Town Of Kirkland
 History 

Photo 1
Ralph S. Lumbard Memorial Town Hall

History

A Brief History of the Town of Kirkland:

The Town of Kirkland with 10,028 residents according to the 2000 census and covering an area of 19,716 acres in the south central portion of Oneida County in Central New York, approximately nine miles southwest of Utica, was originally part of the territory of the Iroquois Nation. Three patents--Kirkland Patent on the western side of the Property Line; Brothertown Patent in the southwestern section; Coxe Patent in the northeastern portion--determined the boundary lines, owing much to the framework set forth by the Fort Stanwix Treaty Line of 1768. This Town was first formed in 1827 from the Town of Paris; two years later the Town of Marshall was set off from the Town of Kirkland, but the present boundary lines were not permanently established until adjustments were made with the Towns of New Hartford and Paris.
Within these boundaries lie the hamlets of Clark Mills, Kirkland (once Manchester), Franklin Springs (formerly Franklin Iron Works), and the Village of Clinton, the latter being almost centrally situated in the Town. In 1846 the Clark Brothers founded a textile mill which operated successfully for approximately thirty years in the hamlet of Clark Mills, located on the Oriskany Creek at the northern portion of the town. Kirkland, north of the Village of Clinton, was the scene of bustling activity from 1873 to 1898 as iron ore was hauled to its 15-ton/day blast furnace, operated by the Clinton Iron Company. In 1852 the Franklin Iron Works, also located in the Oriskany Creek valley south of Clinton, began operations which lasted for sixty years. The name which was changed to Franklin Springs took place after 1888 as a result of the Lithia water discovered by Frederick Suppe on the Dugway Road.
The first white settlement of the Town of Kirkland--the Village of Clinton, so-named after Governor George Clinton--was begun in the spring of 1787 under the leadership of Captain Moses Foote, along with seven other families, originally from New England. The Yankee influence is still witnessed today by the Village Green in the heart of the business district with the churches, businesses, and homes facing the square. The incorporated village, receiving its Charter on April 12, 1843, has been known as the "Village of Schools," having a total of twenty-three private schools during the nineteenth century, the most famous of which is still Hamilton College, founded by the Presbyterian missionary amongst the Oneidas, Samuel Kirkland. Hamilton College was chartered on May 22,1812. Illustrious people connected with the Village of the past are such notables as Grover Cleveland, Elihu Root, Mark Hopkins, Clara Barton, Mary Lyon, and Harriet McDoual Daniels.
Numerous industries flourished for short periods of time, such as grist mills, saw mills, woolen factory, and the manufacturing of nails, hats, scythes, and bricks; the agricultural industry, begun in 1787, is still thriving. In 1797 iron-mining was started, which made "Clinton Hematite Red" famous, but both the iron-mining and the Clinton Metallic Paint Company went out of existence in 1963. The Village also fondly remembers that the Bristol-Meyers Company had its beginning here.
The Town of Kirkland has long enjoyed fine modes of transportation, beginning with the Genesee Road; the Seneca Turnpike; the Chenango Turnpike; the Utica-Waterville plank road; the Chenango Canal; railroads, including the now defunct Ontario-Western; street cars; buses, the latter of importance today. Proximity to the Oneida County Airport, the New York State Thruway, and the ConRail and Amtrak Railroads meets the needs of the travelers of the Town at present.
The early settlers would indeed be proud if they could but see the progress made throughout the years, for the town provides a good government; churches in Clark Mills and Clinton; an excellent school system; veterans' organizations; service clubs and organizations; park areas; swimming pool; tennis courts; Root Glen; post offices; Town Library and Clark Mills Reading Room; National Bank & Trust and Homestead Banks; The Courier and Kirkland Newspaper; the Clinton Arena, former home of the Clinton Comets of the Eastern Hockey League; Hamilton College FM radio station; Skenandoa Golf Club; Kirkland Art Center; Edward W. Root Art Center at Hamilton College; Clinton Historical Society and Clark Mills Historical Society -- an ideally picturesque spot in which to reside -- the Town of Kirkland.
(Written by Mary Bell Dever, former Historian for the Town of Kirkland and former social studies teacher at Clinton Central School,now deceased.)