Early History of Onondaga County, Syracuse & Liverpool The area now known as Onondaga County took its name from the Central Nation of the great Iroquois Confederacy, the Onondagas. It was here that the Council Fire was then, and is to this day, kept.
A chronology of the birth of the Onondaga County of today is as follows:
1610 - Dutch first settled in New York, then called New Netherlands.
1638 - The vast territory west of Albany (Fort Orange) was called "Terra Incognita".
1615 - Samuel de Champlain contacted the domain of the Iroquois.
1651 - Radisson visited the Onondaga area.
1654 - Father Simon Le Moyne visited the Onondaga area.
1655 - Chaumonot and Dablon founded a mission and fort near what is now Liverpool.
1683 - The English gained supremacy over the Dutch settlements in the Colony of New York and subdivided it into twelve counties, one of which was Albany County.
Mar 12, 1772 - Albany subdivided into Albany, Charlotte (Washington) and Tryon Counties.
Apr 2, 1784 - The name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County.
Feb 16, 1791 - Ontario County having been split from Montgomery County, the counties of Tioga, Otsego and Herkimer were created.
Mar 5, 1794 - Onondaga County, the 21st of 62 counties, was erected from Herkimer and Tioga Counties by Act of the Legislature and celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 1994.
1794 - The first inhabitants in what is now Liverpool arrive. By 1807 it consisted of 9 or 10 log houses. The inhabitants were Irish. Reportedly, they were preceeded by Spaniards as Spanish flints and pieces of swords were dug up, by some accounts, 1/2 mile east of Liverpool near the residence of David Woerner (Master of Liverpool Lodge No. 525 in 1900 and 1901).
1797 - The Village of Liverpool laid out by the Surveyor General and "Little Ireland" was given the name "Liverpool" by the Commissioner of the Land Office. It was incorporated on April 20, 1830.
Masonry was not long in coming to Onondaga County:
May 22, 1788 - General Asa Danforth migrated to this county. He erected the first saw mill in the county and constructed a grist mill nearby in 1793. He served as County Judge in 1797, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Superintendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs, presided at the first Town Meeting held at his home in April 1798, was a member of the Assembly from 1801 to 1802, and was State Senator in 1803. He was a member of Onondaga Lodge No. 98, which was warranted January 21, 1802. (The Lodge building is still standing on Seneca Turnpike, a few doors west of the Unity Church.) A copy of the minutes of this lodge is in the possession of this writer. According the Dr. William G. Peacher, the original Onondaga Lodge Minute Book was in the safe of Syracuse Lodge No. 501 in 1962.
Colonel Comfort Tyler and Asa Danforth, Jr., accompanied General Danforth. They too were members of Onondaga Lodge No. 98. Colonel Tyler had also been the Senior Warden of Scipio Lodge No. 58 in Aurora, NY in 1798. Asa Danforth, Jr., had been a member of Union Lodge No. 17 in Upper Canada, N.Y.
Jan 8 1799 - Village Lodge No. 80 warranted in Marcellus, New York; the first lodge in Onondaga County. Their petition was endorsed by Amicable Lodge No. 23, Whitestown, NY.
Dec 28, 1807 - Petition for a lodge at Salina , New York. It was signed by:
Isaiah Bunce Thomas Wheeler Benajah Byington
Lebbeus Porter Jonathan Russell John Gilbert
Andre Phares Levi W. Munn Asa Danforth, Jr.
Samuel Stanley Thomas H. Rawson
but for lack of an endorsement, a warrant was not granted.
Salina Lodge No. 327 - Town of Salina
Map of the Village of Salina ca 1802
The first settlement at Salina was in 1798 and was originally name “Salt Point” due to its location on the Salt Springs. When the state gained control of the Salt Springs in 1797, a portion of the area was laid out as Salina with a village of this name being designated in 1798. The town of Salina was organized on 27 March 1809 from the original townships of Manlius and Marcellus. It was reduced to its present size on 18 March 1848, when Geddes and Syracuse were separated. The village was incorporated on 12 Mar 1824.
July 7, 1819
Most Worshipful DeWitt Clinton, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons in the State of New York, (Senior) and (Junior) Wardens and brethren --
Your Memorialists humbly represent that they are free and accepted Master Masons of good and regular standing, that they now reside in the town of Salina in the County of Onondaga, and that they lave the interest and prosperity of the fraternity at heart and are willing & will to the best of their ability endeavor to promote and diffuse the ( ) principles of Masonry and that for their greater ease & convenience and other good reasons their thereunto moving they are desirous of forming a new Lodge in the town of Salina aforesaid to be named Salina that in consequence of this desire they pray for letting of dispensation or a warrant of constitution to empower them to assemble as a legal Lodge to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner according to the original forms of the order and regulations of the Grand Lodge that they have nominated and do recommend Andrew Pharesto be first Master and Henry Case Senior Warden and William Baldwin Junior Warden of the said Lodge and that if the prayer of this petition shall be granted they promise (for) strict conformity to all the Constitutional Laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge and we recommend that the first Meeting of the said Lodge be held at the Hotel of Brother Jirah Randallin the Village of Salina
Respectfully Submitted --- ---
A.L. 5819 /s/ Andw Phares
*J[onathan] P. Hicks
*P[eter] M. Cameron
Ira (Ara) Peck
* Became Peitioner for Leonidas Lodge No. 381 in the Village of Liverpool, NY, May 11, 1824.
Endorsement: At a Regular Communication of the Members of Onondaga Lodge (No. 98) held at Masonic Hall on Wednesday the 7th of July 5819. Resolved unanimously that the within Petition be and is hereby Sanctioned by said Lodge and do hereby recommend the Officers herein mentioned to be worthy and duly capable of filling the several offices assigned them.
/s/ Cyprian Hilard W.M.
Calvin Finch S.W. Pro Tem
Andrew Ainslee J.W. Pro Tem
Attest: Josiah Millard Sect Pro Tem
The Petition was folded after the custom of the time, envelopes not being in general use (wax seals being in common use), and annotated as follows [there is no known record of his having served as a Master]*:
Liverpool free H. Case P.M.*
Richard Hatfield Esqr
New York City
Crossed off is the address entry:
Leonidas Lodge No. 381 - Liverpool May 11, 1824
To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of New York
This petition respectfully sheweth - That we the undersigned are free and accepted Master Masons; and are at present or have been members of regular Lodges; and having the prosperity of the fraternity at heart, we are willing to exert our best endeavours to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of Masonry; that, for the conveniency of our respective dwellings, and other good reasons, we are desirous of forming a new Lodge, in the Village of Liverpool, Town of Salina, to be named Leonidas Lodge; that in consequence of this desire, we pray for a warrant of constitution to empower us to assemble, as a legal Lodge, to discharge the duties of Masonry, in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the original form of the order, and the regulations of the Grand Lodge. That we have nominated and do recommend Jonathan P. Hicks to be the first Master, Amos C. Foote to be the first Senior Warden and Henry G. Stiles to be the first Junior Warden of the said Lodge; and if the prayer of our petition should be granted, we promise a strict conformity to all the constitutional laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge.
John Lee *Henry Case
Amos C. Foote *Josiah Watkins
*Gershom Hinckley *P. M. Cameron
Andrew Johnson *H. G. Stiles
Asahel B. Orcutt W. W. Case
* (Petitioners who were members of Salina Lodge No. 327, June 1819, along with Jonathan P. Hicks.)
Endorsed by Salina Lodge No. 327 on Tuesday 11th May 1824.
Warrant issued by the Grand Lodge on June 4, 1824.
The Lodge was installed on August 4, 1824.
The following returns are on file for Leonidas Lodge No. 381 at Grand Lodge; copies are in the possession of this writer.
Aug 4, 1824 to May 25, 1825; 18 brothers listed; signed by Harvey Kimball, Secty
June 5, 1824 to June 5, 1826; 22 brothers listed; signed by J. P. Hicks, Secty.
June 1826 to June 1827; 18 brothers listed; signed by Levi Robbins, Secty.
A composite listing of the Brethren from the above returns is a follows:
Adams, Andrew Hinckley, Gershom Paddock, John
Adams, Ebenezer L. Hogins, John Robbins, Levi
Blossom(?), George Hubbard, Caleb [Dr.] Stickney, Jonathan
Cameron, Peter M. Ingersoll, Caleb J. Stiles, Henry G.
Case, Henry Esq. Jaquith, Joseph Esq. Tinker, John
Case, Warren W. Johnson, Andrew Van Ostrand, Aaron
Dexter, Bistor? Kimball, Harvey Ward, David
Foote, Amos C. Lee, John Watkins, Josiah
Hicks, Jonathan P. Orcutt, Asahel B.
1824 Jonathan B. Hicks, Esq.
1825 Amos C. Foote
Biographical Information Dr. Caleb Hubbard served as Village Clerk in 1830 and was chosen Collector when the school district was organized in 1839. Dr. Hubbard kept a store on the southeast corner of 1st and Sycamore Streets in the old (Bro.) David A. Brown place. He, as well as Bro. Ebenezer L. Adams, are recorded as a member of the group who attended meetings and moulded bullets in the basement of William Gleason's store for use in the Patriot War He is recorded in the Minutes of Syracuse Lodge No. 102 in their Annual Election of Officers, as the Lodge Physician for the dates Dec 19, 1850; Dec 18, 1851 and Dec 16, 1852.
Village Board of Trustees in 1830:
Presidents of Village
Joseph Jaquith 1830, 1864
John Paddock 1833-1834, 1836
Jonathan P. Hicks 1837
Peter M. Cameron was one of the original group of eleven persons who founded the Methodist Episcopal Society in 1820.
In citing the above Petition of Salina Lodge No. 327, one point was left out so that it might be presented at this time. The Minutes of Onondaga Lodge No. 98 for the date of July 7, 1819, record the following: "Brother Henry Case of Liverpool presented a petition for a lodge at Salina. Resolved that we approbate the petition of the brethren from Salina." Prior to that visit a record of this Henry Case may be found in the archives of Onondaga Chapter No. 20, Royal Arch Masons, which met at Onondaga Hollow, NY. The Annual Return of this Chapter for the period "Jany 26th 1807 to Feby 1st 1808" lists Henry Case as a Member. In presenting the Masonic History of the Liverpool-Syracuse Lodge, perhaps no one person more provides a flow of Masonic activity in the early period of this area than "Squire Case."
Henry Case, Esq., was born about the year 1780 and came to Liverpool from Hartford, Connecticut, in 1795 at the age of 18 or 19. He was a heavy man and rather tall. His first wife's name was Mead. they had two children, Mary Ann and Henry, Jr. Henry, Jr., was Raised 5 May 1850 in Seneca River Lodge No. 160, Baldwinsville, and is entered upon thier records as having died in 1852. The Squire’s second wife was Betsey Rust from Fulton. His third one was Sarah King from a humble home in Sodus. "She had a pair of snapping black eyes and her hair had borrowed its sheen from the raven's wing. Though of humble origin, she was intellegent and discreet. . . . Squire Case, who it appears had his wether out, one day inquired who the young lady was. . . . The introduction followed, then the engagement and the wedding." Along about 1820, he was Postmaster, Justice, Salt Inspector, Receiver of Duties, and a member of the Assembly. His home, surrounded by a beautiful grove of poplars, occupied a considerable portion of the frontage from the Gleason corner at Tulip and First Streets down to the next corner [another account says 'on the north side of 2nd Street about half way between Vine and Tulip']. His garden ran back to the village square, taking up one half of the entire block. His mansion was considered pretentious for its day.
As Magistrate of Liverpool for 15 to 20 years, he was not a man to be fooled with. His jurisdiction included the whole town, but he would have nothing to do, first hand,with anything that happened in the somewhat turbulent region of the salt blocks and along the canal. He drew the line at Brow Street. Disputes, difficulties, fights and brawls below the hill were adjucated generally by two referees whom the Squire himself appointed, if necessary.
On one occasion Squire Case was reported to have heard the petition of one John Van Osten who appeared before him with "one eye done up in a sling and blood in the other." Refusing to hear the case he sent an order to Allen D. Kinne and Aaron P. Cooper to "look into the affair and mete out justice." The account then continues with:
"Kinne and Cooper with due deliberation assembled themselves together and the parties to the trouble were brought before them. On all the evidence the sentence of the court was that the stranger [assailant] be fined one gallon of rum; in default of which, his head was to be held up to a hole in the [salt brine] reservoir and the plug pulled out. He refused to pay the fine and was thereupon placed in position at the reservoir.
Stakes were 'druv' so as to hold him in position and the deputies, after all was ready and the briny depths had been stirred to the bottom, knocked out the plug and let the pent up brine do its work. The culprit, in a voice choked in agitation (of water) yelled the best he could for mercy. Not though until it was thought the ends of justice were properly subserved was the tompkin driven in again and the victim brought back to life. How many prohibitionists of today are there who would do as much for their principles as that?"
The Squire was also a salt manufacturer for some time. In 1822 when the salt reservation -- one mile of land all around the lake -- was sold, Case bid in 430 acres, including a mill, for $2.50 to $5.00 per acre and held the land until 1837 when he and his last wife moved their effects onto a canal boat he had purchased for the occasion. Also aboard were his sons, Noah and Theodore, and Nancy, his family horse, as well as Mr. and Mrs. King, Sam King, Saul Goff and his wife, with their household goods. They all started for the west via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, Lake Erie to Detroit, and the Ohio Canal, finally locating in Granville, Licking Co., Ohio. Bro. Joseph Jaqueth was his agent and carried on his business until all was sold and settled up. He returned in about 1853 to 55 to settle up his son Henry's estate, who had died in Baldwinsville (1852). Further tales of the Squire may be read in the 1894 Liverpool Telegraph’s informativeseries "The Old Days - Being the Recollections and Reminiscences of Several Old Inhabitants of the Town of Salina," copies of which are available in the Liverpool Historian's office or in the Archives of the Area 11 Historian at the Onondaga Masonic Districts Society Library in the Liverpool Temple.
Masonically, Squire Henry Case was very aactive. A recap from the records available reveals the following:
26th January 1807. 8 o'clock p.m. - Onondaga Royal Arch Chapter 20 - meeting at [Companion John] Adams Inn. "Made choice of Henry Case - Secretary." (The Companion King for their meeting of this date was Asa Danforth, for whom Danforth Lodge No. 957 was named.)
Feby 11 1807 - at the house of Brother [Nicholas] Mickles - Henry Case was the Treasurer Pro Tem.
Feby 25th 1807 - Henry Case - Secretary; Elected Second Grand Master [Master of the Second Veil]." He, with the other officers elected, were "Duly Installed agreeable to Ancient Form - By our Worthy Companion Caleb B. Merrill, Jr., High Priest, [Blue Lodge - Military No. 93] agreeable to a Letter of Dispensation for that purpose Granted by the Grand High Priest of the State of New York."
9th day of April A.L. 5807 - Present - Henry Case.
7th of May, 5807 - Present - Henry Case; Mark Lodge dispensed with and the Royal Arch opened. Brethren present as before . . . The following Companions admitted as members of this Chapter: . . . Henry Case, and 19 others.
He was present in various capacities at the meetings of Aug 6, Sep 3, Sep 24, and Nov 5, 1807. He was also present "28th Jany 1808" as Secretary, this being the last record of him in this Chapter. The extant Minutes end on Jany 24 5809. The original Minutes are presently housed in the Masonic Home Library in Utica; A xerocopy and transcription are on file with the Area 11 Historian.
Squire Case is listed on the Annual Returns of Onondaga Chapter No. 20, R.A.M. for the following reports:
Jan 26, 1807 to Jul 1, 1808
Feb 1, 1808 to Feb 6, 1809
Feb 1, 1809 to Feb 1, 1810
Feb 1, 1810 to Feb 1, 1811
His name does not appear on the Returns of 1811-12 or 1812-14, which seems to be the last period of its activity. This Chapter was declared in default on February 6, 1823, 'inasmuch as there have been four warrants granted for Chapters in the same county," one of which was Salina Chapter No. 70, chartered February 9, 1821, "To Comps. William Baldwin, Henry Case, and Matthew Van Vleck, to hold a Chapter at Salina, County of Onondaga . . ." The Charter was granted in response to an undated [ca July 1820] petition, which among the signers was, of course, . . . Henry Case, who served as King in 1820, 1821 and 1822. The records of this Chapter have not been found, except for a few references in the Grand Chapter Proceedings. This is all in the period of what would become known at the Morgan Incident. The Chapter was revived as Syracuse Chapter No. 70 in 1849, by which time Squire Case had departed for Ohio (in 1837).
But in the meantime, he had been busy in the Blue Lodge also:
July 1819 - Petitioner for Salina Lodge No. 327 as noted above.
28th March 5820 - Signed as Senior Warden on correspondence appointing a Brother to represent their Lodge at the next Grand Lodge session. (The S.W. reported on the Annual Return for that year was Johnathan P. Hicks.).
Squire Case is listed on the Annual Returns of Salina Lodge 327 as follows:
June 1, 1820 to June 1, 1821
June 1, 1821 to June 1, 1822
June 1, 1822 to June 1, 1823
June 1, 1823 to June 1, 1824
His name does not appear on the returns of 1824-25, 1825-26 or 1826-27, as he had by then joined Leonidas Lodge No. 381, Liverpool, NY:
May 11, 1824 - Date of Endorsement for Petition of Leonidas Lodge - Henery Case was a signer of the Petition.
He is listed on the Annual Returns of this Lodge as follows:
Aug 4, 1824 to May 25, 1825
June 5, 1824 to Jun 5, 1826
June 1826 to June 1827
No further records of Leonidas Lodge have been found.
Squire Henry Case was a colorful pillar of Liverpool society in its founding days. He was on the leading edge of the growth of Masonry in Onondaga County from 1807 until the advent of the Morgan period. He answered the call of the Great Architect around 1854 to 1856 at the age of 75. In the "Recollections" series of the Liverpool Telegram, the following Longfellow verse is offered as a tribute to this courtly gentleman of those early days:
Never - forever!"
Warren W. Case kept a store somewhere near where the Olde Liverpool Shoppes now stand at 401 First Street in the village.
Jonathan P. Hicks, Esq., was born October 25, 1791, in Providence, Saratoga County, NY, and moved to Salina (Liverpool) October 16, 1813. He built a hotel The National Hotel in 1839 on the northeast corner of First and Tulip Streets, (presently known as the Cobblestone Hotel) and home (corner of Vine and Aspen Streets, for many years the home of Bro. Paul B. Schoolcraft, M.D.), both of cobblestone. He was married to Nancy Mathews, born October 13, 1794 in Montgomery County; died March 14, 1878, in Liverpool.
His business partner in the merchantile business and a friend, a brother Mason of his from Salina Lodge No. 327, was Harvey Hawley. Harvey had been married but a few months when he, age 28, and his new wife, Louisa [Mathews] age 18, met a tragic end on the frozen waters of Onondaga Lake. Mrs. Lydia Adams Mason Ross recalled in September 1894 of the incident, "It caused a great consternation all over that part of the country and people came from all over the vicinity to attend the funeral. Mr. Hawley was a man of high attainments and a Free Mason and of course was buried by that order. I remember very distinctly seeing the long procession pass by and the Masons with their regalia (especially those white aprons). Their soldierly tread and the solemn music all come up to my mind as vivid as if it had happened but yesterday, and it made such an impression upon me that it will never be erased from my memory." Mrs. Ross had further kind words to have regarding the village of Liverpool and the ladies of the community, many of them the wives of Masons, who had gone "where congregations never break up and Sabbaths never end." She was sure if we could hear them they would say, "Give me the Christian's life, the Christian's death, the Christian's burial, the Christian's immortality." There is no more toil, no tears, no partings, no strifes, no agonizing cough, no storm to ruffle the crystal sea. All is peace to them now. It speaking of the "old red school house'" where the Mason's met on the second floor, she waxed poetically:
Old house as I gazed at it whose lights were fled
and garlands dead,
was well nigh deserted.
Oft in the stilly night,
when slumber's chain has bound me;
fond memory brings to mind
of other days around me.
It was also on the second floor of the old red school house that the Presbyterian Church, among others, first met in 1829 when nine of the faithful were regularly constituted a church. The rolls grew, and in 1841 the first house of worship was built at a cost of $5000. It was a 44 x 64(?) foot frame house built by Bro. James Johnson (Salina Lodge No. 327). The principal financier in the erection of the church and its most useful and efficient member about that time and for many years after was Jonathan B. Hicks. Kind hearted, noble, and generous, the church owed him a great debt of gratitude. He was a charter Trustee of the church, the site of which was bought of J. P. Hicks on lot 2, block 27, between Tulip and Oswego Streets. When the frame church was built, Squire Hicks bought and placed in it a pipe organ. The present church was erected and dedicated over the old site on March 4, 1865. Sixteen Masons contributed an aggregate total of over $1500 toward its completion.
The Squire was elected Treasurer of the newly organized village on June 7, 1830, and was later appointed on the first Board of Health on June 12, 1849.