The Manufacturing Interests of the village date from 1800. That year David Smith built and got in operation a saw-mill near where the present mill stands. It did a great deal of work, yet it was not able to supply the demand for lumber, and even the slabs were used in building. From this circumstance the village was sometimes called ” Slab City.” A larger mill replaced the first one, which has long since been destroyed. In the western part of the village there is a good saw-mill, owned by Saunders & Wright.
In 1802, David Smith got in operation a small grist-mill, near his saw-mill, that superseded the stump-mortars of the early settlers, and relieved them from the necessity of making tedious journeys to Coffeen’s mill, in Rutland, or voyages in open boats from the mouth of Sandy creek to Kingston. The mills had a wide reputation, and their owner’s name was for many years synonymous with the name of the village. About 1827 the old mill was superseded by the present “Adams Mills,” built by David Smith’s son, Willard. It is a frame, 50 by 72 feet, three stories, and basement. The old-fashioned water-wheels have been replaced by the modern turbine, and ordinarily there is enough water to furnish power for the four run of stones with which the mill is supplied, and which give it a grinding capacity of 500 bushels per day. The property has been owned and operated a number of years by Frasier & Pitcher.
Tanneries were built at an early day, Seth Gaylord having one soon after his settlement, in 1806. A portion of the buildings were afterwards transformed into a brewery, by Samson Jackworth, and later into a malt-house, by A. Kellogg, for which purpose it is yet used. William Doxtater had a tannery on the site occupied by Ripley’s shoe-store, which was discontinued in 1832.
The “Jefferson Tannery,” erected in 1831, on the site formerly occupied by the distillery of Hale, Hart & Williams, by Wright, Grenell & Co., has been conducted ever since. In 1847, J. S. Lewis became the proprietor, and for several years carried on the business on a large scale. At present he does custom work principally.
In the lower part of the village John P. Weaver built a tannery in 1850, using some of the old building erected for the mill. This he and his son have carried on since, using 27 vats, and manufacturing 1000 sides annually. A specialty is made of finishing leather. Among the workers in leather at an early day were Isaiah M. Cole and Jeremiah Griswold, harness-makers, and Chauncy Smith and Edward Willard, shoemakers.
A hoe-and-fork-factory was built in 1856, by a stock company, which soon sold out to T. P. Saunders and David O. Holman. They turned it into a general machine shop, and it was operated as such until destroyed by fire. New shops were afterwards built in the lower part of the village, near the saw-mill, and water-power used. Work was carried on in an extensive way, employment being given to 20 hands. For the past few years the shops have lain idle. Saunders & Wright are the proprietors.
Among the early workers in wood and iron were Ward Fox, blacksmith, and Joseph D. Smith, wagon-maker. The Niblock, Philips and Mariott carriage-works were established in 1864. Two buildings are occupied, and six men are employed in producing general carriage-work and farm-wagons. The old Mendell block was changed into a carriage manufacturing establishment in 1874, by E. T. Littlefield. Farm wagons and all kinds of running gear are also produced. Hands employed, ten.
Wheeler’s Planing-Mill and Sash-and-Blind-Factory, an illustration of which appears in this work, was established in 1860, by W. H. Wheeler. A dam across. Sandy creek supplies power for the different shops, giving employment to ten men. Mr. Wheeler is also a lumber-dealer, builder, and contractor, and many of the buildings of the place have been designed and erected under his supervision.
Brown’s Furniture-Factory was established by Perley D. Stone and Samuel Bond in 1817. The trade was carried on by these parties forty-four years, and they were succeeded by Overton Bros. The present factory is on Sandy creek, and is operated by water-power. J. S. Brown, proprietor. There were, also, pot-and-pearl-asheries, distilleries,— by E. Morton, Hale, Hart & Williams,— and carding-mills, at an early day, and, later, a boot-and-shoe-last factory, a candle-factory, a woolen-factory, and other small factories which have been discontinued.
A large malt-house of brick, 80 by 240 feet, with slate roof, was erected at the depot, in 1855, by Rufus P. White. Its capacity is 80,000 bushels, and there are two drying-kilns. In June, 1877, Mr. White sold his interest to W. R. Waite and Henry O. Kenyon, who are now conducting it.
The first in Adams to engage in mercantile pursuits was Jesse Hale. He brought a small stock of goods with him from Oneida county when he came to the county in 1804, and had for several years the only store in the place. He died in 1808, leaving a son, — Erastus, — who is yet a citizen of the village. In 1806, Hale & Hart opened another store, which was conducted by them until 1809, when the firm became Hale, Hart & Williams, and as such they carried on a large trade, operated a distillery, and furnished supplies for the army in 1812. In 1815 there was a dissolution of the firm, and Hart took the goods to a new store on the north side of the creek, the business up to that time having been done on the south side. He retired from trade in 1825. In 1811, H. Brown began business, but sold out in a few years, and the principal trade was then carried on by M. V. V. Rosa. For more than thirty years he was a successful merchant, and retired with a competency, removing to Watertown in 1850. John H. Whipple began trade in 1820, and continued until 1859. About the same time Frederick Harter opened a store, remaining twenty years. In 1828, Erastus Hale embarked in trade, being a successful merchant many years. William Doxtater & Son were in trade many years, retiring in 1848. About this time Whipple, Eddy & Johnson opened a store, which they conducted several years. S. N. Bond engaged in business in 1845, and has continued in trade ever since, either alone or in partnership. Some of the leading firms since 1845 were Bond & Co., Angel & Chittenden, H. Miller, Stearnes & Carter, Salisbury & Bond, and Waite & Co.
In 1860, A. P. Redway began the book trade at Adams, and was in 1862 succeeded by D. A. Dwight, who associated Justus Eddy with him the following year. They have been in trade ever since as Dwight & Eddy. Besides the firms already mentioned as being in trade at present, the following are some of the principal business houses: Dry goods, Hungerford & Arms, D. E. Taylor; clothing, Lovelee & Kilby, E. B. Cooper, E. S. Salisbury; hardware, Thompson & Little, John Wait & Son; drugs, Withington & Kneeland, Fox & Ingraham, Lyman Buckley; grocers, J. O. Brown, J. E. Cook, A. H. Coughlan, A. Gilman; boots and shoes, R. Ripley & Son, Chandler & Lampson, B. F. Thayer; fancy goods and millinery. Miss L. J. Bullock and E. Bersie; jewelry, S. A. Barney, R. F. Steele; harness, M. L. Hodge, Loren Ripley; photographers, G. P. Heusted, Silas Armsbury; flour and feed and coal dealer, C. K. Stone; dentists, M. D. Manville, R. T. Kirkland; express agent, R. J. Traver; liverymen, Lockwood & Huson, C H Andrus, C. M. Totman. There are also 2 paint-shops, 2 meat markets, 1 bakery, 5 blacksmith-shops, 3 cooper-shops, 1 gunsmith-shop, and 3 insurance agencies.
The Hotels of Adams Village NY
The Hotels of Adams deserve a prominent place in its history. Early an important point on one of the principal thoroughfares from the interior to the border, numerous public houses were kept along the State road and at Adams. At this point Abel Hart was the first to open an inn, in a frame house on the site of the “Huson House.” This site has been used almost continuously for hotel purposes since 1803, he present is the fourth structure built for a hotel, and was erected by William Whitney in 1867, upon the destruction of his stone building. It is well arranged, has 30 rooms, and is finely kept by A. B. Huson, who became the proprietor in 1876. Among the other landlords were Benton, Whitney, and Dayly. South of Sandy creek was a noted hotel stand, where ” Dad” Williams kept a well-known tavern many years until his removal to the west about 1830. John Burch, Waldson, and Ranney were among the pioneers who dispensed good cheer in the village. In later years the last-named hotel was best known as the ” Lockwood House.” Its use for this purpose has been discontinued. In 1867, N. Gaylord opened the large hotel widely known as the “Cooper House.” This has been kept subsequently by the Cooper Brothers, J. W. Bertram, and H. C. Case, into whose hands it passed in 1877. Under his management it is becoming quite popular. There are 40 rooms, and the appointments are first-class.
Banking Interests of Adams Village NY
The Banking Interests of the village are intimately connected with its growth and trade, and have aided largely in giving Adams its present business character.
The “Jefferson County Bank” was located at Adams June 20, 1817, as a compromise between Watertown and Brownville, both aspirants for the location. A fine, substantial brick house was erected for its use, and it had, for a short time, a very flourishing existence. It was removed to Watertown in 1824, and its subsequent history will be detailed in that connection. The bank building has been converted into a dwelling, at present occupied by P. C. Maxon.
The “First National Bank of Adams” was established Aug. 27, 1863, with a capital of $75,000, and S. D. Hungerford, president, and R. H. Huntington, cashier. Its office was in the Hungerford bank building, and it was, in some respects, tributary to that institution. On March 17, 1873, it was merged into the Deposit National Bank of New York.
The “Adams Bank” was not one of issue, but was, more properly, a broker’s office. It was opened, in 1872, in the Whitney Block, by Gilbert & Babcock, and conducted by them until their interests were purchased by Hungerford and Huntington and transferred to their own bank, previously established.
The “Hungerford National Bank,” which is the only bank in the place, was established, in 1845, as the “Hungerford Bank,” Solon D. Hungerford sole owner, with $50,000 capital. September 1, 1853, it was changed to a banking association, with the same name, and the capital increased to $125,000. The first board of directors were: Solon D. Hungerford, Jeremiah Griswold, Philander Smith, M. R. Patrick, N. M. Wardwell, George Gates, Almanzo Braddon, Roswell Kinney, and Samuel Wardwell. In 1865 it was changed to a national bank, with the capital remaining at $125,000. The present officers are S. D. Hungerford, president; G. W. Bond, cashier. The last-elected board of directors (January, 1877) are: Solon D. Hungerford, Hart Grenell, S. D. Kimbull, A. M. Wardwell, Luther Haven, G. W. Bond, R. H. Huntington, J. A. Lawyer, and Abram Sheldon. The bank building is a substantial, detached two-story brick structure, erected in 1865, and is owned by the bank. The vaults and safes are of the best known construction and material, with time locks and all modern improvements for security against burglarious assault.
Learned Professions of Adams Village NY
The learned professions had representatives in the village at an early day. Dr. Eli Eastman being probably the first to settle as a physician. Prior to his coming, when medical attendance was required, the settlers were obliged to go twenty-five miles, through unbroken wilds, to what is now western Oneida county, using, in winter, snow-shoes to effect the journey. Dr. Eastman was greatly esteemed for his qualities as a physician and a citizen, and resided in town until his death, September 6, 1844. Dr. Joshua Bealls came about 1806, and remained in practice a number of years. John Spafford was located in the village, as a very successful physician, from 1811 to his death, in 1828. Dr. Samuel J. Gaines was here from 1823 to 1831, and was accounted a good practitioner. Walter Webb came to Adams at the instance of Dr. Spafford, whose practice he assumed on the latter’s death, and was located here until 1872, when he removed to Brooklyn. Dr. Wetmore was contemporary with Dr. Webb, and removed to the west in 1870. A Dr. Brownell came to the village in 1845, remaining until 1866. Dr. Bemis commenced his practice in 1854, and continued until 1875, when he retired. Dr. Paletiah Dwight was a practicing physician for fifty years in Henderson. In 1875 he removed to Adams, where he at present resides. E. R. Maxson, LL.D., was also in practice in the village. Dr. A. P. Hale, a botanical, has been here since 1835; his son, A. Kent Hale, is in practice as an eclectic, having located in 1875. The same year M. W. Gallup located as a homoeopathist, and now practices that system. Dr. Waldo, in 1863, was the first of that school to locate at Adams, remaining but a few years. Dr. Parley H. Johnson, a regular, has practiced since 1865; and Dr. J. Pierce, of the same school, succeeded Dr. Bemis, being at present in practice.
The legal profession of Adams has attained more than a local reputation. Lyman Munson came as the first representative, opening an office in Benton’s tavern in 1804. Micah Sterling followed in 1806; removed to Watertown. Benjamin Wright opened an office in 1808, and was soon after elected surrogate. This office he held 1 7 years. Among the students of Judge Wright was Charles G. Finney, in 1821, who attained a national reputation as an evangelist and afterwards became president of the Oberlin College.
David Wardwell came about 1812, and soon after associated Joseph P. Rossiter with him, but neither remained very long. Thomas C. Chittenden became an attorney at this place in 1812; was elected to Congress in 1838, appointed judge in 1840, and removed to Watertown in 1844. He, also, had a law student, Orson Parker, who became widely known as an evangelist, changing from law to theology in 1826. Calvin Skinner opened an office about 1824; he afterwards became county judge. Besides these mentioned. Perry, Channing, Burnham, Jason Marsh, Phelps, and Butterfield were here at an early day. About 1814, Judge Wright horsewhipped T. C. Chittenden, which resulted in a case of assault and battery. The matter was finally referred to arbitration, and was settled by Wright’s paying — for the liquor. Another case, showing the perversity of mankind and the wisdom of the law, was brought before Justice Randall in 1870. It was an action to recover the value of two hens, alleged to have been stolen from F. by M. Esquire Randall’s decision having been unsatisfactory to the parties, an appeal was taken to the circuit court, where it was decided in favor of the plaintiff. The hens cost the parties $400.
The bar of Adams has at present the following attorneys: T. P. Saunders, P. C. Maxon, T. C. Chittenden, A. J. Brown, E. F. Ramsdell, I. L. Hunt, Jr., G. B. B. Whipple, T. H. Green, W. H. H. Taylor, and C. W. Hewitt.
Source: Durant, Samuel W. and Henry B. Peirce. History of Jefferson County, New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1878. p 253-256.