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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE:



A MEMORIAL RECORD



OF



ST. Lawrence County



NHW YORK.



ILLUSTRATED,



EDITELj by gates CURTIS.



SYRACUSE, N. Y.:
b. MASON & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.

1894-



F



PREFACE,



ORDINARILY the history of a place or town commences with the
adventurer or pioneer wlio grapples with the difficulties pre-
sented, the events of which become fixed in his memory and thus come
down in traditional form to be recorded by the historian.

The essential prerequisite of a rational patriotism is an intelligent
acquaintance with the history of one's country. To supply the means
of making that acquaintance is the cherished object of this work.
Hence the manifest interest of our citizens demands a clearer record of
the early days of this part of Northern New York than we now possess.
Therefore, in the following pages it is designed to give a complete
narrative — in as few words and as simple form as possible — chrono-
logically arranged, relating to the discovery of America; of the St.
Lawrence River ; of the chain of Great Lakes and of the Father of
Waters ; together with the conflicts between the French, English and
natives, in the settlements along the shores of these waters ; also a brief
sketch of the character, habits and religious views of the aborigines ;
but more particularly the names, occupancy, changes, organizations,
and progress of the civil and religious bodies of the county of St. Law-

h rence from its first settlement up to the present time. It is our pur-
pose to avoid all dry discussions and documentary array, yet to
preserve and perpetuate, as far as possible, the history of the most

V important events and some of the quaint sayings of the pioneers who
had such a controlling influence in shaping the destiny and moulding
the character of this people.



5 •'^ A lor^c-



6 PREFACE.

For the historical part of this work a large amount of valuable infor-
mation was selected from the French war records, from Hough's
history of St. Lawrence county, and the works of many other eminent
writers were used so far as applicable to this work.

With a due acknowledgment for these historical facts thus selected ;
for the "Judiciary," the bench and bar of the county by Judge Tappan ;
for the valuable information of the religious bodies of the county fur-
nished by the various church clerks ; and for the many incidents of
interest, not heretofore published, given by our venerable and esteemed
citizens, thanks are hereby tendered.

With a consciousness that the greatest vigilance cannot wholly ex-
clude errors and faults, and trusting to the charity of a generous public,
this work is respectfully submitted.

Gates Curtis.

OgDENSBURG, May I, 1 894.



CONTENTS.



INTRODUCTION.

The Beginnings of History — Tiie History of tlie First Discoveries of the Western
Continent Buried in Conjecture — The Rediscovery by Columbus — Importance
of the French Occupation — Plan of this Work 17

CHAPTER I.

DISCOVERY OF THE WESTERN CONTINENT.

Pre-Columbian Discoveries — Irish Discovery — Chinese Discovery — Norse Dis-
covery — Arabian Discovery — Welsh Discovery — Other Discoveries — Final
Discovery by Columbus — Difficulties Encountered by Columbus — His Final
Fate 19

CHAPTER II.

THE ABORIGINES.

Pre-historic Inhabitants of the Western Continent — The Aborigines and their
Oreat Divisions— The Iroquois— The Esquimaux— The Destiny of the Red



Man ,



CHAPTER III.

FRENCH DISCOVERY OF THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.

French Explorations — Jacques Cartier — Discovery of the St. Lawrence — Hoche-
laga — Lord Roberval's Expedition — Grant to Aylmar de Chastes — Samuel
Champlain — Sieur de Monts at Acadia — Pont-Greve and Poutrincourt — Ex-
pedition of Champlain and Indian Allies against the Iroquois — The First
Bloodshed— The Establishment of Montreal— Champlain's Trip to the North-
west — Arrival of Catholic Missionaries and their Explorations — The Company
of New France — Champlain's Labors and Sacrifices— La Galette— Origin of
the Name — Voyageurs— Occupation of La Galette as a Station — E.xisting
Evidences of Early Occupation of the Locality — Frontenac's Expedition —
Mention of La Galette by De la Barre— Other Allusions to the Place—" It
Takes the Cake." 31



8 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV.
THE OLD REGIME.

Condition of the Colonies in 1659 — Hochelaga and its Occupation — Contrast be-
tween the Montreal of that Period and that of To-day — The Old Spinner —
The Company of the West and its Efforts — Importations of Women — The
Seignorial Grants — Stringent Rules of the Church — Intemperance — Divine
Chastisement — Spirit of Discovery — De la Salle and his Western Expedi-
tion — Paucity of English Posts of Occupation 47

CHAPTER V.
CONFLICTING INTERESTS.

Jesuit Enterprise — Alarm of the English — Conflicting Claims and Measures —
Washington's Mission to the Ohio Valley — Fort Duquesne — Washington at
Fort Necessity — General Braddock's Expedition — Vigorous Movements of
the French— Father Piquet at La Gallette — His Successful Establishment —
His Report Concerning the Location — French Industry in Founding Estab-
lishments for Civihzing the Indians — The English Awakened to Action — Eng-
lish Endeavors to Secure an Alliance with the Indians — Piquet's Improvements
at La Galette 55

CHAPTER \T.

ENGLISH SUPREMACY.

Campaign of 1758 — Campaign of 1759— Campaign of 1760 — Military Operations
in the Vicinity of La Galette — Capture of the Post by the English — Treaty of
Paris — Failure of French Hopes — Piquets Departure 65

CHAPTER Vn.

ENGLISH POSSESSION.

La Galette Improved by the English — Name Changed to Oswegatchie — The In-
dian Village of La Galette — The Revolutionary Period — English Possession of
Oswegatchie after the Declaration of Peace — Its Unimportance During the
War — The Expedition of Lieutenants McClelland and Hardenburgh — The
Boy Soldier and the Indian — Isaac Wells's Description of Oswegatchie in 1796
— Land Leases from the Indians and the English — -Mohawks" Surrender of
Lands — The Ten Townships Surveyed and Mapped on the South Side of the
St Lawrence — Transfer of Lands — Samuel Ogden and his Purchase — Nathan
Ford — His arrival at Oswegatchie 73



CONTENTS. 9

CHAPTER VIII.

SETTLEMENT COMMENCED.

Nathan Ford's Occupation of Osweo;atchie — His Labors and Difficulties — Saw Mill
Erected — Canadian Squatters — The American Hotel — Erection of Grist Mill
— Mr. Ford's Financial Embarrassments 8!)

«

CHAPTER IX.
THE PIONEER'S EXPERIENCE.

Pioneer Alethods — Equipment for Pioneer Life — The Shanty — Clearing of Land —
Construction of Log Houses — Food of Pioneers — Wild Animals — Description
of Pioneer Houses — The Dutch Chimney— Lumber and Black Salts — Pioneer
Social Life , 07

CHAPTER X.

ERECTION OF ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.

Causes Leading to the Organization of St. Lawrence County — The Erection Act —
Name — Rivers — Lakes — Geology and Mineralogy — Mineral Waters, etc. —
Analysis of Water from Various Sources — Soil and Timber — County Officers
Appointed — County Clerk's Office Building — First National Celebration — Lo-
cation of County Seat — The First Court House — Hasbrouck's House — The
State Road 106

CHAPTER XI.

WAR OF 1812 TO 1815.

Causes of the War — Mr. Ford's Letter upon the Prospect — Militia Called Out to
Enforce the Embargo Act — Events of the War at Ogdensburg — A Zealous
Sentinel — Bombardment of the British in 1812 — Sacking of the Village in
1813 — General Wilkinson's Expedition 13G

CHAPTER XII.

AFTER THE DECLARATION OF PEACE.

Ogdensburg after the Declaration of Peace — President Monroe's Visit — Removal
of the Public Buildings — Description of the Buildmgs - The New Jail— '"Jail
Liberties" — Destruction of the Court House by Fire — Measures for the Erec-
tion of a New One — Description of the Building— The New County Clerk's
Office — The Poorhouse and Asylum — Statistics of the County's Charities. . . . 152



10 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XIII.

INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS.

Various Plans for Internal Navigation — State Roads — Plank Roads — Steamboat
Navigation — Marine Railway — The Northern Transportation Company — The
Ogdensburg Transit Company — Port of Transfer — The Northern Railroad —
The Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad — The Uticaand Black River
Eailroad — The Grouverneur and Oswegatchie Railroad — Street Railway 103

CHAPTER XIV.
THE PATRIOT WAR OF 1837-40.

Cause of the Uprising- -Meetings, Open and Secret — Seizure of the Sir Robert Peel
— The Two Mysterious Schooners — Connection of the United States with the
Affair — Her Seizure — Arrival of United States Troops — Statement of Stephen
S. Wright— Futile Attempts of Ogdensburgers to Relieve the Patriots — Their
Surrender — Animosity of the Canadians — The Affair of the Schooner G. S.
Weeks 180

CHAPTER XV.

WAR OF THE REBELLION, 1861-65.

The First War Meeting — Captain Nevin's Company — Other Companies — Various
Organizations Containing St. Lawrence County Representatives — Drafts —
Bounties — Confederate Raids from Canada — Major General Dix's Order —
Ogdensburg Home G-uards — The Fenian Movement — Ogdensburg a Center of
Active Operations — Misunderstanding Regarding the Strength of the Move-
ment. . . .' 196

CHAPTER XVI.
PLTBLIC INSTITUTIONS, SOCIETIES, CIVIL LIST. STATISTICS, ETC.

Telegraph Lines and Companies — Telephone Line — St. Lawrence State Hospital —
Agricultural Societies — Dairymen's Association and Boards of Trade — Civil
List — Statistics of Population 209

CHAPTER XVII.

CLOSE COMMUNION, OR SECRET SOCIETIES.

Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons — Royal Arch Masonry — Knights Templar —
Scottish Rite — Order of the Eastern Star — Odd Fellowship — Grand Army of
the Republic — Benevolent Organizations — Knights of Labor — Grangers 224



CONTENTS. 1 1

CHAPTER XVIII.

ANCIENT RELICS.

Evidence.^ in St. Lawrence County of Pre-historic Occupation — Trencli Enclosures
— Mound near Ogdensburg — Nature and Uses of Implements Found — Theories
Concerning the Mound Builders 237

CHAPTER XIX.
THE COURTS, THE BENCH AND THE BAR OF ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.

Origin of our State Lavr.s — The Original Courts — The Court of Appeals — The Su-
preme Court — Justices of the Fourth Judicial District — Court of Common
Pleas — Judges and Justices of the Court of Common Pleas — The County
Court — County^ Judges -The Surrogate's Court — District Attorneys — Sheriffs
— Biographical 243

CHAPTER XX.

ST. LAWRENCE C(JUNTY MEDICAL PROFESSION.

Organization cf the St. Lawrence County Medical Society — Reorganization of
Same — List of Presidents of the Society — List of Resident and Non-Resident
Members — St. Lawrence Homoeopathic Medical Society — Medical Association
of Northern New York — Biographies 284

CHAPTER XXr.
THE TOWN OF LISBON 321

CHAPTER XXn.

THE TOWN OF OSWEGATCHIE 325

CHAPTER XXXHI.

THE TOWN OF MADRID 391

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE TOWN OF MASSENA 404

CHAPTER XXV.

THE TOWN OF HOPKINTON 417



12 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXVI.
THE TOWN OF CANTON 423

CHAPTER XXVH.
THE TOWN OF POTSDAM 4fi2

CHAPTER XXVHL
THE TOWN ( »F DE KALB •'^'M

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE TOWN OF STOCKHOLM 51S

CHAPTER XXX.

THE TOWN OF RUSSELL 526

CHAPTER XXXI.

THE TOWN OF LOUISVILLE 533

CHAPTER XXXII.
THE TOWN OF GOUVERNEUR 541

CHAPTER XXXIII.

THE TOWN OF ROSSTE 584

CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE TOWN OF PARISHVILLE o!)5

CHAPTER XXXV.

THE T( )WN OF FOWLER 599

CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE TOWN OF PTERREPONT (;07

CHAPTER XXXVII.
THE TOWN OF MORRISTOWN G14



CONTENTS. 13

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
THE TOWN OF NORFOLK G23

CHAPTER XXXIX.
THE TOWN OF BRASHER 631

CHAPTER XL.
THE TOWN OF DEPEYSTER G40

CHAPTER XLI.
THE TOWN OF HAMMOND 651

CHAPTER XLII.

THE TOWN OF EDWARDS .661

CHAPTER XLIII.
THE TOWN OF LAWRENCE 669

CHAPTER XLIV.
THE TOWN OF IIERMON 678

CHAPTER XLV.
THE TOWN OF PITCAIRN^ 685

CHAPTER XLVL

THE TOWN OF MACOMB 688

CHAPTER XLVII.
THE TOWN OF COLTON 694

CHAPTER XLVIII.
THE TOWN OF FINE 698

CHAPTER XLIX.

THE TOWN OF WADDINGTON 701



14 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER L.

THE TOWN OF CLIFTON 713

CHAPTER LI.

THE TOWN OF CLARE 7Lo

ADDENDA 710



PART II.
BIOGRAPHIES 1-GG



PART III.
PERSONAL SKETCHES l-.3r)4



INDEXES.

INDEX TO PART I .355-36G

INDEX TO PART II 367

INDEX TO PART III 368-372



PART 1



HISTORICAL



HISTORY



OF



St. Lawrence County.



INTRODUCTION.



The Beginnings of History — The History of the First Discoveries of the Western
Continent Buried in Conjecture — The Rediscovery by Columbus — Importance of the
French Occupation — Plan of this Work.

IN studying the history of any people it is very interesting to learn of
their beginnings and the circumstances under which they were
brought into notice, as well as of the political powers by which they were
sustained or governed. The books of Moses, however, open with the
simple statement that " In the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth;" but no where in the Holy Writ can we learn how remote
the " beginning" was from any age of the world known to science or
history. Yet all things temporal had a beginning, but it is not always
that a minute or correct history with dates of origin can be furnished.
In such cases theory and conjecture must take the place of facts.

The history of the Western Continent virtually began with its acci-
dental discovery by the restless and roving Norsemen in the tenth cent-
ury of the Christian era. They settled and occupied a portion of the
eastern shore, more or less, for nearly five hundred years, without learn-
ing its extent and true value, or publishing their discovery to the world.
During this period (the dark ages), society in the Old World was very
much unsettled by the unfriendly feelings and jealousy existing between
3



18 HISTORY OF ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.

the petty nations of Europe. Property, life, and female honor were ex-
posed to daily risk from tyrants and marauders. Even the pious monks
and the monastic institutions were unable to supply a refuge inaccessible
to cruelty and licentiousness. Therefore, during such a period of wick-
edness and uncertainty in the religious and political affairs of the coun-
try, it was not to be expected that the people would be sufficiently en-
lightened to undertake to navigate unknown seas in search of new con-
tinents.

At length the darkness which had so long enveloped the minds of
men began to give way to the influence of Christianity and the light of
science, enabling the people to solve the problems of astronomy and
navigation. The earth was no longer believed to be flat, but a sphere,
and the theory was advanced by the new school that by sailing in a
westerly direction the Indies could be reached, as well as by sailing
easterly. Acting upon this belief, an expedition for exploration, en-
couraged by the queen of Spain, and under the direction of Christopher
Columbus, resulted in the rediscovery of the Western Continent in the
latter part of the fifteenth century. This discovery gave birth to a new
order of things, opening up a country which has become an asylum for
the oppressed and down-trodden of all nations of the earth.

The French being the first white race to inhabit this part of our coun-
try ; very active in exploring and in forming settlements along the main
water-courses of the interior ; remarkable for the political power they
wielded over a large territory, deserve more than a passing notice, as
their history is closely connected with the early settlement of Ogdens-
burg. For this reason a brief account will be given of their doings,
commencing with their discovery of the St. Lawrence River, and fol-
lowing them through their various expeditions until the close of their
supremacy and final surrender to the British forces.

From this point the narrative will be confined more especially to the
events that have occurred in connection with the affairs of Ogdensburg
and its vicinity, consisting in part of the possession and evacuation by
the English, the settlement of the place by the Americans, the organi-
zation of the county and the towns, the events of wars, a description
of navigation, internal improvements, ancient races and relics, societies,
hospitals and other public institutions, church organizations, biogra-



DISCOVERY OF THE WESTERN CONTINENT. 19

phies of leading men, etc., from the earliest settlement down to the
present time.



CHAPTER I.

DISCOVERY OF THE WESTERN CONTINENT.

Pre-Columbian Discoveries — Irish Discovery — Chinese Discovery — Norse Discov-
ery — Arabian Discovery — Welsh Discovery — Other Discoveries — Final Discovery by
Columbus — Difficulties Encountered by Columbus — His Final Fate.

HISTORIANS have recorded the so-called pre- Columbian discovery
of the western hemisphere by various persons. Some of the
discoveries were accidental, the navigators being driven by storm upon,
or in sight of, strange lands, and doubtless many others were forced
to make similar visits, but were lost before reaching their native
shores. These claims to discovery, or some of them at least, are re-
garded by many to be mythical ; be this as it may, there can be but one
conclusion as to their results, and that is, that the Columbian discovery
has been fraught with incalulable benefits to the human race, while all
former ones were of no particular advantage to the Avorld at large.

The documentary evidence in support of claims to early discovery is
here given, so far as practicable, in chronological order.

Irish Discovery. — St. Patrick sent missionaries to the " Isles of
America," which included Iceland, Greenland and Labrador, previous to
the year 460; and, second, missionaries went out to the New World at
a time little anterior to the Norse discovery, or towards the close of the
tenth century.

Chinese Discovery. — Hoci-Shin, a Buddhist monk, in the year 499
returned from an extensive journey to the east and reported that he had
visited a country lying about 6,600 miles to the east of Japan, and an
equal distance to the east of China. He called the country Tusango,
on account of many trees growing there that went by that name. It
has been assumed that this country was Mexico and California. Rev.
Frederick J. Masters, a missionary who has spent nine years in China



20



HISTORY OF ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.




XORSE SEA-KINC.



and eight in California among the Chinese, has found in their literature
and traditions what he considers ample proof of the truth of these claims
to discovery, and has recently made his convictions public.

Norse Discovery. — Previous to 986 A. D. the
red men of the forest held full sway over the
western continent and were unconscious of the
fact that a white race of people dwelt beyond
the rising sun, who would eventually supersede
them and take possession of their hunting
grounds. The first to open the way to the New
World, according to the records found in the
Sagas, were the roving Norsemen, to whom the
honor of first discovery undoubtedly belongs,
and which discovery is verified by their repeat-
ed trips to the countr}^ and evidences of settle-
ments on our eastern shores. The navigator, Bjarne HerjuIson,when sail-
ing from Iceland to Greenland in 986, was driven westward by a storm
nearly to the banks of Newfoundland or Labrador. Several times he came
within full view of the shore, but did not land; yet he was certain, by the
appearance of the forest growth, that another country hitherto unknown
to him was in sight. Returning to Greenland he made known his discov-
ery, and his description of the beautiful coast led the navigator. Lief Erick-
son, to fit out an exploring party to visit the new country. It was, how-
ever, about fourteen years before he was fully prepared for his departure.
He sailed westward from Greenland in the spring of the year lOOO, follow-
ing the directions of Herjulfson, and reached Labrador. He explored
the coast for a considerable distance, finding the country more attractive
and the climate milder than in Greenland. Sailing southward he ex-
plored the coast as far as Massachusetts, where he remained more than
a year. It is claimed that he also visited Rhode Island and made his
way into New York harbor. Erickson's voyage was succeeded in the
following year by those of other Norsemen, and in 1005 and 1007 they
went as far south as Virginia. Still other companies of Icelanders and
Greenlanders visited the country farther north and planted a colony in
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Very little was learned, however, by
these hardy adventurers of the extent of the country they had discov-



DISCOVERY OF THE WESTERN CONTINENT. 21

ered, and they believed it to be the western part of Greenland bending
around an arm of the sea.

Other adventurers visited our eastern coast in the twelfth, thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries, and in 1347 a Norwegian ship visited Labrador
and the New England coast, giving to the latter vaguely defined country
the name "Vineland," and small settlements were established; they all
soon disappeared, however, and the navigators returned to their native
country, failing to grasp the great prize that was within their reach. But
they left unmistakable evidences of their presence at points on Massa-
chusetts Bay, on the banks of the Charles River, and other points, which
have been made the objects of extensive research and elaborate descrip-
tion by Prof. E, A Hosford, of Harvard University, and others, to
whose writings the reader is referred. The knowledge and occupancy
of this country by the Norsemen for some five hundred years, in this
intermittent and uncertain way, proved to be of no practicable benefit
to them or others. The Old World did not yet need the New. The
time was not yet ripe.

Arabian Discovery. — Some time previous to 1 147 there set sail from
Lisbon eight Arabian brothers called Maghrourins, who swore they
would not return till they had penetrated to the farthest bounds of the
dark sea. They finally reached an island, inhabited by people of lofty
stature and red skin.

Welsh Discovery. — About the year 1169, Madoc, a son of Owen
Gwywedd, Prince of North Wales, left his country on account of dis-
turbances, and determined to search out some unknown land and dwell
there. With a few ships he embarked with his followers, and for many
months they sailed westward, until they came to a large and fertile
country, where they disembarked and permanently settled. After a
time Madoc returned to Wales, where he fitted out ten ships and in-
duced a large number of his countrymen to go with him to the new
country. Both Mexico and California have been assigned as the place
of this Welsh settlement. There are indications of a pre-Columbian
civilization in the Sacramento valley. Eight miles north of, and run-
ning parallel with " Putah" Creek, is a canal fifteen miles long, some
two rods wide, and about six feet deep. It was cut on a straight line
through a low belt -of level land, and the earth was thrown out on the



22 HISTORY OP ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY.

north side, forming an oval ridge some two feet higher than the oppo-
site bank. The natives and the earHest white settlers have no knowl-
edge of its origin. There are also Indian tribes in that region whose
habits of living and general custom of dealing are far above the average
of the North American Indian, and to all appearance have European
blood in their veins. It is assumed that this Welsh settlement, having
no intercourse with Europe for upwards of three hundred 3^ears, eventu-
ally gave way to the influences of their surroundings, intermarried
with the Indians, and thus lost their identity. It is also possible that
the Indians gained their ideas of the flood from this Welsh source.

Besides the foregoing, it is known that other intrepid navigators
reached the shores of the New World prior to the great Columbian dis-
covery. In the year 1463 John Costa Cortereal made a voyage west-
ward, and reached the ice-bound coast of Newfoundland, In the
following year he attempted a second voyage in company with his
brother, and both perished at sea.

A Pole navigator named John Scolvus, or Kolno, while in the service



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