HISTORY MYSTERY: Kopp’s Corners
The name Kopp has been familiar around Clay for many years, but how many today remember Kopp’s Corners? It is the corner of Caughdenoy and Mud Mill Roads! Richard Kopp of North Syracuse, shown in the attached photo, contacted me with a mystery several years ago: “What ever happened to the sign that Onondaga County erected on this famous corner?” The story centers around Richard’s grandfather, William J Kopp, born July 6, 1885.
Both of William’s parent’s, Martin and Caroline (Heichel) Kopp were born in Germany. When still a child, Martin came to America with his family who settled at Tremont, Schuykill County, Pennsylvania. One year after they had married, Martin and Caroline traveled to Karthaus by way of the canal and then by covered wagon. Caroline was the daughter of Christopher and Johanna (Stein) Heichel who had come to America in 1950. Martin bought 150 acres of wild land from Peter Karthaus and had to clear a spot before he could erect his first log house. In 1864, five soldiers left this little home to fight the battles of their country – Martin, three brothers and Jacob Hertlain. All returned alive. Martin is named on a Gettysburg monument.
William J. was raised in Karthaus, where he was held in high regard and engaged in farming. He lived in his parent’s house with his wife, Annie Nora (Clark) Kopp whom he married May 21, 1885. Her father, Euriah, also fought in many of the important battles of the Civil War. In Shiloh, where he was wounded in the shoulder, Gettysburg and Roanoke. He was captured by the Confederates at the Battle of the wilderness and incarcerated in Andersonville for almost 10 months, being exchanged with little life remaining, He did live to the age of 82, having raised 14 children, one of whom was William, Richard’s father. William J. was a leader in Democratic politics, and served as Assessor, Road Master and other offices for a number of years. He was also a leader in the Lutheran Church of Oak Hill where he and his family attended services.
Around 1919, William J. moved to New York, “the flat state,” with Annie and their youngest children. He bought property on Caughdenoy Road. It is believed from a young, as the corner of Young Road and Caughdenoy Road was known as Young’s Corner. There was no Mud Mill Road to Route 11 at that time. Naturally, he joined Clay Lutheran Church, now known as Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church. The most active was his daughter, Leona Kopp Crowell. Richard stated that Aunt Leona and her husband owned a Red and White store in Clay and that he also worked at Pine Plains as a Cemetery Keeper.
On April 14, 1924 for the sum of $1.00, William J. sold property to the count of Onondaga to construct Mud Mill Road from Caughdenoy Road to Route 11. This is from an indenture executed by D. W. Jacobs, Justice of the Peace. In gratitude for William J.’s generosity, Onondaga County declared that this corner would always be known as Kopp’s Corner; they erected a wrought iron sign with this name.
Sometime in the 1830’s or 1940’s the sign disappeared. All this was told to Richard by his father, William. In the 1960’s Richard had a talk with a descendant of an early owner of the Kopp Corner Canteen in Chittenango because Beverly, his wife, had seen a wrought iron Kopp Corner’s sign there. His name was also William Kopp. He didn’t know where the sign came from. Richard saw it, too. By 1980 the Canteen was gone as far as the Kopp’s knew and the sign went with it. Where is it NOW?
Dorothy Heller, Historian