Pioneer history of Camden, Oneida County, New York
The object of this volume is to record the early settlement of the town of Camden, and bring the same to the knowledge of its readers. No doubt many have questioned, like ourselves, why they selected this part of the country? When it was first settled? By whom? and just where did this or that one reside in those early days? We seek to answer these questions, and many others — to tell you something of the trials that beset these pioneers, to show that their lives were not "downy beds of ease" and pleasure, but full of earnest toil and endeavor, privation, and often times suffering. It is well to know how the foundation of our now beautiful village and town was laid, that we may the better appreciate it — how it has grown from the primitive forest of pines to its present state of improvement — with what persistent labor they wrought to clear ground for their habitations, to the end that we may the more fully understand how great is the debt of gratitude we owe to the early builders of our community. We assume no superiority of authorship, nor shall it be our effort to embellish these pages with flowery descriptions; but a plainly related history of each family as we have gathered facts relative to it, will be our pleasure. This required years of patient labor. We have met with many encouragements, and but very little that tended to dishearten, and have found a more than ordinary interest manifest in the minds of all to whom we have turned for information and aid in our work. And now, kind readers, remember, we are sensible of defects, but court no criticism. With Dr. Arnold, "We can not see how the public mind can help bearing anything we have the honest courage to publish."
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The name of George Scriba occurs in nearly all of the deeds which have come under our notice as conveying land to very many of the early men in this locality, and it may interest some, as it did us, to see a portrait of the man, and learn a bit of his career. He was born in Holland in 1752, and came to America probably, when so many of his countrymen were seeking homes and fortunes here. In 1793 Mr. Scriba came to Constantia, and established himself a home on the picturesque shores of Lake Oneida, the locality then called Rotterdam. Mr. Scriba came there a man of wealth — estimated to have been worth from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. He invested largely in new, uncultivated territory, owning much of Oneida Co. Rotterdam was a place of larger business importance than Syracuse at the time. He was prominently interested in all measures for the advancement of the locality, giving liberally to the establishment 01 the .Episcopal Church, its building and equipment, and also a plot of ground for a burial place. The church was built in 1829, and still stands in fairly good condition, and is one of the children of Old Trinity, New York. The residence of Mr. Scriba was built in 1794, and the illustration is a very good one, though time has made inroads upon its beauty — is of Dutch colonial style in structure, two stories high in front, sloping from the ridge to a half story in height at the rear. We entered a door at the west end of the house, leading into a fairly wide hall, running through the entire length of the house to an outside door opposite.