But by the 1930's, Little Utica had already begun to contract. The Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University issued an educational bulletin in 1934 about the rural areas and small towns of Onondaga County. It listed Little Utica as one of ten hamlets in the county with populations of fewer than 50 people. Today the place is smaller still. Long-gone is the local post office, with which the people of Little Utica and nearby Jacksonville played political tug-of-war for years. Gone, too, are the cheese factory and the saw mill that sat northeast of town beside the outlet from Beaver Lake, once known as Buttonhole Creek. In fact, this mighty stream once powered eight mills on its way from the lake through the lost village of Picketville to Little Utica, before flowing into Ox Creek and the Oswego River beyond.
On the way west from Wright's Corners, the stream flows under Lamson Road just before you reach Little Utica. East of the stream, there's a high spot with a white house on the right, red barns on the left, and a field full of ponies beyond. John and Frances Horner moved out here from Syracuse just after the turn of the century. They had five children, Wilbur, Madeline, Roswell, Frederick, and Leslie. Roswell's son, Reggie recently joined me and a few of his friends for a small reunion. I picked up Reggie, his daughter, Debbie Waugh, and his grandson, Brian Degone. We drove down the road to the corner, where the church and the schoolhouse are the only vestiges of Little Utica's lost livelihood.
Bob Cook and his wife Jolene joined us at the church, as did Joyce Wolford Mattice, and her husband, Gary. Like Reggie, Bob and Joyce also attended the Little Utica School. Carole Kozma Menzel met us there, too. Carole coordinated the interview for my Hortontown School story a few months ago. As a lifelong member of the Little Utica Methodist Church and Secretary of the United Methodist Women, Carole agreed to do likewise for this story. Carole remembers that, "When the Ladies Aid Society would have their monthly meeting, they'd invite the children over from the school, and they could have a nice, hot lunch. And, if you went to Sunday School, then you'd get a candy bar at Nate Aller's store on the way home. She giggled as she said that, "We school girls were all members of the 'Loyal Temperance Legion' at the church, or the 'LTL' for short. We couldn't smoke, we couldn't swear, and wine was not to touch our lips."