. Just around the corner on James street Frank Edwards was established in the boot and shoe trade; some years later he removed to the southerly side of Dominick Street opposite the Willett House. Next to Mr. Edwards, R. G. Savery was in trade. James Merrill, Sr., who built the Merrill block in 1844, was in the harness and saddlery business there in 1848, and Gordonier Freer was at work in the same building. Mr. Freer came to Rome in April, 1831, on the first canal packet that left Utica in that year. In 1848 Dr. J. V. Cobb had his dwelling and office on or near the site of the Sink opera house. On the grounds occupied by the Hill block and the Fort Stanwix Bank building, there stood the Northern Hotel then kept by Horace Putnam, father of P. R. and B. H. Putnam. Mr. Putnam was a genial and companionable landlord and had a large patronage from the surrounding country. Stanwix Hall was then kept by M. D. Hollister.

    In the Armstrong block J. & E. B. Armstrong were in trade. Col. E. B. Armstrong became a Roman in 1826 and no man was more actively engaged in business or made a deeper impress on the material interests of the place than he. The law firm of Foster, Bennett & Boardman was in the same block, and H. W. Johnson was a law student in the office. He was subsequently deputy secretary of state. In the same block Henry Hayden and S. P. Lewis were in trade and Thomas Ball had just started a drug store there. In the upper story of that block the Rome Sentinel was published by C. Comstock and A. J. Rowley. Opposite that block and in the white store house on the canal, W. O. McClure was in the book and periodical trade, and 1. S. Parker was in the forwarding business.

    In the building where was erected the Dyett block, H. M. Lawton and R. S. Doty were in the grocery business and also were partners with Mudge, Langford & Co. in dry goods and hardware trade further up the street and around the corner on Dominick street. Mr. Lawton first came to Rome in 1842. Glen Petrie was in the meat business in the Dyett block on the canal. He came to Rome in 1832 and learned the trade of butcher with James Farquharson, then in that business on the old canal. William McPhee was a merchant tailor in the same building, and J. B. McHarg was in business up stairs. Alva Mudge, P. B. Langford, and Frank De Ryther were of the firm of Mudge, Langford & Co. Mr. Mudge was for many years a conspicuous figure in the business interests of Rome.

    Fort Stanwix Bank was started in 1848 and was located on the corner where Lawton & Co.’s store was. David Utley was its first presi dent; W. N. Nellis, cashier, and H. G. Utley, teller. On the second floor overhead Comstock & Beach were together as attorneys and their only law student was David E. Wager. On the third floor of that block the Roman Citizen was published by Alfred Sandford and George Scott. J. P. Fitch was editor. Judge G. H. Lynch was admitted to the bar a year or so before and he and John Stryker were law partners and had their office near that of Comstock & Beach. Where the First National Bank is now located, Nathaniel Mudge had a dry goods store in 1848. O. D. & C. P. Grosvenor had a bookstore where is now the Armstrong store.

    W. H. and Z. Hill and William L. Howland were in company in the dry goods trade where H. W. Mitchell was afterwards located. Overhead Frost & Utley and C. M. Denison had their law offices. In the third story of that block was Tibbits Hall where the courts were held in 1848, while the court house was being built. It was the only public hall in Rome in those days. In the Checkered store afterwards occupied by G. N. & J. G. Bissell, G. N. and J. G. Bissell and Benjamin Leonard
    were partners in the drug business. Timothy N. Kellogg was their clerk. Some old citizens may remember the witticisms and practical jokes of genial Tim Kellogg. Overhead, Drs. H. H. Pope and H. H. Beach had their office. Next beyond was the store built by H. G. Giles and where he was in the stove trade in 1848. Farther west and next to the Central Bank building was the Arcade where the post-office was kept by Jay Hathaway. Drs. A. Blair and T. J. Bergen were partners and had their office there.

    James H. Carroll, who came to Rome in 1830, had a boot and shoe store in the Arcade, and G. E. Cone, who first came to Rome in 1837, was Mr. Carroll’s foreman. Perkins & Ailport were together in the dental business Andrew Gilbert had a barber shop in the Arcade, Mrs. S. Mallison a millinery store, and J. B. Smith a daguerrean gallery. On the ground now occupied by Spencer & White, Jacob Stevens kept the Farmers’ Hotel in a wooden structure, and had since 1835. Farther on John Harrington had just started a saloon. Still farther west L. E. Elmer and J. M. Root were in the bakery business and near by A. Spencer, who came to Rome in 1838, was in the stove business and with him as employee was J. D. Ely. Mr. Ely, when a boy on June 27, 1839, came to Rome on the first train of cars which ran over the road west of Utica. Benjamin Lehmair had a dry goods store near by and Daniel Sterns had a grocery nearly opposite the Willett House; in that vicinity also George Alexander and Alva Briggs were in the furniture business.

    Joseph Higgins had a blacksmith shop where he continued many later years, and Col. J. B. Bradt was in the same business, but found time to attend to politics. He was a resident of Rome from 1828. Woodman Kimball was a master builder and an influential Whig; B. C. Dean was in the same business, as also was D. B. Prince. John J. Parry, jr., was then just coming to the front as a master mechanic and builder and an active Democratic politician. V. O. Amidon was express messenger. E. M. Hinckley railroad ticket agent and the first one in Rome, and G. W. Swan was telegraph operator and clerk in the postoffice. Daniel Petrie was a Rome constable. A. W. Cole was a painter and glazier and George P. Russ, who came to Rome in 1846, was learning his trade with Mr. Cole. Orson Wheeler was a manufacturer of plows and Albert Soper and W. R. Simmons had a lumber yard on the canal near Washington street and a carpenter shop on Liberty street east of James. J. M. Orton was in the furniture business and A. A. Pavey in the notion trade. Harrison Jacobs, who came to Rome in 1825, was in the forwarding and grocery business on the canal. N. H. Leffingwell and B. B. Hyde were in the forwarding business in the old red storehouse, and A. Ethridge and W. Northrup were in groceries in the white storehouse opposite the Armstrong block. In that year Mr. Ethridge was for the first ±ime elected supervisor and Frank De Ryther town clerk in the Democratic town of Rome.

    The only public school then in the village was taught by C. W. White in the school house on the site of Zion church. E. H. Shelley was town superintendent of schools, and the trustees were J. D. Gage, R. G. Savery, and Elon Comstock. The Rome Academy was started that year with Rev. S. R. Brown, principal, and J. S. Townsend, assistant. Miss S. Jennings was preceptress and Miss Cadwell assistant, with Miss Sarah G. Sill in charge of the primary department.

    Thomas, Court and Embargo streets were unoccupied west of Washington street, and George street was worked only as far north as Court street. There was only one dwelling on the west side of Washington street (the Presbyterian parsonage) between the dwelling of the late M. L. Brainard and the dwelling of J. B. Jervis. There were only two or three trains each way on the Syracuse and Utica Railroad and the New York papers did not reach Rome until thirty-six hours after their issue.

    While these notes do not, probably, cover every business interest at Rome at the date under consideration, they give a good general idea of the situation.

    Our City and its People
    A Descriptive work on
    Edited by: Daniel E. Wagner
    The Boston History Company, Publishers 1896


    Oct 18, 2010


    The first Rome merchant located at Fort Stanwix early in the spring of 1793 and displayed his slender stock of goods in a room in the tavern kept by John Barnard, a little northeasterly of the site of the present court house. This merchant was George Huntington, a native of Connecticut, twenty-three years old. He had served a year as clerk at Whitestown and had visited the Fort prospecting, and concluded that the outlook for trade was good. He accordingly joined with his brother Henry and began business as above stated. In 1794 Mr. Huntington built a frame store and a frame dwelling on Dominick street near the corner where the Merrill block was erected. Some of the account books of that old mercantile firm are in existence, and it is of interest to know that seventy or eighty years ago charges were made for rum and brandy against customers about as frequently as for any other merchandise; this would be equally true with reference to any other merchant of those days, and a list of such customers included deacons, elders and members of churches as well as others. When Rome was organized as a town in 1796 Mr. Huntington was supervisor, and when the county was formed three years later he was appointed one of the side judges of the Common Pleas, and was twice reappointed. He was elected supervisor of Rome in 1804, 1814 and 1817. In 1810 he was elected to the Assembly, and in 1813 was elected lieutenant-governor on the “War Ticket.” In 1815 he ran for the State Senate in opposition to Henry Seymour, father of Governor Seymour, but was defeated. He was elected to the Assembly in 1818—19—20—21. Under the new Constitution of 1822 he ran again for senator, but was defeated. He was trustee of Rome village in 1820—21—22—26—27. He and his brother Henry retired from mercantile business about 1816 and devoted their attention to their other interests in the State. George Huntington died in Rome in September, 1841.

    Henry Huntington was elected as assessor and school commissioner in Rome in 1800, and 1803—7 was chosen supervisor. In 1804 he was elected to the State Senate, the first one in Rome. In 1806 he was a member of the Council of Appointment, and 1808 and 1812 was presidential elector. In 1816-17 he was elected to the Assembly, and in June, 1821, was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention. He ran twice for lieutenant-governor, 1822 and 1826, but was defeated on both occasions. The Bank 01 Utica was started in 1812 and in the following year Mr. Huntington was elected as its second president and held the position until a short time before his death, a period of thirty two years. He died in Rome in October, 1846.

    Alva Mudge was the son of Nathaniel, and the latter was the sixth generation from Jarvis Mudge, the first of the name to come to America from England in 1638. Nathaniel Mudge settled in Rome not far from 1800 and lived in a small frame house just west of the site of the Willett House. He afterwards lived in other places, and had a grocery on the corner of James and Whitesboro streets, on a part of the site of Stanwix Hall. He died in February, 1821. Alva Mudge was the fourth of his ten children and the elder son. In 1826 he began business as a grocer in the old Checkered building. In 1837 he and his brother-in-law, Roland S. Doty, purchased the premises on Dominick Street in some part of which he was long in business, either alone or with Mr. Doty. During his long life in Rome he was prominently identified with the growth of the place, and as trustee of the village, of the Presbyterian church, a director in the banks and various other enterprises, he gained the confidence and respect of the community.

    Lebbeus E. Elmer, son of Theodorus Elmer, was born in Montgomery county October 21, 1791. He worked at farming until he was twenty years old, and in June, 1831, settled in Rome. The first work he did was to aid Nathaniel Mudge in digging a well on the lot where Stanwix Hall stands. Later he began the grocery trade. He married a sister of Alva Mudge and was all the remainder of his life a leading citizen. He held the offices of assistant U. S. assessor of internal revenue, U. S. deputy collector, deputy sheriff, and other positions of honor.

    John B. Jervis came with his parents to Rome, from Long Island, in the same year Oneida county was formed. In 1817, when the construction of the Erie Canal commenced, Benjamin Wright, the engineer, was in need of an axman, and young Jervis was temporarily engaged. He was ready with an ax and apt in learning, and soon after he was promoted to the position of rodman in the survey, for twelve dollars per month. He then turned his attention to the study and practice of surveying and engineering, and made such proficiency under Mr. Wright that in two years he was made resident engineer, at one dollar and a quarter a day, on seventeen miles of the canal, extending from Madison into Onondaga county. After remaining there two years he was made resident engineer for two years more, on a more difficult and important division near Amsterdam. In 1823 he was made superiütendent of the work for fifty miles of the canal, employing and discharging all the subordinates. When the canal was completed in 1825, having been seven years on that work, he resigned to engage in higher duties, and he received from Henry Seymour, canal commissioner and the father of Governor Seymour, a kind and very commendatory letter. He received from Benjamin Wright, then chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, the appointment of assistant engineer, and upon Mr. Jervis devolved the main duties. He examined the route, and on his recommendation the use of the river, for part of the way, as was first intended, was abandoned. He was engaged as engineer on a great many other works of internal improvement, among which may be mentioned the railroad between Albany and Schenectady, the Schenectady and Saratoga Railroad, the Chenango Canal, the eastern division of the Erie Canal on its enlargement in 1836, the Croton Water Works, supplying New York city with water, and which was considered the greatest piece of engineering skill in the world, and the success of which gave Mr. Jervis a world wide reputation. He was consulting engineer to supply Boston with water, and chief engineer of the Hudson River Railroad, etc. The water works of Port Jervis (a place on the Erie Railroad named after him) were constructed under his approval and the Rome water works plan was submitted to him and received his sanction. He was during most of his long life a consistent and active member of the First church in Rome, which he joined in 1816.

    Lynden Abell, who died June 28, 1884, was a native of New Hampshire, and settled in Rome in 1826. He was a baker and confectioner, and later a prominent contractor on public works, particularly on the canals. He was one of the founders of the First M. E. church, and an honorable and useful citizen.

    Marquis D. Hollister died November 23, 1891. He was born in the town of Chatham, Conn., in June, 1811, and after learning the harnessmaking trade, settled in Rome in the winter of 1836—7, leasing a hotel the property of his uncle, Jeremiah Brainerd, on the south side of the canal, for $150 a year. Four years later he engaged in the stage and livery business with Giles Hawley and M. L. Kenyon. In 1846 he leased the Stanwix Hall hotel and kept it two years, afterwards re-engaging in the livery business which he followed until 1885. He was a Whig politician of some prominence.

    Jesse Walworth was born in the town of Rome, July 26, 1806, and died March 9, 1892. His father was also named Jesse, and was one of the pioneers. Mr. Walworth was employed nearly the whole of his active life in building operations for Benjamin and Edward Huntington. He was a Whig and Republican in politics, but held no office except village trustee.

    William T. Pratt, born in Lyme, Conn,, October 29, 1800, was a son of Daniel Pratt, and died in Rome, April 1, 1893. The family settled in Rome in 1816. Mr. Pratt was a carpenter by trade and was engaged in building operations up to within a short time of his death. He was upright in business and an industrious and useful citizen.

    Our City and its People
    A Descriptive work on
    Edited by: Daniel E. Wagner
    The Boston History Company, Publishers 1896

    Oct 18, 2010


    Matthew Brown, jr., was postmaster of Rome in 1800 and kept the office in his store on the site now occupied by F. A. Brockett, formerly J. D. Ely. Mr. Brown was doubtless the first postmaster of Rome. Joshua Hathaway was appointed about 1808 and held the office until his death in 1836. He was succeeded by his son Jay who remained in the office until 1849, when he was succeeded by R. G. Savery and the latter by A. J. Rowley. In 1857 D. E Wager succeeded Mr. Rowley and in 1861 E. H. Shelley was appointed. In the fall of 1867 S. P. Lewis was appointed to succeed Mr. Shelley, but in the spring of the next year Mr. Shelley was reinstated, and was succeeded in 1870 by B. Whitman Williams, who was succeeded in 1881 by G. M. Palmer. J. D. Corcoran was appointed by President Cleveland in 1885, and was followed by Judge Scripture in 1889. Judge Scripture resigned in 1893, and the present postmaster C. H. Dunning was given the place.

    In 1820 and previously the mails were brought from Utica to Rome sometimes on horseback and some of the time in a one horse conveyance, Bildad Merrill, of Utica, having the contract and his son being the post rider. This was a semi weekly mail seventy years ago. About the same time George Washington Frederick Steuben Parkhurst, of Whitesboro, carried a weekly mail from Utica north via Rome to Sackett’s Harbor. In 1824, or thereabouts, Mr. Nichols, son-in law of James Thompson, who then kept the American Hotel in Rome, ran a line of stages and carried the mail between Utica and Oswego via Rome. A man in Jefferson county succeeded Mr. Parkhurst in this contract. Not far from 1830 Col. Elisha Backus, of Trenton, and Samuel Buckley, of Watertown, succeeded the Jefferson county contractor. The sons of Mr. Thqmpson also carried mails north from Rome about that time. M. L. Kenyon, stage driver under Backus, bought out the latter and after that he, M. D. Hollister and Giles Hawley were successively interested in these stage lines and in carrying mails. It is related that while Joshua Hathaway was postmaster he would permit no talking, wearing of hats, or standing up in the post-office while the mail was being distributed. As soon as the mail was brought in he would remark in a stern voice to those present, “Gentlemen, the United States mail has come; be seated and take off your hats, and no talking while the United States mail is being opened and distributed.” The order was obeyed with as much deference as is the similar order at court to keep silence under pain of imprisonment, while a judge delivers a charge to a grand jury.

    After Jay Hathaway’s incumbency in the post-office, the office was about 1840 removed to the southwest corner of James and Dominick streets, and about 1845 to the Arcade. Soon after the cars, began running west from Utica in 1839, the mails were brought here thereon, and as Kenyon & Co. had the carrying of the mails north of here, the post-office department insisted that it belonged to those contractors to carry the mails between the depot and the post-office. The mails were so carried by them for a number of years, but at last they gave it up and the postmaster had to see to it himself for a time. The first regular mail carrier between the depot and the post-office was Warren Raymond; he received $80 a year compensation. After him Charles Yorkey was carrier at the same pay. In May, 1849, Mr. Williams commenced in the position and continued twenty to thirty years. When he began he carried the mail on his arm in a small leather bag, the bag being about as large as himself. In a year or two the mail increased and he had to use a wheelbarrow and still later a hand-cart. In 1852 he was compelled to use a horse and wagon. When A. J. Rowley was appointed postmaster he removed the office to Elm Row. Sunday, July 29, 1866, Elm Row was burned and the post-office was temporarily removed to the court house. When the block was built on the site of Elm Row the office was removed thither in February, 1867.

    Our City and its People
    A Descriptive work on
    Edited by: Daniel E. Wagner
    The Boston History Company, Publishers 1896

    Oct 18, 2010

    History of Rome, NY
    FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
    OF Oneida County, N. Y. For 1869.
    Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1862


    ROME was formed from Steuben, March 4, 1796. It lies upon the Mohawk, a little west of the center of the County. Its surface is level and some portion of it low and marshy. The Mohawk flows south-east through the east part, and Wood Creek flows west through the north-west part. Fish Creek, forms the north-west boundary. The soil generally is a gravelly loam and highly productive. On the south line of the town is a quarry of freestone, and on the north line, along the banks of the Mohawk and Gulf Brook, are large masses of shale. In excavating the canal through the swamp, clam shells of a large size, charcoal and ashes, were found imbedded eight feet below the surface.

    Rome, (p. v.) situated upon the Mohawk, south-east of the center of the town, was incorporated March 26, 1819. It is a half shire of the County, and contains the County buildings, thirteen churches, four banks, two newspaper offices, an academy, several private schools and several extensive manufactories. It is the most important station on the New York Central R. R. and Erie canal between Utica and Syracuse, and is the southern terminus of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburgh R. R. The Oswego & Rome R. R. connects with this at Richiand, and is under the same management. The Black River Canal also terminates at this village. The public schools are all under one board of trustees and in a prosperous condition. The Union School, occupying a large building on Liberty street, is under the management of Mr. L. H. Birdseye, Principal, assisted by nine female teachers in the various departments.

    The Rome Academy was incorporated April 28, 1835, re-incorporated by the Regents, March 15, 1849. It occupies a beautiful site at the corner of James and Court streets, and is valued at $11,500. The estimated value of the library and apparatus is $1200. The school is now in a very flourishing condition, and under its present able management is well worthy of the patronage it receives from this and adjoining counties. There are several private schools, affording ample facilities for the education of the youth of both sexes.

    The Rome iron Works, Edward Huntington, Pres’t., is a large establishment engaged in the manufacture of railroad iron, employing 160 hands and turning out about 10,000 tons of iron annually. The R. W. & O. R. R. Co., have a large shop where they manufacture locomotives, cars, &c.

    The Rome Merchant Iron Mill, in process of erection, is 150 by 90 feet, with truss roof upon brick piers. Its capacity when completed wIll be 6000 tons annually. The capital of the company is $100,000. J. B. Hyde, Manager, Secretary and Treasurer.

    The Rome Iron and Steel Bloom Co., and a large number of smaller manufacturing establishments are located here.

    The New York Fuller’s Earth and Soap Manufacturing Com pany is a corporation formed for the purpose of mining, preparing and vending Fuller’s Earth. The principal office of the company is at Rome. They own a bed of this earth, located in the town of Vienna, of about ninety-five acres and ranging in depth from fifteen to thirty feet. The capital stock of the company is $400,000, divided into 8000 shares. The officers of the company are Palmer V. Kellogg, President; David Utley, Vice President; A. J. McIntosh, Secretary.

    The village is well laid out, the streets are nicely shaded and lighted with gas, rendering it one of the pleasantest villages in Central New York. The population is about 10,000.

    West Rome is a thickly settled suburb, just west of Rome.

    Stanwix, (p. o.) on the canal is a hamlet.

    Green's Corners is a station on the N. Y. C. R. R., in the southwest corner.

    Ridge Mills and North Rome are hamlets.

    The “Carrying Place,” between the Mohawk and Wood Creek, was discovered and made available at a very early period. At this point the two streams approach within a mile and a half of each other and are deep enough for batteau navigation. The Dutch inhabitants called the place “Trow Plat,” while the Indians called it .De-o-wain-sta, meaning the place where canoes are carried across from one stream to the other. There is a tradition that two forts were erected at this place. previous to the ereetloit of Fort Stanwix, but we have no reliable account of them. “Fort Bull,” upon Wood Creek, is said by some to have been erected in 1725, but the commandant, at the time of its capture by M. De Lery, bore the name of Bull, hence some have inferred that it was built but a short time previous. This Fort was surprised and taken by M. De Lery, with a party of French and Indians numbering $62, March 27, 1756. The English garrison numbered ninety. From the account of De Lery, found in “Documentary History of the State of New York,” we learn that the besiegers had been fifteen days in coming from Montreal, and for two days were entirely without provisions. “It is estimated that more than 40,000 weight of powder was burned or thrown into the creek, with a number of grenades, bombs and balls of different calibre. A great deal of salted provisions, bread, butter, chocolate, sugar and other provisions, were likewise thrown into the water. The stores were filled with cloths and other effects, which were pillaged, the remainder burnt. This day has cost the English ninety rncn, of whom thirty are prisoners.” Other accounts say only five escaped the sword of the conquerors. Fort Williams, on the Mohawk, was destroyed by Gen. Webb, after the reduction of Oswego, in 1756.

    Fort Stanwix was built in 1758, by Brig. Gen. John Stanwix, at a cost of 60,000 pounds sterling. It was a square work, constructed on the most approved scientific principles of military engineering, having four bastions and surrounded by a ditch. It stood a few rods south of the present park in the village of Rome. After the close of the French war it was of little use, and was suffered to go to decay. In 1776 it was repaired and an attempt was made to change its name to Fort Schuyler, which has caused some confusion in subsequent history, though Col. Willett, in his narrative, speaks of it as Fort Stanwix. It was besieged by St. Leger in 1777, but without success. A force under Gen. Herkimer, sent to raise the siege, fell into an ambuscade, and the battle of Oriskany was the result. This battle was fought at great disadvantage to the Americans. Their baggage and ammunition wagons fell into the hands of the enemy on the first attack, leaving them with only the ammunition contained in their cartridge boxes. The day was warm, and with no water, they contended for six hours, causing the enemy to suffer as much as themselves. Gen. Herkimer received a wound which caused his death. Capt. Jacob Gardinier distinguished himself in this battle. After receiving several wounds he crept into a cavity at the roots of a tree and continued the fight, by the aid of a Dutch boy, who brought him the guns of the fallen soldiers. The Captain was afterwards cured of thirteen wounds. While this hattie was going on, Col. Willett made a sortie from the Fort, attacked the Tory camp, and immediately after, the Indian camp, capturing the entire camp equipage, clothing, blankets, stores, &c., and the baggage and papers of most of the officers. Among the plunder were five British standards. The siege was raised the 25th of August. After the close of the war the Fort was of no further use, and now not a vestige of it remains.

    The precise time when the first settlers, after the Revolution, came to Rome cannot be ascertained. Jèdediah Phelps came in 1784, and erected a shop at Wood Creek for carrying on the business of brass founder and silversmith, but the next year changed his location to Fort Stanwix. During the years 1785 and 1786, five log houses were erected in the vicinity of the Fort. In January, 1787, there were three log houses at old Fort Schuyler (Utica), seven at Whitestown, three at Oriskany, five at Fort Stanwix and three at Westmoreland. These houses, or huts, then sheltered the whole white population of the State west of Utica, except a few Indian traders. Among the early settlers, previous to 1800, were John Barnard, George Huntington, Joshua Hathaway, Dr. Stephen White, Henry Huntington, Rozel Fellows, Matthew Brown, Bill Smith, Seth Ranney, Matthew Brown, Jr., David Brown, Ebenezer, Daniel W. and Thomas Wright, Thomas Selden, Solomon and John Williams, Peter Colt, William Coibraith, Abijah and Clark Putnam, Caleb Reynolds, Rufus Eaton, Thomas Gilbert, Moses Fish, Stephen Lampman, Jeremiah Steves, Annin Wiggins and John Niles. Mr. Wiggins settled in the north-east part of the town. His son, Mr. David Wiggins, now living, came with his father in 1798; he is the oldest settler now living in the town. In 1793 John Barnard kept a tavern a few rods north-east of the present site of the Court House. Mr. George Huntington arrived soon after with a small assortment of goods, and for want of better accommodations put them up in Barnard’s bar-room. The building they occupied was the first two story building erected in Rome, and was built by Seth Ranney. In the course of the season Mr. Huntington put up a store on James street. About the first of August, 1799, Thomas Walker started the first printing press in Rome, and issued the Colunibian Gazette, a weekly paper, for the proprietors, Eaton & Walker. The first grist mill in Rome was erected in 1795, on Wood Creek, a few rods north of the United States Arsenal. In 1796 or 1797, a batteau loaded with corn arrived from Ontario County, and after the grist was ground, returned by the same route without accident. Previous to 1800, a man by the name of Logan kept a hotel in a building on the size of the “American.” In 1797, “The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company,” completed a canal between the Mohawk and Wood Creek. it was two miles long and was sufficient for “Durham boats” of forty tons burthen. The canal was supplied by a feeder from the Mohawk. It had a lock of ten feet at the eastern terminus and one of eight feet at the western. About 1812 it was estimated that 300 boats, with 1,500 tons of merchandise, went through the canal annually. This canal, with the one at Little Falls, was considered a stupendous work in its day. The United States Arsenal, magazine, workshops, &c., were erected at this place in 1813. On the 4th of July, 1817, the ground was first broken for the Erie Canal. Hon. Joshua Hathaway cast the first shovel-ful of dirt. The canal from Montezuma to Utica was so far completed as to be navigable in 1820. Bela H. Hyde was the first Collector appointed at Rome, and held the office for eighteen consecutive years. The Erie Canal, as first constructed, passed half a mile south of the village, but when it was enlarged its channel was made through the village. The construction of the New York Central Railroad and the Black River Canal, and more recently the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, have contributed greatly to the importance of the village. The first church (Congregational) was formed September 5, 1800, consisting of eleven members. Rev. Moses Giflett was the first pastor.

    The population in 1865 was 9,478, and the area 43,946 acres.

    The town contains twenty-one school districts, employing thirtytwo teachers. The whole number of scholars is 3,091; the average attendance, 787, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $13,639.38.


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