The following article is from the Utica Daily Press dated August 18, 1951
written by H. Paul Draheim
written by H. Paul Draheim
The picturesque Sanger Mansion located on the top of West Hill above Waterville, commanding a view of all sides for many miles of the equally beautiful countryside is a monument to one of the great names in American History, that of Sanger.
Members of the Sanger family have played important roles in the molding of this great nation, the ancestors being among the pioneer settlers. They have been soldiers, diplomats, authors, lawyers and skilled in engineering.
The Sangerfield House, as it has been named, now owned by William Carey Sanger Jr., was erected in 1906-07 by Col. William Carey Sanger Sr., a Lt. Col. of Infantry, 203rd U. S. Volunteers during the Spanish American War, and a colonel in the New York State National Guard.
He was born May 21, 1853 in Brooklyn and died Dec. 6, 1921 in New York. In 1874 he received his AB degree at Harvard and the following year his AM degree. In 18878 he earned his LLB degree at Columbia Law School and later received an LLD degree at Hamilton College.
Col. Sanger served as Oneida county’s member of the State Legislature on three occasions, and later as assistant secretary of war under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
His long record of achievements include serving as president of the American Delegation to the International Conference at Geneva in 1906 to revise the Red Cross Treaty; chairman of the National Guard Commission appointed by Governor Charles E. Hughes in 1908; member of the New York State Lunacy Commission from 1910 to 1911 and president of the State Hospital Commission from 1911 to 1913.
In 1912 he was designated by the president of the United States to receive on behalf of the U. S. government the light house at Crown Point on Lake Champlain.
Later he served as a trustee at Hamilton College, as chancellor of the New York Chapter Colonel (sic) Order of the Acorn and as governor of the New York Society of Colonial Wars.
He married Mary Ethel Cleveland Dodge in New York City on Feb. 23, 1892, and to them six children were born, four of whom are living. They are, William C. Sanger, the present owner of Sangerfield House; Mrs. Mary (F.W.) Simonds, Boston; Mrs. Lillian Schieffelin D’Ardanne, England and Richard H. Sanger of Bayruth, Lebanon.
This in brief is the sketch of the man who came to the Township of Sangerfield in 1892, to take a look at the town named after his great grandfather’s brother, Judge Jedidiah Sanger. He liked what he saw and decided to make it his permanent home.
The First Home of Colonel Sanger was “The Maples” located about a half-mile northwest of the hilltop. About 15 years later while on the hilltop which has an elevation 1,483 feet above sea level, he decided “this is the spot for my new home.”
At the time he owned a tract of 240 acres of land and had leased rights on 1,200 acres more. The hilltop was the center of the vast acreage.
Colonel Sanger engaged the services of Architect Newton Phelps Stokes who drew up the plans for an English Country Home of the Elizabethan type. While the building is strictly English in design, it definitely is not a copy of anything in England or elsewhere.
The J. W. Bishop Company of Worcester, Mass., was engaged as the general contractor, and in 1906 with the aid of a force comprising 30 to 40 men, ground was broken and construction started.
It required one year to erect the large three-story building. The walls are of stone quarried from the pits at Oxford. The stone carefully was selected with about 25 percent being brown and the remainder, gray.
The main building and the north wing which was used as the servant’s quarters, have between 30 and 40 rooms. Each of the rooms command an excellent view overlooking the valleys.
The terrace overlooks the village of Madison, several miles away. The front, or main entrance, overlooks the village of Waterville, with Tassle Hill, Oneida County’s highest spot, in the distance.
There are two square shaped loggias, featured by large Masonic Archways that overlook the Chenango Valley in direction of Hamilton. The north wing’s view is that with the Mohawk Valley in the distance.
There are 10 large fireplaces in the main part of the building, two being in the basement and four each on the first and second floors. Each is an example of master craftsmanship.
In addition there are three large furnaces. Still another feature is the hand operated elevator which connects all floors, a water system with source of supply from a deep well.
Attached to the north wing is a large enclosed courtyard or service area in which there is an ice house (now used for storage), and a garage. The stables are located down the winding driveway nearer the highway.
The present Owner, who like his forebearers saw service in his country’s army and diplomatic service and who is an author is his own rights, is great grandson of Dr. Zedikiah Sanger, a minister and a brother of Jedediah Sanger, founder of New Hartford. He graduated from Harvard in 1771.
Tracing the ancestry, Sanger’s great grandfather was Dr. Zedikiah Sanger, also a minister. Sanger’s grandfather was Henry Sanger who was an importer and many items which he purchased in foreign lands may be observed in the mansion.
The mansion contains a wealth of paintings, including several of the Mrs. Sangers as they appeared on their wedding day, five generations of the Sangers, Lt. Jacob Schieffelin of the British Army, Lt. Joseph Requa of the Colonial Army; Charles Stuart Dodge and many others.
Each portrait, and their(sic) are life size, bears a brass plate with a detailed description. There also is one of John Haynes, the Fourth Colonial Governor of Massachusetts and the First Colonial Governor of Connecticut.
The “Country-House” is filled with valuable antique pieces including the four-poster bed in which Judge Sanger once slept, many of his other furnishings, clocks from all parts of the world, various battle weapons dating back to the days of the lance, a suit of armor.
One of the three giant-sized grandfather clocks once ticked away the time for Judge Sanger. Another was given to Mrs. Sanger, the wife of the colonel, by her parents.
Mrs. William Carey Sanger Sr. is currently making her home in Watertown, Mass. She spends a great deal of her time in Washington, C. C. where the family has many friends.
Pages of history are rapidly turned back through items in the Sanger House. One particularly interesting article is the Megalethosopia which is the fore-runner of television. In reality, it’s a giant sized stereoscope.
There’s also an oar which was used by the present owner when he was a member of the crew at Harvard.
The panelling in the dining room and the library is of rare workmanship and reaches from floor to ceiling. The tables and chairs in these rooms are more than 200 years old and were brought over Paris Hill by oxcart.
The library, in addition to numerous portraits, museum pieces also contains shelves of books, many of them of great value. The railing on the staircase which connects all three floors, is in an artistic class by itself. All of the floors are of hard wood. The doors are solid oak.
The furniture, some at least two centuries old, came from England, France, Italy and other overseas places. They are featured by hand carved trim and decorations.
Rounding out the furnishings, there’s the China, glassware, and lighting fixtures, each a treasurer of its own.
Like his father, the present owner was born in Brooklyn, in a house that was build by his grandfather Henry Sanger. The house on 10 Montague St. commands a view of towering Manhattan across the East River, the Jersey shore to the west, and Governor’s Island and the Statue of Liberty.
At St. Mark’s School, he was editor of the “Vindex.”
From 1911 to 1914 he studied diesel-electric poser for mainline locomotives, and made several drawing which were shown to his friend, W. B. Potter, chief engineer of the General Electric’s railway department.
Many years later the first American built diesel-electric passenger engines made their appearance. Potter visited the Sangerfield House on several occasions, and in 1913 gave Sanger several blue print photographs of the new passenger locomotive for the New York Central.
He graduated from Harvard in 1916, and in that year cast his first presidential vote - for Woodrow Wilson. As a boy he showed an ability to write and in 1915 he published “Tides of Commerce,” a series of poems. That same year he wrote an article urging the founding of a “League of Enforce Peace” among other nations and this piece appeared in “The City of Toil and Dreams” published in 1916 by Country Life Press.
Sanger attended Plattsburg Military Training Camp in 1916, and that Fall just before sailing for France to drive an ambulance, he visited Washington, D. C., and informed President Wilson of his plan for a League to Enforce Peace.
From December 1916 to May 1917 he drove ambulances over the battle fields, serving at Verdun and St. Mihiel. The Knickerbocker Press published his book of poems “With the Armies of France.”
He was commissioned a First Lieutenant of Infantry Nov. 27, 1917, later became attached to the Military Intelligence of the Executive Division, and in 1918 served as assistant to the military attache, American Embassy in Paris.
He saw war service with the 131st Infantry, 33rd Division, AEF in France, and was honorably discharged in May 1919. Later served another five years in the Military Intelligence, ORC, and in 1924 was an usher at Wilson’s funeral
Sanger’s lifetime has been colorful and full of variety, and includes considerable travel. among other organizations, he is a member of the National Geographic Society, and the Founders and Patriots of America.
This is a thumb-nail sketch of the present owner of Sangerfield House, which in reality is a castle, on top of a hill between Waterville and Oriskany Falls.