2023 CHEESE FESTIVAL2023 CHEESE FESTIVAL | OCTOBER 7th | 10 am – 5 pm
Home Of The First U.S. Open Air Cheese Market
Established 1861 at Little Falls, NY
THE BURRELL FAMILY
JONATHAN BURRELL-A DAIRYMEN
Jonathan Burrell and his family were influential in making Little Falls the cheese capital of the United States and beyond. Burrell was born in Walpole, Sulfolk, Massachusetts Bay Colony on February 10, 1757. He came from Sheffield, Massachusetts, with his second wife, Lucina Kellog Burrell, along with five children, which included their seven-year-old son Harry Kellog Burrell, to Salisbury, NY in 1804.They settled on a farm in a small area of the hamlet, with the area becoming known as Burrell’s Corner. Jonathan, being a dairyman, began the manufacturing of butter and cheese at his farm.
THE MARKETING OF BUTTER & CHEESE
Butter and cheese manufacturing soon became the chief industry of the local area in the early 1800s. During the American Revolution, the Mohawk Valley was known as the “breadbasket for the Continental Army.” By 1812, the area had been receiving unusually cold weather, which lasted over quite a few consecutive growing seasons, forcing the farmers to turn to dairying, since grass grew easily under these adverse weather conditions.
At this time, one cow averaged about 600 pounds of cheese per year. It took four gallons of milk to produce one pound of cheese, with a cow averaging eight gallons of milk per day during her milking period. The milking period stretched over the next ten months or so, after she had given birth.
Jonathan Burrell became known as a honest and fair man, a leading businessman, and as a producer and broker of dairy products. He started a marketing business, marketing his own dairy products and as the business grew, he began to add the products of neighboring farms. His son Harry, at the age of twenty-three, entered the business in 1820.
The Burrell’s would spend the fall months taking the butter and cheese products to Albany by wagon, where the dairy products were then placed on barges to be shipped to a storage warehouse in NYC. Come winter, Jonathan and Harry would stay in NYC selling the stored dairy products. Come spring, they would head back home to Salisbury, dispersing the sales profits amongst the local dairymen. For their work, the Burrell’s were paid a commission from the dairy sales. This was the beginning of a dairy business that would grow over the next one hundred and seventy-eight years, becoming the present-day business of Feldmeier Equipment, Inc.
Jonathan died in Salisbury, NY on December 31, 1835, at the age of 78 years and was buried in the Salisbury Cemetery.
THE MAKING OF HARRY BURRELL
Harry married Charlotte Waterman on April 5, 1820, with Charlotte dying in 1821. Harry married for a second time, to Ormenda F Carr on April 27, 1823. Ormenda’s death was on June 17, 1839, with Harry marrying for the third time, three months later on September 17, 1839, to Sarah Montague Hamlin. Harry had four daughters and six sons over the course of his three marriages.
When Jonathan died, Harry inherited the old family homestead at Burrell’s Corner, in Salisbury, which was known locally as the Hackley Farm. Hackley Farm was located six miles north of the village of Little Falls.
The cheese marketing business, started by Jonathan, continued to grow under Harry’s direction. Harry expanded the business by forming a cheese brokerage firm in NYC, with the firm conducting business under the name of H. Burrell & Company. Harry was the first merchant to ship cheese to Philadelphia in 1828 and to England in 1830, where he had sent an initial shipment of 10,000 pounds of cheese.
In 1851, Jesse Williams, a dairyman from Rome, NY, founded the first cheese factory in the United States. He developed a cooperative amongst the local dairymen, where they brought their milk to the factory to have their cheese made under stringent factory conditions, which produced a uniform outstanding cheddar cheese. The cooperative controlled the supply of milk, butter and cheese being presented to the market, giving a higher return in pricing. Little Falls had eight cheese factories at this time, becoming one of the principal towns in Herkimer County for the manufacturing of cheese.
Harry amassed a large amount of wealth from the cheese industry. He invested a large portion of his wealth into real-estate, owning fourteen well-established farms, for which he held leases on. He moved his family to Little Falls in 1853, when he built a house at the corner of William and Main Street, the present-day location of the Verizon Telephone Company.
By 1858, his sons, Seymour and David Hamlin, worked for the H. Burrell & Company brokerage house in New York City, employed as brokers in the cheese marketing trade.
Past President Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train stopped at Little Falls on April 26, 1865, at 7:35pm, when Mrs. Sarah Montague Hamlin Burrell laid a wreath on President Lincoln’s black mahogany coffin.
According to “This Day In History… On January 1, 1866, the Journal & Courier published the 1865 income of notable Little Falls residents-Nathaniel S Benton $3,683, George A Feeter $2,378, Jonathan J Gilbert $8,508, D. H. Burrell $1,323, Z C Priest $9,920, W G Milligan $2,662, Nelson Rust $8,550. Xerxes A Willard $1,315. Arphax Loomis $1,992, and Harry Burrell $8,549.”
In 1872, Harry was part of a group of other notables, who helped form the first Little Falls Waterworks company here at Little Falls, where water was channeled throughout the village through hollowed out logs, called aqueducts, with the water coming from springs and reservoirs within the village.
At eighty years old, Harry was still working full-time, conducting weekly exports of one-thousand boxes of cheese in the foreign cheese trade.
Harry Kellogg Burrell’s death took place in Little Falls, NY on March 5, 1879, at the age of 81 years, with him being buried in the Church Street Cemetery. His son, Edward Jonathan, inherited the family home on East Main Street.
THE ROBBERY OF HARRY BURRELL
On the morning of April 12,1879, it was discovered that Harry Burrell’s vault at the Church Street Cemetery had been tampered with sometime during the night and his remains were stolen. Harry, who was well known as the largest broker and exporter of cheese in Central NY, had been recently placed in the vault on March the 5th.
Harry Burrell’s remains were located on April 23rd and were re-interred on April 26th, with a short graveside funeral. Only immediate family were present, and a reverend gave a short prayer of thanks for the return of Harry’s remains. The four men that committed this horrendous crime, were arrested, and sentenced to five years of hard labor at the Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, NY. The ringleader of the group got an extra five years for a prior burglary. (Full story follows below).
DAVID HAMLIN BURRELL
David Hamlin Burrell was born on March 17, 1841, to Harry and his third wife, Sarah Montague Hamlin. David, at the age of twelve, along with his family, which included nine siblings, moved to Little Falls from Burrell’s Corner, where he entered Little Falls Academy. At sixteen years of age, he was sent to a boys’ school in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which he left after a year of attendance. At seventeen years of age, David went to work with his father full-time in the cheese industry business, where he had been working, in his spare time, since the age of fourteen. At twenty-two years of age, he bought thirty- three thousand boxes of cheese. After selling them in the New York City market, he profited $66,000. for the company and pocketed a year’s salary for himself of $1,000.
In 1868, the H. Burrell Company received word from London that a firm that they did business with was in error of paying its debt to them. David Hamlin, at 27 years of age, booked passage on the “City of Paris’ ‘ and sailed to London. He extended his stay, traveling all over England and France, gaining knowledge of European ways of making cheese, especially cheddar cheese. He brought back nearly the total debt owed to the H. Burrell Company and he willingly shared this new knowledge of cheese making with the neighboring cheese factories, improving the quality of their cheese.
LITTLE FALLS – A CHEESE CAPITAL
In 1871, Burrell helped form the New York State Dairymen’s Association and Board, along with Xerxes Willard, being the first dairy association established in the United States, with him holding the position of treasurer. The Dairy Board was located in the Evan’s Hotel ballroom, on the corner of Ann and John Street, across from the New York Central Railroad Station.
On Mondays, Little Falls would hold an open-air market, saving the purchasing agents the trouble of traveling bad country roads to sample and transport the purchased dairy products. The market also accommodated the dairymen, with them being present when the pricing of cheese was set for the day, since the pricing varied day to day. The dairymen would come into the village, with their wagons ladened with butter and cheeses, and would line up all along Albany and Ann Streets, staying within proximity to the railroad station, for the agents ease of loading their dairy purchases for shipment by rail.
The village would have had many hundreds of buying agents coming in by train, from far-reaching cities for the weekly event. The agents would partake in tastings and haggle over pricing. Once the pricing was set, it would then be telegraphed to NYC, Philadelphia, and London from the Evans Hotel, which had a telegraph line connected to the railroad station, with Little Falls becoming known as the Cheeses Capital of the United States and beyond. A few of the cheese factories “Cheddar Cheese” was so well known abroad, that the interested English brokers dealt directly with the individual cheese factories.
According to “This Day In History…On December 12, 1881, Little Falls continued to hold the foremost place as a cheese market. During the year, 15,181,500 pounds of factory cheese was sold here at an average price of 0.108933 cents per pound. The value was $1,653,184.17. This is solid money paid to our dairymen creating a great degree of prosperity. In addition, a large quantity of dairy cheese was sold.”
According to “This Day In History…” On July 28, 1885, farmers who were selling their cheese on Albany Street were ordered off the street by Sheriff Abbott after a couple of residents claimed their teams were a nuisance. After the sellers threatened to go to Utica, better accommodations were found for them on Bridge Street.”
By 1900, many of the local dairymen were transporting their fresh milk to New York City by refrigerated railroad cars, which led to a decline in cheese manufacturing. By 1920, the Cherry-Burrell Company had begun experimenting with the manufacturing of refrigerated trucks for the transportation of dairy products, with most roads being paved at this time, which would be an easier way to transport the dairy products from farms to larger cities.
According to “This Day In History…” On July 30, 1901, whether it was the increase in the price paid for cheese, great weather, a bumper hay crop, or something else, the farmers had a big night in town. The stores as well as the saloons did a large business. There were many fights, and nineteen arrests were made, thirteen by policeman James “Dusty” Long.”
EXPANSION OF THE BURRELL BUSINESS
In 1868, David Hamlin formed a business partnership with Rodney Whitman, forming the Whitman & Burrell Company. Rodney (who built the 1880 house which is the present-day location of the Elks) had been a partner with George Ashley (who built the 1864 house which is the present-day location of the Chapman-Mosher Funeral Home) in a hardware business. The name of their store was “Ashley Hardware”, which was in the present-day location of the White Rose Bakery on Main Street. The Ashley Hardware store went up for sale when George Ashley entered retirement in 1868. The Whitman & Burrell Co. purchased the Ashley Hardware store and changed the name to that of Whitman and Burrell. The Whitman & Burrell store became the place for local dairy farmers to go to exchange ideas and thoughts on agricultural prospects and to purchase needed farm supplies. Burrell learned what farmers wanted and needed through these exchanges and began to carry top quality equipment and supplies.
The Whitman and Burrell Co. purchased the old Presbyterian Church lot on the corner of Ann and Albany Street, to expand their business on March 1, 1880, for $4,000., transforming the property into offices and factory space for the manufacturing of dairy equipment. Also in 1880, Walter Whitman, Rodney’s brother, became a partner in the company.
The Whitman and Burrell Company had factories in Rome, NY and in Detroit and Trenton, Michigan, employing at least 500 workers within the company. According to This Day In History… “On February 20. 1904, It was noted that Burrell believed that a measure of his prosperity belonged to his workers and when they left the company, they received a check for an extra nice sum, along with their regular pay.”
On January 1, 1881, Rodney sold his portion of the business to David H. for $8,000.
When Chr. Hansen Laboratory from Copenhagen, Denmark, came to Little Falls in 1881, under the direction of Johan D. Frederiksen, the company hired the Whitman & Burrell Co. to be their wholesale marketing agents. The products that Hansen’s Laboratory first manufactured on Hansen Island, were a coloring agent for butter and an enhanced rennet extract, which was used in the cheese industry to coagulate the milk, that in turn, stabilized the cheese. The Whitman and Burrell Company sold these products all over the United States and Canada.
On January 1, 1882, the firm changed its name to Burrell and Whitman. In 1885, Walter sold his share to David on October 5th for the sum of $1., with David becoming the sole owner of the business. David’s brother, Edward Jonathan Burrell, joined the firm later that same year, with the firm changing its’ name yet again, to that of D.H. Burrell and Company, As the business grew, so did the size of the buildings on Albany Street, which had received expansions in 1906, 1907, 1922, and 1927, which almost filled the whole city block.
DAVID H. BURRELL AS A BUSINESSMAN AND AN INVENTOR
In 1872, D.H. Burrell was vice-president of the Little Falls Knitting Company, which manufactured knit underwear on Loomis Island.
Over the years, David spent a good portion of his time conducting experiments at his dairy farm, called Overlook Farm. In 1876, he perfected a seamless bandage for cheese for packaging.
In 1880, David and Edward imported and stocked the Overlook Farm with purebred Holstein cattle. The neighboring farms began expanding their herds with Holstein cattle, with the breed being known to be the best for dairying. The Overlook had an operational creamery and bottling plant.
In 1880, David H. Burrell built a concrete silo on the farm that held 100 tons of silage. They experimented with growing clover, Hungarian grass, corn, and rye, amongst other crops, seeing which crops were best suited for silage. He began to introduce the ensilage system to the local neighboring farmers, which is the system of placing chopped crop material inside a structure called a silo, so feed, which is called silage, is available all year round. This resulted in being able to milk cows for most months of the year.
In 1881, he built a centrifugal cream separator, which separated the cream from the milk using centrifugal force. He improved the milk pasteurization system and built churns, butter workers, milk testers and coolers, gang presses, and a universally accepted and patented a milking machine.
According to “This Day In History… On August 11, 1885, David received a patent for an oil burner, for which he was posthumously honored by former President Ronald Reagan, who made a proclamation #5384, that 1985 to be “Oil Heat Centennial Year”. “The oil burner first started out as a heating unit for heating large vats of milk and used to maintain a constant temperature throughout the liquid, which the technique was then modified to be used for the heating systems, within homes.”
In 1888, he served on the board of the water commissioners, helping with the design of the first salt-glazed vitrified pipes for a waterworks system for the city. This system was put in place at a cost of $305,000, with the water being supplied from Spruce Creek and Beaver Creek, from the Town of Salisbury, which are still our main water sources of today.
In 1892, David was looking for a capable engineer for his company and went to the president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and asked for a recommendation. He was advised to hire Harvey Feldmeier, with Harvey already being in Little Falls at the time, working on a job for the Department of New York State, which was building a dam across the Mohawk River by Hansen Island. Harvey Feldmeier stayed in Little Falls and came to work for D. H. Burrell in December of 1892, as Chief Engineer for the company. In 1902, being one of only a handful of drivers in the city, Harvey bought a Maxwell car, which had a top speed of 25 miles per hour. Throughout his employment, Harvey received 56 patents for inventions under his own name from, February 27,1894 – September 19, 1935, while working for the D.H. Burrell & Company and the Cherry-Burrell Company.
According to “This Day In History…On October 1, 1895, D. H. Burrell & Company had recently imported the Thistle Mechanical Milking Machine from Scotland for their operation on their hilltop farm. The machine at the Burrell farm milks ten cows at once, averaging one cow per minute, with favorable results.”
In the Presidential Election of 1896, David being a Republican, served as Presidential Elector for New York State.
Burrell held the position of Bank President for the Herkimer County Bank, from 1901 until 1913.
According to this “Day In History…On January 27, 1903, several years ago a group of prominent Little Falls citizens formed the “Eastern Improvement Company” to develop the Burnt Rocks area of Little Falls, and lay out streets, building lots, and a route for the trolley. The lots did not sell, the trolley never materialized, and the lands were sold today under foreclosure to Mr. D. H. Burrell for $8,009.
According to “This Day In History…” On June 19, 1912, the problem of sterilization of milking machines and dairy equipment was a puzzling dilemma. Loomis Burrell reached out to Cornell University in 1911 for help. They sent a young bacteriologist, Lois Watson Wing, to Little Falls and she, working with Burrell, solved the problem with a solution of chlorine and lime (Clorox.) The couple married on this date in Ithaca. Reclosure to Mr. D.H. Burrell for $8,009.”
Throughout his life, he had invented many pieces of dairy, creamery, and cheese processing equipment, which all these inventions modernized the dairy industry. D.H. Burrell was awarded an honorary degree of Master of Arts from Hamilton College for his intellectual achievements.
In 1889, David H. Burrell had a 26-room mansion built on the hilltop property of the Overlook Farm, which he had envisioned since childhood. The view from Burrell’s home, known as Overlook Mansion, looks out over the village of Little Falls below.
Archimedes Russell was the architect that built the home, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The Overlook Mansion contained an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, and elevator. The 15,000 square feet home flowed over three floors and consisted of twelve bedrooms and nine bathrooms. The Burrell’s had a tennis court and a large-scale greenhouse built on the property, where David experimented with exotic plants and flowers. The Burrell’s also put in place their own self-contained hydroelectric plant.
According to “This Day In History … “On June 30, 1890, two immense greenhouses, each 130 feet by 20 feet, were to be located up-the-hill from D.H. Burrell’s “Overlook Mansion.” In addition to flowers for decorating the tables and grounds of the estate, rare orchids will be grown under controlled conditions.”
A copy of the original full set of architectural renderings, drawn by Archimedes Russel for the Overlook Mansion, was found in the basement of the Loomis- Wing -Burrell-Fisher House and was donated to the Little Falls Historical Society Museum.
DAVID H. BURRELL’S PHILANTHROPY
Burrell’s civic improvements to the City of Little Falls were many. It is noted that he gave away half of the first thousand dollars that he had made in 1863, at the age of 22.
He was a devout Christian and supported the 1832 First Presbyterian Church, being the church that he grew up in and had refurbished over the years. He also had become the Ruling Elder of this church in 1869. When he had it removed from Albany Street in 1880, to expand his business, he helped financially with the cost of the building of a new church, on the corner of Jackson and Lansing Street, which had a construction cost of $40,000.
The Bethel Mission Chapel at Little Falls was started by Lewis Howe, a secretary for the YMCA, in 1888, and held their church gatherings in the Mohawk Valley Hotel on Flint Ave. In 1902, Burrell financed a church to be built for them, which was completed in 1903 and was called the South Side Union Church. The new church stood on the northern side of West Jefferson Street, with the lot being gifted by a former president of the Herkimer County Bank, William Milligan. The South Side Union Church was removed in 1913, when the Barge Canal was being built, with the box from the cornerstone being given to David Hamlin Burrell, JR.
In 1910, David H. gifted the lot on Jackson Street and $50,000 to build the Presbyterian Parish House, so that the Young Men’s Christian Association had a place for meetings and recreation. The association was firstly made up of a group of young men that worked the railroad, who held their meetings in public rented rooms, with the meeting’s objective was to study Christianity. He laid the cornerstone of this building on November 6, 1911, which was later to be renamed the Young Men’s Christian Association, which became known as the YMCA. David H. Burrell was a devoted and consistent advocate for providing guidance to young people.
In 1914, he gifted the city $60,000. dollars to use towards the building of City Hall. He built the Herkimer County Trust building, for the newly renamed banking institution, the Herkimer County Trust Company, on the corner of Ann and Main Street in 1917, leaving the Old Stone Bank behind. According to “This Day In History…On March 14, 1963, the venerable city clock that had hung on the bank since 1918 was removed.”
According to “This Day In History… On March 9, 1918, Over the years, many people had been killed or injured from crossing the railroad tracks at the crossings of Ann Street and Third Street, by oncoming trains. On March 9, 1918, a proposal from the New York Central Railroad to solve the at grade problem, called for two subways to be built, one for pedestrians overhead at the Ann Street crossing and one for vehicles at Third Street crossing. D.H. Burrell influenced the designs for the subways.”
The partnership between the brothers at D.H. Burwell & Company continued until David’s death. At that time the company became incorporated, with Edward Jonathan Burrell becoming the president of the firm. David Hamlin’s sons entered the firm also, with Loomis becoming the vice-president and his other son, David Hamlin, JR held the positions of secretary and treasurer.
David died at his home on January 13, 1919. He left behind his wife, Louisa, and three of their five children. The five children they had together were, their son Arpha, who died as an infant, Loomis, David Hamlin JR, Mary Elizabeth, and Ann Louise, who died in 1907, at the age of 31.
MRS.LOUISA LOOMIS BURRELL
David Hamlin Burrell was united in marriage with Louisa Loomis, daughter of Judge Arphaxed Loomis, on December 30, 1864. Louisa, being the first woman to drive an automobile in 1906, supported her husband’s civic contributions to the City of Little Falls and is also known for hers as well, mainly for her contribution in 1923, of having a home built on Whited Street for the nurses employed at the Little Falls Hospital. She had the home built in memory of her sister, Miss Adeline Loomis. Adeline was 78 years old when she died in 1916 and had always shown a profound interest in the welfare of the Little Falls Hospital. The cost was $56,000., with Louisa not witnessing its completion, for she died at the age of 81 years, on April 30, 1924.
THE BURRELL FAMILY PHILANTHROPY CONTINUES
In 1920, David H. Burrell’s remaining children, Loomis, David Hamlin JR, and Mary Elizabeth, purchased the historic Nathaniel Benton House on Garden Street for the Women’s Christian Association. They followed in their parents’ footsteps with acts of philanthropy, to benefit the citizens of the City of Little Falls. The building became known locally as the WCA and was gifted in honor of their deceased sister, Ann Louise Burrell, who had worked for the welfare and interests of women. It was to be used as a meeting place for such organizations as the Little Falls Historical Society, the Girl Scouts of Little Falls, and other non-profits. It was also to be used as a boarding home for women in need, which it is still being used in that capacity today. A gift of $12,000. was included by the Burrell siblings, which was to be used for needed repairs.
According to “This Day In History…On April 26, 1927, a total of $16,729. was donated by Burrell’s children and his brother, towards the costs involved to build and equip the West Monroe Street Park. Edward Johnathan donated $2,000., Loomis donated $1,000., David Hamlin JR donated $6,500., and Mary Elizabeth donated $500.”
In 1928, D.H. Burrell and Company joined two other major firms-the J.G. Cherry Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the Milwaukee Dairy Supply Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and four other distributor companies to form the Cherry-Burrell Corporation, with Loomis Burrell as its first Board Chairman and Harvey Feldmeier as the Chief Engineer. In 1930, the company expanded its Albany Street location.
In 1940, the Cherry- Burrell Co. purchased the old Burnett Leather Tannery on Mill Street. When WWII broke out, the tannery was used to manufacture parts for the United States Air Force. In 1954, work began at the Mill Street site, with removing the tannery, along with the oldest knit goods mill, the Anchor Mill. The Cherry-Burrell Company relocated to the newly built factory at the Mill Street location by 1958, with the Albany Street offices and factory being closed. The old Albany Street buildings were removed by Urban Renewal in 1963 and are now the present-day location of Kelly’s Meat Market, Family Dollar Store, and Kinney Drugs.
According to “This Day In History…On February 10, 1963, changes continued in the Cherry-Burrell Company and its ties with Little Falls grew fewer and fewer. David H. Burrell 3rd, Edwin Fisher, and Anthony Wening resigned as directors, and representatives of the investor group which recently bought into the company were elected to succeed them.”
According to “This Day In History…” On September 13, 1963, the former Cherry-Burrell Plant 1, on Albany Street between Ann and Second streets, will be torn down, and an A & P Supermarket will be built on the site. As a part of the demolition, a wall of the old Presbyterian Church, erected about 1832 and one of the oldest structures in the city, will be razed.”
THE BURRELL FAMILY PASSES THE TORCH TO THE FELDMEIER FAMILY
In 1998, the Cherry-Burrell Company, which manufactured stainless steel tanks amongst other products, became part of the Feldmeier Equipment Inc., as their third manufacturing facility. The Feldmeier Company has been run by Havery Feldmeier’s family for the past seventy-one years, spanning the last three generations. Harvey was Chief Engineer for the companies of D.H. Burrell and Cherry-Burrell, to whose employ, he dedicated 43 years.
The Riverside facility, on Riverside Industrial Pkwy, became operational in 2014. An 81,000 square foot expansion to the facility was completed in March of 2022.The new expansion contains a 75-foot tower, where stainless steel tanks can now be fabricated in a vertical position. The company has a total of seven manufacturing plants throughout the United States, which manufactures tanks, which are used in the dairy industry and many other industries that use stainless steel vessels. They employ up to 200 workers within their two plants here at Little Falls. Feldmeier’s main headquarters is in Syracuse, NY.
GRAVE ROBBERY OF HARRY BURRELL
On the morning of April 12,1879, it was discovered that Harry Burrell’s vault at the Church Street Cemetery had been opened sometime during the night.
It was reported that a wagon had been heard during the night and that the sound generated by the wagon, which had a loose wheel, was recognized as belonging to a blacksmith named Thomas Fox. The news spread quickly through the village and soon the cemetery had a gathering of a couple hundred people. It was reported by Undertaker Toxer that he embalmed Burrell’s body and that the body would be preserved for six weeks. It was soon reported that it was Fox’s wagon used in the robbery, because a patch of gray hair was found in the wagon.
On April 23rd, Harry’s remains were found under a barn at the Jacksonburg Lock by Rodney House, who was a proprietor of a canal side hotel and grocery and was questioned by Judge Arphaxed Loomis. Rodney stated that he was looking for eggs when he found Burrell’s remains under the barn. Rodney raised free-range chickens and had found eggs under the barn in the past.
Rodney and his brother hitched up their team to head into town to go to the police station, when Nathan Lewis, being a neighbor who had been involved in the robbery of the body, asked if he could tag along. In town, Nathan went to D.H. Burrell’s store to inquire if there was a reward to whoever found Harry Burrell’s remains and Burrell stated that the reward was set at $500. D.H. Burrell followed them all back to retrieve the remains.
Harry Burrell’s remains were interred on April 26, 1879. The remains were preserved in a satisfactory condition, with only the immediate family present at the burial. A short prayer, thanking God for the recovery of Harry’s remains, was said by Reverend Potts, from the Presbyterian Church.
Policemen Shepardson took Thomas Kane to the Herkimer Jail to be arrested by Detective Wheeler. Kane was an unemployed hooligan who had prior arrests for train robberies and was suspected of a recent robbery at a cobbler shop, where a pair of shoes had been stolen. Anytime something of this nature happened recently in the village, it was speculated that Kane did it.
On May 20th, District Attorney Dudleston started conducting the prosecution, D.H. Burrel testified about his father’s death and the condition of the vault. It so happens that four men were involved. The principal leader of the theft, a wanderer named William Van Alstine, which was an alias for William Keating, plotted the abduction of Burrell’s body for ransom. The other two were a bartender named John Mc Guirk, and a beer bottler named Nathan Lewis.
They were each sentenced to five years of hard labor at Auburn Correctional Facility, in Auburn, NY. William Keating received an extra five years for a prior burglary.
*Digitizing of Historical Photos by Gail & Mike Potter, FROM THE COONEY ARCHIVES: THIS DAY IN HISTORY by Louis Baum, JR, and article written by Darlene Smith
LAST WEEK FOR FREE TOURS of the Little Falls Historical Society Museum. The museum will be open this week leading up to the Cheese Fest for FREE TOURS on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1 pm-4 pm, and on CHEESE FEST DAY Saturday, which will be our last day for the season, we will be open from 10am – 4pm. We will be accepting “Appointments for After Hours” for this week-for an appointment, please contact Louis Baum at 315-867-3527. Please stop in for a visit!