Joseph Cook.

Home sketches of Essex county. First number online

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^ Jirst Number. ^


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Sook and Job Printers, KeeseTilI«4 I^T/Y^



Entered according to Act of CongresSj in the year 1858, by

In the Clerk's Office of the Northern District of New York.


To fix historical facts of interest and value from vanishing,
to encourage and enliven local industry, to strengthen local
desire for improvement, to do justice to merit, to bring to no-
tice natural advantages and internal resources, to inform and
elevate public sentimenc, to suggest general and special local
reform, and to begin a plan which it is hoped may be extend-
ed to other towns with the same benefits, are the principal ob-
lects for which the Home Sketches op Ticonderoga have

3n written.

[t was required, by the proposition made, to write a full,
ar, honest history of the Town; a distinct, truthful, and re-
'jle document concerning Ticonderoga; not a careless surface
restigation, not an advertisement for any man, not a pom-
as parade of local vanity, but a select and well-studied re-

d, a sober view of good qualities, a clear admission of faults,
oamphlet distinctly purposing usefulness. This has been
• model which the writer has proposed to himself continual-
; and, in endeavoring to approach it, much more time and

ce than at first expected have been found necessary, and
'.siderably more carefulness and labor.

j?or facts, in that portion of the pamphlet requiring origin-
al investigation, the writer has canvassed the town with pen-
cil and portfolio, questioned and cross-questioned individuals
competent as witnesses, desired every man to speak as though
on the stand under oath, taken testimonies from parties inter-
ested and uninterested concerning the same facts, recorded
personal observations, obtained access to private papers, let-
ters, notes, deeds, ledgers and other records ; and spared no
time or pains to secure for every statement sufficient proof for
its confirmation even by the rules of legal evidence. The ma-
terials thus gathered he then sat down at leisure and sorted ;
compared, silted and verified the facts with each other ; meth-
odised them all into sections ; made the subject of each a spe-
cial study ; and recorded the whole with us much accuracy,
clearness, brevity and elegance of expression, as the pen of a
farmer'is boy, making no literary pretensions whatevvor, could
command. Thus made out, the sections were always submitted
to the parties interested, either in manuscript or proof sheet ;
not for revision of any of the anilior's opinions, but with the


urgent invitation to make sncli corrections in the facts or sug-
gestions as to the mode of expression, as accuracy and justice
should require. Having thus enjoyed every opportunity and
taken all pains to secure nnirapeachable accuracy, the articles
were published to the County in the JVorihern Standard, and
immediately scanned for mistakes by friends and critics, and
in one or two instances by individuals eager to lind matter for
a charge of libel against the writer. All statements questioned
in this last examination have been reinvestigated, and every
mistake of any importance proved, placed in the very brief
list of errata at the end of the volume. In a rural locality
the absence of all public records increases the labor of ascer-
taining dates and events ; but, when it is remembered that
most of the facts mentioned in the original history are within
the memory of persons now living, a large portion of them of
very recent occurrence, a major part from the keen memory of
men concerning their own business, and all of them verified
by the course above indicated, it is hoped that the statements
will receive that confidence which is their due. If anything
is wrong, the author is confident it will be found among the
statements of minor consequence; and even there, if incorrect,
it is because he has been misinformed, not once but half a doz-
en times. For any inaccuracies of this kind the author is
heartily sorry, and though he cannot hope but that among a
multitude of particulars a few may be criticised, yet he can say
that he has done his best to write reliably, some of the sec-
tions costing a fortnight's canvass, and that he does not now
know, in the^whole pamphlet, of one mis-colored statement. A
few minor faults, every scholar knows, do not impair the gen-
eral validity of the whole.

To name all the authorities consulted would of course be
impossible. They are among the old men, the business men,
the prominent men, and the clear-headed men of the town. —
To each one of them the writer returns most heart}' thanks,
in his own name and in that of Ticonderoga.

As to opinions, and inferences from facts, having consulted
no authority, the author supposes that he alone is to l)lame.
For the chapter ou what the town needs, the estimates of so-
cial evils, public efforts, advantages, virtues, &c., sometimes
differing from the popular opinion, he must exhonerate every
one from responsibility. All selections of facts and express-
ions of oi)inion, are to be borne by the writer alone.

Special pleasure and pains have been taken in gathering
Historical Reminiscences, of which few towns have more or
stand in greater need of a thorough record.

One evening last summer, while planning work for a years'
vacation 131 an educational course, it occurred to the writer a few .articles on the Historical ivjiuiuisconces ot Ticon-

deroga, written for a friond connected witli the County Pre??,
miglit not be unacceptable. And if of the past wliy not of
the present, and if for one town why not for others, and tlius
the plan of the Home Sketches suggested itself, was matured,
written down next morning, and the proposition sent to the
Editor, the writer hardly hoping it would bo printed. It has
borne fruit, however; and the promise made concerning one
town is now fulfilled. The short' work has occupied the leis-
ure of but a twelve month. Yet God be thanked for all the
joy given in gathering facts and writing, for some discipline,
for some instruction, for some knowledge of mens' ways, for
some usefulness. His blessing be with the Record to make it
accomplish good, in its humble and limited sphere. Others
have a life-time, but the writer had but one year to work for
liis native town, and has done far less than he ought, yet what
he could, in that year.

So the Home Sketches are begun. Other and better vmters
are expected and besought to give themselves the valuable dis-
cipline, their respective towns the profit, and the public at
large the instruction cud pleasure, of continuing them through
the County, and through every locality, indeed, where authori-
ties, a writer and a publisher can be found to unite in a work,
which, though humble, is yet one of usefulness and of love. —
Not until the common people are more fully understood; not
until common affairs are more thoroughly investigated; not
until men believe every fact of some value in some connection;
not until the nation is taken up, by states and counties not on-
ly, but town by town and neighlwrhood by neighborhood,
and every corner searched by the lighted blaze of Benevolence
and Christianity, guaging progress, noticing errors, sympa-
thizing with difliculties. inciting to improvement, asking how
the people do down here where lordly literature passes by —
not until then will Reform thoroughly begin, not until then
will comprehensive History have blossomed, and Experience
..and Philanthropy have borne their perfect fi'uits..

F. J. C.

TicoMDEROGA, N. Y., Augugt 23, 1858.

(From till- N'ortliorii Ptaiulard of SoptciubiT Srd, IK'.)


To Tire Editor of the XoRTtiKRN Standard: — Every one has folt or seen with what interest
lociil items in newspapers are searched for, though sometimes of the most trivial character. —
Hut local items, ably chosen and written, have a positive and permanent vahie. There is reason
for the interest talcen in them. They arouse the activities, elevate the views, express the wants,
manifest the excellencies, sustain the g'ood reputation, spread the acquaintance, excite the inter-
est, and record the history of the persons, institutions, or communities to which they relate. —
Directly, indirectly, and by intercnange, they interest, instruct, arouse, uphold, elevate, reform.
And, in this age of the press, when it is complained, with so much justice, perhaps, that the me-
tropolis paper eats up the circulation of the state paper, and these both that of the county
paper, it seems that, to secure interest and value by developing the local interests of its sphere,
is for the latter the course of necessity, of good judgment, and of positive duty. Certainly, at,
least, the interest which attaches to local matters is a means of doing good, for which every ed-
itor or speaker is responsible.

In view of considerations like these, I have a little plan to propose to any friend in each of tho
towns of this County who may view this matter in a favorable light, to be carried out, ilr. Editor,
\>y vonr kind consent, through communications to your paper.

1.' What it is ? 2. What it docs? 3. What it enjoys? 4. What it needs ? Let these four ques-
tions be carefully, intelligently, and ably answered by some competent correspondent in each lo-
cality, concerning each rf the eighteen towns of Esses County. If necessary, I will begin in
the southern corner with Old Ti. What think you ?

Under the nR.sT question, the location, extent, natural features resources and adaptation of
each town ; whether to farming, lumbering, mining, or "manufacturing, would be noticed. The
work of the town, its part and consequent worth among the activities of the County, in what oc-
cupation its inhabitants are cniefly engaged, would appear in answer to the seoind question. —
What the locality enjoys in mUural resources, improvements upon the farm, in the workshops,
&c., what in material wealth; especially what in schcols, in chuTches, and in general intelligence
and means of social improvements, and perhaps, even what its natural scenery and historical as-
sociations, would be accurately detailed hi answer to the third inquiry. What each town needs
in each and all of these respects also, should be kindly, fully, and fearlessly brought out in an-
swer to the FOURTH question, the proper reply to which is, perhaps, more difficult as it is more
important to give than either of the others, but which it will be seen is arrived at logically, and
therefore the more easily, after answering the other three in order.

Among the many who would doubtless be eager to answer these questions for their own locality,
a correspondent could be procured (by a note of solicitation, perhaps from you. Mr. Editor) who
to his love for his native town would join a thorough acquaintance with it, a spirit of investi-
gation which should make his letters v.aluable, and the ability to combine clearness, brevity, and
elegance in his words. What if it should take an article to answer each inquiry, and a year or
more to go through the county ? What is anything worth that is not done thoroughly and well ?

What good. then, would this plan do, supposing it to be carried out ably and thoroughly?

That the Home Sketches, though containing of course, many things already very well known,
would be as fa-;t as written, and especially when all written and collected, of interest and value,
I think all will readily see. Of interest, because local, home-touching, and home-made. Of
vALCK, because a means of promoting acquaintance with the features of the county itself, with
its communities and occupations, and thus of mutual esteem and attachment, of collecting fact:^
of possibly unknown value to the workers and thinkers of the county, of making known the at-
tractions of the county abroad in a manner agreeable if not of material proDt to its business men,
but esoocially of exposing the advantages and excellencies as well as the necessities and de-
flciencics (if each locality, and thus of silently or openly suggesting to the editor, the reader, and
the towns theinselve-!, the best means of increasing those advantiiges and of supplying those dc-
licieucies. Tlift List is the main obji-ct, and if attained for the whole county, or even for a part of
it. or for a few of its Uwling and active minds in any department of its business, would be of a
value well worth simie little care and effort.

Can the icii>a be ciinieil out ? Is there matter of interest enough in Essex County to sustain a
home corre.-ipondence of this kind ?

The noble county answers. Yes I In what God has done and in what man has done for the lo-
cality there is enough of iiUere,-t. We are on the highest land of the State. From our mountaino,
over whose grandeur swi-ep lire and snow alternately, ujion whose sides forests yet unhewn, and
mines of e.vtent and value vi't unknown, and at whose feet rich v.a'lies, intervals, and rollii g
plains invite thrifty labor to its rich reward, flow down to the wist tlie rapids of the Racket, to
the south the gloiy of the Hudson, and to tlnMiorth the cotnmenial highway of Chamiilain. Mt.
Marcy, the Adiroiidark. and tln^ Mohogan range, rise high and healthily above their surroundings.
The clouds that sweep up from thr valley of the Hudson and Moh.uvk, from Ontario, from the
lovel plain of the St. I,'i\vr.ui
Qil^-d, The natural seen. >rv. resources ,»nd hi.itoriral association. - - uf the county are nin-lj »\;r


ivi.'sed. The farm, tlie forest Bull the mine, also, llic three preat rcsourof and placpo ofpmplny-
mont of llio country; the factory, the forgo, the merctiaul, the fajmer, the schoolF, llie churrhci-,
;'nd the social position of each community, whether these be prosperous anrt attractive, or wheth-
er by unhappy reverses, management or emigration, the ashes be cold in the furnace, llie proUtv!
of trade and labor in some localities be low, or the influence of school and church be less in cer-
tain places than the health of community requires, all have, nevertheless, in their history, each of
them, a voice of thankful interest, and to the worker and thinker for his home, of practical, ur-
gent, and undeveloped value.

Four questions, then — will some friend in each of the towns of the coimty answer thorn, and al-
kiw local interest to be a means of arousing local elTort unto local progress ?

F. J. C.

TicoxcERoUA, Aug. 22, 1857.

(From the Northern Standard of August 19, 185S.)

TiCO.NDEROGA, N. Y., August 3, 1S58.

W. Lansing, Very Dear Sir : — It may seem to you that my Home Sketches are expanded to an
unreasonable length. You have made no complaint, but I shall take the liberty to forestall all
necessity of your doing so. Justice no loss than good judgment and taste, requires the space 1
devote to these matters. I found that if I mentioned no man by name, my account of our various
branches of industry would be very tame indeed. But if I mention one man I must mention two;
and if two, four : and if four, eight, &o. , to be just. Absolute impartiality requires this, and i
am willing to secure that good quality at the risk of some criticism.

Again, good taste has dictated the course I have taken. I think a sketch of a' county should be
like a county map; of a state, like a state map, general and unspeciflc; but of a towu,"like a town
map, descending to trace every road and brook, and lot-line and dwelling, It is upon that model
of taste that I have conducted the Home Sketches, and I think them much more valuable to the
town and county, if they have any value at all, than any hasty generalizations, llie more spe-
cific and personal the account, the stronger the interest in it in the town and the vicinity and
where, as in this case, gexeral interest is not expected, the stronger the local interest the better.

It has been nearly a year since the Sketches of Ticonderoga were commenced, and to go through
the county in the same style will require the tenth part of a century ! What if it does ? I had
rather be connected with a work so thorough and accurate and extensive in its plan that it will
take ten years to perfect it, than with any hasty fly-sheets, got up without care, without any com-
parative value, and apt indeed to do much injustice both to the writers and their subjects. ITiero
is something attractive in the idea of a gazetteer of a county which it requites half a score of years
to complete. Such a work will have value and be worth the effort of the writer and publisher
no less than the time of the reader. Of all the County Sketches I have neard of since the plan of
these was originated, I cannot say that any seem to be on a more thorough plan or one better calcu-
lated to benefit the localities interested. I believe, at the beginning, the proposition was for some-
thing thoroughly and ably written, and I should have been faithless to that promise if I had not
endeavored to be accurate and impartial. You know that I write an advertisement for no man
having been threatened with two slander-suits for telling the truth, but in order to be just it has
been necessary to make the treatment full.

Of course, I expect no one of those who may write hereafter to follow my plan, or to receive
any suggestions from it, further than they please, but to originate their own method as I have
been obliged to originate mine. Doubtless a much different and perhaps shorter treatment can bo
adopted for other towns. But I go for accuracy at any length ; for impartialitv at any cost to tha
•nd of the cliflpter.

F. J. C.


X Page.

Preface, 3

Home Sketches of Esses Co. , Propositiou and

Plan, 6



Sect. I. The Plateau, 9

" 11. ThoValley, 10

" in. The Mouutains 11

" IV. The Water Power and its Shores, 14

What Tico.vderoga Does,— Its Past and Prbse.vt.

Sect. v. Indian Battle Grounds, 17

" VI. Qiamplain's Battle, 1609, 18

" \TI. Military Reservations, 20

" VIII. Hindrances, 21

" IX. Early Grants, 21

" X. S. Dealt and his Letters, 1767,.. 23
" XI. The Old Fort from 1763 to 1776, 26
" Xn. Settlers after the Revolution,... 27

JohuKirby, 28

Judge Hay, 28

Geo. and Alex. Tremble, 30

Judge Kellog, 30

Gideon Shattuck, 30

Elisha Belden, 31

Samuel Cook, 31

Sect. XIII. Good Old Times, 32

" XIV. Want, AVork, and Wolves, 33

" XV. Pioneer School Teaching, 36

" XVI. Religious Reminiscences, 37

" XVa. Town Records, 39

" XVni. Lumber Business, 41

" XIX. Iron Business in Forge and Fur-
nace, 42

" XX. Blacksmiths' Business, 43

" XXI. Mechanics' Business, 45

" XXII. Mercantile Business -46

" XXII. Hotels, 55

" XXrV. Woolen Factories 56

' ' XXV. Black Lead Business , 57

" XXVL Tanneries, 59

" XX Vn. Agriculture, 59

1. Soil, 59

2. Crops, 60

3. Implements, 61

4. Cattle, 62

5. Sheep, 63

6. Horses 64


7. Fair,... , , 68

Sect. XXVIII Boat Building 70

XXtX. Legal Profession and Politics,. 71

XXX. Medical Profession and Health. 74

XXXI. Temperance,. 76

XSXn. Education, 81

1. District Schools, 81

2. Select Schools, 83

3. Scholars sent abroad , .... 84

4. Ticonderoga Academy,.... 84
Sect. XXXIII. Religion, 92

1. Universalists,.... 92

2. Episcopalians, 92

3. Catholics, 92

4. Congregatioualists, 93

5. Baptists, 94

6. Methodists, 94


What Ticonderoga Enjovs,— Historicai, Remlt-

ISCBSCE3, Scenes of Celebrated Evems,

Natural Sce.very.

Sect. XXXrV. Wants ofVisitors and Tourists, 96

" XXXV. Historical Summary,. 98

" XXVI Roger's Escape, 1758, 100

" XXXVn. Abercrombie's Defeat, 1758,. 101
" XXX Vin Capture by Amherst, 1759. . .104
" XXXIX. Captureby Ethan Allen, 1775, 106
" XL. Thacher's Journal at Ticonder-
oga, 1776-7, 108

" XLI. Captureby Burgoyne, 1777, ..111

" XLn. Subsquent History, IIC

" XLHL Present state of the Ruins, ,..116
" XLIvr Natural Scenery 122


Waat Tico.nderoga Needs,— Material, Sooai,

Moral and Intellectual Improvements.
Sect. XLV. More Progress equal to that

of Sister Towns, 126

" XLVI. More Improvement of Natu-

ural Advantages, 126

XLVII. More Men of Enterprise and

Capital, 127

XLVni. More Regard for the General

Welfare, ■ 128

XLIX. More Zeal for tho Moral and

Intellectual, 130

L. More Self-Respcct,- Perse ve-

rancoand Hope 132





Natural Divisions, Products, and Advantages.

A plateau, contaiaing some twenty square miles in the northwest
part of the town, upon the shore of Champlain ; a valley, some six
miles long and about one in average width, running centrally south to
the shores of Horicon* ; the mountains, boldly intruding upon almost half
the territory, mainly toward the west and north ; and the water power
with its shores, formed by the outlet of Horicon into lake Champlain,
and constituting by far the most striking and valuable feature of the
locality, — these are fottr distmct parts into which that nearly square
tract of laud in the south east corner ot Essex County, called Ticonde-
roga, or the place of Sounding Waters, as its Indian name signifies, is
naturally divided.

We will visit each of these sections, ( not as hasty and careless sur-
face-gazers, who take time neither to see nor to appreciate ; but, if
possible, with that kind of observation which in the commonest objects
will find ample reward of interest and value,J beginning with

Sect. I— The Plateau.

This broad field of clay, sloping from the feet of Miller and Back
mountains to the lake, forming the north part of the town and in-
eluding its richest farms, is evidently an ancient alluvial deposit. Once,
it is supposed that yonder channel where the creek flows and the valley
to the south were of equal height with this plateau. Then lake Horicon
and Champlain were united, and the water stood level from here to the
Green Mountains ! Th^s was long before man occupied the earth ; but

•Lake George, throughout these sketches, is called by itsoriginal and
Qnlv appropriate name, and the one which writers now generally adopt,
1*. Horicon, or the Silver Water.


what scenes of magnificent instruction must that age have presented of
eloquent, awful, and immortal testimony to the Creative Power and
Goodness which was then fitting up man's future abode, the meadows
for the husbandman, the hills for the cattle, the valleys for the watter
courses, with the sounding wheels or the white sails of commerce ! We
stand where the alluvial earth, sinking to the bed of the waters, lay down
in level strata for the plow and scythe. As the great waters, in the .
course of the Creator's ordering, were drained ^way, ( and it seema
that they must have gone suddenly, j the mountain bowls yet held the
young lakes and gathered from the clouds the early sources of the
streams. These, following the call of gravitation onward and downward,
channeled the earth into valleys. The village yotider stands in a great
depression scooped by the outlet of Ho'icon, and not a gully in this
plateau, not a ridge in the sides of tlie valley around the Brothers there,
but shows full proof of being moulded by flowing streams. The moun-
tains not so : they are of sterner stuff than to have been washed put by
water : they are the product of that age, in which, by heaving fire and
sudden change, earth boiled into bubbles and in that shape cooled. Look
not their rounded swells like bubbles ? And .^luch they are of the huge
earth. But along their sides, jutting out under the soil which clothes
their feet, we find sand-stone and level strata of rocks with ridges of
the washing wave, far from any flowing water now, marks of that great
sea which overspread and moulded this region and all its fellows of the

Such, probably, was the geological formation of the town of Sounding

At present, this plateau lies nearly two hundred feet above the level
of Champlain. Tbe Lower Village valley is about one hundred, and the
Trout Brook valley to the south slopes from three hundred to one hun-
dred and fifty feet above the lake. The plateau we are now leaving js

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Online LibraryJoseph CookHome sketches of Essex county. First number → online text (page 1 of 20)