European-American settlement of our area began in the late 18th century with Phillip Bettinger, who received 600 acres of land as a reward for fighting during the entire War for American Independence as a member of the New York 1st regiment. During the 1820s, immigrants from the border between France and Germany settled here and built homes, farms, churches, stores, and schools. This tightly-knit group was composed mainly of Roman Catholics who spoke a German dialect; shortly after these farm families arrived, they started a church that conducted services in their native language. By 1838, the construction of St. Mary’s Catholic Church was completed. It stood at what is now the corner of Main Street and Kirkville Road, the location of the oldest existing Catholic cemetery in Onondaga County. More settlers arrived (many via the Erie Canal), established other faith communities, built more homes and businesses, and expanded the diversity of the early settlement.
Completion of the Syracuse-Utica Railroad in 1839 stimulated the growth of “Manlius Station,” as the settlement was known until its name was changed in 1895 to “Minoa.” Without a doubt, the various railroads and transit systems employed a huge number of our citizens through the years: as laborers, technicians, conductors, and upper-level managers. Over the course of many decades, approximately 90% of the male population worked for the railroad in some capacity—day and night, and every day of the year. To support this industry, many hotels, taverns, and stores operated long hours, as well.
By the turn of the last century, Minoa was a bustling, self-sufficient community; however, many citizens began to see the need for a local government to provide services and amenities for the community, such as sidewalks, street lights, paved roads, and especially, a local fire department. With these goals in mind, citizens petitioned the Town of Manlius for the opportunity to hold a public election that would determine whether or not Minoa would evolve into a municipality. What made our election noteworthy on a national, or even an international, level is the fact that the decision to incorporate was decided by the significant number of women who voted in the election. The year was 1913, and women in New York State did not have full voting rights until 1917. National women’s suffrage wasn’t in place until 1920. How were the Minoa women able to vote? Luckily, someone knew that state law allowed women property-owners to vote in elections involving incorporating local governments—perhaps that someone was Fannie Cochran, a suffragette who was active on the county level, and who also co-owned a significant amount of property in Minoa with her husband.
A 75th anniversary, a 99th birthday, and a return home after 62 years - Article here
We Minoans are proud of our strong roots. On January 25, 2013, we began a yearlong celebration to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Minoa’s incorporation. In the past hundred years, the village has changed and grown, but the character of Minoa has endured. During this Centennial year, the Minoa Historical Association is pleased to have the opportunity to simultaneously celebrate Minoa’s proud heritage, witness its recent accomplishments, and envision its bright future.
The Minoa Historian
Historical research is a never-ending process, and we are always seeking to learn more about Minoa and its people, past and present. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any bit of information that you may have. After all, cultural history is just as important as political and economic history. People’s everyday experiences are what truly represent the history of a community.