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 Town of Stockholm
From Child's Gazetteer of St. Lawrence County
1873-74

 

Link to listing of Individuals in Stockholm Business Directory
Link to listing of Businesses in Stockholm Business Directory

 

STOCKHOLM was formed from Massena, Feb. 21, 1806.(1)  A part of Norfolk was taken off April 9, 1823, and another part was annexed to that town April 15, 1834.  It is an interior town, lying in the north-east part of the county, and containing 54,272 acres.  It has rolling surface, and is well watered by the St. Regis and its eastern branch, which unite near the center of the east border, and Trout, Plum and Squeak brooks and numerous smaller streams.  The soil is a rich, sandy loam, and constitutes it one of the finest agricultural towns in the county.

The population of the town in 1870 was 3,819, of whom 3.312 were native, 507 foreign and all, white.

During the year ending Sept 30, 1872, the town contained twenty-eight school districts and employed twenty-eight teachers.  The number of children of school age was 1,347; the number attending school, 1,074; the average attendance, 531; the amount expended for school purposes, $5,548.84; and the value of school houses and sites, $7,245.

The Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain R.R. traverses the north part of the town.

STOCKHOLM DEPOT, (p.o) is situated near the east line, and the confluence of the St. Regis, and its east branch.  It is a station on the O. & L. C. R. R., by which it is 37 ½ miles from Ogdensburg, and contains a school-house, hotel, two stores, wagon, harness, paint and blacksmith shops, and ninety inhabitants.

EAST STOCKHOLM, (Stockholm p.o.) located in the east part, three miles south-west of Stockholm Depot, contains one church, (Cong.) a school-house, store, blacksmith and wagon shop, cooper shop and sixty-six inhabitants.

WEST STOCKHOLM, (p.o., formerly known as Bicknellville) situated on the St. Regis, in the west part, five and one-half miles from Potsdam, contains one church (M.E.) a school house, grist-mill, foundry and machine shop, woolen mill, pail and tub factory, starch factory, two saw mills, a shingle mill, two stores, two shoe, one tin, three blacksmith and two carriage shops, and 221 inhabitants.  The St. Regis at this place affords a good water-power.

KNAPPS STATION, (North Stockholm, p.o.) situated on Plum Brook and the O. & L. C. R. R., in the west angle of the town, contains two stores, a steam saw mill,(2) a saw and shingle mill, a blacksmith shop and about eighteen dwellings.

SOUTHVILLE (p.o.) is a hamlet situated on the south line, three and one-half miles south-east of West Stockholm.

SKINNERVILLE is located on the St. Regis one and one-half miles west of Stockholm Depot, and contains a school-house, grist mill (owned by M.D. and G.C. Smith, containing three runs of stones and capable of grinding about 300 bushels per day), saw mill, two shingle mills, a blacksmith and wagon shop, starch factory, harness and shoe shop, a sole and upper leather tannery, and ninety-five inhabitants.

SANFORDVILLE is a hamlet on St. Regis River, one and one-fourth miles below West Stockholm, containing a church (Cong.), school house, saw mill, two shingle mills and nine houses.

BUCKS CORNERS is a hamlet two miles south of Stockholm, containing two churches (M.E. and Wesleyan), a school house, saw mill and starch factory.

NORTH STOCKHOLM is situated about four miles north-east of Knapp’s Station, and contains two churches (M.E. and Wesleyan), a school house, grocery, two saw mills and a small cluster of houses.

The Stockholm Farmer’s Club was organized June 15, 1872, having for its object the advancement of agriculture in the town and the marketing of produce.

Preparations for settlement were commenced under the agency of Ebenezer Hulburd and Dr. Luman Pettibone, in 1800, in the summer of which year and the year following several persons commenced clearings and other improvements preparatory to moving their families into the town.  They were from Vermont and returned to their homes there upon the approach of winter.  The first settlement was made in the spring of 1802 by the families of Wm. Staples, Dr. Luman Pettibone, Isaac Kelsey, Robert and John Bisbee, Benj. Wright and Abram Sheldon.  Staples was from Brookfield, Mass., and settled on mile square No. 52 in March.  The others were from Orwell, Vt.  Dr. Pettibone settled on mile square No. 53, Isaac Kelsey , who was originally from New Hampshire, settled on lot 41, at Stockholm Depot, and he, his son and Benj. Wright occupied a shanty on the point between the two branches of the St. Regis the previous winter.  In the spring he built a house at that place into which he moved his family.  Benj. Wright located on lot 43 with his brother William, who accompanied him in his settlement.  The wife of Sheldon is said to have been the first woman in town.  “They came,” says Dr. Hough, “by way of Chateaugay and St. Regis, and up that river on the ice.  The houses and furniture constructed, were all of the rudest kind, and such as saws, axes and augers would make.  With strips of elm bark, they made bedsteads and chairs, and all their furniture was of the rudest and simplest pattern.”  Among others who settled in the town in 1802 were Willard Kingsbury, a young man, who came from Norfolk Conn., in company with Dr. Pettibone; and Ebenezer Hulburd, from Orwell, Vt., who came with his family and settled on lot 52, having visited the town in company with others the previous summer and improved his lands, at which time he was unmarried.

“In September 1804”, says Dr. Hough, “occurred the greatest flood ever known in the country, produced by heavy rains and swelling the St. Regis river far above its ordinary flood level.  Four of the seven families living near the bank of the river, were compelled to flee from their homes.  One family living near Trout brook, remained within doors until the under floor was raised from the sleepers, and the wood was floated from the fire-place, and with the greatest peril and difficulty they escaped with their lives.”

Samuel and Warren Webster, brothers, from Orwell, Vt., each purchased 105 acres on lots 44 and 45, and commenced chopping in 1805, and in 1806 they moved their families into the town.  Isaac Marsh from Sharon, Vt., took up 200 acres on lot 65, and settled upon the tract in 1806.  Luther Hulburd came from Orwell, Vt., in 1806 and settled on lot 33.  He is now living at Brasher Falls.  Other early settlers were Stephen A. Tambling, Alba Woodward, Simeon Nash, Zephaniah French, Alpheus Johnson, John Graves, Josiah L. Hill, Ralph P. Stearns, Reuben Kelsey, Daniel Harrington, Amos Bicknell and Harvey Thatcher.  Harrington was from Middlesex, Vt., and settled on lot 97, near Southville, in 1810.  Bicknell was a native of Barnard, Vt.  He removed to Postdam in 1806, and to this town in 1811.  His family consisted of his wife, six sons, and three daughters.  They settled at the falls at West Stockholm, where they were the first to locate, and from whom the place received the name of Bicknellville, by which it is still known, though that name is superseded by that of the post-office.  Mr. Bicknell built the first saw and grist mills there, and got them in operation that season.  The saw mill had an upright saw, and the grist mill a single run of stones.  Previous to his settlement there John Thatcher had located about one and one-half miles below the falls, and a Mr. Dart was living two miles west on the road to Potsdam.  Harvey Thatcher, from Newport, N.Y., settled on lot 43 about 1816.  John Thatcher was the first to settle in the west part of the town.  He came from Williston, Vt., in March, 1805, with his family, and such household goods as could be conveyed upon a vehicle drawn by a single horse.  On arriving at the St. Regis at Sanfordville he found the river much swelled and the current strong.  Nothing daunted, however, he procured a pole to sustain himself against the current and carried his wife and children across upon his back.  The first log house in this part of the town was built in the winter of 1805-6, near the line of Potsdam, for Mr. Dart, by ten or twelve of the settlers in East Stockholm, who went a distance of eight miles, cut and put together the frame of a log house, and returned in the evening of the same day.  George Streight, John Partridge, Stiles Nelson and Eldad Taylor were early settlers in the west part in 1816.  It has been supposed that the first settlement at Southville was made by Shubel Gurley,(3) but he was preceded in his settlement there by five others.  Gurley did not settle there till 1815 or ’16. 

The first saw mill in town was built as Skinnerville in 1804, by Samuel Reynolds, who owned several mile squares in the town.  The first grist mill was that built by Mr. Bicknell in West Stockholm, in 1811.  The first school was taught by Ebenezer Hulburd in the winter of 1807.  The first child born in town was Wm. Bisbee.  The first marriage was contracted July 20, 1808, by Alba Woodward and Miss Almira Pettibone, daughter of Dr. Luman Pettibone.

We extract from Hough’s History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties the following interesting chapter descriptive of the trials of the early settlers in this town:

“During the first summer, Mr. Pettibone had occasion to resort to the mill at Columbia, through a densely wooded country without roads worthy of the name, and the trip was performed under circumstances of peculiar hardships.  Dr. P. and a young man by the name of Abel Kelsey, started with an ox team and wagon, expecting to spend the night in a shanty which they supposed had been built, and was occupied by a settler, who had commenced a small clearing on the west side of the Raquette river, about a mile and a half below the present village of Potsdam.  They accordingly neglected to take with them any apparatus for making a fire.

“At the close of a day of toil and labor, they found themselves on the bank of the river, and succeeded in fording it, laying the grain bags on poles across the top of the wagon to keep it dry; but to their great disappointment, the cheerful log hut and comfortable fire which they had anticipated as waiting them, was not there, and to add to their misery a cold, drenching rain set in, and continued through the night.  They had been already half drowned in crossing the river, and were compelled to crawl under the best shelter they could find, and spend the night in as wretched a condition as possible.  On the next morning, Mr. Pettibone found himself shaking with an ague, contracted in consequence of exposure, and with the greatest difficulty able to get through to his destination.

“The journey to Foote’s mill, in Canton, usually consumed five days, in going and returning, ten bushels being the amount that could be taken at a trip, which was performed with an ox team.  Two or three men accompanied to guard against accidents, and clear away the underbrush for the cattle.  On arriving at streams, the grain was taken over on their shoulders, or laid across the oxen, to keep it out of the water; and thus all the intervening rivers were forded, except Raquette river, which was crossed by a float, just below the falls at Potsdam village.  This was the only way of crossing at that place, till the erection of a bridge in the year 1809.  The ox teams were driven into the water, sometimes much against their will, and forced to swim the river, their drivers with whips and loud shouts preventing their return to the banks.  At night, if the pioneers found shelter and supper in the hut of some settler, it was well; and if not, it was as well; for they usually succeeded in striking a spark from steel, and setting fire to some dry standing or fallen tree, by the side of which they would spend the night, having care that the fire should not mount into the tree top, and detach the larger branches, or burrow among the roots and overturn the flaming column upon them.

“The journey to Canada was in part performed by canoes on the rivers, more or less difficulty being encountered in passing the rapids.  Amid these rude and fatiguing labors, which would dishearten a majority of our present citizens, a certain amount of enjoyment existed.  The hand of sympathy was extended to neighbors, and any luck that befell one, was regarded as a common benefit.  If any needed a helping hand, his desire need but be announced, to be heeded, and a common interest, and a hope of better times, stimulated to exertion and dispelled gloom.

“During the war, numbers of the inhabitants became alarmed and left the county, from fear of the Indians, and those that remained proceeded to erect defenses for their protection.  One of these was a double line of pickets around the house of Dr. Pettibone, which enclosed a square of about a quarter of an acre, and was finished with gate and fixtures complete.  Here the inhabitants assembled on a few occasions of alarm, but no real danger ever presented itself.  Another stockade was commenced around the house of Warren Webster, about a mile east of the centre of the town, which was finished on two or three sides only; and a third was commenced around the dwelling of Jonathan Sager, in the west half.  These pickets were timbers set upright in a trench, about three feet deep, in a double row, so that no openings existed between them.  They were about sixteen feet high, sharpened at the top, and supported by earth banked against them on each side.  On one occasion of a draft, the greatest fear was entertained from an attack of the St. Regis, or some other Indian tribe, they knew not what, and a volunteer company was raised, and a guard mounted and maintained for several days on the road which led towards Canada.  Arms were procured at the State arsenal at Russell, and distributed among the inhabitants.  From the miry condition of the roads, these were procured with great difficulty, being borne by pack horses, which often required to be relieved in passing swamps and streams.

“The miseries of war appear to be not limited to the actual amount of suffering which it directly entails, but include the privations and hardships sustained from apprehensions of danger, which often lead the timid to encounter a needless amount of suffering.

“The roads were at times thronged with groups of timid inhabitants, hastening away with such articles of furniture and provisions as they were able to snatch in their haste, and with such vehicles as they could command, and each augmented the fears of the others, by magnifying the rumors which they had received from those as timid as themselves.  It is but just to say, that the class of fugitives did not form a majority of the existing population, and that there were many who ridiculed the fears of the timid, represented the absurdity of the alarms, and earnestly entreated them to behave like men, and stand ready to do their duty if real danger should arise, instead of stealing off in the cowardly manner of some.  A portion of those who left the country never returned, and others came back to witness the waste and destruction, which their own folly and neglect had brought upon them.

The first religious services were held in May, 1803, and the first sermon preached in town was delivered by Elder Webster, a Baptist minister from Orwell, Vt., who took his text from Acts XIV., 7, “And there they preached the gospel.”

The First Congregational Church of Stockholm, at Stockholm, was organized with seven members, March 10, 1807, by Revs. Ebenezer Hebbard and Amos Pettengill, missionaries, the former from Vermont and the latter from Massachusetts.  Pettengill had visited the town the previous year.  During the summer the Society worshiped in barns and in winter in private houses.  Their church edifice was not erected till 1829.  It will seat about 500 persons.  Rev. Hiram Johnson was the first pastor.  He labored with this Society half his time.  The first settled pastor was Rev. Moses Parmelee.  The Society numbers 75 members and is under the pastoral care of Rev. U. T. Chamberlain.  Their Church property is valued at about $4,000.(4)

The First Baptist Church of Stockholm, at Stockholm Center, was organized at an early day and re-organized Jan 7, 1839, by Rev. Joel H. Green, the first pastor after its reorganization.  The Society has only eight or ten members and possesses but little vitality.  It is without a pastor.  The church will seat 175.(5)

The First Wesleyan Methodist Society of East Stockholm was organized with eight members, in the fall of 1843, by Rev. Orange Newton, and was incorporated Oct. 11, 1852.  Their meeting house was erected in 1853, at a cost of $1,342.25.  It will seat 200 persons.  The first pastor was Rev. John Adams; the present one is Rev. Noah E. Jenkins.  The Society has forty-nine members.  Its property is valued at $1,500.  About two years after the church was built Rev. Henry Moore, a minister of the M.E. church, held a series of meetings in it and succeeded in proselyting about half the members then belonging to this Church, and organizing a M.E. class.  These dissenters continued to occupy the house for holding services until Aug 11, 1871, when the trustees of the W.M. Society resolved to prohibit its further use by them without special consent.(6)

The Second Wesleyan Methodist Church, at North Stockholm, was organized in 1843, by Rev. Hiram McKee.  A meeting house was erected in 1867, at a cost of $1,500, one-half the present value of Church property.  It is still used by them, and will seat 250 persons.  The first pastor was Rev. John Adams; the present one is Rev. N.E. Jenkins.  The present number of members is fifty-three.

The First M.E. Church in North Stockholm was organized with about fifty members, in February 1865, by Rev. Joseph Smedley, its first pastor.  The church edifice, which will seat 200 persons, was built in 1867, at a cost of $2,800.  The number of members remains the same as at its organization.  The pastor is Rev. C. W. Brooks.  The Church property is valued at $3,000.(7)

The M. E. Church at Bucks Corners was organized with eighty members, Jan 10, 1872, by Rev. A. F. Bigelow.  A house of worship was erected the same year, at a cost of about $4,000, the present value of the Church property.  It will seat 230 persons.  Rev. R. E. King was the first and is the present pastor.(8)

 

NOTES:

(1) The town embraces township No. 2 or Stockholm, of the Ten Towns.  The first town meeting was directed to be held at the house of Dr. Luman Pettibone, but as the day upon which it was to have been held passed without an election, Nathan Walker, of Canton, and Gurdon Smith and Benj. Raymond, of Potsdam, magistrates, in pursuance of an act passed March 7, 1801, appointed the following-named officers: Ebenezer Hulburd, Supervisor; Wm. Staples, Town Clerk; Stephen A. Tambling, Benj. Wright and Arba Woodward, Assessors; Samuel Webster, Constable and Collector; S. A. Tambling, E. Hulburd and W. Webster, Commissioners of Highways; S. A. Tambling and B. Wright, Fence Viewers; E. Hulburd, Pound Master; L. Pettibone, Overseer of Highways.

(2) This mill is owned by Moore R. Knapp, gives employment to 18 persons, and has facilities for sawing 8,000 feet of lumber and 20,000 shingles per day.

(3) Hough’s History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties

(4) Information furnished by Julius Hulburd

(5) Information furnished by W. W. Webster

(6) Information furnished by Ashley S. Riggs

(7) Information furnished by Benj. Tryon

(8) Information furnished by Stillman Austin