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The Village of Vernon
History
Village of Vernon, New York
 
A Brief History of Vernon
from the Oneida County Historical Society
 

The Town of Vernon is located in the southwest border of Oneida County, and was formed from parts of Westmoreland and Augusta. Included in this town are the patents of Baschard, Bleecker, Sargeant, Wemple, and Van Eps. All of these were in the original Oneida Indian Reservation.

 

Vernon Mills on the Sconondoa Creek in Vernon operated as a grist and flour mill from the early 19th century

The first permanent settler in the Town of Vernon was Josiah Bushnell, who located in 1794 on what was to be the Bleecker Patent, Richard Hubble located in 1795 on land which later became part of the Van Eps Patent. After the Oneida Reservation was sold at auction and the patents were granted, the settlements grew rapidly.

Early settlers in the town were mostly from Litchfield County, Connecticut, and Berkshire County. Massachusetts. The Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Society was organized in June 1805, taking its name from the commonly used title for the village. The Baptist Society formed in 1807. The Methodists and Catholics came later.

The Sconondoa Creek flows northward across the town and because of its drop in elevation was a major factor in the town's early settlement. At one time, there were five sawmills, three gristmills, two tanneries, a carding and fulling mill, a distillery, and several other manufacturing sites which utilized power from this creek.


Bronson's Academy in Castle Park at Oneida Castle was operated from the 1820s to 1863 as a private school.

 

 

Three glass factories were in operation for a number of years because of the abundance of trees for firewood. These were the Mt. Vernon Glass Company, 1810-1844; Oneida County Glass, 1809-1836; and Seneca Glass Company, which was incorporated in 1810. These businesses moved when the fuel supply dwindled. It was more economical to move than to transport fuel.

Probably the town's single largest developing factor was the Genesee trail, which ran from east to west through the town. This road was chartered in 1800 as the Seneca Turnpike toll road and was surfaced with planks later in the century.

 

The Village of Vernon was incorporated on April 6, 1827. For many years Vernon was the home of the Vernon Fair. In the beginning, about 1848, it was held on the Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church lawn. Later on it was held where Vernon Downs is now. The last fair held on the fair grounds was in 1952.

Abram Van Eps opened a store in what is now Vernon Village in 1798. Before this he operated the first stores in Oriskany and Westmoreland. Thus he was the first merchant in three townships within the limits of Oneida County. He also established a grist and flour mill which operated continuously until it closed in June 1952.


Vernon High School (originally Mt. Vernon Academy) and Presbyterian Church, Seneca Turnpike prior to 1918

Although many industries have been located within the town, dairy farming has been the largest continuous source of livelihood for its inhabitants. Today the southern and northern portion is primarily devoted to farming, the farms being fewer, but larger in size.

The Oneida Indians' chief village was called Oneida Castle and the present-day Oneida Castle Village is locat­ed near the site of the last castle of the tribe. The present Oneida Castle Village was organized in 1815. Oneida Castle is the approximate geographical center of New York State and three attempts were made to have the state capitol located here.

The hamlet of Vernon Center is located in the south­east part of the town. State Route 26 passes through from south to north. This was originally known as the Rome-Madison Plank Road.

On Thursday, the 8th day of July 1802, 17 persons gave their assent to the “Confession of Faith and Articles of Admission and Discipline” and thus the first church body in the Township of Vernon was organized. The society adopted the Congregational form of government, but later voted to adopt the Presbyterian mode. In 1826 the Methodist Church was founded.


The Welch block was erected at the northwest corner of Seneca Avenue and Castle Street in Oneida Castle

 

In the early days of the hamlet it was necessary for the people of the Catholic faith to travel several miles to attend mass. In 1884 these people purchased Pettibone Hall to be used as a place of worship. This became St. Agnes Church. The town's early schools were also used for church services, public meetings and social gatherings.

The town was also the home of several tuition schools. Within the Village of Vernon, the Mt. Vernon Academy for Young Men and the Vernon Female Seminary opened in 1833. The Seminary became the female department of the Mt. Vernon Academy when the Academy was incorporat­ed in 1838. In the 1850s there were also the Mt. Vernon Boarding School for Boys and the Van Eps Institute for Young Ladies. In Oneida Castle, The Bronson Academy opened in the 1820s and was operated as a private school until 1863. The 31 district schools in Vernon, Verona, and Sherrill were centralized in 1950. A new junior-senior high school was built in 1953 midway between the villages.

Vernon is the location of a number of successful industries: Dairylea Milk Company; H.P. Hood Milk Company; Oneida Containers; Vernon Downs; Ferris Industries; Eastern Crown; Burton Livestock Exchange; Old Forge Metals; Kuhn Farm Machinery; and TDS Telecom.

Note: The above excerpts are from the article "Vernon" by Sadie E. Namminga, Town Historian ( 1977 ), Ellen Murphy, Village of Vernon Historian ( 1998 ).
 
© 2009

Oneida County Historical Society
1608 Genesee Street, Utica, New York 13502-5425
315-735-3642, e-mail: ochs@midyork.org  

 

 

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

Reprinted here courtesy of http://history.rays-place.com ) 


VERNON was formed from Westmoreland and Augusta, February 17, 1802. A part of Stockbridge, (Madison Co.,) was taken off in 1836. It lies on the west border of the County, south of the center. Its surface is rolling, the mean elevation being 200 feet above the Mohawk. The principal streams are Oneida Creek, forming the west boundary, and Skanandoa Creek, flowing through the east part. The soil is a fine quality of gravelly arid clay loam, underlaid by limestone, water-lime and gypsum.. It is one of the most fertile towns in the County. A mineral spring is found about one mile north-west of Vernon Center. The territory of this town was included in the original Oneida Reservation. The principal Oneida village was called Kan-on-wall-o-hu-le. A small remnant of this once powerful tribe still live in the south-west part of the town.

Vernon, (p. v.) on Skanandoa Creek, north of the center of the town, was incorporated April 6, 1827, and contains four churches, two academies, a bank, two hotels, a knitting factory and carding mill, a flouring mill, a saw mill and about 500 inhabitants. The Fair Ground of the Agricultural Society in the vicinity contains a half-mile track.

Vernon Center, (p. v.) situated south-east of the center of the town, contains two churches, viz., Presbyterian and Methodist, a hotel, a grist mill, two saw mills, and about 100 inhabitants.

Oneida Castle, (p. v.) on the west line of the town, contains two churches, a union school, two hotels, a hat manufactory, two stores and about 600 inhabitants.

Turkey Street is a thickly populated part of the turnpike between Vernon and Oneida Castle.

The first settler in this town was Josiah Bushnell, from Berkshire County, Mass. He came here in 1794, and settled upon the north-west corner of Bleecker’s South Patent. The Indian title to this territory was extinguished in 1797, and immediately a large number of emigrants from the New England States settled here, and within two years most of the land was taken up. The first settlers upon “Baschard’s Location,” were Rev. Publius Bogue, Deacons Hills and Bronson, Samuel Wetmore, David and Levi Bronson, Seth Holmes, Anosn Stone, Asahel Gridley, Heman Smith, Eliphas Bissell, Adonijah Foot, Stephen Goodwin, Seth Hills, Eli Frisbie, James and John DeVotie, Samuel Austin, and others named Stanton, Griswold, Alvord, Thrall, Wilcox, Church, Spencer, Carter, Marshall, Tuttle, Bush, Wilcoxsou and Webber. Most of these were from Litchfield County, Conn. They laid out a plot of six acres, called Vernon Center. On this green all Protestant denominations have a right to build meeting and. school houses. Around this plot the land was surveyed into acre lots, upon which some of the first settlers located. On the “Reservation,” in the east part of the town, were settlers named Skinner, Lawrence, Shedd, Gratton, Deland, Spaulding, Grant, Kdlogg, Carter, Tryon, Morse, Simons, Doane, May, Mahan, Page, Ingraham, Crocker, Graves, Soper, and others. In the south-western part of the town the settlers were Griffin, Webster, Freeman, Grant, Stone, Hotehkiss and others, and on VanEps’ Patent the early settlers were Richard and Benjamin Hubbell, Gad Warner, Benjamin, Alanson and David Pierson, Joseph Patten, and William and Elisha Root. The early settlers of this town were possessed of more wealth than those of any other town in the County, and as a consequence were able to hire some of their improvements made, and were exempt from many of the hardships and privations to which most of the early settlers of the County were exposed.

The first marriage in the town was that of Aaron Davis and Amy Bushnell; it took place previous to 1798, but the time is not precisely known. The first birth was that of Edward Marshall, and the first death that of a daughter of Josiah Bushnell, in 1795. Mr. Sessions taught the first school, in 1708; A. VanEps kept the first store, the same year, and Asahel Gridley built the first grist mill. The first religious society, (Cong.) was formed in 1801, at Vernon Center.

The population in 1865 was 2,931, and the area 28,649 acres.

The number of school districts is twelve, employing fourteen teachers. The number of children of school age is 865; the number attending school 605; the average attendance 276, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending Sept. 30th, 1868, was $4,569.09.
 

 

©2012 Village of Vernon
8 Ruth Street
PO Box 1137
Vernon, NY 13476