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HISTORY OF TOWN OF ANTWERP

Appearing in Child’s Gazetteer of Jefferson County, N. Y.

pp 259-273

ANTWERP lies in the northeastern part of the county, in the form of a parallelogram, of which the longer lines run about northwest and southeast. It is bounded on the northeast by St. Lawrence County, on the southeast by Lewis County, on the southwest by Wilna, Philadelphia, and Theresa, and on the northwest by Theresa. The surface of the town, which cannot properly be termed hilly, is yet rolling and uneven, and in many parts rough, broken, and seamed by rocky ridges; notwithstanding which blemish the soil is strong and productive.

Its principal stream is Indian River, which enters from Wilna, and, after making a bold sweep towards the northeast, and passing through the principal village, flows back across the southwest line into Philadelphia. There is also the Oswegatchie River, which enters the town from the northeast, and, making a short and abrupt bend, known as the “Ox Bow,” passing the village of the same name, turns sharply back into St. Lawrence County, after having received Antwerp’s tribute, a small stream flowing out from her three lakes, which are Sherman’s, Vrooman’s, and Moon--the last named lying on the northwestern boundary, and partly in Theresa.

This town was formed from LeRay, with its present limits, April 5, 1810. A part of Lewis County was annexed to Jefferson by the same act. Its name was given in honor of the Antwerp Company, who owned large tracts of land in this and in the neighboring townships, and whose seat was in Antwerp, Belgium.

The organization went into effect January 1, 1811, and the first annual meeting of the new town was held on the 5th of the following March, “at the house of Francis McAllaster, occupied by William Fletcher, inn-keeper in said Town.” Daniel Sterling was chosen moderator, and the following persons were elected to the town offices: Daniel Heald, supervisor; Samuel Randall, clerk; John Jennison, Zopher Holden, and Silas Ward, assessors; Francis McAllaster, Oliver Stowell, and Elkanah Pattridge, commissioners of highways; William Fletcher and John C. Foster, overseers of the poor; Daniel Sterling, Jeduthan Kingsbury, Salmon White, Matthew Brooks, and Samuel Hendrix, overseers of highways; Elkanah Pattridge, constable and collector.

In 1880 Antwerp had a population of 3,414. The town is located in the second school district of Jefferson County, and in 1888 had 25 school districts, three of which were joint, in which 27 teachers were employed 28 weeks or more. There were 530 scholars attending school, and the aggregate days attendance during the year was 57,902. The total value of school buildings and sites was $9,500, while the assessed valuation of all the districts was $1,477,525. The whole amount raised for school purposes was $5,260.47, of which $2,374.59 was received by local tax. Truman C. Gray was school commissioner.

 

ANTWERP village is situated on Indian River at the point where it is crossed by the “old state road,” and on the R., W. & O. Railroad, 24 miles northeast from the city of Watertown, and 12 miles southeast from the village of Gouverneur. The corporate limits, as recently surveyed and indicated by stone monuments, is a square of one mile. Its first building was a saw-mill built by General Lewis Robert Morris, in 1806, upon the site of the one now owned by A. H. Monro, which was erected by Ezra Church in 1816. In the same year (1806) a small frame hotel (kept by Gershom Matoon) was erected on the site now occupied by the Proctor House, and the settlement thus begun became known as “Indian River.”

In 1808 the first physician ever located in the town made his appearance in the person of Dr. Samuel Randall, who erected himself a dwelling upon the site of the present Congregational Church, and the following year was appointed postmaster and established for the first postoffice in the town in a room of his house.

In 1810 a grist-mill, with one run of stones, quarried from a neighboring ledge, was erected upon the site of the present structure by Ezra Church. This property was owned by David Parish until 1839, when it was sold to Isaiah Bailey. It was destroyed by fire in 1841 and rebuilt the following year. It is now a prosperous flouring-mill of a capacity of six sets of rolls, and is owned and managed by Morgan Augsbury and sons.

In the year 1812 Mr. Church built a clothing-mill near the site of the present J. G. Bethel planing-mill, and the same year Isaac L. Hitchcock built a tannery on the lands now occupied by the store and office of the Jefferson Iron Co. Both of these buildings long since disappeared, but the new cloth-mill building, built in 1828 by Thompson and Wait, still stands and is known locally as the “Red shop,” the subject of a hot contest between the town and village several years ago, the question being “aye” or “nay” to an appropriation of several hundred dollars for the purpose of moving it out of the highway to its present location. The villagers carried the day. The pioneer merchants of the village were Zebulon H. Cooper, 1810; Dr. Randall and Orin E. Bush, 1812; the first distillers were Emmons & Bissell, 1820; and the first wagonmaker was Henry Welch about the same year.

In 1816 David Parish built a church and school-house for the benefit of the people at his own expense, with brick made near the spot, which structures, as late as 1879, were still standing. In that year the school-house was torn down and the present wood structure erected in its place. The church was built with its front and rear walls on the line of the meridian, at a cost of $10,000, and for many years was free to all denominations, but finally fell into the hands of the Roman Catholics, who now own and occupy it. It was the second church edifice built in the county of Jefferson. The second hotel was built on the west side of Main street, and was first run by Reuben Nott. John P. Hind, of eccentric notoriety, was its second landlord, and John C. Foster its last. The building was destroyed by fire. The Foster House, now owned and conducted by Tilly M. Foster, was built and opened by Gen. T. R. Pratt, and the Proctor House, on the corner of Main and Van Buren streets, now conducted by H. W. and E. E. Proctor, was opened by Smith Copeland. He was succeeded by his son Clewley, and he by a line of proprietors, including such well-known names as African Gates, Martin Hamlin, Parwin Bates, John N. Green, E. L. Proctor, and Capt. J. B. Proctor.

In 1853 the village was incorporated under the Revised Statute, by a vote of 53 to three, and a board of officers elected, consisting of five trustees and a clerk, as follows: clerk, Publius D. Foster; trustees, Jonas S. Conkey, Solomon J. Childs, Edward L. Proctor, William Carpenter, and George Brown. Mr. Conkey was chosen president of the board. The following year a bill drawn by Foster and passed by the legislature made the village a separate highway district, and somewhat modified the powers an duties of the trustees. March 7, 1871, H. W. Moore, G. N. Crosby, H. D. Hathaway, and S. W. Somes being the trustees, and John F. Cook the clerk of the village, the people, by vote of 94 to 22, adopted the general law of 1870 as their charter, and this with its amendments is the present law of the village. The present board is made Up as follows: Edward B. Perley, president; Charles W. Moffett, Geroge H. Lathan, and O. G. Devendorf, trustees. At the date of its first incorporation the village is said to have contained about 500 inhabitants; it now has 1,100*

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*February 1, 1890, by a vote of 91 to 15, the citizens of Antwerp village decided to adopt electric lights.

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In 1854 the people, feeling deeply the necessity of enlarge educational facilities, an effort was commenced, the purpose of which was the founding of an institution of learning in the village, the result of which was the Antwerp Liberal Literary Institute. The buildings are two large imposing sandstone structures of similar architecture, four stories in height, standing at nearly right angles to each other, on an eminence overlooking the village. One of these is the boarding hall; the other contains the chapel, laboratory, library, and class-rooms, the buildings together having a capacity of about 200 boarding pupils.

From Spafford’s Gazetteer Of 1812 we quote: --

“This town was first settled about 1807 by people from the Eastern States. The post-road from Utica to St. Lawrence (affording a weekly mail) lies through this town about nine or ten miles, along which are the settlements. A saw-mill, a grain-mill, and a whiskey-mill, or distillery, and one store mark the present extent of those improvements.”

From the same author, in 1820, we learn that the town contained 4,784 acres of improved land, 1,456 cattle, 157 horses, 1,588 sheep; also one grist-mill, four saw-mills, one fulling-mill, one carding machine, iron works, one trip-hammer, one distillery, two asheries, and a scythe factory. There were 12 school districts, at which school kept five months in the 12. The public money received was $47.

OX BOW (p. o.) village, near the northeast line of the town, is pleasantly situated on a remarkable bend of

the Oswegatchie River, which gives name to the place. It contains two churches (Presbyterian and Methodist), one hotel, a sash and blind factory, wagon shop, three blacksmith shops, one harness shop, five stores, and about 300 inhabitants.

Gen. G. R. Morris, the first proprietor, sold a tract of about 18,000 acres of land, including the site of the village, to Silvius Hoard and others. About 1817 Abraham Cooper, of Trenton, N. Y., purchased the tract which thenceforth took his name, and he may be properly called the founder of the village. In the spring of 1818 he moved here and established the first store in this part of the town, in the “old yellow store.” Dr. Abner Benton, for many years a prominent citizen, was the first physician. He came in 1818. In 1819 Abraham Cooper built the stone store, afterwards the Methodist Church. The public house at Ox Bow, a part of the present hotel, was built by Abraham Cooper in 1819, and Solomon Loomis was the first landlord. The post-office at Ox Bow was established in 1819, and Dr. Abner Benton was the first postmaster.

Pulpit rock, on the road from Ox Bow to Evans Mills, is an object of interest to all who pass that way. By a fracture in the ledge by the roadside a huge pot-hole is opened to view, which in its fancied resemblance to a pulpit has gained the name it bears, and it is said that a sermon was preached from it many years ago.

STERLINGBURG, a mile above Antwerp village, on the southerly bank of Indian River, is a hamlet now mainly the property of Alexander Copley. It was named from James Sterling, who was its proprietor for many years, and who formerly had located here one of his several furnaces for the manufacture of pig iron. At an early day a distillery was operated here by William McAllaster, as agent for Mr. Parish. A saw-mill and grist-mill, owned by Mr. Copley, are now the chief business interests.

SPRAGUEVILLE (p. o.), St. Lawrence County, is a small village, the main street being on the county line. It is a station on the R., W. & O. Railroad, and from here large quantities of iron ore have been shipped from the Keene ore beds, which are located just over the line, in St. Lawrence County. The business of the place is mostly in that county.

BENTLEY’S CORNERS, STEELE’S CORNERS, and NAUVOO are hamlets.

Ives Seminary, located in Antwerp village, is an outgrowth of two previously-existing educational enterprises, --the Antwerp Liberal Literary Institute and the Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. The last named institution was incorporated April 5, 1828, and was successfully conducted as a grammar school until 1837, when it was placed under the patronage of the Black River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and became their conference seminary, with Rev. Jesse T. Peck as principal. It remained under the patronage of this church until 1869, when, as the buildings and facilities had become inadequate to the needs of the institution, it was transfered to Antwerp. The Antwerp Liberal Literary Institute furnished the beginning of the education facilities, buildings, etc., which are now in use by the Ives Seminary. The institute received a provisional charter in 1856, which was afterwards extended to February 1, 1860, and in 1861 it was made absolute. The erection of a stone building, three stories in height, 105 feet long and 50 feet wide, was commenced during the summer of 1857, but was not finished until May 9, 1861, at which date it was dedicated. The value of buildings, grounds, library, and apparatus at that time was $13,000. Of this sum about $7,000 had been raised by subscription and $3,000 by bonding the town, having an indebtedness of $3,000, which amount was loaned to the institution by the state and subsequently made a free gift. The institute was opened May 20, 1861, with J. M. Manning and two assistants in charge. During the following year three teachers were added and the number of students was about 120. In 1863 it was proposed to transfer the property to the state for use as a Normal school, but this was not accomplished. In 1865 an unsuccessful attempt was made to change the institute to a graded school. In 1868 a proposition was made to lease the property to the Protestant Episcopal Society, but the parties interested could not agree on conditions. About this time the Black River Conference leased the buildings, and the legislature changed the name of the institute to Black River Conference Seminary. In 1870 the erection of a boarding and ladies’ hall, of stone, 72 by 43 feet and four stories high, was commenced. It was finished two years afterwards and cost $16,000. In 1873 it was resolved by the trustees to place the institution forever beyond the possibility of failure by raising a fund of at least $30,000. Hon. Willard Ives, of Watertown, immediately headed the subscription with $8,000, and two years later the conference had succeeded in raising about $26,000. The entire wealth of the institution, including buildings, etc., is more than $50,000. April 21, 1874, the name was changed to “Ives Seminary,” at the suggestion of Dr. E. O. Haven, and at about the same time an arrangement was made by which the seminary was adopted as Gymnasium C of Syracuse University, students graduating from it being admitted there without re-examination. The school is in a prosperous condition, sustained by the following faculty: Rev. E. M. Wheeler, A. M., principal, mental, moral, and political science; Miss Alice Morris, preceptress, English literature, ancient and modern history, French, and German; Miss Lydia F. Root, Latin and Greek; Prof. C. H. Murray, natural-science and mathematics; Prof. W. L. Wheeler, commercial and common English, normal course, higher English; Miss Mina Monroe, music; Miss Florence Kinney, drawing and painting and elocution; Miss Jennie Wait, preparatory.

Iron Mines. -- In the town of Antwerp there is a range of ore deposits owned by the Jefferson Iron Company. They are, beginning at the southwest, Colburn, Ward, Dickson, White, and Old Sterling mines. The Dickson mine was first opened in 1858. It is 120 feet deep, and worked wholly as an underground mine. The geographical relation of the ore is much the same as in the Old Sterling mine. The White mine is a small pit on the White farm, between the Dickson and Old Sterling. The Old Sterling mine is one mile northeast of the Dickson mine, and three miles from Antwerp. First opened by George Parish, in 1836, it has been in operation ever since. For years it was in the possession of the Sterling family, who used the ore in their furnace, and refused to sell any of it. In 1869 it became the property of the Jefferson Iron Company, which was organized in that year. The open pit at the northeast is 115 feet deep, and approximately 500 by 175 feet. The underground workings are south and southwest of it, and the ore has been followed for a distance of 900 feet, and to a depth of 185 feet. This deposit lies between the gneissic rocks on the southeast, 400 feet distant, and the sandstone (Potsdam) on the west side of the mine, but no walls have as yet been reached in the mine. A serpentine rock occurs with the ore, apparently without any order in its relations to it. The ore varies from a specular ore of metallic lustre and steel-gray shade of color to amorphous, compact masses of deep red. The crushed powder answers well as a paint, and stains deeply all with which it comes in contact. The chemical composition is shown by the following analysis:

Sesquioxide of iron.............................................................................. 79.52
Oxide of manganese............................................................................... 0.07
Alumina................................................................................................. 1.12
Lime....................................................................................................... 2.49
Magnesia................................................................................................ 1.07
Phosphoric acid...................................................................................... 0.263
Sulphur.................................................................................................... 0.08
Silica......................................................................................................... 9.80
Water....................................................................................................... 0.68

Metallic iron...........................................................................................55.66
Phosphorus..............................................................................................0.115

The ore stands up well, and, by leaving pillars, with arched roof in the galleries and drifts, no timbering is necessary. There is comparatively little water in the mine. The serpentine is not so firm as the ore, and is full of slickensides surfaces. Small mine cars are used on the narrow gauge tramways in the mine drifts. A skip track runs to the bottom of the open pit. A branch railroad three miles long connects this mine and the Dickson with the main line of the R., W. & O. Railroad near Antwerp, although in a due east course the latter is less than a mile away.

The Dickson and Old Sterling ores are sold to furnaces on the Hudson River, and in eastern Pennsylvania, and some in Ohio. The ease with which the old Sterling ore is smelted, being almost self-fluxing, creates a demand for it in mixtures with other more refractory ores, and even where the freights make it expensive. The total output of these mines is estimated by Mr. E. B. Bulkley, president of the company, at 750,000 tons.

C. W. Hall & Co’s furniture manufactory, located on Indian River, at Antwerp village, was established in 1870. It employs five men, and does a business amounting to about $5,000 per year.

William Monro’s saw-mill, on Indian River, at Antwerp village, employs two men, and cuts 5,000 feet of lumber per day.

J. G. Bethel’s sash, door, and blind factory, located on Indian River, at Antwerp village, was established by the present owner, who is also a contractor and builder. The factory furnishes employment for 20 men.

Antwerp foundry was started by Joseph Newton, in 1857, or ‘58. About 1873, it was purchased by D. & W. Hogan, the present proprietors, who employ two men in the manufacture of stoves, plows, etc., doing an annual business of $3,000.

Antwerp roller flouring_mill, located on Indian River, at Antwerp village, was built in 1840, by I. Bailey. It has passed through several hands, and in 1868 was purchased by Morgan Augsbury, who in 1884 changed it to the Hungarian roller process. It is run by water-power, and its capacity is 80 barrels per day.

The honor of having made the first settlement in the territory now comprising the town of Antwerp lies between Captain William Lee and Peter Vrooman. It appears evident that both settled the same year, 1803, though both were then but squatters on land which they afterwards purchased. Lee located on the State road on lot 657, and Vrooman built his log house at the great bend of the Oswegatchie, at a point near the lower end of the present village of Ox Bow. Both these settlers opened their log dwellings as public houses for the accommodation of the travelers and explorers who had already commenced to journey through that new country. Mention of both these establishments as early as 1804 is found in the diary of James Constable, who, during the summers of 1803, ‘04, ‘05, and ‘06, made extended tours through Jefferson and adjoining counties on business, as executor of the estate of his deceased brother, William, who had been an extensive landowner in this region. Under date of August 25, 1804, he says: --

“Pass on through No. 4 * * * 10 (ten) miles to the Long Falls (Carthage) where we breakfasted at a middling good tavern. * * * Proceed on 4 miles from the river to a log hut, then 6 miles to another, then 12 to a third, there being but three settlers on the Great Tract No. 4, unless there are some on Pennet’s Square. * * * This tract belongs to, or is under the management of, Mr. Le Ray and Mr. G. Morris, and nothing has yet been done towards settling it. The three people now on it have a verbal promise that they shall have the land at a fair price as first settlers, but they are very anxious in their enquiries after General Lewis R. Morris, who, it is understood, have undertaken the selling of 100,000 acres. * * * Sleep at Lee’s tavern 22 miles from the falls, with hard fare and poor lodgings.

It is apparent from this that Mr. Constable’s journey was northward from Carthage, through the present towns of Antwerp and Wilna, and that he found a cabin at the end of the first four miles, then another six miles further on, then nothing but wilderness for a distance of 12 miles, including the present site of the village of Antwerp, until he reached Captain Lee’s log tavern, north of Antwerp village. He then proceeded, according to the continuation of his diary, “five miles to the Ox Bow, a remarkable bend in the Oswegatchie River,” where he breakfasted in a log hut (evidently Vrooman’s), with another in sight. After a journey through St. Lawrence and Franklin counties he returned over the same route, and under date of September 9 says: --

“Set off from Lee’s after breakfast and stop at Stearn’s on No. IV, at twelve miles distance, then ten miles more to the Black River at Long Falls.”

In his tour of next year (1805) he again traversed the same route, and thus recorded his journey from Carthage to the Ox Bow under date of August 16: --

“Proceeded through the Great Tract No. IV, and stopped at Stearn’s, ten miles, where we dined, and arrived at Lee’s, twenty miles from the falls, where we passed the night, and, as the house was completely full, an uncomfortable one it was. I see no alteration in this part of the country since last year; the road at least as bad, and no more settlers. We were told General Lewis R. Morris has been through it, and has now gone to Vermont, intending shortly to return, perhaps with his family. He has quieted Lee and other squatters, who seem well satisfied. He is expected to build at the Ox Bow.”

The next day (August 17) Mr. Constable left Lee’s and journeyed to Ox Bow, “five miles of as bad road as we have yet traveled.”

In the spring of 1806 Silas Ward commenced the erection of a saw-mill at the present village for Mr. Morris, the proprietor of the town, which was the first improvement here, and the place acquired and long maintained the name of “Indian River.” It being at the point where the State road crossed the river, and affording a good water-power, the place was naturally destined to become the center of business for the surrounding country. In the winter of 1805 a road was opened from Philadelphia to this place and Ox Bow, and the next year to Gouverneur, which began to settle at about this time. Gershom Matoon kept the first inn at the village. In January, 1807, John Jennison was appointed a local agent, under whose direction a grist-mill was built. The land books show the following names of settlers, with the dates of their purchase: 1805, William Lee. 1806, John Bethel, John Robinson, Peter Vrooman, Edward Foster, Jr., Mary Sterling, Benajah Randall, John Jennison, Peter Raven, Hopestill Foster, and John C. Foster. 1807, Samuel Randall, Zebina Bishop, Mary Bishop, Alfred Walker, Daniel Gill, William Fletcher. 1809, Richard McAllaster, Dexter Gibbs, Sherebiah Gibbs, Jonathan Marbles, Isaac L. Hitchcock, Timothy Ruggles, Jesse Jackson, Danield Heald, John Pease. 1810, Amasa Sartwell, Almond Beecher, William Fletcher, Duthan Kingsbury, Harrison Mosely. 1811, Oliver Howell, Lemuel Hubbard, Anson Cummings, John White, Levi Wheelock. 1812, William Harris, William McAllaster, Daniel Sterling, Salmon White, Warren Streeter, William Randall, Elkanah Pattridge, Ira Ward, Asher Seymour, Roswell Wilder, Benjamin Goodwin, Ellioitt Lynde, Daniel Gill, Caleb Cheney, Henry C. Baldwin, James Briggs, Silas Brooks, Shailer Beckwith, Silas Ward, Ezra Church. In 1808 David Parish, an eminent banker of Hamburg, made extensive purchases in Northern New York, including 29,033 acres in this town.

Soon after this purchase great alarm was spread throughout the settlement by the misrepresentations of a vicious-minded person who had previously been employed as a land agent in St. Lawrence County. With no apparent motive but a morbid love of mischief, he visited some of the settlers and announced that they had now changed masters, and would soon know what it was to be in the hands of a tyrant; that their dues would be exacted with vigor (ERRATA reference corrected this from "rigor") and forthwith, or they would be stripped of their property and turned off destitute from their homes. This announcement, coming from one of supposed knowledge of such affairs, created consternation throughout the settlement, and when they were shortly after visited by Mr. Joseph Rosseel, agent of the new purchaser, the excitement was intense. He soon succeeded in restoring confidence, which was firmly established on the arrival of Mr. Parish, who visited every family and assured them that they might depend upon any indulgence that might be reasonably asked. The sincerity of this promise they never had reason to distrust.

In 1808 a party of militia under Captain Timothy Tamblin was stationed near the intersection of the two great roads leading into St. Lawrence County, a mile north of Antwerp village, to prevent smuggling under the embargo law. During the War of 1812 a company of regular troops was stationed near the same place, and also for the purpose of preventing smuggling into the country from Canada. Much ingenuity was exercised in evading the vigilance of sentinels, and sometimes with great success.

At a special town meeting held July 2, 1812, to take measures considered necessary in consequence of the was “Resolved, That Samuel Randall, town clerk, shall be made moderator. Resolved, That there be built a fort 36 by 20, the lower story, and upper 40 by 22, for the security of the inhabitants of said town. Resolved, That it be set north of Indian River 30 rods, in front of Sylvius Hoard’s house.” John Howe, Silas Ward, and Oliver Hoard were appointed a building committee; 50 cents were to be allowed for a day’s work, to be paid by tax. July 17 another special meeting was held for the purpose of devising “a proper method for our defense, through a tragedy of war which is now beginning action between the United States and Great Britain,” and according to law notice was given to the inhabitants for the said meeting, to be held at the house of Francis McAllaster, inn-keeper. A similar series of resolutions were passed, with the additional clause requiring the laborers on the fort to work for 50 cents a day and board themselves.

In the spring of 1867 a large part of the business portion of the village was destroyed by fire, a circumstance which resulted in greatly improving the appearance of the place, as the buildings, which had been only an inferior class of wood structures, were replaced with brick and stone blocks of good style.

On February 3, 1889, the village was again visited by a disastrous conflagration, which destroyed the business portion of the town, leaving only two buildings which could be used for offices and stores. About 11 o’clock Sunday night, the thermometer registering 22 degrees below zero, fire was discovered in the basement of Fred Spear’s drug store, and before the flames could be got under control over $50,000 worth of property had been destroyed. The village had no facilities for fighting fire, as it owned neither engine nor hose. The tannery in the village was run by an engine which had a force pump attached. There was also about 200 feet of hose belonging to the tannery which could be used, and this was brought into play, but it was not sufficient to reach all the burning buildings. About two hours after the fire started word was telephoned to Watertown for help. An engine and hose-cart were loaded on a special train and immediately dispatched, arriving at the scene about 3:30 a.m. By the breaking of a cog-wheel the engine was rendered useless a few minutes after starting. The hose brought by the Watertown firemen proved to be a valuable acquisition, for by attaching it to the tannery pump the burning property was reached and several buildings saved that otherwise could have burned. When the fire was discovered in the basement of Spear’s drug store it had made such progress that nothing could be done to save either the store of the Antwerp bank. From these two buildings the flames communicated to Fuller’s restaurant, E. B.Perley’s drug store, and Miss A. Beaman’s dry and fancy goods store in quick succession. As the fire devoured the latter place the wind changed and drove the flames back along their course, which had so far been through wooden structures, to the brick block in which John Burtis kept a restaurant. William Bentley’s dry goods store followed; then J. Winkler’s boot and shoe store, the Antwerp Gazette office, W. S. Smith’s grocery, and C. B. Hall’s undertaking rooms.

Over the stores were the offices of Dr. Abell, Dr. Wood, George H. Lathan, dentist, and that of Attorney J. C. Trolan. Mr. Burtis made his home over the restaurant, and Mrs. Johnson had a dressmaking establishment on the second floor. The office of Dr. W. L. Hartman was situated in the block. John C. Trolan’s valuable law library was completely destroyed, and the medical works, comprising libraries of the physicians who were located in the building, were burned. The Masonic hall, W. R. Smith’s block and stock of groceries, Miss Pauline McIntosh’s stock of millinery, Hall Brothers’ stock of furniture, and the goods in the store of the Jefferson Iron Company were more or less damaged by water and smoke and haste in removal. The total insurance on the property destroyed was about $31,500. The young lady who telephoned the Watertown office for help stuck to the telephone until her face was scorched by the heat, but she got her message through and received an answer before she left her post.

At this writing (October, 1889) these buildings are all replaced with nearly completed and much better stone and brick buildings than those destroyed. In addition to those there is also in process of construction a brick block 93 by 65 feet. It is located on the corner of Main and Van Buren streets, and contains four stores and a large public hall. It is the property of Fred Y. Spears, Charles L. Dillenbeck, George and Daniel Alton, and William T. Bentley, and is known as the Opera House block.* The new block by E. B. Perley and Cassius Marsh is of brick, ornamented with Gouverneur marble and Potsdam sandstone. It is in three stories, and will contain the Perley drug store and the Marsh shoe store, the Odd Fellows hall, the office of Dr. I. H. Abell, and the dental office of G. H. Lathan.

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*On February 14, 1890, this opera house was formerly opened by a grand hall.

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In 1880 the board of town officers, then consisting of H. H. Bent, supervisor; John F. Cook, William N. Johnson, M. M. Gillett, and Daniel W. Sprague, justices of the peace; and James W. Van Slyke, town clerk, decided to build a stone bridge across the Indian River on Main street, and appropriated $6,000 for that purpose. The bridge was built by Howard Sterling, who was then highway commissioner of the town of Antwerp. It is a massive double arch of heavy blocks of limestone laid in Rosendale cement.

Martin L. Willard, the postmaster at Antwerp, possesses an interesting old document. It is the commission of an ancestor as captain in the colonial troops of King George II, and is highly prized by the family. It reads: --

 

PROVINCE OF THE

MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, (WILLIAM SHIRLEY Esq. Captain-General and GOVERNOR in Chief, in and over

HIS MAJESTY’S Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England, etc.

TO JOSEPH WILLARD, Gent., Greeting.

By virtue of the Power and Authority, in and by His Majesty’s Royal Commission to me granted, to be Captain-General, &c. over this His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts Bay, aforesaid; I do (by these Presents) reposing especial Trust and Confidence in your Loyalty, Courage and good Conduct, constitute and appoint You the said Joseph Willard to be Captain of the Foot Company in Grafton in the Third Regiment of Militia in the County of Worcester and Middlefax, whereof Nahum Ward, Esq, is Colonel.

You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the Duty of a Captain in leading, ordering and exercising said Company in Arms, both inferiour Officers and Soldiers, and to keep them in good Order and Discipline; hereby commanding them to obey you as their Captain and your self to observe and follow such Orders and Instructions, as you shall from time to time receive from Me, or the Commander in Chief for the Time being, or other your superior Offices for His Majesty’s Service, according to military Rules and Discipline, pursuant to the Trust reposed in you.

Given under My Hand & Seal of Arms, at Grafton, the Thirteenth Day of September,

In the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of His Majesty King GEORGE the Second,

Annoq; Domini, 1742.

W. SHIRLEY

By His Excellency’s

Command,

G. WILLARD, Sec’y.

 

Major Simon Willard was born in the parish of Horsmonden, Kent, England, in 1605. He embarked from England in April, 1634, and arrived in Boston about the middle of the month, or May. He first established himself in Cambridge, Mass., where were born eight daughters and nine sons. Capt. Benjamin Willard, the eighth son of Major Simon, was the ancestor of Postmaster Willard, whose granddaughter is in the tenth generation in direct descent of the family in the United States. The record is as follows: Maj. Simon Willard, born in England, 1605; Capt. Benjamin Willard, born in Lancaster, Mass., 1665; Maj. Joseph Willard, born in Sudbury, Mass., 1693; Lieut. Isaac Willard, born in Grafton, Mass., 1716; Solomon Willard, born in Worcester, Mass., 1750; Solomon Willard, born in Sterling, Mass., 1784; Otis Willard, born in Rutland, N. Y., 1807; Martin L. Willard, born in Antwerp in 1842; Charles O. Willard, born in Rives, Mich., 1869; infant daughter of Charles O. Willard, born in Antwerp, March 15, 1889.

CHURCHES.

St. Paul’s Church (Protestant Episcopal),, located on Mechanic street, in Antwerp village, was organized in 1866, by Rev. J. Winslow, who was the first rector. Their house of worship, the present wooden structure, was built in 1871-72 at a cost of $5,500, will comfortably seat 200 persons, and is valued, including grounds and other church property, at $6,800. The church now has 35 communicants, and at this writing (February, 1890) is without a rector, the Rev. William Bours Clark, until recently in charge, having resigned to accept a call to Cortland, N. Y. The Sunday-school has a membership of 45 scholars and six teachers.

The Congregational Church of Antwerp, located in Antwerp village, was organize din 1819, by Rev. Isaac Clinton, then principal of the academy at Lowville. The first house of worship was built of wood in 1833. The present structure, which is one of the finest church buildings in this section of the state, was built of stone in 1876, at a cost of $20,000. It will comfortably seat 300 persons, and is now valued, including grounds and other property, at $21,000. The present number of members is 188, under the pastoral charge of Rev. C. M. Westlake. The Sunday school has a membership of 120, and an average attendance of 90 scholars and teachers.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, located in Antwerp village, was organized in July, 1863, by Rev. Darius Simons, the first pastor, with about 20 members. The first house of worship, a brick structure, was dedicated February 1, 1872, and was destroyed by fire January 5, 1877. The present building, also of brick, was dedicated December 4, 1877. It has a seating capacity for 375 persons, cost $12,000, and is now valued, including grounds, at $8,000. The present membership is 100, and Rev. Charles W. Brooks is their pastor. The Sunday-school has a membership of about 100.

The Ox Bow Presbyterian Church, located at Ox Bow village, was organized May 15, 1820, with Abraham Cooper, Abrham Lewis, Reuben Streeter, James Ormiston, James Douglass, Oren Matthews, Percival Hawley, and Abner Benton, trustees. At it organization it had about 40 members, and Rev. James Sanford was installed pastor September 5, 1820. The people worshipped in a brick school-house, on the lot where the present church now stands, until 1839, when the present building was erected, of stone, 40 by 50 feet, and originally cost about $2,200. In 1861 it was enlarged and remodelled, 25 feet being added to the length, the whole costing about $3,000. It has a seating capacity of about 400, and is valued, including grounds and other property, at about $5,000. The church is now without a pastor, and the present membership if 124.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ox Bow was organized in 1872, by Rev. Samuel Clark, the first pastor, with 12 members. The house of worship was formerly an old store, and was remodelled into a church in 1873. It is of stone, will comfortably seat 200 persons, and cost $4,100. The present value of the church property, including buildings and grounds, is $6,000. The church now has 60 members, and Rev. W. Merrifield is pastor.

The Roman Catholic Church. -- The Roman Catholic form of worship was commenced in Antwerp in March, 1849, at which time that denomination purchased of Mr. Parish the brick church which he had built in 1816 for the use of the town. The building, which had cost nearly $10,000, was sold to them for $600.

A Baptist Society was organized in Antwerp in 1824, and continued to worship here until 1865. Their house of worship was afterwards occupied by the Methodist Protestant Society of Antwerp

End of the History Section of the Town of Antwerp.

 

 

Note: A biography for William McAllaster followed. However, that has been included in the Family Sketches presented on on Nan Dixon's NYGenWeb site for Jefferson County, N. Y.



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