In 1792, Shubael Cross and his family were early
residents but Barnabas Mitchell from Meriden, Connecticut claims
to have been the first permanent settler. In September
five families from Wales located in this vicinity. These
people brought with them certain qualities of perseverance, courage, self-reliance
which their descendants have every right to be proud of and to emulate
Main Street 1908
By an act of the
New York State Legislature passed March 15, 1978, forming the County
of Oneida from the County of Herkimer,
it was also decreed that all of the Town of
Norway lying in the new County of Oneida should be organized into
the new Town of Remsen. The town was named after an early patentee
of the area, Henry Remsen.
Upper Main Street
In 1812 the turnpike from Utica to Sacketts Harbor
was completed and for two or three years afterward it was a busy
and stores for the 1812 war were hauled through by day and by night and
many soldiers and sailors passed over it on their way to Sacketts Harbor. The
same year Colonel Mather Beecher purchased the Noble and Blue Tannery
and established a shoe factory. This was
one of the first
of it kind in the United States and the work was carried on in the
stone house on Main Street in the village, just north of the present
Church. In 1813 the population of the township was 4,891. At this time
Forestport was included in Remsen.
The completion of the Plank Road in the fall of 1848 added to the facilities
for transportation of merchandise, diminished the time of transit and
lessened the exertion of both men and teams. It brought to travel in
general a degree of comfort before unknown.
The first settler within the Village of Remsen
was Peter A. Becker, who took 110 acres of land at the southern line
of the present
village limits. This he sold to Deacon William Platt, a man’ of
activity and enterprise, who built a sawmill and gristmill and later
added a blacksmith shop to the lower end of the village. Broughton
White and Lemuel Hough came to Remsen from Steuben and built an ashery
on what is Steuben Street now, and opened up a small grocery store.
The history of Remsen and Steuben is not complete
without the story of the Welsh chutes. The first Welsh settlers came to this
area about 1795, but the first church was built in the Steuben area
in 1804. The first church building erected in this area was of logs.
It was to be used for school purposes as well. It was completed in
November. It burned to the ground on Christmas night that same year.
During the year 1805 a frame structure was built and in this they worshiped
until it became too small.
The first organized school in Remsen was founded
in 1813. The village school was a log building on the northeast side of the
turnpike. In 1852 in order to be more centrally located, a Union school
was built on Prospect Street near where the Mohawk and Malone Railroad
was later constructed. A new building was built on Steuben Street about
1912 which served until the consolidation of the districts, to become
Remsen Central School in 1935.
Remsen was a busy industrial place in the early
days. As the woods were cleared another industry
of much importance was the
manufacture of potash or pearl ash. As trees throughout the vicinity
were burned, ashes were collected. The lye was extracted and sent to
New York where it was made into saleratus (a leavening agent consisting
of potassium or sodium bicarbonate) and kindred compounds. Brick
manufacture was carried on at the Mitchell farm.
In the early 1800s John R. Ellis established a foundry and machine
shop. He manufactured steam boilers, cheese presses, and treadwheels
for churning by dog power. All of these were his own inventions.
There have been many merchants in Remsen village through
the years. Remsen for a time was sufficient unto itself, but with the
coming of railroads, better roads, and automobile travel it has become
a small part of a larger community, Utica and Rome.