History of Paris, NY
FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
OF Oneida County, N. Y. For 1869.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1862
PARIS was named by the inhabitants in acknowledgement of the kindness of Isaac Paris, a merchant of Fort Plain, who supplied them with corn on a liberal credit during the year of scarcity, 1789, and finally received his pay in such produce as they were able to supply. It was formed from Whitestown, April 10, 1792, Brookfield, Hamilton and a part of Cazenovia, (Madison Co.,) Sherburne, (Chenango Co.,) and Sangerfield, were taken off in 1795, and Kirkland in 1827. In 1839 a part of Kirkland was annexed. It lies on the east border in the south-east corner of the County. Its surface is a hilly upland, broken by the valley of Sauquoit Creek. The hills bordering this valley are from 200 to 400 feet high, and most of their declivities are steep. Sauquoit Creek flows north through the town, east of the center, affording many valuable mill sites which have been improved. It is said that one of the early settlers started at the junction of this stream with the Mohawk in search of a site for a saw mill, but did not succeed in finding sufficient fall until he arrived at Cassville. To one familiar with the manufacturing villages between this point and the Mohawk, this statement will appear very singular. The soil is a sandy, calcareous loam.
East Sauquoit, and West Sauquoit, (Sauquoit p. o.) are contiguous villages, on opposite sides of the Creek, and contain two churches, viz: Methodist and Presbyterian, an academy, a hotel, a saloon, two cotton factories, two paper mills, three stores, one public hall and a Masonic and Good Templar’s Hall, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops and harness makers, and about 700 inhabitants. The Academy, under the charge of Prof. White, is in a flourishing condition, and is worthy of the patronage it receives. The Utica, Chenango and Susqnehanna Valley R. R. passes through the village on the west side of the creek.
Clayville (p. v.) is situated on Sauquoit Creek, about ten miles south of Utica, and is a statioa on the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad. It contains four churches, viz., Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal and Roman Catholic; two hotels, five dry goods and grocery stores, a drug store, two meat markets, a grist mill, a cheese box factory, and various other mills and manufactories. The Empire Woolen Company has fourteen sets of machinery, a capital of $125,000 and uses 450,000 pounds of wool, making 150,000 yards of fancy cassimeres annually. The mill is run by water and steam power, and employs 225 hands. There are two large establishments for the manufacture of agricultural implements. The Paris Furnace Company employ a capital of about $50,000, and make about $100,000 worth of goods annually. S. A. Millard & Co. are engaged in the manufacture of similar implements and have about the same amount of capital invested. The population of the village is about 1,200.
Holman City is situated about a mile east of Clayville, contains a cupola furnace employing about a dozen hands, and manufactories of wagon boxes and skeins, horse hay forks, &c.
Cassville, (p. v.) situated near the south border, contains a church, several mills and manufactories, and about 300 inhabitants.
Paris Hill, in the west part of the town, contains a church and about thirty dwellings.
The first settlement was made in March, 1789, by Captain Rice, at Paris Hill. Benjamin Barnes, Sr. and Jr., John Humaston, Stephen Barrett, Aaron Adams and Abel Simmons, settled in the same neighborhood soon after. In 1791, Kirkland Griffin, Capt. Abner Bacon, Deacon Simeon Coe, Spencer Briggs, Baxter Gage,. Josiah Hull, Nathan Robinson, Enos Pratt and a Mr. Root, settled in the vicinity of Sauquolt. Phineas Kellogg, John and Sylvester Butler, Asa Shepherd. and Mrs. Plumb and two children, were other early settlers.
The first death in the town was that of William Swan, in 1790. Abner Bacon kept the first inn, and James Orton the first store, in 1802. The first church (Congregational) was formed in 1791, by Rev. Jonathan Edwards; Rev. Eliphalet Steele was the first pastor, and continued in that relation until his death, in 1817. Mr. Steele was considered very sound and orthodox in his sentiments, and was a man of great plainness of speech, which sometimes savored of bluntness. In the early part of the present century a young minister, was arraigned by the “Oneida Association,” for preaching unsound doctrine. On reading the sermon it was pronounced orthodox, though somewhat obscurely worded. Mr. Steele admonished the young man to be more careful in the use of language and ended by saying: “Aye, young man, you do not know more than half as much as I do, and I do not know more than half as much as I think I do.”
Kirkland Griffin, whose name has been mentioned among the early settlers, was an active and efficient aider of the patriot cause during the Revolution. He shipped on board one of the earliest privateers, was captured and imprisoned in the “Mill Prison,” England. For two years and five months he suffered the horrors of that den of filth, upon the very verge of starvation. After his release he shipped on board the Bonhomme Richard, under Paul Jones, and was in the bloody engagement with the Serapis, which resulted in a victory of the Stars and Stripes. The British Captain, on learning that the crew of the Richard comprised many of the recent inmates of the Mill Prison, said: “Now, I know why I am conquerered; without those prisoners you never could have obtained the victory ;” rightly judging that victory or death would be the watch-word of those who had endured the barbarities ot the Mill Prison.
The population in 1865 was 3,595, and its area 18,551 acres.
Paris contains fifteen school districts, employing sixteen teachers. The number of children of school age is 1,198; the number enrolled in the schools, 904; the average attendance, 341, and the amount expended for school purposes for the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $3,483.01.