First trip on Syracuse & Utica Railroad
Otsego Farmer, Cooperstown, N.Y.
Oct. 3, 1919
One Survivor of Old-Time Excursioin
DeWitt C. Hadcock of Oneida believes he is the only survivor of the first party to ride over the old Syacuse & Utica Railroad on an excursion over the line on July 4, 1839, soon after its completion.
The line extended from Syracuse to Utica, where it connected with the Mohawk Valley road in Bagg's Square. The excursion constituted the largest Fourth of July celebration ever held in Utica up to that time. Mr. Hadcock's father was a stockholder, and a director of the company, and Mr. Hadcock had in his possession the original invitation which reads as follows:
"To John Hadcock, Stockbridge, Madison County, N.Y.
My dear sir - You and your family are invited to an excursion over the Syracuse & Utica Railroad on July 4, 1839, to participate in a celebration in Utica. Dated Syracuse, June 27, 1839
John Wilkinson, President
P.S. - If we have good luck the train will arrive in Oneida about 9 o'clock a.m."
Mr. Hadcock, his father and sister, rode on the train from Oneida to Utica. He was eight years old at that time but remembers most of the scenes connected with that trip. The tray consists of thirteen Concord coaches, which had been taken from the old Seneca turnpike and small cast iron wheels had been placed under the bodies. The inside of each coach accommodated about fourteen people and the same number rode on top.
The connection of the two roads, the old Utica & Schenectady, was at the north end of Bagg's Square. When the connection of the two roads was made, a single locomotive passed slowly over and back again, in the midst of the roar of cannon and cheers of what was estimated at 20,000 people. Following this display, the directors and stockholders repaired to Bagg's Hotel for dinner.
One of the interesting incidents in connection with the dinner was the blessing which Mr. Bagg, the proprietor, delivered. He said: "We have this day spread before us by the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father, roast beef, roast chicken and roast pig. Declare until yourselves which you will have. Amen."
The road was fifty-three miles long and was said have cost $400,000 to build. In 1853 it was taken over by the New York Central