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The Town of Brownville
Was erected from Leyden, April 1, 1802, embracing all north of Black River, from a line running from the northwest corner of Champion, N. 45° E, to the southwesterly bounds of the county of St. Lawrence. The first town meeting was directed to be held at the house of Jacob Brown, afterwards Major General of the army, the first settler and general land agent. The first town meeting was held at the house of Samuel and Jacob Brown, and adjourned to Brownville Hotel, March 1, 1803, at which the following town officers were elected: Jacob Brown, supervisor; Isaac Collins, clerk; John W. Collins, Rich’d Smith, and Peter Pratt, assessors; J. W. Collins, Ozias Preston, Samuel Starr, commissioners highways; O. Preston, Richardson Avery, Henry A. Delamater, Samuel Brown, Benj. Brown, Wm. Rogers, Abijah Putnam, fence viewers; S. Brown, S. Starr, overseers of the poor; S. Brown, Sanford Langworthy, Caleb J. Bates, Sylvanus Fish, H. A. Delamater, Fred’k Sprague, Geo. Waffle, Ethni Evans, pathmasters; J. W. Collins, H. A. Delamater, and S. Brown, poundmasters.
Supervisors---1803, Jacob Brown; 1804, 5, John W. Collins; 1806, 7, Jacob Brown; 1808, J. W. Collins; 1809, 10, John Brown; 1811, 12, Josiah Farrar; 1813, John Brown; 1814, Joseph Clark; 1815, John Brown; 1816, 17, Walter Cole; 1818, Geo. Brown, Jr.; 1819, 20, Hoel Lawrence; 1821-1828, Walter Cole; 1829-33, Geo. Brown (of Perch River); 1834, 35, Aaron Shew; 1836, 37, Walter Cole; 1838, Mahlon P. Jackson; 1839, 40, Alanson Skinner; 1841, Wm. Lord; 1842, 43, A. Skinner; 1844, 45, Chas. B. Avery; 1846, A. Skinner; 1847, Chas. B. Avery; 1848, Arba Strong; 1849, Cyrus Allen; 1850, Tho’s. L. Knapp, C. Allen, special meeting; 1851, Cyrus Allen; 1852, Samuel Middleton, 2nd; 1853, Charles K. Loomis.
At a special meeting, Jan. 29, 1818, the town petitioned for a tax upon themselves of $2,000, towards building a bridge at Williamstown (Pamelia) Village, and another at Brownville Village. John Brown, Joseph Clark, and Thomas Loomis, were appointed commissioners for this purpose. In 1813 a law had also been passed for the erection of bridges, by a tax upon this and adjacent towns.
During 15 years a poor tax has been voted, making an aggregate of $5,790, and in 1835 the poor money on hand was applied to schools. In 32 years, money has been raised for bridges, usually $250, per annum, and amounting to $9,050. In 1846 money was raised to build a bridge over Perch River, near its mouth, and in 1835, 1848, 49, 50, to build one at Fish Island, in the village of Dexter.
Bounties on wolves of $5, were offered in 1807---1818; of $8 in 1821; of $10 in 1806, 8, 9, 11, 12, 20; of $15 in 1804, 13, 19; of $20 in 1815, 16; and of $25 in 1814, 17. Fox bounties of $1, in 1815, 20, 21; of $2.50 in 1817, 19; and of 50 cts. in 1833, were offered. In 1806 a bounty of 10, and in 1807 of $5 was offered for panthers.
At the annual town meeting in 1820, which was held at Perch River, after electing a portion of the officers, the meeting adjourned to the house of Edward Arnold, on Penet Square, till the next day. This measure created much excitement, and those living in the southern and eastern portions of the town, rallied with all their forces, attended promptly at the earliest moment of the adjourned meeting, organized, and immediately voted another adjournment to the house of Elias Bennet at Brownville Village, on the afternoon of the same day, where the vote for town clerk was reconsidered, and the remaining officers elected. Being thus robbed of their town meeting, the settlers on Penet’s Square and in distant localities, demanded a separate organization, which was readily consented to, and all parties having met at an informal meeting, or convention, at the village, agreed upon a petition to the legislature, which was acted upon, before another town meeting. The foregoing is a concise statement of the act of “stealing a town meeting,” which gave rise to much talk at the time, and about which many fabulous stories have been related. It is said that this heinous crime of robbery was made the subject of a painting, that formed a part of a traveling exhibition.
At the town meeting, in 1821, the clerk read three notices for the division of the town, which were not voted. The first was to annex a part of Brownville to Pamelia; the second, a part of Brownville to Le Ray, and the third to erect four new towns from Brownville and Le Ray. In 1822, a motion to annex Pamelia to Brownville was defeated.
This town was first explored, with a view of settlement, by Jacob Brown, afterwards a distinguished citizen, who, while teaching a school in New York, had met with Rodolph Tillier, the general agent for the Chassanis lands, and was induced to purchase a large tract, and become the agent for commencing a settlement, at a time when the difficulties attending such an enterprise were very great. Having engaged in this business, he repaired in February, 1799, to the location of the French company, at the High Falls, and made several journeys to Utica, when, having completed his arrangements, and collected provisions at the Long Falls, he in March, 1799, passed down the old French road, in company with three or four hired men, and happening to reach the river at the mouth of Philomel Creek, he was charmed with the prospect of a water power, apparently perennial, and at once decided upon stopping here. He commenced clearing land, having sent for his father’s family, who started on the 22d of April, from Bucks County, Pa., and after stopping a few days at New York and Schenectady, and hiring at Utica an extra boat, at length arrived at the location on the 17th of May, 1799, having been nearly three weeks on the road. George Brown, a relative, came on in the same company, with a part of his family, making with the boatmen, a party of nearly twenty. The boatmen soon returned, leaving one boat that served the means for communication with Kingston, from whence they derived most of their provisions, the stock left at the Long Falls having been sold. When this company had arrived, the first had cleared a small piece, and got up the body of a log house, twenty feet square, which occupied the site of the hay scales on the edge of the bank, in the village, and the same season they put up the body of a two-story log house, 25 by 30, on the ground now covered by the store of Wm. Lord. This was not, however, completed for occupation till the spring of 1801. In the fall of 1800 a saw mill was built at the mouth of Philomel Creek, the millwrights being Noah Durrin and Ebenezer Hills, and late in the fall of 1801a grist mill was built for Mr. Brown, by Ethni Evans, afterwards the pioneer of Evans’ Mills. A few goods were brought on with the first family, but in the fall of the same year, Jacob Brown went to New York, on other business, and selected a small stock better adapted to the market. In 1799, a great number came in to look for lands, many of whom selected farms on Perch River, and between that place and Brownville, where they commenced small clearings, and made arrangements for removal with their families in the spring. Among these were John W. Collins, Richardson Avery, Nathan Parish, Horace Mathers, and others. In the summer of 1800, a great number settled, and the clearings had extended from the bank of the river nearly half a mile. The first settlers on Perch River incurred an obligation to cleara (sic) certain amounts of land, and build a house.
The first bridge at Brownville was built at a cost of $1,000, on subscription, by Oliver Bartholomew, in the summer of 1802. It was below the present mills, at the mouth of Philomel Creek, and being swept off in a flood in 1806, was in 1807 rebuilt by the same person, at the present bridge. The village, in Sept., 1805, contained 25 houses, and was rapidly improving, and the next year a dam was first built across Black River at this place, a little below the present dam. John Brown (afterwards Judge Brown), a brother of Jacob, at an early day bought the lands adjacent to the village, south of the river, and erected mills. The mills and store were at first owned by Jacob Brown, and his father, Samuel,* (S. Brown, Sen., died at Brownville, Sept. 24, 1813) but afterwards his brother of that name became the merchant. The village for some years grew more rapidly than any in the county, and until after the location of the public buildings at Watertown, it exhibited more thrift and business than that place. Much importance was attached, at an early day, to the navigation of Black River below this place, which was naturally difficult, on account of a rapid at Fish Island (now Dexter’s), and in 1810 an act was passed, incorporating the Black River Navigation Company, of which it appears, from a paper recorded in the clerk’s office June 5, 1810, that the following persons were subscribers, with the number of shares, at $10, taken by each; Samuel Brown, Jr., 20; Jacob Brown, 35; Micah Sterling, 10; Benjamin Skinner, 10; John Brown, 20; Wm. M. Lord, 20; Judah Williams, 10; Samuel Starr, 20; Joseph Starling, 10; Wm. Hunter, 10; Richard M. Esselstyn, 10; James Shields, 5; Gersham Tuttle, 5; Thomas M. Converse, 5: Amasa Trowbridge, 10. The commissioners were Ethel Bronson, John Brown, Wm. M. Lord and Thomas M. Converse. On the 8th of March, 1811, the company received an amendment of their charter, by which the president and directors were to appoint a collector, who should receive from every boat of five tons and upwards, 25 cents per ton, and for small boats not more than 50 cents per ton, for going and returning, provided the receipts shall not exceed 14 per cent on the capital invested. The company was required to finish their work within three years, and were empowered to dispose of their surplus water as they might see fit. In 1812, and 1815, the time for completing the work was extended, and in the latter year wooden locks were built, sufficient to allow the passage of Durham boats. By an advertisement in the Sackets Harbor Gazette, dated May 1, 1817, the public was informed that no higher tolls than 50 cents would be collected on a boat passing the locks. About 1828 the project of building a steam boat, to ply between Brownville and ports on the river and lake, being in discussion, stone locks were built in place of the wooden ones, which had decayed. The steamer Brownville was built in the summer of 1827 by a company, the original parties of which were Turner & Dodd, but Wm. S. Ely, Wm. Lord, Edmund Kirby and Hoel Lawrence, of this place, with parties in Oswego and Ogdensburgh, became afterwards interested, from having made advances. It had a keel 80 feet, beam 20 feet, and depth of hold 6½ ffet, with a burden of 100 tons, and engines of 35 to 40 horse power. She was built at the village, on the north side, and having with difficulty passed the locks, was burned to the water’s edge, on her first trip to Ogdensburgh, but was run upon an island, and her crew saved. The hull was towed back to Brownville, and rebuilt by Capt. E. B. Dodd, and after a short time was sold at Sackets Harbor, and the name changed to the William Avery. The village of Dexter, six miles from Sackets Harbor, has long since been regarded as the head of navigation on Black River.
On the announcement of the declaration of war, Brownville became the seat of much activity and excitement, from its being the head quarters of General Brown, who had the personal direction of military operations on this frontier during most of the first season. A hospital was established here, and troops were stationed in the village and vicinity at various times during that period. The greatest alarm prevailed throughout the country upon the arrival of the first tidings of war, but this soon wore away.
The inhabitants living on Perch River, on receiving the news of the war, were greatly alarmed, from their supposed exposure on the frontier, and some of the timid ones resolved to leave the country. To dissuade them from this, it was proposed to build a block house, which was forthwith done by voluntary labor, but when completed, only served as a storehouse for the wheat of a neighbor. Some ridiculing the idea of danger, humorously proposed to post themselves on the brow of some of the limestone ledges towards Catfish Creek, in the direction of Canada, which would give them the double advantages of a commanding position, and an abundance of material for missles (sic), in case of attack. This had its effect, and after a few weeks’ reflection the idea of Indian massacre was forgotten. It will be remembered that many of the older inhabitants had realized in their youth the horrors of Indian warfare, and the takes of midnight massacre which they related as they assembled on evenings for mutual safety, enhanced, in no small degree, this timidity. Still the alarms which prevailed in this county were far less than those that spread through the St. Lawrence settlements, and as afterwards appeared in Canada itself, where nearly every family along the river had been fugitives from the desolating hand of war, from their adherence to the royal cause in the revolution. The apprehensions of both parties soon subsided, and men resumed their customary pursuits, except when occasional drafts, or general alarms, called out the militia, or the emergencies of the service required the assembling of teams for the transportation of munitions of war. Prices of produce were, of course, extremely high, and from the large amount of government money expended here, the basis of many fortunes in the county were laid at that period.
On the 16th of April, 1828, the public was aroused by the report of a murder, committed in the Perch River settlement in this town, by Henry Evans, upon Joshua Rogers and Henry Diamond, in an affair growing out of an attempt to forcibly eject Evans without legal formality from premises leased by a brother of Rogers. A family quarrel had for some days existed in the Rogers’ family, in which Evans had taken a part, and at the time of the murder the parties had been drinking, and were unusually quarrelsome. Evans had shut himself up in his house, which was forcibly entered, with threats and abusive language, upon which he seized an axe, and mortally wounded two, and badly wounded a third, who recovered. He was immediately arrested, and at the June term of the court of Oyer and Terminer, in 1828, was tried, the court consisting of Nathan Williams, circuit judge, Egbert Ten Eyck, first judge, Joseph Hawkins, judge, Robert Lansing, district attorney, H. H. Sherwood, clerk, H. H. Coffeen, sheriff. The district attorney was assisted by Mr. Clarke, and the prisoner was defended by Messrs. Sterling, Bronson, and Rathbone. The vicious temper and abandoned character of the prisoner, who, whether drunk or sober, had been the terror of his neighborhood, outweighed the extenuating circumstances of the case, and the jury, after half an hour’s deliberation, returned a verdict of guilt. He was sentenced to be hung, August 22d, and he was executed in the presence of an immense crowd, who had assembled to witness the barbarous spectacle, from this and adjoining counties. The gallows was placed on the north bank of the river, nearly opposite the Court House. His body was taken by his friends to Brownville, and a grave dug in the cemetery, when objects were raised, and one person swore that he should not be buried there. Another place was then got, but the rock was reached in two feet. A grave was next dug, just outside of the corporate limits, when as he was about to be lowered, objections were again raised, and one or two women were seized with hysteric fits, because the locality was in sight. The corpse was finally taken back three or four miles from the village and buried at night. The lamentable prevalence of superstition thus evinced, has its equal only in the popular belief in vampires, which, on more than one occasion, has disgraced the annals of this and neighboring counties.
The Village of Brownville was incorporated April 5, 1828. The act provided for the election of five trustees, three assessors, one treasurer, one collector and one constable annually, on the first Monday in May. The trustees were vested with the usual powers in relation to a fire department, assessments for internal improvements, &c. The following officers were chosen at the first election: Thomas Loomis, Jr., Hoel Lawrence, George Brown, Peleg Burchard and Tracy S. Knapp, trustees; Wm. S. Ely, Asa Whitney, Wm. Lord, assessors; John A. Cathcart, treasurer; James Shields, collector; Levi Torrey, constable.
Trustees of Brownville Village. -- Those in italics were elected Presidents:
1829, Wm. S. Ely, Joel Blood, Joshua Heminway, Daniel Case, Hiram Mills.
1830, Derrick Gibbons, Elias Bennett, Hoel Lawrence, Wm. S. Ely, J. Heminway.
1831, H. Lawrence, J. Blood, Levi Torry, Wm. Hardy, Edmund Kirby.
1832, Edmund Kirby, Amos R. Avery, Alanson Skinner, L. Torrey, G. Brown.
1833, Wm. Lord, Wm. McCullock, J. Heminway, J. Blood, Apolos Huntington.
1834,George Brown, E. Kirby, Wm. S. Ely, James Ballard.
1835, Arba Strong, G. Brown, J. Blood, J. Heminway, D. Gibbons.
1836, Alanson Skinner, J. Blood, Arba Strong, John Bradley, J. Heminway.
1837, J. Heminway, Judah Lord, A. Strong, A. Huntington, A. Skinner.
1838, J. Blood, A. Skinner, A. Strong, D. Gibbons, Jesse Ayers.
1839, James Shields, A. Skinner, Henry Lord, D. Gibbons, Daniel Case.
1840, Thomas Loomis, A. Skinner, A. Strong, Wm. Lord, James R. Bates.
1841, Wm. Lord, Th’s L. Knapp, A. Huntington, Daniel Case, John E. Brown.
1843, Chas. K. Loomis, Edward Munson, Gilderoy Lord, John S. Chase, Geo. A. McKenzie.
1844, John Bradley, J. Blood, J. E. Brown, Gideon Tillinghast, Arba Strong.
1845, Arba Strong, A. Skinner, D. Gibbons, Cha’s P. Plumb, Apollos Huntington.
1846, M. C. Loomis, S. W. Fields, D. Ainsworth, Alex’r Brown, C. P. Plumb.
1847, John E. Brown, A. Skinner, A. Strong, Ja’s Shields, Joel G. Stacy.
1848, E. Kirby, T. S. Knapp, A. Strong, J. Ayres, J. Bradley.
1849, T. S. Knapp, E. Kirby, A. Strong, Wm. Lord, A. Skinner.
1850, C. K. Loomis, Sam’l W. Field, G. Lord, J. Brown Kirby, H. Russ.
1851, J. B. Kirby, G. Lord, L. W. Field, Heman Russ, Morrison C. Loomis.
1852, James I. Hunt, G. Lord, J. B. Kirby, Heman Russ, Gustavus Codman.
1853, Jesse Ayres, S. W. Field, W. B. Lord, James Skinner, Henry Lord.
The village of Brownville, from its vicinity to lake navigation, was early considered an eligible point for the establishment of factories, and the enormous prices to which cotton goods had risen in consequence of the war, led to the plan of forming a cotton factory at this place. In 1811, a general act had been passed, for the encouragement of manufacturer, and availing themselves of this, a company was formed Feb. 9, 1814, of which the following was the instrument of association:
“This may certify that we, the subscribers, have formed ourselves into a company, by the name and style of The Brownville Manufacturing Company, for the purpose of manufacturing cotton and wool, with a capital of $100,000, consisting of 1,000 shares, under the direction of five trustees, viz: John Paddock, John Brown, Thomas Loomis, Jr., Thomas J. Whiteside, and Hoel Lawrence, who shall manage the concerns of said company, for one year, from the date hereof, in the town of Brownville, in the County of Jefferson.”
J. Paddock, J. Brown, T. Loomis, Jr., T. J. Whiteside, H. Lawrence, Henry Wm. Channing, William S. Ely, Silas Jay, F. N. Smith.
They soon began the erection of a factory, which commenced operations the next year; but after a few months, finding they were losing money, they stopped, and the factory lay idle several years. It was subsequently bought by parties from Cooperstown, who procured an act incorporating the Brownville Cotton Factory, April 6, 1831. Elizur Fairman, John A. Cathcart, Charles Smith, and such as might associate with them were by this constituted a body corporate for the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods, with a capital of $100,000, in shares of $50. The affairs were to be managed by three trustees, elected annually, on the second Monday of April, the first being those named in the act, which was to continue twenty years. In 1842, this company was succeeded by a partnership, consisting of Charles Smith and William H. Averil, of Cooperstown, and F. W. Andrews; styled the Ontario Cotton Factory, which as since continued. It has 3,200 spindles, and 80 looms; and gives employment to about ninety hands.
A company, styled the Jefferson Lead Manufacturing Co. with a capital of $15,000, was formed June 30, 1838, chiefly under the direction of Thomas L. Knapp; and the business of manufacturing white lead and lithic paints continued with varied success about twelve years. Since the death of Mr. Knapp, which occurred from cholera, at Pittsburgh, in 1851, the business has been abandoned. It was found to be extremely injurious to the health of the laborers, both the carbonate of lead, and the carbonic acid generated from charcoal for its manufacture, being directly poisonous to the system.
A woolen factory owned by Bradley and Brown, was burnt in January 1846, with a machine shop, flax mill and other property. The village of Brownville affords a great amount of water power, which is at present but partly improved by two grist mills, a saw mill, clothing works, cotton factory, two extensive foundries and machine shops, saleratus factory, cabinet shop &c.
In many respects this village presents superior advantages for manufacturing establishments, as it has a direct communication by rail road with the markets, real estate is cheap, and the surrounding country affords in abundance, the means for supporting a large population. At several points between this village and Watertown, fine opportunities for water power exist, which are at present entirely unimproved. At one of these, 1½ miles above this village, Mr. James Wood, originally from New Hampshire, about 1830, began the erection of a dam and woolen factory, which had been nearly completed, and partly stocked with machinery, when it was swept off by the spring flood of 1833, proving a total loss to the owner.
At the head of Black River Bay, and favored by the double advantages of a fine water power and convenient harbor, is the village of Dexter, named in compliment to S. Newton Dexter of Whitesboro, who has been extensively interested in the business of the place, which formerly bore the name of Fish Island., The lands in this vicinity were early purchased by John and Jacob Brown, who in 1811, commenced a dam, that was swept off, but rebuilt, and a saw mill was got in operation in February, 1813. A large amount of lumber was made here during the war, for use at Sackets Harbor, and in 1815-16, wooden locks were built of sufficient size to admit boats 60 feet long, and 13 feet side to pass. About 1826, a grist mill was built by John E. Brown, and in 1837, the place contained a dozen houses.
A joint stock company styled the Dexter Village Company, was formed March 1, 1837, for the purpose of laying out a village on a tract of 249 acres south, and 800 acres north of the river. The original members of the company, were, Edmund Kirby, S. N. Dexter, John Williams, John Bradley, and J. Brown. In 1840, the company commenced making dividends of the property, and on the 6th of Jan., 1846, it was finally dissolved.
On the 7th of November 1836, the Jefferson Woolen Company was formed with $100,000 capital, in shares of $100. It originally consisted of S. N. Dexter, of Whitesboro, John Williams of Utica, Edmund Kirby, and John Bradley, of Brownville, Rodney Burt, and O. V. Brainard, of Watertown. The number of stockholders was 59. In 1837 this company built the present extensive woolen factory, at a cost, including appendages and machinery, of $140,000, capital paid in $96,000. This enormous expenditure, with the low prices which followed, could not be sustained, and in January 1842, the company failed, with liabilities exceeding assets of $33,000. The property was sold, and bid off by a new company, styled the Jefferson Manufacturing Company formed in Feb. 1842, with a capital of $50,000, which is still in operation. The main building is of stone, 50 by 170 feet, and four stories high, besides attic and basement and is stocked with seven sets of cards, and a proportionate amount of machinery. The building is of sufficient capacity to accommodate ten sets. It makes from 7000 to 8000 yards per month, and has been for a year or two run upon contract. It employs about 75 hands, and since the beginning has been principally employed in making broadcloths and cassimeres.
The joint benefits of navigation and hydraulic privileges, have made Dexter a place of some importance. Besides the factory, there are three saw mills, a grist mill, with four run of stones, plaster mills, several establishments for turning, and manufactures of wood, and about 600 inhabitants. It has churches of the Episcopal, Universalist, and Presbyterian orders, and is the seat of a custom house. It has been a place of ship building to some extent; about a dozen schooners, the propellers James Wood, and Clifton, and the steamer Telegraph, having been built here. Extensive appropriations made by the general government, at about the time of the erection of the factory, were expended in the construction of piers at the mouth of the river, for the improvement of the harbor. A cemetery association was formed under the general law Sept. 21, 1849, with James A. Bagley, Philander J. Welch, Sylvester Reed, Joseph D. Beals, Francis W. Winne, James A Bell, Henry Bailey, and Francis Broadbennett, trustees.
By an act of April 8, 1836, a tax of $500 was directed to be laid upon Houndsfield, and a like sum upon Brownville, for the erection of a bridge over Black River at this place.
Limerick, on Perch River, 1½ miles from Dexter, where the W. & R. railroad crosses the stream, and on the old turnpike, is a small village, of a store, tavern, depot, and about a dozen dwellings; mills were built here at an early day, by Nelson, and afterwards owned by Shelley. The dam was found to flow the flats above, and render them sickly, when it was presented by the grand jury as a nuisance, and removed by order of the court. It was afterwards built below. From its central position, this place has been selected for holding town meetings for the last thirty years.
Perch River, in this town, from the lake of that name to Limerick, meanders through a flat, which originally was flowed by several beaver dams, and in the early settlement of the country was too wet for cultivation, and gave rise to sickness from malaria. The evil was increased by a dam at Limerick. An act of March 30, 1827, authorized John Baxter, Abner Smith and Isaac Moffatt, to remove the bar or reef of rocks at the head of the rapids in Perch River, to drain the lands, and in the March term of the circuit court, in 1829, the dam was decided as a nuisance, and directed to be destroyed. The summer of 1828, had been one of general sickness, near the river, there being scarcely well ones enough to care for the sick. The evil still continuing, an act was passed May 26, 1841, providing for the draining of the drowned lands, by a tax upon the property to be benefited, and Nicholas Lawyer, John Cole, Jr., Paul Anthony, Daniel Allen, and Jno. Webb, were appointed commissioners for carrying the act into effect. The lake has been lowered two feet by improvements since made; lands before covered with wild grass have been brought under cultivation, and the locality has since been considered healthy. Several thousand acres were taxed, at first 14, and afterward 20 cents per acre, to effect these improvements. Adjacent to Perch Lake in Orleans, is an extensive cranberry march, the surface of which is a quaking bog.
Moffattville (Perch River, P. O.), on the west bank of Perch River, three miles from Limerick, is a hamlet of a dozen houses, a Union church, inn, two stores, and a few shops. It is in the midst of a highly cultivated district, but destitute of water power.
Pillar Point, between Chaumont and Black River bays, owes its name to the peculiar manner in which the waters of the lake have worn grottoes in the cliffs, within tervening masses left, supporting the rocks above. The shores of this point have afforded important seine fisheries, and a small village locally named Brooklyn, opposite Sackets Harbor, is the post office of Pillar Point, a Methodist Church, and a small collection of shops and dwellings. This point has been somewhat important for its ship building.
The Brownville Library, was formed under the general act, Feb. 10, 1807, with John Brown, John Baxter, Henry Cowley, John Simonds, Stephen Stanley, Isaac Pearse, and Thomas Y. Howe, trustees. This, and a subsequent association have long since been dissolved.
Religious Societies.-- A Presbyterian church was organized March 18, 1818, of eight members, Elam Clark, and Mr. Vanderbogart, being chosen elders. On the 10th of February, 1819, it was admitted to the Presbytery, and Sept. 14, 1820, the Rev. Noah M. Wells, was installed pastor. In the same year, the present stone church owned by the Episcopal society, was built as a union church, being largely owned by Presbyterians. The first trustees of this property, were Samuel Brown, H. Lawrence, Thomas Loomis, Jr., Wm. N. Lord, and George Brown, Jr. In 1824, there occurred a revival under the preachings of the Rev. Charles G. Finney, during, and subsequent to which, an unpleasant division arose, and several influential citizens, taking exceptions at what they deemed the extravagance to which these proceedings were carried, united in an Episcopal organization, under the Rev. Wm. Linn Keese, who had been sent by Bishop Hobart upon application being made to him for that purpose. A legal society, under the name of St. Paul’s Church, was formed Oct. 13, 1826, of which T. Y. Howe, and T. Loomis, were chosen wardens, Asa Whitney, Tracy S. Knapp, Sylvester Reed, S. Brown, Wm. S. Ely, Peleg Burchard, Edmund Kirby, and Hoel Lawrence, vestrymen. Find that the members of this society owned a majority of the stock in the church, which had been built by those of different orders, the remainder was purchased, and having been previously dedicated, by the Presbyterians, was fitted up and consecrated by the bishop, Aug. 12, 1828. Mr. Keese’s successors have been Ezekiel G. Gear (Feb. 1831), A. C. Treadway (of S. Harbor, not settled), Ferdinand Rodgers (Aug. 1837), William H. Hill, Nov. 1846, and George B. Eastman, (Oct. 1851), the present rector. In 1834, the church received from Trinity Church New York, $500. This church reported in 1853, 64 families and 292 individuals, belonging to the congregation, of whom 92 are communicants.
All Saints Church in Dexter (Episcopal) was organized July 14, 1839, with John Bradley, and Gillman Wood, wardens, and Edmund Kirby Jesse Baabcock, Ora Haskill, Solon Stone, James A. Bell, Andrew Wood, Israel J. Griffin, and Robert Anderson, vestrymen. They have erected a church edifice and are commonly supplied by the same clergyman as the church at Brownville. The last report gives a total of 28 families, and 128 individuals, belonging to it.
The Presbyterians on the 16th of May, 1825, organized a society with L. Gibson, S. Reed, and Wm. Clark, trustees, and in January, 1829, it was again organized. In 1832 a church edifice was built, at a cost of $2,000, and in ten years was burnt. In 1844 the present Presbyterian church in Brownville village was built, at a cost of $1,600, and in 1852 a session house adjoining, at a cost of $350. The clergy have been, Noah W. Wells, James R. Boyd, John Sessions, E. H. Snowden, Dexter Clary, Calvin Yale, O. P. Conklin, S. M. Wood and Sylvester Holmes, the latter being the present pastor of this church and one at Dexter.
A Presbyterian church was organized at the latter place in 1839, by the Watertown Presbytery, of eighteen members. A society was formed Sept. 24, 1842, with Joshua Eaton, Joseph Huntington, David H. Freeman, Harvey Crocker, and Levi Smith, trustees. A church was built in 1843-6, and the clergy have been Messrs. Conklin, Wood, Whitney and Holmes, being generally the same as those at Brownville. The present number belonging to this church is fifty-nine, of whom eighteen are males.
The Brownville Baptist church (at Perch River), was organized September 7, 1806, and at an ecclesiastical council, held at the house of John W. Collins, October 10, they were fellowshipped by delegates from Champion, Rutland and Adams. It at first numbered ten members. Elder Sardis Little was ordained over this church January 10, 1816, and preached many years. A society was legally organized April 25, 1825, at which Melvin Moffatt, Walter Cole, George Brown, Nathaniel Peck, and William Webb were chosen trustees. It was reorganized February 11, 1833. In 1827 they erected their present stone church, at a cost of $2,800. Previous to 1812 they had built a log church, and in the war enclosed it with pickets, but the defense was never completed. Here the timid ones of the settlement were accustomed, in the early days of the war, to spend the night, enhancing each other’s fears by relating tales of massacre, but these apprehensions were ridiculed by the more reflective, and were soon laid aside. A Baptist church was formed on Pillar Point in 1838, and the next year reported thirty members. No returns have been made from this church for the last four years. A society was formed September 22, 1838, with S. Howard, G. C. Persons, Hiram A. Read, Solomon Ingalls, Elisha Harris, and Samuel R. Campbell, trustees.
The Moral and Religious Society of Perch River was formed March 19, 1851. Silas F. Spicer, Archibald Sternberg, John Cole, Lucius M. Webb, and Charles B. Avery, were chosen trustees. A union church was built in 1851 by this society, at a cost of $1,500.
A Methodist society was formed in Brownville, August 3, 1829, with Joshua Heminway, Henry W. Chapman, Samuel Knapp, Isaac Meacham, William Lord, and Daniel Case, trustees. In 1832 they erected the present church, in the village. The first Methodist Episcopal church of Pillar Point was organized January 9, 1836, the first trustees being Isaac Luther, John D. Ingerson, Smith Luther, Lyman Ackerman, and Stephen P. Brackett. It has been once or twice reorganized.
The first Universalist society of Dexter was formed September 5, 1841, with John Maynard, Thomas Broadbent, Solon Stone, David Barker, Francis W. Winne, and Eleazer Parker, trustees. A church was built the same season, at a cost of about $1,300, and dedicated December 23, 1841, sermon by Rev. Pitt Morse, Rev. H. L. Hayward (January 1, 1842), was employed as the first clergyman. He was succeeded by G. S. Abbott (from November, 1842, to January 1, 1846). J. Wendall, C. A. Skinner, William McNeal, Lyman Perry, and Asa Sax, have been employed by the society, generally on alternate sabbaths, at salaries of $150 to $200. The first Universalist society of Brownville was formed December 17, 1851, with Alanson Skinner, Henry Lord, William Lord, Lewis Maynard, George Brown, and Heman Russ, trustees. In 1852-53, they erected a church in the village of Brownville.
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