Dan Weiskotten's Writings
Dan Weiskotten's History Writings
Posted by Daniel H. Weiskotten      October 27, 1998
other papers are listed on my CV

            I have written and compiled a large number of historical papers that are of interest to local researchers and genealogists.  None are great enough to make it between the covers of New York History (still need some polish) and they should all be considered incomplete (a good historian knows when to stop researching).  The purpose of many of these papers has been to straighten out the myths and outright fallacies of Cazenovia's past.  Others have nothing to do with the place.  It's a wonderful community, with virtually all of the village, and select rural homes, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but, like any particular point on the earth there is a lot of misinformation.  I didn't write these papers and transcribe primary materials to help out some genealogist, or to tell some quaint story of an old house.  These papers and transcriptions are about widely varied aspects of a small community in upstate New York.  For the vast majority of these papers I have gleaned my data from primary source materials (newspapers, store and business records, deeds, land company accounts, photographs, etc.) and someday hope to put it all together into some form of position paper or book.

Favorite Historical Papers:   Several have been moved to my RootsWeb Space

Dry Docks of the Erie Canal 1817 to 1917  Dry Docks were important facilities along the length of the Erie Canal.  They served primarily as stations where repairs could be made to boats of all sizes.  My study, which utilized the vast resources of the New York State Library, Archives, Library, Department of Transportation (Waterways), and Office of General Services, as well as the varied resources of local historical societies and museums, examines how dry docks served the needs of the Erie Canal boaters.  As a history which keeps in mind the archaeological importance of such sites, my work focused on the spatial aspects of the dozens of dry docks that once operated along the canal and thus most of the data is derived from maps and surveys and field examinations of the sites and their surroundings.  Additional information from census records and account books was collected and has been used to describe ephemeral aspects of the dry dock operations.  Since I have not found the time to fully write the history of each dry dock, I present a summary of my findings (used for the 1991 National Register of Historic Places Nomination for Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum), as well as a fact sheet containing the basic data regarding the docks and the sources that were examined for each facility.  At this time I do not have prepared maps that show the locations of the docks.

The Johnson House, Cazenovia's First Tavern.  This building, built in 1796, was opened by the Holland land Company as a Tavern to provide accommodations to travelers (and prospective settlers) in the young settlement. Under the proprietorship of Ebenezer Johnson and then the Day brothers, it operated as a tavern until 1816.  Since that time it has been a private residence.  There is much misinformation in other published works and this paper clears up those misconceptions and brings to light the real story of this old building.

The Cazenovia Paper Mill.  This important water power site, located on Chittenango Creek at the northern edge of the Village of Cazenovia, was the location of one of Cazenovia's earliest industries.  Zadock Sweetland opened a paper mill on this spot in 1810, this being one of the first paper mills in central New York.  Rising like Phoenix from the ashes of several fires and having its dam washed out by several floods, the paper mill lasted was operated by the Sweetland family until 1865 when it was sold to Henry Monroe who kept the industry alive until he too was burned out in 1870.  At the end of the 19th century the site was occupied by the Crawford Mower and Reaper Works from 1872 to 1890, and by the Bently Shoe Company - that is until Eben Bently stuffed his pockets full of the company cash and "shook the dust of Cazenovia from his shoes" leaving tthe village "full of stranded cobblers waiting for money to get away!"  The 20th century saw the giant building occupied by the Union and Cazenovia Electric companies, the Cazenovia Canning Company, the Diepress Company, the Grange League federation (GLF) and finally Waterbury & Coe's Agway Feeds.  This paper was written in 1984 and I have not editied it since then, but it remains one of my favorite projects.

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