Submitted by Barbara Andresen
From ROMAN CITIZEN newspaper, Rome, Oneida County, New York, Wednesday, June 19, 1850
Its Extent of Territory, Inhabitants, Soil, and Public Improvements Through It.
Do the dwellers in Verona know that they live in the largest town in The Empire County of the Empire State? Their town is 12 miles square; having an area of land sufficient to make four towns six miles square. The South part of the town began to settle about 1786, by emigrants from Connecticul, among whom were the Messrs. Adams, Bishop, Phelps, Beebe, and Whaley; the middle of the town by the Messrs. Joslin, Cagwin, Grant, and others. The North and West parts were but sparsely settled until after the completion of the Erie Canal, in 1820. In 1790 there was no road but an Indian trail from Verona Village to Hampton, and in 1813 the road from Oneida Castle to Ft. Stanwix (now Rome) was more than half of it a log way, and the residence of the settlers were universally Log Cabins.
The soil is varied in the town. The South part is mostly timbered with beech and maple, the West and North with beech, maple, elm, hemlock, cedar, some pine and ash. The south part is pleasant and undulating, while the North and West is very level, with descent enough through to the lake to carry off the water. The soil is of the very richest mould, producing a dense forest in a state of nature. The whole town is remarkable for not having any waste land on its broad surface, and when once brought under cultivation, will be the richest of meadow or pasture land, producing heavy crops of Indian Corn, Wheat, Rye or Oats. The town is bounded on the East by Rome, on the South by Westmoreland and Vernon, on the West by Oneida Creek, and on the North by Oneida Lake and Fish Creek.
The Erie Canal runs near the centre of the town, and the Great Western Rail Road passes through the South part. At the last Town Meeting one thousand votes were polled, and when the census are taken this year, there will be found over six thousand inhabitants in the town. There is yet wild land to be taken up and cultivated. There are a number of small villages in the town: Verona Village, 6 miles West of Rome; Durhamville, 12 miles West, on the Canal, having in it a Steam Fouring Mill, a large Tannery, Iron Foundry, and a Glass Factory, which is owned by Messrs. Fox, Gregory & Co. doing an extensive business. 4 miles this side are the Dunbarton Glass Works, a fine establishment, turning out a large amount of glass of the first quality, every year. One mile this side is Higginsville, where the Oneida Lake Canal intersects the Erie, and it commands a large amount of business from Oneida Lake and Oswego. 6 miles West of Rome is New London, a place of note for boat building and repairing.
Considerable lumber is shipped from this place for the eastern market. It has many pleasant cottage-built houses, owned by boat Captains, who make this place their Winter residence. When the enlargement of the Erie Canal is completed, New London will be a neat and pleasant country village. One mile South of New London is Rathbunville, where Mr. Rathbun has a large Flouring Mill, Woolen Factory, and a Store. No town in the county has so large an extent of territory and as even a surface of land as Verona.
As a town, it is healthy in its location, having an industrious and intelligent set of inhabitants, who will, as they do now, command an extensive influence in the county. It is in contemplation (and it will be done) to build a Plank Road from Neice's, four miles West of Rome, on the West side of the canal, through New London to Hess' Tavern at the State Road Bridge, to intersect the Plank Road to Bridgeport and Syracuse, passing through a district of country without a hill --entirely level. The distance from Rome to Hess' is 12 miles; from Hess' to Bridgeport 12 more; and from Bridgeport to Syracuse 14 miles, making Rome to Syracuse but 38 miles, and 50 miles from Utica, by this route, the easiest and best road that can be found. The Road must and will be built speedily.
N.B. The South part of the town is 5 miles
from Rome; near the Plank Road to Bouckville is Verona Mineral Springs, justly
celebrated for its mineral qualities, and has been a place of much resort for a
number of years. This season there is a Water Cure Establishment at the
same place, and it will be a pleasant place during the summer months.