The Late John Cooley - Clean Highways- Interesting Reminiscences.

The Daily Times, Oswego, New York, April 17, 1878

[Note: Paradise Street is not listed on any of the historical maps posted below, nor is Union Village. Fitchs' Corner is shown on the 1867 map. Based on the discriptions in this article, the street is most certainly what is now called Cemetery Road which runs North West from where Fitchs' Corner was located.]

UNION VILLAGE, April 18. - Quite an interesting gathering was held at the school house in this place this evening. Some time since the question was asked through your columns "Who first named the road leading from Union Village to Oswego Center Paradise Street?"

By subsequent inquiry it was ascertained, that the late John Cooley, in riding through here, noticed that the old unsightly fences (which had been erected for the purpose of making the highway a public pasture-ground) were being removed, the alders and thistles cut down, and the highway instead of being a field for the propagation of weeds, was being made to contribute to the pleasure and profit of its owners. This, together with the beauty of the scenery induced the late Mr. C. to name this road "Paradise Street."

For the lively interest which Mr. Cooley ever manifested in the happiness and prosperity of the farmers, and the high regard in which his memory is held by them, they resolved to call a meeting and ratify the name thus given. S. L. Parsons called the meeting to order, S. P. Clark was chosen Chairman and Daniel R. Green Secretary.

On taking the chair, Mr. Clark stated the object of the meeting, and requested all, whether residents on the street or not, to take part in the proceedings.

Mr. Lyman Coats offered the preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

WHEREAS, The late John Cooley, several years since, complimented the farmers residing on the road leading from Union Village to Oswego Center by naming the road "Paradise Street," for their endeavors to keep all their animals from the highway, and for their attempts to clear the same of all rubbish, for the purpose of utilization and appearance, and,

WHEREAS, We approve of the name, and of the circumstances which led to the naming of the street, therefore,

Resolved, That we hereby confirm and establish the name "Paradise Street," to the road leading from Union Village, south easterly to Oswego Center, as laid out by the Road Commissioners, Asa Rice, Jonathan Buell and Matthew McNair, October 2, 1807, and recorded in town records.

This survey was made three years before the River Road was surveyed and six years before the Gray Road. See Oswego County History, pages 200 and 201.

Mr. Brigham said, although not a resident of this street, he owned a lot in the cemetery above here, and he thought the name very appropriate, for a great many would travel and rest beside this street on their way to Paradise.

He thought a view of the country from his upper window, especial when the orchards were in bloom was certainly suggestive of Paradise.

Mr. Coats relates several incidents connected with the early history of the road, saying that the first school taught in what is now the Town of Oswego was in a log house where Mr. Vauvilliaz's house now stands, that the first school district organized in the town was here, the first school house town was built where the cobble stone school house now stands, built in 1816. The first Supervisor of the Town of Oswego Eleazer Perry, Senior, 1818, lived where S. P. Clark and son now reside. The first military captain was Stephen Brace, who was also one of the four first Justices of the Peace and lived where Mrs. James Pierce now resides.

The first attempt to raise a building in the town without the aid of whiskey made on this street by Daniel Pease, which succeeded admirably although "Satan came also among them," in a gallon jug brought by a man that liked to have the "critter" honored on all such occasions, but there were not more than two or three that got a nip before Mr. Edgar Beckwith ran against the jug with a pike pole just as an old gentleman's lips were about to greet the foe of mankind, and left nothing but the jug handle in the old man's hand. Several friends of whisky held back on the timbers as the first bent went up, and then went home disgusted.

Three of the daughters of the first Rice family settled on this street, Mrs. Stephen Brace, Mrs. Daniel Pease and Mrs. Mehitable Perry, also a fourth Mrs. Erastus Todd at the end of the street where H. P. Fitch, Esq., now resides.

The first man in the town who took the liberty to leave his road gates open for his own convenience was Mr. James Pierce, who got the credit from some of those that wanted to pasture the highway, of making a law to prohibit cattle from running at large. Mr. Coats thinks he was the first person in the town that cleaned up and mowed the sides of the road. Mr. C. also stated that every farm on this road but one had been honored with a log dwelling, and gave the location of all but one of them, from his own recollection.

Mr. Brigham said that if Mr. Coats' modesty would have allowed it, he might have stated that the first native townsman elected Supervisor of this town was born on this street and still resides here.

By resolution of the meeting the Secretary was instructed to furnish the proceedings of the meeting to the city papers for publication.

o DAN'L & GREEN, Sec'y.

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