Clarendon House





McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact



McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact

















Clarendon House



1874 – The Clarendon House was on the east side of the Cicero Plank Road, just south of Centerville (now North Syracuse). To the south of the Clarendon House was the house owned by Manley, on Lot 91, where the Liverpool Road ends at the Cicero Plank Road. In 1890, this property was owned by Frank Chrysler who sold it to Henry King. Chrysler's house was made into Maud Wilson's roadhouse.


Earliest Record of the Clarendon House

Mr. William Jerome Vroman Became the owner of the Clarendon House and set about to remodel it. The "large and nearly new wooden structure, has been made new again, having been entirely remodeled to meet the requirements of a first class suburban hotel. By fresh paint, roomy balcony, and tidiness of exterior surroundings, it is inviting. Its pleasant reception and reading rooms, and neatly furnished rooms for guests, are so many pledges of comfort. Its large and roomy dining room, well lighted and thoroughly ventilated, is another attraction. The bounteous provision for the inner man, with all the luxuries of the season added to the substantials, together with kindly and polite attention, rounds the whole out to the liking of the pleasure seeking public. A large dancing hall, with modern improvements, handsomely finished, and windows along both sides, is inducement to the devotees of terpsichore. It is an inn where man and beast are amply provided for." [1873-06-30]


The newly remodeled hotel opened on June 28, 1873, with Jud Settle as the new landlord. The Clarendon House was located about five miles out of the city of Syracuse, on the Cicero Plank Road [1873-06-26].


Large Pigeon Shoot at the Clarendon House

"No finer weather than that of yesterday could be asked for for field sports, at least so said the large gathering of lovers of trap shooting, which assembled at Settle's 'Clarendon Hotel,' in Centerville, yesterday, to witness or take part in the first of two days pigeon shooting announced to come off at that locality.


"The attendance embraced not only large delegations from the Onondaga County and Central City Sportsmen's Clubs of this city, but delegations were present from the Oswego, Auburn, Seneca Falls and Utica clubs and also sportsmen from other localities." [1873-07-17]


An Attempted Murder Prevented at the Clarendon House

On the afternoon of December 16, 1875 a sleigh carrying four men pulled up to the Clarendon House on the Cicero Plank Road, just south of the village of Centerville. After leaving the sleigh in the adjoining shed, two of the men were about to enter the hotel when the proprietor, Charles Crocker, suggested that their other two friends, who appeared to be drunk, might freeze if they were left out in the shed with the sleigh. Initially they resisted but Crocker insisted and the other two travelers were removed from the sleigh and brought into the bar room to sleep it off. As time passed and the two men remained unresponsive some of the hotel personnel began to suspect that more than alcohol was involved here. A doctor was summoned and it was determined that the men had been drugged and they were administered some restoratives to counteract what was later determined to be morphine.


The older of the two drugged men began to recover and he related to authorities the events of the day that had led to his near death and that of his younger companion. One of the unaffected travelers left for Cleveland to inform the parents of the younger man, or so he said. As the story unfolded it was learned that missing man was the brother-in-law of the young man who had yet to recover from the morphine. It was also learned that this same missing man had had an opportunity in Brewerton to slip some morphine into the brandy that they had been drinking. And finally it was learned that a sizable inheritance had recently come to the young and that upon his death it would go to his sister, the wife of the missing man. Subsequently an arrest warrant was sworn out against the missing man but no one had seen him in the several days between the events and the reporting of the story in the paper. [1875-12-19]





This 1879 invitation offering sleigh ride parties free use of the hall at the Clarendon House seems to convey the same wholesome atmosphere that was apparent in the articles that accompanied the opening of the roadhouse in 1873. This was about to change with the coming of Mrs. Elizabeth Miller in the early 1880s. NOTE: Although the year in the top line of the ad appears to be "1876," the original newspaper was rechecked and the paper was published on February 5, 1879. When the pages from the last edition were broken down and the individual pieces of type were replaced in their respective bins, a "6" must have mistakenly gotten into the "9" bin.


Mrs. Elizabeth Miller

The Clarendon House was located “…at the southern outskirts of the village of Centerville and some four miles north of the city.” At this time (1887) the hotel had been run by Mrs. Elizabeth Miller "for a number of years." When the place opened in 1873 the paper described the Clarendon House and its activities in the most glowing of terms, with compliments to its owner. Now, a mere 14 years later, it was being described as "one of the best known among the road houses patronized by the 'faster' portion of Syracuse." In addition, there were no compliments for Mrs. Miller, as the paper said she was "about forty-five years of age and is by no means a good-looking woman."


The main purpose of the article that furnished this less than pleasant description of Mrs. Miller, and the place that she had run for about 5 years, was the story of Mrs. Miller leaving her 2nd husband. A few months earlier, Mrs. Miller's son by her first husband, Harvey Miller, had bought the Clarendon House from his mother and was running it for himself. Mrs. Miller and her husband, William Baird, left Clarendon House and moved in above "Pat" Tracy's saloon at 104 North Salina street. Baird had purchased the place from Tracy. One night Elizabeth drugged her husband and took $500 from his pants, cleaned $800 out of her personal bank account and headed west with an old boy friend. Braid said, "I am not going to try and get her back, but I would like to get my $500.." [1887-11-16]


Mollie Young

The “Clarendon” roadhouse was run by Mollie Young, while the owner was W. W. Wright. She started on April 26, 1889 and was still running the roadhouse until it burned down on July 25, 1890.


Mollie began her business career in the city of Syracuse running a house of prostitution on Mulberry Street. She received the following piece of publicity about her Syracuse business, shortly after she had leased the Clarendon House from W. W. Wright. "Nearby is the infamous house of Mollie Young. She says she has bought a road house at Centerville, but she has not yet been ordered to clear out of her present quarters by the police."[1889-01-25]


A Gay Ninety's Roadhouse "Crawl"

Molly Young's place is only marginally involved in this story but it paints an interesting picture of the times and mentions many names of places and locations. George Vandervoort, a hack man, was pounded nearly to death at the end of one of these adventures. During this rampage the party visited, or attempted to visit, several saloons and roadhouses along the Cicero Plank Road. Their first stop was a place on Wolf Street run by A. Dergher, then they pushed on and tried a place run by John Robinson and were turned away. They finally tried Molly Young’s roadhouse at Centerville but they were turned away there also. The party turned around and went back to Robinson's where they were able to force their way in and had a few drinks. Upon leaving Robinson's, Vandervoort suggested then would be a good time to pay him for the hack. One of the men that had hired the hack didn't want to pay but felt the driver had too many friends at Robinson's place to fight about it. Later when they were back in the city this man, O'Hearne, beat the hack driver very badly. [1890-06-16]


The End of the Clarendon House

The latest mention of the Clarendon House in the newspapers occurred when they reported that the roadhouse had been destroyed by an early morning fire on Saturday, July 26, 1890. [1890-07-26], [1890-07-28] The roadhouse was never rebuilt and Mollie moved to Utica, NY, went back to her old profession, did a little time in the pen and then disappeared.




W. Jerome Vroman – Owner of the Clarendon House in 1873 (William Jerome Vroman – bought the Candee Hotel on E. Fayette St. in 1866, it was later called the Manhattan Hotel). He was still the owner in April 1877.


Jud. E. Settle – Proprietor of the Clarendon House in 1873; was at Parker House in Cicero in 1872; Settle opened a “Parker House” at 74 W. Fayette St. [1876-06-16]


Charles Crocker – Proprietor of the Clarendon House in 1875; In June 1877 Crocker was the bartender at the Greenway’s (Watering Trough) when the riot broke out. In 1878 (April 2) Crocker was caught in the backyard of a woman at Jefferson near Mulberry, with a drunken associate, stealing her clothes that were hung out to dry. When the police officer arrived Crocker jumped a fence and got away while the officer scooped up his friend who was too drunk to escape. [1878-04-02]


Mollie Young – Mollie was a prostitute in Syracuse and later ran the Clarendon House for a while, until it burned down in 1890. By 1893 she was in Utica, NY, paying a fine of $75 for selling liquor without a license. [1893-12-10]

In March 1894 Molly was arrested in Utica for "keeping a disorderly house." She was given a sentence of 60 days with the sentence suspended for 10 days with the promise that she would "get out of town and remain out." [1894-03-16] Several days later she was arrested on the same charge and sent off to the Onondaga County Penitentiary without an appearance in court. J. K. O'Connor appeared before Justice Vann in Syracuse with a writ of habeas corpus to get Mollie's release. Vann tossed the writ and ordered that Young complete her sentence. [1894-05-24] The following month the judge who had originally sentenced Mollie ordered that she be released. "It is said that the Judge admits he made a mistake and was satisfied that the defendant had no intention of settling in Utica." [1894-06-14] And with that Mollie Young disappeared.



[1873-06-26] - "Clarendon House, Centerville," The Daily Standard, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, June 26, 1873.

[1873-06-30] - "Opening Of The Clarendon House," The Daily Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, June 30, 1873.

[1873-07-17] - "Trap Shooting at Centerville," The Syracuse Daily Journal, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, July 17, 1873.

[1875-12-19] - "The Root Of All Evil - A Wanton Attempt to Murder an Heir," The Standard Courier, Sunday, December 19, 1875.

[1878-04-02] - "Caught in the Act," The Daily Standard, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, April 2, 1878.

[1887-11-16] - "Wife And Cash Gone," The Syracuse Weekly Express, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, November 16, 1887.

[1889-01-25] - "Clean Out The Holes," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Friday, 25, 1889.

[1890-06-16] “A Deadly Assault, George Vandervoort, a Hackman, Pounded Nearly to Death, Daniel O’Hearne and Charles Gallagher, Two Bad Characters on a Rampage,” The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, June 16, 1890.

[1890-07-26] - "A Red-Hot Time. A Notorious Road-House Consumed by Fire," The Daily Journal, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, July 26, 1890.

[1890-07-28] - "A Road House Burned Up," The Syracuse Courier, Syracuse, NY, Monday, July 28, 1890.

[1893-12-10] - "Fined $75.", The Utica Sunday Tribune, Utica, NY, Sunday, December 10, 1893.

[1894-03-16] - "A New Departure, Keepers and Inmates of Houses of Ill-Repute No Longer to be Licensed in City Court," The Utica Daily Observer, Utica, NY, Friday, March 16, 1894.

[1894-05-24] - "Before Justice Vann," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, May 24, 1894.

[1894-06-14] - " 'Molly' Is Free, " The Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, June 14, 1894.