IN compliance with the request of friends, I sketch a few of my experiences relative to Cazenovia Seminary. As a preliminary, I propose in this chapter to give a brief account of my first visit to Cazenovia village.
In the Summer of 1831, while serving as clerk in a mercantile house in Geneva, N. Y., being then about twenty years of age, I received a letter, dated at Cazenovia Seminary, from my sister Mary, in which she expressed a desire that I should meet her at the close of the session, and accompany her to our parental home at Milford, N. Y. Never having seen Cazenovia, although I had learned the fame of the youthful institution as a fountain of knowledge and nursery of piety, I needed no urging, especially as the family at home desired a visit from me. So I took the stage for Syracuse, and thence by a similar conveyance on the Cherry-Valley turnpike, proceeded to this place. The ride was pleasant through the little villages of Fayetteville and Manlius; but when within three or four miles of Cazenovia we began to ascend what appeared to me, in comparison with the level country of Ontario county, a huge mountain. So slowly did our coach plod along that it seemed as if we should never reach the summit which overlooks the charming lake and village. At length we arrived at the Cazenovia House, when I soon became acquainted with my host, Simon C. Hitchcock, an acquaintanceship I was happy to renew years after in the Seminary office, where we often sat in council as trustees. As I shall have occasion hereafter to speak of Mr. Hitchcock in another relation, suffice it now to say that I was his guest for two or three days; and although in those days an unconcealed bar was considered an indispensable requisite for a public inn, where dram drinking, more or less, if not thought almost a necessity was nearly a universal practice especially of travelers, nothing to me was more apparent than that my host was personally free from the habit of imbibing, and took special pains to discourage the use of intoxicants by others.
At that time not being particularly interested in the closing exercises of the Seminary term---and never expecting to be---my time, while here, was chiefly occupied in walks alone or with my sister in the village and suburbs, especially along the shore of the lake: and though familiar with the romantic scenery of the far-famed Otsego, and equally so with the more expansive and deeper waters of the Seneca, it seemed to me for quiet beauty, with its lovely, evergreen shores and gentle slopes of cultivated farms on both sides, Owahgena equalled if not surpassed them both.
In my frequent strolls at the foot of the lake, my attention was attracted by the tall, majestic twin oaks which, near each other, stood in solitary grandeur on the summit of the hill north-east of the head of the lake---like faithful sentinels, or rather like lovers retired to this elevated and sequestered height to view the scenery and commune together. When a few years after I came here as a student those towering trees were yet standing, and I often gazed upon them with admiration. When with my family I removed to this village, by Episcopal appointment, in 1836, they remained erect and unchanged in appearance as if immutable, until a few years since, when first one and then the other succumbed either to the relentless tooth of time or the ax of the woodman.
I must not close the account of my first visit to Cazenovia without stating the general impression made on my mind by the village and the villagers whom I saw during my brief stay. While the contrast between the village of Syracuse, through which I had just passed, and even city-like Geneva which I had temporarily left, with the quiet, Sunday-like appearance of Cazenovia, was striking, I was impressed with the conviction that the inhabitants generally were not only intelligent, industrious, and in comfortable circumstances, but above the average in morality, reciprocity of disposition, and good taste with reference to their dwellings, parks, and corporate regulations; as the streets and external aspect of the village indicated then, though less than now, that the citizens had adopted John Wesley's maxim, namely, that cleanliness is next to godliness.
I wish to make honorable mention of a private family whose hospitality I at that time shared. I allude to that of Luther Burnell, who lived in the house now occupied by Stephen Chaphe, on Mill-street. I was introduced by the kindness of their excellent daughter Elizabeth, who was on intimate terms with my sister Mary---both being Seminary students.
This godly family were in full sympathy with the powerful revival of religion which a short time previous had attended the labors of the Rev. Zachariah Paddock, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, which revival was, perhaps, the most general, far-reaching, and permanent in its results of any with which Cazenovia has ever been favored.
The Burnell family, at whose domestic altar I knelt, long since departed this life. The aged widow died at the Lincklaen House. While she was dying the writer asked her if she would not like more pillows to support her head. She smilingly replied, "God is my support." When attending her funeral I took much satisfaction in referring to the interesting fact to Mrs. Bula Burnell belongs the honor of establishing and superintending the first Sunday-school in Cazenovia. It was held in the Session-room of the Presbyterian church, which stood not far from the old site of their place of public worship on Sullivan-street Park.
I will only add in regard to my first visit to Cazenovia, that on taking leave with my sister I was gratified to find in our journey east it was my privilege to enjoy the society of several students, among them Hugh B. Jolly, subsequently professor of languages in the Seminary; and also the accomplished and pious preceptress, Miss N. Bliss, whose characteristic energy and wisely directed zeal contributed greatly to the success among the students of the revival to which reference has been made.
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