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 Town of Macomb
From Child's Gazetteer of St. Lawrence County


Link to listing of Individuals in Macomb Business Directory

MACOMB(1) was formed from Gouverneur and Morristown April 3, 1841.(2)  A small portion of Hammond was annexed April 11, 1842.  It lies upon the south shore of Black Lake, in the south-west part of the county, and contains 37,995 acres.  Its surface is rugged and uninviting in appearance, being broken by ridges of gneiss and white limestone running parallel with the shore of the lake.  The Oswegatchie River and Beaver Creek form its southern boundary, and Birch and Fish Creeks, both of which discharge their waters in Black Lake, traverse the interior.  Hickory Lake in the east, and Pleasant and Yellow lakes in the south-west, are the principal sheets of water.  Their shores are rocky.  The soil is a light sandy loam.  Much of the town is susceptible of profitable cultivation, and many excellent farms are to be seen, especially in the valleys of the streams, where the soil is fertile.  It is best adapted to grazing.  The ridges are often destitute of vegetation, and present to view the naked rock.  Several valuable minerals are found in the town, among which are galena, mica, copper pyrites and blende.(3)

In 1871 commissioners were appointed pursuant to statute to clear and open Birch Creek.  Work was commenced in September of that year and is still in progress.  When completed some 2,500 acres of land of the best quality will be reclaimed.  The estimated cost of the improvement is about $6,000, which is to be paid by an assessment on the lands benefited.

The population of the town in 1870 was 1,673, of whom 1,391 were native, 282 foreign, and all, white.

During the year ending Sept 30, 1872, the town contained fifteen school districts and employed fourteen teachers.  The number of children of school age was 689; the number attending school was 551; the average attendance 244; the amount expended for school purposes, $3,331.50; and the value of the school houses and sites, $4,470.

MACOMB, (p.o.) situated on the old State road, in the east part, contains a church, (M.E.) school house, grocery and a steam saw mill capable of cutting about 5,000 feet of lumber per day.

POPES MILLS,(4) (p.o.) situated near the junction of Birch and Fish creeks in the north-west part, contains a new church (Wesleyan Methodist) hotel, grist mill, saw mill, two dry goods and two grocery stores, a blacksmith shop, cooper shop and pump factory.  The population in 1870 was 76.  The dam across Fish Creek at this place broke away in March, 1862.  The tract of about 1,200 acres which it overflowed has been sold to various parties, and now produces valuable crops of hay.  The creek still supplies a water power about eight months in the year.

The first settlement was made in 1805 or 6, by Samuel Bristol, who came in from DePeyster, where he was one of the first settlers, located on the old State road, upon the place now owned by Samuel Honeycomb.  Captain Rufus Washburn came in, it is believed, soon after, from DePeyster, where he had resided five years.  He settled upon the place now owned by David Pierce.   He was formerly from Connecticut, but moved into this county from Exeter, Otsego county, and resided at Ogdensburg, the first summer of his settlement.  He was a blacksmith, and for many years kept a public house, the first in the town.  He was drowned in the Oswegatchie, April 28, 1817, while returning from a town meeting in the village of Gouverneur.  Samuel and E. Wilson and Samuel Peck were early settlers.  The settlement progressed very slowly, owing to the inhospitable appearance of the lands and their remoteness from any great public highway.  The mining operations which commenced in the town about 1836 brought in operatives and attracted settlers.  A beginning was made at Popes Mills, as previously stated, by Timothy Pope, in 1818, up to which time no schools had been opened.

This town furnished its full quota of soldiers during the war of the Rebellion, mostly by voluntary enlistments in various organizations.  There were 230 enlistments in the town.  Of this number twelve were killed in battle, seventeen died of diseases and in hospitals, six from the effects of wounds, and four in rebel prisons.(5)

The M.E. Church at Macomb, was organized with five members, by D. Ferguson, its first pastor, in 1841.  The house in which it worships was erected in 1870, at a cost of $2,800.  It will seat 300 persons.  There are 100 members who are under the pastoral care of Rev. J. R. Smith.  The Church property is valued at $3,000.(6)

The First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Macomb, at Popes Mills, was organized with nine members, by Rev. R. E. Johnson, its first pastor, June 9, 1857.  Previous to 1872 meetings were held in the school house.  In that year the present edifice was erected at a cost of $1,200 and completed August 15th.  It will seat 300 persons.  The Society numbers forty-five members.  The pastor is Rev. Richard Delarm.  The Church property is valued at $1,800.(7)



(1) Named from Alex Macomb, the patentee of Macombs Purchase

(2) At the first town meeting, held at the house of David Day 2d, June 1, 1841, the following named officers were elected: David Day 2d, Supervisor; Eliphalet S. Pope, Town Clerk; David B. Woodworth, Wm. Whalin and Wm. Houghton, Assessors; Timothy Pope, Daniel Tully and Denison Coats, Commissioners of Highways; Charlemagne Pope, Collector; Wm Houghton, Charlemagne Pope and Washington Lawyer, Constables; Wm. Mills, G. Pope and David Tully, Justices of the Peace; George Kennan and Josiah Sweet, Overseers of the Poor; David Day 2d, John S. Kinda and Morgan Starks Jr., Commissioners of Common Schools.

(3) Considerable quantities of lead have been mined at Mineral Point, on Black Lake and May 1, 1839 the Morris Mining Company was incorporated for the purpose of mining in Morristown and Oswegatchie.  Their capital was $50,000, in shares of $100 each, and their organization continued twenty-five years.  Other veins of lead were discovered about the same time (1836) in the vicinity of Macomb, and still later, between that village and the line of Gouverneur.  Mining operations were immediately commenced at the village, and a shaft was sunk to a depth of about sixty feet.  In the latter locality operations were commenced on a small scale in 1850.  In 1851 the right was purchased by parties in New York, and on the 16th of Sept in that year, a company was formed with a capital of $72,000, which on May 17th, the following year, was increased to $360,000.  The right of the company extends fifty years.  Mining operations on an extensive scale were commenced in 1851, a furnace for reducing the ore and considerable quantities of lead obtained.  A few years later work was suspended; and subsequently another company was formed which however did but little work.

(4) Named from Timothy Pope, who came here from Oswegatchie in 1816 and erected mills.  He was originally from Otsego county, and settled in Oswegatchie in 1804.  He and a man named Shaw were killed Nov 7, 1835 by the bursting of a defective millstone.

(5) The following named officers entered the service from this town:

David Day, 2nd, Capt Co B., 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

John Snyder, Capt. Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Charles Snider, Capt, Co C, 106th Regt, enlisted Aug 13, 1862

Jonathan Houghton, Capt, Co A, 142d Regt, enlisted Aug 11, 1862

James Hurst, 1st Lieut. Co B, 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Frank Corbitt, Lieut. Co C, 106th Regt, enlisted Aug 11, 1862

Geo. W. Newman, 1st Sergt. Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Edwin O. Betts, Sergt, Co G, 16th Regt, enlisted May 15, 1861

Julius C. Bishop, Sergt, Co G. 16th Regt, enlisted May 15, 1861

Ephraim F. Fishbeck, Sergt. Co B, 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

John Sherwin, Sergt, Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Wilber Sterling, Sergt, Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Abram D. Lawyer, Sergt, Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

Frederick Charter, Sergt, Co C, 106th Regt, Enlisted Aug 11, 1862

John Watson, Sergt, Co C, 106th Regt, enlisted in July 1862, and died at Mew Creel. Dec 9. 1862

Nathan W. Thomas, Sergt, Co B, 142d Regt, enlisted Aug 11, 1862

Wm S. Delong, Sergt. Co B 142d Regt, enlisted Aug 11, 1862, and died in camp at Folly Island Sept 14, 1863

John Sitts, Sergt, Co A 142d Regt, enlisted Aug 11, 1862

Robert Hewitt, Sergt. Co A, 193d Regt, enlisted in February 1865

Donald Corbett, Corpl. Co B., 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861 and was killed at Gettysburg

Jacob Roberts, Corpl., Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

John H. Love, Corpl. Co B. 60th Regt, enlisted Sept 10, 1861

John Ward, Corpl. Co C., 106th Regt, enlisted Sept 3, 1863

Hezekiah Fishbeck, Corpl. Co C, 106th Regt, enlisted Aug 13, 1962 and was killed in action at Locust Grove, Va, Nov 27, 1862

Geo. W. Jones, Corpl. Co A, 193d Regt, enlisted Feb 23, 1865

(6) Information furnished by David Day, 2d

(7) Information furnished by D. D. Hutchinson