ROME, a city of Oneida county, New York, U.S.A., on the Mohawk river and Wood Creek, and the Erie and the Black river canals, 14 m. W.N.W. of Utica. Pop. (1890) 14,991; (1900) 15,343, of whom 2527 were foreign-born; (1910, census) 20,497. Rome is served by the New York Central & Hudson River, the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (controlled by the New York Central), the New York, Ontario & Western, and the Utica & Mohawk Valley (electric) railways. It is about 450 ft. above sea-level. The city is the seat of the Academy of the Holy Names (opened in 1865 as St Peter’s Academy), of the State Custodial Asylum for unteachable idiots, of the Central New York Institution for Deaf Mutes (1875), and of the Oneida County Home. The Jervis Public Library (1895), founded by John Bloomfield Jervis (1795–1885), a famous railway engineer, had in 1909 about 15,000 volumes. The surrounding country is devoted largely to farming, especially vegetable gardening, and to dairying. Among the manufactures are brass and copper work, wire for electrical uses, foundry and machine-shop products, locomotives, knit goods, tin cans and canned goods (especially vegetables). In 1905 the value of the factory products was $8,631,427 (55.6% more than in 1900).
The portage at this place between the Mohawk river and Wood Creek, which are about 1 m. apart, gave the site its Indian name, De-o-wain-sta, “place where canoes are carried from one stream to another,” and its earliest English name, “The Great (or Oneida) Carrying-Place,” and gave it strategic value as a key between the Mohawk Valley and Lake Ontario. About 1725 there were built, to protect the carrying-place here, Fort Bull, on Wood Creek, which was surprised and taken by French and Indians in March 1756, and Fort Williams, on the Mohawk, which, like Fort Craven, also on the Mohawk, was destroyed by Colonel Daniel Webb after the reduction of Oswego by the French in August 1756. General John Stanwix built Fort Stanwix here at an expense of £60,000, and the first permanent settlement dates from about this time. In October-November 1768, Sir William Johnson and representatives of Virginia and Pennsylvania met 3200 Indians of the Six Nations here and made a treaty with them, under which, for £10,460 in money and provisions, they surrendered to the crown their claims to what is now Kentucky and West Virginia and the western part of Pennsylvania. Of this cession the part which-lay in Pennsylvania was secured by purchase from the Indians for the proprietors Richard and Thomas Penn (see Pittsburg). The fort was dismantled immediately afterward. After 1776, when it was partly repaired by Colonel Elias Dayton, it was called by the continentals Fort Schuyler, in honour of General Philip Schuyler, and so is sometimes confused with (old) Fort Schuyler at Utica. The third regiment of the New York line under Colonel Peter Gansevoort occupied the fort in April 1777 and completed the repairs begun in 1776; on the 3rd of August in the same year (one month before the official announcement by Congress of the design of the flag) the first flag of the United States, made according to the enactment of the 14th of Tune and used in battle, was raised here: it was made from various pieces of cloth. On the 2nd of August an advance party of Colonel Barry St Leger’s forces coming from the west arrived before the fort, and the main body (altogether about 650 whites, including loyalists—the Royal Greens—under Sir John Johnson, and more than 800 Indians, some led by Joseph Brant) arrived soon afterwards. The fort then contained about 750 men under Colonel Gansevoort, with Lieut.-Colonel Marinus Willett as second in command. The danger to the fort roused General Nicholas Herkimer to gather a force of between 700 and 1000 men (including some Oneida Indians), who during their advance on the 6th of August were ambuscaded in a ravine near Oriskany (q.v.), about 8 m. E. of the fort; after heavy losses to both sides, about 250 men from the fort under Willett attacked the camp of the Indians who were supporting St Leger, thus relieved Herkimer through the falling back of the British and Indians to save their supplies, captured five ensigns of the Royal Greens, and seized large quantities of stores from the enemy’s camp. The siege now lost force, the Indians straggled away after the loss of their camp supplies, and on the 23rd of August, St Leger, hearing exaggerated reports of the immediate approach of large reinforcements under General Benedict Arnold, withdrew, abandoning his camp and stores. The successful resistance here to St Leger contributed greatly to the American success at Saratoga. Fort Stanwix was the headquarters of Colonel Gozen Van Schaick (1736–1789) in 1779 when he destroyed the Onondaga villages. At the fort, on the 22nd of October 1784, a treaty was made by Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler and Arthur Lee, commissioners for the United States, with the chiefs of the Six Nations. In 1796 a canal was built across the old portage between Wood Creek and the Mohawk river. In 1796 the township of Rome was formed, receiving its name, says Schoolcraft, “from the heroic defence of the republic made here.” The village of Rome, in the centre of the township, was incorporated in 1819; and Rome was chartered as a city in 1870.
See Pomroy Jones, Annals and Recollections of Oneida County (Rome, 1851); W. M. Willett, A Narrative of the Military Actions of Col. Marinus Willett (New York, 1831); and Orderly Book of Sir John Johnson during the Oriskany Campaign (Albany, 1882), with notes by W. L. Stone and J. W. de Peyster.