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June 1999


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"Daniel H. Weiskotten" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Jun 1999 00:09:02 -0400
text/plain (76 lines)
David Minor asked:
>I'm doing  research for a documentary script including Professor Amos
>Eaton's 1826 field trip across the state on the Erie Canal. One of his
>students, Asa Firch, later state entomologist, kept a journal of the
>expedition, and mentions stopping on May 9th to visit the Chittenengo
>Polytechnic school (apparently a grade school) run by a Mr. Yates. Can
>anyone provide any details on either Yates or the school?

        Taken verbatim from Luna B. Hammond's 1872 _History of Madison County,
Truair Smith & Co., Syracuse, page 671, [( ) are my notes] is:

        "While manufactures, mechanics, and mercantile pursuits flourished under
the influence of the growing wealth (of the then thriving Village of
Chittenango), there were men of means at hand to elevate the standard of
education and religion.  With this high purpose in view Mr. (John B.)
Yates, in 1824, or '25, purchased the inn of Elisha Carey and established
therein the Polytechny, an institute of learning, under the presidency of
Dr. Andrew J. Yates.  This school was famed far and near for its generous
plan and excellent management."

(John B. Yates was pretty much the "proprietor" of Chittenango: he owned
most of it, ran its politics, was responsible for improving roads, building
canals, mills, farms, you name it - he died in 1836 at age 52 years).

Also from Hammond:
<:675 - 676>


        "This institution was founded by John B. Yates, in 1824.  The building was
purchased by him of Elisha Carey, it having been built in 1814 for an inn.
Rev. Andrew Yates, brother of John B., was first President, and continued
in that position till 1832.  It was a very popular school, having students
from all parts of the Union. Judge Yates sustained the school with its
corps of six professors, giving to students the most liberal advantages, at
a great pecuniary sacrifice to himself.  In 1832, it was closed for want of
adequate substantial support to maintain its generous plan.  On the death
of Mr. Yates, in 1836, when his estate came in process of settlement, the
building was bought by Henry Yates, who deeded it to trustees for school
purposes, the name being changed from "Polytechny," its original name, to
"Yates Polytechnic Institute."  Between the years 1832 and '37, it was used
again as a hotel, Samuel M. Rowell, proprietor.  In 1837, it was re-opened
as a school under the supervision of Rev. George W. Thompson, and continued
for five years with varied success.  In 1843, it passed into the hands of
William Velasko, who continued as principal until 1861, the students
numbering most of the time from 150 to 200, with from 40 to 80 boarders.
During Mr. Velasko's term with the Institute, he had 3,200 different
scholars, who were from all parts of the States.  Since 1861, four
different principals have carried on the school, with a degree of success
not always satisfactory pecuniarily.  The last Principal, J.W. Hall,
endeavored with unremitting care and effort to restore it to the high
standing of its better days, and in a <:676> good degree succeeded, though
pecuniarily unprofitable.  In 1871, it closed as an Institute, and opened
under the arrangement of a graded school, having four departments.  It has
a fine library and philosophical apparatus, and has been furnished with all
that pertains to an institution conducted on the College plan.  About
$12,000 has been expended during 1871, for repairs, improvements, and
arrangements made for the several departments.  The accompanying engraving
represents the Polytechnic Institute as it was in 1844, while under the
supervision of William Velasko."

(there is no "accompanying engraving" in the text.  The 1844 date makes me
think that it would be in Barber & Howe's _Historical Collections_ but my
copy has no such cut.)

(The YPI was located between the intersection of what are today NY 5 and NY
173 in the south western part of the Village of Chittenango.  A glorious
parking lot for a car dealer stands to mark the spot.

        Dan W.