History of the Town from Child’s 1890 Gazetteer of Jefferson County, N. Y.
WILNA was erected from Le Ray and Leyden (Lewis County), April 2, 1813, by an act which altered the line of the two counties, and annexed a part of Lewis to Jefferson. It is an irregularly outlined town, and is situated upon Black River, in the extreme eastern part of the town, and is situated upon Black River, in the extreme eastern part of the county, containing an area of 37,768½ acres. The surface of the town is broken, and is chiefly underlaid by the primary rock, which rises into low, naked ridges, and by calciferous sandstone. It is bounded on the northwest by Le Ray and Philadelphia, on the northeast by Antwerp and a part of Lewis County, the latter also forming its eastern, southeastern, and southern boundaries, and on the southwest by Champion, from which it is separated by Black River. Upon Black River are a series of rapids, forming an abundance of water power at several places. Indian River, in the western and northern parts of the town, also furnishes several good mill seats. Black Creek and its tributaries extend through the town in a general northwesterly direction. Upon the south branch are one or two mill seats. The soil is light, sandy loam, and is moderately fertile. A large portion of the town is still uncultivated, and is covered with forest trees indigenous to this locality.
The first town meeting was held at the house of Thomas Brayton, Jr., and the first town officers elected were Thomas Brayton, supervisor; Elihu Stewart, clerk; John B. Bossuot, Caleb Fulton, and Enoch Griffin, assessors; Robert C. Hastings, collector; Henry Lewis and Alfred Freeman, overseers of the poor; Henry Lewis, Freedom Gates, and Thomas Brayton, commissioners of highways.
In 1880 Wilna had a population of 4,393. The town is located in the second school district of Jefferson County, and in 1888 had 20 school districts, of which four were joint, in which 28 teachers were employed 28 weeks or more. There were 888 scholars attending school, and the aggregate days attendance during the year was 82,561. The total value of school buildings and sites was $34,400, while the assessed valuation of all the districts was $1,208,312. The whole amount raised for school purposes was $12,441.36, $8,654.27 of which was received by local tax. Truman C. Gray was school commissioner.
(BY LEONARD G. PECK.)
Carthage is without doubt the leading village in size and importance in the county at the present time. The Black River, after having afforded 42 miles of navigable waters, here expands into a broad and noble stream. A fine bridge, 500 feet in length, erected by the state, spans the river at this point and unites the two towns, Wilna and Champion, also bringing the sister villages, Carthage and West Carthage, into intimate and friendly connection. The R., W. & O. Railroad bridge crosses the river in a diagonal direction at a short distance above. Both these structures are built of iron and present a fine appearance.
The village is situated on the east side, at the head of Long Falls, a lengthy series of rapids which in early times gave name to the place until changed to its present designation. The location is pleasant and healthy. Natural drainage is afforded over a large portion of the place, and the soil is quite free from malarial exhalations.
Just at the beginning of the falls the state dam has been placed across the stream and reaches from shore to shore, a distance of 500 feet. The falls descend 55 feet in a distance of 5,090 from their head, the river’s entire fall from here until it reaches the lake being 480 feet. The channel in the vicinity of the falls is studded with islands, about 50 in number, presenting in the summer time a picturesque and pleasant appearance. The hydraulic power afforded by means of the splendid dam (mentioned above) is enormous, and the regular descent of the river bed renders these facilities continuous for a long distance on either side. The state bridge was built in 1854, and the dam was completed in 1855.
The scenery, as viewed from different parts of the village, affords a pleasing sight, especially during the season when the foliage is green and nature has donned her summer garb. The hills on the western side of the river rise one above the other, and offer to the view a rich panorama of pleasant homes, broad acres of waving grain, and groves of stately trees. There are many pleasant drives and walks in and around the village, and the lover of nature need not fail here of fulfillment of the promise, very much less than in many more widely advertised and more pretentious places, that “he who seeks shall find.”
Carthage village was incorporated May 26, 1841. The charter provides for the election of five trustees, one of whom is styled the president, which officer is voted for separately. The village also has a police justice, elected by the people, a chief of police and assistants appointed by the board of trustees, a corporation assessor and street commissioner, who also hold their offices under the same tenure. A fire company was organized in July, 1841, consisting of 20 members, and another in 1842, under the title of the Washington Fire Company. A hand engine was purchased, of rather insignificant appearance, but containing very powerful cylinders, capable of throwing at any time more water than could be furnished by the regulation apparatus of pails and buckets “passed in line.” This engine, with a few feet of hose, comprised the entire machinery for putting out fires up to the time that the present fine apparatus, consisting of a No. 3 Silsby steamer, two hose carts, and 1,000 feet of hose, were bought from the manufacturers at Senaca Falls, N. Y. A system of reservoirs, situated at regular intervals in different parts of the village, supply water when too far for access to the river. Strong efforts have been and are at present being made towards a system of water works, and also for a proper sewerage; but owing to alleged technicalities nothing has yet been accomplished. A special election was held and a vote of the taxpayers taken Tuesday, September 10, 1889, which resulted in a majority for the measure. There is little doubt but that some system of abundant water supply for the whole village is a matter sure of accomplishment in the near future.
The present organization of the fire department consists of Steamer Company No. 1, 20 men; Tiger Hose, 20 men; Rescue Hose No. 2, 20 men. The companies are uniformed, and are a fine appearing body of men. The department also maintains a full band, which gives open air concerts in the village on pleasant Saturday evenings during the warmer months.
Consistently with her claim to the possession of a progressive spirit, Carthage was among the foremost villages in this section of the state to abandon “ways of darkness” and declare in favor of lighted streets. In common with the general custom (at the time considered well regulated) this was accomplished by the use of oil lamps set upon posts at proper distances apart. The advent of electricity has relegated kerosene to private uses, and the streets of the village are now made brilliant by the subtle fluid, as are also many stores, hotels, and numerous private dwellings. The lights are furnished by the American Illuminating Company.
There are two names which are invariably to be found in every sketch of the village of Carthage, having any pretentions whatever to a historical character. The first is Henry Boutin; the second, Jean Baptiste Bossuot. Boutin was the first settler. He purchased of Rodolph Tillier, agent of a French company, 1,000 acres of land situated on the east side of the river, and on the site of the present village. He made a considerable clearing, and then, according to one account, in about two years from the time of his location here, started for France to settle his affairs there, with the intention of returning and making his home at Long Falls. The account then states that the vessel on which he took passage was lost at sea, and he never returned. The other account, given by Dr. F. B. Hough, in his History of Jefferson County (p. 299), states that he was drowned below the village a few years after his first settlement here. Which is the true account we may not avouch; we may, however, reasonably and confidently settle upon one theory, namely, he was drowned..
After the death of Boutin the title of the land passed to Vincent Le Ray, he having purchased the property at auction sale of James Le Ray, who was appointed administrator of the estate July 17, 1815. The original titles to all the lands in Carthage have therefore been derived from Mr. Le Ray. Upon the establishment of a postoffice the name of the place was changed from Long Falls to that by which it has ever since been designated---Carthage. The mails up to this time had been carried by post riders.
After the departure of Boutin, Jean Baptiste Bossuot (familiarly known as Battice), a native of Noyes, France, who had come to America with Baron Steuben, remained for many years the only settler at Long Falls. Bossuot kept a ferry and inn for travelers. The ferry was kept up until a bridge was built. The claim has been made that Bossuot also opened the first store in the place. He might have kept a few supplies for hunters, etc., but the first actual store was undoubtedly opened by Claudius Quilliard, on the site now occupied by the R., W. & O. Railroad station. Bossuot died in Champion, July 26, 1874, at the advanced age of 93 years. A eulogy was pronounced at his grave by Hon. D. W. C. West, commemorative of the life and virtues of the old pioneer. Mr. Bossuot was the father of five sons---Louis, August, Peter (who was drowned), John B., and George; also a daughter who died young. The writer has often, when a boy, been in the home of the genial old gentleman, which is still standing at the corner of Canal and Dock streets, and remembers him well. He was at that time past active participation in business affairs. In stature he was of medium height, and very erect, extremely polite in manners, and withal grown very deaf. Numerous anecdotes have passed current at different times, some of them finding their way into print, illustrative of the old gentleman’s peculiarities. He was not, however, so extraordinarily eccentric as those highly colored reminiscences would make him appear. His name will ever remain historic in matters pertaining to the early settlement of Carthage.
Within 10 years from the first improvement of the town settlements had begun along the main road north, and inns had been opened by Alfred Freeman, at the “Chickered House,” and Henry Lewis, nine miles from the river. Few farms were located before the war. The first bridge across the river at Carthage (Long Falls) was erected in 1812 and maintained until 1829. The toll-gate was kept from 1817 until 1827 by Seth Hooker. Mr. Hooker was also postmaster; the revenues of the postoffice amounting, during the first few years, to $17 annually, but gradually increased, until in 1840, when Mr. Hooker resigned the office, being succeeded by William Blodget, they had become as high as $300. Since 1829 no tolls have been taken fro crossing the bridge at this point.
In June, 1804, Cadwallader Child, who, for many years, acted as surveyor for Mr. Le Ray, and who was also a partner in extensive purchases of lands in the town of Philadelphia, started with a party, consisting of four assistants, and striking the St. Lawrence River they examined the shore and selected the site of the present village of Alexandria Bay. On their return they located what has since been known as the Alexandria road. A road was also continued to the Black River at the great bend. The State road to the Oswegatchie, opened in 1802-06, afforded the principal avenue to St. Lawrence County, and made Long Falls a point of much importance, as through it must pass all the travel to the central and southern parts of the state. The St. Lawrence turnpike, built in 1812-13, added another avenue to the northern settlements. This led to the erection of the bridge across the river, superseding the ferry, of which mention has already been made.
There can be no question but that the iron business, together with the several branches of industry which it fostered, led to the first real growth of the village. The vicinity of an early settled district on the opposite side of the river, together with the advantages afforded by a valuable water-power, also helped greatly; but that which engendered the highest hopes, and called wide attention to this point, was the prospective advantages promised by the Black River Canal. Of this last we have treated sufficiently in the article devoted to the C., L. & N. Y. Line.
About 1835 Mr. Le Ray established his land office in Carthage, adding new importance to the place. A steady, assured growth had now obtained, and we can, perhaps, give the reader no better idea of the village as it was in a few years succeeding, than to lay before him a short synopsis of an article published in the Carthagenian, entitled “Our Village,” dated December 19, 1839. After having given a description of the geographical position of the village, plainly showing its eligible and central position, and dwelling, with clearness and force, upon the advantages directly possessed in the water-power; giving due prominence to the enormous importance attached to the construction of the Black River Canal, and further demonstrating that the iron interests were surely destined to make Carthage the great mart for this industry in the Black River country, and dwelling upon other points of commercial importance, the writer, in proof that the pretensions of the place were not without foundation, gives the following enumeration of the buildings in the village: 80 dwelling of wood, stone, and brick; eight stores well filled with different kinds of merchandise, comprised within a spacious three-story brick block 100 by 40 feet; five framed stores, also well filled with merchandise; three taverns, two groceries, two large and elegant churches, one oil-mill, one flax-mill, two blast furnaces, warehouses, etc.; one stone school-house, one frame school-house, two blacksmith shops, one stone nail factory and rolling-mill, one large stone machine shop, one large stone axe factory, one large stone tannery, one large stone flouring-mill, three saw-mills, three cabinet and chair shops, two land officers, two physicians and apothecary shops, two lawyers’ offices, one cupola furnace, two forges, two carpenter shops, etc. A pretty fair showing for the village as it stood a little more than half a century ago. The channels through which future growth and prosperity were to come have not been strictly followed, to be sure, but we know that every reason existed then for a strong belief in an early consummation of these hopes and expectations. But the machinations of politicians brought about the “stop policy.” Enough has been said elsewhere about the effects of this paralyzing stroke to the hopes of all those interested in a speedy completion of the Black River Canal to make any repetition here unnecessary.
The present population of the village is variously estimated at from 2,500 to 3,000 and on both sides of the river, including East and West Carthage, at about 4,000. No definite knowledge will be had upon the subject, probably, until the forthcoming census has been taken. There were 800 school children enrolled as living in this district at the last annual report (1889). Following the estimate usually made upon this basis would give Carthage a population of about 3,400.
Before entering upon an enumeration of the industries at present located in the village, we will devote some space to an equally important subject, namely:
Carthage takes a just pride in her educational facilities. There are two large and flourishing institutions for the promulgation of learning, one under charge of St. James’s (Catholic) Church, and the other the public Union Free School. The St. James School building is a fine, large, two-story brick structure, situated on the corner of West and Mechanic streets. The conductors report an attendance of 225 students.
The official order which changed the title of the old district to that of “Union Free School, District No. 1, Wilna,” was made by Joseph Beaman, school commissioner, August 15, 1886. The school is organized under the general law, is thoroughly graded, and has an academic department under the visitation of the Regents of the University. The board of education consists of five members, composed at the present time as follows: John L. Norton, president; Leonard G. Peck, clerk: Allen E. Kilby, S. S. Hoyt, George Kapfer. The board employs nine teachers. The present principal (who has served for the last six years) is George F. Sawyer, A. M.; Miss C. E. Benton, preceptress. The school is divided into four departments, ---High school, senior, junior, and primary, ---and has the zealous support of its patrons and the community generally. The attendance of non-resident pupils is such as speaks strongly in evidence of its popularity; and as it has in the past, so also does it at the present time, easily take rank with the best public institutions of the kind in the county.
The school building is a brick structure, entirely new, with slate roof and metal cornice, two stories high, with a massive, splendid basement, in which are placed the six large furnaces connected with the celebrated Ruttan-Smead system of warming and ventilation and their unsurpassed dry-closet apparatus. The building is large, and is provided with very wide, high, and airy halls, win which is placed the grand central stairway, which, with the three wide main entrances, make danger from any sudden emergency an impossibility. The rooms are also large, high, perfectly ventilated, and supplied with furniture of the most approved patterns. The location is healthy, and commands a view of most beautiful scenery. Educated experts from many parts pronounce the building unsurpassed for the purpose in any part of Northern New York The building, with its furnishing, was completed at a cost of about $29,000.
The school is well supplied with maps, charts, globes, etc., for the several grades. The library, containing many valuable works, was almost all saved from the fire, and is always accessible to the pupils. Many additions to it have recently been made, and will continue to be from time to time, as money may be secured for the purpose, special care being taken to select such books as will be most serviceable to the pupils and teachers in their daily work. The chemical laboratory has been fitted up with work desks where each pupil will perform his own experiments, and thus more fully learn by actual contact and manipulation what has before been only seen at a distance. It is possible by this means to give the pupils an intimate and practical acquaintance with the principles of chemistry that underlie so many of the industries of life. In physics the same plan will be followed as far as practicable. The apparatus has been selected with particular reference to our wants, and is sufficient to illustrate the subject as taught by the most recent and approved methods in the best High schools. Cases have been prepared for minerals and fossils, good typical collections of which, it is hoped, will soon be secured. A beginning in this direction has already been made.
The first bank established in this village was the Bank of Carthage, which was opened July 17, 1852, with a capital of $18,600. It was a private bank, and was owned by Hiram McCollum.
The First National Bank of Carthage was organized January 1, 1880, with a capital of $50,000. It now has a capital of $100,000 and a surplus of $20,000, and has paid regular dividends. In 1886 the directors of the bank purchased a lot, corner of State and Mechanic streets, where they erected and now occupy one of the finest and most complete banking buildings in Northern New York, with all the modern improvements, including a fine vault, and one of the strongest and best made burglar-proof safes, with time lock, etc. The present officers are E. H. Myers, president; A. E. Kilby, vice-president; A. G. Peck, cashier.
The Carthage National Bank was organized March 30, 1887, and commenced business May 2, of that year, with a capital stock of $50,000. It is located in the Walsh building, on State street. The present officers are G. B. Johnson, president; James Pringle, vice-president; M. S. Wilder, cashier.
The Carthage Savings Bank is located in the First National Bank building, corner of State and Mechanic streets. Its officers are L. J. Goodale, president; J. L. Norton, Alson Cook, vice-presidents; Allen G. Peck, treasurer; A. A. Collins, secretary.
The Carthage Permanent Savings, Loan, and Building Association was organized December 3, 1888, and incorporated January 7, 1889. The present officers are H. M. Mosher, president; John C. Reed, vice-president; H. B. Edmonds, secretary; Mark S. Wilder, treasurer.
The Carthage Agricultural Society held its first fair in the fall of 1875. The society’s grounds contain about 40 acres, and one of the best half-mile tracks in the county. A large grand stand and other needed buildings have been erected, and fairs are held annually with good success.
Tannery Island. -- Perhaps no spot within the limits of the village has been the scene of more active operations, and which, beginning at a very early period, have been fraught with more importance to the interests of the place, than this. In 1830 Walter Nimocks and Allen Peck, the first a shoemaker and the latter a shoemaker and tanner and currier, built a tannery on this island. The building, which was of stone, with some additions remains to the present day just as then first constructed. A part of the lower end was built by Captain Auburn for a work shop, in which he did various kinds of work, such as wooding plows, making wagons, etc., etc.
About 1831 James P. Hodgkins and Mr. Auburn had built a small foundry on State street, near the rear end of the lot upon which the Miller block now stands. The machinery for producing the blast to this foundry was operated by horse-power, and as may well be supposed nothing but very light castings could be made. This firm soon began to look about for a more efficient mode of conducting business, and in about a year (probably in 1832, for it could not have been much later) they changed their location to Tannery Island and erected a foundry a short distance below the tanner, but drawing water from the same flume. Between this foundry and Auburn’s part of the tannery building Samuel J. Davis had a small shop, in which he made axes and other edge tools.
Hodgkins & Auburn purchased of Le Ray the site upon which their foundry was built, and the first payment of $1,000 was made and endorsed on the contract for the lot and water-power upon their erecting for Le Ray the historic institution now remembered by few, but which served a most important role in the affairs of that and subsequent days---the old octagon stone school-house. The first cash payment ($50) endorsed on the mortgage was dated April 6, 1833. After carrying on the industry about a year they sold the property to Joseph Crowner, who greatly enlarged the business, manufacturing all kinds of mill machinery, sleigh shoes, etc., and also commenced the manufacture of plows. In this latter branch of the business he was for a time connected in partnership with Walter Nimocks. The plows were of the Jethro Wood pattern, and were made under the patents of that grant. They were considered strictly first-class, and long held supremacy in the march of improvements connected with this useful implement. Crowner subsequently bought out Davis and carried on active business until 1851, when he was obliged to retire through physical disability.
A foundry and machine shop was erected near the same site in 1849, by William Hodgkins, who continued in business for two or three years, and the, with his family, removed to the state of Minnesota, where he became a successful and wealthy farmer.
It may be well to anticipate and say here that, on the purchase of the island by H. Dickerman, these enterprises all ceased, or had ceased, to exist, and the tannery became the all embracing concern. But to resume the thread of operations, and trace the vicissitudes and consequent changes in ownership in the history of the tannery, we will return to the inception of the enterprise---the work done by Nimocks & Peck.
Before building on Tannery Island, Mr. Peck had a small concern on the bank of the river, in the vicinity of toll-gate, in which the grinding of the bark, etc., was done by horse-power. Nimocks & Peck continued in partnership five years. They then sold to Ellis & Farrington. Auburn, who owned the lower part, sold to a firm named Dunlap & Barney. In 1841 Olin Holcomb, of Champion, purchased the interest of Ellis & Farrington, he being already in possession of the lower part of the tannery, through the failure of Dunlap & Barney. A partnership was soon after formed, and business carried on under the title of Holcomb & Spencer. They built a dwelling house, stocked a store with general merchandise, carried on the ashery business also, and occupied a very prominent place in the material interests of the village until 1844, when disaster overtook their enterprises, and the whole came to an abrupt stop. Dr. Spencer, the father of one of the partners, bought the property at sheriff’s sale, and disposed of it to Whitney, Mix & Darling. This firm made considerable improvement, put in new vats, repaired the machinery, and enlarged the business to much greater proportions than had a ever been known previously. They also had a store on Main street, and, in so far as the writer has knowledge of their affairs, did a prosperous business. But the man who was to overshadow them all, and who was destined to dwarf into insignificance all former enterprises on the island with the magnitude and extent of his operations, and who was to be the first to elevate this important industry into a great and expansive business, had not as yet appeared, but was nevertheless to come.
On August 2, 1854, the tannery property passed into the hands of Hezekiah Dickerman, of Blenhiem, N. Y., his son Rollin acting as his superintendent or foreman. Mr. Dickerman removed here with his family May 29, 1862. The life and character of Major Dickerman (the title by which he was generally known)
deserves more than a passing notice at this time, not only on account of the exceedingly important and prominent part which his business operations held in the material interests and prosperity of the village during the nearly 20 years which they were carried on, but also for his personal worth as an upright man, whose life was filled with usefulness---charitable even to generosity, and whose honor was without stain. Major Dickerman was born in Hamden, Conn., in 1801. At the age of 14 he was bound out to Ezra Pratt, of Lexington, Greene County, N. Y., to learn the tanners’ trade. His capital upon starting out for himself, after attaining his majority, consisted of five dollars in money. After working for a year and a half on a farm an offer was made to him and Col. Zadoc Pratt, by Gideon Lee, of New York, to build a tannery in Prattsville, N. Y., for which Lee would furnish the money. The offer was accepted, and the tannery was built and run for four years successfully. He then sold his interest there to Col. J. Watson, and engaged in manufacturing and farming in that place. Three years later, in connection with Archie Crossman, he built a tannery in Gilboa, Schoharie County. This was run about five year, Mr. Dickerman continuing the farm and mill during the meantime. About 1840 he sold his interest in the Gilboa tannery and went to Blenheim, and in company with Henry Sanford built a tannery that for those days was very large. In 1846 he bought Sanford’s interest, and the same year removed from Prattsville, which had during all this time continued to be his place of residence, to North Blenheim. At this time he sold the mill at Prattsville, and took stock (about one-third of the whole amount) in the Prattsville Woolen Manufacturiing Company. June 15, 1861, the tannery burned, and in May of the following year, as previously stated, he moved with his family to Carthage, where he resided until his death, March 4, 1873.
In April, 1861, a terrible disaster overtook the business on Tannery Island, caused by the memorable flood and high water in the river, augmented by the breaking away of the great reservoir in the canal reservation at the head of the river. This flood did great damage at and near Watertown, and will long be remembered by many who suffered from its destructive power. The damage to stock and property on the island amounted to $50,000. From this severe blow Mr. Dickerman never recovered.
About this time, and continuing for a series of years, great depression existed in the tanning business, and indeed in business of all kinds throughout the country. This, coupled with the overwhelming loss from the flood, had a serious effect upon the resources of Mr. Dickerman; but he continued in business until his death. Work did not stop, however, until May, 1876, when the tannery was idle until September or October, when John F. McCoy, of New York, came into possession, and taking up his residence here, he, with Rollin Dickerman as superintendent and foreman, conducted the business until May 1, 1880, when he sold out to Rollin Dickerman and John C. Reed. Mr. Reed came here from Syracuse in 1880, and continued until July, 1888. The tannery is now owned by John C. Reed, and is carried on by Thomas Ruell, of West Carthage, who leases the plant and is engaged in the manufacture of upper leather, which he sends to market in what is termed “the rough.”
The tannery business has also been carried on extensively within the corporation by Samuel Branaugh, who came here in June, 1870, and, purchasing the privilege and buildings near the brickyard, rebuilt and greatly enlarged them, and has continued the manufacture of sole leather up to the present time. Mr. Branaugh’s operations have been very large and important. He also conducts a large tannery in Belfast, Lewis County, but is now about closing out his business here, bark having become too scarce and dear to make a continuation profitable at this point.
Guyot Island. ---Bazille Guyot, from whom this island takes its name, came to this town from Troy, France, in 1816, a year long remembered on account of the unprecedentedly cold summer which attended the period. No corn was raised that year, and snow fell to the depth of a foot in the month of June. Mr. Guyot and Louis Bryant built the machinery, bellows, etc., for the forge erected that year, in what would not be nearly the center of the mill stream, just about opposite the Illuminating Company’s building. (This may be explained by the fact that the old dam was differently situated from its present location.) Guyot also built a saw-mill for James Le Ray, on the island, near the present grist-mill. Having bought the island he built the grist-mill in 1833. He married Mary La Rue, who came to this country from Brest when 10 years of age. Mr. Guyot died in Carthage in May, 1865, aged 79 years. The property remains in the possession of his sons, J. Victor and Frederick.
The nail works, spoken of in another place, built in 1828, were located on this island. This spot has been the scene of active operations since the very beginning of settlement in the village. Forge, rolling-mill, nail works, grist-mill, axe factory, carding-mill, broom handle factory, furniture factory, custom and repair shops for machinery, turning, and in fact almost every branch of manufacturing industry known to the history of the place have been carried on here. Connected with the island, although not situated exactly upon it, stands the historic site of the old “blast furnace.” The building of the forges and nail works, and subsequent erection of the furnace, were beyond doubt the operating causes of the first settlement and early growth of the village. The forge erected above the furnace site was burnt the same years in which it was built, and soon thereafter James Barney, Francis Lloyd, and Nathan Brown, from Fort Ann, N. Y., leased for 10 years the water-power, with privileges of ore, coal, etc., and erected a forge in the lower part of the village, the principal business of which was making mill irons and anchors. The site of this forge is the one which afterwards became conspicuous as the theater of extensive operations in the business career of Hirm McCollom. On the death of Mr. Barney the property reverted to Mr. Le Ray.
In 1819 the furnace was built by Mr. Le Ray and got into operation in the fall of 1820. A refining forge, with two additional fires, was also built, the whole being under the supervision of Claudius S. Quilliard. The house in which Mr. Quilliard lived occupied the site now covered by the tracks of the railroad in the immediated (sic) vicinity of the station. It was a fine dwelling, with a broad piazza in front, and, as was customary in those days, contained the large chimney, with ample open fire-places, now seldom if ever seen, but always spoken of in sketches of the olden times. The furnace was run for a time by Le Ray and then passed into the control of Joseph C. Budd and William Bones. Budd & Bones made pig-iron, and also had a molding floor, where they made various kinds of castings, such as potash kettles, stoves, etc. They also conducted a store, which was situated on the site of the present village hall and engine-house, and was familiarly known throughout the vicinity as the “Company Store.” The proprietors kept a general stock, comprising almost everything which could possibly be needed by the people in their employ.
The furnace and the old “Company Store” with its surroundings are among the most vivid of the remembrances of the writer’s boyhood days. The one or the other must needs be passed on the way to the “old academy” school, and the attractions of each made getting by an equally difficult matter, unless, perchance, one took it into his mischievous pate to “sass” some one of the burly Celts who labored around the furnace yard, when all such attractions would be held as naught, and an exit from the environment would be made with “neatness and dispatch.”
Budd & Bones carried on the business until 1846, when operations ceased and the furnace was allowed to fall into decay. It remained in this condition until 1863, when Cole & Allen, who came from Pennsylvania, took possession, rebuilt it pretty much throughout, and finally got it in operation in 1865. The works again remained idle from May, 1866, up to 1870, when they were purchased by the Carthage Iron Company, a stock company with a capital of $60,000. The company consisted of R. N. Gere, of Syracuse, president; L. H. Mills, of West Carthage, vice-president; and Charles T. Bissell, of Rome, secretary. This company rebuilt the works on a scale immensely larger than was ever before even dreamed of by the most sanguine operator. They not only entered into large contracts with the owners of timbered lands for charcoal, but purchased lands and timber and manufactured the fuel on their own account. Where in olden times the ore had been hauled slowly and laboriously to the works it was delivered to them on their own side-track in front of the furnace, on cars which were subject to their control. A store was opened on the premises and run in connection with the business of Mr. Mills. Numerous men with teams were employed around the works in the various labors belonging to the carrying on of the works, and many families drew their support from the employment given by means of the enterprise.
Owing to some defect in the manner of raising in height and repairing the stack, or perhaps by reason of the enormous weight of the oven for heating the air blast which stood on the top, or probably from both causes, one side of the stack suddenly gave way and fell in ruins to the bottom, but most fortunately without causing any loss of life, or even injury to the workmen. The business up to this time had been one of great activity and profit to the manufacturers. To repair this accident and again get into active operation necessarily took some time, during which the price of iron of all kinds, especially pig-iron, fell to a much lower figure. This state of things continued after the works were again started, until finally it became impossible to realize a profit commensurate with the outlay.
The quality of iron made was very fine and was largely used in the manufacture of car wheels, and also for malleable iron products and every kind of machinery castings. The ore used was mostly from the Shurtleff bed in the town of Philadelphia, although other ores were used in connection to some extent.
The business was continued by the company with varying fortune, until the manufacture of iron from the ore ceased, in all probability so far as Carthage is concerned, for ever. It is, we think, safe to say that no person will ever see the manufacture of charcoal iron again carried on in Carthage. The buildings were unoccupied for a time, until a part of the plant was utilized by Mr. Mills for a saw-mill. The conflagration of 1884 swept all away, and an old land-mark, around which cluster many associations and memories of the native Carthagenian, passed away forever.*
*Mr. Mills rebuilt the saw mill and carried on an extensive business in the manufacture of lumber until his death, December 25, 1889.
Furnace Island. -- The first inception of opening up of business upon this little spot grew out of one of the numerous necessities of that indefatigable man who, in his day, might well be styled the Napoleon of Carthage. When Hiram McCollom began to build his rolling-mill and nail works in 1845, and the draughts for the necessary machinery were being made, it became apparent that no foundry at that time in operation in Carthage was of sufficient capacity to produce the immensely heavy castings which would be required for the works. He therefore entered into an agreement with James P. Hodgkins, who immediately went to work, and the same, year, 1845, erected a foundry on what has since been known as Furnace Island. The main purpose for which this foundry was built was to mold and cast this machinery. Some of these castings were immensely heavy, weighing tons. The fly-wheel was a huge affair, put together in segments, and contained an enormous amount of iron. Mr. Hodgkins carried on the business until 1852. For about eight months Seth R. King was a partner in the concern. Mr. King was the mechanical engineer of the nail works and rolling-mill. In 1849 or 1850 Ezra Hodgkins became a partner, and in 1852 the connection of James P. Hodgkins with the foundry ceased, and the firm became Hodgkins & Fuller. About a year after this partnership was formed Levi Wood bought Fuller out, and the firm became Hodgkins & Wood. This partnership lasted about two year. They put in a lathe and planer, and thus inaugurated that part which has since grown to such large proportions---the machine shop. The island and all its belongings were now purchased by George M. and Alexander Brown, who conducted the business until 1860, when the firm changed its name to that of Brown, Winch & Bliss, William Winch and Jacob A. Bliss coming from Watertown and taking up their residence here. Mr. Winch sold his interest to the remaining partners and returned to Watertown in 1865, where he died a few years later. He was an expert founder, and an upright and respected citizen.
Upon the formation of the firm of Brown, Winch & Bliss the business became more extensive than ever before. Mr. Winch had charge of the foundry, while Mr. Bliss, who was an experienced machinist, assumed the management of that part of the business. G. M. Brown managed the finances of the concern. Mr. Brown was an exemplary man, and won and retained the highest regard to those with whom he was most intimately associated. He died in February, 1868. Mr. Bliss then sold his interest to Mrs. Alexander Brown. In 1868 C. P. Ryther bought a half interest, and the firm continued with the name of Brown & Ryther until 1871, when James Pringle became associated with Mr. Ryther, under the firm name of Ryther & Pringle, who are the present owners and managers of this large and prosperous business. On the destruction of the shops and foundry in October, 1884, they rebuilt the works on a much larger scale and with greatly improved facilities, putting in a large amount of the best machinery, sparing no expense necessary to make the plant what it now is---one of the largest and best conducted works in Northern New York. The Ryther Manufacturing Company also carry on their business here. The machine shop is two stories high, and covers an area 140 by 50 feet. The foundry is 40 by 80 feet, and the blacksmith shop 40 by 44 feet. The firm employs from 20 to 30 men.
The remaining industries on this (the east) side of the river are at present as follows:
The Carthage Company, organized in April, 1883, purchased about 50 acres of land and a valuable water-power a short distance above Branaugh’s tannery, and erected extensive works for the manufacture of wood pulp and heavy board. These works have been lying idle for some time, owing, it is said, to litigation. They were recently sold at auction to Harvey B. Rich, of New York city, for $5,000. The power is an excellent one, and the company has expended a large amount of money upon the plant, first and last.
The Empire Steam Pump Company, next above, manufactures a pump for either hot or cold water, invented by E. G. Shortt. Mr. Shortt is a resident of Carthage, and served his apprenticeship at the machinist trade with Brown & Bliss. His most recent invitation is a high-speed, duplex steam engine, which, in its construction and manner of working, especially the novel way in which an instant reversal, while running at extremely high speed, is accomplished, no eccentrics or complicated affairs of any kind being attached, is the admiration of all who see it. The engine wins the highest praise from experienced engineers in the navy department, and elsewhere, and is rapidly coming into use for the propulsion of dynamos, screw wheel boats, etc., and for many other purposes for which it is peculiarly adapted.
Spicer & Sons’ pulp-mill occupies the site upon which McCollom’s cotton factory stood. The firm began operations here in the summer of 1889, and expended a considerable sum in repairs to the dam, in building flumes, and clearing the channel. The improvements are of a substantial nature, and the business is a valuable addition to the manufacturing interests of the place. About five men are employed, and two and a half tons of pulp are manufactured daily.
P. L. & C. E. Eaton bought the business of William P. Hull, at West Carthage, in 1882, and continued it until 1884, when they were burned out. They immediately rebuilt their factory and continued there until December, 1888, when they removed to a factory on the Carthage side of the river, which they had constructed. The building occupies the site once covered by C. W. Manning’s planing-mill. It is two stories high, and covers an area 40 by 91 feet. The firm manufactures sash, doors, and blinds, and does a large contract business in house furnishings, cornice, brackets, etc. They employ from 10 to 15 workmen.
M. J. Garvin’s roller-mill, used principally for feed and custom grinding, in connection with his flour and feed store on State street, is located next adjoining Eaton’s factory.
L. H. Mills’s saw-mill, on Guyot Island, was built by Mr. Mills (whose decease has occurred since these articles were begun.) The mill has been leased and is now carried on by Augustus Kesler.
Brace & Balcom’s veneering mill is situated between Guyot’s grist-mill and Mills’s saw-mill. The first manufacturers cherry, maple, birch, and ash veneers, and piano sounding-board lumber. They also dead in hard wood lumber of various kinds. The products of this mill find market principally in Boston and New York. About 10 skilled workmen are employed.
J. V. Guyot’s grist-mill now occupies the site of the old grist and saw-mill erected in 1815. Adjoining is the planing-mill and custom shop of Fred Guyot, while overhead is the wool-carding establishment of Miner Guyot. The stone shops and factories enumerated in the article in the Carthegenian, of December, 1839, --the nail factory and rolling-mill, axe factory and machine shop, --which stood on this little island, have long since vanished. The site of the nail factory and rolling-mill is now occupied by Smith & O’Keefe’s factory and the works of the Illuminating Company. This latter company was organized in 1887.
Smith & O’Keefe’s furniture manufactory was started in 1887 by the present proprietors. They manufacture chairs of superior finish, principally upholstered, and also do a large business in the manufacture of school and office desks, bank, church, and hall furniture. About 10 men are employed, the manufactured product amounting to about $25,000 annually.
C. H. Wing & Son, machinists, are located on River street, just above the railroad bridge, do general work, and employ from three to five men. The works were established in 1888; both the proprietors are experienced workmen, and do an increasing business. The machinery is run by steam-power.
The Carthage marble works, organized in the spring of 1854, by G. G. & H. J. Kellogg, are at present carried on by F. A. Hewitt. First-class monumental work is done.
The Carthage Lumber and Wooden Ware Co. (Limited) was incorporated in April, 1889; capital stock $30,000. The works are located upon the site of the storehouse formerly occupied by the C., L. & N. Y. Line. The main building is three stories high, and the plant has 4,000 feet of floor space. The company manufactures hard wood flooring, ceilings, moldings, and wainscoting, and all kinds of hard wood interior finish, clothes pins, chair stock, etc. The works are operated by steam-power, the plant for this purpose consisting of a very fine high speed engine of 160 horse-power, and two steel boilers of 100 horse-power each. Adjoining and belonging to the works is a first-class circular saw-mill. About 50 men are employed and 2,500,000 feet of lumber is used per annum.
There was a time when carriage and wagonmaking was a flourishing and profitable industry in the village. It has here, as well as elsewhere, suffered comparative extinction through the changes wrought in the business by the large wholesale factories. Manly Loomis and Charles Gregory each continued business at their old stands, making mostly “lumber work,” and doing repairing, horseshoeing, etc. James H. Davis, John McGowan, and Isaac Trombly each carry on horseshoeing and general custom shops.
Carthage boasts a goodly number of skilled workmen in the different branches of the building trade. The introduction of machinery has rendered the old-fashioned carpenter shops obsolete. In this respect they have followed the fate of the carriage shop; but as the art of erecting buildings entirely by machinery has not yet been perfected, the work of the carpenter, mason, bricklayer, and painter is occasionally in demand.
C. E. Dodge’s glove and mitten factory was started in Carthage in 1889. About three workmen are employed.
There are five tin shops in the village, generally carried on in connection with other business; in fact wholly so with the exception of that of H. H. Frink. The names of those thus engaged are J. Rogers & Co. and J. E. Strickland, both extensive dealers in hardware, stoves, etc.; F. D. Hubbard, a practical tinner, who also deals in hardware, stoves, etc.; and L. Vinier, who also deals in stoves.
The traveler will find no village in Northern New York better supplied with hotel facilities than Carthage. There are at present on the east side of the river at this point six of these places for the accommodation of the public. On State street are the Elmhirst, Mrs. S. E. Hatch, proprietress; Levis House, J. C. Carney, proprietor; Hatch House, Mrs. J. H. Murray, proprietress. On School and Mechanic streets is the Gill House, Robert Gill, manager. On Alexandria and Francis streets is the Brunswick, Patrick H. Brown, proprietor. And on Church street is the Dougherty House, lately under the management of C. W. Hall. It would be invidious to draw comparisons between these places, as all are well kept and of good repute. Herman Grinnell keeps first-class restaurant on State street, where a limited number of guests are also accommodated.
In addition to the manufacturing industries, etc., enumerated in the foregoing, this thriving village contains five churches (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Catholic), two weekly newspapers, a new and commodious opera house, two banks, nine general stores, three variety stores, eight groceries, four clothing stores, one merchant tailor, three boot and shoe stores, two harness shops, four hardware stores, two furniture stores, two undertaking establishments, five meat markets, two photograph and art galleries, five barber shops, four drug stores, three liquor stores, two furniture stores, two flour and feed stores, four watch and jewelry shops, two insurance offices, two livery stables, two bakeries, and a dealer in tobacco and cigars.
Although fires have probably been of no more frequent occurrence in this than in villages generally throughout the country, the ravages of this destructive element have, in one memorable instance, attained proportions that to the sufferers were appalling, and which, in extent and the amount of destruction to homes and property involved, would be difficult to parallel in the history of any place of similar size anywhere.
The first notable incident of this character occurring in the annals of the village took place July 15, 1861. The alarm was given about 1 o’clock in the morning, and it was found that the fire was in the store occupied by J. T. Walsh, on State street, between Brown’s Hotel and the Baptist Church. The flames soon extended to the hotel, and in spite of all efforts the church also was soon enveloped. The fire had now attained such headway that it was beyond the control of the very limited means at hand, and by sunrise the greater part of the business portion of the village was in ashes. About 20 buildings were burned in all, including four dwellings, two hotels, nine occupied stores, and the fine large church owned and occupied by the Baptists. The fire extended from Dr. West’s store (now H. Grinnell’s Hotel and restaurant), on the southeast side, to Hooker & Gallagher’s block, and from O. Leary’s block to Mechanic street, on the opposite side. The loss, including buildings, damage to goods, etc., was estimated at more than $60,000, with an amount of insurance which would reduce it to about $34,000. It was considered at the time as a most crushing blow, but, as often happens in such cases, turned out in the end to be an actual benefit to the place. The old wooden structures were replaced by neat and durable brick blocks, the street was widened (an improvement which was greatly needed), the unwise policy of erecting wooden buildings for business purposes upon our principal thoroughfare was fully demonstrated, and the better condition of things inaugurated at that time has continued fairly to the present day. Without doubt the most severe loss which the village has sustained in the burning of any single structure was that of the cotton factory erected by Hiram McCollom in 1849-50. This extensive and valuable building was utterly destroyed on the night of January 6, 1856. It had a been recently fitted up with machinery and stock for the manufacture of cotton goods, and was in active operation. The loss was entire, and that which bid fair to become a very important industry in this locality was thus brought to a stop, which has so far been permanent.
The next fire of importance following that of July 15, 1861, occurring (the writer thinks) sometimes in the fall succeeding (the exact date we have not been able to ascertain), took place in the immediate vicinity of the state bridge, and consumed two dwelling houses, one of them familiarly known as the “Rice House,” standing directly on the river bank; also the old store of Hiram McCollom, on the corner of Main and River streets, and the three-story building erected by Reuben Rice, also on River street, in the upper story of which the Masonic lodge was situated, the lower stories being occupied by Mr. Rice as a dwelling and grocery store.
In May, 1872, a fire broke out in, and destroyed, a building known as “Beers Hotel,” situated on the northwest side of State street, some distance below the Levis House. T. S. Roberts’s store, Abel Nutting’s shoe shop, L. Guyot’s harness shop, Hopkins & Roberts’s store, D. D. Whittaker’s block, a meat market with dwelling overhead, Hubbard’s tin shop, and a blacksmith shop, occupied by R. Commins, were also destroyed. The cause of this fire must, in all probability, ever remain a mystery, although the view is strongly held by some of those suffering loss thereby that it was of incendiary origin.
On Saturday night, December 12, 1874, a fire broke out in the large livery barn of Volney Warren, on Canal street, just in the rear of McCollom’s block, which was attended with most distressing consequences. The rear end of the second story was occupied by the family as a dwelling. Among those who were sleeping when the alarm was gived (sic) was Volney’s father, Levi Warren. Whether he was at any time conscious of his danger cannot be certainly known. His charred remains were found in the morning, under conditions that led to the supposition that he was not. Although somewhat advanced in years he was still active and useful. He was a man respected and esteemed in the community, and his sad end caused a general feeling of sympathy throughout the village. Volney Warren was terribly burned at the same time, and had an extremely narrow escape from the fate which overtook his unfortunate father.
We are obliged from lack of space to omit relation of numerous instances which, at the time, were severe misfortunes to occupants and owners, and will not enter upon an account, which must of necessity be brief, of the most stupendous event of the kind that has ever befell any village of its size, and which, by comparison, dwarfs into insignificance all preceding visitations of a like nature in the history of the place. Nothing more than a general account can be here attempted, as the particulars, if all given, would more than fill the entire space allotted for the sketch of this village.
The morning of October 20, 1884, was bright and pleasant, a rather brisk wind blowing from the southwest, which, as the forenoon advanced, increased in force. Almost directly across the river from the Union Free School building, perhaps a little to the west and about one-third of a mile away, in West Carthage, a row of manufacturing establishments then stood (and now stand, having been rebuilt), deriving their power from a long flume extending from the state dam. At 11:10 A. M. an alarm of fire proceeded from one of these buildings, which proved to be the sash and blind factory of P. L. & C. E. Eaton. The building burned rapidly, and the tub factory next north, owned by Harvey Farrer, was soon in flames. Meyer, Ross & Co’s furniture factory came next in order, after which the fire was confined in the large pile of hemlock bark owned by Revell tannery. Not dreaming of danger to the village on the east side from this source, the Carthage fire department had turned out at the first alarm and gone over to the assistance of their western neighbors. It was not long, however, before they were called back in a much greater hurry than when they first set out across the water. The wind had increased in force, and was now blowing strongly. Rains had not been of frequent occurrence; the ground was thickly strewn with leaves; and it would seem, everything considered, as if a more favorable condition of things for the spread of a great conflagration could hardly be found, and so it proved. The river is broad at the spot where the fire first occurred in West Carthage, and much broken up as it runs down its rocky channel; but as if directed by some malign power, a storm of fire from the burned and burning buildings swept across the chasm, spring at once into vigorous action, wherever finding lodgment in the fated territory on the eastern side. It soon came to pass that to assist one’s friend or neighbor might not be done, none having house or home but was summoned to defend his own.
There has been some controversy as to where the first lodgment of the flames and destruction of buildings took place on the east or Carthage side. The account given by the reporter of the Watertown Times places it at Guyot and Furnace islands, which were then covered with mills and manufactories, together with vast quantities of lumber and other inflammable materials. These were all swept away as clean as if they had never had existence, but the fact is, as the writer saw it, the fire did not start at any one place, but at many places, and those both near and wide apart.
The single steamer and fire department of the village were now powerless to stay the hurricane of flames, and word was telegraphed to Watertown for help. A few minutes after 1 P. M. Chief Cole arrived on a special train with 30 trained men in charge of steamer No. 2, and with 1,000 feet of hose. They had made the run (18 miles) in 25 minutes. Shortly after the incoming of the Watertown firemen the Lowville department, with its excellent La France steamer, also arrived. The scene was now on the like of which few of them had ever beheld. The flames were spreading with incredible rapidity. School-houses and homes, churches, work shops, and manufactories were all alike being licked up by the devouring element, and broken-hearted families were compelled to look on, and helplessly witness the annihilation of the results of years of patient toil and endeavor. To add to the alarm and distress the wind suddenly veered toward the north, and for awhile it seemed as though no earthly power could save from destruction the brick blocks and other buildings comprising the business portion of the village on State street. The flames had now broken out on West street, in the upper part of the village. The streamers were wide apart, the water supply had given out, and they were apparently powerless. For the space of about half an hour, which seemed to the horror-stricken populace to be an age, nothing was done toward staying the onward march of the flames. All efforts seemed paralyzed. But a great change in the aspect of affairs soon became apparent. Chief Cole had assumed control, and a brave, cool, experienced man at the head, directing and guiding, was not long in devising a way to deliverance from what only a short time before had seemed certain doom to the entire village. He placed the Carthage steamer at the foot of State street, taking water from the river; the Watertown engine, in the center of State street, received the water from the Carthage steamer, and soon two powerful streams were engaged in suppressing the flames which were threatening destruction to the business part of State street. In the meantime the Lowville department was busily and successfully engaged in staying the spread of the flames in the northeasterly part of the village. Under this excellent management affairs soon began to assume a more hopeful aspect, and at 5 o’clock the fire was under control. The Boonville department arrived at 6:45 with their handsome steamer, and relieved the Watertown firemen, remaining through the nite, and rendering extremely valuable and much needed assistance to the tired and nearly exhausted men of the Carthage brigade.
The scene presented as night closed in was desolate beyond description. Hundreds of families, utterly destitute of food or shelter, and with no clothing except that which they had on at the time, having, many of them, lost in an hour the products of long years of labor and economy, were wandering about not knowing where to go or what to do. Many had become separated from their friends and families, and were searching distractedly after them. Household goods were strew around in the utmost confusion. People who had no other recourse were making up beds in barns and in the stores, on floors, or wherever a place could be obtained for that purpose. The smoke of a hundred blackened ruins filled the air, every now and then breaking out into tongues of flame. The wind howled and moaned with dismal force, and it was a sad and weary night for all concerned.
City Surveyor Hodgkins, of Watertown, surveyed the ruins and gave as a result that they covered just 70 acres. The boundaries were as follows: North by Fulton street; on the south by State and West streets; on the east by Clinton street and the cemetery; and on the west by the east side of Mechanic and River streets.
There were 157 structures of all descriptions burned, about 100 of which were homes. The aggregate loss has been variously estimated, and perhaps correctly, at from $500,000 to $750,000; but it is difficult to estimate with any degree of certainty. Many had no insurance, while a large number of others were only partly insured.
No fatal accidents occurred, although numerous injuries were received of more or less severity, while narrow escapes were frequent. Had the fire occurred in the night instead of the day time the results in severe accidents and loss of life must have been terrible The school buildings were all burned, also the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, together with the parsonages belonging to each. The Disciples Church also burned, the society owning no parsonage. These buildings, together with the new opera house and village hall, were valued at $82,000, with an insurance in all of $9,500. The loss on the west side where the fire originated, consisted of Eaton’s sash and blind shop, Meyer, Ross & Co’s furniture factory, H. D. Farrer & Son’s tub factory, I. S. Normander’s saw mill, and 90 cords of hemlock bark belonging to Revell & Buck’s tannery---agregate (sic) loss $17,000.
The heaviest losses to manufactories on the Carthage side were L. H. Mills, saw-mill, grist-mill, store, and furnace, $25,000, insurance $3,6000; Ryther & Pringle, foundry, machine shop, patterns, office, etc., $50,000, insurance $17,000; J. V. Guyot, grist-mill, saw-mill, and other buildings, $12,000, no insurance; Charles Reuter, mills, lumber, and machinery, $10,000; Fred Guyot, large brick shop, with machinery for planing wood work, etc., $8,000, no insurance; C. Gregory, wagon shop, stock, and home, $4,000; no insurance.
On the following day the president of the village, Henry J. Welch, issued a special proclamation expressive of the condition of things; thanking the fire departments of Watertown, Lowville, and Boonville, for their prompt and efficient aid; the Utica & Black River R. R. Co. for their kindness in giving the use of their road; and calling for policemen to aid in the protection of property in the streets. The proclamation also called for a special meeting of the village trustees to convene at the office of the clerk at 2 P. M., for the purpose of providing speedy aid to the suffering poor, who had neither food, raiment, or shelter.
A citizen’s meeting to arrange for the relief of sufferers was held at Mechanic hall on Tuesday evening. A. E. Kilby, was made chairman, and E. H. Myers, secretary. A committee, composed of C. P. Ryther, A. E. Kilby, James Galvin, Zelotes Wood, James P. Kinney, M. P. Mason, and C. C. Ingraham, was appointed for the purpose. This committee was requested to report weekly. C. P. Ryther was made treasurer of the committee, and A. E. Kilby, secretary.
At the meeting held by the trustees pursuant to the president’s call figures were presented to them which showed that 106 houses had been destroyed, the number of buildings of all kinds burned aggregating nearly 200. They decided that $1,000 was needed at once to relieve the sufferers in the village, and $500 was at once pledged.
With one exception (Mr. Kapfer, and his loss was heavy, being a member of the firm of Meyer, Ross & Co.) the members of the board were sharers with the many in the loss of their homes; but they, nevertheless, lost no time in setting about the reorganization of the school. Rooms were secured in the M. E. Church, and also in one of the blocks in the business part of the village, and within a fortnight the scattered children were gathered together and work was again resumed.
It is not sought here to draw a parallel between the awful visitation which befell the devoted city of Johnstown, outranking in the sum of its horrible details any calamity known in the history of our country, but in a few particulars a similarity may be traced. In each case families were left homeless and utterly destitute. In each case no sooner had the news gone abroad than aid began to poor in from every quarter. The appeal issued in behalf of the homeless and impoverished people of the ruined village met with a swift response, as is, and ever will e, the case whenever the sympathies of our common humanity are rightly evoked. Money, clothing, provisions, in fact almost every conceivable article that could be of use in such a case came and kept on pouring in. The committee appointed by the citizens took charge of these matters, and established a depot in McCollom’s block, from which they made distribution to those in need. The amount of money received from all sources, as rendered in the final accounting of the committee, was bout $28,000. Of goods of all kinds, provisions, etc., a fair estimate would not place the value below $5,000.
The blow was a terrible one, for a time it seemed as if recovery was impossible of achievement, at least during the life of the present generation. But with the passing away of the first great shock courage began to revive. Sympathy and substantial aid had not been lacking, and life-long habits of persevering industry began to assert their power. The work of reconstruction was commenced.
Whoever may have occasion to visit the village of Carthage to-day will see a busy people, dwelling in pleasant homes, churches restored, and ample schoolhouses; neither will the sound of machinery be found wanting. The amount of insurance, as given in the account of the fire soon after, aggregated $166,050. The agents of the various companies came on at once and settled their losses promptly, and without any protest so far as is known. The largest single loss fell upon the Hanover, $40,000; the second largest upon the Liverpool, London & Globe, $20,000. The whole amount was divided among 15 separate companies.
CARTHAGE, LOWVILLE, AND NEW YORK LINE.
In 1858 George Sweet, Nicholas Wagner, and Christopher Rhiner incorporated and placed in active operation the Carthage, Lowville, and New York Line. The opening of this line made access to New York and intermediate points during the season direct, cheap, and convenient. The incorporators maintained six boats. Their office and storehouse, with dock attached, was a large building, very eligibly situated on the river, just at the corner of Canal and West streets. For the first year or two the boats were towed up the river, a distance of about 44 miles, by the steamer L. R. Lyon. The Lyon was an immense boat, built after the pattern of the Mississippi steamers. She was propelled by an immense wheel, situated at the stern, and was altogether too large and unwieldy to render practical service upon the Black River--a very crooked stream, and in places quite narrow as the ascent approaches the falls. She burned to the water’s edge August 10, 1878. The vent was peculiarly distressing, inasmuch as it involved the death of George Roberts, only son of Mr. and Mrs. T. S. Roberts, who still are residents of Carthage. George was sleeping in the boat, having been acting as engineer.
Captain Sweet, a practical and experienced river man, in 1860 placed in the service of the line a new steamer, which he named after R. Gallagher, one of the principal citizens of the village. This was in fact the first steamboat ever placed upon the river that was really adapted to practical use. This boat ran successfully until 1873, when it was disabled by being stove in by the ice at Carthage. Upon the rival of the railroad at Lyons Falls Captain Sweet was in readiness with another new and handsome craft, built in 1864, which ran between Carthage and that station, carrying passengers and freight. The name of this boat was the F. G. Connell. Captain Sweet placed another steamboat on the river in 1868, which he named after another highly respected citizen of Carthage, John L. Norton. The Connell was very popular with the traveling public, and was skillfully and carefully handled, so that in its entire career no accident resulting in injury to passengers occurred. In 1869 she was totally destroyed by fire. The completion of the railroad to Carthage put an end to travel upon the river. Captain Sweet put another boat upon the river in 1874, which is still running as a tow-boat during the season.
Captain Sweet also opened and commenced running the first daily line for passengers between Cape Vincent and the Thousand Islands. This boat, the James H. Kelley (afterwards the John Thorne, now, as improved, the Islander), ran in connection with the R., W. & O. Railroad. Captain Sweet is still engaged in the running of a passenger boat. The Ontario, an extremely fine boat, advertises regular trips between Oswego and Alexandria Bay.
Carthage being the terminal point of the canal and river navigation the scene at the docks and in their vicinity, during the season, was one of considerable activity. The river was alive with boats passing up and down, laden with merchandise of every description. The products of the forest furnished load after load for shipment, at numerous points, while the tanneries received cargoes of hides, numbering high in the thousands, which they in due time returned to the market enhanced in value through the labor which they had furnished to half a hundred heads of families. Millers not being forced into competition with the great wholesale dealers, now so easily accessible by means of the railroads, received large consignments of wheat, corn, and other grains, which, in the handling, grinding, and distribution to customers at numerous points, gave occupation to others, and added to the general industry. Merchants, mechanics, and dealers could not help but flourish if prudent and attentive to business. The farmers of the surrounding country were not among the least of those realizing the benefits of this opening up of a cheap access to the large markets. Potatoes, which had formerly been of no account aside from the limited supply needed for home use, now found ready sale by the boatload at fair prices. Butter and cheese had formerly to be hauled long distances, on wagons, to Watertown, or some other point. Shipment could not be made direct, and at rates which, in the aggregate, amounted to a large saving and profit for makers. Wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and mechanics generally found ready employment at good wages, or, if ambitiously inclined, entered into business on their own account, with the certain prospect of fair success if industrious and capable.* The lumber business, comparatively insignificant before now, sprang into great activity, and has, if anything, kept increasing in its proportions up to the present time. This also furnished employment to an army of laborers, even as it does now, and will, in all probability, continue to do until the forests are annihilated.
*The centralization of capital, and attendent (sic) destruction of many of those industries which provided means of livelihood and competency to thousands, has been made possible by the advent of railroads. Discussion of this or other phases of the labor question would be out of place here, and we will drop the subject content with stating the fact.
Carthage, having become the shipping point for a goodly portion of the surrounding country, naturally became, also the depot from which a corresponding amount of supplies were drawn. Many obstacles have, first and last, stood in the way calculated to retard if not to prevent the growth and prosperity of the place. These have all in their turn been surmounted, and a steady, solid advancement has been made. With all her present advantages, steady, solid, advancement has been made. With all her present advantages, natural and acquired, it seems impossible that the future career of the village can be otherwise than one of honorable, progressive, and upward movement. Whatever advantages can accrue to the place by means of the canal (and they are not to be overlooked) belong there still. The enormous hydraulic power afforded by the river remains unimpaired. The geographical situation of the village, as considered in connection with the existing railroads, is not only important, but may be said to be unique. To the south it had uninterrupted connection with the metropolis and seaboard; to the west is a branch connecting with the great lakes; north and northwest, the Thousand Islands, Ogdensburg, and the Grand Trunk; while not by any means of the last importance to this growing town, the Carthage & Adirondack Railroad has afforded access in the east to the inexhaustible mines of the great iron sections and the vast wealth of the forests, while for the tourist there remains recreation at lake or stream, or, as shall suit his humor, he may find rest and peace in the contemplation of nature in her wildest as well as her most grandly beautiful forms. The building and completion of the contemplated railroad from Rome and Carthage (a thing which at present seems almost certain of accomplishment) will place this village in many important respects without a peer among inland towns in any section of Northern New York.
The C., L. & N. Y. Line, after a very successful and prosperous career, finally ceased operations in 1870, being unable to profitably compete with the railroads. There is still, however, a considerable amount of business done in heavy freights, such as lumber, etc., at points along the upper parts of the river, and some coal is brought here by boat; but the railroad may be said here as elsewhere, to have things pretty much its own way, for the principal reason that it is available in winter as well as in summer, and vastly quicker in the transportation of goods.
A candid survey of the probabilities forces the conclusion that, had the Black River Canal been brought to completion at the time first expected and designed, Carthage must then have rapidly become a large and important village, ranking by the present time with the largest in Northern New York. The prospective advantages at this point were very great, and would, as surely as cause will lead to effect, have brought all necessary capital and enterprise to have adequately insured the benefits to be derived therefrom.*
*That great hopes and expectations were entertained in that day may be shown by the fact that Mr. Le Ray sold to persons, the most of whom did not live in the village, 50 acres of land, bounded on West street, and taking in what is now known as the “slip lot,” for $12,000, reserving a large share to himself, so that he realized $8,000 in cash for an amount equal to about one undivided two-thirds interest. The same land would probably sell today for $2,000. About the same time Dr. Eli West sold a house and a quarter of an acre of land on the corner of West and Canal streets for $5,000. The house has since been taken down and replaced by other buildings. The bare lot to-day would probably sell for $800. All this happened in 1836-37, and has been known in local history as the great land excitement. This was, of course, pure speculation on the part of the purchaser, involving what for these days was a large sum of money, and like many other transactions of a similar nature resulted in loss to the investors. It is given a place here to show the view taken by clear-headed business men (for they were such) of the value which investments would attain here, upon the opening up of intercourse with the outer world. It must be borne in mind that those were not the days of railroads, that time not yet having arrived.
From the Appendix, submitted too late to be inserted:
The following is from Spafford’s Gazetteer of 1824, speaking of Wilna in 1820: --
“The town contained $66,778 of taxable property; 1,268 acres of improved land; 383 cattle, 79 horses, 386 sheep; three grist-mills, seven saw-mills; one blast furnace, and two forges. Of these at Carthage were the furnace, two bloomeries for making refined iron, a grist-mill, two saw-mills, and about 40 dwellings, a church and school-house, two stores, and a tavern.”
On the night of June 7, 1890, the tannery owned by Samuel Branaugh was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $18,100, upon which was an insurance of $10,000.
The history of the Black River Canal need not be told here. When it did at last reach to this point it had lost nearly all of that importance which it had at first obtained for this section. The energy, enterprise, and sagacious foresight of leading citizens in Watertown had secured to themselves the inestimable advantages of a railroad, and that busy, enterprising village marched steadily and swiftly on its upward path until, from being the most thriving village in the state, it is now one of the brightest cities. We do not undertake to say that Carthage would have attained to the dignity of a city, but we do say that nothing could have prevented the immediate growth of a large and important manufacturing town, and to-day have become at least double its present size. We trust, however, that we have been able to give the reader some idea in the course of this article of the facilities which are at our command at the present time for this immensely important item in business affairs, namely: adequate advantages for the transportation of commodities, and our eligibility, not only in this, but in some other almost equally important respects.
NATURAL BRIDGE is a post village located in the eastern corner of the town, upon Indian River. It contains two churches, one tannery, a grist-mill, saw-mill, planing-mill, four general stores, two groceries, two blacksmith shops, a hardware store, two cabinet stores, two hotels, an opera house, and a fancy goods store. Improvements commenced here in 1818. In 1819 and 1820 mills were erected. The early settlers were Zebina Chaffee, Arnold Burr, Abel Bingham, Teunis Allen, Stephen Nutting, Charles R. Knight, and others. Bingham opened the first store in 1820, and Knight the first inn in 1821 or ‘22. After the purchase of a large tract in this vicinity by Joseph Bonaparte (Count Survilliers), he caused a large framed house to be built here, for his summer residence, and on one or two summers he made a short sojourn here. This house is still standing in a good state of preservation. The village derives its name from the fact that, in dry seasons, the water of the river finds its way by a subterranean passage, under a mass of white limestone, that here constitutes the rock at the surface. In floods the excess flows in an open channel on the surface, over which a bridge passes. From the soluable character of this rock it has been worn into grottoes of some interest, which, in low water, may be entered a short distance, and here, as elsewhere along the junction of the white or primary limestone and the gneiss rock, there occurs a great variety of minerals, which afford an inviting field of research.
WOOD’S MILLS, a hamlet located in the northern part of the town, contains one church, one grist-mill, one saw-mill, two butter tub factories, a blacksmith shop, and about 16 dwellings.
WILNA is a postoffice in the central part of the town.
NORTH WILNA (p. o.) is located a little northwest of the center of the town, and contains a hotel, church (M. P.), a school-house, and a small number of dwellings.
Natural Bridge tannery was started by P. E. Johnson. About 1861 Thomas E. Proctor became a partner in the business, and in 1866 bought Mr. Johnson’s interest, since that time continuing the business alone.
Natural Bridge lime works, located on road 22, were started by Luther Hall. In 1887 John Shoemaker bought the quarry, put in the perpetual kiln, with the capacity for manufacturing 100 bushels of white marble lime per day.
Hall’s white marble lime manufactory, located at Natural Bridge, was started by Luther P. Hall about 1863. He manufactures from 3,000 to 4,000 bushels of lime annually.
Lake’s planing-mill, located at Natural Bridge, on Indian River, was formerly occupied as a carding and cloth-dressing factory. In 1874 it was converted into a planing-mill by C. C. Lake, and was also used for a shingle-mill. In 1886 the mill was struck by lightning and was burned, but was rebuilt the same year. Mr. Lake employs from three to four men, doing a business of from $4,000 to $6,000 annually.
C. V. Graves’s saw-mill, at Natural Bridge, is run by water-power, gives employment to four men, and manufactures 1,500,000 feet of lumber and 2,000,000 shingles annually.
Cline’s grist-mill, located at Wood’s Mills, on Indian River, was built by Jonathan Wood in 1848. It is now owned by B. E. Cline, has three runs of stones, and does custom grinding. A turning lathe is also connected with the mill.
Carter & Randall’s butter tub manufactory is located at Wood’s Mills, on Indian River. It employs from two to five workmen, and manufactures from 10,000 to 15,000 tubs per annum.
Hendrickson Brothers’ steam saw-mill, located on road 47, was built in 1882. It employs six men and cuts 8,000 feet of lumber daily.
Carthage brick yard was started in 1971 by Charles Rugg, and was run by him until his death. In 1884 it was bought by Hiram Houghton, the present proprietor. In 1888 a steam machine was put in, which doubles the former capacity, making from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 brick annually, furnishing employment to 20 men.
Conway’s Black River brick yard, located on road 89, near Carthage village, was started in 1885 by George W. Conway, the present proprietor, who employs from 20 to 30 men, and manufactures from 500,000 to 1,000,000 brick annually.
Cold Spring Brook cheese factory was built in 1878 by Frank Sanders, and in 1884 it was purchased by Charles D. Chase, the present owner. It receives the milk from about 300 cows, and in 1889 manufactured about 75,000 pounds of cheese.
Indian River cheese factory was built in 1866, by B. P. Smith. In 1880 it became the property of L. B. Gibbs, who has since run it, with the patronage of about 350 cows. It is located on road 11, in the north part of the town.
Eureka cheese factory, located on road 5, in the north part of the town, was built by Madison Tooley in 1887. It receives the milk from 300 cows and manufactures about six cheese per day.
Central cheese factory, located near the center of the town, was built in 1888 by Marion Hull. It receives the milk from 300 cows and manufactures about nine cheeses per day.
Grace Church(Protestant Episcopal), located on State street, in Carthage village, was organized in 1860, with three members, by Rev. J. Winslow, the first rector. Their first house of worship, a wooden structure, was erected in 1866, and was burned in the great fire of 1884. In 1885 the present brick structure was erected at a cost of $8,000. It will comfortably seat 200 persons, and is valued, including rectory, grounds, etc., at $12,500. The present number of members is 120, and they are without a rector. The Sunday-school has a membership of 45 scholars and 12 teachers.
The First Baptist Church of Carthage was organized in 1833, by a council of which Elder Little was moderator, and A. P. Lewis, clerk, and at its organization consisted of 21 members. The first pastor was Elder Warner. Their first house of worship was of wood. In 1869 a brick structure was erected, which was destroyed in the great fire of 1884, and in 1885 the present building, also of brick, was erected at a cost of about $12,000. Its full seating capacity is 500, and it is valued, including grounds, etc., at $16,000. The present membership is 250, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Frank P. Stoddard. The Sunday-school during the past year had an average attendance of 131.
The First Presbyterian Church and Society of Carthage was organized as a Congregational Church, March 3, 1835, by the Revs. Nathan Dutton and James H. Monroe. It then consisted of 12 members. On October 26, 1851, the church unanimously voted to become Presbyterian, and on February 10, 1852, the then Watertown Presbytery received it under its care. Its first pastor was Hiram Doane. Its first house of worship was erected of wood in 1851, and was followed by a second wooden structure erected in 1864. The present fine brick edifice was erected in 1886 at a cost of $10,000. It will seat 300 persons, and is valued, including grounds and other church property, at $14,000. The present membership is 132, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Jacob V. Shurtz. The Sunday-school has six officers, 13 teachers, and 144 scholars, and an average attendance of 90.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church. --As early as 1820 the Methodist intinerants (sic) visited this locality and laid the foundation of the present prosperous church. Their first house of worship, a frame building, was erected in 1840. The present brick edifice was erected in 1873 at a cost of $40,000, including parsonage. It will comfortably seat 800 persons, and is now valued, including grounds, etc., at $25,000. The present membership is 335, and Rev. J. C. Darling is the present pastor.
St. James’s Church (Roman Catholic), is located on State street, Carthage village, was organized in 1819, by Count James Vincent Le Ray, Rev. Father Salmon, Patrick Walsh, and Edwin Galvin, and at its organization consisted of 100 members. The first pastor was Rev. Father Salmon. Their first house of worship, a wooden structure, was built in 1821, and was followed by a second edifice in 1864. The present edifice was erected in 1875, will comfortably seat 1,100, and is valued, including grounds and all other church property, at $75,000. The parish consists of 1,600 souls, under the pastoral charge of Rev. P. J. O’Connell, of the religious order called “Hermits of St. Augustine.” In the parish are 500 children being taught the principles of the Catholic religion. The parish school was built by means of a fund given by William Clark, who resided in the parish. The building is of brick, two stories in height. The school, which was opened in it March 15, 1886, is conducted by six Sisters of St. Joseph, under the supervision of the pastor of the church, and it is maintained by the laudable charity of the Catholic congregation.
The Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), located in Carthage village, was organized September 29, 1855, by J. D. Bennedict, the first pastor, with 17 members. Their first house of worship, a wooden structure, was erected in 1862. The society at present has no pastor and no stated place of public worship. A lot has been purchased on State street, but we are informed that “there is no immediate prospect of their building a church.”
The Universalist Church, located at Natural Bridge, was organized in 1872, by Rev. J. H. Stewart, the first pastor, and at its organization consisted of 20 members. Their house of worship, a wooden structure, was erected in 1872, will comfortably seat 250 persons, and cost $1,500, about its present value. The present membership of the church is 52. The Sunday-school has about 50 members.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, located at Wood’s Mills, was organized in 1839, with 12 members, by Rev. G. W. Barney, the first pastor. Their house of worship, a wooden building, was erected in 1849 at a cost of $500. It will comfortably seat 200 persons, and is now valued, including grounds and other church property, at $800. The present membership is 40. Rev. C. W. Brooks is pastor. About 25 scholars attend the Sunday-school.
The North Wilna Methodist Protestant Church was organized about 1835, by Rev. James Smith, the first pastor. The first house of worship, a wooden structure, was erected in 1851, and the present building, also of wood, in 1884, by G. P. York, at a cost of about $1,200. It will comfortably seat 250 persons and is valued, including grounds and other church property, at $2,000. The present membership is 72, and G. P. York is pastor.
PATRICK SOMERVILLE STEWART.
Patrick Somerville Stewart, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, was born in 1790. When 14 years of age he shipped as a sailor and came to America. In 1815 he entered the employ of the Le Ray family, and here he continued for half a century. His natural sagacity, good judgment, and sterling qualities were such that he gained the confidence of his employers, and in 1835 he had full power as their attorney and care of their vast estates. He had eight children. His wife died February, 1876, aged 86. Mr. Stewart was a Methodist in his religious affiliations and a generous contributor; a Whig and Republican in his politics. Possessed of an indomitable will, independent, energetic and positive in the maintenance of his principles, he was yet a man of more than ordinary tenderness, and would often sacrifice himself to serve a friend. He died in November, 1874, aged 84 years, leaving a reputation in no wise tainted or fused with anything unjust.
The Goodale, Goodell, and Goodall families are from a common ancestry. At what time, or why, the orthography of the name was changed is not known; but there is a tradition that three brothers, living in the same town, agreed to adopt a separate spelling for their mutual convenience. Robert Goodell, the first American ancestor, a great-great-grandson of Robert of England, was born in 1604, and sailed from Ipswich, England, August 30, 1634, in the ship Elisabeth, with his wife and three children. They settled in Salem, Mass., and had numerous descendants, many of whom removed to New Hampshire.
When the town of Temple, N. H., was incorporated, August 26, 1768, in accordance with a petition presented in June, the name of Ezekiel Goodale was among the petitioners, and as one of the embattled farmers of the Revolution his name is recorded in history. From Hammond’s (New Hampshire) Town Papers we extract: --
“Lieut. Goodale’s Petition, 1780. The Humble Petitioin of Ezekiel Goodale of Temple sheweth that your Petitioner was appointed a Lieutenant in Capt Frys Compt in Col’o Scammels Ridg’t the 11th of Feb’r 1777 that he marched with the first Davision the first April to Ticondaroga--& Discharged the duty of a Lieut to acceptance: was in the several disputes with Gen’r Burgoyne and then marched to Penselvana: & continued there until Apr 30, 1778 when by reason of the Continued applycations from my Family of their Distressed Circumstances I procured a Discharge & Come home--your petitioner Lost at the vacuation of Tycondroga as by the account 28-4-0 lbs. That your petitiioner Never received a farthing for it Nor for Depreshasion of money for his waiges--therefore your petetioner prays that your Honours will take his Case into your wise serious and Marcyful Consideration and make him such reward for s’d loss and waiges as your Hon’rs think Just and your petitioner as in Duty Shall Ever pray--
“Temple Feb’r 14-1780 EZEKIEL GOODALE LEUT.”
This petition was granted.
The wife of Lieut. Goodale, whose maiden name was Gill, was one of the gentlest of women and looked well to the way of her household, and her children were tenderly and lovingly cared for. She died in Watertown about 1822, at the residence of her son, Dr. Reuben Goodale. Lieut. Goodale emigrated from Temple, N. H., to Litchfield, Herkimer County, in 1792, and engaged in agriculture. Here he remained until 1820, when he removed to Ellisburgh, where his daughter, Mrs. John French, was a resident, and died there in 1824, at the age of 84 years. He was a man of positive character, and openly expressed his views on any matter. “He served his day and generation well.” His son, Joseph, born in Temple, N. H., August 29, 1780, was brought up as a farmer in Herkimer County. He came to Watertown in 1815, and established himself in trade, conducting a large drug store for nearly 20 years, when he retired from merchandising, and for some years his principal business was carrying on his farm in Pamelia (now embraced in the limits of the city of Watertown). He erected the brick building next below the Kirby House in 1828, and there he died June 29, 1859. Joseph Goodale was a man who had fixed opinions in politics, religion, and other matters. He was a Federalist, Whig, and Republican, never an aspirant for office, but a zealous worker in the ranks; a thorough anti-slavery and temperance man, and a denouncer of any in opposition to these sentiments. Strong and reliable in his friendships, he had the respect and esteem of good men. He was a great reader of historical works, political economy, etc., and kept himself informed on the topics of the day. His wife, Agnes Bush, born November 24, 1784, in Enfield, Conn., was a descendant of Plymouth colonists of early settlement. She was a strong Presbyterian in her religious views, and a woman of great moral worth. Her death occurred July 3, 1876. Their two children are Lawrence J. and Augustus.
Lawrence Joseph Goodale was born in Watertown, February 20, 1816, in the “Edmonston house,” so-called, on the north side of Public Square, which stood where the lower end of the present “Iron block,” just above the Woodruff House, is located. Mr. Goodale received a liberal education; he prepared for college at Watertown and Fishkill Landing; he entered Union College, Schenectady, in 1835, in the Sophomore year, and was graduated in 1838. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and has ever retained an interest in it. He taught school for a year and a half from May 1, 1838, and then entered the office of Sterling & Bronson, Watertown, as a law student. In October, 1840, he was admitted to the bar at Albany, and commenced the practice of his profession at once in Carthage. September 1, 1841, he married Isabella, daughter of Patrick Somerville Stewart. March, 1842, Mr. Goodale removed to Watertown, and formed a partnership with Micah Sterling as “Sterling & Goodale.” This continued until the death of Mr. Sterling in April, 1844. From that time until 1847 Mr. Goodale practiced alone, when, with Joseph Mullin as partner, he conducted legal business until 1852. July 4, 1853, Mr. Goodale established himself as a lumber dealer in New York city, and in 1856 opened a law office at the corner of Fulton street and Broadway. He was in constant practice of his profession here for eight years, when, September 20, 1864, he returned to Carthage, where he has since resided and devoted himself to real estate business, having been an agent of the Le Ray de Chaumont estate, which has been sold and settled under Mr. Goodale’s careful and judicious administration. He has also acted as counselor, drafted papers, and as executor and administrator settled many estates involving a large amount of property. Since the organization of the Carthage Savings Bank he has been its president and a director.
Mr. Goodale is one of Nature’s noblemen; he has a great heart, and his whole life has been devoted to acts of benevolence. Happy himself, he believes in making others happy as far as he is able. His religion consists in doing good according to his means. Of him it may be truly said, the world is better for his living. He teaches by precept and example, and the two go hand in hand. The most tolerant of men, he has his own opinions, and they are rigidly adhered to until he is satisfied that they are erroneous. In his business operations he is method itself, and so has a logical mind. His impulses are all of a noble character, and being animated by lofty principles he has become the best type of a man as naturally as water finds its level.
The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Tully, Onondaga County, N. Y., April 6, 1831. His early life was spent on a farm with his parents, Francis V. and Phebe White. In the summers he assisted his father on the farm, and winters attended the public school; at all times when not employed he would be poring over his books. At the age of 20 he was converted under the labors of Rev. Charles Blakesley, and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church. He soon engaged in teaching the district school near his home, and in which he had acquired his own education. He always opened school with a short scripture lesson and prayer. His trustee sent him word that he must discontinue this practice. He replied, “I can leave the school if you wish, but cannot continue it without prayer.” The trustee said to neighbors, “To-morrow I will go there, and unless he will stop praying I’ll pitch him out of doors.” The next day he started for school to put his threat into execution, met with an accident, and was taken home a corpse. Before the school term closed, in addition to unprecedented advancement of the pupils in book lore, nearly every member of the school had made a public profession of religion. In the spring of 1852 he went to Falley Seminary, Fulton, N. Y. He paid his expenses by teaching winters and working vacations, and graduated from that institution June 28, 1855, with the honor of valedictorian of his class. During his school life he “boarded himself” with a “chum” of like spirit, who relates that at times for days together their fare would consist of potatoes and salt; rising at 5 A. M., and working till 10 at night. At the beginning of the fall term, 1853, one of the professors was taken sick, and soon after died. Mr. White took one-half of his classes for nearly the rest of the year, in addition to his own studies. About the middle of the spring term following he was compelled to leave school on account of failing health.
May 7, 1856, he was married to Sarah H. Van Allen, of Pillar Point, N. Y. who graduated from the same school at the same time he did. In June of the same year he was received into the Black River (now Northern New York) Conference. When the war broke out he had just entered upon his second year at Ilion, N. Y. The defeats and disasters of the few terrible months which followed moved his patriotic soul, insomuch that he enlisted as a private October 9, 1861. He took out recruiting papers, and went to raising a company under Col. O. B. Pierce, with headquarters at Rome, N. Y. In December, 1861, they were ordered to Albany, where they were consolidated with Oswego recruits, and constituted the 81st N. Y. V. Inf., and Mr. White was commissioned captain of Co. I. In February they were ordered to Washington, and soon after to the field, and under Gen. McClellan engaged in the Peninsula campaign of 1862, in the battles of Williamsburg. White Oak Swamp, Gaines Mills, Fair Oaks, White House, and Malvern Hill. For valiant services he was promoted to major in October, 1862. Soon after he went South with his regiment, and was engaged in bombardment of Charleston, S. C. In May, 1863, the regiment was sent to guard Beaufort Harbor, N. C., and was quartered at Fort Macon, Morehead, and Beaufort. Here they remained till October. Meanwhile he frequently led the effective men of his regiment in scouting expeditions in Eastern North Carolina. In October, 1863, they were ordered to Newport News, and afterwards to Bermuda Hundred, under Gen. Butler. They were engaged in the spring and summer campaigns of 1864 before Petersburg, Cold Harbor, Weldon Road, Drury’s Bluff, Chapin’s Farm, and the second battle at Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines. This regiment went into battle at Cold Harbor with nine captains, and came out with two. Five were killed, and two so severely wounded they never returned to service. At the next battle in which they were engaged the remaining two were killed. August 10, 1864, he was detailed to the command of the 5th Maryland Regt., better known in those days as the Baltimore “Plug Uglies,” on account of the insubordination of the soldiers and the discord among the officers, which rendered the regiment almost unserviceable. On assuming command his first words gained the respect of the men, and inspired them with confidence. Military discipline was enforced without difficulty. Self-respect was aroused, and soon the 5th Maryland was pronounced one of the best disciplined regiments in the service. The colonel of the regiment, who had been detailed to brigade duty, wrote Major White a long and most complimentary letter of thanks, saying, “You have done yourself and the service great credit.” Soon after the colonel, rather than return to his regiment, tendered his resignation, whereupon the officers petitioned Gov. Bradford to promote Major White to fill the vacancy. From this petition, we extract the following: “In the darkest days of the regiment, when discord reigned supreme, among officers high in rank, when discipline seemed almost at an end, and destruction threatened the regiment, Major White was placed in command. Under his sway order, confidence, and discipline were restored, the discordant material eliminated, and the reputation of the regiment redeemed.” This was signed by every commissioned officer with the regiment. Gov. Bradford could not promote the Major, as he was a citizen and soldier from another state.
February 17, 1865, Gov. Fenton, of New York, commissioned him lieutenant-colonel 81st N. Y. V. V., and July 12th of the same year commissioned him colonel of the same regiment. On this latter he was not mustered, as hostilities had ceased, and no more musters were made. The regiment was mustered out of the U. S. service, August 31, 1865, and out of state service September 20, Lieut.-Col. White being the only commissioned officer in the regiment who held a commission when first ordered to the front. In his four years’ service he was never wounded, never so sick as to spend a day in hospital, never a prisoner, was never detailed to staff office, and was in every battle and skirmish in which his regiment was engaged. even when he led the 5th Maryland they fought in the same division in which his own regiment was engaged. But that no soldier ever excelled him in promptness or unflinching bravery is fully attested, even his enemies and rivals themselves being judges.
For meritorious services President Johnson, the U. S. Senate concurring, conferred on him the title of brevet colonel and brevet brigadier-general, July 23, 1867. Immediately after being mustered out of service he returned to Hampton, Va., and in partnership with Hon. George Chahoon (sic) established a paper called True Southerner, which was outspoken in the principles for which he fought, and was one of the first in the nation to advocate suffrage for the freedmen. The first issue appeared early in November, 1865, prospered for awhile, but in time it failed, the last issue being in June, 1866. Just at this time the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society sent agents South to organize churches. When they met Mr. White, and learned that he had been a minister in the same church, they impressed him into their service, and when the Virginia and North Carolina Conference was organized he became a charter member, and was made presiding elder of Richmond district, embracing all Eastern Virginia from Richmond to Washington. Such was the prejudice against everything Northern, and especially against the Methodist Episcopal Church, that it was with great difficulty he could secure a place for religious service. This, together with the political influence acquired by his connection with the paper, being constantly urged to make political speeches, of necessity drew him into politics. He was elected delegate to the constitutional convention which assembled in Richmond the first week in January, 1868. The conference of which he was a member held its second session also at the same time, in the same city. After consultation with the bishop and presiding elders it was unanimously thought he could better serve the church and the cause of reconstruction by remaining in the convention. A location was granted him with most flattering resolutions of esteem and regret, and cordially inviting him to return to his connection with them whenever he thought best to do so. His record in the convention gratifying, being an acknowledged leader on the side of the Union. He was temporary chairman when the convention was organized, and was often called to the chair in the absence of the speaker. The convention continued in session till May, 1868. In August he was appointed assistant sub assistant commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau, with headquarters in Eastville and Johnston, on the eastern shore of Virginia, which appointment he retained till it was revoked in consequence of the discontinuance of the bureau, December 31, 1868. The following extract from a letter from Gen. S. C. Armstrong, his superior in office, who was then and still is at the head of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, speaks for itself: --
: -- At the close of your labors in the bureau I take great pleasure in assuring you that you have done the best school work of any officer ever on duty in my district. You have in a few months done a great work, and are entitled to a credit beyond my power to fully render. * * *
My Dear General
“S. C. ARMSTRONG, Sub-Assistant Commissioner.”
In May, 1869, he was appointed by G. S. Boutwell, Secretary of Treasury, assistant assessor of internal revenue in the Fourth District of Virginia, and resigned October 27 to accept the office of assessor of the same district, to which he was appointed and commissioned by President Grant, and confirmed by the United States Senate, which place he held till March 4, 1871. Meanwhile, Congress having accepted the constitution as framed by the convent, submitted it to a vote of the people of Virginia, and ordered the election of state officers provided for by said constitution and the members of Congress. The election was held July 6, 1869. Gen. White was elected member of the House of delegates, the lower House of the legislature, to represent the Third District of Virginia, embracing Warwick and Elizabeth City counties, in which district he head his home, and where his family resided. The legislature convened October 5, 1869, seated delegates, adopted rules for the government of the House and General Assembly, ratified the various amendments to the constitution of the United States, elected United Senators, submitted their acts to Congress, and adjourned October 20, to await Congress’s approval of the action of the people of Virginia; convened February 8, 1870, adjourned July 11, reassembled October 1, and adjourned sine die November 10, 1870.
April 27, 1870, a few minutes before 11 A. M., the bell was tolling the hour for assembling the legislature, and the Supreme Court of Appeals had just gathered in the court room above the House of delegates, to hear the decision of the judge in a case involving great interests. An immense concourse of people of all stations in life, and of all shades of politics, had assembled. The clerk had entered, judges were in their seats, the counsel ready for business, and the reporters of the four city papers were in their chairs, when a sudden crash brought the gallery over into the court room, which gave way, and the whole went crashing down into the room of the House of delegates, carrying it along in the general ruin. Fifty-eight bodies were taken out dead, and 172 injured, several of whom soon died. Just before the crash Gen. White had been writing at his desk in the House of delegates. Interested in the decision about to be given he put away his writing and went out to the rotunda to go to the court room. He stopped and deliberated a moment should he go up stairs or back to his desk, or go to see a friend on business. He decided upon the latter, and scarcely was he seated in his friend’s parlor when the alarm was given. All though the building was on fire. He calmly arose and said he would go and save the papers in his desk. Reaching the capitol he saw the trouble, sprang through a window, the door being blockaded; he took off his coat into which he put his watch, and put both were he could find them when wanted. He then went to work, deliberately giving directions as to the rescuing of the injured and the dead. He was joined by the rebel general Imboden, and, as by common consent, these two worked together and directed others, who seemed to abide the judgment and do the bidding of these, who never ceased their labors for a moment till the last man living or dead was brought out from the debris. Each of the four Richmond papers paid him very high compliments for his bravery and efficiency, where till now they had only bitter denunciations for his pronounced Union sentiments.
His record in the legislature was all that his friends could desire; never wavering from his principles, yet magnanimous toward his political foes, and only those who were in those Southern states, just after the war, can fully comprehend the meaning of the term “political foes.” Often his life had been threatened and ambush had been laid for him. Once some men in a barroom were discussing him, when one said, “Why don’t somebody kill him?” One fellow, with maudling speech, answered: “Cause there don’t anybody get drunk enough to be such fools as to undertake it.” Col. Mallory, whose call on Gen. Butler for the return of his slaves drew from the General that immortal epithet “contraband,” went with others, after the legislature adjourned, to Gen. White, and told him if he would run for the next legislature from that district they would not bring forward any other candidate. His health was now very much broken, and he was not able to consider the proposition. March 4, 1871, he resigned his position as assessor of internal revenue, and returned home for a season of rest. He was soon after appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury inspector of customs for the port of Hampton, which place he held till the office was abolished, pulpits in Richmond, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Chesapeeke (sic), near Fort Monroe, with which latter place he held his church membership. There they entreated him, not willing to be denied, that he should become their pastor. His health was now so poor that his only hope of recovery was in returning to his native state.
February, 1873, he was readmitted to the Virginia conference and urgently entreated to take work with them, but the state of his health warned him that he must leave that climate. He was transferred in April to Northern New York Conference by Bishop Harris, and appointed to Madrid. He subsequently served Louisville, Canton, Ogdensburg, and came to Carthage, this county, in April, 1883. Here disease lad him low. He was recovering from a severe illness when the great fire of October 20, 1884, broke out. He, by persistent effort, directing, encouraging, and betimes commanding, when to others the effort seemed vain, succeeded in saving the Methodist Church and parsonage from the flames, these being the only things left standing at the close of that dreadful day in the midst of 70 acres of desolution and ruin. The effort and excitement brought on complete prostration. After a day or two he rallied by his will, sent for his own official board and the pastors of the other churches whose edifices had gone down in the general ruin, and made arrangements to have the pastors occupy in turn the M. E. Church. His own labors were now ended, but not his sufferings, which often were indescribable. In February, 1885, he went to St. Luke’s Hospital, Utica, for treatment, without avail. He was brought home June 18, helpless but suffering most excruciatingly, requiring three or four persons to move him in bed. He subsequently became less sensitive to pain, but lingered a perfect physical wreck till July 21, 1886, when death came to his relief. His mind was clear as ever in health till the unconsciousness of death settled upon him. A large concourse of sympathizing friends accompanied his remains to Fairview Cemetery, and did all that humanity could do to lift the shadows from his bereaved family.
This sketch would be incomplete without a mention of the orders to which he belonged. He became a Mason in September, 1861; joined the G. A. R. with the Theodore Winthrop Post, No. 5, Department of Virginia, February 21, 1870; became an Odd Fellow during the pastorate in Ogdensburg; and was transferred from Winthrop Post, G. A. R., to E. B. Steele Post, Carthage. During all his afflictions these orders were more than brothers; not only supplying nurses and watchers for the terrible 13 months, but for a part of the time the entire necessities of life till December, 1885, when tardy justice, yet always sure, from the government relieved financial wants.
Cornelius Van Allen, son of Cornelius and Catharine (Martin) Van Allen, was born in Herkimer County in 1803. In his boyhood, with his mother and step-father, Adam See, he removed to Pillar Point, in the town of Brownville. He was educated in the common schools and early entered actively into the duties of business life. He was often employed by neighbors to draw legal papers, and in the settlement of estates. He bought several farms and cleared them up. He married Lora Ackerman, daughter of Robert and Roxalana (sic) (Child) Ackerman, of Pillar Point, in July, 1829. While having no ambition for office, he served his town in an acceptable manner on several occasions. His chief pride was in advancing education at Falley Seminary, an example that in a measure was followed by several of his neighbors. He assisted several young men in gaining an education by advancing the funds necessary. He bore one-third of the expenses of building the first Methodist Episcopal Church on Pillar Point, and through life was a liberal contributor towards the support of the gospel. He died December 13, 1866. His daughter Sarah H., born in May, 1834, became the wife of Rev. Gen. D. G. White.
Note: The family sketches followed. Those are presented on Nan Dixon's NYGenWeb site for Jefferson County, N. Y.
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids