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Full text of "The military and civil history of the county of Essex, New York : and a general survey of its physical geography, its mines and minerals, and industrial pursuits, embracing an account of the northern wilderness : and also the military annals of the fortresses of Crown Point and Ticonderoga"

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1515259 



GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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THE 



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COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK ; 



GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES 
AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, 



EOTSRACrNG 



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AND ALSO THE 



MILITARY ANNAES OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN 
POINT AND TICONDEROGA. 



WINSLOW C. WATSON. 



. ALBANY, N. Y. : 
J. MUNSELL, STATE STREET. 
1869. 



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1869, 

By Winslow C. Watson, 

In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, 
for the Northern District of New York. 



1515259 



HONORABLE AUGUSTUS C. HAND. 



ON A FORMER OCCASION WHEN I 



.Inscribe 



TOUR NAME UPON A WORK, I WAS INFLUENCED 
BY 

CONSIDERATIONS OF RESPECT AND FRIENDSHIP. 

IN ASKING 
YOUR SANCTION TO THIS VOLUME, 

I COMBINE WITH THESE SENTIMENTS A DESIRE TO EXPRESS MT 

GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

FOB THE COUNTENANCE AND AID BY WHICH MY LABORS HATE BEEN SO 
EMINENTLY RELIEVED, 



FOR SUGGESTIONS TO WHICH SEVERAL IMPORTANT FEATURES 
OF THE WORK 



ESSENTIALLY OWE THEIR EXISTENCE. 



The Author. 



PREFACE. 



In the year 1852, I received from the State Agri- 
cultural Society of New York, an appointment that 
required a complete and careful exploration of the 
county of Essex. In the discharge of that mission I 
visited nearly every school district in the county; 
made myself familiar with its natural history, its phy- 
sical geography, and industrial pursuits, and collected 
the materials and traditions which form or illustrate 
its history. The result of these researches was pub- 
lished in the volume of the Transactions of 1852, as 
" The report on the survey of Essex county." That 
work suggested the present. The predominance, which 
the circumstances then required, of the agricultural as- 
pect in the report, has been wholly abandoned in the 
following pages, while the historical sketch has been 
expanded into an elaborate and connected history of 
the region. In discussing a subject so affluent and 
interesting I have found it necessary to prescribe to 
myself a specific plan. I have attempted to present a 
minute and continuous account of events directly con- 
nected with the fortresses of Lake Champlain and of 
military operations more remote, of which they were 
the base ; but in referring to movements, in which they 
were only for the time or incidentally the scene, my 
pen has been arrested, when the current of events 
has passed beyond the locality. 

The publication of the documents collected in 
Europe by Mr. Brodhead, under the munificent aus- 



vi PKEFACE. 

pices of the state, has opened fresh and delightful 
fields to the researches of the student of our colonial 
history. These rich mines of historic wealth would 
have remained almost inaccessible to the ordinary ex- 
plorer, had not the amazing labor and persevering 
industry of Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan furnished the key 
that unlocks these hidden treasures, by his exact and 
perfect index to the massive folios. This invaluable 
work I have freely used. 

I have experienced great and unexpected embarrass- 
ments in procuring materials for the account of the 
services by the troops of Essex county. Stimulated 
by the conviction, that the progress of a few years 
must obliterate much of the evidences of their heroic 
devotion, their toils and triumphs, I have labored with 
the utmost assiduity and zeal to collect memorials that 
might form at least a humble initiation of a movement 
commemorative of their patriotic services. In attempt- 
ing to place an occasional wreath upon the graves of 
the gallant dead and to add a few leaves to the chap- 
lets of the living, I have indulged in a labor of love. 
That some companies and regiments have been more 
fully noticed than others, should not be ascribed to 
any unjust or partial preference, but be imputed to the 
simple fact, that Essex was more largely represented 
in the former organization, or that my efforts to obtain 
information have been more successful in some cases 
than in others. I am conscious that the results of my 
labors are inadequate, and will prove, I fear, unsatisfac- 
tory to the gallant men, whose deeds and sufferings I 
have endeavored to describe. I have opened a path, 
which I trust will be pursued by more successful 
explorers. 



PREFACE. v ii 

In presenting, as far as my limited scope permits, a 
sketch of the physical geography and natural history 
of the county, I have not only noticed its native pro- 
ductions and animated nature, but have attempted to 
describe the remarkable topographical features and 
imposing scenery, that renders Essex one of the most 
attractive and interesting sections of the state. 

To a notice of the ore beds and mineral wealth of 
the county, I have devoted a large portion of my 
volume. Many of the most important of these mines 
I have personally visited and explored. 

I trust, that every reader will give to this portion 
of the work a careful consideration. The revelation 
to their minds of a mineral wealth, so vast but still 
in the infancy of its development, will excite astonish- 
ment and warrant a worthy exultation. The account 
of the industrial resources of the district will be read, I 
think, with interest and surprise. 

I have reproduced in this volume extensively from 
my former works. Copious extracts from the latter 
have been recently appropriated by several authors 
without any acknowledgment. I advert to this fact 
that I may be screened from the possible imputation 
hereafter, of having pirated myself upon such authors. 

I have cited with care, as they occur, the numerous 
authorities I have used in the progress of the work. I 
mention, in the same connection with grateful ac- 
knowledgments, individuals to whom I am indebted for 
many acts of courtesy and laborious services in sup- 
plying me with valuable original matter which I have 
largely incorporated in my work. 

W. C. W. 

Port Kent, June, 1869. 



ERRATA. 

Page 17, fourteenth line from top, ■plumage printed for plumes. 
Page 50, seventh line from bottom, Honiton printed for Horicon. 
Page 85, seventh line from top, hundred printed for thousand. 



HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 



PART I. 
MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 



CHAPTER I. 

The Discovery. 

The territory, now distinguished by the general designa- 
tion of the valley of Lake Champlain was, for nearly a 
century, a debatable ground between the powers of France 
and England. Claimed by each under arbitrary charters 
or imaginary titles, overrun and subverted in turn by both, 
and permanently occupied by neither, it derived from the 
presence of their armies, little amelioration of its primitive 
savage aspect. 

Earlier than this period, the same region seems to have 
been the frontier between tribes, or confederacies of tribes 
of aborigines, who waged a perpetual warfare of ferocious 
extermination. These circumstances, it is probable, had 
consigned it to desolation, and prevented the occupation of 
the country by a race which would have been allured to 
it by the strong attractions to the savage mind, created by 
the profusion of its game and fish. The possessions of the 
Indians were apparently most extended and permanent on 
the eastern shores of the lake. Few vestiges of their 
existence have been discovered upon its western borders. 
They appear, however, to have congregated in numerous 



2 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

villages along the lakes and rivers of the interior. The 
bold and lofty mountains which envelop that region, 
formed to them a bulwark against the assaults of their 
foes, while the forests and the streams yielded an abundant 
supply of their humble wants. 

At an epoch nearly contemporaneous with the discovery 
of Canada by the French, the Roman energies and the 
extraordinary military prowess of the Mohawks appear to 
have borne their arms and established their dominion 
almost to the southern shores of the St. Lawrence. A 
tradition prevailed in this tribe, that the confederacy in 
which they always maintained a military supremacy, 
occupied at one period, the sites of both Montreal and 
Quebec. Subjugated nations acknowledged their domina- 
tion from the Connecticut to the wildernesses of the Ohio, 
and the tribes bordering on the Gulf of Mexico trembled 
before the terrors of their arms. 1 

In the extraordinary native eloquence which is imputed to 
the aborigines, the Iroquois were preeminently conspicuous. 
They possessed an advanced intelligence, which conceived 
and formed wise and successful social institutions. Their 
progress in the simple arts that belonged to savage life 
was as distinguished as their martial science or political 
supremacy. This people asserted a sovereignty over 
northern New York, and to their persistent valor we are 
indebted for the boundary that now separates, in a long 
line, the domain of the state from \he British provinces. 2 

The long and narrow tract of water, known to us as 
Lake Champlain, was doubtless the war path of the Huron 
and Iroquois, in their mutual hostile and sanguinary in- 
cursions. The mind may readily portray fleets of the 
Indian war canoes, caparisoned in the gorgeous trappings 
of barbaric pomp, bounding over the dark and still waters 



1 The French " taking advantage of the Indians being abroad as far as 
Cape Florida, at war, came down and burnt a castle of the Maquaes," etc. — 
Governor Dongan's Report, 1687. 

2 Bancroft. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 3 

of the lake, while the paddles kept tune to the cadence of 
their war songs; or gliding stealthily along the silent 
shores, upon their mission of rapine and blood. The In- 
dian in reference doubtless to the fact that it afforded an 
avenue and facility to their reciprocal attacks, gave to the 
lake the impressive and appropriate name of Caniadere 
guarcmte, i. e. The lake that is the gate of the country. 1 An 
ally of the Hurons, Champlain, accompanied them in one 
of these incursions, and revealed to the civilized world the 
beautiful lake which has immortalized his own name. 

France entered with ardor and enthusiasm into the 
great struggle of the age, the field of exploration upon 
the new continent. The zeal and enterprise of the fisher- 
men of Normandy has already discovered and penetrated 
the gulf of St. Lawrence. Cartier, a French adventurer, 
entered in 1534, the mighty river of that name. The 
succeeding year, he guided to his new discovery, under 
the auspices of the royal government, a fleet, freighted 
with many of the young nobility of France, and blessed 
by the prayers and sanctions of the church. They de- 
parted in high hopes and with brilliant auguries to colonize 
this new France. Ascending the majestic stream, which 
was called Hochelaga, by the natives, but named from 
its mighty estuary, by Cartier, the St. Lawrence, they 
moored at what is now known as the Isle of Orleans. 
Cartier, from this point penetrated to the Indian town of 
Hochelaga, and to this he gave the name of Mont-Royal, 
the beautiful and opulent Montreal of modern times. In 
his progress up the St. Lawrence, he was greeted by the 
simple-minded and confiding natives with all the demon- 
strations of joy and festivity known to savage homage. 
Hochelaga was the chief town of a populous nation which 
occupied both banks of the river, and extended their pos- 
sessions far below Quebec. From their dialect and insti- 



1 Documentary History. Petaonbough, signifying a double pond or lake 
branching out into two, is another aboriginal appellation, probably referring 
to its connection with Lake George. — H. W. Livingston, Esq. 



4 HISTOKY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

tutions it has been inferred, that they were a branch of 
the Iroquois. The arrival of Cartier was celebrated by a 
multitude of the people, who poured forth from the pali- 
sades of their capital to meet him on the shore of the 
island, bearing the offerings of their joyousness and hospi- 
tality. Large openings in the forest had been formed by 
their rude toils, and here luxuriant crops of maize attested 
their industry and the fertility of the earth. 

At Hochelaga, Cartier listened to the Indians' vague and 
shadowy tales of an unexplored region of lakes, of moun- 
tains and delightful plains. He ascended an eminence 
that arose from the centre of the island and from its sum- 
mit, the first of civilized men, gazed upon the majestic 
and beautiful scenery that enraptured his vision. The 
broad stream, the islands that gemmed it, the cultivated 
fields of the Indians were before him, and far to the south 
beyond the glittering river, and the sea of forests that 
spread on every side, his eye rested on the mountains of 
Vermont and New York. The ensuing winter was passed 
by the adventurers at the Isle of Orleans amid intense 
sufferings from the rigors of the climate and the presence 
of disease. 

Having taken possession of the country, with all the 
prescribed pomp and formulas of chivalry and religion, 
the colonization was abandoned and the expedition re- 
turned early in the season, to the mother country. On 
the previous voyage, Cartier had kidnapped and carried 
to France, two Indian youths, who now served him as 
guides in the exploration of the unknown Hochelaga. 
Emulating the infamy of the Spanish conquerors, when 
returning from his last voyage, he inveigled into his vessel 
Donnegana, the chieftain, who had proved a generous host 
and firm friend, and bore him with several of his nobles, 
into a hopeless captivity, in a strange land, and to death. 
This exploration ended thus inauspiciously, and the climate 
and country presenting to the children of sunny France, 
so few allurements, all schemes of further colonization 
seem to have slumbered, for several years. The Lord of 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 5 

Roberval received in 1540 a commission from the French 
king, conferring on him an immense and almost illimita- 
ble territory, and which dignified him with the plenary 
powers of vice-royalty. 

This parchment title and these titular functions over- 
shadowed a vast region, and extended in every direction 
along the gulf and river St. Lawrence, comprehending in 
its wide domain the present limits of New England and 
Northern New York. The efforts, emanating from this 
authority, appear to have terminated without accomplish- 
ing any progress either in colonization or discovery. 

During the half century succeeding the failure of 
Roberval, the subject of New France was unheeded amid 
the convulsions and conflicts of the religious wars by 
which the kingdom in that period was torn and agitated. 
In 1598, another abortive attempt, under governmental 
patronage, was made by De La Roche, to colonize the 
region of the St. Lawrence, by disgorging upon its shores 
the convicts from the dungeons and jails of France. 

Private enterprise, unfolding the only just and secure 
"basis of colonization of that region, by associating it with 
the fur trade, initiated the first successful effort. In 1600, 
Chauvin had obtained a comprehensive patent, which 
formed a monopoly of that trade. Repeated and prosper- 
ous voyages had been made, and settlements were about 
being formed, when the death of Chauvin dissolved the 
organization. 

The year 1603 was signalized by the enterprise of 
Aymer De Chastes and a body of merchants of Rouen, who 
animated by this success organized a new company with 
similar purposes, which was rendered memorable by the 
introduction into the field of his future labors and glory, 
the founder of the new empire, and the leader who was 
preeminently great in the long series of brilliant men, 
that guided and moulded the destinities of new France. 
Samuel De Champlain was one of those rare and excep- 
tional men who seem to stamp an impress of their own 
characters upon the age they illustrate and adorn. Cham- 



6 HISTOEY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

plain was a native of France, and of noble lineage. 
Peculiarly imbued with the impulsive and impetuous 
spirit of his country, animated by a bold and reckless 
courage, rejoicing in dangers and toils, his intuitive 
sagacity enabled him to surmount those obstacles that his 
intelligence and prescience could not anticipate and avoid. 
Enthusiastic, persevering and indefatigable in his purposes, 
he devoted all the powers of his active mind and the 
energies of his nature to the achievement of the great 
object of his life, the exploration of the wildernesses of the 
new world, and the creation in their recesses of a new 
empire to his counfry. De Soto discovered the Missis- 
sippi, but while he found an appropriate mausoleum 
beneath its dark waters, left no memorial of his name. 
Champlain, more fortunate, made his discovery a mo- 
nument, which has perpetuated alike his services and his 
memory. 

A rapid glance at the history of a man so remarkable 
for his intellectual and moral greatness, for his chivalrous 
exploits and the vastness of his services, and whose name 
is imperishably associated with the lake, that is alike the 
ornament and the commercial power of the district, the 
annals of which we propose to discuss, is appropriate, and 
should possess deep interest. His own abundant writings, 
with the memorials of his cotemporaries and associates, 
have rendered posterity familiar with events which impart 
an enduring and brilliant lustre to his name. Champlain 
was born at Brouage, a seaport situated on the Bay of 
Biscay. Addicted to an intercourse with the sea by the 
associations of his boyhood, near the most tempestuous 
waters of western Europe, he gratified his instincts by a 
connection at an early age with the royal marine of his 
native country. Although a catholic by birth and senti- 
ment, he followed in the civil wars of France, the " ban- 
ner of Navarre." When that cause had triumphed, he 
received a pension from the gratitude of his liberal but 
impoverished leader. Too active and ardent to indulge 
in the relaxations of peace, he conceived the design of a 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 7 

personal exploration of the colonial possessions of Spain, 
and to thus obtain a knowledge of their condition and 
resources, which was studiously veiled from the world by 
the jealous policy of that government. His scheme was 
sanctioned by the wise and sagacious head of the French 
administration. Through the influence of a relative in 
that service, Champlain secured the command of a ship 
in the Spanish West India fleet. This singular position, 
not perhaps in perfect accordance with modern concep- 
tions of professional honor, was occupied two years, and 
when he returned to France his mind was stored with the 
most valuable information, and his journal, laded with 
the results of keen observation of the regions he had 
visited, was strangely illustrated by his uncultivated pen- 
cil. Champlain was unusually impressible by the spirit of 
the times, which delighted in the marvelous, and his work 
is singularly disfigured by representations of strange 
beasts, and accounts of miraculous events, and yet it is 
marked by his great ability, and by his eminently clear 
and comprehensive perceptions. He landed at Vera Cruz, 
penetrated to the city of Mexico, and visited Panama. 
His journal reveals the bold conception of a ship canal 
across the isthmus, by which, he says, " the voyage to the 
South sea might be shortened by more than fifteen hun- 
dred leagues." In this grasp of his investigating mind, 
Champlain anticipated by more than two centuries, the 
slowly moving projects of the present age. 

Returning to the court of Henry, Champlain met De 
Chartes, who had been a comrade in battling against the 
league, and who, although crowned by years and honors, 
had just obtained from the government a patent empower- 
ing him to bear the cross, and to extend the power of 
France into the unexplored wilds of the new continent. 
Champlain, from his professional ability and great expe- 
rience would be an invaluable associate, and invited by 
De Chartes, he promptly and zealously embarked in an 
enterprise, so peculiarly in conformity with his spirit, and 
which was destined to attach to his name an immortality. 



8 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The intrepid adventurers, embarking in two small shallops 
of twelve and fifteen tons burden, plunged into the North- 
ern sea. Their voyage was prosperous, and after a sur- 
prizingly short passage, they entered the St. Lawrence 
and at once advanced to Hochelaga. There all was 
changed. The palisaded city that Cartier sixty-eight 
years before had visited, was gone, and in place of the 
dense population he described, Champlain only met a few 
wandering savages of another race and language. These 
Indians aroused the deepest interest in his investigating 
mind, as they delineated in a coarse diagram upon the 
vessel's deck, the regions along which the immense river 
flowed, and lakes from whence they traced its source. A 
new creation was unfolded to the vision of the explorer, 
and his fancy doubtless reveled in glowing anticipations 
of future discoveries and conquests, alike of the cross and 
the lilies of France. When Champlain returned to 
France, De Chastes, his protector, and the earnest patron 
of his enterprise, was dead ; but the Sieur De Monts, a 
protestant gentleman of character and high position, was 
already maintaining his privileges, and preparing to pur- 
sue his colonial schemes. Under the broad shield of 
government patronage, De Monts had obtained an ample 
patent, conferring plenary commercial rights, with vice- 
regal powers, over a vast territory stretching its nominal 
dominion from near Philadelphia on the south, to the 
forty-sixth degree parallel on the north, with an indefinite 
expansion, both east and west. Here within its ample 
border, there was to prevail perfect freedom in religious 
immunities. The colony which De Monts undertook to 
guide to New France, was singularly jarring and incoherent 
in its elements. The gentleman and noble associated with 
the sweepings of the prisons and convict ships of France, 
while the disciple of Rome mingled with the followers of 
Calvin. Such incongruities disclosed strange scenes. 1 



Champlain quaintly remarks in his journal : " I have seen our cure and 
the minister fall to with their fists on questions of faith. I cannot say 



MILITAET AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 9 

De Monts, iii the assertion of his assumed sovereignty over 
this immense territory, made an effort to colonize Acadia, 
and occupied under this parchment title, a portion of 
Maine. Port Royal was founded by a companion of De 
Monts, and was the first European settlement permanently 
established north of St. Augustine. Champlain was asso- 
ciated with his accustomed prominence and efficiency, in 
all these enterprises, from 1604 to 1607. In that period 
he explored the shores of New England south to Cape 
Cod, which, from the white sand, he named Cape Blanc. 1 
With an eye of science and observation, each of the har- 
bors, streams, and estuaries of the coast was examined. 
He projected from this survey an accurate map and 
chart, " remaining," as he remarks, a second winter, " in 
order, with the help of God, to finish the chart of the 
coast which I had begun." This chart was subsequently 
published with his works, and is remarkable among the 
innumerable trophies of skill and industry exhibited by the 
French in their explorations upon the western continent. 

At length, amid the changes and vicissitudes which 
marked the age, the prerogatives of De Monts were abro- 
gated with the same readiness and ease with which they 
had been created. Champlain and Pourtraincourt, upon 
whom De Monts, in his decaying fortunes, had conferred 
what remained of his franchises, and acting under them, 
in 1606, made another voyage to New France in search 
of further discoveries* and with the design of forming a 
colony, based upon the novel idea of an agricultural settle- 
ment. They explored the New England coast still more 
widely, fought a battle with the natives, on the eastern 
shore of Cape Cod, wintered in unwonted comfort and 
luxuriance in their new settlement, and the next year 

which had the more pluck, or which hit the harder ; but I know the minister 
sometimes complained to the Sieur De Monts, that he had been beaten. I 
leave you to j udge if it was a pleasant sight : 

" And prove their doctrines orthodox, 
By apostolic blows and knocks." 
1 Thoreau. 



10 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

abandoning their project, returned to France. The te- 
dium of the route was beguiled in the excitable and gay- 
spirit of their country. They instituted the festive order 
of de bon temps, fraternized with their Indian neighbors, and 
rejoiced in general hilarity and abundance. 

In the year 1608, five years after his advent upon the 
waters of St. Lawrence, Champlain embarked in a more 
energetic and systematic effort to form a permanent 
colony upon its banks. He embarked in a small vessel 
freighted with the elements of an earnest colonization, and 
bearing the germ of a new empire, accompanied by his 
former associate, Portgrave, in another vessel, laden with 
materials adapted to their projected fur trade. Advancing 
up the St. Lawrence, and examining its shores with a saga- 
cious scrutiny, his judgment discerned, and his military 
science adopted a bold rocky promontory, at the confluence 
of the St. Charles with the St. Lawrence, as the site of the 
capital of that empire, which to his ardent and fertile im- 
agination, was disclosed in the visions of the future, great, 
glorious, and prosperous. At once, laborers and artizans 
were actively employed in removing the forests, and prepar- 
ing materials for the erection of dwellings and other struc- 
tures. Soon the simple edifices arose, that asserted the 
presence of civilized man, and established his perpetual do- 
mination upon the mighty stream, whose fountains welled 
up more than eighteen hundred miles in the remote soli- 
tudes of the western wilds, and whose volume rolled to the 
ocean the tribute of more than a million of square miles. 1 
Here Champlain erected fortifications formed of timber, for 
the safety of his infant settlement. A garden sprang up 
within its protecting walls, under the refined and graceful 
tastes of the cultivated pioneer. He was not exempt, how- 
ever, from the usual cares and trials that attend the birth of 
remote and secluded colonies. A contemplated treachery 
that compassed his own death, he avenged by a prompt 
and stern retribution. In the succeeding September, 

1 Guyot. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. ;Q 

Portgrave sailed for France, leaving Champlain to occupy 
Quebec with twenty-eight men, until his return in the 
spring with supplies and additional colonists. "What were 
the occupations of Champlain through the dark and 
gloomy weeks of autumn, and in the winter rigors of an 
almost arctic climate? "We can only surmise from our 
own conjectures, and the faint glimmerings of light his 
journal affords. He tells us, that he trapped foxes, and 
was amused in watching the futile efforts of the martins 
to seize the carcass of a dead dog he had suspended from 
a tree beyond their reach. But in fancy, we may discern 
him, with active zeal, employed in tracing and illustrating 
his journals, and wrapt in profound reveries, pondering on 
the hopes and projects of the future. The Indians gathered 
about his wooden ramparts ; now, with a present supply, 
yielding to their insatiate habits of gluttony ; and now, in 
the wasting pangs of famine. He doubtless heard their 
wild legends, and was amused and aroused by their stories 
of savage warfare with the Irocmois, their hereditary foes, 
whose far distant country, they described as a fair land, 
and delineated in their simple art, the lakes and streams 
which must be traversed to reach it. 

Before the dissolving ice and bursting vegetation miti- 
gated their sufferings and presaged the approach of spring, 
the scurvy, the fell scourge of every northern colony, had 
desolated the little band ; and when Pontgrave's vessel 
appeared, only eight pale and emaciated survivors re- 
mained to rejoice in the relief it afforded. A consultation 
between the leaders decided, that Pontgrave should re- 
main to guard the safety of Quebec, and that Champlain 
should pursue the project, which was the dream and pur- 
pose of every exploration of the age, and attempt the 
discovery of an avenue to the eastern world. This hope 
possibly inflamed the passions, which led him to accept the 
invitation of the Indians, to unite with them in a contem- 
plated war party, which was intended to penetrate deeply 
into the regions, upon which his mind had expatiated 
during the weeks and months of his gloomy seclusion. 



12 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

In May, 1609, he joined the camp of his savage allies, 
and while they looked in speechless wonder upon the 
strange apparition of a steel clad warrior, armed with 
weapons that discharged the lightning, he witnessed with 
scarcely less interest the war dances of the Indians, mov- 
ing by the wild tones of their music, chanting their war 
songs and brandishing their stone-pointed tomahawks. 
He engaged at their council tire, attended their war feast, 
and mingled in all their barbaric rites. These mystic 
ceremonies performed, they proceeded upon their advance 
into a hostile and to him an unknown country. Cham- 
plain embarked in a small boat with eleven European com- 
panions and proceeded to the mouth of the modern Sorel, 
where the party was augmented by large numbers of 
savages from the upper lakes ; but here dissension arose, 
and a great part of the Indian warriors returned to their 
homes. Champlain dismissed to Quebec all but two of 
his European followers. To these were added a force of 
sixty Indians, with a fleet of twenty-four canoes. . A com- 
mon or timid mind would have shrank from the appalling 
view of the future, abandoned by feeble allies, and left 
almost alone to the resources of his individual courage 
and unyielding energies, but he saw before him the beam- 
ings of glory and honor that awaited the revelation of a 
new region ; he contemplated the rich country, the lakes, 
the islands, the streams that had been portrayed to his 
imagination, and he fearlessly and joyously entered upon 
his dubious mission. Champlain, as he did in all his 
explorations, gave to the world a minute and graphic 
account of this expedition, and so exact is his accuracy 
that the traveler may still trace his route and the scenes 
he describes. These productions are not alone interest- 
ing, as they portray the incidents of a singularly wild and 
romantic career; but they are of infinite value, as they 
illustrate savage life and exhibit their primitive habits 
and tactics when on the war path. 

On the 2d of July, the party effected the transit of 
the Chambly rapids, und, having advanced some leagues up 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. J3 

n 
the river, prepared to encamp. A part of the savages, 

actively engaged in cutting down timber and peeling it 
to procure bark to cover their lodges, while others were 
felling large trees to form a temporary barricade. This, 
Champlain considered very formidable. The side of the 
encampment next to the river was not fortified, in order to 
facilitate retreat to the canoes, if necessary. The Indians 
dispatched three canoes in advance to reconnoitre, and, if 
nothing was discovered, to retire. Upon this exploration, 
they wholly dependedfor safety duringthe night." Against 
" this bad habit of theirs " Champlain expostulated, but with 
little effect upon a coufirmed custom. They represented to 
him, that in war they were accustomed to divide their forces 
into three parts : one of which hunted to supply provi- 
sions ; another always ready for battle marched in a compact 
body ; and the other formed the vanguard and advanced in 
front to scout, and to ascertain the trail of a foe or friends. 
This they readily determined by certain marks, which the 
chiefs of the different nations interchanged, and which upon 
reciprocal notices were occasionally altered. The hunters 
never advance before the main body, but pursue their 
duties in the rear and in a direction where they do not 
expect the presence of an enemy. In this manner they 
proceed until they approach the enemy's country, 
when they advance " stealthily by night, all in a body 
except the scouts, and retire by day into picket forts 
where they repose." They make no noise nor " build a 
fire, except to smoke, and eat dried meal which they steep 
in water." 

The second day, the party entered " the mouth of the 
lake," and saw " a number of beautiful islands filled with 
fine woods and prairies." " Game and wild animals, 
abounded on these islands. Passing onward, the lake in its 
widest expanse burst upon their view, in the beauty and 
grandeur of its verdant shores, and its emerald islands, em- 
braced in its lofty and rugged mountain ramparts. Cham- 
plain describes the larger islands, and the rivers that 
" discharged into the lake surrounded by fine trees similar 



14 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

to those we have in Franee, with a quantity of vines, 1 
" handsomer than I ever saw, and a great many chestnuts." 

Referring to the exuberance of the fish in the lake, 
Champlain related some wild tales of his savage allies. 
" Continuing their route" on the west side of the lake, 
he says, " and contemplating the country, I saw very high 
mountains on the east side covered with snow," and he ob- 
served " others to the south not less high but without snow." 
The Indians informed him " that here were beautiful 
valleys and fields, fertile in corn, with an infinitude of 
other fruits, and that this country was inhabited by the 
Iroquois." 2 

They said, that the country they designed to attack was 
thickly settled ; that to reach it they must pass by a water- 
fall, thence into another lake ; from the head of which there 
was a transit to a river, which flowed towards the coast. 
The course of their projected campaign is thus intelligently 
unfolded to us. "We discern a distinct description of their 
route, by the falls at Ticonderoga ; the passage of Lake 
George, and the Hudson with its intervening transit ; and 
the populous country of the Mohawks. Some village pro- 
bably upon the banks of the Hudson was the point of their 
destination, and to become the scene of their ravages. 

1 The wild grape vine ia yet a striking feature in the natural products of 
the Champlain valley, where it grows in great profusion, and often attains 
an immense magnitude, frequently embracing the loftiest trees in its treache- 
rous and serpentine folds, and towering far above them, while its branches 
spread in every direction along the forest. I conjecture, that Champlain 
must have confounded the chestnut with the butternut tree, which occurs 
in abundance and of vast size in those localities. In a careful survey in 
1852 of Essex county, I did not find a single chestnut tree growing in a native 
forest north of Ticonderoga. 

2 The presence of snow upon the mountains of Vermont, none of which ex- 
ceeds five thousand feet in height, in July is incredible, and Champlain was 
probably deceived by an optical illusion produced by clouds or mist. I am 
inclined, however, to conjecture that the words " west" and " east" have 
been transposed. From the east side of the lake he might have seen the 
bold and naked peak of Whiteface from which that mountain derives its 
present name. It is situated in the town of Wilmington, Essex county, and 
stands out isolated and prominent, with its white summit a conspicuous ob- 
ject, which for many miles may be observed from the lake. 






MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 15 

Whatever might have been their purpose, it was abruptly 
arrested by a hostile apparition, that suddenly crossed their 
path. Champlain with exquisite power vividly paints the 
scenes that followed : "At nightfall we embarked in our 
canoes, and as we advanced very softly and noiselessly, we 
encountered a war party of Iroquois, on the twenty-ninth 
of the month, about ten o'clock at night, at the point of a 
cape which juts into the lake on the west side. 1 They and 
we began to shout, seizing our arms. We withdrew to the 
water, and the Iroquois repaired on shore, arranged their 
canoes together and began to hew down trees with villain- 
ous axes, which they sometimes got in war, and others of 
stone, and fortified themselves very securely. Our party, 
likewise, kept their canoes one alongside of the other, 
tied to poles, so as not to run adrift, in order to fight alto- 
gether should need be. When in order, they sent two 
canoes to know if their enemies wished to fight, who 
answered that they desired nothing else, but that just then, 
there was not light to distinguish each other and that they 
would fight at sunrise. This was agreed to. Meanwhile 
on both sides the night was spent in dancing and singing, 
mingled with an infinitude of insults and other taunts ; such 
as how little courage they had, how powerless their arms, 
and this they should experience to their ruin. Ours, like- 
wise did not fail in repartee ; telling them they should wit- 
ness the effects of arms they had never before seen. After 
they hr.d sung, danced and parliamented enough, the day 
broke. My companions and I were always concealed but 
in separate canoes of the savage Montagners. 2 

1 1 compress this narrative as far as possible, and hope to preserve the 
spirit of the text. 

2 This name was applied to all the St. Lawrence Indians, and was derived 
from a range of mountains extending north-westerly from near Quebec. 
Dr. E. B. 0'Callagha?i's note on Champlain. The term Iroquois, equivalent 
to the Five Nations, is used in the translations of Champlain's works to 
avoid confusion, but was of course unknown at the period of these events. 
The Mohawks were known as Maquaes by the Dutch, and Agnies by the 
Canadian Indians. The Iroquois designated themselves Aquanu Schioni, 
the United People. 



16 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

" After being equipped with light armor, each took an 
arquebus and went ashore. I saw the enemy leave their 
barricade. They were about two hundred men, strong 
and robust, who were coming towards us with a gravity 
and assurance that greatly pleased me, led on by three 
chiefs. Ours were marching in similar order, who told me 
that those who bore the three lofty plumes were the chiefs, 
and that I must do all I could to kill them. I promised 
to do the best I could. The moment we landed, they 
began to run towards the enemy, who stood firm, and had 
not yet perceived my companion, who went into the bush 
with some savages. Ours commenced calling on me with 
a loud voice, opening way for and placing me at their head 
about twenty paces in advance, until I was about thirty 
paces from the enemy. The moment they saw me they 
halted, gazing at me and I at them. When I saw them 
preparing to shoot at us, I raised my arquebus and aiming 
directly at one of the three chiefs, two of them fell to 
the ground by this shot, and one of their companions 
received a wound of which he died afterwards. I had put 
four balls in my arquebus. Ours on witnessing a shot so 
favorable to them, set up such tremendous shouts, that 
thunder could not have been heard, and yet there was 
no lack of arrows on one side or the other. The Iroquois 
were greatly astonished at seeing two men killed so instant- 
aneously, notwithstanding they were provided with arrow 
proof armor woven of cotton thread and wood ; this fright- 
ened them very much. 1 

"Whilst I was reloading, one of my companions fired a 
shot, which so astonished them anew, seeing their 
chiefs slain, that they lost courage, took to flight, and 



^he allusion to this armor presents an interesting and suggestive in- 
quiry. We know of the product of no indigenous plant, which Champlain 
might have mistaken for cotton. He must have been familiar with that 
plant. The fact he mentions implies either the existence of a commer- 
cial intercourse between the natives of the north and south ; or perhaps 
the Mohawks may have secured the cotton as a trophy in some of their 
southern incursions. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 17 

abandoned the field and their fort, hiding in the depth 
of the forest, whither pursuing them I killed some others. 
Our savages also killed several of them, and took ten or 
twelve prisoners. The rest carried off the wounded. Fif- 
teen or sixteen of ours were wounded ; these were promptly 
cured." These events are portrayed in language, so simple, 
clear and descriptive that we behold it almost as if the eye 
rested on the spectacle. We seem to hear the cool and 
chivalric postponement of the battle ; the war songs and 
chants of triumph and defiance ; we witness the skill and 
cunning of the Hurons, in disguising the presence of their 
potent allies; we see the marshaling of the hostile bands; 
the lofty forms of the Iroquois chiefs, decorated with their 
waving plumage and distinguished by their armor; their 
astonishment without blanching at the sudden appearance 
of the Europeans; the intrepid Frenchman advancing in 
front of the Hurons ; the awe and consternation with which 
the Iroquois see the flash of the arquebus, hear the report and 
behold their chieftains slain as b}- the thunderbolt. The 
scene should demand the tribute of a more graceful art 
than the uncouth pencil of Champlain. "After having 
gained this victory they amused themselves plundering 
Indian corn and meal from the enemy, and also their 
arms, which they had thrown away the better to run. 
And having feasted, danced and sung we returned three 
hours afterwards with the prisoners." 

Such was the first meeting of the Christian white man 
and the pagan savage upon the soil of ISTew York, but its 
atrocities may be referred rather to the temper of the age 
than to any individual malignity of Champlain. This event 
enkindled a hatred towards the Frenchman in the heart of 
the Mohawks, that was unappeased by the streams of blood 
that for a century and a half flowed beneath the tomahawk 
and scalping knife. It is a singular coincidence, and may it 
not be regarded as significant of the presence and retribu- 
tion of an overruling providence, that the first aboriginal 
blood shed by the Christian invader, and shed ruthlessly and 
2 



18 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

in wantonness, was on the soil which iu another age, was 
destined to witness the sanguinary though fruitless conflicts 
of the mightiest powers of Christendom for the possession 
of the same territory; that both moistened with their 
choicest blood, and which neither was permitted perma- 
nently to enjoy? 

Champlain places the site of this battle " in forty-three 
degrees and some minutes." Great precision could not 
have been secured under the circumstances, in his astro- 
nomical observations. The place was evidently in the 
vicinity of Ticonderoga. 1 

Champlain looking forth from the field of battle, upon the 
placid water that laved the spot, and probably exulting in the 
pride of even such a victory, thus baptized with innocent 
blood, named the lake, Champlain. His countrymen in 
succeeding years would have substituted the name of Mer 
des Iroquois, but the Anglo-Saxon and posterity averted 
the wrong — for the latter name was not known to the no- 
menclature of the Indian — and the lake still perpetuates the 
memory of its discoverer. On the retreat of this expedi- 
tion, Champlain was constrained to witness one of those 
appalling scenes incident to Indian warfare, the torture 
of a prisoner. This terrific spectacle occurred, it is sup- 
posed, within the present limits of Willsboro'. The suffer- 
ings of the victim, inflicted in all the intensity and 
refinement of savage barbarity, which he iu vain attempted 
to avert, were, in mercy, closed by the arquebus of 
Champlain. 

A few weeks later, Hudson cautiously pursuing the tidal 
waters of the stream to which posterity has attached his 
name, penetrated to a point within less than one hundred 
miles of the advance of Champlain, but more than eleven 



1 1 confidently assume this position, although a somewhat controverted 
point, from the distinct designation of the place upon Champlain's own map. 
I feel assured on this subject by several other considerations, which I deem 
conclusive. He probably saw the falls at Ticonderoga, in the pursuit which 
succeeded the victory. They had no motive in accordance with the plan 
of the campaign to have advanced south of that place by the lake. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 19 

years elapsed before the May-Flower approached the shores 
of New England. 

The ensuing year, Charaplain was again moving amid 
the voluptuous circles of Versailles, its animating spirit, 
thrilling and agitating the gay throng by the recital of the 
wonders of the new world and his own wild and strange 
adventures. Early in the spring, still under the auspices 
of De Mouts who, although shorn of his vast prerogatives, 
persisted with unabated ardor in his colonial schemes, 
Champlain once more crossed the Atlantic. He ascended 
the St. Lawrence to an island near the mouth of the Riche- 
lieu, and while engaged in the orgies of an Indian feast and 
war dance connected with a solemn council, the approach 
of a band of Iroquois was announced. All rushed to the 
assault of the barricade of the foe. The contest was long 
and bloody, but victory was necessarily with the allies. In 
accordance with Indian custom this decisive success termi- 
nated the campaign, and closed to Champlain all immediate 
prospect of exploration and discovery. The opening season 
of 1611 saw Champlain again entering the St. Lawrence. 
He selected the position and marked out the foundations of 
Montreal ; but fresh obstacles, interposed by the fickle and 
versatile Hurons, arrested his contemplated advance into 
the interior. While delayed by these impediments, Cham- 
plain, always delighting in peril and adventure, among the 
first of civilized men, descended the tremendous rapids of 
St. Louis, in a frail birchen canoe guided by an Indian 
pilot. Bnt anarchy and ruin were darkly impending over 
the struggling colony ; Henry, his firm and powerful pro- 
tector, had fallen beneath the knife of Ravillac. Champlain 
hastened across the Atlantic, his enthusiasm enlisted the 
sympathy and interest of the nobility, and secured the ap- 
pointment first of the Count De Soissons, and upon his 
death, that of the Prince De Conde as guardian and pro- 
tector of New France, with all the prerogatives of vice- 
royalty. In 1612 Champlain returned to Quebec, clothed 
with, the power and insignia of sovereignty, delegated to 
him by De Conde. Allured by wild tales of a vast north- 



20 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ern sea beyond the headwaters of the Ottawa, Champlain, 
the next year, with infinite peril and toil, ascended that 
gloomy and turbulent stream in a light Indian canoe; 
and there in the deep recesses of the forest, which have 
even now scarcely been approached by the arts of civil- 
ized industry, he dwelt in their wigwams, feasted and 
danced, harangued at the council fire, and erected the 
cross. Deceived and disappointed, he reluctantly aban- 
doned the pursuit of the fabulous sea. 

Montreal, fostered by the protection and policy of 
Champlain, was already a trading mart of importance and 
activity, where the French traders, bearing the products 
and gewgaws of other climes, assembled to meet the 
fleets of Indian canoes which descended the Ottawa and 
St. Lawrence, laded with the spoils of their widely ex- 
panded hunting grounds. The interposition of Conde 
had obtained the grant of a new concession from the 
government, which conferred on the association of mer- 
chants immense prerogatives, confirming the former pa- 
tent and creating additional immunities, and, in 1615, 
Champlain, inspired by new ardor, and with an ambition 
stimulated afresh, embarked, once again, for the scene of 
his toils and hopes. At this time, equally zealous for the 
diffusion of the true faith, as he was energetic in promot- 
ing the temporal interests of the colony, he induced seve- 
ral Franciscan monks to accompany him. A formal 
council was held with the tribes gathered at Montreal, 
and while the Fathers were attempting to inculcate re- 
ligious truths, Champlain was engaged in maturing 
schemes more consonant with savage passions. By this 
rude treaty he agreed to unite with the Indians resid- 
ing upon the waters of the vast inland lakes, they dimly 
described, who, invincible in his alliance proposed to 
descend from their far distant land, like a destroying 
tempest upon the western tribes of the dreaded Iroquois. 
Champlain avers that he enlisted in this enterprise " to 
satisfy the desire I had of learning something about that 
country." Le Caron, one of the Franciscans, not less 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 21 

determined and intrepid than Champlain, offered alone 
to accompany the Hurons to their remote wigwams, and 
the humble missionary was the first European who gazed 
upon the wide waters of Lake Huron. Champlain, again 
encountering the perilous navigation of the Ottawa, and 
threading the long pathway of the Indians reached the 
Lake Nepissing, and from thence was guided by the In- 
dians to the shores of a majestic sea, whose expanse of 
waters was alone bounded by the horizon. He contem- 
plated it with wonder and delight, and named it the " Mer- 
douce," to which posterity, with more aptness, has given 
the name of Lake Huron. Champlain stood on the north- 
ern shores of Huron, a thousand miles from the Atlantic, 
five years before the foot of the puritan pilgrim rested on 
the rock at Plymouth. The provident savage hosts had 
constructed for his use a small cabin. Here Champlain 
found Le Caron, who had built an altar and erected the 
cross, and joined by the fourteen Frenchmen who had 
accompanied them, the mass was said and the Te Deum 
chanted in this humble temple, and we may conceive, with a 
solemnity and fervor, that does not always mark the wor- 
ship of a groined Cathedral. 

Amid a national jubilee the Huron warriors gathered 
from their scattered villages, and embarking their formida- 
ble bauds in an immense flotilla of birch canoes, they 
skirted the eastern coast of the lake, bore their canoes over 
a transit into Lake Simcoe, descending the Trent river 
entered into the great lake of the Autonorouons, the modern 
Ontario. They traversed with singular temerity in vessels 
so frail, its broad waters, and concealing their canoes upon 
its southern shore, they advanced into the territory of the 
Autonorouons or Senecas. After marching several days, 
in which Champlain was revolted by exhibitions in varied 
and horrid forms of savage barbarity and habits of warfare, 
they arrived before the enemy's fort. 1 The garrison was 

1 Commentators on Champlain's journal are not harmonious in locating 
this scene. Some assume it to have been near Lake Onondaga, while others 
refer it to the vicinity of Canandaigua. 



22 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

formed by the puissant Senecas, second only among the 
Iroquois to the Mohawks in power and martial prowess. 
The works were constructed with an intelligence and 
science, far superior to any evidences of skill that Champlain 
had witnessed among the aborigines. The village was 
enclosed by strong palisades of timbers, thirty feet high, 
interlocked with intervals of about six inches between, 
with galleries forming a parapet, defended by timbers 
" proof against the arquebuses." Gutters were led from a 
pond of water on one side, which afforded ample facilities 
for extinguishing fires that might be enkindled against the 
barricades. 

The appearance of the iron clad strangers and the terrific 
discharge of their unknown weapons, astonished and 
startled, but excited no craven or panic fears in the daunt- 
less Iroquois. Fighting with admirable valor, they re- 
treated within their fortifications. Under the direction of 
Champlain, the Hurons constructed a tower higher than 
the walls with a protection against the arrows and stones 
of the Iroquois, which was "carried by two hundred of the 
strongest men and placed within a pike's length in front." 
On this " were posted four arquebusiers." An effort was 
made by the Hurons to burn the palisades, but the fire was 
promptly extinguished. "They went to the water and 
discharged in it such abundance, that rivers, it maybe said, 
spouted from their gutters." The Senecas, although suffer- 
ing severely from the arquebuses, fought with an undaunted 
courage, that extorted the admiration of Champlain, and 
far surpassed their savage foes in conduct, taunting them 
with cowardice in enlisting the white men in their quarrels. 
The science and tactics of Champlain were totally defeated 
by the perpetual improvidence and insubordination of his 
Indian allies. " This moved him," he says, " to use some 
pretty rude and angry words," but he generously remarks : 
"they are excusable, for they are not soldiers." 

The discomfited and intractable Hurons, after a siege of 
several days, in spite of the expostulations of Champlain, 
determined to abandon the enterprise and retpeat. He, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 23 

wounded by arrows in the knee and leg, was bound to the 
back of a vigorous savage, " like an infant in its swaddling 
clothes," and carried many leagues, until his impatience 
aud suffering revolted. 1 

Although he denounces in bitterness and vexation the 
absence of discipline, obedience and system with the 
Indians, he warmly commends the skill they exhibited in 
effecting their retreat, " placing the wounded and old 
people in the centre, the warriors without breaking their 
lines march in front, on the wings and in the rear." 

The winter that was approaching, the bold and indomi- 
table pioneer passed in the gloomy lodge of a Huron chief, 
and in visiting the more remote tribes of the Algonquins ; in 
the care of his wounds, in the reveries of his sleepless mind, 
and in communing with the savages on the themes which 
invigorated his energies and continually fired his imagina- 
tion. But he who had braved death on so many battle-fields 
and amid the storms of the ocean, nearly lost his life from 
cold and exposure in the bleak forest of the Algonquins. 
Hunting on a dark day at the close of autumn without a 
compass, he lost his course, and wandered nearly three 
days bewildered in the masses of a trackless wood. When 
the frosts of winter had transformed the streams and 
morasses into icy avenues, Champlain again sought the 
villages of the Nipissings. He found the devout Le Caron 
in the same solitary wigwam, occupied in his missionary 
services, arranging a catechism and studying the Huron 
dialect. With the anchorite, Champlain spent several 
weeks, and then together, the soldier and the monk stimu- 
lated by the same brave and lofty spirit, but wielding far 
different weapons, visited in remote regions amid the wild 
recesses of nature tribes of savages before unknown to the 
Christian world. 

Once more restored to active life and civilization, Cham- 
plain erected, in defiance of the grovelling cupidity of 



1 This is his language : " As soon as I could bear my weight I got out of 
this prison ; or, to speak plainer, out of hell." 



24 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

superiors, the castle of St. Louis. When the expense was 
grudged, "It was not best," he said, "to yield to the 
passions of men, they sway but for a season, it is duty to 
respect the future." Returning from one of his period- 
ical visits to France in 1616, Champlain bore with him 
his wife, young and beautiful, whose charms seem to have 
melted the stoicism of the children of the forest into 
delighted admiration. 

In 1628, he gloriously defended Quebec from an attack 
of the English, almost without arms or provisions, by the 
glory of his name and the energy of his courage, and only 
capitulated his famishing garrison when the last hope of 
relief had failed. But it was an abortive triumph to his 
conqueror. Peace soon gave Champlain his liberty, and 
restored Quebec to France. 

Before and subsequent to these events, the checkered 
career of the explorer had been impressed by perpetual 
trials, perplexities and vicissitudes, with alternate depres- 
sions, and a return to power and position. Vanquishing 
by his inflexible perseverance and profound sagacity the 
hostilities of rivals and the evasions of a despotic govern- 
ment, he returned the last time in 1633, to the state his 
wisdom* and zeal had created, invested by Richelieu with 
all his former prerogatives. Having suppressed the Indian 
excitement which had agitated his province, conciliated 
the jarring jealousies and angry feuds of mercenary traders 
and arbitrary officials, and amply ass erted and perfected the 
dominion of his sovereign over a vast region, Champlain 
died in 1635, and is commemorated in the annals of the 
country he served so ably and with such fidelity as " the 
father of New France." 

Champlain has no peer, either in the brilliant lists of 
French or Anglo-Saxon discoverers of the age, in the 
magnitude of his services, the hardy daring of his exploits, 
in the courage and ability by which he achieved them or 
the capacious grasp of intellect that moulded the destinies 

1 Bancroft. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 25 

of half a continent. Twenty times he crossed the Atlantic 1 
in tiny shallops from twelve to twenty tons, scarcely equal 
to an ordinary fishing boat, and with a celerity that is 
rarely surpassed in the voyages of the present day ; he ex- 
plored boundless forests, penetrated unknown lakes, over- 
came the turbulence of wild and strange rivers, associated 
with the savages in every form, encountered dangers and 
toils in it all their aspects, and gave to his country a do- 
main far more magnificent in its proportions than the 
territories of the proudest kingdom of Europe. In an age 
reeking with venality, he never descended from his lofty 
pursuits to contend for sordid wealth or emolument. 
Nurtured in a licentious court, even when removed from 
the restraints of society, his piety and virtue attracted the 
wonder and excited the reverence of his savage asso- 
ciates. His justice and good faith created an unbounded 
ascendancy throughout the wide-spread Algonquin tribes, 
and in after years their love and veneration still lived 
undiminished for " the man with the iron breast." 2 



CHAPTER II. 

Indian and Colonial Wars. 

I am not aware that any evidence exists, that the en- 
virons of Lake Champlain witnessed the missionary labors 
of the Jesuits ; but we can with difficulty believe, that a 
region so near and accessible, would have been unexplored 
by the deep devotion and ardent enthusiasm, which im- 
pelled them to bear the cross and to find their neophytes 
upon the remote shores of Lake Superior. 

The policy inaugurated by Champlain and pursued as a 
cardinal principle by the vice-regal government, in form- 

1 Thoreau. 

2 For the materials of this chapter, in addition to the journals of Cham- 
plain and his cotemporaries, and the general historians, I am largely indebted 
to the facts compiled by Mr Parkman, and the views expressed in the glow- 
ing and nervous pages of Thoreau. 



26 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ing an intimate alliance with the Algonquins, although 
successful in its immediate object, the cherishing of the 
union and affections of the tribes of New France, in its 
results, excited the unyielding feuds and hostility of the 
formidable Mohawks, and entailed upon the French more 
than a century of fierce and bloody savage warfare. The 
western tribes of the Iroquois rarely yielded to the sub- 
jects of France, but the stern and implacable Mohawks, 
never. Between them and France occasional periods of 
peace or rather armed truces intervened, but at no time 
did there exist a cordial harmony, when " the hatchet 
was buried too deeply to be uncovered." 

The French government, while it maintained the sove- 
reignty of New France, wielded a powerful influence over 
all the aboriginal tribes, within its vast limits. The pre- 
ponderance of England, even in the councils of the Iro- 
quois, was often disputed by France, and rendered by her 
machinations, precarious and inefficient. The ".chain of 
friendship," between France and the confederacies of the 
Hurons and Algonquins never was broken or became dim. 
The gay and joyous manners of the French won the heart 
of the savage. The solemn grandeur, and the imposing 
formulas and pomp of the catholic rituals, attracted his 
wonder and admiration and fascinated his senses, if they 
did not subdue his feelings. His appetites were pampered, 
and his wants supplied with a lavish prodigality, the re- 
sult perhaps of governmental policy rather than that of 
Christian charity. To the mind of the Indian, these traits 
of the French were favorably contrasted with the cold, 
severe, and repulsive habits of the Englishman, with the 
uuimposing forms of his religious rites, and with the close 
and parsimonious guard the British government held over 
its treasury and store houses. 

The annals of Lake Champlain is a blood-stained recital 
of mutual atrocities. The feuds of the peoples of Europe 
and the malignant passions of European sovereigns, armed 
the colonies of England and the provinces of France, in 
conflicts where the ordinary ferocity of border warfare, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. £7 

was aggravated by the relentless atrocities of savage bar- 
barism. Each power emulated the other, in the consum- 
mation of its schemes of blood and rapine. Hostile Indian 
tribes, panting for slaughter, were let loose along the 
whole frontier, upon feeble settlements, struggling amid 
the dense forest, with a rigorous climate and reluctant 
soil, for a precarious existence. Unprotected mothers, 
helpless infancy and decrepit age, were equally the victims 
of the torch, the tomahawk and scalping knife. Lake 
Champlain was the great pathway, equally accessible and 
useful to both parties, of these bloody and devastating 
forays. In the season of navigation, they glided over the 
placid waters of the lake, with ease and celerity, in the 
bark canoes of the Indians. The ice of winter afforded 
them a broad, crystal highway, with no obstruction of 
forest or mountain, of ravine or river. If deep and 
impassable snows rested upon its bosom, snow shoes were 
readily constructed, and secured and facilitated their 
march. 

Although this system of reciprocal desolation impeded 
the progress of civilization in the territories of each power, 
and repelled from the frontier, bordering upon the lake, 
all agricultural and industrial occupations, both England 
and France asserted an exclusive right to the dominion 
of the territory. France based her claims of sovereignty 
upon the discovery of Acadia, and the gulf and river 
St. Lawrence, and subsequently upon the discoveries of 
Champlain. Before that event we have seen, she had 
conveyed to De Monts a parchment title to the entire re- 
gion extending to the meridian of Philadelphia. The 
original charter of Virginia asserted the claim of England 
to the 45th parallel of latitude, while the other grants 
extended her sovereignty to the waters of the St. Law- 
rence. The ultimate acquisition of the title of Holland, 
by the cession of Js T ew Netherlands, fortified these preten- 
sions, which England alleged were matured by the re- 
cognition in the treaty of Utrecht, of her paramount 
sovereignty over the possessions of the Iroquois, or as the 



28 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. ■ 

Iroquois assumed a broad and formal protectorate as a 
trust for their benefit and safety. Blood and treasures 
were profusely expended in the assertion of hostile claims, 
founded on these ideal assumptions to a rude and 
howling wilderness. 1 A long series of ferocious but inde- 
cisive wars prevailed between the French and the Iroquois, 
signalized by mutual woes and cruelties, and by alterna- 
tions of victory and defeat. To avenge former sufferings 
as well as to arrest future incursions, the government of 
New France, in 1665, determined to attempt the destruc- 
tion of the fastnesses of the Mohawks. The annals of war 
exhibit scarcely a parallel to the daring intrepidity, the 
exposure and suffering of that expedition. 

The point of contemplated attack was distant almost 
three hundred miles, and to secure the more perfect 
secrecy, and an assurance of surprise, the season selected 
was the most rigorous of winter. " M. Courcelles, the 
governor of Canada, on the 29th of December, 1665, began 
his march with scarcely six hundred men, to seek out 
their inveterate enemies, the Mohawks." The snow that 
covered the ground, " although four feet deep, was hard 
frozen." The French were enabled, by the aid of the 
Indian snow shoes, to march rapidly along this surface. 
The use of horses was impossible, and it was equally im- 
practicable for the troops, who consisted of about equal 
.proportions of Indians and whites, to carry on an expedi- 
tion so long aud laborious, with their own supplies. " The 

1 The clause in the treaty of Utrecht, which bears upon this question and 
which excited for many years elaborate and angry diplomatic discussions is 
this : " The subjects of France inhabiting Canada and others, shall in future 
give no hindrance or molestation to the Five Nations or cantons of Indians, 
subject to the dominion of Great Britain, nor to the other natives of Ame- 
rica who are in friendly alliance with them. In bke manner, the subjects 
of Q reat Britain shall behave themselves peaceably towards the Americans 
who are the friends or subjects of France and they shall enjoy on both sides 
full liberty of resort for purposes of trade." The treaty secures to the In- 
dians, equal freedom, " to resort to the colonies of either power for trade," and 
then continues, " but who are and who ought to be accounted subjects and 
friends of Britain and France is a matter to be accurately and distinctly 
settled by commissioners." — Doc. Col. Hist., ix, 964. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 29 

governor caused slight sledges to be made in good num- 
bers, laying provisions upon them, drew them over the 
snow with mastiff dogs." 1 Thus traversing Lake Cham- 
plain, they had at night, no covering but the clouds, the 
freshly fallen snow, or the boughs of the forest. Sur- 
mounting perils and toils like these, the French approached 
the Mohawk territory; but bewildered amid pathless 
snows, and exhausted and paralyzed by cold and hunger, 
they were only preserved from destruction by the active 
although ill-requited beneficence of a small Dutch settle- 
ment, standing on the outer verge of civilization. The 
potent influence and urgent intercessions of a prominent, 
although private citizen of Schenectady, averted from the 
suffering and defenseless Frenchmen, the vengeance of 
the exasperated Mohawks. It is rare that an individual, 
who, like Arent Van Corlear, moves quietly along in 
life without any prominence by official station, or brilliant 
deeds, secures the universal reverence of both friends and 
foes, while living, and to his name an honored place in 
history, by the pure force of probity and beneficence. 
Deeply loved by the Indians for his integrity and virtues, 
his influence over them was unbounded, and long after his 
death, they were accustomed, in their speeches and treaties, 
as the term of highest respect and reverence known to 
their hearts, to call the governor of New York — Corlear. 2 
His benevolent zeal in the preservation of the forces of 
De Courcelles, was gratefully acknowledged by the colonial 
government, and De Tracy, the governor general, with 
expressions of the warmest regard, urged on him a visit 
to Quebec. 3 In the year 1667, Corlear accepted a courtesy 
so marked, and with the purpose of aiding in the negotia- 
tion of a peace between the French and Mohawks, accom- 
panied by embassadors of the Iroquois, who, at his request, 
had received a safe conduct, commenced the long and 
perilous journey. While making the passage of Lake 



1 Relations of the march, etc., Doc. Col. Hist., in, 118. 

2 Idem, in, 559, et passim. % Mem, in, 128, 152, et passim. 



30 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Champlain, " he was drowned by a sudden squall of wind, 
in crossing a great bay." J I have no hesitation in refer- 
ring to Pereu or Willsboro' bay, in Essex county, as the 
scene of this catastrophe. 2 The lake, for many years 
afterwards, was known as Corlear's lake ; 3 and locali- 
ties and the scenes of events are frequently established in 
documents of the period, by references to the " place where 
Corlear was drowned." 4 It is an impressive and almost 
painful commentary upon the practice of the age, as I 
remarked upon an analogous instance in the life of Cham- 
plain, that the purity of Corlear did not shrink, while 
thus shielded by the mantle of an honored guest, from 
the very equivocal " promise to perfect the chart of the 
lake, with the French forts, and how it borders on the 
Maquais river." 5 "We will not resist the emotions of a 
sad aud tender sensibility, when we reflect that this noble 
and benignant man, on a mission of peace and concilia- 
tion, found a grave beneath the waters of Champlain, and 
within the borders of our own country. 

A treaty of professed peace succeeded this event, but it 
seems to have formed no restraint upon the predatory 
spirit of either the Mohawks or the French. Two years 
had not elapsed, when a second expedition, guided by the 
venerable De Tracy himself, the governor general of New 
France, assembled at the Isle la Mottein Lake Champlain. 
Far more formidable than the preceding, it embraced one 
thousand two huudred combatants, borne by a fleet of three 
hundred bateaux and canoes, and strengthened by two 
pieces of artillery, which they transported to the remotest 
hamlets of the Iroquois. 



1 Relations of the march, etc., Doc. Col. Hist., in, 156. 

2 No body of water which he could, in a usual course, have traversed on 
the lake, corresponds so strictly with this description. I am strongly forti- 
fied in my conjecture, by the statement of Dr. O'Callaghan, that an ancient 
map exists in the office of the surveyor general of the state, on which Pereu 
bay is named Corlear's bay. 

8 Idem, in, 554, 815. 4 Idem, 815, 817. 

6 Nichols to Corlear, Jan. 9, 11366, idem, 145. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 31 

Intimidated by the power of this armanent, the Mohawks 
abandoned their fortified villages, and " these barbarians 
were only seen on the mountains at a distance, uttering great 
cries and firing some random shots." 1 Having planted the 
cross, celebrated mass, and sung the Te Deum on the 
spot, " all that remained was to fire the palisades and 
cabins, and to destroy all the stores of Indian corn, beans, 
and other products of the country found there." The re- 
treat of the French, from this abortive attempt, was deeply 
calamitous. Forts were erected at Sorel and Chambly to 
protect the province from the incursions of the Iroquois by 
the lake. The Mohawks, wily as powerful, were, by their 
habits and position, intangible; no blow could reach them. 
Suddenly bursting in 1689, with great force into Canada, 
they besieged and captured Montreal, and menaced the 
empire of New France with utter extinction. This move- 
ment averted a contemplated attack upon JSTew York by 
Frontenac through Lake Champlain, and of a fleet by sea. 

In the ensuing winter an event occurred, preeminent 
even in the atrocities of that warfare for its deliberate 
and ferocious cruelty. The people of Schenectady, that vil- 
lage whose Christian charity had saved the forces of De 
Courcelles from an appalling fate, reposed in a profound 
security. Although warned of impending danger, they 
had relied for protection upon the intense severity of the 
season, and an unprecedented depth of snow. A band of 
French and Hurons, conducted by ruthless partisans, pre- 
cipitating themselves in a march of twenty-two days along the 
course of West Canada creek, fell 2 in a winter's midnight 
upon this doomed and undefended hamlet. 3 A common 

1 French report. 2 Col. Hist., v, 656. 

3 This is opposed to the generally received idea that this road was along the 
line of Lake Champlain. A route by West Canada creek implies an avenue 
of communication between Canada and the Mohawk valley different from 
that afforded by the usual line traversed by the French, either from 
Oswego or by the way of Lake Champlain. The route mentioned pos- 
sibly had a terminus on the St. Lawrence, near the mouth of the Black 
river. Writers constantly advert to the use of such an intermediate channel ; 
but their attention does not seem to have been directed to its locality or 



32 HISTOKY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ruin involved the entire population. The blood of many 
mingled with the ashes of their dwellings. Some, half 
clad, fled to Albany amid the cold and snow, while others 
were borne into a hopeless captivity. 

After perpetrating this massacre, the French made a 
rapid and disastrous retreat, pursued by the rigors of a 
destroying climate, and the vengeance of a fierce enemy. 

Other sections of the English colonies were visited with 
similar and simultaneous assaults, tending only to aggravate 
national animosities, without attaining either military or 

character. Sir John Johnson, it is stated, when he violated his parole and 
fled with the mass of his tenantry to Canada, consumed nineteen days, with 
great exposure and suffering, in traversing the wilderness by some interior 
line, known to him and the Indians. But no further light is thrown upon 
a question, which to my mind, is invested with much geographical and 
historical interest. I will venture the presumption, that, at this period 
more than one familiar route had been established through the vast prime- 
val forests, which embrace the western confines of Essex county, which 
still exist essentially in their original gloom and solitudes. No other route 
would have been available, when both Oswego and Chaniplain, as often 
occurred, were in the occupation of a hostile power. The valleys of the 
streams which flow into the Mohawk and Hudson, and which almost 
mingle their waters with the affluents of the St. Lawrence, might have 
been ascended, and the lakes and rivers of the, wilderness may have been 
used with great facility for a canoe navigation. A few trifling carrying 
places would have interposed only Blight impediments, and when closed by 
the frosts of winter, these waters could still afford a most favorable route of 
communication. Other avenues through this wilderness were undoubtedly 
accessible, but my own observation has suggested one which I will trace. 
The upper valley of the Hudson may have been penetrated, until the line 
is reached of a small branch, which starting from the lakes in the vicinity 
of the Adirondac works, finds its way to the Hudson. Passing up the valley 
along which this stream gradually descends, the inaccessible range of 
mountains would be avoided. Thence traversing the Indian pass in nearly 
an imperceptible ascent, the plains of North Elba would be reached and these 
open upon the vast plateau of the wilderness, along which the Racket rolls 
a gentle current, adapted to the Indian canoe, to the St. Lawrence. This 
idea posssibly explains the origin of the modern name which has been 
assigned to the wonderful structures known to the natives as Otneyarh, 
the place of stony giants. 

Gentlemen of great intelligence and careful observation have assured 
me that they have noticed evidences in the wilderness of other ancient 
pathways disclosed by still open tracks, the vestiges of rude bridges and 
the mouldering remains of coarsely hewn vehicles calculated for manual 
transportation. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 33 

political results. These inflictions awakened the colonies to 
the perception, that safety and protection depended on con- 
certed action, and that they were strong alone in harmo- 
nious union. From such convictions, which at a later 
period were matured by the convention at Albany, ema- 
nated the first idea of an American congress. That body, 
constituted of delegates from Massachusetts, Connecticut 
and New York, assembled in 1690 at the city of New York. 
It was then resolved to combine their efforts for the sub- 
jugation of Canada. Massachusetts redeemed her engage- 
ment, to equip a fleet to assail the French possessions 
by sea. New York and Connecticut assumed the respon- 
sibility of effecting a descent, by a land force, upon Mont- 
real and the forts upon the Sorel. An army was assembled 
at Lake George, and a flotilla of canoes, constructed for 
the purpose, wafted the army, powerful in numbers and 
appointments, down that lake to Ticonderoga. Transport- 
ing their armament to Champlain, they again embarked 
with high aspirations and in confidence of success. Some 
further progress was made, when suddenly a defective 
commissariat, with dissensions and divisions, constrained a 
retreat, and with it blasted every scheme of the projected 
attacks. The immense disbursements of the colonies in 
sustaining these extended efforts, exhausted their feeble 
resources, and left them almost powerless for the defense 
of their own frontier. 

In this crisis, and during the year 1690, John Schuyler, a 
name distinguished by a long line of patriots and soldiers, 
organized a volunteer band of about one hundred and 
twenty " Christians and Indians," on a predatory incursion, 
into the French province. Traversing Lake Champlain 
and the Sorel, in silence aud caution, he landed without 
detection in the vicinity of Chambly. Secreting his canoes 
and provisions, he penetrated, with a singular temerity and 
no less singular success, to La Prairie, amid numerous 
forces of the French, and far within the line of their fort- 
resses. The merciless storm fell upon an unsuspecting 
3 



, V 



34 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

rural population, engaged and rejoicing in their harvest. 
In the fell spirit that characterized these scenes, none were 
exempted from slaughter or captivity. The " scalps of 
four women folks," were among their trophies. Dwellings, 
barns, products of the field, " and everything else which 
would take fire," were remorselessly consigned to the 
flames. 1 The next year, Peter Schuyler, a controlling 
spirit in the colony, and who swayed an unlimited influence 
over the rude affections of the Mohawks, collecting three 
hundred whites and warriors of the tribe, daringly pursued 
the track of his brother, and assailed the same region. 
With great labor, Schuyler constructed bark canoes at 
White Hal], and Ticonderoga ; some of which were of large 
dimensions equal to the transportation of twelve men. 
He traversed the lake slowly and with great caution, advanc- 
ing, as he approached the object of his expedition, by night. 
Scouts, formed of whites and savages, were thrown cau- 
tiously in advance. 2 

" Resolving," he says, " to attack the fort at daybreak, 
went to prayers and marched." The firing of alarm guns at 
Chambly and La Prairie, announced that the French were 
aware of his approach and prepared to resist. De Collieres, 
the governor of Montreal, had assembled a force of eight 
hundred men to oppose the advance of Schuyler. In the 
presence of an enemy so well prepared and formidable in 
numbers, he was compelled to retreat. This was achieved 
with great courage and ability, through a series of severe 
conflicts, continuing from La Prairie to their canoes, in 
which the French were repulsed with heavy losses. Enve- 
loped by the enemy, Schuyler says: "I encouraged my 
men and told them, there was no other choice, fight or die 
they must, the enemy being between us and our canoes." 
Fight they gallantly did, and bursting through the hostile 
ranks, that in heavy masses enclosed them, regained their 

1 Schuyler's journals. 

2 The exceeding clearness of vision and watchful observation of the Indians 
illustrated by an entry in Schuyler's journal. " Our spies told us they saw 
somewhat like the striking of fire with a flint and steel in a canoe." 



1515259 

MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 35 

flotilla, and having inflicted much injury upon the inhabit- 
ants and crops, retraced their steps. 1 

Count Froutenac, impatient under the unyielding hostili- 
ties and perpetual ravages of the Mohawks, that no treaties 
could permanently suppress and no vigilance guard against, 
determined by a sudden and more efficient effort to extin- 
guish their power in the citadels of their strength. He 
organized in the year 1689, a force of six hundred French 
and Indians, and secretly passing Lake Champlain upon the 
ice, and penetrating the forest burdened with deep snows, 
assaulted by a complete surprise, a race whose vigilance 
scarcely ever slumbered. Several of their villages were 
taken and burnt, and three hundred of the natives captured. 
But repulsed on a final attack by the unconquerable 
Mohawks, De Callieres commenced a disastrous retreat, 
followed by the Indians with a merciless vengeance. Peter 
Schuyler, the ever firm and active friend of the Mohawks, 
with the militia of Albany, hastily gathered, joined in the 
pursuit. A violent snow storm and a narrow strip of ice 
which afforded a precarious passage over the Hudson, and 
was broken up as their rear crossed, saved the panic- 
stricken refugees, from the terrible inflictions of savage pas- 
sions fiercely enkindled. So unexpected was the attack and 
sudden the pursuit, that the scanty supply of food was soon 
exhausted, and the savages literally fed upon the dead 
bodies of their enemies, while the fugitives to sustain life 
were compelled before they found relief in the borders of 
Canada, " to eat the leather of their shoes." 

To the scope of more extended history belongs the 
narrative of efforts for the " conquest of New France," pro- 
tracted for a period of two years from 1709, and extending 
in their field of operations along the entire frontier from 
Detroit to the Bay of Fondy, and embracing armaments, 
both by land and sea. Policy, as well as the exasperated 
passions of the colonies, aroused all their enthusiasm, and 
enlisted in support of the project, every energy and 

1 Peter Schuyler's journal. Hist. Col., in, 800. 



36 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

resource. This zeal was neutralized, or defeated by the 
apathy, the imbecility, orthe negligence of the government 
of England. One provincial army, organized by the colo- 
nies for the attack of Montreal, was wasted by disease, 
while awaiting assistance and supplies from the mother 
country, which were never received. Another was dis- 
banded when the inadequate naval expedition of England 
against the French possessions had been unsuccessful. 



CHAPTER III. 

The French Occupation. 

The valley of Lake Cham plain appears not to have been 
occupied until about 1731, either by France or England, 
with any permanent or tangible possession. France 
asserted no other than an ideal and constructive title. The 
claims of England, had, in the interval, been augmented by 
the cession of New Netherlands, which conveyed a tenure 
uniformly assumed by Holland, to reach the St. Lawrence, 
and by the fealty of the Iroquois, who had submitted to the 
sovereignty of the British monarch the entire environs of 
Champlain and the recognition of that title by France in 
the treaty of Utrecht. 

The claims of the Iroquois, resting upon the rights of 
conquest, were necessarily vague and fluctuating, and after 
the ascendancy of the French interposed an arm of power 
between the Mohawks and Algonquins, the scope of these 
claims was repressed and in the early part of the eighteenth 
century scarcely embraced their original boundaries. Such 
boundaries, not only as they affected the foreign relations 
of the confederacy but as between the individual tribes, 
seem to have been accurately defined. Sir William John- 
son, in a letter to the lords of trade, Nov. 13th, 1797, 
clearly and specifically describes the limits claimed by the 

1 Col. Hist., vii, 572. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 37 

Iroquois as " original proprietors." Their limits on Lake 
Champlain were established by a remarkable landmark. 
" The hereditary domains of the Mohawks, he says, " ex- 
tends from near Albany to the Little Falls (Oneija bound- 
ary), and all the country from thence eastward, &c, north 
to Rejiohne inLake Champlain." In another letter Johnson 
refers to " Regiohne, a rock on the east side of said lake," 
as bounding the northward claim of the Iroquois. 1 

Few tourists traverse Lake Champlain, whose attention 
is not attracted and inquiries elicited, by the appearance of 
a dark and naked rock, ascending from the bosom of the 
waters, almost in the track of the steamer, as she approaches 
Burlington from the south. In almost the form of a perfect 
cone, the rock stands thirty feet above the surface, in 
solitary insulation. Its symmetry of contour is so perfectly 
maintained below the water line, that vessels may moor 
almost at its side. No vegetation softens or adorns its 
aspect, but it stands, gloomy, solitary and impressive. An 
aspect so remarkable was calculated to evoke the Indian 
love of the imposing and picturesque, and would have been 
a marked object in theirhunting voyages and hostile expe- 
ditions. This is known as Rock Dunder, and I identify 
it with entire reliance as the Rock Rejiohne or Reggio of 
Indian annals. I arrive at this conclusion from various 
proofs, in addition to the views above presented. John 
Schuyler, in the journal of his expedition in 1691, writes, 
" advanced from the Crown point towards Reggio, thirty 
miles distant." Johnson twice refers to it. David Schuyler 
in a letter to the Earl of Bellomont, August 17, 1700, 
states " the French guards (sent out from Canada, &c), met 
him in a canoe, within the bounds of this government, at the 
Otter creek eighteen miles, on this side of Reggio, the great 
rock, that is in Corlear lake." These distances were probably 
mere estimates, but singularly approximate to accuracy. 
I have consulted with intelligent mariners of the lake, who 
concur in the statement that no other rock exists in that 

1 Ool. Hist., in, 802. 



38 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

section of the lake of a marked or peculiar character. The 
most conclusive evidence, however, is furnished by a French 
map of Lake Champlain " prepared about the year 1731, 
from divers memoirs," and copied into the Documents 
relating to the Colonial History, vol. ix, 1023. Between 
" the river Ouinouski " (Onion) and " river Aux Loutree " 
(Otter Creek), directly opposite the position of Rock Dun- 
der there is inscribed on the map, and upon the eastern 
shore of the lake, the word " Reggio." 

I am aware that one fact apparent!} 7 militates against my 
theory. The Rock Reggio is described as the northern 
boundary of the monstrous Dellius grant, and that Rock 
Dunder does not conform to the seventy miles in length of 
that patent. Everything connected with that stupendous 
fraud it is conceded was undefined, inchoate and ambi- 
guous, and I am not aware that the Dellius patent was ever 
practicably located by its pretended bounds. Modern writ- 
ers and maps assume Split rock to be the Reggio referred 
to in that grant. In my judgment there exists insuperable 
objections to that assumption. Split rock is not strictly 
an isolated rock, but is a point of a promontory separated 
by attrition from the main land ; is not on "the east side " 
of the lake, and does not conform in its position to the 
distances mentioned. John H. Lydius, the successor to 
Dellius, avers in an affidavit made 5th April, 1750, "that 
the land, as far as the Rock Rogeo belonged to the Mo- 
hawks, and is situated about ten leagues north of Crown 
point." This is very nearly the distance to Rock Dunder, 
while Split rock is scarcely eighteen miles from Crown 
point. Lydius continues, " neither hath he ever heard of 
any other rock called by the Indians Rogeo ; Rogeo being 
a Mohawk word and the name of a Mohawk Indian 
who was drowned, as they say, in the lake near that rock 
long before the Christians came among them, from whence 
the Mohawks call both the rock and the lake, Rogeo." 
This catastrophe, probably of a distinguished brave, shrouded 

1 Col. Hist., xi, 569. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 39 

the rock to the aboriginal superstition with an unusual awe 
and veneration. The rock was a conspicuous object visible 
in every direction far away upon the waters, and when it 
was recognized as a prominent landmark in the bounda- 
ries of powerful confederacies, it became a point of great 
interest and importance. The passage of a hostile canoe 
beyond its shadow might have constituted war. Fancy 
readily depicts fleets of canoes gathering around its base 
upon the placid bosom of the lake for conciliation and 
peace, and the council or sacrificial fire shedding its radiance 
widely over the waters. 

The pretensions of France to the sovereignty of Lake 
Champlain and its shores, were not alone founded upon 
the discoveries of Carrier and Champlain, and the extent 
and distinctness of assumption from title based on such 
discoveries in subsequent grants, or concessions. France 
asserted other foundations of claim which were not with- 
out plausible pretenses of justice and right. The French 
diplomatists assumed, that Holland had never, in the exer- 
cise of its jurisdiction over the Iroquois, established claims 
to their territory paramount to the nominal possession of 
France; and justly asserted that England, in the conquest 
and cession of the New Netherlands acquired no other or 
higher title than had been enjoyed by Holland. The com- 
missioners of France at London, in 1687, in a formal memo- 
rial, affirmed that all the Iroquois nations concluded, in 
1665 and 1666, a solemn treaty with M. de Tracy, whereby 
they placed themselves under his majesty's (Louis XIV), 
protection, and declared themselves his subjects. 1 Formal 
treaties warranting this construction were executed by the 
western tribes of the confederacy, ratified and emblazoned 
by their distinctive symbols, but no symbol of the inflexi- 
ble Mohawk is attached to the compact, although the Oneida 
embassadors appeared to have assumed to act for them. 2 
The language of these treaties was in the illusory and 
ambiguous terms incident to all similar instruments, and 

1 Hist. Doc, in, 507. ■ Idem, 122, 125. 



40 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

subject to constant denial and evasion. These transactions 
were followed by immediate and perpetual hostilities. An 
insuperable obstacle to the language of such treaties 
being available in diplomacy, is established by the clear 
and obvious fact, that France exercised no powers or pro- 
tectorate under their sanctions. Whatever may have been 
the inherent force of these instruments in effecting the right 
of the other tribes, no basis existed for the pretense, that 
they authorized any intrusion by France into the hereditary 
dominions of the Mohawks south of a boundary so distinct 
and apparently so well authenticated as the land-mark I 
have described. 

The treaty of Ryswick, in 1698, declared that the belli- 
gerents should return their possessions as each occupied 
them at the commencement of hostilities. England forcibly 
alleged, that at the period contemplated by the treaty, the 
Iroquois, their allies, were in the occupation by conquest 
of Montreal and the shores of the St. Lawrence, and there- 
fore entitled to retain possession of that territory. The 
French government seems to have recognized the theory, 
that the Iroquois were embraced in the provisions of that 
treaty. 1 Such were the jarring and complicated assumptions 
of European powers to the homes and dominion of the ab- 
origines, where they had so recently exerted all the prero- 
gatives of empire and of freedom. When France denied 
the claims of England and appealed to " the council fire at 
Onondaga," the stern savage orator replied : " We have 
ceded our lands to no one, we hold them of Heaven alone." 2 
The verdict of common history has established the conclu- 
sion, that in the intrusion of France upon the domains of the 
Mohawks on Lake Champlain, at the sacrifice of so much 
blood and treasure, justice and the restraints and faith of 
treaties were subordinated to the lust of power and 
expediency. 

Whilst neither power yielded its dominion to the other, 
each felt the extreme importance of securing the ascend- 

1 Louis XIV to Callieres, 27th April, 1699, Hist. Doc, ix, 598. a Bancroft. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 41 

ancy upon Lake Champlain. The command of that 
avenue shed over the colonies of the government which 
held it, a broad and ample protection. As clearly as facts 
can be adduced from the faint glimmerings of history or 
tradition, it appears probable that, in the early period of 
the eighteenth century, English occupation and improve- 
ment were gradually advancing toward the valley of Cham- 
plain ; Crown point, then distinguished by its present name, 
was recognized in 1690, as a commanding and important 
position. The common council of Albany, instructing 
their scouting party in that year, directs them to proceed 
" to Crown point, where you shall remain and keep good 
watch by night and day." The fact appears also from 
the language of the purchase, by Dellius, that this purchase 
was ratified by a grant from Governor Fletcher in 1696. 
of a tract from the Mohawks, extending " more than 
twenty miles northward of Crown point." ' His patent was 
so exorbitant in its claims, and comprehended so vast an 
extent of territory, that the colonial legislature, without 
hesitation, abrogated the grant, and thus exhibited an exer- 
cise over the region of one of the highest prerogatives of 
sovereignty. 

The Crown point of history is a beautiful peninsula, 
forming a section of the present township of that name, 
which is distinguished for its agricultural fertility, and the 
rare and exceeding loveliness of the landscapes its varied 
scenery affords. The peninsula is formed by Bulwagga 
bay, a broad estuary on the west, and the lake upon the 
east, which at that point, abruptly changes its course nearly 
at right angles, and is compressed from a wide expanse 
into a narrow channel. A vast wilderness in 1731 extended 
on both sides of Lake Champlain, from the settlements on 
the Hudson to the Canadian hamlets, broken by rugged 
and impracticable mountains and ravines, and traversed by 
deep or rapid streams. No track penetrated it, except the 
path of the Indian. The lake, in its navigation, or by its ice, 

1 Point Le Caronne of the French. 



42 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

afforded the only avenue of mutual invasion. The most 
unpracticed eye at once perceives that Canada could be 
the most efficiently shielded by the occupation of Crown 
point, that position forming the portals of the lake. Im- 
pressed, no doubt, by these considerations, the French 
vice-regal government, violating the sanctions of treaties, 
and the immunities of a profound peace, suddenly advanced 
through the lake, and seized by a military force, a promon- 
tory directly opposite Crown point, and immediately after, 
that position itself. 

The site first occupied by the French is now called 
Chimney point, but they gave to it the more euphonious 
name of Point a la Chevelure. The poetical allusion it 
must have conveyed is lost to us. 1 

This action of France was the movement of no incon- 
siderate impulse, but the suggestion of a deliberate and ma- 
tured policy. The scheme was distinctly urged in 1688 and 
never relinquished. Frontenac in 1693, was instructed to 
" build light vessels for the defense of the narrow defiles 
of the rivers and lakes on the route from Orange." 2 And 
in 1737, Beauharnois was directed to effect a survey of 
Lake Champlain with the purpose of introducing an armed 
sloop upon its waters. 3 The views of France, in reference 
to the importance of securing the control of Lake Cham- 
plain, were neither peculiar or unfounded. The secret 
councils of the colonial governments of England were 
constantly directed to the attainment of the same great 
object. 4 Lake Champlain was the most direct avenue of 
communication between the Hudson and Quebec. A 
military post, which commanded the lake, must necessarily 
control the large and lucrative fur trade that sought 
through its waters a transit between Chamblyand Albany. 
It was the purpose of France to anticipate and defeat the 

1 It is frequently, but I think incorrectly stated, that this name was 
originally given to Crown point. All the old French maps corroborate my 
opinion. 

2 Louis XIV to Frontenac, Hist., Doc, ix, 449. 3 Idem., ix, 1059. 

4 Gov. Dongan, Doc, in, 477 ; Bellomont, id., 504 ; Lords of Trade, id., 704. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 43 

designs of England for the occupation of Crown point. 1 
The wise policy of the French government contemplated 
the formation of agricultural colonies beneath the shields 
of its military posts, and to thus secure the permanent de- 
fense and possession of the country. 2 

The instructions to Beauharnois directed that a simple 
stockaded fort should first be erected, " until a stronger one 
can he constructed." 3 Thirty men only formed the garrison 
of the incipient fortification. Beauharnois announces three 
years later to the government, that he is " preparing to 
complete " this feeble work. A position full of alarm and 
terror, and a constant " sharp thorn in the sides of Massa- 
chusetts and New York " 4 lingered thus for years iu its slow 
and hesitating progress, continually exposed to be crushed 
with the sanction of England, by the military grasp of any 
single colony. In 1747, it appears to have attained only 
a slight advance in strength or proportions ; 5 but in 1750, 
an emissary of Clinton thus describes its growth and com- 
manding position and armament. " The fort is built of 
stone, the walls of considerable height and thickness, and 
has twenty pieces of cannon and swivels mounted on the 
ramparts and bastions. I observed the walls cracked from 
top to bottom in several places. At the entrance of the 
fort is a dry ditch eighteen feet square, and a draw-bridge. 
There is a subterranean passage to the lake. The citadel 
is a stout building eight feet square, four stories high, each 
turned with arches, mounts twenty pieces of cannon and 
swivels, the largest six-pounders. The walls of the citadel 
are about ten feet thick. At the entrance is a draw-bridge 
and ditch." 6 The writer of this report remarks a fact 
obvious to the most unmilitary eye, that the formation of 
the adjacent country rendered St. Frederick extremely 
vulnerable to assault by batteries. 

Gov. Dongan, Hist. Doc, in, 1023. 2 Idem. 

3 Louis XIV to Beauharnois and Hocquart, May 1731, idem, 1025. 

4 Delancy to Lords of Trade, Doc., vi, 816. 
6 Johnson to Clinton, Doc, Yi, 389. 

6 Stoddart to Clinton, Doc, vi, 582, abridged. 



44 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

The protection of Canada from the inroads of the Iro- 
quois was the ostensible reason and excuse for the erec- 
tion of St. Frederic, assigned by France. Its real purpose, 
besides embracing the control of the lake, contemplated 
a still deeper policy. Occupying a position at the threshold 
of the English possessions, they could menace and im- 
pede their progress, and at any moment direct against 
their expanded and defenseless settlements, sudden and 
destructive assaults. Crown point was within the recog- 
nized possessions of the Iroquois, and by the treaty of 
Utrecht, their territory was guarantied to remain " invio- 
late by any occupation or encroachment of France." The 
governor of New York was at length aroused from his 
lethargy, by the indignant voice of Shirley of Massa- 
chusetts, to contemplate the arms of France and a com- 
manding fortress far within the limits of his asserted 
jurisdiction. Massachusetts, always prompt and energetic 
in sustaining the national glory, and in redressing the 
wrongs of the colonies, oifered to New York to unite at 
once with her, in an expostulation on the subject, with 
the French functionaries, and in the ultimate necessity, 
to unite their arms to repel the aggression. 1 The occupa- 
tion of Crown point was only a link in the system, by 
which France was encircling the colonies of England by 
a cordon of fortresses. The colonies invoked in vain the 
attention of the home government, to these encroach- 
ments. In vain were protestations and memorials laid at 
the foot of the throne, urging that the safety and the 
colonial existence of New England and New York were 
endangered by the occupation of Crown point. 

The earnest and imploring voice of the colonies fell on 
cold and deafened ears. To the vision of the British minis- 
try, America was a wilderness, destitute of present frui- 
tion and promises of the future. Walpole, whose sagacity 
seemed to endow him almost with prophetic prescience in 
the aftairs of Europe, could detect no germ of future empire 

1 Correspondence between Shirley and Clinton, Hist. Doc.,, VI, 419, 431, 423. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 45 

in the wilds of America. So even and indifferent had 
been the regard of the same government, to a subject of 
such momentous interest, to the colonies, and which had 
so deeply aroused their anxieties as the erection of the 
French fortresses on Lake Champlain, that the lords of 
trade, in December, 1738, confessed to Governor Clark 
ignorance of their location, and he in the succeeding year 
" pointed them out on a small map." 1 Not until 1789 did 
Waldegrave, the embassador to France, claim the attention 
of that government to the violation of the treaty of Utrecht, 
by the occupation of Crown point. The only response 
conceded to this expostulation was the denial of "all 
knowledge of the projected establishment," and the for- 
mal diplomatic assurance of instructions inquiring on the 
subject. Thus England slumbered, and the colonies toiled 
and murmured, while the formidable fortress of St. 
Frederick arose and secured to France the dominion of the 
lake. 

Leading minds in the colonies were at that day suspi- 
cious that sinister and corrupt motives were influencing the 
British ministry, " who having reasons for keeping well 
with the court of France, the project" (of occupying the 
Ohio) " was not only dropped, but the French were encou- 
raged to build the fort of Crown point upon the territory 
of New York." 2 Such was the denunciation of Spotswood 
of Virginia. England, by the ignoble treaty of Aix La 
Chapelle relinquished to France the fortress of Louis- 
burg, subjugated by the treasures and blood of New 
England; but left to that power without a protest, the 
possession of Crown point. It was not until 1755, that 
the British government, with emphasis and decision, de- 
manded from France the demolition of the fortress of St. 
Frederic. Diplomacy could not thus retrieve, after the 
hostile occupation of a quarter of a century, territory lost 
by imbecility or corruption. 

1 Doc, VI, 139, 143. 2 Gov. Spotswood. — Bancroft. 



46 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Accumulated acts of neglect and injustice of the mother 
country, such as these, prepared and matured the colonies 
for independence. Had they been cherished by the guar- 
dian care of England, they might have rested upon her arm 
in effeminacy and dependence. Abandoned to the sugges- 
tions of their own policy, they were taught by these exi- 
gencies high and practical lessons of self-government. 
Compelled by a common danger, to mutual consultation 
and concerted action, they were admonished of the neces- 
sity and strength of a confederated union. Compelled to 
rely alone for protection and safety upon their own arms and 
energies, they were taught to resist aggression and to avenge 
injury. The deep fountains of their capacities were revealed 
to themselves, by the parsimonious policy of England, that 
constrained the colonies to resort to their domestic re- 
sources in their own protection and defense. Had Canada 
been a British province, New England and New York 
might have been exempt from the appalling scenes of car- 
nage and suffering which are now impressed on their his- 
tory; but the very exposures and dangers of their position, 
and the assaults and cruelties of a powerful and daring 
enemy, endowed them with lofty moral and physical cou- 
rage; with endurance in suffering; with boldness and wis- 
dom in council, and promptitude aud decision in action. 
These are the elements of freedom. 

Men, who literally tilled the earth with the musket at 
their sides, were ripening for any emergency and pre- 
pared to defend a heritage, endeared by their blood and 
sorrows, against every foe and auy wrong. The career of 
the colonies, neglected, contemned and suffering, was to 
them a baptism of blood and sorrow, that consecrated a free 
and ennobled spirit, equal to any sacrifice or any conflict. 
The wars into which the colonies were forced by this 
policy of England, and the proximity of the French pro- 
vinces, afforded the severe schools for their military educa- 
tion. The shores of Lake Champlain formed the nursery 
of future heroes of the revolution. The military spirit 
was here enkindled, that in after years blazed at Bunker 



MILITAEY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 47 

bill, and Bennington, and Saratoga ; and bere, amid victory 
and defeat, tbe science and tactics of Europe were incul- 
cated and diffused tbrougbout tbe broad colonies. If 
"Wasbington was taugbt on tbe banks of tbe Monongabela, 
to lead armies and to acbieve independence for bis 
country, Putnam and Stark, Pomeroy and Prescott, amid 
tbe forests and morasses of Horicon and Champlain, and 
beneatb tbe walls of Ticonderoga, were formed to guide 
and conquer in tbe battles of freedom. Human wisdom, 
in ber pbilosopby, may pause to contemplate sucb strik- 
ing and singular coincidences, and to trace tbese causes 
to their momentous results ; but the eye of faith will 
reverence them as the hidden workings of an overruling 
and beneficent Providence, who, in these events, was un- 
folding the elements and forming the agents of a mighty 
revolution, destined, not only to sever a kingdom, but to 
change the course of human events. 

An ordinance of the king of France had authorized, as 
early as 1676, the issuing of grants of lands situated in 
Canada. In accordance with this power, and assuming 
the sovereignty of France over the valley of Lake Cham- 
plain, the government of Canada had caused a survey to 
be made of the lake and its contiguous territory, the year 
succeeding tbe erection of tbe works at Crown point. 
Many of the names of the headlands, islands and other 
topographical features of the lake, which are still perpe- 
tuated, are derived from that survey. In their descriptive 
force and beauty, they almost rival the euphony and 
appropriateness of the Indian nomenclature. A map and 
chart based upon that survey, was published at. Montreal 
in 1748, and has not been surpassed by any subse- 
quently made, in its scientific aspect or minuteness and 
accuracy. Extensive grants, under the ordinance of 1676, 
upon both 4 sides of the lake, are delineated upon that map. 
A seigniory was granted to the Sieur Robart, tbe royal 
storekeeper at Montreal, in June, 1737. This grant, which 
seems to have been the only one issued for land within 
tbe limits of the county of Essex, embraced "three leagues 



48 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

in front by two leagues in depth, on the west side of Lake 
Champlain, taking, in going down, one league below the 
river Boquet, and in going up, two leagues and a half 
above said river. 1 These boundaries comprehend all of 
the present town of Essex and a large proportion of Wills- 
boro'. The tract was soon after formally laid out and 
allotted by an official surveyor. "We have no evidence that 
any permanent and actual occupation was formed under 
these grants. Kalm, who visited the region at an early 
period, asserts that few colonies, and these only in the 
vicinity of the fortresses, were formed by the French dur- 
ing their occupation. 

The authority from whom I have already given extracts 
states that in 1750, "fourteen farms were occupied in the 
vicinity of Crown point, and great encouragement given 
by the king for that purpose," and "that other colonists 
were approaching." 2 The journal of Rogers contains re- 
peated references to villages adjacent to Fort St. Frederic 
and situated upon both sides of the lake. 

The devastation in 1745, of the settlement of Saratoga, 
by an Indian and French force, armed and organized at 
Crown point, and the deeper atrocities committed a few 
years later at Hoosick, by the same bands, while they in- 
creased the apprehensions of the colonies, excited to the 
highest intensity the desire and purpose of vengeance. 
This feeling could be best consummated in the destruction 
of St. Frederic. Whilst that fortress was occupied by a 
powerful and vigilant rival, the tenure of life and property 
in the adjacent English colonies, was esteemed so preca- 
rious and valueless, that the country north of the Mohawk, 
until the conquest of Amherst, was nearly depopulated. 

A convention of the colonial governors had been held at 
Albany in 1747, but without yielding any fruits of prac- 
tical utility. The increasing and more active aggressions of 
France, both in the Ohio valley and upon Lake Champlain, 
demanded a similar meeting in 1754, that was only mem- 

1 Doc. History. 2 Doc. Hist., vi, 582. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 49 

orable for the adoption of a Plan of Union between the 
British colonies, inspired by Franklin, and which, although 
at the time futile, formed the prolific germ from whence 
in another generation sprung the American confederacy. 
It was on this occasion, that the venerable Hendrik, the 
great Mohawk chieftain, pronounced one of those thrilling 
and eloquent speeches that marked the nobler times of the 
Iroquois. It excited the wonder and admiration of those 
who listened, and commanded the highest encomiums where- 
ever it was read. 1 In burning words he contrasted the 
supiueuess and imbecility of England, with the energies of 
French policy. His hoary head and. majestic bearing 
attached dignity and force to his utterances. " "We," he 
exclaimed, " would have gone and taken Crown point, but 
you hindered us." He closed his philippic with this over- 
whelming rebuke: "Look at the French, they are men. 
They are fortifying everywhere. But you, and we are 
ashamed to say it, you are like women, bare and open with- 
out any fortifications." 2 

The admonitions of the provincial governments, and the 
cry of alarm and agitation that arose from every section of 
the colonies, at length aroused the English ministry to the 
duty of their protection, and the assertion of the honor of 
Britain. Between France and England a peace, under the 
solemnities of treaty, still existed. Four distinct expedi- 
tious were, however, organized, professedly to guard the 
colonial possessions of England ; but prepared, at the propi- 
tious moment, to be hurled upon the strongholds of French 
power. In this combination an army, designed for the 
reduction of Crown point, was assembled at Albany, and 
confided to the command of William Johnson. The zeal 
and solicitude of ISTew England, for the conquest of the 
fortresses upon Champlain, exasperated by the alarms and 
calamities of a quarter of a century, excited all the en- 
thusiasm of her bold and energetic yeomanry. Every 



1 Dwiglit's Travels, Gentleman's Magazine, Shirley aud Gov. Livingstone. 

2 Stone's Johnson. 

4 



50 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

requisition of the government was met amply and with 
promptitude. Levies from New York and New England 
constituted all the forces demanded. 

France was not insensible to the gathering storm, which 
began to lower around her American empire, and prepared 
to meet and avert it. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Dieskau, 1755, 1757. 

The bold and rocky cliffs which mark the confluence of 
the waters of Lake St. Sacrament with Lake Champlain, 
a position still more imposing than Crown point, and 
deeper within the domains of the Iroquois, had attracted 
the attention of the French engineers. 1 In the summer 
of 1755, De Quesne advised the construction of works at 
that point. " St. Frederic was threatening to fall on all 
sides." 2 The selection of the site and the construction of 
the fort, was confided to Lotbiniere, an engineer of the 
province. " A rock, which crowns all the environs, whose 
guns could command both the outlet and that leading to 
the Grand marais and Wood creek, " was selected as the 
appropriate ground for the projected fortification. 3 The 
original work, which a year later was in an unfinished 

1 Saint Sacrament, literally the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament, which 
name it obtained in 1646, from Father Jogues, because he passed through it 
on the festival of Corpus Christi. — E. B. O'CaUaghan, Doc., ix, 400. The 
common impression that the name of this lake was suggested by the singu- 
lar purity of its water, is erroneous. By the aborigines, it was in one 
dialect called Canidere-Oit, or the tail of the lake, in reference to its rela- 
tion to Lake Champlain. — Spafford's Gazetteer. By the Iroquois it was 
named Andiatarocte, " there the lake shuts itself." — Relations. Honiton, 
although redolent with beauty, seems to be a pure poetical fancy. The 
various names attached, as well to tribes as to places, in the difficult Indian 
language, often lead to confusion and error. 

2 Du Quesne to Vaudreuil. 

"Vaudreuil, Doe., x, 225. Modern engineers will ratify the complaint of 
Lotbiniere, that his salary was no more than six hundred francs. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 51 

state, " was a square fort with four bastions, and built of 
earth and timber. 1 Johnson, the same year, mentions 
Ticonderoga as an important, but unoccupied position. 2 
Such was the inception of Fort Carillon, a fortress and a 
locality destined to a terrific preeminence in the future 
scenes of a sanguinary war. 3 At what period the massive 
stone battlements were constructed, which still reveal the 
former magnitude and strength of the fortress, by its 
grand and picturesque ruins, I cannot determine. At 
the approach of Abercrombie, in 1758, the French were 
energetically engaged in augmenting both the extent and 
strength of the works. Crown point, by its unfavorable 
position, and the decaying walls of St. Frederick, had fallen 
into a subordinate attitude, " as a second line of defense." * 
When the court of St. Cloud was made aware of the de- 
parture of Braddock's formidable expedition, a powerful 
fleet was promptly dispatched from the French posts bear- 
ing six battalions of regular troops, designed to aid in the 
defense of the colonies. It bore also Vaudreuil, the governor 
general of new France, and with him came Baron de Dieskau 
as commander in chief of the colonial armies. Dieskau was 
a pupil of Saxe, trained from youth to age in the battle-fields 
of Europe, and skilled in the handling of drilled and veteran 
troops, ardent and aspiring, and stimulated by the desire of 
action and fame. Dieskau prepared without delay to open 
his American career by the capture of Oswego. Half of his 
forces were already advancing in accordance with that plan, 
and " the thing, " he exclaims in his characteristic but im- 
aginary conversation with Saxe in the Elysian fields, 5 " was 
inevitable," when Vaudreuil, alarmed by intelligence from 
St. Frederick, altered his design and hurried Dieskau, im- 
patient and reluctant, to the defense of Lake Champlain. 
He hastened to Crown point with three thousand men, and 

l Doc, x, 414. 2 Idem, xi,997. 

3 Carillon seems to bear the same signification as the Indian name, " the 
Onderoga," the original of Ticonderoga, noise-chimes, in allusion, doubtless, 
to the brawling waters. 

4 Montcalm. 6 Doc, x, 340. 



52 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

there learnt that Johnson was lying at Fort Edward and 
Lake St. Sacrament, slowly collecting his forces and prepar- 
ing to advance. 

Immediately upon his arrival in Virginia, Braddock con- 
vened a conference of the colonial governors at Alexandria 
to determine and harmonize a concerted action of the 
English colonies in a general attack on the French posses- 
sions. In consonance with the plan then decided upon, 
an army intended to move against the French works on 
Lake Champlain, was entrusted to the command of William 
Johnson, who had already achieved prominence in the 
colonial affairs of New York, by his estates, his com- 
manding abilities, and by his efficient and zealous measure 
in organizing the militia of that . province. Johnson 
was Irish by birth, and of ancient and respectable lineage. 
He emigrated to America in boyhood, and at an early age 
occupied a subordinate but highly responsible position as 
agent for the large landed property of his uncle, Sir Peter 
"Warren, lying in the vicinity of the Mohawk river. Living 
in baronial magnificence among the Mohawks, his justice,. 
magnanimity and generous habits imparted to him a potent 
influence over his aboriginal neighbors. He had never 
seen a field of battle, and had no knowledge of military 
affairs, only as he had derived it from the theory of books, 
or like his cotemporary Clive, he became a soldier from the 
intuitive perceptions of his own genius. 

Most of the army which Johnson was to lead, had, in 
June, 1755, assembled in the vicinity of Albany. A large 
proportion of the troops were from New England, but the 
character of Johnson, and the influence of Shirley of 
Massachusetts, secured his appointment, and in its pro- 
priety there seems to have been a harmonious and loyal 
acquiescence. 

The embarrassments and delays always incident to the 
organization of new levies, retarded the advance until the 
last week in August. Leaving a part of his troops at 
Fort Edward, and in an adjacent encampment for its 
protection, Johnson advanced with a force, including 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 53 

Indians, of about thirty-four hundred men, to the foot of 
Lake St. Sacrament, of the French, and by him then iirst 
called Lake George, " not only in honor of his majesty, but 
to ascertain his undoubted dominion here." 1 He "found 
the country a mere wilderness, not one foot cleared." 2 
Here he prepared ground " in a protected position for the 
camp of five thousand men," the number whose presence 
he was warranted in expecting. His army, fresh from 
the plough and the workshop, save a few who had been 
engaged at the siege of Louisburg, were novices in the 
arts and services of war. The provincials, clothed in the 
home-spun garments woven by wives and mothers, armed 
only with their own rifles and fowling pieces, without 
bayonets, but animated by the noblest impulses of patriot- 
ism and courage, and inspired by a fervid religious enthu- 
siasm, which enkindled the faith that they were battling 
in defense of the altars of protestantism and for the sub- 
version of idolatry. While the preparations were in 
active, but to their impatient ardor, slow progress, they 
were restive and impatient for the advance. On the sab- 
bath, in obedience to their puritan habits, they assembled 
to unite in prayer and" to listen to the word," while their 
swarthy allies gravely hear the interpretation of a long 
sermon. 3 The native groves, the primitive temples of 
God, witness their worship. 

Johnson, under the delusion of a singularly false secu- 
rity, neglected to erect even the slightest works for the 
protection of the army. His designs embraced the con- 
struction of a fort near the ground he occupied, in the view 
of ultimate security, and when the necessary bateaux 
were built he " proposed to proceed clown the lake to an 
important pass called Ticonderoga, and there endeavor to 
take post until the rest of the forces join me, and thence 
march to the attack of Crown point. All of which I hope 
to be able to accomplish in three weeks." * But all these 



1 Johnson to Lords of Trade, Doc, VI, 997. * Idem. 3 Bancroft. 
* Doc., vi, 999. 



54 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

purposes were suddenly arrested by the startling and un- 
expected tidings, that a French army had landed at South 
bay, and rapidly advancing in his rear, was threatening to 
sever his communications with Fort Edward. 

The written instructions of Vaudreuil to Dieskau were 
clear and positive, that he should advance from Crown 
point with his entire force, and that he should not attack 
the English entrenchments without a cautious recognition. 1 
Each of these instructions was violated by Dieskau, but 
under circumstances that warranted him conducting a re- 
mote command, to exercise an individual judgment, which 
justified apparent disobedience. "When disaster had clouded 
the fortunes of Dieskau, a complaint of this action was car- 
ried by Vaudreuil with extreme bitterness to the throne. 2 
With half his army, consisting of six hundred Canadians, 
six hundred Indians and three hundred regulars, Dieskau 
advanced, leaving the remainder to occupy Carillon, and to 
maintain a position known as the " two rocks," to cover 
his retreat in case of defeat. 3 

The motives which controlled the decision of Dieskau, he 
explains in the dialogue with Saxe. He intended a mere 
coup de main, and no regular investment or assault, and 
for that object he deemed his force adequate. 4 The close 
supply of provisions, the necessity of a rapid march through 
a wild and wooded country, and crossing deep streams, 
sometimes along a single log, rendered the use of a larger 
force impracticable. He had been informed by his spies, that 
Johnson lay in an unfortified camp at Lake George 
short of supplies, and that a body of nine hundred militia 
troops, which in a common professional spirit he despised, 5 



1 Doc, x, 325. 2 Vandreuil to Machault, Doc, x, 318. 

3 These rocks, called the Pulpit and Narrows, stand on the junction 
of the towns of Dresden and Putnam. — Fitche's Washington County. Some 
discrepancy exists in the accounts of the relative proportions of Dieskau's 
forces, but none as to the aggregate. 

4 Col. Doc, x, 341. 

6 They are such miserable soldiers that a single Indian would put ten 
of them to flight." — Idem. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 55 

were encamped near Fort Edward, and that this work was 
only protected by unfinished palisades. Upon this intelli- 
gence he formed the plan of his campaign. It was con- 
ceived with great ability, and in the instincts of bold enter- 
prise, and its execution was attempted by the highest 
vigor and intrepidity. A brilliant success would have 
approved the scheme, had his army been composed of the 
drilled veterans he was accustomed to lead. But a just 
estimate of savage hordes and raw levies scarcely less intrac- 
table, did not enter into the contemplations of Dieskau, 
and in the anguish of wounds and defeat he bitterly ex- 
claimed : " These then, are the troops which have been so 
much crowed up to me." * 

On the fourth of September, 1755, Dieskau, in confor- 
mity with the designs he had adopted, proceeded up Wood 
creek, and, traversing the shallow waters of South bay, left 
one hundred and twenty men to guard his bateaux, and 
had advanced through the woods by three days' march, 
intending, on the morning of the fourth, to assail and de- 
feat the militia before Fort Edward, and to capture the 
works; this accomplished he proposed to march rapidly 
against Johnson, cut off his communications, and to anni- 
hilate his army by a sudden and impetuous attack. But 
his guides, either bewildered in the mazes. of the forest, or 
treacherous in their purpose, wandered from the proposed 
course, and when light appeared they were several miles on 
the road leading to the English camp. The Indians, who 
had become alarmed by the rumors of artillery on the fort, 
although not a single gun was mounted, refused to assail it 
or to cover an assault by the French, arguing with a singu- 
lar casuistry, that the laud it occupied belonged to England. 2 
They professed a readiness to attack Johnson, 3 and while 

1 Hist. Doc., x, 334. 2 Idem, 342. 

3 Johnson establishes in his letter to Sir Charles Hardy the wisdom of 
Dieskau's original plan : " Happily for us he complied [with the proposition of 
the Indians] for he would have found our troops separately encamped out of 
the works and no cannon there, and his victory would have probably been a 
very cheap one, and made way for another here." — Hist. Doc., vi, 1014. 



56 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Dieskau was promptly changing his movements to gratify 
this caprice, he received intelligence that a large detach- 
ment was advancing from the lake on the road he occupied 
to relieve the fort. 

Johnson, immediately, when informed of the advance of 
Dieskau, convened a council of his officers. The aged 
Hendrik participated in the consultation, and seems to have 
been its Nestor. When the march of a small body of troops 
was proposed, he remarked, in the laconic and sententious 
manner of his race : " If they are to fight they are too few, 
if they are to be killed, they are too many." And when it 
was suggested that the detachment should be divided into 
three bodies, he gathered three sticks from the ground : 
" Put these together, " he said, " and you can't break them ; 
take them up one by one and you may break them readily." 
Had the wise savage ever heard of the classic fable ? 
Hendrik was the sage in council, the consummate orator, 
and on the war-path the bold and sagacious leader; and in 
the combination of those qualities, was the last of the noble 
Mohawks. He had visited England twice; was received 
with distinction at court, and was slightly educated. 
Immediately, before Colonel Williams began his march, 
Hendrik mounted a stage and harangued his people. His 
strong masculine voice, it was supposed, might be heard at 
the distance of half a mile. A spectator, who did not 
understand a word of his language, afterwards said, " that 
the animation of Hendrik, the fire of his eye, the force of 
his gestures, his emphasis, the inflexions of his voice and 
his whole manner affected him more deeply than any 
speech he had ever heard." l 

It was decided by the council that Colonel Ephraim Wil- 
liams, with a thousand provincials, supported by Hendrik 
and two hundred Mohawk warriors, should promptly march 
to relieve the fort. Williams, who a few days before, by a 
will executed at Albany, created the foundation of an institu- 
tion, which a memorial of his love of science still preserves 

1 DirighVs Travels. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 57 

his name, was inspired by the earnest and heroic spirit of 
his province, was a gallant soldier, but untutored, except 
in trifling Indian warfare, by any military experience. He 
advanced precipitately, but with little soldierly circumspec- 
tion. Hendrik, on horseback, led the van. 

Meanwhile, the skill of the French commander had 
prepared for them a terrible reception. He placed his 
forces on the road he occupied, in a defile about three 
miles from Johnson's camp, arranging them in the. form 
of a parallelogram, with front open, or as a cut de sac. 1 
The Canadians were posted on the right, the Indians 
upon the left, and the regulars at the extremity, with 
strict orders to the two former, " not to move or to discharge 
a single gun, until the French had fired." The rock, the 
bushes and forest disguised the presence of an army, and 
Williams entered into this " valley of death " in the midst 
of an invisible foe. At this moment, when, to the prac- 
ticed eye of Dieskau, the destruction of the whole detach- 
ment appeared inevitable, a part of the Iroquois arose 
from their hiding place, and, perceiving their Mohawk 
brethren in the English army, fired into the air, and thus 
revealed the ambush. These were Senecas, the western 
tribe of the confederacy, but domiciliated in Canada, 
whose fidelity, Dieskau, in his correspondence with Vau- 
dreuil, had uniformly distrusted. This treachery, probably 
without premeditation, was stimulated by that strong 
fraternal affection, which united the different tribes of the 
confederacy in bonds firmer than their political union, 
and was a remarkable feature in the character of the Iro- 
quois. Each canton might independently accept a sub- 
sidy from England or France, and would serve with fidelity 
and fight with courage against the adverse nation or in 
hostility to alien Indian tribes, but previous to the revolu- 
tion were never — possibly some rare and brief exceptions 
may have occurred — brought into conflict with any other 
branch of the confederacy. In the war of independence, 

1 Hist. Doc, X, 342, where he represents his formation by a diagram. 



58 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

a part of the Oneidas received the war-belt from the Ame- 
rican congress, and engaged in a sanguinary contest with 
their kindred tribes. 

The friendly or treacherous warning came too late, to 
save the provincials and Mohawks from the fatal error of 
their leader. -A crushing fire was poured upon them in 
front and from the right. Williams, who gallantly took 
position upon a rock — the same rock that is now the base 
of his own monument — at the first alarm, better to observe 
and direct the battle, early fell. Hendrik, nearly at the 
same moment, was also killed. 1 The provincials and In- 
dians retreated in coufusion, "doubled up," Dieskau wrote, 
" like a pack of cards, and fled pell-mell to their intrench- 
ments." 2 They were soon rallied by Lt. Colonel "Whiting, 
fought with great valor, and under cover of a party of three 
hundred men commanded by Colonel Cole, which had 
been opportunely detached by Johnson to their support, 
effected a retreat in good order to the camp. 

Dieskau, bursting through the red tape instructions of 
Vaudreuil, and following the inspiration of the motto in- 
scribed upon his crest : " Boldness wins," did not pause to 
reconnoitre, but leading the French and Canadians, rapidly 
pursued, hoping in the panic and confusion to enter with 
the fugitives, an unfortified camp; but again the Indians 
disappointed and deceived him. When they saw the sem- 
blance of an intrenchmeut, and " heard the roar of cannon, 
stopped short." He still advanced, but soon perceived the 
Canadians also "scattering right and left." 3 

Johnson, when he heard the noise of the battle, and 
knew by its approach that his troops were retreating, with 
admirable promptitude and energy, sent forth the reen- 
forcement of Cole, and prepared for the impending conflict. 
The skilled woodsmen of New England rapidly felled 
trees, which, with the wagous and baggage formed a hasty 



1 A cotemporaneous account states that Hendrik fired the first shot in the 
battle. — Pownall to Lords of Trade, Doc, vi, 1008. 
2 Doc, x, 343. 'Idem-, 343. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 59 

and partial breastwork, while two or three cannons were 
hurried from the shore of the lake, where they had been 
placed ready for embarkation. The defection of the 
irregular troops compelled Dieskau to make a brief halt 
in front of the works, 1 which was a precious boon to the 
intrenching provincials. Then ensued, protracted through 
the horrors of more than four hours, the most severe and 
bloodiest fight the wilds of the new world had ever wit- 
nessed. Dieskau first assaulted with his regulars the 
centre, but, "thrown into disorder by the warm and con- 
stant fire of the artillery and colonial troops," was repulsed. 2 
Then he assailed the left flank, and, in a last and desperate 
effort, hurled his wasted and bleeding veterans upon the 
extreme right, with the impetuosity and heroic daring 
that belonged to the troops of France. But this attack was 
also crushed by the overwhelming fire from the intrench- 
ments. In their excited ardor, many of the provincials 
and Indians leaping over the frail breastworks, opposed 
the butts of their reversed guns to the glittering bayonets 
of the French, aud completed with a great slaughter, 
their defeat. 3 The Canadians and Indians inflicted con- 
siderable loss upon the Americans from an adjacent 
morass, but were dispersed by a few shots thrown into 
their midst. And this was the extent of their services. 
However inherently brave, as was attested by many a 
bloody field, the habitans of Canada were reluctant and 
murmuring levies, forced into a war of conquest by a 
ruthless conscription, that swept, on the threshold of har- 
vest, every able-bodied man from the district of Montreal, 
leaving their crops to be gathered by coerced labor, from 
other sections of the province. 4 

Dieskau appears not to have been adapted by tempera- 
ment or manners, to conciliate the attachment or to com- 
mand the confidence of his savage allies. Instead of 
indulging in familiar intercourse and yielding to their 

'Johnson's official report. 2 Johnson's report. s Johnson, idem. 
4 Breard to Machault, Doc, x, 309. 



60 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

habits and peculiarities, he maintained with them — and 
equally with his subordinates and the Canadians — the 
stately German style of seclusion and exclusiveness. ■ 
This course destroyed the influence and devotion, which 
could only be exerted over their rude and capricious na- 
ture, by controlling their impulses and affections. They 
could not comprehend the motive of Dieskau in his rapid 
attack on the entrenched camp, and asked delay, " that 
they might rest and care for their wounded." When he 
persisted, they exclaimed in amazement : " Father you have 
lost your reason, listen to us." ! 

Dieskau, thrice wounded and disabled, refused to be 
carried from the field by Montrueil, his subordinate, and 
" ordered him in the king's name to assume the command 
and make the best retreat he could." 2 Two Canadians 
came to his relief, " hut one was killed outright," writes 
Dieskau, "falling across my legs to my great embarrass- 
ment." Bathed in blood and calmly supporting himself 
against a tree, while the tempest of bullets hurtled about 
him, he remained until the advance of the provincials, 
when he was again deliberately fired at by a refugee 
Frenchman. 3 The shot penetratiug both hips, perforated 
an internal organ, and caused a wound, which, after twelve 
years of extreme suffering, terminated bis life. But his 
mental anguish far exceeded any physical suffering. He 
was allowed by his king to languish a prisoner until the 
peace of 1763, neglected by his country and an object of 
unjust calumny and aspersion. 4 

Dieskau, when his name was known, was tenderly borne 
by the victors to the tent of Johnson, placed upon his bed 
and received the prompt aid of Johnson's own surgeon. 



1 Hough's Pouclwt, i, 35, 47. 2 Idem, 343. 

3 " Leaping on me. he said in very good French, " Surrender." I said to 
him, " You rascal, why did you fire on me : you see a man lying on the 
ground bathed in blood, and you fire on him, eh ? " He answered, " How 
did I know but you had a pistol '? I prefer to kill the devil, than that the 
devil kill me." — Doc., x, 343. 

4 Dieskau to Belle Isle.— Doc, x, 806 ; Idem, 594. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 61 

Several Indians forced themselves into the tent and in 
passionate vehemence claimed the prisoner, that they might 
burn him to expiate the death of their chieftain. The 
determined attitude of Johnson and his great influence 
with the Mohawks, alone preserved Dieskau from this 
horrid doom. 1 Romance and sympathy still linger in the 
popular heart around the name of Dieskau. Able, valiant 
and generous, he fell, almost at the moment of victory, by 
the baseness and treachery of unworthy followers. He 
reached the St. Lawrence with high hopes and ardent am- 
bition, when June had scarcely decorated its shores in the 
beauty and verdure of spring ; but before the autumnal 
leaves had fallen, he was fatally stricken, defeated, and a 
captive. 2 

St. Pierre, the leader of the French Indians, and the de- 
fiant but chivalric negotiator with Washington on the 
banks of the Ohio two years before, fell on this bloody 
field. But the disasters of the French were not yet termi- 
nated. The army had scattered into fragments ; and a 
party of about three hundred, stopping for a brief rest, were 
encountered by a body of provincials under McGinnis of 
New Hampshire and Folsom of New York, were again 
routed and flying in confusion, abandoned all their bag- 
gage and ammunition to the conquerors. This triumph 
cost the life of the gallant McGinnis. 3 The French at 
the moment of the assault had cast off the packs containing 
their supplies, and in the confusion of their hurried retreat 
did not recover them, aud wandered two days in the woods 
and through morasses without food. 4 

The losses of the respective armies were nearly the same, 
each including several valuable officers, amounting to about 
four hundred and fifty of the French, and one hundred 
less of the English and Mohawks, while both could claim 
peculiar advantages from the results. The French had 
arrested the advance of the British armies, and for the sea- 

1 Dieskau, Doc, x, 343. 2 Bancroft. 3 Graham's Colonial History, n, 200. 
4 Mortreuil to D'Argenson, Doc. x, 359. 



62 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

son averted an attack upon the works on Lake Champlain. 
For Britain, a victory had been achieved, which, succeeding 
so soon the disasters of Braddock, thrilled the land with joy 
and exultation. In the mind of the provincials the prestige 
of invincibility, which had attached to science and disci- 
pline was gone forever, and the issue of this battle had its 
fruition by the influence it imparted in a future and a 
nobler contest for national independence and freedom. The 
narrative of this triumph will ever warm the heart of the 
American historian with interest and pride, for this was the 
first field on which the yeomanry of the colonies, led by 
their own citizens, met and vanquished the trained vete- 
rans of Europe. 

Johnson, at an early stage of the conflict, was wounded, 
and left the field and the battle to be guided by the con- 
duct and intrepidity of Lyman of Massachusetts. These 
and the fiery and persistent valor of the troops, won the 
victory. The Mohawks and the colonists were alike cla- 
morous for the pursuit of the flying enemy; the one burn- 
ing to avenge the death of their beloved sachem, and the 
other panting to crush a foe that so often had desolated 
their own borders with fire and blood. But the prudence, 
or timidity of Johnson who professed to fear a renewed 
attack with artillery, restrained their ardor, and the French 
secured an unmolested retreat to Carillon. 1 The voice of 
New England and the council of his officers urged the accom- 
plishment of the original designs of the campaign, while the 
French army was demoralized by defeat, the works at Ticon- 
deroga scarcely commenced and the walls of St. Frederick 
crumbling, but the Mohawks returned to their wigwams, 
and Johnson, irresolute and hesitating, lost the occasion, and 
wasted the season in the profitless labor of erecting Fort 
William Henry. The campaign was closed, and the army 
disbanded. 2 On another field, Johnson vindicated claims 
to high military talents ; but here he seems to shrink from 
risking by the contingencies of war laurels already plucked, 

1 Doc, x, 1013. 2 Bancroft and Graham. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTOEY. 63 

and which he probably perceived in his visions, gilded with 
future honors and fortune. Johnson was magnanimous to- 
wards his fallen enemy, but unjust and ungenerous to his as- 
sociates. 1 Ascribing to himself the glory of the great event, 
Lyman was not named in the official report, while a faint 
and cold commendatory notice was extended .to a few of 
the subordinate officers. The services of Lyman, and the 
courage of the American citizens, who achieved the vic- 
tory, received from England neither applause nor recogni- 
tion, while Johnson was dignified by a baronetcy, made 
royal superintendent of Indian affairs with a grant by 
parliament of £5,000, wrung from the scanty pittance 
allowed the suffering colonies for the burdens they had in a 
generous patriotism self-imposed. 

It was not until the summer succeeding these exciting 
events, that open and mutual declarations of war were 
proclaimed between France and England. The contest 
lanquished during the year 1756 upon the borders of 
Champlain. In that year, another force was organized for 
the attack of Crown point. As on the former occasion 
the colonies presented their required contingents, but 
delays, dissensions, the incapacity and indecision of the 
English commanders, again exhausted the season. Offen- 
sive operations were limited to the bold and romantic 
exploits of the American rangers and the partisan corps of 
France. Eogers, the gallant ranger, was particularly 
conspicuous in these wild and daring adventures. Some- 
times stealing under the cover of night by the forts in 
canoes, he lay in ambush far down the lake, surprised and 
captured boats laded with supplies, which, unsuspicious 
of danger, were proceeding to relieve the garrisons. Fre- 
quently he approached the forts by land, and prowling 
about them with Indian skill and patience, until he ascer- 
tained the intelligence he was ordered to collect, he cap- 
tured prisoners, shot down stragglers, burnt dwellings, and 

1 Dieskau to D'Argenson, Doc, x, 318. 



64 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

slaughtered cattle feeding around the works, and then de- 
fying pursuit, retreated in safety. 1 

In one of these bold incursions, which signalized the 
opening of the next year, Rogers and Stark had penetrated 
with a force of less than eighty men, to a point between 
the French fortresses, near the mouth of a stream, since 
known as Putnam's creek, and there, in ambush, awaited 
their victims. A party of French are passing in gay and 
joyous security on the ice toward Ticonderoga. Part are 
taken, the rest escape and alarm the garrison. The rangers 
attempt to retreat, pressing rapidly along the snow path, 
in Indian file, as was their custom, but on ascending 
the crest of a hill they receive the fire of an overwhelming 
force, posted with every advantage to receive them. 2 A 
fierce and bloody conflict ensued, protracted from near 
meridian until evening. The rangers retreating to a hill, 
are protected by the covert of the trees and there gallantly 
sustain the unequal conflict. Rogers, twice wounded, 
yields the command of the little band to Stark, who with 
infinite skill and courage, guides the battle, repulses the 
foe, with a loss far exceeding his entire force, and at night 
conducts a successful retreat to Lake George. Leaving 
there his wounded and exhausted companions, Stark, 
accompanied by only two volunteers, traverses on snow 
shoes, a distance of forty miles, and returns to them, with 
aid and supplies the second morning. This courageous 
band, reduced to forty-eight effective men, with their pri- 
soners effected a retreat to Fort William Henry in safety. 
This incident, brilliant as it appears, is rivaled, if not 

1 Rogers's Journal, 16, 18, 20, 24. Rogers, on a later occasion, manifested 
that humor was blended with his daring. He killed fifteen beeves almost 
beneath the walls of Carillon, and to the horns of one attached a paper couched 
in these words : " I am obliged for the repose you have allowed me to 
take ; I thank you for the fresh meat you have sent me. I shall take care 
of my prisoners ; I request you to present my compliments to the Marquis 
De Montcalm. Rogers, Commandant of the Independent Companies." — 
Doc, x, 839. 

2 This battle is supposed to have occurred near the residence of M. B. 
Townsend, in Crown point. — 0. Fenton. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 65 

eclipsed by a chivalric and daring exploit of the French. 
A detachment of fifteen hundred French and Canadians, 
led by Vaudreuil in the ensuing February, who traversed the 
ice aud snows of Champlain and Lake George, a distance 
of more than one hundred miles, traveling upon snow shoes, 
" their provisions on sledges drawn by dogs, a bear skin for 
their coach," and " a simple veil " their only covering. 
Their errand was the surprise and capture of William Henry. 
But the garrison was wary and vigilant. The fort was 
defended with success, although the vessels and bateaux, 
with the store houses and huts of the rangers were con- 
sumed. 

On the return of the French from this expedition they 
were exposed to an infliction, rare in the sufferings incident 
to war. The reflection of the bright March sun from the 
dazzling surface of the snow produced a partial although 
temporary blindness, in one-third of the party. So severe 
was this opthalmic attack, that those affected were obliged 
to be led by their companions. 1 

A bold and secret attack byEuglish boats upon the out- 
works and flotilla at Ticonderoga, was, some months after, 
signally defeated with severe loss. 

The northern colonies, still eager for the expulsion of 
the French from their borders, acceded to the requisition 
of Loudon, and assumed to raise four thousand troops for 
the campaign of 1757. These contingents, they supposed, 
were designed for the reduction of Crown point and 
Ticonderoga. Loudon, either from caprice or instability, 
suddenly announced the abandonment of that expedition, 
and his purpose of uniting his forces for the conquest of 
Louisburg. This futile and impracticable scheme left 
the frontier of the colonies open and unprotected. The 
vigilant and sagacious enemy, from their watch-towers, at 
Carillon, saw the error and prepared promptly to seize the 
advantage. 

1 Gameau, in, 88 ; Pouchot. 
5 



QQ HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

CHAPTER V. 

Montcalm, 1756, 1757. 

The Marquis cle Montcalm was ordered to Canada as the 
successor of Dieskau. A nobleman of high birth, nurtured 
in camps from the age of fourteen, animated by spirit and 
genius in his profession, and guided by an uncommon grasp 
of views and perceptions in the political affairs of his coun- 
try, he was calculated to act a distinguished role in the 
bloody drama then enacting in the new world. Montcalm 
had served with distinction in the wars of Italy, Germany, 
and Bohemia, and numerous wounds attested the severity of 
his services. He was a scholar deeply conversant with the 
classics of Greece and Rome. Repeated instances in the 
progress of events had illustrated how almost utterly value- 
less were the experience and science gained in the wars of 
Europe, in projecting or conducting a campaign in the 
wilds of America. The acute sagacity of Montcalm at 
once perceived this fact, and he promptly engaged in pro- 
curing " information of a country and a war, in which 
everything is different to what obtains in Europe." 1 Along 
the vast boundary line that divided the possessions of 
France and England, extending from Acadia to the Missis- 
sippi, an unbroken forest, often hundreds of miles in width, 
separated the occupied districts of the alien provinces. 
These forests had but slight assimilation to the poetical 
green woods of the old world, but disclosed only dark, tan- 
gled, dank and impervious tracts, penetrated alone by the 
trail of the Indian. On either side the bold and hardy 
pioneers were gradually, but constantly invading these 
solitudes. Their vigorous arms were slowly carving out 
spots, where the humble cabins were built upon the verge 
of this boundless forest. A perpetual warfare was waged 
between the savages, who regarded these wildernesses as 
their homes and their hunting grounds, and this vanguard 

1 Doc, x, 400. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 67 

of civilization. The aborigines knew no other method of 
attack than the secret ambuscade, and surprise, and in 
actual fighting, the covert by each individual of a tree, a 
rock or a bush. The practices of civilized war, the con- 
certed manoeuvres of troops, or the mechanism that moved 
drilled battalions, were found in many a conflict with 
Indian warriors without efficiency, and powerless. The 
instincts of self-preservation compelled the settlers to adopt 
the method of savage arts, and they became expert pupils 
in this horrid warfare. With almost equal skill as their 
Indian teachers, they learned to form the ambush, to make 
the sudden attack, to thread the intricacies of the forest, to 
pursue the trail of a foe, and to disguise their own. The 
tomahawk was wielded by the backwoodsman with 
savage dexterity, and even the terrible offices of the scalp- 
ing-kuife were often familiar to his habits. 1 In these wars, 
mercy was seldom recognized, and a mutual extermination 
was their stimulating motive. 

The exigencies of these circumstances and of the times, 
called into existence a novel organization of troops, little 
known to the military bureaux of Europe. The partisan 
corps of New France, and the American rangers and 
scouts, combined with most of the Indian characteristics 
some infusion of the discipline and subordination belong- 
ing to regular armies. These bodies, especially the 
French corps, united with a large savage element, were 
the most effective and active arm of forest warfare upon 
the borders of New England, and New York. These 
savages reached everywhere, overwhelming alike the hut 
of the frontier and the dwellings and hamlets, whose re- 
moteness seemed to secure immunity from danger ; flank- 
ing armies and fortresses, and suddenly striking a blow, 
far in the interior of the hostile territory, and retreating 
by the light of burning villages or the flames of solitary 
cabins with the scalps of childhood and age, of the soldier 
and woman, they would steal back silently to their lurk- 

1 Hough's Pouchot, 77. 



68 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ing places. Marin — the Molang of tradition and popular 
tales — was the prominent leader of the French expeditions, 
and by his brilliant qualities as a partisan, and by deeds 
of valor, often sanguinary, but sometimes redeemed by 
generous acts, he was a worthy, though formidable antago- 
nist to Rogers and Putnam, the gallant chiefs of the 
American rangers. Marin was originally attached to the 
navy of France, but at an early age, allured by the romance 
and daring character of the border warfare of New France, 
he joined the irregular forces of the government, formed 
of Indians and Canadians. 

The French, far more than the English, were successful 
in conducting military operations in association with their 
savage auxiliaries. More flexible in their own feelings, 
they were more yielding and tolerant towards the peculiar 
habits and temperament of the Indians. Coercion and 
reason were powerless with such allies. Capricious, and 
intractable, superstitious and fluctuating, they could only 
be moved by their affections and controlled by an apparent 
yielding to their humors and impulses. The Indians, in 
these border wars, were often the most valuable auxiliaries, 
and achieved victory upon more than one important field ; 
but always unreliable, no safe calculations could be placed 
upon their services, their fidelity or constancy. Montcalm 
pronounced them inestimable as scouts and spies. The 
corps of Marin, so dreaded for its ubiquity, its bold exploits, 
and the desolation it inflicted upon the American settle- 
ments, was constituted chiefly of Indians. Scalps and 
prisoners commanded their price in market, and their 
comparative value was decided by the spirit of mercy or ven- 
geance which happened to prevail in the council chamber. 1 

Montcalm arrived in May, 1756, at Quebec, and has- 
tened without delay to the frontier, to acquire by personal 
inspection a knowledge of its conditions and capabilities 



1 Montcalm, in a postscript to D'Argenson, coolly adds : " Two canoes 
arriving while I write. They raise the dead cry. That wail announces 
that they have killed or captured eleven English." — Doc, x, 422. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 69 

of defense. Fifteen busy days he occupied in their in- 
vestigations. " Ambulances," he writes, " in a horrible 
condition; bread bad; the works at Carillon but little 
advanced; order to be introduced everywhere; recogni- 
zances of the passes to be made." l Recalled by Vau- 
dreuil to Montreal, he " traveled night and day," and 
after one day given to consultation, repaired with the 
same rapid speed to Frontenac. Such zeal animated 
the ardor of Montcalm, and he desired to impart the same 
spirit to all branches of the service and administration. 
In August, he had organized an adequate force and 
armament, and advancing with a celerity that disguised 
his movements, he suddenly besieged Oswego, which, 
after a brief defense, capitulated. Abandoning his con- 
quest, he left on its site only ruins and solitude. 2 In the 
autumn and winter succeeding, he was present at Carillon, 
and directed the events traced in the close of the last 
chapter. Marin, in July, 1757, was dispatched from 
Carillon, with a small body of Indians, to harass the Eng- 
lish scouting parties. He surprised near Fort Edward, 
and attacked with success, two detachments, and retreated 
triumphantly in the face of a superior force, that pursued 
him. " He was unwilling," wrote Montcalm to Vaudreuil, 
" to amuse himself making prisoners ; he brought in one, 
and thirty-two scalps." 3 Did this cold apathy presage 
the fearful scenes soon to occur at William Henry ? 

In the same summer, a party of three hundred and fifty 
provincials, under the command of Colonel Parker, in 
twenty-two bateaux, proceeding incautiously down Lake 
George, were surprised by a body of Ottawa Indians under 
Corbiere at Sabbath-day point. Only two boats and fifty 
men escaped the fatal ambush. 4 The next year when the 
British army stopped at the same place, they " beheld the 
melancholy remains of the command both in the water 
and on the land." 5 

l Doc., x, 432. 2 Bancroft. 3 Doc, x. 591. 4 Idem, 594. 6 Idem, 734. 



70 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Montcalm had directed all the powers of his genius and 
energies to the accomplishment of one great and desirable 
triumph. The fort at the head of Lake George, erected 
by Johnson, had been a perpetual object of alarm and 
anxiety to the government of Canada, and its conquest was 
a determined purpose, cherished in the colonial policy. 
The partial success of Vaudreuil, instead of repressing 
has prompted renewed effort. It was determined that the 
attempt should be repeated, with a force and efficiency, 
that must command success. In aid of this enterprise, all 
the savage tribes, controlled by the influence of France, 
were summoned. Their warriors gathered from the wilds 
of Lake Superior to the shores of Acadia, assembled 
around the fort at St. Johns. Montcalm, glowing with 
the triumph at Oswego, was there. By his success, his 
courage and endurance, he had conciliated their affection. 
He justly wrote " I have seized their manners and genius. 1 

He mingled in their war dance, and chanted their war 
songs, captivating their hearts by his largesses and kind- 
ness, and exciting their savage passions by visions of plun- 
der and revenge. The warriors embarked in two hundred 
canoes, bearing the distinctive pennons of the various 
nations : the priests accompanied their neophytes, and 
while the war chants strangely blended with the hymn of 
the missionary, passed up Lake Champlain, to unite at 
Ticonderoga their rude forces with the legions of Montcalm. 
These had been rapidly assembled at Crown point and 
Carillon. 

The transportation of two hundred and fifty bateaux 
and two hundred canoes across the portage between Lake 
Champlain and Lake George, a space of about three miles, 
" without the aid of oxen or horses " was a gigantic labor, 
achieved by " men's arms alone; entire brigades headed 
by their officers, relieved each other in the work." 2 The 
next day, when all the preliminaries had been arranged, 
Montcalm called together the chiefs of the tribes in coun- 

1 Doc, x, 686. 3 Idem, 608. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. f X 

oil. Upon the shore of the lake "they were placed in 
ranks settled by themselves." The domiciliated Iroquois, 
the most numerous of the bands, and " the former pro- 
prietors of the soil," assumed the office of hosts, and 
received the remote tribes with the rites due to strangers. 
To the Iroquois, Montcalm presented the " great belt of 
two thousand beads, to bind the Indians to each other 
and all to himself." "When the tribes had been thus pro- 
pitiated, he unfolded to them all the plans of the expedi- 
tion. 1 These were satisfactory, and were adopted by a 
formal acquiescence. The insufficient supply of boats 
made ijt necessary for a part of the army to proceed by 
land. De Levis, with twenty-two hundred French and 
Canadians, escorted by six hundred Indians, starting two 
days in advance and leaving their baggage to be conveyed 
by water, undertook to traverse the rugged mountain 
track on the west side of the lake, which was scarcely 
practicable to the solitary hunter. On the 1st of August, 
the remainder of the forces embarked in bateaux. The 
artillery was transported upon pontoons, constructed by 
platforms resting on two boats, which were lashed together. 
The Christian Indians had employed the preceding days 
in the confessional, and devotion ; but the pagan tribes 
from the upper lakes " were juggling, dreaming, and fancy- 
ing that every delay portended misfortune." These tribes 
suspended " a full equipment to render the Manitou pro- 
pitious." Montcalm, in a severe austerity, to which he 
cordially subjected himself, reduced the supplies of the 
army to absolute necessities. 2 He appropriated " a canvas 
awning to every two officers, of whatever grade." "A 
blanket and a bear skin," he said, " are the bed of a war- 
rior in such an expedition." 3 



1 These independent people, whose assistance is purely voluntary, must 
be consulted, and their opinions and caprices are often a law to us." — Doc, 
x, 609. 

2 Doc, X, 610. * Idem, 637, Montcalm's Circular. 



72 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The army was composed of about five thousand five 
hundred effective men, with an auxiliary force of sixteen 
hundred Indians. 1 On the second day, early in the morning, 
they saw three signal fires at Ganaouske bay, that an- 
nounced the arrival of De Levis, and the assurance of 
security in disembarkation. De Levis had encountered 
toils and obstacles, which were only surmounted by the 
perseverance of hardihood acquired from the habits and 
example of their Indian allies. The same evening Mont- 
calm advanced towards the fort. During the night two 
English scout boats were discovered upon the lake, and 
pursued by the swift war canoes of the Indians. One of 
these boats was captured. Two only of the crew were saved, 
and the others massacred. 2 In the fight a distinguished 
warrior of the Nipissings was slain, and the next day the 
Indians consecrated to his funeral rites, in all the splendor 
and display of barbarian ceremonies. 3 The fort, garrisoned 
by five hundred men, commanded by a gallant veteran, 
Colonel Munroe, and supported by seventeen hundred 
troops in an intrenched camp adjacent, Montcalm was 
promptly and perfectly invested. De Levis occupied the 
right, the most exposed and important position, and held 
the road leading to Fort Edward ; Boulemarque took 
position on the left resting upon the lake, and Montcalm 
held the centre. 4 Immediately before the investment, 
Webb, who lay at Fort Edward, fourteen miles distant, 
with four thousand men, had visited William Henry, es- 
corted by Putnam and a body of rangers. Putnam de- 
scending the lake in a reconnaissance, discovered the 
approach of Montcalm, and at once returned, communicat- 
ing the fact to Webb, and urging him to prepare to oppose 



'Doc., x, 625. 

"The French account magnifies the crews into a hundred and fifty men, 
of whom " sixty or seventy were captured or drowned." The Indians at- 
tacked in their birch canoes, and by swimming " with guns and hatchets." — 
PoucJiot, i, 86. 

3 Bancroft. 

4 Doc, x, 601, 611. De Levis did not hold the left wing as stated by Bancroft. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 73 

the landing. Webb, enjoining secresy upon Putnam, 
hastily returned to Fort Edward. Johnson, on the day of 
Montcalm's departure from Carillon, received intelligence 
from Webb of the impending attack, and abandoning an 
Indian council in which he was engaged, collected the 
militia and Indians he was able to muster, and marched 
rapidly to Fort Edward, which he reached on the second 
day of the siege. The craven supineness of Webb was long 
deaf to the entreaties and expostulations of his subordi- 
nates to attempt the relief of the beleaguered fortress. He 
at length conceded to Johnson a reluctant permission to 
advance with the militia and rangers. But these generous 
designs were arrested, when they had scarcely proceeded 
three miles, by an imperative order from Webb to return. 1 
Montcalm was apprised of the movements of Johnson, and 
with his accustomed promptness prepared to meet it. 

The sole interest manifested by Webb for the heroic gar- 
rison, struggling in their hopeless position, was a chilling 
letter agitated by exaggerated fears, which he attempted 
to communicate to Monroe. In this letter, which was 
interrupted by Montcalm, but eagerly forwarded to Monroe, 
Webb advised, if "from the delays of the militia he should 
not have it in his power to give timely assistance," Monroe 
should obtain the best terms left in his power. 2 2 For this 
letter see appendix A.] On the same fortunate day of this 
event, Montcalm received dispatches from France announc- 
ing " royal favors to his army and conferring upon himself 
" the red ribbon with the rank of commander in the order 
of St. Louis." The army was animated with a more 
ardent enthusiasm by this appreciation of the king, and 
the Indians " hastened to compliment the general at the 
distinction which the great Onontio 3 had just decorated 

1 Thompson's Vermont ; Stone. 2 Pouchot, 11, 263. 

3 This term of respect was applied indiscriminately by the Indians to the 
king of France, the governor-general or other high officials. Its literal 
meaning is great mountain, an epithet originally applied to M. De Mont- 
magny, governor of Canada, of whose name it is a translation. (O'Calla- 
ghan's note, Doc, ix, 37). 



74 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

him, as they knew how highly he esteemed it ; that, as for 
themselves, they did not love or esteem him the more on 
that account, it was his person they loved, and not what 
he added to the exterior." 1 On the sixth day of the 
siege, Monroe, half his guns useless and his ammunition 
nearly exhausted, hung out a flag of truce. Terms the 
most liberal were extended to the garrison, either from a 
magnanimous respect for its gallant defense or dictated by 
an apprehension that Webb might arouse from his stupor 
and imbecility and assail the French rear. 

It was stipulated by the first article of the capitulation, 
that the English troops should march out of the works 
" with their arms and other honors of war," and be escorted 
on the road to Fort Edward by a detachment of French 
troops and interpreters attached to the Indians. 2 In order 
to secure their performance of this capitulation, the Indians 
were made parties to it, and formally ratified its provisions. 

The appalling event which followed the capitulation are 
involved in impenetrable mystery. They have been so dis- 
torted by passionate exaggerations and screened by such 
earnest and varied apologies and evasions, that they must 
ever remain among those problems in history, to which 
neither research nor speculations can afford any solution. 
This and many similar atrocities have been written upon 
the page of history, by unwise and unchristian policy, 
which added to the horrors of war by the introduction of 
fierce and savage barbarism into the conflicts between civil- 
ized nations. The distinct facts, which can be extracted 
from the confusiou of conflicting statements and the angry 
passions of the times are nearly these. The night suc- 
ceeding the capitulation had been spent by the Indians, in 
celebrating the victory with their customary orgies. Their 
minds were inflamed by the recital by the eastern tribes of 
real or imaginary wrongs recently inflicted by the English. 3 
As the garrison was marching from the entrenchments 
early in the morning, the Indians in a menacing attitude 

1 Doc, x, 613. 2 Idem, 617. 3 Idem, 616. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 75 

gathered about them and commencing their outrages by 
seizing the personal effects of the prisoners and brandish- 
ing the tomahawk and amusing themselves with the terror 
their savage pastimes excited among the English. Indivi- 
dual resistance was probably made to these indignities, and 
personal conflicts ensued. The Indians saw spoils, which 
as victors they thought belonged to themselves, eluding 
their grasp. 1 This idea combined with their inherent love 
of slaughter aroused their savage appetites. " The first 
blood that flowed inflamed all the ferocity of their nature, 
and for a while they recognized no regard to treaties or 
any restraints of power or influence. The panic-stricken 
Englishmen broke from their ranks, and, forgetting the 
weapons in their hands, fled in wild dismay pursued by the 
frenzied savages. At this moment Montcalm and other 
French officers rushed upon the scene baring their own 
breasts and interposing their arms for the protection of the 
prisoners and " by threats, prayers, caresses and conflicts 
with the chiefs, arrested the massacre." 2 " Kill me," cried 
Montcalm," but spare the English, who are under my pro- 
tection." More than half the British troops, in fragmentary 
detachments succeeded in reaching Fort Edward ; about 
thirty were slain ; four hundred were rescued with their 
property and restored under the capitulation by Montcalm, 
and many others, at his solicitation, were ransomed from 
the Indians by Vaudreuil. 3 It is evident that the escort of 
French troops stipulated by the capitulation were not sup- 
plied until after the massacre. 4 

Montcalm and his apologists affirm in his vindication, 
that the English troops, in uncontrollable alarm, left the 
intrenchments at an earlier hour than had been agreed 
upon ; that they had possessed, by the arms they carried, 
the means of resistance, but instead of this, scattered in 
ungovernable frenzy; that in disregard of the injunctions 
of the French, they gave intoxicating liquor to the In- 
dians, in the hope of conciliating them ; that Montcalm 

'Pouchot. "Doc, x, 637. 3 Doc. 'Idem. 



76 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

was powerless to control the hordes of peculiarly wild 
and ferocious savages who perpetrated the massacre, but 
had relied on the assurances of the chiefs, that they would 
maintain the treaty and prevent all discord; and that 
every effort was made by Montcalm and his subordinates, 
to arrest the violence, and by these exertions, an indis- 
criminate slaughter of the prisoners was averted. 

These apologies are not fully sustained by the authen- 
ticated facts. Bourgainville, the aide and adviser of 
Montcalm, explicitly states in his official report, that he 
'had destroyed "on the day of the surrender, all intoxicat- 
ing liquors in the English works." 1 Montcalm, in his 
first summons to Monroe, avowed a distrust of an ability to 
control his savage allies. With that knowledge, he should 
have exerted the right and power of the victor, if the 
English, in their infatuation and terror, were rushing 
upon these appalling dangers, and arrested them by 
force, until an adequate protection was prepared. ISTo 
motive of policy ; no desire to propitiate the affections of 
the Indians, should have received the consideration of a 
moment, in restraining the exercise of his whole military 
force, for the preservation of his own fame, the honor of 
his country, and the sacred faith of a capitulation. One, 
who himself participated in the horrors of the scene, and 
stripped of his clothing, narrowly escaped the massacre, 
insists in a minute account of the occurrences, " that the 
French neglected, and even refused protection to the 
English," imploring their mercy and interposition. 2 Bri- 
tish Indians, who were with the garrison, the French 
savages seized upon, without interference, and they per- 
ished in lingering and barbarous tortures. 3 

Calm history will always reject the impassioned tales, 
evolved from the exasperation and excitement of the times, 
of the complicity of Montcalm in a cold-blooded and pre- 
meditated slaughter of capitulated prisoners, and the 
wanton and barbarous cruelties imputed to him. Such 

1 Doc, x, 615. * Carver's Travels, 204. a Graham, u, 268. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 77 

atrocities were utterly incompatible with his high character 
as a Christian noble, a gallant soldier and a refined scholar, 
whose sensibilities had been purified and elevated by com- 
munion with the poets and philosophers of autiquity. But 
it can never exonerate his fame from the imputation of 
criminal negligence and a reckless disregard to the safety 
of those confided to his honor and protection by the most 
solemn act known to warfare. A moral responsibility for 
the consequences rests upon those, who set in motion a 
power, which they know they have no ability to guide or 
control. The Indians, in their eager pursuit of plunder 
and scalps, violated many new made graves, and tore from 
the decaying corpses the dread trophies that commanded 
rewards. Several of these graves contained victims to the 
small-pox. The plunderers contracted the infection, and 
bore the fell scourge to their winter lodges in the far west. 
Its fearful desolation among the savages who knew no 
remedy, and in superstitious dread sought no relief, cannot 
be conceived. The noble tribe of the Pottawattomies was 
nearly extinguished by its ravages. 1 

The total demolition of William Henry, and the capture 
of an immense quantity of munitions and public stores 
were the rewards of this expedition. Montcalm's triumph 
was mingled with deep satisfaction, when he reported that 
this conquest had been achieved with the loss of only fifty- 
three of his own army. On the 15th of August, he aban- 
doned a smoking ruin and bloody strand to silence and 
desolation. An ulterior object of the campaign contem- 
plated the reduction of Fort Edward. Had Montcalm 
comprehended the imbecility and paralysis that had fallen 
upon the British councils, this result and possibly the de- 
struction of Albany might have been accomplished. But 
the existence of facts so degrading, could scarcely enter 
into the calculations of his gallant spirit. The diminution 
of his forces an advance would have demanded, the limited 
extent of his supplies, and the urgent necessity imposed 



1 Pouclwt, 1,91. 



78 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

by an impending famine for the presence of the Canadians 
in their harvest fields, constrained Montcalm to be satisfied 
with the glory and success he had already achieved. Terror 
and alarm pervaded the English colonies. Webb sent his 
personal baggage to a place of security, and was preparing 
to fall back upon the highlands of the Hudson. Loudon, 
to defend the British possessions, had taken post upon 
Long Island. The English were expelled from the Ohio. 
Montcalm had established the domination of France 
throughout the valley of the St. Lawrence. A deep con- 
sternation and a cry of agony agitated New England. 
Britain and the colonies were alike stricken and humiliated. 1 



CHAPTER VI. 

TlCONDEROGA, 1758. 

The opening of the year 1758, was marked by an aug- 
mented activity and determination in the councils and 
operations of each of the belligerents. France and Eng- 
land, alike comprehended that the crisis was approaching 
which must decide their protracted struggle for the sove- 
reignity of the North American continent. In that field, 
the vast disproportion in their material resources and 
military strength, became constantly more obvious and 
decisive. Much of the soil of Canada, for more than one 
season, had been abandoned or only partially tilled, and 
the scanty harvest insufficiently gathered, while a large 
proportion of the peasantry, who should have cultivated 
the earth and gathered the crops, had been drawn into the 
field by the exigencies of the war. An unpropitious sea- 
son in 1757, caused a failure of the harvest, and especially 
that of wheat, which was the chief reliance of both the 
people and the army. For more than six months in the 
year, nature formed an impenetrable barrier to the naviga- 

1 Bancroft. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 79 

tion of the St. Lawrence. British ships thronged the track 
of the ocean between France and her colonies, rendering the 
transmission of supplies and troops precarious and nearly 
impracticable. A scarcity that nearly reached destitution, 
already prevailed in Canada. 1 In February, 1758, Mont- 
calm addressing the French minister writes : " the article 
of provisions makes me tremble." 2 

The population of Canada was estimated by Montcalm 
at only eighty-two thousand, and from these he computed 
he might rely upon about seven thousand men in the field 
at one time. This force was augmented by nearly four 
thousand regular troops. With this strength and with 
such resources, he was required to confront an army of 
fifty thousand men, subject to the orders of Abercrombie, 3 
and sustained by a rich and prosperous population in the 
British colonies of a million and a half, enjoying a constant 
and commodious intercourse with England. These em- 
barrassments were aggravated by other annoyances and 
difficulties, that galled the high, incorruptible spirit of 
Montcalm, and fettered his energies. An universal scheme 
of venality arid peculation pervaded every branch of the 
colonial government. The king was defrauded, and public 
measures paralyzed ; the people were oppressed, and the 
army, both officers and men, suffering and impoverished. 
Huge fortunes awarded the corrupt and debauched officials. 1 
A bitter animosity, inflamed by perpetual charges and 

'Vaudreuil states that in the late expeditions of the autumn of 1757, the 
troops were chiefly dependent for support upon the uncertain toils of the 
hunters. — Doc, x, 701. The citizens received a daily supply of one-fourth 
of a pound of bread, and this scanty ration was reduced to two ounces. — 
Montcalm, 448. Doreil writes : " many persons have died of hunger. Idem 
898. a Idem, 686. 

3 Hildreth. 

4 Doc, x, 960, 963. At the termination of the war, these frauds were 
investigated in France judicially. Vandreuil was acquitted. Bigot, the 
intendant, Varin, the commissary at Montreal, Breard, the comptroller of 
the navy, were convicted and banished. Pean, the instrument of these 
iniquities, by the influence of his wife, the mistress of Bigot (Pouchot), and 
the Madame Pompadour of Canada, was mulct in the sum of 600,000 
livres. — O'Callaghan, Doc, x, 1126. 



80 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

mutual recriminations, disturbed the relations between 
Vaudreuil and Montcalm. The one imputed to the governor- 
general gross ignorance in military affairs, duplicity, and 
disingenuousness in the exertion of power, and practices that 
trammelled and embarrassed his operations. 1 Vaudreuil 
complained of the arrogance of Montcalm, his jealousies 
and the assumption of authority not warranted by his 
position. 2 

In every age and in all countries, commanders, operating 
in a remote field of action, have often experienced the 
paralyzing influence produced by the instructions and the 
intrusive councils of men, who are necessarily ignorant of 
concurring events and often without a competent know- 
ledge of military affairs. Generals have felt this malign 
influence, and history has recognized and recorded it as 
the aulic council policy in war. Genius and spirit have 
often commanded success in ascending beyond or bursting 
through these restraints. Montcalm was not exempt from 
this blind and arbitary intrusion into his measures. While 
tracing the military character of Boulamarque, Montcalm 
portrays with equal force both the nature and effect of 
this system when he says : Boulamarque " follows too 
literally orders issued eighty leagues distant, by a general 
who knows not how to speak of war." 3 

These favorable circumstances, which were calculated 
to impart such preponderance to England in American 
affairs, were to a certain extent counterbalanced by advan- 
tages peculiar to France. 

The British provinces were independent in their govern- 
ment by their chartered organization, and widely separated 
in geographical position. These incidents often produced 
conflicts of interest, collision in sentiments, and acrimonious 
jealousies. An absence of that harmony, so essential to 
successful action, was not unfrequently apparent in their 
councils. The population of Canada was concentrated and 
accessible, and all the measures and resources of the colony 

1 Doc, x, 786, 800, 778, 812. 2 Idem, 885, 781. s Idem, 491. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. gl 

were, in theory, controlled by a single mind, which could 
decide and act, while the English governments were con- 
tending or advising. French policy and intrigues excited 
a perpetual alarm or hostility against England among the 
Indian tribes, that lay along the borders of her colonies 
from Acadia to the Spanish possessions, and hung like a 
dark and threatening cloud upon their horizon, which 
might at any moment burst upon their settlement in tem- 
pests of fire and blood. This sagacious policy of France, 
which to such an extent fettered the strength of the Eng- 
lish colonies, cannot be understood without a comprehension 
of the dread inspired at that time by the horrors of an 
Indian war. The people of Canada, although continually 
revolted by the supercilious and arbitrary deportment of the 
French, which was limited to no grade, sustained the conflict 
with a zeal and devotion never surpassed by any race in any 
age of the world. 1 The great amount of Canadian levies which 
joined the French armies, so totally in excess of the pro- 
portion usually supplied by an equal population, may be 
referred to a cause, which possibly exerted some influence 
in stimulating the great apparent ardor. The feudal system, 
as it existed in France in the seventeenth century, was 
transplanted into Canada at its colonization. The seignio- 
ries in the province were held under the feudal tenure, 
which included military service. The sovereign preroga- 
tive under this system was empowered to call out the 
seigneurs, and the tenants holding under them were sub- 
ject to their military orders in obedience to the call. This 
fact partially explains the extraordinary aspects exhibited 
by the virtual conscriptions of this epoch. Montcalm, in 
one of his letters presenting an estimate of the Canadian 
force he might calculate on, uses the feudal terms ban and 
arriere-ban. 

But we must ascribe to the immense superiority in cha- 
racter and intellectual qualities of the men who guided the 
civil and military affairs of the province, the prominent 

1 Doc, x, 463, 585. 



82 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

agency by which the preeminence of France was so long 
sustained on the continent and by which the impending ruin 
of its empire was so long averted. Britain sent to her 
colonies effete generals, bankrupt nobles, and debauched 
parasites of the court. France selected her function- 
aries from the wisest, noblest and best of her people, 
and therefore her colonial interests were usually directed 
with wisdom and sagacity. England and America were 
raised from their humiliation and despondency by the 
potent genius and splendid combinations of Pitt. His 
ardent appeals to the patriotism of the colonies, although 
enforced by no coercion of power, aroused and enlisted 
their whole energies in support of that gigantic scheme, 
which contemplated a widely extended attack on all the 
colonial dominions of France. The irregular warfare 
between the rangers and partisans and the savage auxi- 
liaries of both nations, crowded into the spring and early 
summer deeds of brilliant courage achieved in scenes of 
romance and excitement. In March, Rogers left Fort 
Edward with one hundred and eighty men under orders to 
make a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Ticonderoga. He 
marched upon the ice, until he approached the French out- 
posts, when to disguise their presence, the party plunged 
into the dense forest, traversing the deep snow through 
thickets and over broken ground upon snow shoes, Hav- 
ing nearly reached the foot of the lake, they encountered 
a body of about one hundred Indians and Canadians. 
These they attacked and dispersed. Pursuing in the con- 
fidence of victory, the rangers were suddenly confronted 
by a largely superior force, which had used their advanced 
guard to allure the English into an ambush. To retreat 
was impossible, and a desperate conflict ensued. The 
rangers scattered into small parties, fought independently 
with their wonted ardor, but were defeated, and almost 
the whole detachment slaughtered. 1 Many submitted to 



1 Near the scene of this battle is Rogers' slide. The marvelous escape, 
imputed to him by tradition, must have occurred after this reverse, but I 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 33 

capitulation, but were slain under circumstances of peculiar 
atrocity. Rogers, with a small number escaped, but one 
hundred and forty-four scalps, with two living letters, the 
designation the Indians gave to prisoners whom they saved 
for intelligence, were the horrid trophies they bore to Mont- 
calm. 1 This was one of the most novel and remarkable 
conflicts that impressed their strange wildness upon these 
forest campaigns. It was fought in a dense wood, amid 
overhanging rocks, upon the declivities of mountains, and 
on the surface of snow lying four feet deep. 2 The reports 
on neither side refer to a fact too common to require 
remark, but the circumstances to my mind imply that both 
parties were in the battle and fought upon snow shoes. 3 

Another strange episode is said to have imparted addi- 
tional romance to the campaign of 1758. Putnam, em- 
ployed in protecting the communications of the English 
army from the movements of the French partisans, 
occupied a commanding position with a body of rangers, 
which, on the eventful night was reduced to thirty-five, 
below Whitehall, at a point where the lake forms a sharp 
angle, that is now known as Fiddler's elbow. High 
ledges of rocks on each side compress the water into a 
narrow passage. Upon the cliff on the east side, he 
erected a stone breastwork, which was disguised by 
arranging pine boughs in such a manner as to present the 
appearance of a natural growth. Here, he lay four long 
summer days with the patience and perseverance he had 
learnt from his savage associates. On the evening of the 
fourth, his vigilant scout announced the approach of a 
flotilla. Soon it was discerned gliding stealthily along, 



regard the whole story to be a myth. I notice no reference to the incident 
in Rogers's journal, and he is known not to have been diffident in commemo- 
rating his own exploits. 

1 Doc, x, 703 ; Rogers, 82 ; Pouchot, 1, 199. 2 Rogers's Journal. 

3 Locomotion in the depth of snow described woidd have been imprac- 
ticable without some artificial aid. The two officers who escaped, and after 
wandering several days found refuge at Carillon, state explicitly that they 
fled from the battle on snow shoes. {Rogers, 92, 93). 



84 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

but the effulgence of a full moon revealed every movement. 
The leading boats had passed the parapet, when the gun 
of a ranger grating upon the rock produced a slight sound, 
but sufficient to reach the watchful ear of the foe. They 
hesitated, and for a moment the boats clustered together, 
and were about retreating, when the rangers poured upon 
them a deadly fire. Volley succeeded to volley, in rapid 
succession. The French returned the fire, but their bul- 
lets flattened innoxiously upon the rocks. They attempted 
to land and gain the rear of Putnam, but were repulsed 
by the gallant Durkee, with twelve men. The day began 
to dawn, and his ammunition all expended, Putnam 
abandoned his fortress, and retreated, bearing with him 
two wounded men, his only loss. This position is still 
known as Put's rock. Afterwards, when a prisoner in 
Canada, he learnt from Marin, that he, with five hundred 
men, was the antagonist in that romantic encounter, and 
that the French lost one-half of the force engaged. Per- 
haps an allowance should be made for a degree of exagge- 
ration, from the courtesy of the brave Frenchman or the 
credulity of the hearer. 

The capture of the fortress on Lake Cham plain, and 
that achieved a descent upon Montreal, were the promi- 
nent and most vital objects embraced in the schemes of 
Pitt. In consonance with this design, an army was gra- 
dually assembled in the early summer of 1758, at the 
head of Lake George. This army, the most magnificent 
by the number and character of his troops, and the extent 
and perfection of its appointments, that had ever appeared 
in the campaigns of the western continent, was intrusted 
to the command of James Abercrombie. Neither the 
antecedents of this commander, nor any native ability, jus- 
tified his selection to a position which would exact the 
highest efforts of skill and energy. Abercombie was a 
creature of the court ; but Pitt, in the selection of Lord 
Howe, sought to supply those qualities, in which his 
superior was so fatally deficient. Howe, elevated to the 
rank of brigadier-general, was the controlling spirit of 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 85 

the enterprise. Before the arrival of Abercrombie at the 
camp, the zeal and precaution of Howe had obtained, by 
the agency of Rogers, a plan of the French works at 
Carillon, with surveys of the vicinity, and recognizances of 
the immediate districts . 

At the dawn of the beautiful morning on the 5th of 
July, the whole army, amounting to about sixteen hundred 
men, including six thousand three hundred and thirty- 
seven regulars, embarked in nine hundred bateaux, and 
one hundred and thirty-five whale boats. The artillery 
was mounted on rafts. 1 The flotilla descended the lake 
in imposing and splendid order. The rangers, and light 
infantry were in front, the regulars occupying the centre, 
and the provincials on either wiug. 2 Modern times had 
witnessed no parallel to this impressive and gorgeous 
spectacle. We are even now impressed with a degree of 
awe, as we contemplate the dark, gloomy frame-work 
of mountain scenery that encloses Lake George in its 
narrow bed, and by the silence and solitude that rests 
upon its waters. When the fleet of Abercombie ruffled 
the placid surface of the romantic lake, the primeval 
stillness and seclusion of nature were undisturbed aloner 
its rugged shores and all its territory, by the habitations 
of civilized man. The brilliant spectacle moved amid 
the scene, almost like the illusions of fancy. Amid the 
clangor of martial music, the glittering of burnished arms, 
the gleaming of bright scarlet, the fluttering of parti co- 
lored plaids, mingled with the woodman's uniform, and the 
humbler tints of the homespun garments of the provin- 
cials, and their banners floating in the breeze, the flotilla 
glides rapidly forward, exhilarated by the inspirations of 
heroic daring, and the confidence of victory. We may 
fancy the hearts of the gallant Highlanders turning back 
to other days, as the strains of the bagpipes were returned 
in a thousand echoes from the mountains, recalled the 
scenes and the joys of their Scottish homes. 

'Abercrombie to Pitt, Doc, x, 725. a Rogers's Journal, 111. 



86 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

Towards evening the expedition reached Sabbath-day 
point, and landed there to rest and refresh. At ten 
o'clock in the night it again cautiously advanced, Howe, in 
a whale boat leading the van. Early in the morning of 
the 6th, a landing was effected without opposition, on the 
west side of the lake in a little cove still known as Howe's 
lauding. The night before, Howe, reposing on the same 
bear skin with Stark, discussed in an anxious and investi- 
gating spirit, the nature of the defenses at Carillon, and the 
future movements of the army. 1 Equal in age, alike 
daring and intrepid, the one a descendant of royalty, and 
the other an humble pioneer of New Hampshire, they 
were united by a kindred spirit and warm, mutual esteem. 
De Boulamarque was stationed with three regiments at 
the foot of the lake, to observe, and if possible resist the 
landing of the English army. On its approach, in over- 
whelming numbers, he burnt his camp with its materials, 
and effecting a retreat, rejoined Montcalm, to aid in con- 
structing the entrenchment. De Trepesee, who had been 
detached with a body of three hundred and fifty men, was 
constrained to pursue a circuitous route through a heavy 
forest, was bewildered in its intricacies, and after an ex- 
hausting march of twelve hours, while essaying to ford at a 
rapid, intercepted an English column involved in a similar 
confusion. 2 

Boulamarque, on his retreat, had very judiciously burnt 
both the bridges that crossed the outlet of Lake George, 
and thus obliged Abercombie to advance through a path- 
less wood on the west side of the stream, who, leaving at 
the burnt camp his artillery, baggage and supplies, imme- 
diately marched towards the French works. The English 
were arranged in four columns, the regulars in the centre, 
and the provincials on the flanks; " but the woods being very 
thick," and the ground uneven and " impassable for a large 
body of men in any regularity, 3 and the guides unskillful," 

1 Sparks's Life of Stark. *Doc, x, 726 ; Montcalm, 758 ; Pouchot, i, 111. 
3 Abercrorubie to Pitt, Dog., x, 625. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. §7 

the columns became intermingled and broken. Lord 
Howe marched at the head of a centre column, which, dis- 
ordered and obstructed by the tangled underwood and 
intricate forest, was wandering in confusion when it en- 
countered the fugitive detachment of Trepesee. An irre- 
gular skirmish ensued. The French troops, inferior in 
numbers, surprised, and worn, and exhausted by their 
laborious march, fought with desperate valor. Lord Howe 
fell at the first fire. 1 The regulars, strangers to this mode 
of forest warfare, appalled by the death of Howe, and 
intimidated, as a British historian alleges, by the Indian 
war whoop, faltered and broke, but were gallantly sustained 
by the provincials. 2 The brave Trepesee was mortally 
wounded, and almost the entire detachment either slain or 
captured, with an insignificaut loss to the English. If the 
British army narrowly escaped by this panic a renewal of 
the bloody scenes on the Mouongahela, it is equally proba- 
ble, if Howe had lived, and a rapid and vigorous advance 
been made after the annihilation of Trepesee's party, that 
the imperfect entrenchments of the French might have 
been entered and captured in the disorder and alarm of 
the moment. 3 But the bugle of Abercrombie sounded the 
retreat, and the opportunity was lost. 

The death of Howe paralyzed the army. With him ex- 
pired its spirit, its confidence, and hope. All afterwards 
was prompted by imbecility, indecision and folly. Gene- 
rous and kind, gifted and accomplished, instinct with genius 
and heroism, Howe died deeply lamented. The next day a 
single barge retraced the track of the flotilla bearing the 
body of the young hero, who but yesterday had led its 
brilliant pageant. Philip Schuyler, then just entering upon 
his distinguished career, escorted the remains with all the 
tenderness and reverence due the illustrious dead. The 



1 Doc, x, 738, 726. 

2 Graham, n, 279. Doc, x, 726, 725. A few Indians were with Trepesee. 
Doc, x, 735. ( 

'Doc, x, 735 ; Graham, n,279. 



88 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

body was conveyed to Albany and buried in St. Peter's 
Episcopal Church, which stood in the middle of State 
street. His obsequies were performed with every pomp of 
military display and all the solemnities of religious rituals. 
An heraldic insignia marked the location of the grave. 
Forty-four years had elapsed, and in the progress of im- 
provement, that edifice was demolished and the grave of 
Howe exposed. A double coffin was revealed. The outer 
one, which was made of white pine, was nearly decayed ; 
but the other, formed of heavy mahogany, was almost entire. 
In a few spots it was wasted, and the pressure of the earth had 
forced some soil into the interior. When the lid was un- 
covered, the remains appeared clothed in a rich silk damask 
cerement, in which they were enshrouded on his interment. 
The teeth were bright and perfect, the hair stiffened by the 
dressing of the period, the queue entire, the ribbon and 
double brace apparently new and jet black. All, on expo- 
sure, shrunk into dust, and the relics of the high bred and 
gallant peer were conveyed by vulgar hands to the common 
charnel house and mingled with the promiscuous dead. 1 
The character and services of Howe received the most 
generous tribute of respect and eulogium from the French. 
Massachusetts, in gratitude and reverence, erected a monu- 
ment to his memory in Westminster Abbey. 2 

1 Montcalm's dispatch. — Pouchot. 

2 1 am indebted, in part, to a published letter of Mrs. Cochrane for the fact 
of the interment of Howe in St. Peter's, and to the manuscript of Elkanah 
Watson for the circumstances of the exhumation. The tradition that Howe, 
as an example to his troops, caused his hair to be cut short, has cast some 
doubt on the accuracy of the statement in the text. Pouchot alludes to the 
same fact, and says the hair was left " two fingers breadth long." {Pouchot, 
i, 110). In my judgment, if the story is correct, it does not conflict with the 
account in the manuscript. It was the fashion of the age to wear the hair 
in long locks or ringlets. This habit had probably been introduced into 
the army, and Howe desired to correct it. No motive of cleanliness, which 
was doubtless the prominent object with Howe, made the excision of the 
queue necessary. Short hair, rather than long, would have exacted careful 
dressing for a funeral preparation. The manuscript states that the identity 
of the grave was established not only by the coat of arms which surmounted 
it, but also by the recollection Of Henry Cuyler, a half pay British officer, 
who was at the time a highly respected resident of Greenbueh. 



TICONDEROGA AND ITS DEPENDENCIES, AUGUST, 1770. 
From a plan drawn by Col. John Trumbull. 




~ 2 

sg- 



1 i 



' IS" BRIGADE. .% - ' •» ." 

itmm a 







^eIbSo^ 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 89 

On the morning of the 7th, Abercrombie added to the 
depression of the troops by withdrawing the whole army 
to the protection of the works erected at the landing. 
About noon of that day Bradstreet took possession of the 
sawmills, at the falls, which were two miles distant from 
the fort. He rebuilt the bridges, and in the evening the 
army again advanced and occupied this position. 1 These 
vacillations and delays of Abercrombie afforded to his alert 
and energetic adversary the precious hours he needed for 
the perfection of his defenses. 

The promontory held by Montcalm was a narrow and 
elevated peninsula, washed on three sides by deep waters, 
with its base on the western and only accessible side. On 
the north of this base the access was obstructed by 
a wet meadow, and on the southern extremity it was 
rendered impracticable to the advance of an army by 
a steep slope, extending from the hill to the outlet. The 
summit between these points was rounded and sinuous 
with ledges and elevations at intervals. 2 Here and about 
half a mile in advance of the fort, Montcalm traced the line 
of his projected entrenchment. It followed the sinuosities 
of the land, the sections of the works reciprocally flanking 
each other. 3 The entrenchment, which was about an eighth 
of a league in length, was constructed by Dupont Le Roy 
an accomplished engineer. " It was formed by falling 
trunks of trees one upon the other and others felled in 
front, their branches cut and sharpened produced the effect 
of a chevaux de frize. 4 All of the 7th the French army 
toiled with unremitting vigor upon the lines, with flags 
flying along the works, and exhilarated by the inspiration 
of music, the officers participating in the labor. The 
parapet arose to the height of eight to ten feet along its 
whole course. The abatis was about one hundred yards 
in width. 



1 Abercrombie to Pitt, Doc, x, 726. 2 Pouehot, i, 114 ; Doc, x, 739, 743. 
3 Idem. 4 Montcalm's report, Doc, x, 739. 



90 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

De Levis, who had organized an expedition against the 
Mohawk valley, was recalled by Vaudreuil to meet the perils 
which were menacing Ticonderoga. Hurryiug onward 
with all celerity that oars and sail could give, his four 
hundred veterans reached the scene of danger on the night 
of the 7th, diffusing joy and hope by the announcement of 
the approach of De Levis, who arrived at five o'clock on 
the morning of thememorable eighth, accompanied by the 
brilliant De Senezergues, who, second in command on the 
plains of Abraham, died there with Montcalm. 1 Nearly at 
the same hour of De Levis's arrival, Johnson with three or 
four hundred Mohawks joined the English camp. That 
the design of evacuating Ticonderoga, which was imputed 
to Montcalm as a grave fault by Vaudreuil, was entertained 
by him, may be assumed from other and less prejudiced 
evidences. 2 

He compared his insignificant force with the overwhelm- 
ing array of Abercrombie, and saw how easily Carillon 
might be made untenable. At an earlier day Dupont Le 
Roy, the chief engineer, had written to the government in 
emphatic condemnation of the works, aud had declared that 
to capture the fort " I would only require six mortars and 
two cannon." 3 It is asserted that Montcalm did not decide 
to make an earnest defense until the morning of the attack. 4 

That purpose of retreating persisted in, would have 
eclipsed his own great glory. Its consequences would not 
only have embraced the loss of Ticonderoga and the capture 
of St. Frederick, but the surrender or disorganization of the 
French army. The means he possessed of escape by water 
were totally inadequate to the transportation of his troops 
and munitions. Pathless forests, lofty and dislocated 

'Doc, x, 7M;Pouc7iot, i, 108. 

2 Vaudreuil to De Massiac, Doc, x, 781 ; Dain to Belle Isle, Idem, 814 ; 
Pouchot, i, 115. 

3 Doc x, 720, Memoir in cipher. This language has been imputed by 
Mr Bancroft and those who have followed him, to Montcalm, but I find 
nothing of the kind in his correspondence with the government. 

4 Pouchot, I, 110. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 91 

mountain ranges, and deep rivers interposed an insuperable 
barrier to the retreat of an organized army by land. 

As far as the limited time permitted, all was prepared 
along the French lines for the imminent crisis. Mont- 
calm held at Ticonderoga on that day three thousand and 
six hundred men, and of these, four hundred and fifty 
were Canadians and troops of the marine. 1 A few Indians 
only were present. The number of fighting men actu- 
ally behind the trenches amounted to two thousand nine 
hundred and ninety-two. 2 At daybreak, the troops were 
summoned to the lines by the generale. To each was 
assigned his post, and then the whole army returned to 
labor upon the entrenchment and abatis. 3 The meadow 
on the extreme right, with a slight abatis in front, was 
occupied by the Canadians and irregular troops. The 
battery of four guns, which was designed to flank this 
point, was not completed until the morning after the 
assault. The guns of the fort commanded this opening, 
as well as the slope on the extreme left. De Levis, on 
the right, defended the line with three regiments ; Mont- 
calm was in the centre with two battalions and pickets, 
and De Boulamarque occupied with an equal force the left. 
The precipitous declivity that extended to the outlet was 
guarded by two companies. Behind each battalion was 
stationed a company of grenadiers in reserve. The men, 
still laboring on the works, were ordered to repair to their 
respective stations, on the discharge of an alarm gun, and 
at " the moment and signal prescribed, all the troops were 
under arms and at their posts," just as the van of the 
British columns appeared. 4 

Abercrombie had been impressed by the advices he re- 
ceived, with the conviction that large reenforcements were 
approaching Montcalm. Influenced by the report of Clarke, 
his engineer, who had reconnoitered the French lines from 
the opposite side of the river, he decided to order an im- 

1 These were irregular troops. 2 Doc, x, 739 ; Pouchot, i, 114. 
8 Idem. 4 Doc, x, 740, Montcalm's report. 



92 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

mediate attack, without waiting for his powerful artillery. 
The English engineer, familiar only with the formal and 
scientific works of Europe, was doubtless deceived by the 
peculiar construction of the intrenchment, but the practiced 
eye of Stark, who kuew the strength of the rude parapet 
of Johnson in 1755, detected formidable lines where Clarke 
discovered only a frail defense. 1 With a fatuity common 
to the European leaders in America, Stark's opinion was 
rejected. 

The advance exhibited a grand and imposing military 
spectacle. The army was formed in three lines. The 
first was composed of the rangers, bateau men, and light 
infantry ; next the provincials marched with wide spaces 
between the regiments ; and behind these openings, the 
regulars were formed in columns. The New Jersey and 
Connecticut levies formed the rear guard. Johnson, with 
his Indians, occupied Mount Defiance, then known as 
Sugar-loaf hill, an elevation across the river, near and 
south of the fort, but, with the exception of an occasional 
shot, were mere spectators of the conflict. The regulars 
advancing through the openings with a firm, quick, and 
steady tread, their bayonets fixed, rushed upon the French 
lines, along an open space in front of the felled trees. 
But when they reached the abatis and became entangled 
in it, all order and regularity were broken. The heroic 
veterans, struggling individually to surmount these im- 
pediments, fought with a valor never surpassed, but 
against all hope. Two columns charged the right, another 
assailed the centre, and a fourth was hurled upon the 
left. They could not advance beyond the terrible abatis, 
and would not retreat. Even the instincts of nature were 
dominated by the force of discipline. The British soldier 
knew no law but obedience. No command came to them 
to retreat, while the destruction, by the deadly fire of the 
French musketry, and the howitzers planted at inter- 
vals along the line, was terrific. Some of the Highlanders 

1 Pouchot, i, 116. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 93 

fell almost on the entrenchment. The French, protected 
by their works, were little exposed. " They were invisi- 
ble," only " a small bit of their caps was to be seen," 
while they swept down the English by an unbroken storm 
of fire. 1 The fire of the provincials and marksmen, inter- 
spersed between the columns of regulars, was more effec- 
tive. 2 The moment of greatest peril to the French occurred 
late in the afternoon, when two of the British columns, 
by a concerted movement, concentrated an attack upon 
an angle on the left of the right defense of the French 
line, and nearly wrested the victory from inexorable for- 
tune. But De Levis, who was temporarily relieved by 
the pressure upon his right, promptly supported the en- 
dangered point, and Montcalm, whose eagle eye watched 
every change of the battle, rushed to the rescue with a 
body of the reserve, and this last cast for victory was lost. 3 

Early in the engagement, Abercrombie directed two rafts, 
mounted with two guns each, to descend the outlet for the 
purpose of enfilading the French lines, but they were with 
ease repulsed by the guns of the fort, and the fire of the 
two companies stationed to defend the extreme left. Fre- 
quent, bold and successful sorties were made during the 
assault by pickets and grenadiers, aided by the Canadians 
and marine troops from the opening on the right, in which 
the flank of the attacking column was assailed and prison- 
ers captured. 

While these sanguinary scenes were in progress, Aber- 
crombie was reposing in inglorious security at the saw 
mills; but Montcalm, casting off his coat in that sunny 
afternoon, 4 was everywhere present meeting every peril ; 
animating his troops by voice and example, ministering to 
all their wants, and imparting the fervor of his own heroic 
spirit. On the first assault, the military eye detected the 



'Doc, x, 736. 

2 Montcalm speaks of their murderous fire, Doc, s, 740. " Their fire 
greatly incommoded those in the entrenchments." — Pouchot, 1, 116. 
3 J)oc, x, 740, 743. 4 Bancroft. 



94 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

utter hopelessness of the enterprise. The attack commenced 
shortly after meridian, and five long hours had rolled 
on amid this carnage and desperation, and still the British 
troops maintained the conflict with determined but unavail- 
ing constancy. No order came to stop the ruthless slaughter. 
The hour of six had arrived, and the devoted columns 
continued to assail first the right and then the left of the 
impregnable entrenchment, but at seven the retreat was 
accomplished. 1 Some loss was intiicted upon the British 
troops, caused by their firing on each other in the common 
disorder and excitement. At length regiment after regi- 
ment, without an}- general orders, or concert, retired to the 
camp; the provincials covering the retreat. 2 

Then ensued that strange and inscrutable phenomenon, 
which is sometimes exhibited among troops the bravest 
and most reliable, when an electric influence pervades the 
masses, communicating an universal and irresistible panic. 
These veterans, whose steadiness and valor received the 
generous homage of their victorious foes, and whose coun- 
try, even amid her grief and humiliation, exulted in 'their 
heroism and sacrifices, fled in wild terror and confusion, 
rushing to the boats in a precipitancy that threatened a 
general ruin. The firmness and efforts of Bradstreet alone 
averted fresh and dishonorable catastrophies, which their 
antecedents could not redeem. 3 

The exhaustion and paucity of the French army, the 
darkness of the night, the impossibility of traversing the 
woods without Indian guides, and the entrenchments 
which the English had erected along their route, restrained 
pursuit. 4 "When De Levis, at break of day on the 10th, 
followed the track of Abercrombie, he found only the ves- 
tiges of a stricken and routed army; the wounded and sup- 
plies abandoned, clothing scattered along the woods, with 



'Montcalm, Doc, x, 740. * Pennsylvania Archives. 

3 It was fortunate we were not pursued in our retreat, we should certainly 
have lost 2,000 more men. — Idem. 

4 Montcalm's report. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 95 

the charred remains of boats and pontoons. 1 Before that 
hour arrived, Abercrombie had fled " in the extremest 
terror and consternation " and secured a dishonored safety 
by interposing the length of Lake George between his army 
and its dreaded conqueror. ~No pen inscribed for the re- 
search of posterity any account of the ignominious flight, 
so singularly contrasting with the splendor of the advance. 
The night that closed on a day, among the most glorious 
that ever beamed upon the arms of France, was spent by 
Montcalm in the deepest solicitude for the morrow. His 
troops were under arms or laboriously perfecting their in- 
complete works, preparing for the anticipated renewal of the 
assault. Although the English still exceeded the French 
forces fourfold, with their artillery ready for action, Aber- 
crombie abandoned the campaign. 2 Bradstreet soon after, 
with a detachment of the same troops, measureably restored 
their confidence, and vindicated the fame of England by 
the siege and conquest of Frontenac. Abercrombie admit- 
ted the loss of about two thousand men, but the French 
assumed it to be far heavier, and stated their own to be less 
than five hundred, but Boulamarque severely and Bougain- 
ville slightly were included among the wounded. 3 

The arrival of the younger Vaudreuil on the 12th with 
three thousand Cauadians, followed by six hundred Indians 
on the 13th, furnished some apparent basis for the appre- 
hension of Abercrombie that reenforcements to Montcalm 
were approaching, by which he professed to justify his 



1 We found in the mud on the road to the falls five hundred pairs of shoes 
with buckles. — Pouchot, 1, 121. The soldiers returned loaded with plunder 
and an immense quantity of shoes with buckles. — Doc, x, 725, 741. 

2 The French asserted that he entrenched on the ruins of William Henry, 
and removed the guns to Albany for security, retaining all his artillery. — 
Doc, x. 819 ; Bancroft. 

3 A singular incident occurred during the progress of this remarkable 
battle. A captain of the Royal Roussillon in bravado, tied a red handker- 
chief to a gun, and waved it in a sort of defiance towards the English. The 
English column opposite, supposed it indicated a purpose on the part of 
the French to surrender. Under this impression, holding their guns hori- 
zontally above their heads, they ran toward the entrenchment, crying quar- 



96 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

precipitate attack on the French works. 1 Abercrombie 
lingered in imbecile indecision at Fort George, while 
Montcalm was felt at every point, where his ardor and 
activity could deliver a blow. Eight days after the repulse 
at Ticonderoga, a band of five hundred partisans, lurking 
in the woods near the half way brook between Lake George 
and Fort Edward, surprised an English detachment and 
secured forty scalps. 2 A few days after, another party at- 
tacked a wagon train on the same ground, loaded with 
provisions and merchandise. Forty carts, two hundred 
oxen, the contents of the convoy, one hundred and sixteen 
scalps and eighty-four prisoners were the fruits of the bold 
enterprise. 3 Rogers and Putnam with a detachment of 
seven hundred troops pursued without success the active 
partisans. Engaged in this pursuit, with the purpose of 
suppressing similar movements, they descended Lake 
Gedrge, traversed the rude mountainous district to Wood- 
neck, and were returning to Fort Edward. Montcalm was 
apprised of their march, and dispatched Marin with about 
the same number of partisans, to follow and intercept the 
English. Both parties were near Fort Ann, wandering in 
a dense forest each ignorant of the vicinity of the enemy 
they were vigilantly pursuing. Rogers, forgetting his 



ter. The French, ignorant of the circumstances, on their part, believing 
the English desired to surrender, mounted the works to receive them and 
ceased firing. The English, under this mutual mistake, had nearly entered 
the lines, when Pouchot, who witnessed the scene, and perceiving the con- 
sequence which would result from their doing this, promptly gave the 
word to Ids troops to fire. They did so, with most deadly effect upon the 
exposed ranks of the English. This is Pouchot's own account of a some- 
what ambiguous transaction. He adds, " they have since charged us with 
using an unpardonable deceit. — Pouchot, I, 114. 

1 This is the statement of Pouchot (vol. I, 122). Other accounts reduce the 
number of the Canadians to three hundred — Doc, x, 745. This fact with 
the assertion of Rogers that the assault was commenced " before the gene- 
ral intended by an accidental fire from a New York regiment on the left 
wing," (Journal, 115), is the only extenuation of Abercrombie that can ever 
be adduced. 

2 Pouchot, i, 123 ; Rogers, 117. 

3 Rogers, 117 ; Doc, x, 818 ; Pouchot, i, 123. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 97 

usual prudence, indulged in firing at a mark with a British 
officer. Marin heard "the report of three shots" while 
hesitating as to his course, but the shots revealed the posi- 
tion of the rangers, and, selecting an appropriate spot, he 
formed au effective ambush. 1 The English, unsuspicious of 
danger, were threading the woods in Indian file; Rogers in 
advance, D'Ell in the centre, and Putnam in the rear. They 
marched directly into the trap that had been so skillfully 
prepared. Suddenly, the forest resounded with the fearful 
war whoop, and a terrific fire was hailed upon them from 
every side. The English, familiar with such scenes, 
promptly rallied, and a sanguinary conflict followed. Then 
occurred those thrilling incidents, whose story has agitated 
for more than a century, thousands of young hearts. 

Putnam and a few others, in the surprise and confusion, 
were cut off" from the main body. The men were slain, 
and Putnam captured and securely bound to a tree. As 
the changes of the battle surged around him, he was placed 
at times between the fire of the contending parties and his 
garments torn by the shots, alike of friend and foe. While 
in this helpless condition, a young Indian approached and 
amused himself with the strange pastime of hurling his 
tomahawk at the prisoner, practicing how near he could 
approach, without striking the mark. A still more savage 
Canadian presented his gun at Putnam's breast, but it 
missed fire. He then indulged his fierce passions by in- 
flicting upon the prisoner several severe wounds with the 
butt of the weapon. When the French were repulsed and 
commenced their retreat, his Indian captor released Putnam 
and extended to him that mysterious tenderness and care 
with which the Indians treat their victims destined to the 
torture. The savages encamped at night, and then the 
strange motive that actuated this kindness was revealed. 
Putnam, stripped of his clothing, was again tied to a sap- 
ling; dried faggots were piled about him; the torch 
applied, and while the smoke and crackling flames began 

1 Doc, x, 511. 



98 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

to ascend, the thoughts of the brave ranger dwelt upon his 
happy home and prattling children. When the agony of 
death in this frightful form was almost passed, the 
generous Marin, who had learnt of his peril, rushed to the 
spot, and bursting through the circle of shouting savages, 
scattered the firebrands and rescued the victim. In the 
ensuing autumn Putnam was exchanged, and returned to 
new fields of glory, but to none of such appalling horror. 1 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Conquest, 1759. 
The campaign of 1759 opened under gloomy and porten- 
tous auguries for the future of New France. The dearth 
of provision had become intensified into the startling 
horrors of an absolute famine. The province was nearly 
exhausted of all the domestic animals. Life in a great 
degree was sustained, both in the army and among the 
citizens, only by the consumption of horseflesh. In 1758, 
these animals had been purchased by the government in 
large numbers, and their flesh sold to the famishing poor 
at a trifling cost, and distributed in rations to the troops. 2 
The habitans relinquished, either from coercion or cupid- 
ity, their ordinary food to the use of the army, and for " two 
months before the harvest " of 1759 depended for sustenance 
upon the spontaneous products of the earth and forests. 
At rare intervals, an adventurous ship, eluding the British 
squadrons, might increase the scanty supplies of the pro- 
vince by a small pittance, but all regular and reliable suc- 
cor by this channel was interrupted. Every department 
in the province revealed evidences, that could not be mis- 
taken, of destitution and decay. 

1 On the breaking out of the war of independence Rogers adhered to the 
government, was subjected to confiscation and outlawry, went to England 
and there published his journal. 

3 Doc., x, 704, 837 ; Pouchot, i, 135. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 99 

Almost every man, that the debilitated population of 
Canada could yield, was wrested from the fields to replenish 
the military ranks. " We want provisions ; we want 
powder ; and France should send ten thousand men to pre- 
serve the colony" Such was the portentous appeal to the 
home government. 1 But that government was unable to 
transport a single regiment with a rational hope that it 
would escape the British ships that thronged the ocean and 
the gulf. For three years of fierce trials, but resplendent in 
personal and national glory, Montcalm, by his own genius 
and energy, had maintained the unequal and desperate con- 
test. But Doreil exclaims, in a letter to Belle Isle, " Mira- 
cles cannot always be expected, Canada is lost if peace is 
not made this winter." 2 In the spring of 1759, Montcalm, 
in anguish of spirit, writes to the same minister : " If the 
war continues, Canada will belong to England, perhaps this 
campaign or the next." 3 

The general venality to which we have referred continu- 
ally increased, and was a deep cancer that had eaten into 
the vitals of colonial strength, and was an active cause of its 
hopeless and irremedial decay. Jealous asperities, and 
deepening alienations, prevailed between the native French 
and the Canadians, that marred the harmony and concert 
all essential to their successful cooperation. The French 
disparaged the military character of the provincials, bur- 
lesqued their pretensions, and scoffed at the pride of the 
Canadian noblesse. 4 The Canadians were revolted by the 
hauteur aud insolence of the French officials, and indig- 
nantly repelled their arrogant assumptions of superiority. 5 



1 Doc, x, 926. 2 Doreil to Belle Isle Doc. , x, 829. 

3 Montcalm to Belle Isle, Doc, x, 960. In the same letter lie utters this 
emphatic language : " If there be peace the colony is lost unless the entire 
government is changed ; " and, with stinging inunendo, quotes Mirabeau, 
" that those should be disgraced who return from colonies with wealth, and 
those rewarded who return with the staff and scrip with which they went 
forth." 

4 Doc, x, 419, 460, 1043 ; Pouchot, i, 37. 6 Doc, x, 78, 419 ; Pouchot, i, 95. 



100 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Vaudreuil was of noble descent, but a Canadian by birth, 
and however deficient he may have been in the attainments 
of military science, his whole career develops the eminent 
qualities of his mind, in a native vigor and resources. 
He was unhappily surrounded by relatives and retainers, 
and his enemies ascribed to him a nepotism and colonial 
sympathy, to which were subordinated the higher claims 
of individuals and paramount public interests. 1 These 
suspicions and animosities, if they did not originate it, 
were fostered by the feuds that disturbed the intercourse 
between Vaudreuil and Montcalm. The latter pretended 
no disguise of the contemptuous view in which he held 
the military capacity of Vaudreuil, and with extreme 
bitterness denounced his incompetent interference, his 
injustice and want of magnanimity. We cannot fail to 
detect in the utterances and measures of Vaudreuil, jea- 
lousy of the overshadowing martial fame of Montcalm, 
and often an ungenerous purpose of escaping responsibili- 
ties and attempting to grasp the glory that belonged to 
the deeds of others. 

The accusations which Vaudreuil industriously carried 
to the throne, imputed to Montcalm, insubordination, 
a haughty neglect of instructions, denunciations of officials, 
an indiscriminate jealousy, a want of adaptation by tem- 
peraments and habits to the command in Canada, and 
an arbitrary and stern deportment that offended the pride 
and repelled the services of the Indians and provin- 
cials. 2 Whether imaginary or just, the causes of these dis- 
sensions, their existence exerted a baneful influence upon 
the measures of the war. Perhaps the spirit that tends to 
the disparagement of all irregular troops, common to the 
professional soldiers, many have tinged the estimate by 
Montcalm of the provincial levies. The Canadians possi- 
bly were deficient in the formula of the parade, or the 
efficiency of the drill, but in their native qualities, no 
braver race ever stood upon the battle-field. These ani- 

1 Doc, x, 859.* 2 Idem, 791, 782, 780, 444, 789. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 101 

mosities formed a deep line of demarkatiou, which may 
be traced in the colonial affairs between the friends and 
advocates of Montcalm and the partisans of Vaudreuil. 
The savage tribes, although their professed fealty was 
undisturbed, no longer gathered about the French camps 
in numbers that oppressed the commissariat. As an ele- 
ment of strength to the armies of France, they were now 
unreliable. Perhaps, with the native sagacity that some- 
times marked the policy of the Indians, they detected the 
ascending fortunes of England. Vaudreuil ascribed this 
defection to the " petulance and impatience " of Montcalm. 
The presence of a large body of warriors at Ticonderoga 
had been assured to Montcalm, and he felt the profound 
conviction, that with their aid as guides through the forest 
on the night of the assault and the effect of their appear- 
ance and fearful whooping in inflaming the panic of the 
English, a defeat so overwhelming must have been inflicted 
on Abercrombie, that he would have fled with the mere 
fragments of an army, leaving to the French a more crown- 
ing and decisive victory. Exasperated at these conse- 
quences of their delays, when at length they did join him, 
Montcalm rebuked them with a stern and injudicious, 
however just, severity. The chiefs carried their complaints 
to Vaudreuil, and he with an active assiduity communicated 
them to Versailles. 1 The proud and independent freemen 
of the woods were doubtless revolted by this violence and 
a large part returned to their lodges. 

While these clouds were gathering about the falling 
empire of New France, Britain was collecting all her 
energies for the impending conflict, with a renewed vigor 
and enthusiasm, inspired by the zeal and spirit of Pitt. 
The fortress of Louisburg had scarcely fallen, when Am- 
herst, learning of the fatal issue of Abercrombie's cam- 
paign, with an unwonted ardor, not waiting for orders, 



1 When the chiefs proposed " to go on the road to Fort Edward," Mont- 
calm told them " to go to the d— 1." A young chief came back quite furi- 
ous saying Montcalm had turned him out of doors. — Doc, x, 805. 



102 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

immediately embarked four or five regiments, and hastened 
to Boston. He commenced at once a march through the 
forest towards Lake George, which he, in person, reached 
in October. In the preceding month, Abercrombie had 
been recalled, and Amherst appointed the commander-in- 
chief of the forces in North America. 1 In November, 
1758, he assumed the command, and Abercrombie returned 
to England ; evaded censure ; was gladdened by promo- 
tion, and lived to vote as a member of parliament for the 
taxation of a country, which his imbecility might have 
lost, and which was always the object of his malignant 
aspersions. 2 

Amherst, without any claim to brilliancy or genius, was 
calculated to command success by the excellence of his 
judgment, his prudent circumspection, and persevering 
firmness. His character and policy had secured to him 
the respect and confidence of the colonies. His measures 
were not stimulated by the arrogance of Braddock, nor 
trammelled by the feebleness and indecision of Aber- 
crombie, nor dishonored by the pusillanimity of "Webb. 

When the exactions for the campaign of seventeen hun- 
dred and fifty-nine were known to the colonies, they were 
appalled by the magnitude of the burdens that were contem- 
plated. Under the assurance that the campaign of the last 
year should be the final effort, they had yielded their appro- 
priations to it with unbounded fervor and enthusiasm. But 
they had seen their blood and treasures lavished, without 
securing any adequate results. The voluntary contribu- 
tions and public taxation had consumed their resources, 
while the population was almost exhausted of its avail- 
able strength by the constantly recurring demands of the 
protracted war. 3 Although reeling under these debilities, 
every colony north of Maryland, stimulated by the ardor 
of Pitt and wielded by his influence, with an abiding reli- 
ance on the integrity and skill of Amherst, freely yielded to 



1 Doc, vii, 345. 2 Bancroft ; O'Callaghau, Doc, vii, 345. 
* Minot. Grahame. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 103 

his fresh requisition, their wealth and their sons. On the 
twentieth of June, Amherst took up a position near the ruins 
of William Henry. Although his entire army, consisting of 
about eleven thousand effective men, formed in about equal 
proportions of regulars and provincials, did not assemble 
until the twenty-first of July. On that day another gor- 
geous and imposing procession in four columns moved 
down the quiet lake. A landing was effected without 
opposition on the eastern shore nearly opposite to Howe's 
cove. In the combinations of this campaign the British 
ministry designed to direct a blow at the heart of New 
France by an attack upon Quebec from the gulf with a pow- 
erful army led by Wolfe, while Amherst should cooperate 
by advancing with a still more formidable force along the 
Champlain frontier. 

Montcalm, oppressed by the annoyances and impediments 
we have noticed, and despondent from his wasting estate 
and absence from a dependent family, had reiterated de- 
mands for his recall. This request was endorsed and 
pressed with extreme sincerity by Vandreuil. 1 But France 
felt that his great intellect alone sustained the tottering 
fabric of her colonial power. Instead of an acquiescence, 
the ominous despatch arrived from Versailles : " You must 
not expect to receive any military reenforcemeuts ; we will 
convey all the provisions and ammunition possible ; the rest 
depends on your wisdom and courage and the bravery of 
your troops." 2 All the martial ardor of Montcalm was en- 
flamed, and his patriotic devotion enlisted. He resolved to 
fall beneath the ruins of the colony. To a kinsman in 
France he wrote : " There are situations where nothing 
remains for a general but to die with honor. * 

* * My thoughts are wholly for France, and will be 
even in the grave, if in the grave anything remains for us." 3 



'Doc, x, 758, 769,783. 

2 Belle Isle to Montcalm, February 19th, 1759, Doc, X, 943. 

s Private letter of Montcalm, see Appendix. 



104 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Montcalm, collecting his scattered battalions, and sum- 
moning to his standard all the population of the province 
able to bear arms, repaired to Quebec to oppose the opera- 
tions of Wolfe. "With a feeble force of twenty -three hundred 
men, Boulamarque remained in charge of the fortresses 
upon the lake, to confront Amherst and to retard his pro- 
gress, while resistance would not endanger the safety of 
his troops. He proposed to assail the English in their 
advance through the woods; but the Indians, most useful 
under such circumstances, defeated the scheme by refusing 
to cooperate. He left a garrison of four hundred men at 
Ticonderoga, with orders to maintain the position, until 
the investment was completed, then to blow up the fort 
and fall back upon Crown point. Amherst effected the 
investment of the fort on the 23d ; but on the evening of 
the 26th, a heavy explosion announced the evacuation of 
Ticonderoga, and that the domination of France had ceased. 
Amherst immediately occupied the abandoned fortification. 

This conquest, the desire and labor of so many years, was 
at length achieved almost without the effusion of blood. 
Townsend, the adjutant-general of Amherst, a young 
officer of high promise and in many qualities the counter- 
part of Howe, was killed, while reconnoitering the fort, by 
a cannon ball. His death, and the loss of about eighty 
men, were the sacrifices by which this important conquest 
was secured. Exact, cautious and fettered by the prescribed 
forms of military progress, Amherst consumed two weeks 
in the guarded and anxious scrutiny by his spies and scouts, 
before he ventured to advance upon Crown point. He 
found it abandoned and desolate. Boulamarque had re- 
treated with his army and munition, to fortify the Isle aux 
Noix. Amherst, as soon as the occupation of Crown point 
was safely accomplished, commenced the preparations for 
erecting a new fortress near the site of St. Frederic, but on 
a scale of increased magnitude and strength. Unnecessary 
at that time, and rendered wholly useless by the conquesi 
of Canada, he left the work unfinished after the expenditure 
of more than ten millions of dollars. The most conspicuous 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 105 

ruins at Crown point visited with such deep interest by 
the tourist and antiquarian are the remains of this fort. 1 

Amherst, with great assiduity and vigor, prepared 
means to secure a naval preponderance upon the lake. 
"While he awaited the building of a flotilla at Ticonderoga, 
two measures were accomplished by his orders, uncon- 
nected with each other and infinitely dissimilar in their 
character and results. The first was the construction of 
a military road from Crown point to Charlestown, or 
Number Four on the Connecticut river, which, traversing 
the entire width of Vermont, rendered a large and 
valuable territory accessible to civilization and improve- 
ment. The remains of this work may still be traced. 2 

The other contemplated the destruction of the Indian 
village of St. Francis, situated on the river of that name, 
about midway between Montreal and Quebec. Their 
frequent and active incursions and the relentless atrocities 
that made this band of the Abenakis conspicuous in a 
horrid warfare, had rendered them the terror of New 
England, and objects of peculiar vengeance. 

On the 13th of September, Rogers, with great secrecy, 
and a careful concealment of his design, left Crown point 
on this perilous service. His party consisted of one hun- 
dred and forty-two effective men. Descending the lake 
with the utmost caution and vigilance, in the hope of 
escaping the observation of the French, on the tenth day 
from his departure, he reached the foot of Missisqui 
bay. Here the boats were concealed, with provisions to 
supply the party on its return, and leaving two trusty In- 
dians to secretly watch them, Rogers proceeded on his 
expedition. The second day after, the Indians overtook 
him, with the alarming intelligence, that the boats had 
been discovered and removed by the French, and that a 
detachment of about two hundred were in rapid pursuit. 
Notwithstanding the disguise and caution of Rogers, Bou- 
lamarque, perfectly advised of all his movements, had fol- 

1 Doc, x, 670. 2 Goodhue's Shorehan. 



106 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

lowed his track, seized the boats, and lay in ambush, expect- 
ing the return of the English. 1 But Rogers's shrewdness 
could not thus be entrapped. Hesitating for a moment, 
the decision of the bold ranger was formed. Dispatching 
Lieutenant McMullin and eight men, who were to pene- 
trate the pathless wilderness to Crown point, with a 
request to Amherst, to send the necessary supplies to 
meet the party at the Cohase intervales, a point sixty miles 
north of Number Four, the extreme northern post of the 
English on the Connecticut, Rogers determined to prose- 
cute the original design. 

Nine days his march continued, wading through un- 
broken swamps and morasses ; sleeping upon hammocks 
elevated above the water, by boughs cut from the trees, and 
fording deep streams. On the evening of the twenty- 
second day of his expedition, the party approached their 
unsuspecting victims. Rogers and two of his officers 
reconnoitcred the village, and found it abandoned to 
revelry and dancing. Amherst, in his instructions to 
Rogers, had given expression, rare in that age of savage 
cruelty, to the voice of mercy and humanity. " Take 
your revenge on the warriors ; but remember," he said, 
" it is my orders that no women or children are killed or 
hurt." Just as the day was dawning, the troops " on the 
right, centre, and left," burst upon the slumbering vil- 
lagers. The surprise was complete and few escaped. 
" We killed," reports Rogers, "two hundred Iudians," 2 
and took twenty of their women and children prisoners. 
He dismissed all but five of the latter prisoners, whom he 
retained, and released five English captives. The light 
revealed the horrid spectacle of more than six hundred 
scalps, of both sexes and of every age, chiefly English, 
floating like dread pennons from the lodge poles and 
cabins of the savages. "When the rangers looked upon 

'Doc, x, 1042. 

2 Tlie terra Indians was often used to designate warriors, and we may 
hope it was so in this instance ; but Pouchot states that the warriors wera 
absent.— Vol. I, -223. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 107 

these symbols of Indian barbarity, they might, with truth, 
have felt, that they were not only instruments of ven- 
geance, but ministers of justice. The village was con- 
sumed, and many of the Indians, who had sought a refuge 
in the cellars and lofts, were burnt to death. Captain 
Ogden, of the rangers, was severely wounded, six others 
slightly, and one Indian of the party killed. Loading the 
men with all the plunder and corn they were able to 
carry, Rogers immediately commenced a retreat in the 
direction of the Connecticut. He was pursued by a body 
of Indians, and repeatedly attacked, with the loss of a few 
prisoners. At length he turned upon his pursuers, and 
dealt them a punishment so severe, as to arrest further 
open assaults, but they hung upon his rear with a deadly 
tenacity ; and when the detachment separated into small 
bodies, which policy Rogers was constrained to adopt, on 
the eighth day of the march, in order more readily to 
procure subsistence, they attacked and killed or captured 
many of the party. 1 

The different bodies toiling in intense labor and suffer- 
ing, marching over steep rocky mountains, and traversing 
rivers and deep morasses, were sustained, amid fatigue and 
hunger, by the confident hope of finding relief and repose 
at the place designated by Rogers. They reached it, and 
found the brands, enkindled by the party which was to con- 
vey them supplies, still smouldering; but no friends, no 
food. McMullen, penetrating the vast forest a hundred 
miles m extent, arrived at Crown point on the ninth day of 
his march. Amherst, with no delay, had directed a lieute- 
nant Stephens to convey the requisite supplies to the ap- 
pointed rendezvous, and to remain while a hope existed of 
the return of Rogers. He reached the place with ample 
provisions, but fearing the approach of the Indians, conti- 
nued only two days at his post and abandoned it, as after- 

1 The Indians massacred some forty, and carried off ten prisoners to their 
village, where some of them fell victims to the fury of the Indian women, 
notwithstanding the efforts made by the Canadians to save them." Doc, 
x, 1042 



108 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

wards appeared, but two hours before the arrival of Rogers. 
He heard the signal guns fired to recall him, but believing 
them to indicate the presence of Indians, his flight was 
precipitated. 

Leaving his exhausted and famishing comrades with 
the assurance that in ten days they should be relieved, to 
procure " what wretched subsistence they could in a bar- 
ren wilderness," Rogers, accompanied by Ogden, a ranger, 
and an Indian youth, undertook to descend the river upon 
a raft in pursuit of aid. Rogers does not intimate his 
motive for carrying with him the Indian, but we may 
form a fearful conjecture. The first raft was lost among 
the rapids ; destitute of implements, they could only con- 
struct another, with trees felled and reduced to the appro- 
priate length by burning. The fort at Number Four was 
reached by an inflexible determination, and a canoe with 
supplies immediately despatched, which arrived at Cohase 
on the day designated by Rogers. • He returned to Crown 
point on the 1st December, and when the scattered parties 
were reassembled, he reported the loss after the detach- 
ment retreated from the ruins of the St. Francis village, 
of three officers and forty-six privates. 1 

On the eleventh of October, Captain Loring of the navy, 
to whom the work was confided, had succeeded by the 
most energetic efforts in completing the construction of a 
sloop carrying sixteen guns, a brigantine and radeau 
mounted with six cannon of large calibre. Amherst em- 
barked his army in a vast flotilla of bateaux, and, escorted 
by these vessels, proceeded on his long procrastinated ex- 
pedition. The next day he encountered one of those 
severe autumnal gales, which often at that season sweep 
over the lake. 2 Twelve of the boats were foundered, and 
the remainder sought shelter under the western shore of 
the lake. Amherst probably advanced while struggling 
with these adverse circumstances to the vicinity of Valcour 

1 Rogers's Journal, 144, 159. 2 Pouclwt, i, 146 ; n, 66. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 109 

island, and there on the mainland formed an encampment. 1 
Loring, with the sloop and brigantine, continued on his 
course, and compelled the French to destroy two of their 
vessels in a bay on the north-east angles of Valcour; a third 
was sunk, and one only, the schooner, escaped, and sought 
shelter under the guns of the Isle aux Noix. 2 

Experience or inquiry might have suggested to Amherst, 
that these periodical gales on the lake are always limited 
in their duration, and usually succeeded by a term of serene 
and genial weather. But ever controlled by an extreme 
of prudence and caution, he returned to Crown point after 
an absence of ten days, relinquishing the combinations 
his movements were intended to promote, and abandoning 
Wolfe to work out the fortunes of his army by his own 
unbounded energies and genius. 

It is not my province to pursue the course of events on 
the banks of the St. Lawrence, but a brief space devoted 
to the last scenes in the life of one who has occupied so 
wide a space in our narrative, can need no apology. On 
the 24th of August, 1759, Montcalm, as if in the cool 
tracings of history, instead of the speculations of prophetic 
prescience, wrote : " The capture Of Quebec must be the 
work of a coup de main. The English are masters of the 
river. They have but to effect a descent on the bank on 
which this city, 3 without fortification and without defense, 

1 1 adopt this conclusion from the language of an English writer of the 
period, and from the popular traditions of the region. Those are still living 
who recollect an opening on the Pine bluffs, south of the Au Sable river 
and directly upon the boundary line between Clinton and Essex counties, 
which, in the early part of the century, was known as Amherst's encamp- 
ment. It exhibited vestiges of extensive field-works the habitual cau- 
tion of Amherst would have led him to erect, and also remains of tar 
manufactories, formed in the primitive method of the pioneers. It is a 
singular coincidence, that the tar and pitch used in the equipment of Mc- 
Donough's fleet, more than fifty years afterwards, were made on the same 
ground and by a similar process. — Alvin Colvin, Esq. 

2 Doc, vii, 405 ; s, 1042 ; Pouchot. 

3 Montcalm must here speak comparatively and refer to the inadequacy 
of the Works which surrounded Quebec. A reference to this remarkable 
and deeply interesting document will be found in Appendix B. 



110 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

is situated, and they are at once in condition to offer me 
battle which I cannot refuse, and which I ought not to be 
permitted to gain. In fine, Mr. Wolfe, if he understands 
his business, has but to receive my first fire, to rush ra- 
pidly upon my army, to discharge his volley at close quar- 
ters, and my Canadians without discipline, deaf to the 
call of the drum and the trumpet, and thrown into dis- 
order by this assault, will be unable to recover their ranks. 
They have no bayonets to meet those of their enemy ; 
nothing remains for them but flight, and I am routed 
irretrievably." 

Three weeks later, Wolfe, pursuing the instincts of a 
congenial spirit, had fulfilled the presages of Montcalm, 
and stood with his army upon the plains of Abraham. 
Prophecy became history, and Montcalm, routed as he 
had predicted, was borne back to Quebec with a fatal 
wound, rejoicing " that he should not live to witness its 
fall." Confiding to his subordinate the honor of France, 
and commending the companions of his misfortunes and 
glory to the clemency of a generous foe, he exclaims : "As 
for me, I shall spend the night with God." 1 Montcalm 
survived his illustrious rival only a few hours, and at his 
own request was buried in a pit excavated by a shell in 
exploding; "A meet tomb for a warrior, who died on the 
field of honor." 2 

Rashness and precipitancy have been imputed to Mont- 
calm in the campaign before Quebec, and with a degree 
apparently of justice. Why did he hasten the attack before 
the aid he had summoned could arrive? The motives that 

1 Bancroft. Pouchot. 

2 1 dissent with much hesitation from the suggested doubts of an eminent 
authority, in reference to the grave of Montcalm. (O'Callaghan's note, Doc. 
X, 400). I accept the statement not alone on the authority of the Biogvaphie 
Universelle, but on the strength of the commemorative painting of his 
death, dictated by his officers (Pouchot, I, 217), but more especially on the 
language of the majestic epitaph of the French Academy of Inscription : 
" Deposited his mortal remains in a grave which a falling bomb in exploding 
had excavated." For this epitaph and the elegant and feeling correspond- 
ence between Bougainville and Pitt on the subject, see Appendix B. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. HI 

influenced his action are buried in his grave. Montreuil, 
a veteran and experienced soldier, asserts that delay would 
have enabled Wolfe to entrench upon a hill, and thus render 
his position impregnable. 1 Bishop De Ponfbriand, who 
participated in these events, sustains the same views, and 
says " that Montcalm deigned to avail himself of the first 
impulses of his troops." He adds a fact, which if it existed, 
manifests the highest wisdom and skill in the measures 
adopted by Montcalm : " had he delayed an hour the enemy 
would have been reenforced by three thousand men and 
eight pieces of cannon. 2 Bougainville, who had ascended 
the river with two thousand select men, to watch the opera- 
tions of Wolfe, was instantly, on the landing of the English 
army, ordered to return. Did the rapid conception enter 
into the sagacious mind of Montcalm, that Bougainville 
should return while the battle raged, and falling upon the 
the rear of Wolfe annihilate his forces ; and success, in bold 
and consummate strategy, like this, would have emblazoned 
with the brightest radiance the martial fame of Montcalm. 
Obloquy and detraction did not pause at the glorious grave 
of Montcalm. He was charged not merely with reckless- 
ness and presumption, but the base offense was imputed 
to him, of sacrificing his own life and the realm of New 
France to a groveling jealousy of Vaudreuil. 3 These 
calumnies have never satisfactorily explained why Vau- 
dreuil, lying within a mile and a half of the scene of action, 
with fifteen hundred men, did not advance with greater 
celerity, assume the command warranted by his rank, aud 
direct the operations of the army. The advance of Wolfe 
could not have been veiled from his knowledge. 4 

A want of enterprise has been singularly ascribed to 
Montcalm, not only by his detractors of that age, but a 

1 Doc, x, 1014. 2 An impartial opinion etc., Doc, x, 1061. 

s Dog,, x, 1034, 1043 ; Garneau, n, 327. 

4 Bancroft says that " messenger after messenger was dispatched to Vau- 
drenil to come up ; " I know not on what authority. No official document 
I think discloses the fact, and the Relations, etc., explicitly denies it. — Doc, 
x, 1061. 



112 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

modern Canadian writer indulges in the same strictures. 1 
The marvellous exploits, achieved with means so inade- 
quate, should dispel all these imputations. And it should 
be remembered that wise enterprise is always tempered 
by prudence and discretion. Vaudreuil, after the capitu- 
lation of 1760, went back to France, and he, in turn, was 
marked by adverse fortune, and an object of injustice and 
persecution. The friends of Montcalm, it is said, pur- 
sued and oppressed him with a vindictive animosity ; but 
he was in life able to secure the vindication of his honor 
and integrity. 

The repose that rested upon the shores of Champlain, 
was interrupted by no event of public interest, until the 
campaign of the next year. .The attention of Amherst 
was devoted to the extension and improvement of the 
works at Ticonderoga, and the erection, as we have 
already noticed, of a magnificent fortress on Crown point. 

The remains of these works, now crumbling ruins, still 
attest their original splendor and strength. They are now 
guarded and preserved by private taste and intelligence, 
from the vandal outrages which were rapidly destroying 
them. We may cherish the hope, that the most extensive 
and imposing ruins in America, redolent with the bright- 
est historical associations, and becoming shrouded in the 
venerableuess of antiquity, will be perpetuated to excite 
the admiration and to attract the pilgrimage of future 
ages. These fields of glory are now tilled in the peaceful 
pursuits of husbandry. In the vicinity of Ticonderoga, 
balls, muskets, swords, and numerous other relics of war, 
are constantly revealed. At one period, the line of the 
fatal abatis might almost be traced by these dumb but 
significant memorials of the spot where the harvest of 
death had been the most exuberant. 

The course of the circumvallatious and trenches, singu- 
larly complex and interlaced, may readily be distinguished. 
Part of the battlements rising above the rocky clift' are 

1 Doc, x, 1043 ; Qarneau, xi, 327. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. H3 

almost entire. The line of the ramparts is still traced; 
the ruins of a portion of the barracks remain, although 
private cupidity has removed much of the brick and stone 
of the buildings. The bakery is in a state of good preserv- 
ation. At Crown point the ruin is still better preserved, 
although here the deep interest that entrances at Ticon- 
deroga, is less profound and exciting. The mounds of 
Fort St. Frederic are yet perceptible, although fallen and 
dilapidated. The oven, the covered way, and magazine, 
are easily distingished. The fort erected by Amherst, 
might even now be restored. The form of the vast quad- 
rangular barracks, which enclosed the esplanade, may still 
be distinguished, although one side has been totally 
demolished, and another partially removed. They formed, 
until the desecration was arrested by the present pro- 
prietors, quarries that supplied building material to a wide 
region. Two of these barracks remain in partial preserv- 
ation, one a hundred and ninety-two feet and the other 
two hundred and sixteen feet in length. The walls yet 
stand, and although roofless, without floors, and the beams 
charred and blackened, they are in more perfect condition 
than any other part of either ruin. The inner walls bear 
the soldiers' idle scribblings of more than a century ago. 
Each room contains a broad and lofty fireplace. The gar- 
rison well, almost one hundred feet deep, remains. The 
direction of the covered way, conducting to the lake, 
although occasionally fallen in, may readily be discerned. 
How changed the scene, since the chivalry of France 
and England, and the savage warriors from Acadia 
to the precincts of Hudson's bay, were marshaled on 
these shores. Last autumn, standing on a lofty eminence 
on the southern limits of Essex county, I gazed far along 
the bold banks and tranquil bosom of Lake George. The 
view was as lovely as in the age of Montcalm and Howe ; 
but not a sound broke the deep stillness of nature, not a 
form interrupted its solitude. When I stood amid the 
ruins of Crown point, cattle were ruminating in its bas- 
tion, and a solitary robin twittered among the branches of 



114 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

a tree, whose roots were interlaced among the rocks of the 
ramparts. I saw sheep feeding upon the walls of Fort 
Carillon, and plucked wild grapes from a vine clustering 
upon the ruins of its magazine. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
The Colonization, 1760 - 1775. 

"While Amherst procrastinated his movements, the last 
convulsive, but nearly successful struggle for a prolonged 
dominion, was made by De Levis, in the attempted recap- 
ture of Quebec. The battle of Sillery, contiguous to the 
plains of Abraham, had been fought, where the brave but 
presumptuous and incompetent Murray experienced a 
defeat as severe in its losses and complete in the route, as 
that which proved fatal to Montcalm. But circumstances 
were not equally propitious to the French for the consumma- 
tion of the victory. 1 Amherst reserved to himself the 
command of the largest column of the British armies, which 
in accordance with the plan of the campaign of 1760, con- 
sisted of ten thousand men and was designed to approach 
Montreal by Oswego and the line of the St. Lawrence. 
Proceeding with a slow caution, that the enfeebled condition 
of the French forces did not exact, and incurring to his 
army great and unnecessary toil, and sweeping away as 
he advanced all the remains of hostile power along these 
waters, he appeared early in September before the walls of 
Montreal. 

Haviland was in charge of the troops which remained 
at the fortresses on Lake Champlain. While delaying for 
the progress of Amherst's operations, several bold and 
successful incursions were made from this point, against 
the settlement of Canada, by Rogers, in connection with 

1 The battle of Sillery was fought near the Cote d' Abraham ; this, with 
the celebrated Plains of Abraham, was called after one Abraham Martin, 
who owned a farm in the immediate vicinity. — O'Callaghan, Doc, X, 1801. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. H5 

the naval force, which now- held the control of the lake. 
On the 16th of August, 1760, the last brilliant martial 
procession of the war departed from Crown point. Bear- 
ing about three thousand regulars and provincials, under 
the command of Colonel Haviland, it moved down the 
lake in a long line of bateaux, under the convoy of four 
armed vessels, with an equal number of radeaux, each of 
which bore a heavy armament. Richard Montgomery, 
who had already attracted the attention and won the 
applause of Wolfe, at Louisburg, accompanied this expe- 
dition, as adjutant of the Seventeenth regiment of foot. 1 

Haviland effected a descent near the Isle aux Noix, 
without opposition, and at once erected batteries opposite 
the fort upon the main land. Bougainville, who occupied 
the works with sixteen hundred men, had strengthened 
his position by anchoring a fleet of small vessels on his 
flank. These were vigorously attacked and soon dispersed 
or captured. The rangers swam ont to one, tomahawk in 
hand, boarded and seized her. 2 Weakened by this loss, 
Bougainville, on the night of the 29th, abandoned his posi- 
tion. The forts at St. John's and Chambly were evacuated 
at the same time, the garrisons retreating slowly towards 
Montreal. By a skillful execution of happily concerted 
movements, Haviland appeared before Montreal on the 
7th of September, the day after the arrival and junction of 
Amherst and Murray. Murray had ascended the river 
from Quebec, driving before him the remnants of the French 
army, occupying the country and imposing the oath of 
allegiance upon the people. 3 

In this last stronghold of 2Tew France, Yandreuil^-its last 
governor-general, had gathered the gallant relics of his 
wasted army, and with an intrepid front, made the most 
prudent and skillful disposition for a final conflict. 4 As 
the blood in the process of dissolution recedes from the 
extremities and collects about the heart, so all the Cana- 



1 Rogers, 133 ; Armstrong's Life of Montgomery. - Rogers, 191. 
3 GrraJiam. 4 Idem; De Levis, Doc, x, 1125. 



116 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

dian power of France had gathered around the only re- 
maining citadel of its strength. All the chivalry of France 
that still survived on the soil of Canada, had assembled 
here, animated by a zeal and ardor that almost defied des- 
tiny. There was De Levis, second alone to Montcalm in 
renown and services; there was Boulamarque, the target 
of every battle-field; and Montrueil the successor of Dies- 
kau at Lake George ; and Bougainville, the pupil and friend 
of Montcalm, and to become illustrious as the first French 
circumnavigator of the globe. " If we do not save the 
country, " wrote De Levis to Belle Isle, " we will sustain 
the honor of the king's arms." 1 But the contest was hope- 
lessly unequal, and on the 8th of September, Vandreuil 
proposed terms of capitulation which were soon adjusted 
by Amherst in a spirit of humane magnanimity, and the 
sceptre of New France was yielded to England. 

By the treaty of Paris the next year, the province of 
Canada was formally ceded to Great Britain. England, 
in wild exultation, rejoiced over this conquest, which added 
the domain of almost half a continent to her realm, as 
" the most important that ever the British army had 
achieved." 2 But the far-seeing and comprehensive mind 
of Choiseul, discerned in it the germ of the dismember- 
ment of the British empire. 3 The keen forecast of Mont- 
calm, three weeks before his fatal field, found consolation 
in contemplating the same view. In the letter from which 
I have quoted in another page, he writes : " I shall console 
myself to some extent for my defeat and for the loss of 
our colony by the profound conviction which I entertain, 
that this defeat will one day become of greater value to 
my country than a victory, and that the victor here will 
find his grave, in his very victory." He then proceeds to 
trace with a master's hand, the consequences which will 
be entailed on England by the annexation of Canada, 
from its influences upon the attitude of the British colonies. 4 

1 Doc, x, 1103. 2 Smottet. 3 Bancroft. 4 See Appendix B. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 1X7 

The inference derived from the subsequent aspect of the 
country, and the silence of documents and history on the 
subject is strong, if not conclusive, that the actual occupa- 
tion of the Champlain valley by the French, for practical 
and agricultural purposes, although they maintained their 
military ascendancy for more than a fourth of a century, 
did not extend far beyond the protection of their fortresses. 

The extent and character of these early settlements is a 
question of strong interest, as well in the illustration it 
affords of the history of the region, as in the antiquarian 
researches it demands. Whatever may have been the 
number or situation of the French occupants, they appear 
to have receded before the approach of the victorious 
arms of Amherst, and probably accompanied the retreat 
of the French forces. The most decisive evidence remains 
of the presence, at some former period, of a considerable 
and civilized community in the vicinity of Crown point. 
The vestiges of their occupation which still exist, indicate 
a people who knew the comforts and amenities of life, 
and possessed numbers and means to secure their enjoy- 
ment. The allusions of ancient manuscripts corroborate 
the traditions preserved in the reminiscences of aged 
persons, that a population, ranging in the estimate from 
fifteen hundred to three thousand persons, were gathered 
around the fortress of St. Frederic. A very important 
traffic, it is known, existed between the French and 
English possessions, as early as 1700, and that Lake 
Champlain was the medium of the intercourse. Several 
years anterior to that period, Crown point, it will be re- 
collected, was referred to, as a prominent landmark, in 
the public instructions of the municipal authorities of 
Albany. May it not have been, previous to the French 
occupation, an important mart of this commerce ? We 
think the conclusion is warranted, that Crown point was 
probably, at an early period, a trading post, at which 
the merchandise of the French and English colonies were 
interchanged, and where the Indians congregated from 
widely extended hunting grounds to traffic their peltries* 



118 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

We have already briefly sketched the peninsular position 
of Crown point — one side resting on Bulwagga bay, and 
the other washed by the waters of the lake. "When we 
last witnessed it the clearest evidences remained of the 
ground, for many rods aloug the margin of the bay, having 
been graded and formed into an artificial slope, inclining 
to the water. Ruins of enclosures are still visible. The 
fragments of a former wall, in one instance, distinctly 
mark its course. Trees which have sprung up, along the 
line of the wall, have supported and preserved spaces of it 
almost entire. This enclosure, embracing an area of about 
two acres, was evidently a fruit yard or garden. Fruit 
trees were flourishing in it within the recollection of the 
present owner. 

An avenue seems to have swept in a wide curvature along 
the margin of the lake in front of the enclosure, and 
approached a landing place, adapted to the craft which at 
that time navigated its waters. Still more distinct and 
palpable indications are exhibited parallel to this avenue, 
upon the crest of a slight eminence, of the former residence 
of a dense and prosperous population. A street may be 
traced, reaching a long distance towards the mainland, 
raised and covered with broken stone not unlike the Mac- 
adam roads of the present day. The ruins of cellars, many 
of which are excavated from the solid rock, line this street 
on each side. The compact arrangement of these cellars 
and the narrowness of the avenue, present a striking 
analogy to the antiquated villages in Canada, founded by 
the French, and leave little doubt that their origiu was the 
same. No vestige of this by-gone age so thrilled upon 
my feelings and excited my imagination, as the remnant of 
the sidewalk along this street. It is formed of flagging 
similar to that now in use in our cities. The stones are 
smooth and worn, and remain in the position they were 
left by the generation who once thronged them in the busy 
scenes of life. We were assured by the occupant of the 
ground, that he has displaeed many continuous rods of this 
pavement, in the course of his agricultural operations, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. H9 

which were in perfect preservation. These and equally 
marked indications, extend over a wide space about the 
fort along the shores of the lake. Two large cemeteries, 
one near the garrison grounds and the other three miles 
south, attest that the living, in numerous assemblies, once 
animated these scenes. The worthy occupant of the 
former, remarked, without seeming conscious that he was 
yielding to the dictate of a refined sentiment, that he had 
felt constrained in particular spots to arrest the plow, be- 
cause it so fearfully exposed the relics of the dead. 

Still another touching testimony remains that man, in an 
advanced stage of society, has left his foot-prints on these 
scenes, to indicate his former presence. Asparagus, other 
hardy plants and shrubs, usually cherished by the hand of 
human culture, still flourish, wild and uncared for, upon 
these fields. The settlers, who occupied the territory after 
the revolution, found, in an area of about four miles from 
the fort, not a tree or a bush to obstruct the view over the 
beautiful and wide champaign, that had been once highly 
cultivated. Now, a heavy forest covers half the tract. 
Rogers, in describing one of his predatory excursions, 
speaks of luxuriant crops waving upon these fields, and on 
another occasion, he alludes to his firing, in a sudden 
foray, the village itself. He mentions also " settlements 
on the east side of the lake, one of which was two miles 
from the fort, and refers to the presence of "three hundred 
men chiefly inhabitants of the adjacent villages." This 
number, it maybe computed, would represent a population 
from one thousand to twelve hundred. In a previous page 
I have referred to the occupation of the adjacent country 
by actual settlers. No reasonable doubt exists, that large 
tracts of land lying between the works at Crown point and 
Ticonderoga were cleared and cultivated long previous to 
the permanent colonization of the English, and probably 
at the epoch of the French occupation. The heavy forests 
which now stand in various localities in this district exhibit 
conclusive evidence that they are of second growth. Kalm, 
the Swedish travel er^aw about the fort in 1749, "a con- 



120 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

siderable settlement," and "pleasant cultivated gardens," 
and " a neat church within the ramparts." Persons re- 
cently deceased, whose recollection extended to a period 
beyond the revolution, recalled Crown point when its busi- 
ness operations were conducted in several stores. A cir- 
cumstance occurring at a later period, which we shall in- 
troduce, with its evidences, in a subsequent part of this 
narrative, that seems to have contemplated Crown point 
as a capital of a projected province, is strongly suggestive 
of its central position and political importance. A solitary 
farm house now occupies the peninsula of Crown point. 

Soon after the cession to England by the treaty of 1763, 
of the French possessions, embracing the claims of France 
to the environs of Lake Champlain, the attention of the 
colonial government of New York was directed to the 
importance of establishing a town at Crown point. Gov. 
Moore in 1768 pressed the subject with great urgency 
upon the ministry. He represented that the measure 
would be attended "with great advantages to the province 
and the service of his majesty," and advises that "the lots 
in the town should be granted on the easiest terms," and 
" that their presence would contribute to the rapid settle- 
ment of the entire region." He also encloses "the plan 
of the town made by Adolphus Benzel. 1 A memorial 
addressed to the New York legislature in 1775, contains 
the names of thirty-eight males, described as residents of 
the district of Ticonderoga and Crown point. We may 
infer from this fact the presence, at that period, of a popu- 
lation of some hundreds. 

Although Canada continued in the military occupation 
of the armies of England, the clouds and uncertainties, 

1 Doc, vni, 140. Benzel was a Swede, emigrated to America and joined 
the army in 1752. In 1770 he was appointed " inspector of the royal woods 
and forests and unappropriated lands on the Champlain, with a large salary 
for that period. Nathan Beaman, the youthful guide of Allen, informed 
Mr. O. F. Sheldon, that about the year 1775, he rowed a party from Vermont, 
of some festive occasion, to Crown point, and mentioned seeing on the table 
of Benzel, silver-ware and other evidences of wealth and luxury. Benzel 
obtained the grant of the military reserves at Crown point. — Doc, vui, 488. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 121 

which shrouded her future policy in reference to the per- 
manent acquisition of the country, retarded the settlement 
of the environs of Lake Champlaiu by American emigrants. 
The officers and soldiers, of both the regular and provin- 
cial line, in their repeated campaigns, had become familiar 
with the region, and appreciated its beauty and fertility. 
The teeming west was still the domain of the savage. The 
impediments to colonization referred to were dispelled, 
when, by the treaty of 1763, Canada, Acadia and Cape 
Breton, were ceded to England. 

A proclamation made October 7, 1763, by the king of 
Great Britain, authorized the colonial governors to issue 
grants of land to be located in any colony as the grantee 
preferred. The reduced officers and men, who had served 
in the Canadian campaigns, were especially to be regarded 
in the issuing of these grants. The holders were em- 
powered, by the terms of their grants, to # make locations 
upon any unappropriated lands. This revolution, in the 
attitude of the country, communicated a new impulse to 
its affairs, and opened its portals widely to immigration. 
The decade succeeding the year 1765, exhibited vast pro- 
gress in its improvement and cultivation. Numerous 
patents were granted, and the locations made under them, 
came frequently into collision with grants issued during 
the French intrusion. Stimulated by the value of the 
lands, immensely enhanced by these events, many grants, 
utterly fictitious, were asserted, and others revived that 
had been abrogated by the French government, or for- 
feited by a failure in the performance of their conditions. 
Others derived from France, were preserved by actual 
tenure, and had been recognized by the government of 
Great Britaiu. Many of these classes were also violated 
by location of grants issued in pursuance of the ordinance 
of 1763. No grants, in addition to those already men- 
tioned, appear to have been issued by the French autho- 
rities, to any portion of Essex county, except one of 
November 15, 1758, which comprehended a large part 
of the territory, which now constitutes the towns of Crown 



122 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

point and Ticonderoga. The adjustment of the conflict- 
ing rights of the patentees, under these adverse grants of 
the French and English authorities, was extremely diffi- 
cult and embarrassing. A proper sense of justice induced 
a suspension by the government, in 1768, in the issuing 
of all patents of lands northward of Crown point, which 
were claimed under any French grants. 1 

These collisions again threw a cloud over the progress 
and prosperity of the country. Many of the French claims 
were ultimately repudiated by England, on account of 
forfeitures through the neglect of the conditions upon 
which they were dependent ; others were compromised 
by grants to the claimants of land in Canada of an equiva- 
lent value. 2 England exhibited towards the claimants of 
these seigniories great tenderness and liberality, in not 
assuming the obvious position, that the French held the 
shores of Lake Champlain alone by an usurped occupation, 
which could neither create nor convey any rights. These 
questions agitated and disturbed the colonies for several 
years, and led in the home government to anxious and 
protracted discussions. 

The multiplicity and extent of the grants, issued under 
the ordinance of 1763, the existence of these conflicting 
claims, and the repugnance of many of the patentees to the 
occupation themselves of their laud, combined to depress 
their value and throw them into market. 

William Gilliland, a native of Ireland, was, at that pe- 
riod, a merchant, residing in the city of New York. En- 
dowed with great force of character and enterprise, and 
possessing expanded and sagacious views, he became con- 
spicuous in the early settlement of Clinton and Essex 
counties, and held, for many years, a controlling ascend- 
ancy in the affairs of that region. Patents of rich and 



1 Doc, viii, 115. In the year 1809, the validity of these ancient French 
grants was adjudicated upon by the supreme court of New York, with a 
result adverse to the claim of title under them. — Johnson's Reports, iv, 163. 

2 Doc, viii, 577. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 123 

extensive manors had been, anterior to this time, granted 
in the southern sections of the province. Actuated by the 
desire of forming to himself a similar estate, the mind of 
Mr. Gilliland was attracted to the valley of Champlain, 
then surrounded by the circumstances to which allusion 
has been made. He employed, with this view, competent 
agents to explore the west shores of the lake. The larger 
proportion of the territory upou the eastern side, had al- 
ready been granted and appropriated. He decided upon 
the result of this survey, to locate his proposed domain 
near the Boquet river, expanding southerly along the bor- 
ders of the lake towards Split rock. 

The remarkable beauty and fertility of the tract still 
vindicate the wisdom and tact of his selection. His first 
location was a section of two thousand acres, under a grant 
to James Field. This was situated immediately south of 
the Boquet, 1 and is now designated as Field's patent. 
Mr. Gilliland subsequently purchased seven additional 
claims, which embraced in the aggregate more than fifteen 
thousand acres of land. The territory he comprehended 
and located under these grants, commencing a half mile 
south of the river, extended to Judd's patent, which seems 
to have been previously surveyed, near Split rock, present- 
ing on the shore of the lake a line of about six miles, and 
spreading three or four miles into the interior. The pur- 
chase of these rights was effected in 1764, and the grants 
issued and the land surveyed the ensuing year. Impressed 
by the natural predilections of an European to manorial 
institutions, his policy seems to have designed the creation 
of an estate in fee in himself, with subordinate estates to a 
tenantry held at annual leases. The consummation of a 



1 The origin of the name of this river is uncertain. Tradition says it was 
thus named by Mr. Gilliland, from the profusion of flowers on its banks. 
It is also supposed to have been derived from Gen. Boquet, an English officer 
of considerable distinction. An ingenious friend has suggested that it may 
have been derived from the French word baquet, trough, a term pecu- 
liarly descriptive of the form of the river, between the falls and its debouch 
into the lake. 



124 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

scheme of this character, applied to a wild and uncultivated 
region, demanded an exercise of extreme skill and sagacity. 
The inducements presented by Gilliland to immigration, 
were conceived in the most liberal and enlarged spirit. 
His arrangements for organizing the proposed colony 
manifested every regard for its comfort and success. He 
seems to have secured a body of intelligent and indus- 
trious emigrants, formed principally of mechanics and 
laborers, and adapted to endure the toil and privation of 
a pioneer life. Amply provided with implements, tools, 
provisions, and all other requisites, he left New York with 
his colony on the 10th of May, 1765, and occupied ten 
days in the voyage from that city to Albany. Deciding, 
at this place, to convey a part of the immigrants and the 
material by water, to Fort Edward, he was compelled to 
purchase bateaux at Schenectady, and to transport them 
overland to Albany. In the laborious toil of eight days, 
contending with the strong current and dangerous rapids 
of the Hudson, he reached Fort Edward in safety. A part 
of the train had proceeded by laud, driving with them a 
herd of forty-one head of neat cattle, destined for the 
future use of the colony. The oxen were employed in the 
transportation of the boats and effects to Lake George. 
Three days were exhausted in this operation, when the 
little fleet was again launched, and wafted by sails to 
Ticonderoga. Two days more of transportation by land, 
brought them to the waters of Lake Champlain. One 
bateau was freighted with lumber at Ticonderoga, sup- 
plied by saw mills which were erected during the French 
occupation. Again embarking, they arrived on the shores 
of the Boquet on the 8th day of June, having occupied in 
their journey thirty days of arduous and incessant labor. 

After the interval of two days, devoted to rest and pre- 
liminary arrangement, they proceeded up the river to the 
point of their ultimate destination, and formed their encamp- 
ment upon an island at the base of the falls, which, from 
that circumstance, still bears the name of Camp islaud. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 125 

With promptness and energy operations were at once 
commenced. A road was opened to the falls, and by the 
15th of that month ground had been cleared, timber pre- 
pared, and a house, forty-four feet by twenty-two, partly 
erected. This edifice was probably the first dwelling built 
by civilized man, on the western shore of Champlain, be- 
tween Crown point and Canada. The cattle had been 
driven to Crown point, and there made to swim the narrow 
passage. Proceeding to a point opposite to Split rock, they 
were ferried over, and from thence driven through the 
woods to Gilliland's settlement. A part of them were 
confined and fed upon the leaves of the trees, but the 
largest portion were turned loose to the unlimited range 
of the forest. 

The first great necessity secured, by the erection of a 
dwelling, the colonists prepared for general improvement. 
The forest was opened, the vicinity explored, timber pre- 
pared for a saw-mill, which was erected in the autumn, at 
the lower part of the falls, and supplied with power by a 
wing dam, which was projected into the current, turning 
the water into a flume that conducted it to the mill. 

Game was abundant in the woods ; the most delicious 
salmon thronged the stream, that at most laved their 
threshold, and the beaver meadows yielded them sufficient 
hay for the approaching winter. 1 The spontaneous pro- 
ducts of a bounteous land were thus within the reach of 
their industry and energies. Meanwhile, as these efforts 
were in progress, Mr. Gilliland had visited Quebec, and 
returned laded with all the other necessaries to secure 
the comfort and safety of his people. 



1 Another resort to procure a supply of fodder was of infinite value to the- 
first settlers, and is still not unimportant to the inhabitants of the country. 
This was the marshes, created by the spring overflowings of the low allu- 
vials upon the shores of the lake. The hay cut upon these marshes is very 
inferior to that cured from cultivated grasses, or even the product of the 
beaver meadows. The growth upon the natural meadows is usually a 
coarse and harsh grass, intermingled with rushes, brakes and ferns. On 
more elevated ground, a better quality of hay is produced. 



126 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

" During his absence he had examined the region with 
a vigilant eye, upon both shores of the lake; had ascended 
the navigable streams, sounded their depths, and explored 
their banks. Twelve grants had now been located by Mr. 
Grilliland. Eight of these were situated within the present 
towns of Essex and Willsboro'; two at Westport, and two 
at Salmon river, now in Clinton county. A tier of lots, 
intended for farms, was surveyed and numbered in this 
year (1765), ranging along the shore of the lake, from the 
rfiouth of the Boquet to Judd's patent. Many of these lots 
were immediately selected by the settlers, but on account of 
the advanced season were not occupied until the succeed- 
ing spring." The settlement upon the Boquet was named 
Milltown. Mr. Gilliland, in November, left it, with his 
other interests upon Lake Champlain, in charge of a kins- 
man, whom he dignified with the European title of 
steward. He passed the winter himself in New York, 
engaged in preparations for the removal of his family to 
his new estate. The cattle which had been turned out 
upon their arrival, were recovered with great difficulty in 
the autumn, and in a condition almost as wild as the na- 
tive denizens of the forests. The first winter of these pio- 
neers in the wilds of New York, was passed without 
suffering or remarkable incident. Their time was occu- 
pied in attending the cattle, cutting and drawing saw- 
logs to the mill, and in the preparation of timber for 
the construction of their buildings. In January, 1766, 
their hay was drawn upon the ice, from a beaver meadow, 
two miles south-west from Split rock (now Whallon's bay), 
to Milltown. 

At the approach of spring, all the efforts of the settlers 
were enlisted in constructing their dwellings, and making 
other improvements upon their newly acquired farms. 
The first house upon these lots is supposed to have been 
erected for Robert McAuley, April 14th, 1766, on the 
north bank of Bachelor's creek. Others rapidly succeeded, 
until the whole space between the Boquet and Split 
rock was studded by the neat cabins of the settlers. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 127 

During the spring, the provisions of the colony began to 
fail, but their wants were promptly supplied from the 
stores of the garrison at Crown point. 

In June, Mr. Gilliland returned with his family, and bear- 
ing supplies for another year. " His journey had been 
difficult and disastrous. In passing the rapids of the Hud- 
son, near Stillwater, one of the bateaux had capsized, 
precipitating part of his family into the rushing torrent. 
One of his daughters was lost. They resumed their voy- 
age in fearful forebodings, sometimes drawing their boats 
on land, and again launching them upon the water. Worn 
with grief and toil, they arrived at length at Milltown, and 
were soon settled in their wilderness home on the banks of 
the Boquet." ' 

By a royal ordinance of October 7th, 1763, the parallel 
of forty-five degrees north latitude had been established as 
the boundary between New York and the province of 
Quebec. This ideal line, was, however, indefinite and 
controverted. In September, 1767, Governor Moore, of 
New York, and Carlton, of Quebec, caused the line to be 
fixed by careful astronomical observations. The same 
observations established the latitude of Crown point at 
forty-four degrees one minute twenty seconds. On this 
occasion, the munificent hospitalities of Milltown were 
extended to the royal commissioners and their suite. 

The return of the proprietor had infused a fresh spirit, 
and imparted a new and vigorous impulse to the little 
commonwealth. The colony continued to advance in 
improvement and prosperity. The saw-mill was in suc- 
cessful operation, supplying all the demand for lumber. 
A smithery had been erected. Various seeds had been 
sown to supply culinary vegetables. The government, 
political as well as moral, of the community, was in the 
exclusive guidance and control of the proprietor. Its ad- 
ministration seems to have been eminently patriarchal. 
The appointment of justice of peace, which had been 

1 0. F. Sheldon. 



128 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

conferred on Mr. Gilliland, in his primitive jurisdiction, 
endowed him with a plenitude of powers, that essentially 
embraced all the functions of counsellor, judge, and chan- 
cellor. The ample limits of Albany county, at that period, 
embraced the whole region of northern New York. 

During the winter of 1767, Gilliland made an accurate 
and minute survey upon the ice of the lake shore, along 
the entire front of his locations, and named the prominent 
topographical features. In the same season the first horse 
introduced into the settlement, was brought out upon the 
ice, for Mr. Gilliland, from Canada. 

William McAuley, a relative, and one of the prominent 
and most efficient coadjutors of Gilliland, occupied as a 
farm, the site of the present beautiful village of Essex. 
James Gilliland, a brother of the proprietor, and in after 
years a distinguished officer in the American army, settled 
on a lot on the north bank of the Boquet. This stream, 
at the time of Gilliland's colonization of its shores, and 
for a subsequent period of several years, was a conspicu- 
ous landmark in the country. 

The site and the water-power of the village of Port 
Henry was granted in 1766, to Benjamin Porter, a miller. 
It is supposed a milling establishment was erected by him 
and abandoned or destroyed before or during the revolu- 
tion. When tranquillity was restored after that event, he 
returned to the scene, and in connection with a Robert 
Lewis, of Albany, rebuilt the mills. The ruins of these 
structures existed until a recent date. 

No prominent event distinguished the annals of these 
settlements for several years. Their agricultural and 
industrial improvement continued to advance, the colony 
gradually increased in population, flourishing mills were 
erected, and other conveniences and refinements of civil- 
ized life were introduced. Schools were early established. 
The position of the first school-house is still pointed out. 
Occasional religious services were enjoyed. I cannot 
ascertain the existence, in the early epoch of the settle- 
ment, of the stated administration of religious ordinances, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 129 

although a clergyman, named George Henry, accompanied 
Mr. Gilliland with the first body of emigrants. 

Albany county was divided in 1772, aud the northern 
section, embracing both sides of Lake Champlain, was 
organized into a new county, which received the name of 
Charlotte. 

An event occurred in 1775, which forcibly illustrates 
the tendency at that time of public sentiment to democra- 
tic institutions, and exhibits its bias towards the doctrines 
of self-government. This settlement, it has been stated, 
was in the ideal limits of Charlotte county, but it possessed 
no tangible aud practical political or social organization. 
It was too remote to be reached by the protecting arm of 
government, and too unimportant to receive any specific 
legislative action. The presence and ascendancy of some 
civil or political power were demanded, in the changed 
condition aud increased population of the colony, by their 
common interests, and for their mutual protection and 
safety. Under these circumstances they convened on the 
17th of March, 1775, 1 by common approbation, an assem- 
bly of the colonists, and constituted themselves in effect, 
into a pure democracy. At this popular convention it was 
determined to institute for many practical purposes a local 
government. A system of police and social regulations 
was matured, formally adopted, and ratified by the indivi- 
dual signatures of the citizens. It was made imperative 
upon all, and each was pledged to abide by its provisions 
" by every tie of honor and honesty." 2 In contemplating 
in its humble aspect this singular and most interesting 
incident, the mind instinctively reverts to the cabin of the 

1 They were chiefly Irish, and St. Patrick's festival was no doubt design- 
edly adopted for the occasion. 

2 But ten years had elapsed since the arrival of Gilliland with his colony, 
and still only two signatures are attached to this document of all those 
who accompanied him as original settiers. And thus it is almost uniformly 
in the history of our country. The pioneer opens the wilderness, and levels 
the highway for the advance of civilization ; but as its march approaches, he 
recedes and passes onward to new scenes of toil and to incur fresh priva- 
tions. — Pioneer History of Champlain Valley. 

9 



130 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

May-Flower, where a similar scene was enacted, under the 
guidance of the same spirit and resting upon the same 
eternal principles. The officers of the association, thus 
constituted, comprised a moderator, two superintendents of 
roads and bridges, three appraisers of damages, and a town 
clerk. William Gilliland was elected the first moderator, 
and Jotham Gardner the town clerk. The first act of this 
primitive organization was an ordinance, authorizing the 
construction of a bridge, by a tax to be levied and paid in 
labor, assessed on the basis of property. 

A project is believed to have been agitated at this period, 
which, in its success, would have formed a prominent feature 
in the annals of this colony, and been an event of grave 
interest and importance in the political history of the 
country. A scheme, in which Gilliland and the elder 
Skeene, of a family which attained subsequent revolu- 
tionary notoriety, were the prominent agitators, was dis- 
cussed and essentially matured, which contemplated the 
organization of a new province. Its imagined limits were 
to extend from the St. Lawrence to the Connecticut, 
resting at the north on the Canada boundary and with an 
undefined line at the south. In this project Skeene was to 
receive the appointment of governor of the contemplated 
province, and Crown point was to be constituted the capital. 

I have yielded my own convictions of the reality of this 
scheme, not alone upon the traditions on the subject, and 
the assurances of those who profess to have seen and pos- 
sessed documents which elucidated the whole subject, but 
upon other forcible considerations. 1 Amherst, it was 

1 Mr. Gilliland, the younger, who, at the commencement of the revolution, 
was a schoolboy of fourteen, and died in Plattsburgh, in the year 1847, as- 
sured Mr. Sheldon that this project was a frequent and familiar theme of 
conversation by his father. That he had often himself read the correspond- 
ence between his father and Skeene, on the subject, and that he had the 
letters of Skeene still in his possession. Mr. G., who was a gentleman of 
great intelligence, engaged to find and submit them to Mr. Sheldon, but 
he died before the time fixed for the purpose arrived. With the permission 
and aid of the Messrs. Gilliland, his sons, who reside at Salmon river, on a 
part of the original estate, I have carefully examined the family papers, but 
can discover no trace of this document. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 131 

asserted by Colden, contemplated the erection of a sepa- 
rate government at Crown point, immediately after its 
reduction. 1 

The aspect at that epoch of the controversy, relative to 
the New Hampshire grants, rendered such an occurrence 
exceedingly probable. Cotemporary annals appear to 
recognize the existence of some project of an analogous 
character and purpose. 2 Skeene, it is known, at this pe- 
riod, visited England on some important political mission, 
and was on his return to America on the verge of the 
revolution, bearing, as he alleged, the appointment of 
governor of Crown point and Ticonderoga. 3 In this 
designation of the limits and title of his government, is it 
not probable that he merely referred to these fortresses as 
prominent points embraced withiu his jurisdiction ? Crown 
point, it is asserted, was the designed capital of the pro- 
jected province. This idea strengthens at once the opinion 
I have attempted to enforce, of the prominence and import- 
ance of Crown point at that period, and attaches form and 
coherence to the existence of this scheme. Skeene was 
then possessed of a large landed estate, not only at 
Skeenesboro', but elsewhere in the environs of Lake Cham- 
plain. He held a tract in Essex county, still designated 
Skeene's patent. 

The theory, that the erection of a new province was 
contemplated at this period, seems to receive a degree of 
strength from the proceedings of a convention held at 
Westminster, Vermont, in April, 1775, which resolved to 
petition the royal government " that they might be taken 
out of so oppressive a jurisdiction [that of New York], 
and either annexed to some other government or erected 
and incorporated into a new one." The commissioners 
of Vermont, in their appeal to congress in 1779, refer to 
the same measure, and affirm their probable ability to 
prove the creation of this new province, and that Governor 

1 Doc, vii, 558 ; Skeene to Pownall, Doc, vn, 515. 

2 Williams's History of Vermont.' Haskins's do. 
8 Skeene's Letter to Rawley, March 16, 1775. 



132 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Skeene had been appointed to preside over the same. " By 
the accomplishment of this design might have involved 
the most momentous and sinister political results, at that 
peculiar epoch, when the vehement contest between New 
York and Vermont had acquired its deepest rancor and 
excitement. It is not probable, had that event occurred, 
whatever may have been the political consequences, that 
Northern New York would now exhibit a vast expanse 
of uncultivated and primeval wilderness. 

An occurrence of deep import suddenly dissolved all 
these visions of political plans and speculations, and for 
years arrested the progress of this miniature republic, and 
dispersed widely its population. A blow was struck, 
within the present limits of Essex county, which vibrated 
not only through the wide colonies, but was felt within 
the palace walls of St. James. 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Kevolution, 1775-1776. 

Haldimand, the commandant of Crown point and Ti- 
conderoga, announced to the British government, in 1773, 
that the fort at Crown point was " entirely destroyed," 
and that at Ticonderoga, in a "ruinous condition," and 
" that both could not cover fifty men in winter." The 
appeal to arms, which had sounded from the plains of 
Lexington, in April, 1775, seems to have suggested simul- 
taneously to patriotic individuals in various sections of 
the colonies the idea of seizing these important fortresses, 
while in their dilapidated and exposed condition. Mem- 
bers of the provincial legislature of Connecticut, embrac- 
ing the names of David Wooster and Silas Deane, and 
with its secret connivance, but without any public recog- 
nition by that body, raised a fund to eflect this object, 
and appointed a private committee to proceed to the 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 133 

scene, and to pursue measures calculated to secure the 
execution of the plan. 

It was known that a large number of cannon, with an 
immense amount of every military munition, had been 
accumulated at these posts. The seizure of these mate- 
rials would supply a deficiency severely felt in the Ameri- 
can army, already assembled before Boston. This motive, 
the obvious policy of occupying the stronghold which 
commanded the communications of Lake Champlain and 
the desire of achieving a decided success, which would 
tend to strengthen and animate the popular enthusiasm, 
stimulated this movement. Edward Mott and Noah 
Phelps, who were embraced in this committee, and were 
intrusted by the projectors of this daring scheme with the 
arrangements for its execution, proceeded with a small 
body of men, raised in Connecticut, to Berkshire county, 
Massachusetts. At Pittsfield, Colonel Easton and John 
Brown embarked with ardor in the enterprise. The 
expedition numbered about forty volunteers when it 
reached Bennington, and here the zealous spirit and 
powerful influence of Ethan Allen was enlisted. 

On the 7th of May, 1775, an intrepid band of two 
hundred and seventy men, all of whom but forty-six were 
Green mountain boys, had collected at Castleton, and were 
devoted to this bold design. While they were organizing 
for the advance, Benedict Arnold, bearing a commission 
from the committee of safety in Massachusetts — but dated 
the 3d of May, the day on which the expedition reached 
Bennington — and clothed with plenary powers to accom- 
plish the same purpose, appeared upon the scene, and 
claiming precedence in the command of the expedition. 
The contest which ensued, and which threatened to prove 
fatal to the enterprise, was terminated by the troops 
refusing to march unless under the guidance of Allen, 
their tried and cherished leader. Arnold was constrained 
to yield, and joined the force as aid to the commander. 
Noah Phelps, a name that national gratitude should com- 
memorate, assuming the garb and deportment of a settler, 



134 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

boldly entered the fort at Ticonderoga, and with the pre- 
tence of seeking a barber, wandered unsuspected about 
the works, and thus obtained complete knowledge of their 
condition and the strength of the garrison. 

Captain Herrick had been ordered to proceed to Skeenes- 
boro', and having captured the younger Skeene, with the 
materials collected at that place to join Allen at Ticon- 
deroga ; Douglas was sent to Panton, to secure all the boats 
that could be discovered and return to Shoreham. Upon 
his success chiefly depended the means of transporting 
the troops. Instructions were communicated to Remember 
Baker, always the active and unfaltering coadjutor of 
Allen to cooperate from his position at Otter'creek. Major 
Beach had been dispatched to Rutland and the adjacent 
towns in order to gather volunteers, and accomplished on 
foot, tradition asserts, a circuit of sixty miles in twenty-four 
hours. 1 "When the agents of Connecticut reached Sheffield, 
they communicated witn the Albany committee on the 
subject of their expedition, by messengers; but that body 
refused to interfere, without instructions from the New 
York committee, which although applied to, appear to have 
given no response. 2 The force under Allen advanced in 
profound secrecy and silence to the eastern shore of the 
lake, in the town of Shoreham. 3 

Sentinels and pickets were placed on every avenue by 
which intelligence of the movement might be communi- 
cated to Ticonderoga. The party lay in concealment 
nearly a whole day and night, in what is now known as 
Hand's cove, a short distance north of Larrabee's point. 
They were disappointed in crossing immediately as was 

1 Goodhue's Slioreham. a Mall's Vermont. 

3 A number of the inhabitants of Shoreham engaged in the enterprise, 
and from them and local tradition, the Rev. Josiah T. Goodhue, long 
the pastor of the Congregational church in that town, has collected and 
preserved many incidents connected with the capture of Ticonderoga of 
great interest and value. In the frequent discrepancies which obscure the 
history of this event, I have deferred to him as the most credible and authen- 
tic authority. I am indebted to Hon. A. C. Hand, a native of Shoreham, 
for a knowledge of Mr Goodhue's work, and for several important facts. 



MILITARY AXD POLITICAL HISTORY. 135 

intended, by the delay in the arrival of the necessary 
boats. A large oared boat owned by Skeene, which was 
lying at anchor in the lake near Crown point, was seized 
by a stratagem ; Douglass brought a scow from Orwell, 
and with these and a few small boats which they had 
secured in the vicinity, Allen determined to attempt the 
passage. Eighty-three men were embarked in the night 
of the 10th, at Hand's point, and landed beneath the pro- 
tection of a cluster of willows on Willow's point, about 
one mile north of the fort. The cfawn began to appear, 
and as immediate action could alone command success, 
it was decided to advance to the assault without awaiting 
the return of the boats with the remainder of the party. 
A patriotic farmer of Shoreham had supplied Allen with 
a guide in the person of his son, an active and intelligent 
lad of fifteen, who had gained a perfect kuowledge of 
the works, in his pastimes among the boys connected with 
the garrison. 

Allen, when the little band Were formed, addressed 
them in a low and earnest voice, but in the rude and forci- 
ble eloquence by which he was wont at all times to control 
his associates. He spoke of their antecedents ; of their 
widely extended reputation for valor which had led to 
their selection to accomplish an important undertaking : 
he represented the desperate attempt as only adapted to 
the bravest of men ; that he purposed to conduct them 
through the gate ; that they must that morning quit their 
pretensions to heroism or in a few minutes capture the 
fortress ; he would urge no one to follow him contrary to 
his own will, but, he exclaimed, " you that will undertake 
voluntarily, poise your firelock." Instantly every musket 
was elevated. Again, the harmony of the expedition was 
imperiled in the renewed assertion by Arnold, of a claim 
to precedence in leading the assault. It was, at length, 
arranged that the two leaders should advance together, 
Allen on the right, guided by young Nathan Beaman, the 
Shoreham boy ; with Allen and Arnold at the head, the 
column marched rapidly and in silence to the sallyport. 



136 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The sentinel stationed there snapped his gun against the 
breast of Allen, and retreated through the covered way, 
closely followed by the Americans, who, uttering a terrific 
shout, formed upon the parade in two lines, each facing 
the barracks. The garrison were awakened from their 
sleep by the wild clamor, and Captain De La Place, sud- 
denly aroused, burst from his quarters in his night apparel, 
to be confronted on the corridor by Allen ; and in reply to 
the summons to surrender, asked by what authority it was 
demanded. Allen thundered forth the immortal response, 
in words then strange and ominous, but now engraven in 
our national annals : "In the name of the Great Jehovah 
and the Continental congress." The fortress, the garrison, 
and the vast munitions were won without the effusion of 
a single drop of blood. A part of these trophies was forty- 
eight prisoners, one hundred and twenty-four pieces of 
cannon, a number of mortars and howitzers, a large 
amount of ammunition of every kind, and extensive and 
invaluable materials fof ship building. 

Warner, who had succeeded in crossing with the rear 
detachment, arrived at the fort soon after the surrender. 
He was, without delay, dispatched with a hundred men to 
seize Crown point. A heavy wind prevented the immedi- 
ate movement, but the next day he was able to advance ; 
captured without resistance the fort aud its small garrison 
of twelve men with its entire armament. Herrick had 
been equally successful, aud soon after joined Allen, hav- 
ing captured the works at the head of the lake, and Skeene 
with all his forces, and made the yet more important acqui- 
sition of several boats and a schooner, which had been used 
as a regular trader between Skeenesboro' and St. Johns. 
The triumphant success of this most skillfully concerted 
measure was completed, when Baker arrived with two dis- 
patch boats sent from Crown point with intelligence of the 
capture of Ticonderoga, which he had intercepted and 
taken on his passage from Otter creek. The military 
material secured at Crown point largely enhanced the 
spoils of Ticonderoga. Amos Callander was immediately 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 137 

detached with a small party to the fort at the head of Lake 
George. This design was effected by him without diffi- 
culty, and he soon after conducted all the prisoners, 
amounting to fifty-two, to Hartford, Connecticut. 1 

The intelligence of this great and extraordinary event 
was received by the people in astonishment, and with trans- 
ports of enthusiastic joy. The day after the capture of 
Ticonderoga, John Brown bore to Albany a letter from 
Allen, communicating the fact of its surrender and express- 
ing an apprehension, that an attempt might be made for 
its recovery, and asking for assistance by reenforcements 
and supplies. Again the committee faltered and hesitated, 
and wrote to New York. That committee then also re- 
fused to act, and forwarded the dispatches to the congress 
in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Brown, untiring in his zeal, 
had also reached that city, and was called before Congress 
to give an account of the exciting transactions at Ticon- 
deroga. That body received his intelligence with the 
highest secret exultation, but in the reserve due to a deli- 
berative assembly, and in the undefined posture of affairs, 
hesitated to assume a distinct responsibility for the act, and 
adopted a formal resolution, recommending the committees 
of 'New York and Albany to "immediately cause the 
cannon and stores to be removed from Ticonderos-a to 
the south end of Lake George," and indirectly advised a 
" strong post to be established at that place." It also re- 
commended " that an exact inventory of them should be 
taken, in order that they might be safely returned when 
the restoration of the former harmony between Great Bri- 
tain and the colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, 
should render it prudent and consistent with the overrul- 
ing law of self-preservation." In tumultuary times, men 
responsible for the exercise of power are seldom abreast 
of popular sentiment. The post proposed to be strength- 
ened on Lake George might afford partial protection to 
Albany, but would leave the people on the grants, who 

1 Goodhue's Shoreham. 



138 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

had achieved the aggression, exposed, unshielded to the 
royal vengeance. Allen, with earnest indignation, remon- 
stated against the project. Connecticut and Massachusetts 
gave utterance to equally emphatic protests, and the exe- 
cution of the purpose was happily abandoned. 1 

The character of the men who led in the achievement of 
an exploit, that exhibits more the similitude of romance 
than the cooler form of reality, proves that the scheme was 
wisely and carefully concerted, and that any design de- 
liberately adopted by them, would have been accomplished, 
if within the scope of human power or courage. Each, in 
his own station, became eminent in the progress of the 
revolution. Seth Warner, in the affections and confidence 
of their fearless associates, was scarcely second to Allen, 
and conspicuous in every field on which he moved, his 
military science and capacity was superior. Herrick was 
the efficient coadjutor of Stark at Bennington; Easton 
was gallantly distinguished in the army of Montgomery; 
Baker died before St. Johns in the same service ; and 
Brown, after a glorious career of high distinction, fell at 
Stone Arabia. 

A few months later an extreme public necessity was 
disclosed, that could only be relieved by the fruits of 
this conquest, and destined to prove its infinite import- 
ance. "Washington had closely beleaguered Boston, but 
the progress of the siege i was retarded by the want of 
appropriate cannon. Henry Knox, the youthful bookseller 
of Boston, the future chief of artillery in the American 
army, whose science was to excite the surprise and admi- 
ration of engineers trained in the schools of Europe, had 
chiefly constructed these works before Boston, by an 
almost intuitive genius. With equal energy and skill, in 
the depth of the winter of 1776, he traversed a wilderness 
of two hundred miles ; collected numerous teams of oxen, 
and with a long train of sleds, transported fifty heavy 
guns from Ticonderoga to the camp of Washington. 

. 2 Hall's Vermont. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 139 

This unwonted procession was welcomed by an enthu- 
siastic ovation, amid the joy and shouts of the patriot 
army. 1 

Arnold renewed his pretension to the supreme command 
after the reduction of the fortresses, with his accustomed 
arrogance and dictatorial spirit. The troops rejected these 
assumptions, and the Connecticut committee interposing, 
conferred upon Allen, by a formal instrument, temporary 
powers as commandant of the army and forts. Arnold 
yielded to necessity, and acquiesced in a measure which was 
ultimately approved by Massachusetts. 

A small armed vessel was lying at this time in the 
Sorel river, near St. Johns. Her possession would secure 
to the Americans the entire naval force upon the lake, 
and they determined to effect her seizure before an alarm 
should be excited. Fifty men engaged by Arnold in 
Massachusetts, and over whom he exercised undoubted 
authority, arrived oppportunely at Ticonderoga. "With 
these men, he manned the schooner captured at Skeens- 
boro', and on the fifth day after the surrender of the fort, 
sailed for St. Johns. Allen, with another party of one 
hundred and fifty men, accompanied him in bateaux. The 
wind was propitious to the zeal and ambition of Arnold, 
and outsailing the flotilla of boats, he arrived within thirty 
miles of his destination, when a calm prevented further 
progress, but promptly embarking thirty-five men in two 
boats, he pursued his design, surprised and captured the 
fort at St. Johns, with a sergeant's guard of twelve men, 
and seized the schooner, her crew, and two small brass 
guns. Apprized of the near approach of a large detach- 
ment of troops, he deemed it prudent to retreat, bearing 
with him his prize and provisions, and four boats loaded 
with stores. Five other bateaux he destroyed. On his 
return he met Allen hastening onward to participate in 
the perils and glory of the enterprise. Although Arnold 
represented to him the cause of his own retreat, Allen 

*John Adams's Diary. 



140 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

* 

persisted in advancing, but the presence of a superior 
British force with artillery, which had anticipated his 
arrival, compelled him to reembark. 

History, in forming its judgment of the character and 
the services of the men who achieved these perilous and 
daring exploits, should regard the fact, that they acted 
under the authority of no legitimate and recognized go- 
vernment, but from the impulses of individual enterprise 
and patriotism ; that their acts constituted rebellion, and 
that a failure would have entailed upon them the retribu- 
tions visited upon treason and outlawry. By a singular 
coincidence, the congress that determined to raise an army 
to assert the civil immunities of the colonies, assembled on 
the very day that beamed upon the capture of these fort- 
resses. The reduction of Ticonderoga and Crown point, 
opened to the colonies the gates of Canada. 

The prescience of Allen's mind, and his practical sagacity, 
comprehended at a glance the magnitude of the conse- 
quences which might result from the measure, and which 
he saw within the grasp of congress. In urging with 
the warmest importunity and with irresistible reasoning, 
an immediate attack on Canada, he foreshadowed a policy, 
which then rejected, was afterwards adopted, when the 
auspicious moment had passed. In a communication to 
congress on June 7th, he utters this vigorous and emphatic 
language : " I would lay my life on it, that with fifteen hun- 
dred men I could take Montreal." 

Ethan Allen stands out in bold prominence and origin- 
ality among the extraordinary men, whose high attributes 
of mind and character were evolved from the crucible of 
the times. His own age, under the prejudices of con- 
troversy, was too prone to regard him as a rude and 
ferocious adventurer, inflamed by the mere animal im- 
pulse of courage, but without the intellectual qualities to 
guide and elevate their purposes. The intellect that 
could attain and preserve a mastery over the minds and 
hearts of such a race as the " men of the Green moun- 
tains," and wield that " fierce democracie " to his purpose, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 141 

possessed no ordinary powers. At Castleton, when Arnold 
asserted the command, every man shouldered his musket, 
and prepared to return to his home ; but with Allen, their 
leader, they knew no doubt ; they had no fear. It was 
no common mind that enabled him, with kindred spirits 
on one hand, to repress what they considered the aggres- 
sions of JSTew York ; and, on the other, by his keen diplo- 
macy to arrest the progress of the British arms. What- 
ever judgment posterity may form of the ambiguous 
events in his subsequent career, no one will doubt the 
energy of his character, or distrust his love of liberty and 
loyalty to his own peculiar people. Why should not the 
magnanimity and patriotism of Xew York erect a monu- 
ment on the cliffs of Ticonderoga, that would consecrate 
his name, and be a perpetual memorial of his great 
exploits ? 

In June, Allen relinquished the command of the posts 
on Champlain, to Colonel Benjamin Hinman, who occu- 
pied them with a thousand levies from Connecticut. 
Arnold, still persisting in his assumptions, claimed the 
command, but the controversy was terminated by Massa- 
chusetts discharging him summarily from her service. 1 

Congress long deliberated on the policy of invading 
Canada, hesitating between the adoption of a measure, the 
immediate expediency of which was obvious, and an 
apprehension of its effect upon the mind of the American 
people ; and the influence an act, so marked and aggressive 
in its character, might exert upon the sentiments of their 
advocates in England. Circumstances were auspicious. 
A large part of the royal troops had been withdrawn from 
the province to strengthen the army in Boston ; a few 
feeble garrisons alone occupied the forts and prominent 
towns. Although the yoke that England had imposed 
upon the Canadian people had been gentle in its pressure, 
it was that of an hereditary enemy, and the friends of the 
contemplated measures urged, that if sustained by an 

1 Hall's Vermont. ■ 



142 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

adequate force the masses would throw off the hated 
domination. In addition to this view, it was believed that 
England was in no condition to supply immediate reen- 
forcements in that direction, while the brevity of the sea- 
son in these northern seas would early suspend navigation. 
When at length the purpose had been decided upon, an 
army of three thousand men was concentrating with all 
possible celerity at Ticonderoga from the provinces of 
New England and New York. General Schuyler held the 
chief command, with Richard Montgomery and David 
Wooster as subordinates, who were appointed brigadier- 
generals. Sir Guy Carleton, the governor-general of Canada, 
soon became apprised of these preparations, and with cha- 
racteristic energy determined to arrest the advance of the 
patriot army, by creating a naval force competent to main- 
tain the control of the lake. Montgomery resolved to 
advance with the small body of troops which had already 
assembled, and by the vigor and activity of his measures to 
defeat the designs of Carleton. With this purpose, he 
rapidly descended the lake and seized the position at the 
Isle aux Noix, which commanded the entrance of the 
Sorel river. He was soon after joined by Schuyler, and 
united with him in issuing an earnest and conciliatory 
appeal to the Canadians, assuring them of the fraternal 
sympathies of the American people, and exhorting them to 
aid in the emancipation of Canada from British power. 
The direct effect of this proclamation was favorable to the 
American interest, as it confirmed the provincial popula- 
tion in their neutral attitude. Carleton had been defeated 
in his efforts to enlist the masses in any aggressive move- 
ments. He had appealed to the bishop of Quebec, to issue 
a fiat, to be read in the churches, exhorting the people to 
take arms iu support of the government. This dignitary 
revolted from the service, as unworthy his pastoral character, 
and contrary to the canons of his church. A few subor- 
dinate ecclesiastics, with consciences more ductile, and the 
noblesse, whose interests had been essentially protected by 
the Quebec act, exerted themselves with great zeal to over- 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 143 

come this popular feeling, but with little definite success. 
The indefatigable efforts of Carleton embraced other expe- 
dients. By the influence of large bounties, and the assu- 
rances of peculiar privileges and immunities in the affairs of 
the colony, he succeeded in gathering a few recruits, who 
were enrolled as the corps of the Royal Highland Emi- 
grants. 

The royal agents effected more favorable results by their 
overtures to the savage tribes. In July, Guy Johnson, the 
intendent of Indian affairs, arrived at Montreal, accompa- 
nied by a large band of Iroquois chiefs and warriors, and 
among them Brant, the Mohawk chieftain. A solemn 
council was held, and these representatives of the powerful 
confederacy swore in their barbarian forms fealty to Eng- 
land, pledging its support to the cause of the king against 
the insurgent colonies. Thus originated the employment 
of the Indian in this contest, and to this action may be 
traced the ruthless scenes of blood and rapine that marked 
the progress of the war. 1 The American commanders 
conceived a demonstration against the fort at St. Johns 
expedient, in order to secure an impressive effect to the 
proclamation which had been issued. They advanced from 
the island with only one thousand effective men, and re- 
pulsed on their march a spirited attack by the Indians. 
A slight breastwork was erected near the fort, but without 
the power of assailing works, which were found to be 
quite formidable. Schuyler determined to fall back with 
the view of protecting his original position. By the erec- 
tion of a cheveau de frize in the Sorel river, he effectually 
obstructed all access to the lake, by the vessels which 
Carleton was actively employed in constructing at St. Johns. 
Schuyler was recalled to Albany by public affairs, and 
while detained there was attacked by a severe and pro- 
tracted sickness, that prevented his return to the army. 
The command of the expedition devolved on General 

1 Stone's Life of Brant. 



144 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Montgomery, and it could have been confided to no more 
competent or illustrious leader. 

Montgomery was a native of Ireland, and born to high 
social position. His mind, endowed by emiuent native 
qualities, was adorned by culture, refined by habits, and 
elevated and expanded by military experience. He served 
under "Wolfe at Louisburg with much distinction, was 
promoted and attached to the army of Amherst, in which 
he acted as adjutant of the 17th Regiment of foot. He 
accompanied his regiment to the "West Indies, and retired 
from the army with the rank of captain in 1772. Soon 
after his resignation, he married a daughter of Robert 
R. Livingstone, and, settling upon the banks of the 
Hudson, devoted himself to the pursuits of peace. Here, 
in 1775, he was dwelling in elegant repose, surrounded by 
all the refined blandishments of society and the joys of 
domestic felicity. His adopted country summoned him 
from these happy scenes, demanding, in her impending 
struggle, the influence of his character and the aid of his 
genius and acquirements. He freely cousecrated all to 
the cause of liberty and independence. 

The early arrival of reeuforcements and artillery enabled 
Montgomery to pursue aggressive measures, and he again 
advanced and formed the regular investment of St. Johns. 
That fortress, situated on the Sorel, was now considered 
the key to Canada. It was occupied by a garrison of 
seven hundred men commanded by Major Preston, and its 
strong works were impregnable to the ordnance of Mont- 
gomery, who was alike deficient in guns and ammunition. 
Fortunately, the tort at Chambly, a short distance below, 
upon the same river, was held by a small body of troops 
and guarded without prudence or vigilance. Montgomery 
promptly resolved to avail himself of these circumstances, 
and a party led by majors Livingstone and Brown, de- 
scended the river in silence and in the obscurity of a dark 
night, attacked and captured the fort after a feeble defense. 
This successful enterprise relieved the great embarrass- 
ment of Montgomery, and furnished him with several heavy 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 145 

pieces of cannon, a hundred and twenty-four barrels of 
powder, and a large quantity of stores and provisions. The 
colors captured at the fort were transmitted to congress, 
with imposing forms, as the first testimonials of success. 

A more favorable disposition towards the Americans 
was disclosed among the Canadians, and large numbers 
joined the army, bringing with them supplies and ammuni- 
tion. With a view of fostering this spirit, by intercourse 
with the people and an exhibition of strength, as well as 
to procure supplies, Montgomery caused detachments of 
his troops to traverse the country in various directions. 
Allen and Brown, at the head of two of these parties, 
having approached Montreal, hastily concerted an attack 
on the island. The conception of crossing a wide and 
turbulent river, in the presence of a superior and vigilant 
enemy, was bold and extravagant ; but heroic daring was 
the spirit of the times. Allen, securing boats at Longueil, 
crossed the river at night with one hundred men, many 
of whom were Canadians. Brown, who it was intended 
should cross above the river, and cooperate by a diversion 
with the other party, was unable to effect his part of the 
plan. Allen was thus left to meet the united strength of 
the garrison, and was assailed by an overwhelming force 
of regulars, Canadians, and savages. He made a gallant 
resistance, but was compelled to surrender with his entire 
party. Carleton, departing from the generous clemency 
that adorned his character, refused to recognize Allen as 
a prisoner of war, but, .loaded with chains, he was trans- 
ported to England, and subjected on the passage to every 
barbarous indignity. In that country, he was transferred 
with capricious tyranny from one jail to another, and 
from prison castles to convict ships ; continually pursued 
by the same unrelenting persecution, but powerless to 
shake the stern devotion of his republican zeal. After 
an imprisonment of almost three years, he was exchanged 
and received by a grateful country, with every demon- 
stration of respect and interest. Allen had been su- 
perseded in the command of the Vermont troops by 
10 



146 HISTOET OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Warner, and in his connection with the army of Mont- 
gomery, held no distinct or formal official position. 

Carleton, elated by this success, determined, in conjunc- 
tion with Colonel McLean, who was stationed with the 
corps of Eoyal Emigrants at the mouth of the Sorel, to 
effect the relief of the garrison at St. Johns. "With a force 
of one thousand men, consisting principally of Canadians 
and Indians, he undertook to effect the passage of the 
river from Montreal to Longueil. Warner, however, in 
anticipation of the movement, had occupied the eastern 
bank, lying in concealment at Longueil with three hundred 
of the Green mountain boys, and fortifying his position 
by a few small pieces of artillery judiciously planted. As 
Carleton approached the shore, he was received by a 
sweeping shower of grape and musketry. His raw troops, 
unaccustomed to an ordeal so unexpected and severe, were 
at once repulsed and fled back precipitately to the island. 
McLean retreated to his former position, and having learnt 
by a letter, from Arnold to Schuyler, which had been 
intrusted to an Indian runner, and fell into the hands of 
McLean through treachery or accident, the astounding 
intelligence that an American army was descending the 
valley of the Chaudiere with the design of seizing Quebec, 
hastened with all the force he was able to collect to occupy 
that place. Montgomery immediately secured the pos- 
session of the important post evacuated by McLean, and 
by the erection of a commanding work at the junction of 
the Sorel with the St. Lawrence, sustained by floating 
batteries, obstructed the navigation of both streams. This 
energetic proceeding totally isolated Montreal, and the 
forts upon the upper waters of the river and lakes, from 
all communication with Quebec and the ocean. 

Preston, having been apprised by Montgomery of these 
adverse circumstances, surrendered St. Johns, with its 
garrison, its armament of fifty guns, eight hundred stands 
of arms, and a large amount of munitions. This most 
valuable conquest being accomplished, Montgomery, with- 
out any delay, marched upon Montreal, and offering that city 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 147 

the most liberal and humane terms ; it capitulated without 
making any defense. Carleton, anticipating the arrival 
of Montgomery, relinquished the command of Montreal 
to Prescott, and repaired to the fleet, which he had as- 
sembled below the city. Its descent was, however, 
obstructed by the works that had been erected at the 
mouth of the Sorel, and which had already inflicted 
on the fleet a severe repulse. The capture of the go- 
vernor-general, an event that would have been almost de- 
cisive of the war in Canada, appeared inevitable, but he 
effected an escape in disguise, floating by the American 
batteries in a boat with muffled oars, and under the protec- 
tion of a dark night. Prescott, who subsequently attained 
such notoriety in his second capture on Rhode Island, on the 
thirteenth of November, surrendered the fleet and a large 
part of the garrison of Montreal which had sought refuge 
on the vessels, with many persons of both civil and mili- 
tary prominence. 

Montgomery, throughout the campaign, had been tried 
and oppressed by the character of the troops over whom, 
he held a nominal command. Inspired by the loftiest 
heroism and enthusiasm, the army was composed of re- 
cruits without experience, hastily levied with only a brief 
term of enlistment. At home they had been accustomed to 
a social equality with their officers in the same pacific pur- 
suits and the unlimited exercise of opinion and the freedom 
of consultation. They carried these habits into camp, and 
asserted there the same privileges. The restraints and 
rules of obedience, usual to military service, were but 
slightly recognized. The native eloquence of their leader, 
his conciliatory spirit and wise deportment, strengthened 
by the high respect felt for his character and attainments, 
enabled Montgomery to mould this inchoate mass into the 
appearance of an army; but the period was too limited to 
impart the discipline and efficiency of which materials so 
intelligent and brave were susceptible. In addition to these 
embarrassments, the army imperfectly clothed already suf- 
fered from the rigors of the climate and all the evil conse- 



148 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

quences of the mistaken policy of short enlistments began 
to be disclosed. A large part of the troops were even then 
entitled to their discharges, and the expiration of the term 
of many others was rapidly approaching. 

Montgomery distributed to the soldiers warm clothing, 
and by the most earnest importunities, and addresses to 
their soldierly spirit and patriotism, endeavored to prevail 
on them to remain until the close of a campaign which 
had opened with such brilliant presages. All these 
appeals were in the main unsuccessful. Montgomery 
had been educated in a strict school of military subordi- 
nation, and his spirit was galled and depressed by this 
laxity of discipline, and of the bonds that held together 
an army, upon the conduct of which depended his own 
success and fame, but over which he saw that he could 
exert little controlling power. An enthusiastic devotion 
to the cause to which he had pledged his service^ alone 
restrained an immediate abandonment of the command ; 
but he announced to congress a fixed determination to 
resign, whenever the pending operations were terminated. 

While these events were transpiring on the St. Lawrence, 
one of the most remarkable adventures of the age was in 
progress in another quarter. Washington, in the camp 
before Boston, had conceived the idea of a measure, so 
daring and terrible, that its execution seemed scarcely 
within the compass of human endurance. It was one of 
those conceptions, that occasionally burst through the 
Fabian policy, which circumstances imposed upon him, 
and proved that inherent impulses would have prompted 
him to measures of bold enterprise and vigorous action. 
He resolved to dispatch a body of one thousand men under 
the command of Arnold, who should proceed up the Ken- 
nebec river, and, surmounting the hideous wilderness where 
its fountains mingled with the waters of the St. Lawrence, 
and which had never been traversed save by the Indians 
and the mountaineer, should descend by the Chaudiere to 
Quebec. With a supreme knowledge of Canadian affairs, 
Washington wisely conceived, that wholly unsuspicious of 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 149 

danger from this direction all the available troops would 
be withdrawn by Carleton from the lower St. Law- 
rence to oppose Montgomery, that Quebec would be 
unguarded, and that the citizens, favorably disposed to the 
American occupation, would, with joy, capitulate. This 
plan would have been crowned by complete success, had 
not untoward delays been created by the insuperable obsta- 
cles that nature interposed. It is not within the range of 
our narrative to trace the details of this marvelous exploit, 
beyond its connection with the operations of Montgomery. 
About the middle of September, Arnold commenced 
his wild and adventurous march, and did not reach the 
banks of the St. Lawrence until the 9th of November, 
more than three weeks later than the day designated in 
the original design. No band of heroes have ever sur- 
mounted equal perils and suffering with firmer constancy 
and resolution. Thirty-two days they were buried in this 
desolation of forests and mountains, of rivers, morasses 
and lakes. Their progress had been protracted by the 
most formidable impediments, struggling amid gloomy 
solitudes, cheered by no human countenance, and without 
a single aspect of civilization. When thirty miles from 
the first Canadian cabin, the last remnant of provision 
was exhausted. The pet dogs of the officers, which had 
lovingly followed their masters through these perils, h#d 
been eaten, with food still more loathsome and repulsive. 1 
"When at length the expedition reached the settlements 
far up on the Chaudiere, it was received with cordiality 
and kindness, and the wants of the famishing troops 
relieved to the utmost extent permitted by the limited 
resources of the people. Here Arnold was constrained to 
indulge his army in a brief repose, while he awaited the 
gathering of the scattered detachments and dispersed the 
forcible and conciliatory proclamation of Washington. 
Colonel Enos, who conducted the rear division, consisting 
of one-third of the army, after reaching the sources of the 

1 Sparks's Life of Arnold. 



150 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Kennebec, was compelled to return by an utter destitution 
of subsistence for his troops. 

When this array of unknown men, burst into their 
seclusion from the pathless wilderness, the simple minded 
habitans looked upon them in wonder, mingled with awe. 
It almost seemed to them 

As if the yawning hills to heaven, 
A subterranean host had given. 

Rumor spread with wild exaggeration, the report of the 
numbers of the invaders. They were represented as terri- 
ble in their powers of body, invincible in courage and 
cased in iron. These intrepid adventurers stood upon the 
shore of the St. Lawrence. Quebec, the prize that was to 
have rewarded all their toils and suffering, was in view, 
but beyond their grasp. 

The letter which had been intercepted by McLean, com- 
municated to him the designs of Arnold. The alertness 
that secured the presence of the former at Quebec, and the 
vigor of his measures, saved the city from capitulation. 
Vigilant and experienced, he adopted every expedient to 
insure its safety. All the boats he could seize were re- 
moved from the eastern shore of the river; sailors to man 
the batteries were drawn from the ships in the harbor, and 
the defenses of the city generally were reorganized and 
strengthened. Had Arnold been able to effect the imme- 
diate passage of the St. Lawrence when he reached its 
shores, he would have found a universal consternation pre- 
vailing, Quebec undefended, and the people disposed to 
yield to him the possession of the city. The precautions of 
McLean frustrated this measure, the original plan of the 
campaign. The prevalence of an impetuous storm and the 
delay incident to the collection of means of transportation 
caused a detention of four days. Having succeeded in 
procuring thirty or forty frail birch canoes, by the assist- 
ance of the Canadians, Arnold crossed the river with five 
hundred men on the night of the 13th, although the Lizard 
frigate and a sloop were lying in front of the city, for the 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 151 

purpose of intercepting them, and their guard boats were 
continually patrolling the stream. The little flotilla had 
made three passages, and as the last party landed, the disco- 
very of the movement by one of these, made it unsafe to at- 
tempt the crossing of the rear division amounting to one 
hundred and fifty men, who remained in the occupation of 
Point Levi. Arnold ascended the precipitous cliffs that 
Wolfe had rendered memorable, and stopd when the day 
dawned, with his little band on the plains of Abraham. 
The hope of seizing the city by a surprise was disappointed. 
The guard boat had communicated information of the 
crossing by the Americans; the city was alarmed, and 
McLean alert and prepared to meet an attack. 

An assault of a fortified city, guarded by a garrison 
of eighteen hundred men with his small party, almost with- 
out ammunition, destitute of artillery and a large part of 
their guns rendered useless by the exposure of their march, 
Arnold saw would be a hopeless and a desperate sacrifice. 
The next day, with his usual audacity, he sent a flag sum- 
moning the city to surrender, but it was fired upon without 
permitting an approach to the walls. He occupied, during 
three days, lines in front of the place, and attempted by 
various devices to excite a cooperative movement by par- 
tisans within the works. These demonstrations secured 
no favorable results, and learning that a sortie by the garri- 
son was contemplated, while a body of two hundred troops, 
which had escaped from Montreal was approaching his 
rear, Arnold decided to fall back to Point au Tremble, 
twenty miles above, and there to await a junction with 
Montgomery. 1 



1 Much discrepancy will be discovered in the language of historians in 
reference to these events. Marshall states that Arnold crossed on the 14th, 
that McLean did not arrive at Quebec before Arnold reached the eastern 
shore of the St. Lawrence ; that the guard boat neglected to impart intelli- 
gence of the crossing, that no apprehension existed of an attack, and had 
Arnold been aware of these facts he might have marched through St. John's 
gate into the city, unopposed. Botta affirms that a council of naval officers 
refused to allow the sailors to land in support of the garrison. 



152 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Arnold with deep chagrin, saw the vessel that conveyed 
Carleton to Quebec safely descending the river and to learn 
that on his arrival at Point au Tremble, that Carleton had 
landed there only an hour or two before. 

The troops, whose period of service had terminated, 
resisted every appeal to their patriotism and duty urged by 
Montgomery, to induce them to remain, and by their per- 
sistent determination to assert their legal rights nearly 
dissolved his army. After leaving feeble garrisons to main- 
tain his different conquests, he joined Arnold on the 1st of 
December with a detachment of three hundred men. But 
he brought an ample supply of woolen apparel to clothe the 
suffering army of Arnold. 

On the 5th of December, the combined forces, forming 
an aggregate of less than a thousand men, again appeared 
before Quebec and renewed the siege. A battery of six 
small guns was erected. The frozen ground resisted all 
efforts to use it for that purpose, and Montgomery resorted 
to the novel expedient of substituting snow for earth, in 
the construction of the work, which, saturated with water 
and hardened by frost, acquired almost the consistency and 
firmness of marble. The guns, mounted on the battery, 
proved too light for effective service. Montgomery renewed 
the formal summons to surrender, but his flag was again 
fired upon and repelled. This unusual action was intended 
to interdict communication between the besiegers and 
citizens. At first a strong favorable disposition existed 
among the people towards the republican interests, but 
this feeling had been much modified by the policy of 
Carleton, and the alarm excited by an apprehension of the 
probable consequence to the town of a hostile occupation. 

Darkness aud gloom were gathering around the enter- 
prise, but the inflexible spirit of the leaders, sustained by 
the enthusiasm of the army, could be subdued by no com- 
mon obstacles. The sufferings of the troops in their 
exposed condition from the severity of the weather, and 
the unremitting toil and fatigue to wliich they were sub- 
jected, transcended all that had been imagined of distress* 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. I53 

and hardship. These calamitous circumstances were in- 
tensely aggravated by the appearance of the small-pox in 
the camp. This fell pestilence, then the most dreaded 
scourge to armies, raged with peculiar virulence and 
fatality, and pursued the troops with an unmitigated 
severity until their final return to Ticonderoga. 

Montgomery knew that the loftiest expectations had 
been inspired by the early successes of the campaign, and 
the confidence in his genius and skill. A brilliant enter- 
prise, which should shed around a failure a blaze of glory, 
would prove less disastrous in its influence upon this 
popular enthusiasm, than an inglorious retreat without 
an effort. His own fame, and the reputation of the army 
demanded a great effort, and he resolved to risk a general 
assault upon the city. A council of war approved the 
design, and the army, which it was necessary to consult, 
after the disaffection of a part of Arnold's command, had 
been surmounted by the influence of Morgan, embraced 
it with extreme ardor. An assault, although in the high- 
est degree perilous and doubtful, was far from desperate. 
The very magnitude of the work, occupied by a feeble 
garrison, was an element of weakness. The Canadian 
levies were known to be disaffected, and the citizens with- 
out zeal towards the government. Audacity often wins 
where judgment hesitates and calculation fails. 

The plan ultimately adopted by Montgomery, contem- 
plated two demonstrations against the upper town, by de- 
tachments chiefly composed of Canadian recruits and led 
by Livingstone and Brown, while the real attack should be 
made upon the lower town by Montgomery and Arnold, 
assailing it at opposite points. The combined movements 
commenced at four o'clock in the morning of the 31st day 
of December, 1775. A driving snow storm, impelled by a 
fierce north-east gale, enveloped the scene in profound 
obscurity. Each commander at the head of the forlorn 
hope, led his own column. The vigilance of Carleton was 
unslumbering; the batteries were armed, the guns charged 
with grape and canister ready to offer the assailants a fear- 



154 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ful reception. Yet, so skillfully had the measures of 
Montgomery been conducted, that Carleton knew not 
from what direction to expect the impending blow. 1 The 
Americans advanced with caution and in silence, slowly 
groping their way, amid darkness and the tempest. Mont- 
gomery assumed to himself the dangerous duty of leading 
the column, which was intended to make the assault by a 
narrow and obscure pathway that passed between the base 
of Cape Diamond, a lofty and inaccessible precipice and the 
river St. Lawrence. This defile was defended by a strong 
block-house witb palisades extending from the cliffs to the 
river. A picket had been constructed a short distance in 
advance, which was occupied by a few Canadian soldiers. 
At the approach of the assailing party, this guard fled in 
alarm and disorder, firing a harmless volley, and communi- 
cated their panic to the troops at the block-house, who 
also precipitately abandoned their post. 

The advance of the Americans was impeded by an 
immense and nearly insurmountable barrier of ice, which 
at this point had been formed by the surging tide and where 
the drifting snow had accumulated. The troops, able 
only to advance in single file or individually, were slowly 
and with excessive difficulty surmounting these obstacles, 
while Montgomery was aiding with his own hands in 
removing the palisades. He halted sufficiently to be 
joined by about two hundred of his followers, and boldly 
advancing, shouted : " Men of New York, you will not 
fear to follow where your general leads." At this moment 
a single cannouier, tradition states a drunken sailor, 2 
returned to the battery, and, seizing an unextinguished 
match, discharged one of the pieces. The storm of grape 
swept along the narrow passage with frightful destruction. 
Every man in the advance, except a Canadian guide and 
Aaron Burr, a youth of nineteen who had joined Arnold 
as a volunteer, was stricken down. 3 Montgomery, pierced 
by a ball through the head, and both legs lacerated by 

1 Carleton's letter. ' SUUman's Journal. 3 Palmer's Champlain. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. J 55 

another, fell dying into the arms of Burr. Cheeseman 
and McPherson, the aids of Montgomery, both fell at the 
side of their commander. That single explosion was fatal 
to the enterprise. The fall of their leader crushed the 
spirit of the troops. Colonel Campbell, who succeeded to 
the command of the column on the fall of Montgomery, 
hastily retired and abandoned the assault without further 
effort. 

The operations of Livingstone and Brown were defeated 
by the furious tempest, and they necessarily failed in effect- 
ing the diversion contemplated by the plan of attack. 
Arnold, marching promptly at the concerted signal, ap- 
proached in silence along the St. Charles, moviug through 
St. Roques street toward the Saut au Matelots. At this 
point a battery of two twelve-pounders had been con- 
structed. This barrier could only be approached by a path 
which, at that time, obstructed by an enormous mass of 
snow and ice, afforded only a deep and narrow passage of 
the breadth of a single track. The difficult defile might 
be raked by the guns of the battery and swept by the mus- 
ketry from the walls and pickets of the garrison ; but it fur- 
nished the only avenue by which the Americans could 
advance to the assault. Arnold rushed along this terrible 
gorge at the head of Lamb's Artillery Company, with a sin- 
gle field-piece mounted upon a sled. It became impossible 
to move the gun through the pass, and it served only to ob- 
struct the path and to impede the passage of the troops. The 
main body closely followed the artillery, preceded by Mor- 
gan's riflemen. An alarm was soon sounded, aud a severe 
fire of grape and musketry opened upon the assailants. 
As Arnold, leading with the most daring intrepidity, ap- 
proached the battery, he was prostrated, by a ball that 
shattered his leg, and borne from the field. Morgan, the 
future victor at the Cowpens, succeeded to the command 
and assailed the battery with irresistible impetuosity. 
Receiving the fire of one gun almost at its mouth, and while 
his riflemen fired upon the defenders through the embra- 
sures, the barricade was scaled by ladders carried on the 



156 HISTOBY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

shoulders of his men. The battery and the guns, with most 
of the guards, were captured. Morgan was the second man 
who crossed the barricade. His gallant sergeant, Charles 
Porterfield of Virginia, afterwards a lieutenant-colonel 
and slain at Camden, was the first. 

Notwithstanding this success, the situation of Morgan 
was in the highest degree critical. He was alone with his 
own company, and a few bold individuals who had pressed 
to the front; all the efforts of Lamb to advance his gun 
were ineffectual. Morgan had no guides, was ignorant 
of the formation of the city, and without intelligence of 
the cooperative movements. The soldiers were oppressed 
by the cold ; icicles covered their clothes ; they were be- 
wildered by the intense darkness and the raging of the 
storm. A temporary pause was necessary, and Morgan 
returned to the barrier. Here he succeeded, with the 
active aid of Colonel Green and Major Bigelow and Meigs, 
in assembling a body of about two hundred men. When 
the appearance of light revealed the aspect of affairs, the 
spirit and confidence of the troops were reanimated, and 
with a united voice, they called on Morgan to lead against 
the second battery, which was near, but disguised by an 
angle of the street. Morgan, placing himself at their head, 
and animating them by his voice, pealing above the howl- 
ing of the tempest and the din of battle, rapidly advanced. 
Passing the angle, he was confronted by a body of troops, 
commanded by Captain Anderson, who called on him to 
surrender. Morgan instantly shot him dead, and the 
Americans rushing onward planted their ladders against 
the barricade, under a galling fire as well from the win- 
dows of the adjacent houses, as from the works. A san- 
guinary conflict ensued, and a few of the most resolute of 
Morgan's little band mounted the ladders, but when they 
reached the top of the parapet, an obstacle was revealed 
calculated to appall the stoutest heart. Two lines of 
British troops stood on the opposite side ; the butts of 
their muskets resting upon the ground and the bayonets 
pointed to the summit of the barricade, formed an impene- 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 157 

trable abatis of steel. Part of the Americans retreated into 
the stone houses which lined the narrow street, securing 
shelter both from the elements and the furious tire to 
which they had been exposed, while from the window 
they were able to assail the enemy. One circumstance 
which was peculiarly depressing, greatly impaired the 
efficiency of the riflemen. Although the precaution had 
been observed of binding a handkerchief about the lock 
of each gun, not one in ten had been effectually protected 
from the storm, and was fit for service. 

The failure of the assault upon the other parts of the 
town empowered Carleton to hurl the whole force of the 
garrison against this single column. Dearborn, who held 
with a company in reserve the entrance of the gorge at 
the St. Roche gate, had been already surprised and com- 
pelled to surrender, and that avenue of retreat was there- 
fore in possession of the enemy. Morgan, with the 
concurrence of the officers who survived, determined to 
burst through every obstruction, and to effect an escape; 
but when the attempt was made to collect the troops and 
animate them to the effort, overwhelmed by the cold, 
oppressed by a conviction of their desperate situation, and 
intimidated by the deadly fire to which they had been 
exposed in the street, they shrunk from the undertaking, 
and the bold proposition was abandoned. Compelled to 
relinquish this purpose, Morgan determined to maintain 
his position in the faint hope of receiving succor from the 
other detachments. Attacked, however, by a foe whose 
strength was increasing every moment, in front and rear, 
and by a still more destructive fire from the windows, 
Morgan, after contending for several hours with the utmost 
skill and gallantry against all these adverse circumstances, 
was at length constrained to capitulate. Thus disastrously 
terminated a daring and energetic enterprise, in which the 
Americans lost, including sixty killed and wounded, about 
four hundred men. The valor and ability of the defense 
exhibited by Carleton were not more conspicuous than the 
generous humanity of the conqueror. The prisoners were 



158 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

treated with kindness; the wounded cared for in the hos- 
pitals, and the dead interred. 

The body of Montgomery, lying in a guard house with 
thirteen corpses of his brave followers, which had been ex- 
humed from the snowdrift that had formed to them a com- 
mon sepulchre, was recognized by an American officer and 
consigned to the care of an old companion in arms, and 
was reverently buried near the ramparts of the city. The 
loss of hisgreat military talent and acquirements, and the in- 
fluence of his social and intellectual eminence was irreparable. 
The death of Montgomery was deplored not only by his 
own countrymen, but in every clime where the love of liberty 
was cherished. Even in the British parliament, the loftiest 
eloquence pronounced his eulogium, and Barre, and Burke, 
and Fox, ascribed to his deeds and character the exalted 
virtues which adorn the names of the noblest heroes and 
patriots of antiquity. Lord North, while denouncing the 
course of Montgomery, and reprehending these tributes to 
his worth, pointed and enforced the panegyric, when he ex- 
claimed in the language of the poet : 

Curse his virtues, for they have undone his country. 

It was a fit and beatiuful coincidence that this youthful hero, 
for he had not attained his fortieth year, the pupil of Wolfe, 
a disciple of the glory and spirit of Montcalm, should have 
fallen on this consecrated ground. 1 

The body of Montgomery reposed for almost half a 
century in the grave where it had been deposited by a 
generous enemy; but in the year 1818, the executive of 
New York claimed the sacred deposit for removal to the 
state of Montgomery's adoption, and the governor-general 
of Canada gracefully acceded to the request. The remains 
of Montgomery were borne through the country, accom- 
panied by every exhibition of love and reverence. A 
single day they lay in state, in the rotunda of the Capitol 
at Albany, and thousands of a grateful posterity visited 

1 Botta's Graham. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 159 

them, rendering the homage of gratitude and veneration. 
His final obsequies were performed in New York in all 
the imposing solemnities of civil and military rites. His 
relics were buried in a grave near the monument erected 
at an early period, by congress, to his memory, in St Paul's 
church-yard. 

He left no children to bear the heritage of his glorious 
name, but his widow survived to an extreme old age, 
an object of respect and interest as the relict of Mont- 
gomery. 



CHAPTER X. 

The Retreat from Canada. 

Arnold succeeded to the command upon the death of 
Montgomery, and was compelled by the exigencies with 
which he was surrounded to convert the siege into a block- 
ade. In the judicious policy of Carleton he was left undis- 
turbed, although inflicting severe suffering upon the town 
and garrison. The troops had become insubordinate, the 
Canadian people disappointed and harassed, and stimulated 
by the potent influence of the rural priests, who refused the 
last consolations of religion to those who adhered to the 
Americans, had assumed a hostile attitude, while the 
American army was oppressed by disease and exposure. 
M. Beaujeu, an influential and intrepid Canadian, had 
organized a hostile corps; but this, by a sudden and vigorous 
attack of Arnold, were broken up and dispersed. At length, 
baffled in various attempts to effect a surprise of the city, 
Arnold erected batteries and assaulted the city and shipping 
by shells and hot shot ; but all their efforts were defeated 
by the skill and prudence of Carleton. 

On the 1st of May, Arnold was superseded by the arri- 
val of General Thomas, who assumed the command. 
Arnold, always impracticable in a subordinate position, was 
early involved in dissensions with his superior, and severe 



1(30 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

injury affording the pretext, be was transferred from the 
active duties of the field to the command at Montreal. Iu 
that position so favorable to the exercise of his worst pas- 
sions, he revealed the cupidity and rapaciousness, which in 
after years, and on another stage deformed and debauched 
his whole character. 

My limits restrain me from tracing the narrative of the 
republican army in its retreat. Its extreme necessities, its 
endurance from the fell scourge that pursued it, the ineffi- 
ciency that demoralized its strength and its inadequacy to 
resist a more powerful enemy, have afforded thrilling pages 
to general history. 

On the fifth of May, the hesitating councils of the 
American general were decided by the arrival of three 
British ships, the precursors of a large fleet, which with 
infinite peril and hardihood had braved the tempests of the 
gulf, and, pressing up the river amid storms of snow and vast 
ice fields, had effected the passage for earlier than usual. 
The reenforcements and supplies they conveyed were 
immediately landed. The retreat of the American army 
was at once commenced, and with a precipitation that con- 
strained the abandonment of most of its sick and wounded, 
and all its military stores. At Sorell, Thomas died of the 
prevailing epidemic, and was succeeded by General Sullivan, 
who conducted the movements of the retreating army with 
a consummate ability that evoked the highest encomium of 
the country and the formal recognition of congress. 

The treatment by Carleton, of the sick and wounded 
Americans, who, wandering from the line of march, had 
been concealed and cherished by the characteristic chari- 
ties and kindness of the Canadian people was signalized 
by an exalted clemency and generous benignity. Wise 
policy may have suggested these beneficent acts, but it 
were unjust to withhold the recognition of deeds of mercy 
so habitual, and not to concede that they may have had 
their inspiration in purer and more exalted emotions. 

The calamities which marked this retreat were deeply 
intensified by a repulse at Three Rivers, and the san- 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 161 

guinarv catastrophe at the Cedars. After these reverses, 
Sullivan pressed his retreat to the Isle aux Xoix, slowly 
and defiantly receding before Burgoyne, while Arnold 
was narrowly escaping by extreme energy and prompti- 
tude, another column directed upon Montreal to intercept 
his escape. 

Sullivan dismantled the works he had occupied, and 
burnt or destroyed every craft that he did not remove in 
the conveyance of his own army and stores. The sick and 
wounded were first transported to Crown point, and were 
immediately followed by the troops. The suffering of the 
former was scarcely paralleled by the endurance and dis- 
tress of any scenes of that war, so replete with sacrifices and 
hardships. They were necessarily placed in open and 
leaky boats, drenched continually with water and exposed 
to the burning rays of the summer's sun, with no food but 
raw and rancid pork and hard biscuit. 1 

"While at St. Johns, Arnold caused the frame of a vessel 
on the stocks at that place to be taken to pieces, carefully 
numbered and marked, and transported to Crown point. 
He superintended, with indefatigable vigor and activity, 
the embarkation of the army on its retreat to Isle aux 
Xoix. Colonel Warner, with the Vermont regiment, 
formed the rear, and collecting most of the sick and 
wounded, effected a safe retreat, rejoining the army some 
days after the main body had arrived at Ticonderoga. 
The operations of war are always in their result preemi- 
nently influenced by fortune and accident. The American 
campaigns in Canada singularly illustrate this maxim. 
An elegant and philosophical historian with great force 
remarks, that although the direct results contemplated 
in the invasion of Canada were not achieved, the measure 
exerted a powerful influence upon the issue of the war, 
by compelling England to adopt the policy of dividing 
her armies in isolated attacks, when their united strength 

1 Palmer's Champlain. 
11 



162 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

would have been irresistible, and probably subversive of 
the republican cause. 1 

The Canadians, whose overt adherence to the invaders 
compromised their relations with the British government, 
were pursued with a severe retribution. Large numbers 
followed the American army in its retreat; those who 
remained were hunted down with a stern severity ; many 
were tried and convicted of rebellion, and several, imme- 
diately after the repulse at Quebec, were executed. 2 Soon 
after the termination of the war of independence, the state 
of New York devoted a large and valuable tract of land in 
the county of Clinton, designated the Canadian and Nova 
Scotia refugee tract, for the relief and indemnification of 
these sufferers ; but a large proportion of the grant was 
either not accepted or forfeited by the grantees, or lost by 
obstacles interposed by corrupt and designing speculators. 3 
"When the retreating army reached Crown point, its muster 
roll indicated a force of five thousand men, but more than 
half of the number were prostrated by disease, and chiefly 
by the terrible scourge, that desolated it like the sword of 
the destroying angel. The troops remained at that post 
ten days, and during that time, most of them were lying 
in the agony of their suffering, with no protection from 
the rain and storms, except open huts or frail coverings, 
formed by pine bowers, and destitute of almost every 
comfort and even the most common necessaries due to 
the sick and dying. The dead and the dying were exposed 
together, without any discrimination, in all these wretched 
receptacles of woe and charnel houses of death. In this 
brief period in the pause of its retreat, three hundred new- 
made graves arose as sad memorials of the sacrifices of 
this devoted army. Happily the judicious prescience of 
Sullivau had spread an ample shield of protection between 
its helpnessness and the assaults of the foe. 

1 Boat. a Tryon to Earl of Dartmouth, Doc, vrri, 663. 

3 Land Papers, Secretary of State's Office, vol. xlvii, 126-172. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 163 

"When the British commander arrived upon the waters 
of Champlain, he found farther pursuit imperatively ar- 
rested, until a new fleet and fresh means of transportation 
could be organized. The important and decisive struggle 
now arose to secure the naval supremacy upon the lake. 
To attain this object Carleton directed all his energies 
and resources. He caused six vessels of a large class, 
which had been constructed in England, to be taken apart 
below the Chambly rapids, conveyed in pieces to St. 
Johns, and there rebuilt with the utmost celerity. Bateaux, 
with incredible labor, were made to ascend the rapids, and 
boats and transports of various dimensions were constructed 
in the navigable waters of the Sorel. By such vigor- 
ous measures, Carleton succeeded in creating a fleet of 
thirty-one vessels, ranging in their armament from one to 
eighteen guns, and on the 1st of October was prepared to 
appear upon the lake. This formidable fleet was navigated 
by seven hundred veteran seamen, and armed in addition 
by an efficient corps of artillery. 

Congress had been equally alert and energetic, but with 
means totally inadequate to the magnitude of the issue. 
The timber required for the construction of a fleet was yet 
standing in the forest, and was to be cut, prepared, and con- 
veyed by human labor to the shipyards at Ticonderoga and' 
Crown point. The material for its equipment must be 
transported a long distance over roads, nearly impractica- 
ble. The ship carpenters, who must construct the vessels, 
were occupied by urgent duties in the yards upon the sea 
coast. Amid all these adverse circumstances, the indomi- 
table energies of Arnold formed and equipped a squadron 
of fifteen vessels, bearing an aggregate battery of fifty-five 
guns, and armed by three hundred and fifty gallant and 
determined men, who had, however, little or no experience 
in naval affairs. The great exigency invoked courage and 
sacrifices ; and, notwithstanding this vast disparity of 
strength, Arnold decided boldly to throw himself across the 
path of the advancing enemy. 



164 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

"While the belligerents were thus sedulously laboring 
at the opposite extremities of the lake to attain the 
momentous design that prompted each, Arnold cruised 
with a few small vessels in undisputed ascendancy upon its 
waters. For a short space we will pause in the narrative 
of public events and recur to the domestic history of the 
colony on the Boquet. Amid the eventful scenes, which 
surrounded it, the settlement had not escaped the tempests 
which were raging along the lake. Mr. Gilliland early 
espoused the patriotic cause, and in concert with men of 
congenial sentiments, a military organization, embracing 
both sides of the lake, had been formed immediately after 
the capture of Ticonderoga. His zeal and activity marked 
him as a victim to be pursued by the special vengeance of 
the government. He enjoyed, with a few other patriots, 
the high distinction of being by name proscribed and out- 
lawed. A proclamation was issued by the governor of 
Canada in June succeeding the surrender of the Champlain 
fortresses, offering a reward of five hundred dollars for the 
arrest and rendition of Gilliland to the government. The 
allurements of this reward overcame the patriotism and 
fidelity of some of his tenants, who engaged in unsuccessful 
attempts to seize and convey him to Canada. Abortive 
efforts were made to seduce his household slaves into 
schemes for his betrayal. Various other attempts were 
made to effect his capture, and the most formidable one 
was nearly accomplished, by a sheriff of Try on county, who 
penetrated into the settlement " with four tories and three 
savages." With great adroitness, Gilliland not only 
escaped the peril, but succeeded in effecting the surprise 
" and capture of the whole party with all their arms, and 
sent them prisoners to Crown point." 

Gilliland, with his family, withdrew to the vicinity of 
Crown point, but returned, with part of his tenants, to 
secure their harvests, and to remove and secrete their 
property. Ponderous articles were buried or sunk in the 
lake. Many families, homeless and destitute, embracing 
Caiieton's offers of amnesty, joined the British forces, and 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 165 

iu a few cases, adopted the interests of England. Much 
valuable property, thus secreted, was, by the agency of 
these loyalists, exposed to the British officials, and seized 
and confiscated. Earlier than these final disasters, strange 
and unexpected trials gathered about the path of Gilli- 
land, accumulating additional cares and anxieties. The 
perils and exigencies of the times demanded the most 
active vigilance, and often subjected the patriotic to unjust 
suspicions and uu worthy surveillance. Although the pa- 
triotism of Gilliland had been the most zealous, and mani- 
fested by such efficient services, he was not exempt from 
the consequences of these jealousies. The acts of the 
tenants, whose defection we have noticed, and over 
whom he was supposed to exercise an absolute control, 
reflected upon him suspicion. Formal charges were pre- 
ferred against him by Colonel Hartley, in July, 1 but 
these imputations seem to have been satisfactorily ex- 
plained. 2 

This difficulty could scarcely have been composed, when 
an incident transpired that involved far more serious and 
enduriug consequences. While Arnold was cruising on 
the lake, as we have already mentioned, the soldiers and 
sailors, attached to the fleet, were permitted to land at the 
plantations of Gilliland, and in the " most impudent and 
licentious manner," committed destructive ravages upon his 
own, and the crops and property of his tenants. These 
acts, Gilliland evidently believed, were perpetrated with 
Arnold's complicity, and yet on the 1st of September, he 
addressed to Arnold a letter on the subject, clothed with 
the most courteous and respectful language. He earnestly 
complained of the depredations, and submitted a statement 
of the crops and property that had been seized and conveyed 
away. 3 The amount was not only in itself considerable, 
but at the time and under tbe circumstances, the losses 
could not be retrieved. A month elapsed, and Arnold 
had returned no response, while it seems the outrages were 

1 American Archives, 5th series, i, 564. a Idem. 3 Idem, n, 102. 



166 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

continued. Gilliland, always impetuous and resolute, and 
revolting at injustice, appealed to General Gates. The let- 
ter of Gilliland was then communicated to the commander- 
in-chief, accompanied with charges by Arnold against 
Gilliland, of disloyalty and fraud upon the government. 
The frivolous and malignant character of these charges 
are apparent from the documents themselves. 1 Gilliland, 
in his remarkable memorial to congress, alleges, " that 
Arnold sent a party of soldiers to tear your memorialist 
from his property, dignifying him with an officer for a com- 
mander, whose rank was so high as a sergeant, with pri- 
vate orders not to allow him to remove any of his property." 
In this manner Gilliland was conducted a prisoner to head- 
quarters, but no evidence exists that further proceedings 
were prosecuted on these charges against him, and from 
the letter from Gates to Arnold, it appears that he was 
dismissed. 2 

In another part of the same memorial which was addressed 
to Congress in 1777, Gilliland bursts into a magnificent 
and scourging invective of Arnold, which, if it were the 
only memorial we possess of the moral aud intellectual 
qualities of Gilliland, would stamp him a man of extraordi- 
nary character. Arnold, when this denunciation was utter- 
ed, was in the zenith of his fame and influence, yet Gilliland 
boldly proclaimed before the highest tribunal of the nation 
his rapacity and perversion of power, and almost animated 
by the spirit of prophecy delineates his character with a 
fearless and unfaltering hand as striking as is the eloquence 
and vehemence of his language. He exclaims after glancing 
at his own services and losses and describing his arrest: 
" Gen. Arnold is your servant; all the power and authority 
he has is derived from you and that has enabled him to 
commit the acts of tyranny and outrage upon your memorial- 



1 American Archives, n, 592. All the documents bearing on this affair are 
collected in The Pioneer History of the Champlain Valley, pages 56 to 68, 
where the subject is fully examined and discussed. 

9 Idem, ii, 847. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 167 

ist and others, whose complaints have been laid before you. 
It is not in mine, but it is in your power to bring him to 
justice. Bursting with pride and intoxicated with power 
to which he ought to have been a stranger, but which he has 
had the art to obtain from you, he tyrannizes when he can. If 
temerity, if rashness, imprudence, and error can recommend 
him to you, he is allowed to be amply supplied with these 
qualities, and many people think, they ought to recommend 
him in a peculiar manner to Lord North, who, in gratitude 
for his having done more injury to the American cause 
than all the ministerial troops have the power of doing, 
ought to reward him with agenerous pension." 

Carleton had been employed during this short period of 
repose, with extraordinary energy in constructing a fleet 
and organizing a powerful laud force. The forts at St. 
Johns and Isle aux Noix were repaired and strengthened, 
and an army of seven thousand veteran troops, assembled 
at those points, was ready to advance against the colonies, 
the moment the ascendancy on the lake should be secured. 
Towards the middle of October, Carleton left his station with 
a fleet, which at that epoch, would have been esteemed re- 
spectable and even formidable in European seas. It con- 
sisted of the Inflexible, mounting eighteen guns ; the Maria 
of fourteen guns ; Carleton of twelve guns; heavy radeau ; 
several gondolas and twenty gun-boats and long-boats 
armed in the efficient manner we have described. The 
naval supervision was confided to Captain Pringle, an officer 
attached to the royal navy and of great experience. Carle- 
ton accompanied the fleet, and controlled and guided its 
operations. Arnold, who had occupied with a part of his 
fleet a position at the lower extremity of the lake, retired 
on the approach of Carleton, and sought a"nd moored his 
vessels in a secluded cove on the western shore of Valcour 
island, situated between the mouths of the Saranac and 
Au Sable rivers. The fleet collected at this place in- 
cluded the sloop Enterprise, mounting ten guns ; the schoon- 
ers Royal Savage, twelve guns, and Revenge, eight guns ; 
three galleys, carrying each eight guns; and eight gondolas, 



168 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

each mounting eight guns. The fleet consisted of fifteen 
vessels bearing an armament of eighty-four guns. The 
disparity between the two fleets in the number of guns and 
weight of metal was very decided, but less unfavorable to 
the Americans than the materials that formed the respect- 
ive crews. While the British vessels were manned by ve- 
teran seamen and gunners, the crews of Arnold were wholly 
raw and unpracticed, man}* of them drafts from the regi- 
ment at Ticonderoga, and " few of them had ever been wet 
with saltwater." 1 Butthe motley crews of Arnold had been 
drilled during the short period of their naval service, at 
the guns and in other duties, with the utmost care and as- 
siduity, and were animated by the loftiest heroism. 

The position selected by Arnold afforded almost a per- 
fect concealment to his fleet, from the observation of 
vessels passing up the lake by the usual track, which 
was through the centre of the lake, and east of Yalcour. 
We are left to mere conjecture, as to the motives of Arnold, 
which prompted this manoeuvre. Possibly, he may have 
designed, when the British vessels had passed up the lake 
in an illusory pursuit of the American fleet, to strike some 
audacious blow in their rear, suggested by his bold and 
fertile mind. The cove in which the American vessels 
were lying, was directly opposite the dwelling of a settler 
named Hays, situated on the mainland. With this 
family, Arnold had formed intimate relations, and ar- 
ranged with them to present a signal when they dis- 
cerned the approach of the enemy. Pringle, on the 11th 
of October, had advanced beyond Valcour to the south, 
before he became aware of the position of Arnold. His 
course was immediately changed, in order to reach the 
American flee't ; but the purpose was frustrated by the 
direction of the wind. The British gun-boats, however, 
soon after supported by the Carleton, were able to ap- 
proach so near as to commence an attack. Arnold mean- 
while had arranged his vessels in a line across the narrow 

1 Arnold to Gates. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 169 

strait between Valcour to the mainland. The Royal 
Savage, with three galleys, advanced in front of the Ame- 
rican lines, and was engaged for some time in a sharp 
conflict with a part of the enemy's fleet. The schooner 
was severely crippled, and in attempting to fall back, 
grounded upon a point of land near the south end of 
Valcour, was abandoned by her crew, and during the 
night burnt by the British. The papers and wardrobe of 
Arnold were lost on board of this vessel. 1 

The engagement immediately involved the whole Ame- 
rican fleet, and commencing a little after meridian was 
maintained more than four hours with unfaltering ardor 
and resolution. Arnold was on board the galley Congress, 
and fought with his characteristic impetuosity, pointing 
almost every gun himself, and inspiring the conduct of the 
crew by his example and voice. Waterbury, in the galley 
"Washington, and Wigglesworth on board the Trumbull, 
emulated the spirit of Arnold. Waterbury, at the close of 
the action, was the only officer on the Washington capable 
of duty, and most of the other vessels suffered with equal 
severity. The gondola, Philadelphia, sank soon after the 
engagement. A body of Indians was landed on the 
island, and maintained a constant but ineffective fire upon 
the American vessels. Another body of the savages lay in 
ambush on the mainland prepared to seize any of the 
crews of Arnold's fleet, who might attempt to escape. 

The damages inflicted upon the British vessels engaged 
were also extremely heavy. Two gondolas were sunk, 
and another blown up in the engagement, with the loss, 

1 This circumstance has proved the prolific source of popular speculation 
in reference to the contents of the vessel. Forgetting the extreme poverty 
of the Continental congress at that epoch, innumerable attempts have been 
made to secure the treasures she was supposed to have been freighted with. 
Efforts have been made to raise the wreck, and skillful divers have examined 
her cabin and hold. She was scarcely submerged eight feet in low water, 
and was distinctly visible. " During the prevalence of remarkably low 
water in the summer of 1868, Captain George Conn anchored his vessel 
above the wreck and with grappling irons succeeded in wrenching several 
large pieces of oak plank from its sides. Tbe wood is as black as ebony 



170 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

as Arnold reported, of sixty men. 1 Pringle, having been 
disappointed in his efforts to bring his larger vessels into 
the action, at 5 o'clock p. m., withdrew those engaged, and 
formed a close line beyond the range of the American 
guns, stretching from Garden island towards the western 
shore of the lake. It was his intention to renew the attack 
in the morning. 2 

Although no body of men have ever exhibited in any 
naval battle higher traits of zeal and resolution, it was 
evident to the American officers that resistance to the 
united strength of the British fleet would be hopeless and 
unavailing. Arnold adopted the prompt and daring deter- 
mination to attempt an escape, and to seek protection 
beneath the guns of Crown point. As soon as the darkness 
secured concealment to the movement, the American fleet 
commenced its perilous operation. The Trumbull led, 
followed by the other vessels in a single line. Each vessel 
carried at her stern a light, to guide the one that followed 
her. The fleet, silently and unmolested, passed around 
the north end of Valcour and early in the morning reached 
Schuyler's island, a distance of nine miles. -At this place, 
the shattered condition of the vessels compelled Arnold 
to lay to and repair. Two of the gondolas were here 
abandoned and sunk. With the remnant of the fleet he 
again sailed in the hope of reaching Crown point, but the 
wind had veered into the south, and baffled his design. 

and almost as heavy. — Plattsburgh Republican. It is represented, that 
the bottom of the lake in the vicinity is strewn with balls and bullets, the 
latter white and glistening by the attrition of the sand. Many interesting 
relics, among them a bursted cannon, have been raised and preserved from 
this wreck. 

1 Arnold to Schuyler, Oct. 15th. 

2 This picturesque island lies about one-fourth of a mile south of Valcour, 
and in the legends of the lake is an object of considerable interest. It is 
circular in form, with steep rocky shores, which, it is represented, renders 
it inaccessible except at one point. It embraces half an acre of land, and 
tradition asserts that its name is derived from the fact that it was cultivated 
first by the French and afterwards by the English officers stationed upon 
the lake, as a garden. Until recently, it is stated by those who have visited 
the spot, that garden-beds and other artificial arrangement might readily 
be traced on the surface. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 171 

The first dawn of light revealed the escape of the Ame- 
rican fleet to the vigilant foe, and an instant pursuit ensued. 
A naked and solitary rock, standing in the midst of the lake, 
immediately east of Valcour, and then shrouded in the mist 
of an autumnal morning, it is the general received tradition, 
was mistaken for an American vessel, and a cannonade 
directed against it. The rocky islet is still known as 
Carleton's prize. While the progress of Arnold was re- 
tarded by a light and contrary wind, a breeze from the 
north-east which was first felt by the British, aided in the 
pursuit, by their fresh ships, of the disabled American fleet. 
The Washington, more shattered than any other of the 
fleet, was overtaken near Split rock, and, after receiving a 
few broadsides, surrendered. Four vessels, including a 
gondola, escaped in safety to Crown point. One galley was 
blown up by her commander. A single gondola, beside 
the Washington, was the only trophy secured by the 
enemy. After the capture of the Washington by the 
Maria and Inflexible, those ships aided the Carleton in a 
combined attack upon Arnold's vessel, the galley Congress. 
He maintained during a running fight of four hours a 
spirited contest, enveloped by this irresistible superiority of 
force, and when he could no longer hope for success or 
escape, with sails and hull of the galley torn and shattered, 
he ran her, accompanied by four gondolas, ashore on the 
beach at Panton, Vermont. The crews he ordered to wade 
or swim to the shore and armed with muskets arrest the 
approach of the enemy's small boats, while he remained 
upon the galley the last man, and until the conflagration 
had advanced too far to be extinguished. The flags were 
not lowered, but were consumed and the whole flotilla 
wrapped in flames. 1 Their charred and blackened wrecks 
remained upon the beach at Panton, 2 monuments of his 
gallantry and patriotism, long after other deeds had con- 

1 Sp arks' s Life of Arnold. 

2 The remains of these wrecks are still visible, and within a few years 
interesting relics have been recovered. I have in niy own possession, bullets 
which were taken from them. 



172 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

signed the name of Arnold to ignominy. Arnold, when 
he had witnessed the successful destruction of the vessels, 
led their crews rapidly through the wilderness to Crown 
point, and by the activity of his movement escaped an 
Indian force, which was pursuing him. 

The killed and wounded of the Americans in both 
engagements, were about ninety, and the loss of the 
British, including those involved in the explosion, was 
nearly the same. The conduct of Arnold and his sub- 
ordinates, alike in fighting and manceuvering the fleet, 
and the unsurpassed bravery of the crews, extorted the 
highest admiration of their conquerors, and although their 
heroism had been unavailing, aroused the warmest enthu- 
siasm and exultation of their countrymen. Carleton, after 
securing the victory, manifested his wonted clemency and 
conciliation. The wounded Americans received the most 
tender care of his own surgeons ; to the prisoners he 
expressed the warmest encomiums upon their intrepidity, 
with regrets that it was expended in an evil and desperate 
cause; he relieved their wants and dismissed them on 
parole. This humane and politic deportment impressed 
and won the regard and gratitude of these men to an 
extent that rendered their communications with the army 
unsafe, and without being permittted to land at the forts, 
they were at once sent into the interior. 1 

The British forces, immediately after the success of the 
fleet, had opened the pathway of the lake, commenced 



1 1 think the version I have given in the text, although not in accordance 
with the common impression, is warranted by the facts as they appear in 
documents, and which were corroborated by the information I have person- 
ally derived from those who were familiar with the occurrences of that 
era. Mr. Palmer, in his History of Lake Ghamplain, adopts the same view. 
The circumstances connected with the Hays family were communicated 
to me by Mrs. Elmore, a daughter of Mr. Hays, who has deceased within 
a few years at a venerable age. She was an infant in her mother's arms at 
the time of the engagement. The signal mentioned according to the tradi- 
tion in her family, was a sheet displayed from a window. While the battle 
raged, Mrs. Hays carrying her infant, went to a spring in a ravine near 
the lake, which was then mantled by a dense thicket. To her unutterable 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 173 

their advance. General Gates, who was in the immediate 
command of the American troops in that department, had 
augmented, by every expedient, the strength and efficiency 
of the works at Ticonderoga. The army embraced from 
eight to ten thousand men. On the approach of Carleton, 
Crown point was evacuated by the small detachment by 
which it had been occupied, and the British general, on 
the 14th of October, took possession of that important 
post without opposition. He remained in the occupation 
of the fort, which he diligently fortified, as well as the 
works at Chimney point, until the 3d of November. The 
interval was employed in either feigned or real preparation 
for the attack of Ticonderoga. Cautious and thorough 
examination revealed so great strength in the lines and 
fort, and such perfect arrangement to meet an assault, that 
Carleton was constrained to abandon the design, and 
retired into Canada for winter quarters. This decision 
was eminently judicious. The precautions of "Washington 
had caused all the cattle and horses, which might afford 
food or means of transportation, to be removed from the 
reach of the enemy ; Carleton felt that the vicinity of a 
formidable American army, animated by extreme ardor, 
would be eminently hazardous to his exposed and isolated 
position, while the interrupted or suspended navigation 
during the winter would virtually cut oft' all intercourse 
with Canada. Upon such considerations he adopted the 
policy of retreating, which subjected him to severe and 
unjust strictures. When the approach of Carleton was 



Surprise and terror, she found herself in the midst of a large body of Indians 
hideous by their war paint and savage costume, and armed with guns and 
tomahawks. The mother, agitated and alarmed at her helpless condition, 
and frantically clasping the child to her breast, wept bitterly. An aged 
chief, she judged from his appearance, approached, and unable to communi- 
cate consolation or an assurance of safety by language, manifested his pur- 
pose of protecting her by gently and in a soothing manner wiping away 
her tears with the skirt of his shirt. Neither the mother nor child was mo- 
lested. The motive of the ambush was doubtless that assigned in the text ; 
but I infer from this account, that no attack on the fleet was made by the 
Indians from the mainland. 



174 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

apprehended, Gates had made an earnest appeal, through 
Colonel Warner, to Vermont for support in both men and 
provisions. This appeal was responded to with great 
promptness and efficiency. Flour and grain were imme- 
diately transmitted, while, with equal alacrity, two regi- 
ments marched to reenforce Ticonderoga. When Carleton 
retreated, these troops were discharged, with warm 
acknowledgments for their " spirit and alertness " by 
Gates, in an official document addressed to their com- 
manders. 



CHAPTER XL 

The Invasion, 1777-1782. 
The energies of England had been occupied more than 
a year in the organization of a large and perfectly equipped 
army in Canada, with the design of hurling an irresistible 
force upon the insurgent colonies. Burgoyne, who had 
attained a high European reputation, succeeded Carleton 
in the command of this army. The wise and generous 
qualities of the latter had suggested measures, not in ac- 
cordance with the policy of the administration. The corps 
destined to this service were assembled at St. Johns and 
Isle aux Noix, and consisted of various British and German 
regiments, aggregating more than seven thousand effective 
troops, besides Canadian irregulars and the hordes of sa- 
vages, that had been summoned and were expected to join 
the British standard. A magnificent park of artillery and 
an ample supply of munitions augmented its efficiency. 
The officers who led this array under the commander-in- 
chief, were skillful and experienced, and vast expectations 
had been formed of the results of the expedition. The 
Hessians, a general term applied to all the German merce- 
naries, were at first objects of extreme terror aud solicitude 
to the American people. Clothed in uncommon vestures, 
speaking a harsh and strange language, with manners rude 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 175 

and severe, rumor imputed to them a character the most 
ferocious and cruel. But grown familiar with these new 
enemies, the people overcame this dread, -and regarding 
them as the hirelings of tyranny purchased of German 
despots, to trample down American liberty, they animated 
hatred and excited disgust, while their presence tended to 
stimulate enthusiasm and to confirm every purpose of re- 
sistance. Generals Phillips, Frazer, Powell and Hamilton 
commanded the British troops, and Riedesel and Specht 
the German auxiliaries. Early in June, 1777, this brilliant 
army moved from St. Johns in boats, and arrived on the 
banks of the Boquet and took position at the deserted 
settlement of Gilliland, which had been designated by 
Burgoyne as the place of junction with his Indian 
allies. He paused here ten days, which were employed in 
a reconnaissance of Ticonderoga in reorganizing his forces 
and in drilling the boatmen on the estuary of the river in 
the evolutions incident to their duties upon the waters of 
the lake, and possibly in the visions of hope upon those of 
the Hudson. 1 

On the 21st, Burgoyne held his celebrated treaty with 
the Indian tribes. The summons of the Brilish com- 
mander, was responded to in far greater numbers, than he 
had either expected or desired. A redoubt which had been 
erected on an eminence below the village and impending 
over the river was signalized by this picturesque and im- 
pressive spectacle. The operations of agriculture have 
now obliterated all vestiges of this work, although until 
recently its lines could be distinctly traced. These hordes 
were addressed by B u rgoyne in a speech intended professedly 
to restrain their ferocity, but calculated by its influence to 
inflame their savage passions. A war chief of the Iroquois 
replied with equal vehemence, pledging the tribes to a 
zealous warfare against the foes of England. A feast was 
held, a war dance celebrated, and the merciless savages 
were let loose upon the colonies. 

1 0. F. Sheldon's Manuscript. 



176 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The speech of Burgoyne at the Boquet and his subse- 
quent proclamation from Putnam's creek, which was 
regarded as an exposition of the actual purpose of this 
Indian treaty, aroused a wide attention. The formal and 
recognized employment of the savages, and the direction 
of the tomahawk and scalping knife against a people, kin- 
dred in language, in religion and civilization, revolted the 
moral sentiment of the Christian world, and evoked the 
severest denunciations in the British parliament. No 
measure, not even the subsidizing of the Hessian, so fully 
harmonized the popular heart of America and precipi- 
tated with such perfect union, the infuriated yeomanry of 
New England upon the British entrenchments at Saratoga 
and Bennington. Burgoyne, as the instrument of this 
ruthless warfare, was in America the object of universal 
detestation. 

Forgetting the character of his auditors, Burgoyne, in 
well chosen and Sonorous periods, expatiated on mercy 
and forbearance; explained the nice distinctions between 
enemies in the field, and the unarmed and inoffensive 
citizen ; and between political friends and armed foes ; 
but at the same time stimulated the ardor and activity of 
his savage allies, in the prosecution of a sanguinary war- 
fare. He severely denouuced the practice of cruelty 
against any class; offered rewards for prisoners, and 
sternly forbade the taking of scalps from the living, or 
even the dying, but by a strange infatuation, allowed them 
to be torn from the dead on the field of battle. As if the 
subtle Indians would hesitate to bring the prisoner, the 
wounded and dying, within the scope of this provision. 
Could these admonitions of mercy follow the fierce savage 
raging amid an hostile people ; or would these metaphysi- 
cal distinctions be regarded in the heat and tumult of the 
battle ? Subsequent events revealed the fallacy of these 
humane professions, and the proclamation of the 29th of 
June, exhibits in its barbarous and bloody threats of In- 
dian atrocities, the insincerity of the admonitions, and 
the convictions of Burgoyne of the futility of the restraints 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 177 

he professed to impose, and the hollowness of the Indian 
assurances of obedience. While the arrogance and in- 
flated grandiloquence of this manifesto amused the intelli- 
gence and disgusted the taste of the colonists, it aroused 
an unconquerable hostility to England, that was never 
extinguished. Europe was everywhere shocked by its 
monstrous spirit, and afterwards, when arraigned at the 
tribunal of popular sentiment, in England, for the dishonor 
it had attached to the British name, Burgoyne was able 
to offer no other apology or extenuation, than that its 
language was intended only for intimidation and effect. 

The command of the northern department of the repub- 
lican army was held by General Schuyler, while the direct 
charge of Ticonderoga and the works of defense connected 
with that fortress were confided to Arthur St. Clair, a major- 
general in the service of congress, an officer of great ex- 
perience and marked ability, but singularly unfortunate 
in his military enterprises. These fortifications, while 
they should be maintained by the Americans, formed an 
insuperable barrier to the progress of Burgoyne. The 
infinite importance of preserving them was felt by the 
congress, but unhappily its resources were inadequate to 
the exigency of the occasion. The extent and magnitude 
of these works demanded a garrison of ten thousand effec- 
tive men with sufficient armament and supplies for their 
appropriate occupation, and yet when the British army 
appeared at Crown point, Schuyler had succeeded with all 
the energies and efforts he was able to exert, in collecting 
a force in the whole department of only five thousand 
troops, of which about three thousand were scattered through 
ths defenses entrusted to St. Clair. One-third of this 
feeble force was composed of militia imperfectly equipped 
and armed, and nearly destitute of bayonets to their 
insufficient muskets. 

In another page we have already described the peninsula 

at Ticonderoga; but twenty years had produced important 

changes in the arrangement of the works, their capacity 

and extent. The old French lines, which were so success- 

12 



178 HISTOKY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

fully defended by Montcalm, had been strengthened by 
additional erections and by a block-house. The landing 
at Lake George, and the saw-mills, where new works had 
been constructed, were occupied by feeble detachments. 
A small fort erected on Mt. Hope, a commanding emi- 
nence in this vicinity, guarded the left of the American 
lines. The new works, the most effective and upon which 
the Americans placed the greatest reliance, were erected 
on Mt. Independence, a high circular hill situated on the 
eastern shore of the lake and directly opposite Fort Caril- 
lon. On the summit of this elevation, a star fort had been 
constructed, enclosing a large square barrack. This fort 
was heavily fortified and well supplied with artillery. 
The base of the hill and its precipitous sides, were care- 
fully entrenched and lined with artillery. The distance 
between Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence was about 
fifteen hundred yards. These two positions were con- 
nected by a floating bridge, which had been erected by 
enormous labor and expenditure. The structure was 
supported by twenty-two sunken piers of immense size, and 
placed at intervals. These spaces were filled with separate 
floats, each about fifty feet loug and twelve feet wide. 
The whole was firmly united by heavy chains which were 
closely rivetted. To protect this work, which was of the 
last importance to the safety of the whole position, from 
the attacks of the enemy's naval force, a boom, formed of 
enormous timbers, connected by chains and bolts of im- 
mense size, was constructed on the northern or lake side 
of the bridge. 1 

Another point still, had engaged the attention of the 
American engineers. This was Mt. Defiance, which rises 
to an altitude of seven hundred and fifty feet, and forms 
a bold, rocky promontory at the confluence of Lake 
Champlain and the outlet of Lake George, and is laved 
by both waters. This eminence is about one thousand 



1 Thompson, in the History of Vermont, states, that this bridge, when Bur- 
goyne approached, was in an unfinished condition. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 179 

and four hundred yards distant from Ticonderoga and 
separated from Mt. Independence by fifteen hundred yards, 
and by its position and greater height commanded both 
works. The imagined impregnability of these works 
would at once fail, in the event of this eminence being 
occupied by a hostile battery. St. Clair had been ap- 
prized of this momentous fact by the examination of the 
preceding year. Pont Le Roy, the engineer of Montcalm, 
evidently referred to it in the epigrammatic utterance I 
have quoted ; and we cannot doubt, that the possession of 
Ticonderoga during more than eighteen years, had dis- 
closed the military value of this position to the British 
commanders. But St. Clair was destitute of the resources 
necessary for holding and fortifying the place, and of 
averting the impending danger. His feeble garrison was 
insufficient for the occupation of the more prominent and 
exposed lines. He was constrained to rely upon the hope 
for the same impunity the fortress had formerly enjoyed 
from an attack in that direction. Conscious of his weak- 
ness he could alone in maintaining the fortresses have con- 
templated creating a delay, which would secure an infinite 
advantage to the republican cause, or of a successful re- 
sistance to an active assault, that he might have antici- 
pated from the impetuosity and presumption of Burgoyne. 
A fatuity seems to have rested upon the American coun- 
cils, in the affairs of the Champlain frontier. A singular 
ignorance prevailed, in reference to the strength and move- 
ments of Burgoyne, inconsistent with the most common 
military skill aud prudence. The people, the government 
and the commanders, were alike impressed by the convic- 
tion, that the menaced invasion by the waters of Cham- 
plain, was a mere pretext to disguise other operations, and 
that no competent force for the purpose had been organized 
in Canada. When its reality was demonstrated, by the 
actual appearance of the British army, little preparation 
had been made to oppose its advance. On the 25th of 
June, St. Clair communicated to Schuyler the perilous 
circumstances by which he was surrounded, and reiterates, 



180 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

as he asserts, his views of the inadequacy of his resources 
and the fatal consequences which would result from a regu- 
lar siege or blockade of the works. This letter, three days 
later, was transmitted to Washington by Schuyler, accom- 
panied by the representations of his own utter inability 
either to support St. Clair or resist a prompt advance by 
Burgoyne. The obvious and transparent error, which 
involved so many disastrous consequences, and for which 
all, who exerted a controlling influence upou the measure,, 
were in common, responsible, was the delay that occurred 
in the evacuations of Ticonderoga and its dependencies. Had 
that movement been executed when its necessity was first 
apparent, it might have been conducted with a leisure and 
circumspection, that would have secured the removal of 
the munitions and artillery, and the safety of the army r 
without demoralization. St. Clair, in a letter to congress^ 
alleges, that his instructions gave him no discretion in 
reference to the abandonment of the work, except from the 
presence of a last and imperious necessity. 1 

While the American affairs were involved in these 
strange delusions, and paralyzed by this inaction and hesi- 
tancy, Burgoyne had occupied Crown point, and with extra- 
ordinary promptitude and vigor marched upon Ticon- 
deroga. On the 1st July he advanced in three columns. 
The left wing under Riedesel proceeded along the eastern 
shore of the lake, which here, deep and narrow, exhibits 
the proportions and appearance of a river. He advanced 
to East creek, a small stream, which, spreading out in the 
form of an estuary as it enters the lake, washes the northern 
base of Mt. Independence. Burgoyne himself embarked 
with the centre column in bateaux, and convoyed by two- 
ships slowly ascended the lake. Phillips, with the right 
wing, moved upon the western side, and the next day ex- 
tended his flank, threatening the outposts of St. Clair. The 
parties which held the landing and Mt. Hope were ordered 
after destroying the public property, and burning the mills,. 

1 Marshall. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 181 

to fall back into the American lines. The British general 
immediately seized this important post, and by its occupa- 
tion commanded a portion of the remaining works and 
effectively severed St. Clair's communication with Lake 
George. 1 St. Clair resisted these operations by a heavy 
cannonade directed against the several positions of the 
enemy. While actively occupied in enveloping the Ame- 
rican works by a cordon of posts, Burgoyne caused a 
careful reconnaissance to be made of Mt. Defiance. The 
result corroborated the opinion of the American Engineer, 
submitted the last year, and announced that the ascent was 
not only practicable, but that the brief space of a single 
day was sufficient for the construction of an available road 
for artillery to the summit. The fourth was devoted by 
Burgoyne to the landing of his battering train, and the 
concentration of his munitions and supplies. On the same 
day, the proposed ascent of Mt. Defiance was effected 
with a success only equaled by the ardor and toil exerted 
in its execution, and on the morning of the 8th, a battery 
had been erected, and eight pieces of heavy artillery 
mounted, and ready to open a plunging and insupportable 
fire upon the doomed garrison. 

St. Clair witnessed these operations without any power 
to arrest them or avert their consequences, and yielded to 
the perfect conviction that neither Ticonderoga nor Mt. 
Independence was longer tenable. The difficulties of his 
perilous situation were enhanced by the fact, that only a 
single link now remained to accomplish the investment of 
the entire works, and to secure the control of the water 
communication with Skeensboro'. Riedesel was about 
closing that space, by stretching his forces from the posi- 
tion he occupied on East creek, around Mt. Independence 
to the waters of the narrow lake south of that post. Op- 

1 Mount Hope is situated near the Lower Falls, on the outlet of Lake 
George. It is a steep and rocky eminence, and tradition asserts, received its 
name from Phillips, when he seized it in this campaign. Vestiges of mili- 
tary works are still visible upon it, and also the ruins of a log bridge, built 
on the occasion. 



182 HISTOKY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pressed by this gloomy aspect of his affairs, the American 
commander convened a military council, which with per- 
fect harmony and without hesitation, concurred in the 
opinion, that the works could not be maintained, and that 
an immediate evacuation was necessary. The same night 
this resolution was executed. The sick, the hospital and 
other stores, and all the guns, munitions and provisions, 
which under the pressure of the circumstances could be 
moved, were embarked in two hundred boats, which, 
guardedly about six hundred men under Colonel Long, 
and convoyed by five armed galleys, proceeded to Skeenes- 
boro'. The lights in the camp were all extinguished, and 
caution and profound silence enjoined. Prudence de- 
manded that during the day no unusual movement in the 
forts should reveal to the enemy, who watched their 
proceedings from the summit of Mt. Defiance, the con- 
templated design. The short time allowed for the execu- 
tion of the measure and the obscurity of the night, 
necessarily created some degree of haste and confusion ; 
but the retreat was conducted with such skill and celerity 
that, although the moon was shining brightly, it escaped 
the observation of the British sentinels. St Clair, with 
the leading column, crossed the bridge at 2 o'clock in the 
morning, and was closely followed by Francis with the 
rear of the army. No suspicion of the enemy had yet 
been excited, and every circumstance indicated the most 
favorable results. But at the moment, when these appear- 
ances were thus auspicious, a house on Mt. Independence, 
occupied by General de Fermoy, was discovered to be on 
fire. The flames spread widely, and casting a bright illu- 
mination over the scene, revealed all the movements of 
the retreating army. The British camp was instantly 
aroused, and the drum and trumpet sounded the alarm 
through all its sections. The abandoned works were 
immediately occupied, and a fire opened upon the rear of 
the Americans. Frazer led a strong detachment at once 
across the bridge which St. Clair had not had time to dis- 
turb, and commenced a rapid and vigorous pursuit. He. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 183 

was immediately followed by Riedesel with bis Germau 
corps. With indefatigable activity and vigor, Burgoyne, by 
the labor of a few hours, skillfully directed, removed the 
boom and bridge — stupendous fabrics, that had exacted 
a vast expenditure of money and material and the unre- 
mitting toil of months. Early on the morning of the 6th, 
these obstacles upon which the Americans had relied in 
perfect confidence, were obliterated, or sufficiently dis- 
placed to allow the passage of two ships and several gun- 
boats, which with the utmost ardor and celerity pursued 
the American flotilla. The latter had reached its destina- 
tion in safety, and while the troops were indulging in rest 
and in fancied security after the excessive labor aud fatigue 
of the retreat, their repose was suddenly broken by the 
guns of Burgoyne, in an attack at the wharves of the 
galleys and boats. The overwhelming force of the Eng- 
lish rendered resistance impossible, and haviug burnt or 
destroyed the military works, the mills and the bateaux 
with three of the galleys, two had been captured by Bur- 
goyne, Long hastily retreated in the direction of Fort Ann. 
By this prompt and rapid movement he eluded a British 
force of three regiments, which, pursuing the track of 
Dieskau, had landed at the foot of South bay, and ad- 
vanced with great celerity to the Fort Edward road for 
the purpose of intercepting the retreat. While Burgoyne 
achieved these signal successes, St Clair was pursuing a 
forced, aud to some extent disorderly, march, towards 
Castleton, which he reached during the night after the 
evacuation. 

Three regiments, under ."Warner, Francis and Hale, 
which constituted the rear division of the American army, 
paused at Hubbardtou, in order to reorganize and to collect 
the stragglers, who had fallen out of the line on the pre- 
cipitate retreat. This force occupied a favorable position, 
and it was decided to await an attack. The pursuit of 
Frazer had been eager and unremitting. That night he 
lay on his arms near the American position, and early on 
the morning of the 7th, without hesitating for the arrival 



184 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

of Riedesel, which was momentarily expected, advanced 
with ardor to the attack of the American lines. The 
command of Frazer embraced eight hundred and fifty 
veteran regulars. The opposing force consisted of about 
thirteen hundred men, btft a large proportion of these were 
militia ; and the inequality in numbers was speedily removed 
by the retreat of Colonel Hale's regiment. This command 
was composed mainly of the siek and convalescent in- 
capable of field service, and Hale, therefore, after a brief 
though warm skirmish with the British advance, continued 
his retreat towards Castleton, but he was intercepted by a 
British column, and himself and nearly the entire regiment 
were taken prisoners. 1 

A long and sanguinary engagement ensued, which was 
conducted with skill, and fought with the highest spirit 
and resolution. The battle of Hubbardton has not acquired 
the prominence in American history or the consideration 
from the country, due to the valor and sacrifices by which 
it was signalized. At one period of its changing aspect, 
when the British line recoiled in disorder before the impetu- 
osity of the American charge, victory seemed assured to 
the republican arms; but Frazer soon restored his ranks 

1 Colonel Nathan Hale commanded one of the battalions raised in 1776 by 
New Hampshire. Some modern writers, each adopting the statements 
contained in the narrative of Ethan Allen, without apparently having 
examined the subject, have imputed to Colonel Hale misconduct in this 
battle, and asserted that his command was surrendered without resistance. 
These charges, it is alleged, inflict unjust censure upon a brave soldier and 
patriotic citizen. Gordon, Williams, and other subordinate writers reflect 
the views of Allen, but Marshall, the most authentic, by the sources from 
which he received his facts, of any historian of the period : Botta, Stead- 
man and other authors, both American and English, are silent on the sub- 
ject, and ascribe blame to no one. The charge that Hale "surrendered 
without striking a blow " is discountenanced, at least, by the simple account, 
bearing upon its face the impress of truth, of one who was present in the 
engagement — was wounded and taken prisoner. The author, who was 
attached to Carr's company in Hale's battalion, states that early in the 
morning of the 7th, while the troops were preparing their breakfast, under 
marching orders, the enemy suddenly appeared in line. The American 
troops were ordered to "lay down their packs and be ready for action." 
The firing immediately commenced, and a sharp skirmish occurred. The 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 185 

and the appearance immediately after of the Germans upon 
the field decided the contest, and the Americans dispersed 
in every direction. Colonel Francis fell gallantly at the 
head of his regiment. The aggregate American loss in 
this warmly contested action was about three hundred, 
and that of the British one hundred and eighty-three. 
Warner, with his wonted decision and intrepidly, reassem- 
bled his troops at Manchester, and led them to unite with 
Schuyler at Fort Edward. Severe censure has been attached 
to St. Clair, that lying only six miles from the field of battle 
with his detachment, he had not returned to the support 
of Warner and Francis. His apologists allege, that he 
made the most earnest efforts to do so, but that the troops 
who were principally composed of militia regiments, re- 
fused to march to their aid. 

The capture of Ticonderoga was a deep calamity to the 
republican cause. The trophies announced by Burgoyne 
to his government, embraced one hundred and twenty- 
eight pieces of artillery ; all the boats and armed vessels 
in the harbors, and the provision stores and munitions. 
The great flag of the garrison was also abandoned in the 
confusion of the retreat, and fell into the enemy's hands. 
The intelligence of this event was received in England by 

republicans sought the cover of trees, but " were a few in number in com- 
parison with the enemy." While discharging his musket, in that position, 
the author was wounded, and captured, when the battalion retreated. — 
Narrative of Ebenezer Fletcher. Belknap, a contemporary, in his History 
of New Hampshire, states, that " Colonel Hale's battalion was ordered to 
cover the rear of the invalids," and the next morning was attacked by the 
advance of the enemy. Barstow, in his history, says, in allusion to this 
event, " a sharp skirmish ensued, in which Major Titcomb (of Hale's bat- 
talion) was wounded. " These authorities seem to disprove one serious 
point of the strictures. Colonel Hale claimed from Washington the right 
of being exchanged, that he might vindicate his conduct before a military 
tribunal, but he died, while still a prisoner, before this desire could be 
gratified. 

The memory of Colonel Hale is entitled to the consideration due to other 
facts. At the commencement of the revolution, he was in easy pecuniary 
circumstances. After the battle of Lexington, he raised a company of 
minute men, at his own expense, and by patriotic sacrifices like this, when 
he died in the vigor of manhood, he left his family in comparative poverty. 



186 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the partisans of the ministry with the most rapturous 
exultation, and confidently accepted as a propitious augury 
of the final issue of the contest. At no period of the revo- 
lution did any other disaster press upon the popular 
heart in America, with a more chilling and despondent 
influence. Surprise and astonishment mingled with rage 
and grief. The imputations of imbecility, negligence, and 
incompetency, did not reach the expression of public 
sentiment, but hostile and malignant tongues gave free 
utterance to the terms, baseness and treachery. Even the 
serene and just mind of "Washington was disturbed. St. 
Clair was suspended, and Schuyler superseded in the 
command of the northern army, at the moment when 
success and glory were about becoming the fruition of 
his wise, skillful, and patriotic measures. But time dis- 
persed the clouds that for a period shadowed the fame of 
these able and devoted patriots, and a mature investi- 
gation of the facts, afforded them an ample and decisive 
vindication. 

Phillips, as soon as the means of transportation could be 
organized on Lake George, advanced with his division to 
Fort George and established at that post and also at the 
foot of the lake, depots of supplies, and the proximate base 
of the army. At Fort George, he found only dismantled 
and naked walls. Schuyler, in the judicious but stern policy 
by which he had rendered savage nature still more hideous, 
and created in the front of the foe a waste and desolation, 
had either destroyed or removed every material that might 
impart comfort or facilities to the invader. This narrative 
must relinquish to general history the recital of the future 
progress and history of Burgoyne, and that great culminat- 
ing victory, which was not only decisive of his career, but 
decisive also of the great contest of Englaud with her re- 
bellious colonies. 

While Burgoyne was urging a slow progress as he gra- 
dually surmounted the vast obstacles, which the sagacity 
of Schuyler had interposed, Lincoln was engaged in collect- 
ing and organizing a body of four thousand militia at 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 187 

Manchester, Vermont. The flank of the British army by 
this movement was seriously menaced. A portion of these 
troops, it was decided, should be used in a bold and im- 
portant operation, which was intended to sever the commu- 
nications of Burgoyne, and if possible to seize his base at 
Ticonderoga. Colonel Johnson, with a party of about five 
hundred men, was detached by Lincoln against Skeenes- 
boro' and Fort Edward, but with the special object of co- 
vering the retreat of the two other detachments led by 
Brown and Woodbury. Colonel Brown, with a party of 
rangers of nearly the same strength, was instructed to 
proceed to the landing on Lake George, to rescue Ameri- 
can prisoners confined there, and having accomplished this 
object to act on the suggestions of his own judgment. He 
crossed Lake Champlain at the narrows above Ticonderoga, 
and marching all night conducted alone by the signals 
emitted at short intervals by his guides, hoots, in imitation 
of the owl, he traversed the rugged mountain range that 
separates the two lakes, and toiling in the darkness, amid 
precipices and chasms, a distance of fourteen miles, just as 
the day was breaking, burst upon the enemy at the foot of 
the lake, by a complete surprise. He captured without 
resistance nearly three hundred British troops, the works 
at Mount Hope and at the landing, and seized two hundred 
bateaux, an armed sloop and a number of gun-boats, which 
had been transported from Lake Champlain with severe 
toil, and were stationed here to protect the carrying place. 
In addition to these successes he accomplished the primary 
object of the expedition by liberating one hundred Ame- 
rican prisoners. Captain Ebenezer Allen had been de- 
tached with a small and resolute band by Brown to assail 
the works on Mount Defiance. Scaling cautiously and in 
silence the precipitous acclivities of the mountain, so steep 
in one place that the assailants were able only to ascend by 
climbing over the shoulders of each other, they reached the 
summit and captured the battery without the discharge of 
a single weapon. Colonel Johnson, with a detachment of 
about au equal number, arrived early the next morning and 



188 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

joined Brown before Ticonderoga. 1 The united forces 
immediately invested the fortress and summoned General 
Powell, the commander of the garrison, to surrender. He 
returned a defiant answer, and after an ineffectual cannon- 
ade of four days with ordnance too feeble to make an im- 
pression upon the works, the attack was abandoned. 
At the landing Brown embarked forces in the captured 
boats, and ascended Lake George with the design of seizing 
Diamond island, where Burgoyue had deposited an im- 
mense quantity of stores and munitions. 

Upon the surrender of Burgoyne, the small garrison at 
Ticonderoga dismantled and evacuated the works, and, em- 
barking in a few open boats, sought refuge and securit}^ 
by a silent and stealthy flight down the lake. This inglo- 
rious retreat of the relics of a great host presented an im- 
pressive contrast to the ostentatious array, that a few weeks 
before had traversed the same waters, bearing, as if iu a 
triumphant procession, a vaunting leader and an army in- 
flamed by the confidence of approaching victory. These 
fugitives, however, did not wholly escape the vigilant eye 
of the Americans. Near where the village of Essex now 
stands they were intercepted by Ebenezer Allen. He cut 
oft' and captured several of the rear boats, seized fifty pri- 
soners and a large amouut of military stores, baggage, 
horses and cattle. Among the spoils, he captured a negro 
slave with an infant child. " Being conscientious in the 
sight of God that it is not right to keep slaves," these he 
declared " to be forever free," and caused a certificate of 
their freedom to be recorded in the town clerk's office at 
Bennington, where it still exists. 2 

Refugee tories and other irregulars, more ruthless than 
their savage allies, fugitives from the fate that was impend- 
ing over the British army, passed through in their flight 
the deserted settlement on the Boquet. Carleton and 



1 Several authorities assign the coniniand of the third detachment to Colo- 
nel Warner. I follow the statement of Marshall. 

a Butler'B discourse on Ebenezer Allen, Hall's Vermont. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 189 

Burgoyne bad been merciful in tbeir visitations. The ra- 
pacity of Arnold and tbe exactions ot the government bad 
spared tbe dwellings and structures of tbe settlers ; but tbese 
gleaners in devastation left only ashes and desolation in 
their track. Tradition asserts, that they consigned to the 
flames every edifice from Split rock to the Boquet in a 
wanton and merciless destruction. 1 In November, 1778, a 
large British force, and several armed vessels advanced to 
Ticonderoga, and inflicted a general devastation upon the 
property on both sides of the lake, that had escaped 
former ravages. 

In the spring of 1780, Sir John Johnson organized at 
Ticonderoga a band of about five hundred men, composed 
of regulars, a party of his own corps of Royal Greens and 
two hundred tories and Indians, and proceeded on an 
errand, which, in its spirit and purposes, presented one of 
the most revolting scenes of this fratricidal war. Penetrat- 
ing the rude wilderness of mountains, forests and waters, 
which spreads westward from Lake George, he reached 
and ascended the valley of the Sacondaga. This route 
compelled him to cross a site, which his father in happier 
days was accustomed often to visit in pursuit of relaxation 
and rural pastimes. Recollections of youthful joys must 
have welled up in the memory of the invader, when he 
recalled the incidents of former years, associated with the 
Fish house. An outlawed fugitive, a dishonored soldier, 
who had violated his parole, he broke the quiet and secluded 
repose of the scene, in a mission of vengeance and blood. 
These memories could not have softened his vindictive 
passions, for he passed onward, unchanged in his fierce 
designs to descend at midnight upon his native valley in a 
whirlwind of rapine and flame. Near the baronial halls of 
his father, the motley band was divided into two detach- 
ments, that the work of destruction might be more tho- 
rough and widespread. The inhabitants were slumbering 
in perfect security, ignorant and unsuspicious of danger. 

1 Sheldon's Manuscript. 



190 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

A common and indiscriminate ruin involved all who 
had adhered to the republican cause. Neither the former 
friends nor aged associates of his father, nor the com- 
panions of his own boyhood were exempt from the uni- 
versal desolation. There was nothing left in a wide track 
along the beautiful valley of the Mohawk, where yesterday 
stood the abodes of plenty, 

But a mass of ashes slaked with blood. 

The professed object of this pitiless incursion was the 
recovery of a mass of valuable plate, which a faithful slave 
had assisted to bury in 1776. With silent and unwavering 
fidelity he had watched over the deposit, although in the 
confiscation of the Johnson estate he had been sold to 
another master. The plate was recovered, and distributed 
in the knapsacks of forty different soldiers. By this means 
it was all safely conveyed into Canada. An alarm had 
been immediately sounded, and the local militia, under 
Coloner Harper, beginning to assemble, Sir John made a 
rapid retreat. He bore with him what plunder he was able 
to convey, and forty prisoners ; and reaching his bateaux 
at Crown point returned to Canada in safety, successfully 
evading the pursuit of Governor Clinton aided by detach- 
ments from the New Hampshire grants. 

Major Carleton,in the autumn of the same year, proceeded 
from St. Johns with a formidable' fleet, conveying more 
than one thousand men. He advanced secretly and undis- 
covered, and on the 10th and 11th of October, with a 
trifling loss, captured Fort Ann and Fort George. He 
completely devastated the country along his line of march ; 
but the marked exemption of the territory of Vermont 
from these ravages were calculated to excite jealousy and 
apprehension. This unimportant expedition terminated 
these hostile incursions of the enemy beyond the fortresses 
of Champlain. 

At this epoch was initiated the enigmatical and extraor- 
dinary relations, which subsisted for several years between 
the British authorities in Canada and the government of 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 191 

Vermont. The people of the New Hampshire grants had 
formally declared their independence in 1777, and under 
the name of Vermont had assumed the attitude and prero- 
gatives of a sovereign state. Any discussion of the charac- 
ter of these relations, a subject that has so nearly baffled all 
distinct and satisfactory explanation, is foreign to our 
purpose, except as the events were interwoven with the 
military history of Ticonderoga. A glance at the peculiar 
posture of Vermont in her domestic and public affairs is 
necessary, in order to approach a just appreciation of the 
ambiguous policy of her leaders at this juncture. A differ- 
ence of opinion even yet exists in legal minds, in reference 
to the legitimacy of the claims of New York upon the New 
Hampshire grants. Whatever may have been the strength 
or validity of these claims, it is certain that a deep and 
bitter hostility towards New York was the all pervading 
feeling of the heroic and independent people who occupied 
the territory in dispute. This sentiment was stimulated by 
the sincere conviction, that these claims were unjust, and 
that Vermont had endured great wrong from the grasping 
injustice and oppression of her more powerful neighbor. 
To evade the real or imaginary evils which were impend- 
ing from this source, and to escape the political absorption 
which they believed was contemplated by New York, was 
the inexorable determination of the remarkable body of 
men, who at that period guarded the policy of Vermont. 
With them, the purpose was paramount to every other consi- 
deration. The devotion of these leaders, in common with 
all the population of the grants, to the cause of American 
independence, through all the early vicissitudes of the 
contest, had been active and ardent. They now indig- 
nantly cherished the belief, that their efforts and sacrifices 
would not yield to them an equal participation in the com- 
mon blessings which might be secured by the successful issue 
of the conflict ; that congress had turned a deaf ear to their 
importunate demands for a recognition of an independent 
position and political immunities ; that they were threatened 
with dismemberment by the pretensions of other states, and 



192 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

standing alone between these states and an exasperated 
enemy, they were abandoned, to meet single-handed, the 
dangers and sufferings of a hostile invasion. The over- 
ruling law of self-preservation, the astute statesmen of 
Vermont alleged, justified and even demanded a resort to 
extraordinary measures, and such as would be warranted by 
no common emergencies. Their apologists now aver that 
these men designed, by shrewd diplomacy, to shield the 
state from the overwhelming assaults of the British army 
lying upon its borders, and at the same time to secure an 
ultimate protection from the aggressions of New York. 
At this time in the light of later disclosures the position 
will scarcely be controverted, that it was their fixed and 
deliberate purpose if the exigency arose of deciding in the 
choice of two great evils, to return to a colonial depend- 
ence, fortified " by safe and honorable terms " rather than 
submit to the power of New York. 1 The same determina- 
tion was avowed by Governor Chittenden in 1781, in his 
official correspondence with Washington. 2 

At the opening of the year 1780, the political leaders of 
Vermont were occupying this strange and anomalous posi- 
tion. In March, Beverly Robinson of New York addressed 
a letter to Ethan Allen, which was delivered to him at 
Arlington in the following July by a British soldier dis- 
guised in the garb of an American farmer. Allen re- 
ceived and read the letter, and without causing the agent 
to be arrested, returned an ambiguous verbal answer. 
Robinson, in this communication, which was couched in the 
most specious terms, appealed to the known prejudices of 
Vermont, attempted to influence the popular passions, and 
to prompt Allen to aid in the subversion of American 
independence. This document Allen submitted to Go- 
vernor Chittenden and a small circle of confidential friends. 
They all concurred in the opinion that no answer should 
be returned. Robinson not having received a reply in 



1 Ira Allen's Political History of Vermont, London, 17S 
a Ramsey's Washington. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 193 

February, 1781, wrote Allen again, enclosing a copy of the 
previous communication. The second letter was still more 
bold and distinct in its language, and the seductive allure- 
ments to Vermont and to Allen personally it presented. 
After an interval of almost a year from the reception of 
the first letter, Allen transmitted both instruments to con- 
gress. He communicated at the same time to that body, 
an elaborate vindication of the course of Vermont, urging 
the acknowledgment of her political existence, and an- 
nouncing: an unalterable and resolute determination to 
assert her independence. He closed his communication in 
characteristic energy, with these remarkable words : " and 
rather than fail, I will retire with the hardy Green 
Mountain boys, into the desolate caverns of the mountains 
and wage war with human nature at large." Vermont, in 
the hour of trial, was not without the influence in congress 
of earnest and powerful friends. Roger ' 8 Sherman gave 
indirectly his countenance to the proceedings of which New 
York complained, and afterwards with great zeal vindicated 
the claims of Vermont to political recognition, and El- 
bridge Gerry pronounced, that " Vermont had a perfect 
right to her independence." ' 

During the summer of 1780, Sir Frederick Haldimand 
with a large force, resumed the occupation of Ticonderoga. 
This movement, at that time mysterious and without any 
apparent motive, was afterwards known to have been dic- 
tated by the desire of fostering the negotiations with 
Vermont. He proposed to Ethan Allen, who then com- 
manded the troops in Vermont, that hostilities should be 
suspended pending an arrangement for the exchange of 
certain prisoners. After some actual or pretended hesita- 
tion, Allen finally decided to accept the proposition, and that 
a temporary armistice, embracing that part of New York, 
claimed by Vermont and extending westward to the Hudson, 
should be established. Ira Allen, a subtle and sagacious 
politician, and Joseph Fay, were appointed commissioners 

1 Life of Gouverneur Morris. 
13 



194 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

for Vermont with the professed object of efTectiug the con- 
templated exchange of prisoners. While this ostensible 
negotiation was openly pursued, but with singular procrasti- 
nation, the commissioners were actively engaged with secret 
emissaries of England in consummating the preliminaries 
of an arrangement of far higher import. Overtures were 
submitted by the British agents for the independent organ- 
ization of the Vermont government, under the royal pro- 
tection. 

These proposals were received by the representatives of 
Vermont with attention, and, although with no committal 
in reference to any ulterior action, in a manner that 
cherished the expectations of the English officials. 1 Under 
the same pretext of exchanging prisoners, Ira Allen, in 
the ensuing spring, proceeded to the Isle aux Noix, and 
again the momentous negotiation was resumed. The 
fact which has been already mentioned should not be 
disregarded, that during all this period, and to the termi- 
nation of the war, Vermont was left by congress without 
protection or defense, and abandoned to oppose with her 
single strength alone, a British army of ten thousand 
troops, that continually menaced her frontier. In response 
to the propositions of the British agents, that the armi- 
stice should continue ; that the Vermont leaders should 
gradually prepare the popular sentiment for a return to 
their allegiance; that Vermont should be clothed with 
high and peculiar privileges, and that those who might 
aid in the consummation of this scheme should be approved 
and rewarded by the most ample royal munificence. 
Allen conceded the perilous position of Vermont, and 
admitted that her people had been remiss in the prosecu- 
tion of the war, from the fear that success might subject 
them to the government of New York, a resuft far more 
deplorable in their view, than the subjugation of the 
United States by England. While conceding this, he 
avowed that the hour for action had not arrived. 2 These 

1 Thompson's Vermont. 2 Stone, n, 199 ; Tlwmpson, 63. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 195 

interviews were extended through a period of seventeen 
days; and Allen, with an exquisite adroitness, without 
committing himself or his government, succeeded in effect- 
ing what was the chief object of this mission, an extension of 
the armistice, although unable to procure its continuance 
beyond the approaching session of the Vermont legisla- 
ture, which was to convene in June following. 

While Allen presented to the- council a full and public 
report of his successful arrangement in securing the ex- 
change of prisoners, all reference in that document to the 
more important negotiations was studiously avoided. The 
knowledge of these measures and a participation in them, 
were limited to eight of the prominent citizens of the state 
and veiled from the public eye with an art and success 
only equaled by its duplicity. A surreptitious correspond- 
ence was maintained through this and the succeeding year, 
by the Aliens as the organs of the Vermont leaders, and the 
British officials at Ticonderoga. By the agency of British 
soldiers, secret missives were constantly interexchanged at 
Sunderland, a distance of sixty miles within the American 
territory from Ticonderoga, between the Aliens and the 
agents of England. In the darkness and secrecy of one 
night, letters were deposited at an appointed receptacle, 
and by the same channel answers were returned the even- 
ing succeeding. A trifling incident reveals with strong 
significance the actual relation which existed between the 
initiated in these measures, and the British government. 
A baud of patriotic citizens proceeding from Manchester, 
with the design of demolishing the house of a suspected 
royalist in Arlington, were intercepted at Sunderland, 
an intermediate town, by Ira Allen and two of his coad- 
jutors, by whose influence and persuasion they were with 
rek&tance induced to relinquish their purpose. That very 
night and on the same ground, where this occurrence hap- 
pened, Allen received a packet from Ticonderoga by the 
English guard that had been the active medium of this 
intercourse, and returned an answer. 



196 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

In the autumn of 1781, St. Leger ascended the lake with 
a strong force, and again occupied Ticonderoga. These ex- 
traordinary and repeated oscillations of large bodies of 
troops between St. Johns and the Champlain fortresses, 
now known to have been connected with this negotiation, 
and intended to facilitate and strenghten it, at that time 
tended to excite the greatest alarm and agitation not only 
in Vermont but throughout the whole northern frontier. 
When they advanced, the militia were suddenly summoned 
from their homes, forts were armed and replenished, and 
great inconvenience and expense incurred by both indivi- 
duals and the government. When they retired mysteri- 
iously, the apprehensions arose that the movement was 
designed to disguise other and more important operations. 
While these events were transpiring on Lake Champlain, 
an intercepted letter from Lord George Germaine to Sir 
Henry Clinton, partially disclosed to congress the character 
and designs of the secret intercourse between Vermont and 
the English commanders. About the same time, a cir- 
cumstance occurred in the vicinity of Ticonderoga, which 
was calculated to confirm the growing jealousy of the people 
of Vermont in reference to the practices of their leaders 
and to augment the apprehensions which had long existed. 

The agreement for the suspension of hostilities had 
never been openly proclaimed, and from this cause ori- 
ginated all the public aud private embarrassments to which 
we have adverted. It was necessary, iu order to avert 
suspicion from the bold game these parties were pursuing, 
to maintain an apparently hostile attitude. Among these 
subterfuges a pretended system of patrols between the 
armies was sustained by each. Between the pickets oc- 
curred an accidental collision. In the skirmish that fol- 
lowed, the sergeant that commanded the Vermont party 
was killed. The body was respectfully interred by the 
English, and his clothing restored by St. Leger with an 
open letter to General Enos, the American commander, 
expressing regret for the occurrence of the untoward cir- 
cumstance. The facts connected with the secret arrange- 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 197 

raents had necessarily been imparted to Enos, and his 
subordinates, Fletcher and Walbridge. The letter of St. 
Leger, with private dispatches from these officers, was 
immediately transmitted to the council of war of Vermont 
by an agent ignorant of these designing machinations, who 
promulgated widely the contents of St. Leger's mysterious 
communication. The popular distrust, which already 
existed, was aroused by this incident into a vehement sus- 
picion. The council, who were all initiated in the secret 
proceedings, on opening the dispatches, discovered that they 
contained intelligence in reference to the negotiations, 
which it was not safe to reveal to the public. While they 
were engaged in examining the papers, a Major Runnals 
entered the apartment, and demanded in the name of the 
people, and with warm excitement, an explanation of these 
events, and why St. Leger should regret the death of an 
enemy. Ira Allen sought to escape the inquiries by artful 
evasion ; but pressed by the stern determination of the 
agitated people, he adopted, with his peculiar versatility, 
the expedient of effecting a personal altercation with Run- 
nals. Attention was thus for the moment diverted from 
the council, and an important delay secured, which enabled 
them to suppress the original documents and to substitute 
others, simulated and relieved of all their dangerous con- 
tents. In that form they were submitted to the people by 
Governor Chittenden, and thus the impending danger of 
disclosure of these negotiations was temporarily averted. 
It is asserted that these modified dispatches were prepared 
by Nathaniel Chipman, who afterwards attained great pro- 
fessional and political eminence. The position of these 
men had become eminently perplexing and critical. It 
was evident that their devious practices could not longer 
be sustained. These ambiguous relations must be termi- 
nated, and the country exposed to the invasion of a 
powerful enemy, or by the unveiling of the transactions, 
those involved in them would be denounced by congress 
and probably condemned and repudiated by those who had 
been deceived by their intrigues. The salutary results they 



198 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

professed to have contemplated, would in either dilemma be 
defeated. At this moment of oppressive doubt and appre- 
hension they unexpectedly derived relief from a most au- 
spicious event. 

The commissioners of Vermont in the interview of 
September, 1781, could present no plausible evasion to 
the final proposition of the British agents, which they 
insisted upon as an ultimatum, if the armistice was to be 
maintained. They proposed, that during the approaching 
session of the Vermont legislature, in October, the British 
commander should issue a proclamation from Ticonde- 
roga, declaring Vermont a colony under the crown, and 
confirming the form of government which had been agreed 
upon by the negotiators, and that the legislature should 
accept the overture and adopt the appropriate measures 
to enforce it. 1 The British agents now insisted that the 
time had arrived for issuing the projected proclamation, 
and manifested a determination to act. While the atfair 
was in this attitude, a rumor reached Vermont of the 
surrender of Cornwallis, and imparted such animation to 
the popular feeling, that Fay, one of the Vermont com- 
missioners, seized upon the circumstance and addressed a 
letter to the British emissaries with St. Leger at Ticonde- 
roga, urging them to suspend immediate action until the 
truth of these rumors, which must exert so important an 
influence on the negotiation, might be ascertained. The 
gates of Ticonderoga had scarcely closed upon the mes- 
senger bearing this appeal, when authentic intelligence 
confirming the report, reached the British commander. 
St. Leger hastened to lower, for the last time, the banner 
of England on the ramparts of Ticonderoga, and before 
the setting of the sun, embarked the garrison, and evacu- 
ated the fortresses on Lake Champlain. Since that period 
their mouldering walls have reposed in silence and solitude, 
only disturbed at intervals by the mimicry of war on fes- 
tal occasions. 

1 Thompson's Vermont. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 199 

During the early months of 1782, Haldimand, in repeated 
efforts, attempted to establish a renewal of these negotia- 
tions, but his advances were received by Vermont in great 
reserve and coolness. Ira Allen, in July, proceeded to 
Canada, still under the pretense of effecting a cartel for 
the exchange of prisoners. He was received by the Bri- 
tish agents with a renewal of the same conciliatory propo- 
sitions, and while he was able to procrastinate a decisive 
answer, he adroitly succeeded in securing a continuance 
of the armistice, that conferred advantages so important 
on Vermont. The intervention of peace terminated all 
danger from British invasion ; but these secret negotiations 
were pursued for several years, and were not terminated 
until Vermont ceased to cherish apprehension from the 
pretensious of New York. 

The historians of Vermont, who are the apologists of 
these transactions, allege that the men who conducted 
them, never seriously contemplated a return to the alle- 
giance of England, except as the only means of avoiding 
a greater and more detestable tyranny than British domi- 
nation, the more odious, that it was nearer, more direct, 
and tangible ; that the insidious attempts of British emis- 
saries to tamper with the patriotism of Vermont, was 
turned against themselves, by artifices, that paralyzed the 
movements of an army of ten thousand men. The diplo- 
macy was most consummate and successful, which could 
thus delude the English officials, and, at the same time, 
allow just light enough and no more, to fall upon these 
negotiations, than was calculated to alarm the fears of New 
York, and to restrain the adverse actions of congress. 
What would have been the judgment upon these practices 
by the rigid code of military law, it is now perhaps inop- 
portune to inquire. Political casuistry will fiud it difficult 
to maintain the propriety of the representatives of a 
patriotic and intelligent people, deceiving the masses on a 
most vital question, by a deliberate system of artifices 
and evasion ; or to vindicate either the moral or political 
integrity of holding clandestine intercourse with a foreign 



200 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

enemy ; maintaining negotiations and forming treaties 
with a public foe, while in professed and solemn alle- 
giance to a country struggling for liberty and existence. 
The length to which these secret relations extended, or 
how definitive the arrangements of the leaders became, 
will never probably with clearness be revealed. 1 

The views of Ira Allen himself, justly solicitous for his 
own fame and security, in regard to these proceedings, are 
evinced by the fact that he extorted from Governor Chit- 
tenden and other of his coadjutors, two explicit written de- 
clarations, in June and July, 1781, recognizing and ratifying 
his negotiations with the British emissaries. 2 No just 
mind will distrust the early patriotism of these men, and it 
must always be conceded, that if so unhappy a design as 
the conditional return to British fealty existed in their 
minds, it was inspired by a hatred of wrong and oppression, 
and the law, as they believed, " of self-preservation," the 
preservation not merely of political rights, but of their 
homes, and humble fortunes. They detested and opposed 
foreign tyranny, and the same spirit which stimulated that 
feeling, rendered them the more sensitive to the persecu- 
tions of a kindred people, and more determiued in their 
resistance to domestic aggression. Whatever may have 
been the purposes or action of individual leaders, and these 
should be generously judged, with regard to their services 
and sacrifices in the common cause, and subsequent expo- 

1 Governor Clinton submitted to the legislature of New York, in 1782, 
a mass of facts and documentary evidence, in reference to these transactions, 
which present the action of the Vermont leaders in a most unfavorable 
light. These papers embraced affidavits from two individuals, detailing 
circumstances alleged to have occurred at different times and distinct places, 
tending to establish the existence of a matured arrangement by which Ver- 
mont was to be formed into an independent colony under the protection of 
England, and that Vermont was pledged to support, under certain contin- 
gencies, the British government, with an armed force, under Ethan Allen, 
consisting of fifteen hundred or two thousand men ; and that she should 
remain neutral, unless the war should be carried into her own territory. 
I am not aware that their affidavits, perhaps of doubtful character, were 
fortified by any further corroboration. 

2 The Stephens Papers. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 201 

sitious, the people of Vermont, through all the trying scenes 
of the revolution, by their patriotic zeal and inextinguisha- 
ble ardor, vindicated the undesigned eulogiura of Bur- 
goyne, when in bitterness and disappointment, he wrote : 
" the New Hampshire grants abound in the most active race 
on the continent, and hangs like a gathering storm on my 
left." 1 



CHAPTER XII. 

The Settlement, 1782-1849. 

The fields which had been cleared and cultivated on 
the Boquet with so much labor, were abandoned from 
1776 to 1784, and after peace restored repose and security, 
and the settlers returned to their former homes, they 
found that nature had almost reestablished her empire 
over the territory. Brambles and weeds infested the land, 
the roads had become impassable, the fences and bridges 
were prostrated and decayed. Much of the former toils 
of the colony were to be renewed. 

The personal history of Mr. Gilliland, so intimately 
interwoven with the settlement and progress of the county, 
demands attention. In common with an innumerable 
class of patriots, who had freely lavished their fortunes 
upon the country in the hour of trial and effort, the peace 

'The student of history will obtain all the elucidation this subject will 
ever probably receive, by consulting Slade's Vermont State Papers, Almon's 
Remembrancer, vol. ix, Thompson's Vermont, Allen's Political History, 
Stone's Life of Brandt, The Haldimand Papers, copies of which have been 
procured from England and are i>reserved at Montpelier in two manuscript 
volumes, the New York Historical Documents, and preeminently, the 
able and learned Early History of Vermont by Hon. Hiland Hall. This 
most valuable contribution to American annals has been published since the 
preceding pages were prepared for the press. Governor Hall has given great 
research to this obscure question. He seems to have extracted all the import- 
ant elements of the Haldimand Documents, and presents a very forcible and 
earnest vindication of both the proceedings and designs of the Vermont 
statesman, who, with such vast ability, guided the early destiny of that state. 



202 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

of 1783 found Mr. Gilliland deeply embarrassed in his 
pecuniary affairs. The acquisition of an estate of thirty 
thousand acres upon the borders of Champlain, with the 
disbursements incident to its improvement, had involved 
the expenditure of a large amount of his means. He had 
lived in great comparative affluence and splendor, dis- 
pensing munificent charities and a generous hospitality. 
Driven from his home by a protracted war, his estates 
were wasted, and for several years abandoned and unpro- 
ductive. 

In the progress of the contest he had been reduced almost 
to indigence and destitution. Arnold, in his progress 
through the lake, with characteristic rapacity and violeuce, 
had ravaged the property of Mr. Gilliland. He appealed 
to congress for remuneration of his advances, and indem- 
nity for his various losses, but the exhausted treasury ot 
the country could afford no relief. Returning to his wide 
possessions, he saw them wasted and desolate. Abandon- 
ing his long cherished purpose of erecting his property 
into a manorial estate, he decided to sell his lands in fee. 
The first purchasers were Joseph Sheldon and Abraham 
Aiken, of Dutchess county, who went into the occupation 
of their lots in March, 1784, and were the pioneer settlers 
under the new arrangement, in the limits of the present 
town of Willsboro'. During that spring, fourteen other 
families purchased and occupied farms, and several other 
individuals bought lots, and commenced improvements. 

The lumber required for their buildings was procured 
at Vergennes. The saw-mills at the Boquet, destroyed in 
the course of the war, had not, at that time, been rebuilt. 
Meanwhile, other embarrassments gathered around to 
darken and accelerate the decaying fortunes of Mr. Gilli- 
land. In several of the claims purchased by him in good 
faith, and for valuable considerations, and regularly located, 
he had filed the requisite applications in the appropriate 
colonial offices. The confusion incident to the convulsed 
period which ensued, impeded, and finally prevented the 
consummation of these grants by patents. Others appropri- 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 203 

ating, as he alleged, a transcript of the boundaries of the 
premises, contained in his documents, had applied to the 
new government, and obtained patents of the territory 
embraced in his previous locations. Litigation ensued. 
The antagonist titles were sustained. Costs and expenses 
followed, which absorbed the remnant of his property, and 
led to his imprisonment upon the jail limits of New York. 

He returned at length to his former residence, despond- 
ent, and cherishing a disgust at the cold ingratitude of 
many, who in brighter days he has fostered and protected, 
and partially alienated in mind, he wandered into the soli- 
tudes of the forest, and there perished, stricken by some sud- 
den attack, or overcome by exposure. His lacerated hands 
and knees, worn deeply into the flesh, attested how long and 
fearfully he had struggled with hunger, cold and exhaus- 
tion. Thus died the pioneer of Essex county; the former 
possessor of a baronial domain, and the dispenser of muni- 
ficent hospitalities. 

A strong current of emigration from N"ew England 
rapidly diffused a hardy and valuable population along the 
western shore of Lake Champlain, and gradually pene- 
trated the interior. Ticonderoga and Crown point were 
settled by American emigrants at the close of the revolu- 
tion. George and Alexander Trimble were among the 
earliest and most prominent of these settlers. Two lots 
upon Whallon's bay were occupied the same year by 
Amos and David Stafford. The name of Charlotte county 
was in 1784 changed to "Washington, and the eventual 
arrangement of the Vermont controversy limited its terri- 
tory in the Champlain valiey to the western side of the lake. 

On the division of Washington county, in 1788, a new 
county was organized, embracing the territory which now 
constitutes the counties of Essex, Clinton, and the eastern 
section of Franklin. The new county was called Clinton, 
and was divided into the four towns, Champlain, Pitts- 
burgh, Crown point and Willsbor<>', which were incor- 
porated at the same time with the organization of the 
county. The town of Crown Point, in its original limits, 



204 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

comprised the present town of that name, Ticonderoga, also 
Moriah, Westport, Elizabethtown, Schroon, Minerva, New- 
comb, North Hudson and a part of Keene. Willsboro' 
embraced the residue of the present county of Essex, and 
three towns now included in Clinton. Each of the towns 
of Crown point and Willsboro', at the period of its organ- 
ization, spread over a territory of about nine hundred 
square miles. 

At the first town meeting of Willsboro', Melchior 
Hoffnagle was elected supervisor, and Daniel Sheldon town 
clerk. The first town meeting of Crown Point was held 
in December, 1788. At this epoch, the ordinary civil func- 
tions of incorporated towns were little regarded or enforced. 
A plan was adopted, and although not ratified by any legis- 
lation, was conceded by common consent, by which the 
town officers were apportioned to the various prominent 
settlements. Each locality, designated in a primary meet- 
ing the individuals who should receive the several appoint- 
ments appropriated to them. A delegate bore the 
respective nominations to the general town meeting, in 
which they were almost uniformly confirmed. At the 
general elections, the polls were held on the two first days, 
one-half a day in a place, and on the third at some central 
or populous point. These expedients facilitated and 
secured as far as practicable, the exercise of their civil 
rights to the settlers. 

A claim instituted by the Caughnawaga and St. Regis 
Indians in 1792, to a vast tract of land, embracing nearly the 
entire territory between the St. Lawrence and Mohawk 
rivers, was urged for many years with great pertinacity 
and earnestness. It was resisted on various grounds, with- 
out violating any principle of public justice and private 
rights ; investigation amply established the facts, that these 
tribes had no original title to the district, but that it was 
held exclusively by the Iroquois, who had alienated it to 
the whites by sales to individuals and by cessions through 
public treaties. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 205 

Charles Piatt was appointed the first judge of the newly 
organized county, and "William McAuley, of Willsboro', 
one of the side judges. Plattsburgh was made the shire- 
town of the county. At this period no road had been con- 
structed from Willsboro', north of the Boquet river. The 
traveler was guided solely by blazed trees over the Wills- 
boro' mountain. The route thus indicated, extended 
through the forest to the Au Sable river, which was crossed 
at the High bridge, about three miles below the site of 
Keeseville. A wood road had been opened from that point 
to Plattsburgh. A similar track, it is probable, was the 
only avenue of intercourse between Crown Point and Split 
rock. The settlement at Ticonderoga was about seventy 
miles distant from Plattsburgh, at which place the in- 
habitants were compelled to appear, to assert their rights 
as litigants, or to discharge their duties as jurors and 
witnesses. Jay was incorporated as a town in January, 
and Elizabethtown in February, 1801. Chesterfield was 
organized in 1802, and Essex and Lewis, April 4, 1805. 

In 1790, Piatt Rogers established a ferry from Basin 
Harbor, and constructed a road from the landing to a 
point near Split rock, where it connected with, the road 
made in an early period of the settlement. He erected, 
in the same season, a bridge over the Boquet, at Wills- 
boro' falls, and constructed a road from that place to 
Peru, in Clinton county. These services were remune- 
rated by the state, through an appropriation to Rogers and 
his associates, of a large tract from the public lands. 
The venerable Judge Hatch, who until recently, survived, 
was one of the earliest settlers in the interior of the 
country. He moved, in 1792, into that part of the town 
of Essex now known as Brookfield, which was surveyed 
and sold in 1788. " This district," he says, " was at that 
time chiefly in a state of nature." In 1804, he " removed 
to the village of Westport, then called North West Bay. 
The distance was eight miles, and the removal of his 
family occupied two days, and the labor of four men, to 
open a passage for a wagon. At Westport, a small 



206 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

improvement had previously been commenced, and one 
frame house, three log houses, a saw-mill, and one barn 
had been erected. Wo road extended south beyond the 
limits of that town. A track had been opened to Pleasant 
Valley, where an infant settlement had just been formed. 
A road which was almost impassable, extended to the new 
colonies, in Lewis, and Jay, aud Keene. 1 The alarm and 
excitement which agitated the whole country at the defeat 
of St. Clair, in this year, and the apprehension of a gene- 
ral combination of the Indian tribes of the west with the 
Six Nations, extended to these humble hamlets. 

A block-house was erected for the protection of the 
inhabitants, near the village of Essex. The enterprise of 
the pioneer of New England had penetrated the gorges of 
the mountains, aud his keen eye had fastened upon rich 
and alluring districts far in the forest paths I have men- 
tioned. The table lands of Jay, the fertile valleys of 
Schroon, and the ravines and slopes in Lewis, Elizabeth- 
town and Keene, were all occupied previous to 1798. An 
exploring party from the east had reached an eminence in 
Elizabethtown, that looks down upon the beautiful vale 
now occupied by the county seat of Essex county, embo- 
somed among a lofty group of mountains, and adorned by 
the branches of the Boquet, which glide through its ver- 
dant plains, and gazing in delight upon the scene, they 
pronounced it Pleasant Valley. It still preserves, by com- 
mon sentiment, the name and the same preeminence. 
Schroon was settled about the year 1797, by Samuel Scrib- 
uer, Thomas Leland, Moses Patee, Benjamin Banker and 
Simeon Rawson, who were all men of New England. 
Thomas Hinckley made the first purchase in the town of 
Lewis, in 1796. The most important measure designed to 
open and develop the interior sectious of the country, was 
the enactment of laws which authorized the construction, 
by Piatt Rogers, and others, of public roads. I have already 
referred to one. Another was authorized to be constructed 

^ ~™ 

1 Letter Hon. Charles Hatch. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 207 

from Sandy Hill to the Canada line, and passing along the 
Schroou valley, through Elizabethtown and Lewis, and 
crossed the Au Sable river at a fording place near Keese- 
ville. This highway is still designated as the Old State 
road. Numerous appropriations, at more recent periods, 
have been made by the state, for the construction of public 
roads, which traverse the county in various directions. 
One of these, opened many years since, extending from 
Westport to Hopkinton, traversing Elizabethtown, the 
gorges of the Keene mountains, and the plains of North 
Elba, penetrated what was then denominated, the fifty miles 
woods. A road, constructed under acts of 1841 and 1844, 
from Lake Champlain to Cartharge, in Jefferson county, 
was gradually built by an application of specific road taxes. 
It passes through the towns of Crown Point, Schroon and 
Newcornb, penetrating the heart of the Adirondacs. These 
avenues are of the deepest importance in promoting the 
progress and improvement of the county. Rogers and his 
associates received au enormous grant of unappropriated 
lands, covering an area of about seventy- three thousand 
acres. It costs, in the construction of these roads, according 
to the estimates preserved by tradition, " one penny and two 
farthings per acre." 

Essex county was organized in 1799, in the division of 
Clinton county, and is now bounded on the north by Clin- 
ton and Franklin counties, on the west by Franklin and 
Hamilton, on the south by Washington and Warren, and 
on the east by Lake Champlain. The area of this county 
embraces one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine 
square miles, or one million one hundred and thirty-eight 
thousand five hundred acres. It is the second county in 
territorial extent in the state, being only exceeded by St. 
Lawrence. New towns, by repeated divisions, have been 
occasionally formed, as circumstances and the convenience 
of the population required. The county now comprises 
eighteen incorporated townships, several of which com- 
prehend more territory than some of the counties in the 
state. Nearly all of them are too extended for the con- 



208 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

venient exercise of their civil and poliiical functions. The 
village of Essex was originally constituted the county shire, 
and the old block-house, mentioned before, was appro- 
priated for the public use, and was occupied for these pur- 
poses, until the removal of the county seat to Pleasant 
Valley. By the census of 1800, the combined population 
of Clinton and Essex counties, was eight thousand five hun- 
dred and seventy-two, including fifty-eight slaves. The 
next decade exhibits a very decisive increase. Essex alone 
contained, by the census of 1810, nine thousand five hun- 
dred and twenty-five population, and Clinton eight thousand 
and two. The tabular exhibit, Appendix D, will present 
the progress of the county in population. 

Essex county voted with Clinton, until after the census 
of 1800. Thomas Stower was the first representative of 
Essex, when voting independent of Clinton. 1 

The war of 1812, although it closed many of the ordi- 
nary channels of business in this county, accelerated its 
progress by the new demands created for all the products 
of industry and agriculture, and by the general and abundant 
diffusion of money it produced. The enemy appeared on 
several occasions in the waters of Essex county, and in the 
summer of 1813, entered the Boquet with two galleys and two 
barges for the purpose of seizing a quantity of government 
flour which had been deposited at Willsboro' falls. Landing 
at different points, and committing many wanton ravages 
on private property, they retired after a slight skirmish 
with a body of militia under General Wadharns near the 
former entrenchments of Burgoyne. The fire of the militia 
killed or wounded nearly all that were in the rear galley. 
She floated down the river a disabled wreck and was towed 
into the lake, by boats sent to her assistance. 1 Alter this 
repulse the British flotilla returned to the Isle aux ISToix. 

The citizens of the county exhibited promptitude and 
zeal in responding to the calls of patriotism, during the 
war, and particularly on the approach of the British forces, 

1 For the complete civil list of Essex county, see Appendix C. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 209 

in 1814, upou Plattsburgh. Many of the volunteers and 
militia of Essex, creditably participated in the events of 
that brief, although glorious campaign. 

The masses of the settlers of Essex county were of New 
England origin, aud in a congenial soil and climate, 
familiar to their habits aud experiences, they implanted the 
usages and characteristics of their puritan fatherland. No 
county of the state embraces a population of higher intel- 
ligence, of purer morality, or more industrious and frugal 
habits. Its early history presents only a counterpart of 
the aspect of every new colony, where among the virtuous 
and worthy, there always drifts from more mature com- 
munities, the loose and reckless. 

The disorganizing and demoralizing effects of the war 
of the revolution exerted a malignant influence upon the 
character of the frontier population. Essex county was 
not exempt from these consequences. The testimony 
before me, of aged citizens, presents a striking portraiture 
of the state of society, in some sections of the county, 
where the restraints of government were scarcely recog- 
nized and where laws seem to have administered only to 
evil passions. I quote the language of a judicious observer, 
in speaking of a town, now second to none in its high 
moral aud social position : " When an individual wished to 
secure a piece of land, he erected upon it a cabin, and 
repelled others by physical force; if unsuccessful or absent, 
his cabin was prostrated, and the last aggressor took pos- 
session of the coveted premises, and claimed the title. 
The parties, with their partisans and a supply of whiskey, 
met on the soil, and ' tried their wager of battle.' The 
victor maintained the possession. To correct these evils 
an association was formed, and a system adopted, which 
required a person desiring to occupy a lot, to perfect a sur- 
vey of the premises, and to file a transcript with the secre- 
tary of the society. The title thus established was held 
sacred, for the purpose of that community." 1 The vene- 

1 G. Fenton, Esq. 
14 



210 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

rable author, since deceased, of a communication, describ- 
ing the primitive habits of the county states: "that 
justices' courts, at that period, were usually held in taverns 
the innkeeper himself being the justice. The most frivo- 
lous difficulties were nursed into lawsuits ; these, attended 
amid intemperance and revelings, led to assaults, and 
trifling controversies which engendered further and debas- 
ing litigation. 1 Essex county presented in this rude and 
demoralized class of its citizens, a stage of society exhibited 
along every frontier of civilization. Wherever I have suc- 
ceeded in tracing the history of the early settlement of 
this county, I almost universally have found one promi- 
nent feature developed, and which strongly marks the 
character and descent of the people. The first impulse, 
and almost instinct of the settlers, even when their cabins 
were scattered over a wide area of several miles, seems to 
have been to secure the erection of a school-house. For 
many years in the early stages of the settlements, these 
schools had no legal organization, and were sustained alone 
by the voluntary contributions of the people, unaided by 
the public bounty. 2 The school-house supplied the place 
of public worship. The missionary at an early day ap- 
peared in the midst of these settlements, superseding in 
the religious duties, the humbler offices of the private 
Christian. Churches were soon organized in various sec- 
tions of the county. Many colonies were accompanied in 
their emigration by their own spiritual guides. 

The cold season of 1816, which produced such universal 
distress and suffering, inflicted a scarcity upon this new 
country, that visited it almost with the horrors of famine. 
So close and pressing was the destitution, that the indigent, 
gathering from many miles about a mill, would crave the 
privilege of collecting its sweepings, to preserve the lives 
of their families. A few sufficiently provident to cut the 
corn in the sap, saved it sound enough lor planting. In 
the succeeding spring, many traveled fifty miles to procure 

1 Levi Bigby, Esq. 2 John Hoffnagle. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 211 

this seed. Partial failure of crops had before occurred, but 
the season of 1816 will long be memorable, as the only 
instance in the history of the county of extreme destitu- 
tion and suffering. 

Ticonderoga and Crown Point present, upon the margin 
of Lake Champlain, a low and beautiful tract gently un- 
dulating and gradually ascending as it recedes, and swell- 
ing towards their western limits into bold and abrupt 
eminences. Clay predominates in these towns in the vici- 
nity of the lake, intercepted by occasional seams of sand, 
and in the interior the soil is generally a gravel or sandy 
loam. Several sections of these towns are distinguished 
for the great excellence of their meadow lands. A view 
of Westport, Essex, and Willsboro', from the lake, presents 
ranges of highly cultivated and fertile farms, mingled with 
a combination of hills and plains which beautifully adorn 
and diversify the scenery. The two former spread into the 
interior bosoms of choice laud, more elevated, and which 
are environed by lofty hills and mountains. Willsboro' 
point is a low, flat peninsula, projecting several miles into 
Champlain, having the long estuary, formerly known as 
Pereu bay, on its western side. This portion of Willsboro' 
affords some of the best farms in the county. A ridge of 
high, warm and rich land traverses the town of Essex dia- 
gonally from near the lake to Whallonsburgh, embracing 
a territory of great natural fertility and inferior to few 
sections of the state in the advanced character and excel- 
lence of its tillage. The soil of these towns is very diver- 
sified, although a sandy loam is its prevailing character. 
Moriah and Chesterfield, both bordering upon the lake, 
are more broken and stony than the other lake towns and 
contain less arable and cultivated land. The former 
ascends abruptly, and in a series of terraces or high valleys, 
until it attains an elevation of several hundred feet a short 
distance from the lake. The soil of this tract is deep and 
strong. Chesterfield contains many ranges of sand and 
rocky districts, but embraces much territory of very supe- 
rior land. Elizabethtowu and Lewis, lying among the 



212 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

gorges of the mountains and intersected by various 
branches of the Boquet, expose chiefly a light soil, with 
some alluvial flats and valleys enriched by the debris of 
the upland, which form tracts of the choicest land. Parts 
of these towns are managed, in their agricultural affairs, 
with great skill and sagacity. North Hudson and Keene, 
while they include several fine farms, are, in the aggregate, 
broken and mountainous. The Keene flats are unsur- 
passed in beauty and fertility. The territorial limits of 
Schroon equals the area of some counties, and is exceed- 
ingly diversified in the face of the country and the nature 
of the soil. 1 The centre of the town forms a beautiful 
rich valley of warm alluvial soil, through which flows, 
along high and even banks, the waters of the upper Hud- 
son. Successful cultivation has been extended into the 
ravines and recesses of the mountains traversed by tributa- 
ries of this stream. Fertile and cultivated tracts occur in 
various other' sections of the town. 

The town of Minerva was organized from a part of 
Schroon, and incorporated in 1817, when it comprised a 
few log cabins scattered over its wide surface. It is situ- 
ated in the extreme south-western corner of the county. 
A very large proportion of this town is still occupied by 
the original forest. Separated by a high range of moun- 
tains from other sections of the county, connected with 
them by imperfect communication, and with little associa- 
tions in their business affairs, this most valuable and inte- 
resting town has been little known or appreciated. In 
the general improvement of the town, in the appearance 
of the farms, the erection of new buildings, and its indus- 

1 This town derives its name from the lovely lake which it embraces. 
The legend is, that the lake was visited by the French in their military ex- 
peditions and in fishing and hunting excursions from Crown Point and Ticon- 
deroga, and was named by them Scarron, in honor of the widow Scarron, 
the celebrated Madam Maintenon, of the reign of Louis XIV. Rogers men- 
tions Schoon creek which was crossed in marching between Fort Edward 
and Lake George. The islands of this lake afford sites for elegant and re- 
tired villas and country seats, unsurpassed by the waters of Cumberland 
and Westmoreland, in picturesque beauty and romantic seclusion. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 213 

trial pursuits, no part of the county exhibited, to my 
observation, more decisive and gratifying evidences of 
prosperity and advancement. The physical formation of 
Minerva is peculiar and striking. The whole territory 
of the town is elevated, rising in a gradual ascent of a 
succession of lofty valleys, formed by deep, broad, and 
sweeping undulations. This formation, viewed from an 
eminence, communicates a rich rural aspect, and great 
beauty to the landscape. In the language of one of its 
inhabitants, 1 " Minerva is a rugged and mountainous 
town, containing about one-third mountain, one-third fea- 
sible land, and the residue rough and stony." 

The town of Newcomb is high, spreading over an ele- 
vation — apart from the altitude of the mountains — ranging 
from one thousand live hundred to one thousand eight 
hundred feet, which presents a broken and rocky surface. 
Yet its slopes and elevated valleys comprise tracts of much 
natural vigor, with great depth of soil. These qualities 
of the earth are exhibited by the dense and stately growth 
of its primitive and magnificent hard-wood forests. Iso- 
lated farms have been occupied in different parts of this 
town, since an early period of the present century. 

Jay was settled as early as 1798. Remote, and at that 
time nearly inaccessible from Lake Champlain, its great 
natural fertility and beauty attracted the emigrant, who, 
passing by lands contiguous to that great artery of the 
country, penetrated to this wilderness by a mere bridle 
path, and transported thither, on horseback, his family 
and effects. A large portion of this town is formed of 
high and precipitous hills and mountains, and its whole 
territory is elevated. In the valleys, the soil is light, but 
usually vigorous. Upon several parallel ridges, which 
traverse nearly its entire length, ranges of land occur, 
distinguished by a warm, quick, and highly productive 
soil. These tracts allured the early emigration to this 

1 A. P. Morse. 



214 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

region seventy years ago, and they still preserve their high 
character for great and enduring fertility. 

"Wilmington and St. Armands, recently separated from 
it, occupy the north-western angle of Essex county. They 
are generally, in their topographical aspect, elevated, 
rough, and mountainous. The soil is sandy and gravelly, 
with occasional alternations of loam. These towns com- 
prise numerous bosoms and flats of excellent land. The 
long slopes gradually descending from the mountains to 
the valleys of the streams, present a highly picturesque 
and beautiful scenery. Settlements commenced in Wil- 
mington, in 1800, and in the district now forming St. 
Armands, not until 1829, by any permanent occupancy. 1 

The town of North Elba is environed, upon all except its 
western borders, by a lofty sierra, which separates it from 
the other sections of the county, by an almost insuperable 
barrier. It is now approached by a circuitous route 
through Clinton and Franklin counties by the road which 
penetrates the mountains at the Wilmington notch, or by 
the state road, which passes through the deep gorges, and 
along the high and broken slopes of theKeene mountains. 
North Elba has little assimilation to the other towns of the 
county, either in its topographical arrangement or in the 
character of its soil. The gigantic amphitheatre of moun- 
tains, which almost encircle the town, form in its outline 
an arc of nearly sixty miles in extent, and embraces 
within this area a territory of about one hundred square 
miles. Upon the west, the plains of North Elba mingle 
with that vast plateau, teeming with rivers and lakes and 
forests, which spread to the shores of the St. Lawrence. 
The grandeur and imposing beauty of these mountain bul- 
warks, which singularly blending with a landscape of lakes 
and rivulets, vales and hills, combine to form a scenery of 
surpassing loveliness and magnificence. From one position, 
the eye gazes on the lofty group of the Adirondac moun- 
tains. Mt. Marcy stands out in his perfect contour and 

1 Elias Goodspeed. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 215 

vast dimensions. Mt. Mclntyre, Colden, McMartin, trace 
their outlines upon the horizon, and far towards the south- 
west, the group of Mt. Seward limit the view ; on the north, 
the Whiteface envelops the plain, and on the east, 
tower the dark and rugged cliffs of the Keene mountains. 

The western branch of the Au Sable river flows through 
the town, and nearly the whole distance along a wide allu- 
vial valley, almost as broad, and apparently of fertility 
equal to the flats of the Mohawk river. The soil of this 
intervale is generally a deep alluvial. Ascending from 
the valley to the table land, the earth becomes a dark and 
rich loam free from stones and rock. The growth of hard 
wood upon this territory is in no part of the state sur- 
passed in its size, quality, and density. Its maple, birch, 
cherry and beech, are as stately, and form as highly tim- 
bered woodland as in the most favored sections of the 
country. Slightly elevated above the table-laud, and re- 
ceding from the river, commence the plains, which expand 
far into the interior. This tract embraces, in its general 
character, a warm, rich sandy loam. This land is scarcely 
inferior to the other soils of the town in vigor, while it 
exerts au early and more impulsive influence on vegetation, 
and is more easily and cheaply tilled. 

With a view of instituting a comparison between this 
rich and beautiful region, and some of the most highly 
cultivated and productive districts of Vermont, and thus 
to test the adaptation of the former from altitude and cli- 
mate to agricultural purposes, I applied to the late venerable 
and distinguished professor of natural history, in the 
Vermont University, Rev. Zadock Thompson, for inform- 
ation on the subject. His reply is contained in a very 
interesting note in which he states that many of the most 
valuable and productive farms in Vermont are situated at 
an altitude of five hundred to one thousand two hundred 
feet. It will be understood that the elevations mentioned 
by Professor Thompson, are from the basis of Lake Cham- 
plain, which is itself ninety-three feet above tide water. 
The plateau, which embraces the arable parts of North 



216 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Elba, is estimated in the report of Professor Benedict, as 
ranging from one thousand four hundred, to one thousand 
eight hundred feet above tide. This town contains nearly 
eighty thousand acres of land, seven-tenths of which, it is 
computed, are susceptible of cultivation. 

The great beauty of this town, its agricultural capabili- 
ties, and its peculiar history as well as the general absence 
of information relative to its character and importance, 
seem to require a somewhat extended view of its progress 
and condition. 1 

A few pioneers, near the commencement of the century, 
with their families, entered into this remote and deeply 
secluded region. They seem to have encountered severer 
hardships and trials than the ordinary privations incident 
to a frontier life. Divided from civilized society by a 
chain of almost impenetrable mountains, they probably 
reached the place then known as the Plains of Abraham, 
by the circuitous route, now traversed by a road, along 
the course of the Saranac. While they waited in expecta- 
tion of the scanty harvest yielded by their improvident 
agriculture, they subsisted by fishing and hunting, and 
from supplies transported by their own labor from the 
nearest settlements. The numerous beaver meadows 
furnished an abundant supply of fodder and grazing for 
the cattle. Until 1810 little progress was made either in 
the agricultural or social condition of this remote colony. 
The construction about that period of the Elba Iron 
Works, by Archibald Mclntyre and his associates, gave 



1 The vestiges of Indian occupation in North Elba, and the territory 
around the interior lakes which remain, leave no doubt that at some former 
period they congregated there in great numbers. I found in the county a 
obscure tradition that the partisan Rogers attacked and destroyed a village 
in the absence of the warriors, situated on the Plains of Abraham ; that 
he was pursued and overtaken, and a battle fought on the banks of the 
Boquet, just below the village of Pleasant Valley. Relics of both Euro- 
pean and savage weapons of war found on the scene of the supposed con- 
flict, seem to corroborate the legend, or at least indicate the probability of 
an engagement between Europeans and Indians having occurred at that 
place. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 217 

a new aspect to the affairs ot this region. The history of 
that enterprise I shall narrate in another place. The re- 
quirements of these works created occupation for all the 
population in the vicinity, formed a domestic market, and 
attracted numerous settlers. Schools were established, 
religious ordinances observed, and an efficient and benign 
influence exerted by the benevolent proprietors. Unhap- 
pily for the progress and permanent prosperity of the 
district, nearly all the land in the township at this period 
was held by the state. The emigrant, when he arrived, 
selected his lot without perfecting a title, or even securing 
a preemption, relying upon his right and ability to do so 
at his convenience. This delay eventually defeated their 
occupation of the farms, and blasted all the anticipated 
rewards of the toil and privations of the pioneers. In the 
language of a citizen of the town, " a great landholder 
heard of this territory of state lands, came and inspected 
it, returned to Albany and made a purchase at the land 
office of the entire tract." The settlers, soon apprised of 
this event, so fraught with evil and calamity to themselves, 
sought to' purchase of him their possessions. He an- 
nounced to them that the lands were not, at that time, in 
market. They too well understood the purport of this 
intimation. They were not, however, disturbed in their 
occupation, but unwilling to continue a course of improve- 
ment, which might enure only to the benefit of a stranger, 
little further progress was made in the cultivation of their 
farms, and the land was gradually abandoned with the 
exception of a few lots. 

In 1840, only seven families remained on the eighty 
thousand acres which now forms the town of North Elba. 
At this time the lands were offered for sale, emigration 
was again directed to the region, and the evidences of re- 
turning prosperity were restored. The public highways 
were again opened and improved. At this period a new 
episode occurred in the checkered history of North Elba, 
Mr. Gerrit Smith, who had become an extensive proprietor 
of the town, made gratuitous conveyances of a large 



218 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

number of quarter lots, embracing forty acres each, to 
colored persons, with the professed design, it was under- 
stood, of forming a colony, which should constitute an 
asylum for a peculiar class of African population. I'found 
no difference of opinion in that region, in reference to the 
character aud results of this movement. "Whatever may 
have been the motive of the benefaction, the issue of the 
experiment has entailed only disappointment and suffering 
upon the recipients of the gratuity, while the act has 
exercised a depressing and sinister influence upon the 
prosperity and reputation of the country. The negro, ill 
adapted in his physical constitution to the rigorous climate, 
with neither experience nor competency to the independent 
management of business affairs, and adverse to them from 
habits and propensities, soon felt the inappropriateness of 
his position. He has abandoned his acquisition in disgust 
and disappointment, or became, in many instances, an im- 
poverished and destitute object of public or private charity. 
A very considerable proportion of these freeholds have been 
sold for taxes ; others have passed into the hands of specula- 
tors, and when I visited the district only a few if any of 
the large number of original grantees retained the occupa- 
tion of the farms they received. A knowledge of these 
facts has been widely diffused, and although the whole 
scheme bore in its inception the inherent elements of fail- 
ure, the result has been imputed not to these causes, but 
public opinion has ascribed it to an inhospitable climate 
and the sterility of the soil. 

During the brief operations of the Adirondac works, the 
affairs of North Elba received a fresh impulse. A road cut 
through the forest, in the gorges of the mountains, gave 
to the inhabitants a winter communication with that place, 
where they enjoyed the advantages of a ready market, at 
liberal prices, for all their agricultural commodities. 

North Elba was separated from Keene, and incorporated 
in 1849. The population of the town is steadily advancing, 
and now amounts to nearly four hundred souls. Lands 
may be purchased, which are adapted to farming purposes, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 219 

for from one dollar to six dollars per acre, the price being 
governed by position, and the condition of the premises, in 
reference to improvements and cultivation. 



CHAPTER XIII. 
The Rebellion, 1849-1861. 

Essex county was agitated by the same admonitions 
which in every part of the republic disturbed and moved 
the popular heart and presaged the approaching conflict, 
when the collision of opinion and sentiment should be 
succeeded by the din of arms. Distant from the imme- 
diate scenes of the terrible events, that shook the founda- 
tions of the Union, her territory was exempt from much of 
the woe and suffering that desolated other sections of the 
country. But none met the responsibilities of the hour 
with greater vigor and promptitude, or more freely offered 
the libation of its wealth and blood, in the common cause. 

It is a strange coincidence that in one of the most re- 
mote and politically unimportant counties of New York, 
and in one of its smallest and most secluded towns, sepa- 
rated from the world by vast mountain barriers, an individual 
should have resided, who impressed a momentous and 
startling episode upon the history of the nation, and im- 
pelled a vast stride in the procession of events, which cul- 
minated in the rebellion. 

I have elsewhere described the romantic town of North 
Elba and its beautiful plateau, embosomed among the 
Adiroudaeks and encircled by its stupendous amphitheatre 
of rocks and mountains. Nature, in such a scene, would 
cherish the reveries of religious fanaticism and stimulate 
visions of a social or political enthusiast. We have referred 
to the abortive scheme of Mr. Gerrit Smith for establishing 
in Essex county a colony of emancipated negroes. Benign 
and worthy in its designs it bore the inherent elements ot 
failure. It was evident that the experiment was languish- 



220 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ing and must eventually fail. In the year 1849, a man 
called upon Mr Smith and representing to him, in refer- 
ence to the project which had been announced in the 
public papers, that the negro, without experience in his 
contemplated occupation and unaccustomed to the climate, 
was not adapted to the intended colonization. He proposed 
to take up a farm in North Elba, and by affording the 
negroes instruction and partial employment to aid in the 
enterprise. Mr. Smith acquiesced in his views and promptly 
conveyed to him a lot. This person was John Brown. 
At that time he was a resident of Massachuetts, but the 
same or the next year, removed to North Elba with his 
family and flocks and herds. He ereceted a humble dwell- 
ing house on a slope of the Adirondacks, and almost 
beneath the shadow of their pinnacles. This was his 
nominal home during the eventful scenes of the succeed- 
ing ten years; his family continued to reside there until 
after his death and there in a picturesque spot which he 
himself selected, repose his remains. 

A brief notice of this remarkable person seems to be 
imposed on me by his relations to Essex county. No one 
can resist the conviction, that John Brown, by the texture 
of his spirit, and the qualities of his mind, was no ordinary 
character. He was a lineal descendant from a pilgrim of 
the May-Flower, and appears to have been preeminently 
imbued with the stern religious enthusiasm, the ardent 
zeal, the self-reliance and the inflexible devotion to truth 
and the peculiar convictions of right and justice he che- 
rished, that marked the early Puritan principles. His reli- 
gious fervor was inflamed by fanaticism. He believed 
that he maintained direct communion with heavenly wis- 
dom, and that he was guided by specific visions and 
spiritual teachings. His biographers represent him to 
have been a man of constant prayer, and that the Bible was 
uniformly consulted as the guide and counsellor of his 
course. Religious ordinances he not only observed in his 
own practices, but they were maintained and inculcated in 
his relations with others. In the wildest period of his 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 221 

Kansas career, twice each day he observed public prayer, 
and at every meal offered a grace of thanksgiving and 
praise. He united in youth with the Congregational 
church, and at an early age commenced studying with a 
view to the ministry, but this purpose was arrested by a 
severe affection of the eyes. 

Before his settlement in North Elba, he had engaged in 
varied business pursuits without any considerable success, 
and usually with decided reverses. In 1848, he visited 
Europe in the execution of a wool speculation, which re- 
sulted in a disastrous failure. During his sojourn in 
Europe, his native taste and love for fine stock prompted 
him to the inspection of the choice herds of the various 
countries he had visited. By this means he acquired a 
knowledge of their respective qualities and value, which 
rendered him subsequently a useful citizen and intelligent 
breeder in Essex county. Brown embraced at an early 
period the most vehement anti-slavery sentiments, and in 
1839 imagined that by a divine consecration he had been 
constituted the liberator of the African race. This idea 
became the all absorbing passion of his life, and to its real- 
ization he subordinated every other feeling. 

We may not assert that John Brown was insane, and on 
his final trial in Virginia he peremptorily refused to allow 
that defense to be interposed, although he admitted that 
in his maternal line a strong taint of insanity prevailed 
which had been frequently developed. It is certain that 
several members of that branch of his family were inmates 
of lunatic asylums, and that the mind of a son who perished 
in Kansas was disordered. On the subject of negro emanci- 
pation, it can scarcely admit of doubt, he was a monomaniac. 
This fervid enthusiasm had disturbed the balance of his 
powerful and ardent mind. An inherent predilection for 
military affairs, cultivated by historical reading, had appa- 
rently suggested the idea that he was predestinated to 
become the military leader of a slave insurrection. We 
can .only conjecture of his proceedings before visiting 
Europe ; but while in England, he sought intercourse with 



222 HISTOET OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the prominent abolitionists of that country and exposed 
to them his plans. It is evident that these men did not 
approve or sanction his violent designs. In reference per- 
haps to his visions of military duties, he constantly attended 
reviews in England and upon the continent, and was a close 
and intelligent observer of the organization and tactics of 
the armies of the several countries. Stimulated by the same 
feeling and avowedly to prepare himself for an impending 
crisis, Brown visited many of the battle-fields of Napoleon, 
and with the self-complacent reliance on his own powers, or 
perhaps presumption, which was a striking trait of his 
character, freely criticized the campaigns of the great 
commander and often objected to his strategy. It is a 
singular fact that Brown, in his Kansas warfare, brought 
into practice on a diminutive scale the manoeuvres he had 
theoretically preferred to those of the French emperor. 

The first prominent appearance of Brown before the 
people of Essex county was in connection with the agri- 
cultural fair of 1850. The report of the society for that 
year, thus refers to the subject : " The appearauce upon 
the ground of a number of very choice and beautiful 
Devons from the herd of Mr. John Brown residing in one 
of our most remote and secluded towns, attracted great at- 
tention, and added much to the interest of the fair. The 
interest and admiration they excited have attracted public 
attention to the subject, and have already resulted in the 
introduction of several choice animals into the region. 
We have no doubt that this influence upon the character 
of the stock of our county will be permanent and decisive. 1 

While a resident of North Elba his earnest and energetic 
character attracted jealous friends, and often aroused strong 
hostility. A peculiarity of temperament, which moulded 
his whole career, was a proneness to assert what he be- 
lieved to be right and just, with no regard to any personal 
interest. An iron will and the determination of a self-reli- 
ant and decisive spirit sustained by great native intellectual 

1 Transactions of New York State Agricultural Society, 1850. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 223 

properties conferred those qualities by which he exercised 
a magnetic power over the masses. 

"When the disturbances arose in Kansas, four sons of 
Brown were already there, and fee instantly hastened to the 
participation in events; and he went as to a congenial field, 
in which he recognized the first scenes of the opening drama 
of conflict and blood. In the council of the Free State 
party, he at once attained an ascendancy, and was promi- 
nent among its active and controlling spirits. He was 
everywhere present, in all the acts of lawlessness and 
violence which debauched both parties and demoralized 
society. He manifested no insignificant skill and science 
in organizing the forces and constructing fortifications 
appropriate to that warfare, and fought the battles of his 
party with great conduct and intrepidity. A partial subsi- 
dence of the turmoils in Kansas allowed Brown and his 
sons to return to the east, with the ostensible object of 
rejoining his family at North Elba. His traces were 
exposed in various sections of the northern states, as 
the active and efficient emissary of the free state agitation. 
At Boston he appeared by request, before a committee of 
the legislature, to whom had been submitted a proposition 
to extend material aid to Kansas, and delivered an elaborate 
and inflammatory address on the public affairs of that 
territory. 

In the ensuing summer we again discern him in Kansas, 
and his advent was signalized by renewed agitation and 
conflicts. Soon after his return, Brown entered the state 
of Missouri with an armed band, and by violence liberated 
twelve slaves. He led them into Kansas and by a slow 
and scarcely disguised progress conducted them through 
Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, and placed them 
in security upon' the shores of Canada. This extraordi- 
nary and lawless act astounded the country through its 
whole borders, and was severely reprobated by many of.his 
own sympathizers. The governor of Missouri offered a 
reward of three thousand dollars for his arrest. ' The pre- 
sident of the United States proclaimed an additional 



224 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

reward of two hundred and fifty dollars, with the same 
object. Brown subsequently avowed, that a prominent 
motive which suggested this action, was the desire of de- 
monstrating the practicability of a forcible liberation of 
the American slaves. 

By the sole authority of his own name and influence, he 
assembled a secret convention at Chatham, Canada, com- 
posed of all classes of his associates. Its proceedings were 
private, and have never been clearly disclosed. A colored 
minister presided, and we are authorized to assume that an 
early invasion of the south was on that occasion discussed 
and arranged. From this convention emanated the constitu- 
tion that proposed to establish within the United States a pro- 
visional government; Although this instrument professed 
in one article to denounce all interference with the existing 
state or federal political organizations, it was calculated to 
subvert both. The negro preacher, who presided over this 
assembly, was constituted president of the contemplated 
government. This fantastic and extravagant chimera, was 
accepted by Brown as an actuality. In his brief subse- 
quent career, he professed to act under the obligations of 
the oath it imposed, and holding the appointment by its 
provision of a commauder-in-chief, he signed with that 
designation the commissions of his subordinates. Large 
numbers of printed copies of this document, designed to 
be disseminated, were found in his possession at Harper's 
ferry. The movements of Brown from this period, until 
the final catastrophe closed his turbulent career, were more 
disguised than they had been, but were not less active or 
zealous. Occasional glimpses are detected, where he ap- 
pears inflaming the abolition sentiment, haranguing public 
meetings, and never slumbering in his assaults upon the 
existence of slavery. 

In the month of April, 1859, he was in Essex county, 

enlisting associates. Like Mahomet, he found his first and 

• firmest proselytes in his own household and among bis own 

kindred. Five certainly of the youth of North Elba, three 

sons, a son-in-law and a brother of the latter, embraced 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 225 

his views, aud all but one son died amid the terrible scenes 
at Harper's Ferry. Brown devoted, it is believed, most of the 
eight months preceding the invasion of Virginia to the mili- 
tary organization of the escaped slaves, that had gathered 
in Canada. He caused several hundred spear heads, a 
weapon peculiarly adapted to the hand of an undisciplined 
negro, in the service he meditated, to be fabricated in New 
England and transported to Harper's ferry. That posi- 
tion had long before been designated in the plans of Brown 
as the point at which to initiate his proposed occupation 
of slave territory, and it was selected with unusual 
skill and forecast. He had been for many years perfectly 
familiar with the topography of that whole region. This 
sierra he designed as the base of the guerrilla war he 
proposed to maintain. Harper's Ferry was easily accessi- 
ble from Canada aud in intimate communication with the 
entire north. The seizure of the guns and munitions de- 
posited at the arsenal would furnish, he conceived, all the 
means necessary for arming the slave population. 

A large unoccupied farm, embracing three dwelling 
houses, and situated within a few miles of Harper's Ferry, 
was hired by Brown, under the name of Smith, and 
afforded a convenient rendezvous to the initiated, and a 
safe receptacle for the arms and ammunition which were 
actively but cautiously collected. The unusual deport- 
ment of these men excited no small attention and com- 
ment, but suspicion was eluded by the pretext, that they 
were preparing to form an extensive wool-growing esta- 
blishment. The presence, among other females, of a 
daughter, and the wife of a son, attached plausibility to 
these professions. With the prudence and care which so 
singularly contrasted with his reckless and violent schemes, 
the safety of these women was secured by their secret 
return to North Elba, directly preceding the outbreak. 
Brown had designated the 24th of October, as the day on 
which to strike a blow, that he hoped would secure the 
fruition of all his dreams and toils. Either alarmed by 
15 



226 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

a suspicion of treachery among bis followers, or from a 
natural fear of detection, he was induced to anticipate the 
movement a week. This change in his plans, his friends 
allege, was fatal to their primary success. It deranged 
a concerted movement of the slaves, and defeated a co- 
operation from Canada, Kansas, and New England. 
Brown, himself, did not sanction by his language at 
Charlestown, this assertion. 

The details of his designs are shrouded in profound and 
impenetrable mystery. He was too shrewd and cautious 
to leave anything to the revelations of paper, and main- 
tained after his capture an inflexible silence, which he 
earnestly enjoined on his associates in their final interview. 
This course was the promptings of a determination not 
to prejudice by any disclosures the cause he had so earn- 
estly cherished, and to shield his secret coadjutors from 
the consequences of a complicity in his acts. The dreams 
and purposes that excited his feverish mind are buried in 
his grave, and we now can only speculate upon the nature 
of designs, which, to the calm judgment of history, seem 
to have been suggested by a wild and insane fanaticism, 
that inspired the attempt, with seventeen white and five 
negro followers, to uproot a system the growth of centu- 
ries, and to oppose and defy the forces not merely of the 
southern states but all the powers of the federal govern- 
ment. The facts which have been disclosed warrant the 
inference, that the plans of Brown embraced the design 
of the surprise of Harper's Ferry; the capture of the 
arsenal ; the seizure of prominent citizens to be held as 
hostages and ransomed by a supply of provisions or the 
liberation of slaves, and an escape to the mountains with 
the arms and ammunition he might secure. He hoped to 
maintain himself among the fastnesses of the mountains 
until he should be supported from the north and relieved 
by the general servile insurrection, he believed his presence 
would enkindle. He would possess ample means, with 
his rifles and spears, to arm the slaves. His schemes were 
admirably conceived, and the execution attempted with 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 227 

equal courage and skill. 1 All his designs were accom- 
plished, as far as he advanced, except the last and most 
essential step. He failed to retreat into the mountains. 
For hours he held the ability to execute unopposed this 
measure ; but his wonted vigor and promptness abandoned 
him, and while he hesitated, lingering in doubt, his foes 
enclosed him and the opportunity was lost. Brown asserts 
that this hesitation was prompted by motives of humanity ; 
others conjecture that he cherished the expectation of an 
uprising of the slaves. 

Enveloped by an overwhelming force of the militia of 
Maryland and Virginia and federal marines, Brown sus- 
tained his position with a mere handful of men in the 
arsenal building, until the second night, and when the door 
was at length burst open, he and three others alone survived. 
One of these was instantly killed and Brown himself cut 
down by frightful sabre wounds. A son and daughter's 
husband were dead, and another son expiring under a 
mortal wound lay before him. A small party, including a 
third son of Brown, which had been left in charge of 
the farm buildings, effected an escape. The remainder 
of the band were either slain in the streets or captured. 
Several citizens were also killed or wounded in the conflict. 
When the arrest of Brown, and the few followers who 
escaped immediate death had been effected, the popular 
exasperation was controlled by the authorities ; no outrage 
was committed against them. Brown was removed to the 
jail at Charlestown, his wounds were nursed, his wants 
relieved and to his friends a free access allowed to his 
prison. Brown complained of the precipitancy of his trial ; 
but under the circumstance it appears not to have been 
urged with any ungenerous haste, and although the weight 
of incontestible facts rendered it a mere form, it was con- 
ducted with justice and fairness. He was legally convicted 



1 " It is in vain to underrate either the man or the conspiracy * * * 
Certainly it was one of the best planned and best executed conspiracies that 
ever failed." — Mr. Vallandigliam. 



228 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

and justly executed, but no indignity offended the solem- 
nities of justice. His body was respectfully delivered to 
the tender care of his wife and friends. 

The ruling passion of the enthusiast was illustrated in 
his progress from the prison cell to the scaffold, when he 
paused to kiss and bless a negro infant. The transcend- 
ant and eccentric tone of his sentiment was exhibited in 
the desire expressed to his wife, that she should collect the 
bodies of their two sons and his own, place them on a 
funeral pyre, consume their flesh, transport the bones to 
Essex county, and inter them on the farm at North Elba. 
With just sensibility she removed the purpose from his 
mind. Mr. Washington, one of the hostages held by 
Brown, attested to his humane solicitude for their safety 
during the assault. The high intelligence and elevated 
sentiment disclosed in his conversations while in prison ; 
his heroic resolution ; and the steady firmness and unfalter- 
ing spirit with which he encountered his fate, extorted 
the admiration even of the enemies, upon whom his 
designs were calculated to inflict the direst woes. 1 

Romance rarely delineated a more impressive scene 
than is described by Mr. Washington : " Brown was the 
coolest and firmest man he ever saw in defying danger 
and death. With one son dead by his side, and another 
shot through, he felt the pulse of his dying son with one 
hand, held his rifle with the other, and commanded his 
men with the utmost composure." 2 

It is not my province to discuss the character or aspect of 
these events. Glancing at them as they constituted by the 
action of its citizens, a fragment of the history of Essex 
county, I have discharged my duty and yield to others their 
defense or denunciation. Deluded and stimulated by a 

'"He is a man of clear head, of courage, fortitude, and simple ingenuous- 
ness. He is cool, collected, and indomitable, and lie inspired me with 
trust in his integrity as a man of truth." " He is a fanatic, vain and garru- 
lous, but firm, truthful, and intelligent." — Governor Wise's speecJi at Rich- 
mond. 

"*ldem. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 229 

frenzied zeal and blindly reckless as he was to the conse- 
quences of his enthusiasm, Brown apparently fostered, in the 
prosecution of his designs, no aspirations of personal ambi- 
tion, nor was he impelled by any lust of wealth or by indi- 
vidual hostility to those he assailed. He believed himself 
to be a chosen instrument in the hands of God ; and to the 
imaginary behests of duty he devoted his own life, and 
sacrificed the blood of his sons and the happiness of his 
family. 1 With feelings not insensible to the domestic affec- 
tions he witnessed without regret, the deaths of his disci- 
ples : he felt no remorse for the blood of unoffending 
citizens by his acts, shed before their own peaceful homes, 
nor did he recoil from the certain horrors of a war of races, 
that he hoped to arouse. His mind, under the dominion of 
the wild visions and extravagant hallucinations that in- 
flamed it, rejected all fealty to the federal constitution. 
He did not accept its paramount obligation ; he did not 
recognize its sanctions and guaranties. A regard to so- 
cial order and the restraints that secure protection to life 
and property were powerless to control or modify his course. 
.All these emotions, sacred to most minds, were extin- 
guished or subverted in the pursuit of his one great 
dominant passion. 

The invasion of Brown will hereafter be recognized as 
an active cause in accelerating, if it did not produce, events 
which subjected the institutions of the Union to that ordeal 
they were predestinated at some period to encounter. The 
inherent jealousies of the people of the south were inflamed ; 
they naturally regarded this attempt as a manifestation of 
a determined purpose in the north of armed aggression, 
while the very hopelessness of its audacity was calculated 
to intensify this alarm and excitement. They saw in this 
movement the barriers of the constitution crumbling in the 
progress of the abolition spirit. The death of Brown sup- 

1 In one small school district, hidden among the mountains, where we 
might hope that the strifes of the great world would never enter, and com- 
posed of scarcely twice that number of families, five were made widows by 
the tragedy at Harper's Ferry. 



230 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

plied fuel to the enkindling fires of the anti-slavery senti- 
ment in the free states. He was regarded by the disciples 
of his faith, not as a felon, but as a martyr, whose blood 
had consecrated a sacred principle. The hour of his exe- 
cution was solemnized by a large class of the northern 
people with religious exercises and the tolling bell, and as 
his body was borne through many a village the solemn 
knell proclaimed the deep sorrow of his sympathizers. An 
immense concourse formed from every grade of society, 
dignified his obsequies. Such exhibitions of adverse feel- 
ing tended to deepen, the alienation between the sections; 
to excite stronger antagonisms, and to hasten the appeal to 
the terrible arbitrament of arms. The presages of Brown 
were singularly accomplished when, before even the moss 
had gathered upon his solitary mountain grave, the armed 
tread of thousands was moved by an anthem inspired by 
his blood, and which so often sounded above the clangor of 
the conflict and the shoutings of the battle-field. 

The tide of patriotic enthusiasm which rolled over the 
northern states, when the national banner had been fired 
upon at Fort Sumter, rose high among the mountains of, 
Essex. No section of the state responded with superior 
zeal and alacrity to the requisition by the government for 
aid. When counties subsequently found it expedient to 
claim credit on their military quotas, it was ascertained that 
Essex county had been prejudiced by this promptitude, and 
had in the early stages of the war supplied troops much in 
excess of her just proportion. Neither was the county 
surpassed in the fervor and decision by which the popular 
sentiment sustained the military measures of the govern- 
ment. Public meetings were immediately assembled in 
most of the towns to promote enlistment by both influence 
and contributions. Women of every class combined their 
labors to furnish clothing and every requisite for the com- 
fort and efficiency of the volunteers. Few families declined 
to impart from their household goods, when called upon by 
committees who visited every district, to relieve the wants 
of the soldiers, which the government at that period could 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 231 

not adequately supply. The national flag or patriotic sym- 
bols floated from nearly every dwelling. 

The proclamation of the president announcing the call 
for the first seventy-five thousand volunteers had scarcely 
reached the county when in various sections the enlist- 
ment of five different companies was simultaneously com- 
menced. These companies were in a large proportion, but 
not exclusively, recruited from Essex county, while numbers 
of her sons enlisted in different organizations both in New 
York and other states. 

A company was recruited in Keeseville, and composed 
in about equal proportions of residents of Essex and 
Clinton counties. Gorton T. Thomas was elected captain 
of this company, and Oliver D. Peabody 1st lieutenant, 
and Carlisle D Beaumont 2d lieutenant. Another com- 
pany was raised in Schroon from the southern towns of 
Essex and parts of Warren county. The officers elected 
were Lyman Ormsby, captain, J. R. Seaman, 1st lieu- 
tenant, and Daniel Burgey, 2d lieutenant. A third com- 
pany was recruited in Moriah, and other eastern towns, 
and elected Miles P. S. Cadwell captain, Edward F. Ed- 
gerly and Clark W. Huntley, first and second lieutenants. 
These companies were distinguished as Companies C, I, 
and K, of the Twenty-second regiment New York Volun- 
teers, in which they were incorporated on its organization 
upon June 6th, 1861. On the promotion of Captain 
Thomas, Lieutenants Peabody and Beaumont were re- 
spectively advanced a grade, and Charles B. Pierson 
appointed 2d lieutenant of Company C. A company 
raised in Crown Point and the adjacent towns, embracing 
one hundred and eight men, of which Leland L. Doolittle 
was elected captain, Hiram Buck, Jr., 1st, and John B. 
Wright 2d lieutenant, was mustered into service as Com- 
pany H, of the Thirty-fourth regiment of New York 
Volunteers. Before the departure of this company for 
Albany, it was supplied with every equipment except 
arms, at an expense of $2,000, by the characteristic 
patriotism and munificence of the people of Crown Point. 



232 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The fifth company, recruited in Elizabethtown and the 
central towns of the county, was incorporated as Company 
K, into the Thirty-eighth regiment, and was the last 
company accepted from New York by the government 
under the first proclamation. Samuel C. Dwyer was 
elected captain of this company, "William H. Smith 1st, 
and Augustus . C. H. Livingstone 2d lieutenant. To 
describe adequately the services of these troops, and the 
other organizations which the county yielded to the exi- 
gencies of the country, would demand a narrative of 
the campaigns in which they participated. I can only 
attempt to present very summarily a general view of the 
endurance, the toils and achievements of the volunteers of 
Essex. 



CHAPTER XIV. 
The Volunteers. 

The Twenty-Second New York Volunteers. 

On the 16th May, 1861, this regiment was accepted by 
the government, and Walter Phelps, Jr., of Glen's Falls, 
commissioned colonel, Gorton T. Thomas ofKeeseville lieu- 
tenant-colonel, and John Mc Kee, Jr., of Cambridge,* major. 
It left Albany for Washington on the 28th of June, and 
while passing through Baltimore on the night of the 30th, 
was assailed at the depot by an armed mob. A private 1 
was killed, but the regiment was promptly formed, and 
returned the fire, wounding several of the assailants. 
Order was soon restored by the city police, and the troops 
proceeded on their march without further molestation. 
The 22d was employed until the April following, in garri- 
son duty and occasional reconnaissances in the vicinity 
of Washington. Through the several months following, 

1 Edward Burge, Company I, of Pottersville, Warren county. 



MILITAKY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 233 

it was occupied in services, that most severely try the 
spirit, the constancy and endurancy of the soldier. It 
was constantly engaged in marches and changes of position 
amid rain and darkness, or rushed from station to station, 
upon open and comfortless cars, and upon tedious and 
fruitless expeditions. 

At length, the ardent aspirations of the regiment for 
active service seemed about to be gratified, when as a 
part of McDowell's corps it was ordered to advance in 
support of the army of the Potomac, but arrested on the 
threshold of this movement, McDowell was directed towards 
the Shenandoah. After the battle of Cedar mountain, the 
regiment participated in the continuous engagement, which 
extended through several successive days in the vicinity of 
that field. On the 27th of August, it marched with its 
divisions from Warrenton in the direction of Gainesville 
with the design of intercepting the retreat of Jackson, who 
had attempted to penetrate to the rear of the Union lines, 
and of breaking up his command. Ignorant of the posi- 
tion of the enemy, the divisions advanced slowly and with 
extreme cautiou. On the second clay of its march Jackson 
was discovered near Gainesville in great force. The federal 
troops consisted of King's division, and were commanded 
by McDowell in person. 

The line of battle was promptly formed and an action 
immediately and about an hour before sunset, commenced. 
McDowell's position was upon the Gainesville pike, while 
the rebels occupied a wood about a half a mile in front, 
with open fields between the two armies. The engagement 
was opened by a furious cannonade on both sides. The 
rebels had secured an accurate range of the road, and 
swept it by a continual storm of shells, and with fearful 
accuracy. A battery, supported by the Twenty-second regi- 
ment, was silenced and almost instantly annihilated. A 
ditch running parallel to the pike afforded a protection to 
the regiment, while the shells and shot, passing just above 
them, completely furrowed and tore up the road. For an 



234 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

hoar this firing was maintained with unabated vigor, when 
the enemy emerging from the woods in a magnificent line 
a mile in length, charged, uttering the wildest yells as they 
rushed upon the Union position. All the Federal batteries 
directed by McDowell personally, which could be brought 
to bear, opened upon them, with grape and cannister. At 
every discharge, broad gaps were visible in their ranks. 
The Wisconsin brigade attached to this division poured 
upon them a terrible volley, and along both lines the fire 
of musketry was incessant and severe. The rebels paused 
in their advance, but stubbornly sustained their position 
until dark, and then slowly and defiantly withdrew, leaving 
the Union troops in possession of the field. They remained 
on the ground until midnight, and then, in order to receive 
rations, fell back to Manasses Junction. The Wisconsin 
brigade lost nearly half its strength in killed and wounded; 
but the Twenty-second regiment owing to its protected 
position, escaped with only slight casualties. 

While the Twenty-second with its brigade, was reposing 
in this brief bivouac, Fitz John Porter's corps, early on the 
29th, marched past them to the front, and was soon after 
followed by the brigade. The fighting raged through the 
day, Jackson gradually falling back, towards Thoroughfare 
Gap. The Twenty-second was not engaged, until towards 
evening; King's division was then ordered to charge the 
retreating enemy, and to complete their fancied defeat. 
With loud and exultant cheers, they were pursued the dis- 
tance of half a mile, in apparent great disorder, when the 
Union troops were suddenly arrested by a withering dis- 
charge of small arms. The division, instead of being 
deployed to meet this attack, was massed in solid order and 
attempted to advance at double quick. In this form and 
unable to fire except in the front, it received destructive 
discharges, in front and from a wood upon the left flank. 
The troops by their formation were rendered almost power- 
less for offensive action. Darkness was approaching ; the 
men began to give way, and the promise of victory was 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 235 

soon converted into an utter rout. This engagement was 
known as the battle of Groveton or Kittle run. 

After this disaster, the division was attached to Porter's 
corps. Cannonading and skirmishing continued along 
the whole front, through the 30th, until about two p. m., 
when the entire line was ordered to advance in a simul- 
taneous charge. The brigade, to which the Twenty- 
second belonged, was in the van of this division. The 
charging column of the division was two regiments deep ; 
the Fourteenth New York, on the right, and the Thirtieth 
New York on the left, and followed by the Twenty-second 
and Twenty-fourth ISTew York, at a distance of about 
twenty yards, Burden's sharp-shooters being deployed as 
skirmishers. This force constituted the brigade. The 
Union troops charged through a wood into an open field. 
The rebels were entrenched about two hundred yards in 
advance, behind a rail road embankment, and immedi- 
ately opened a heavy fire with grape, cannister, solid shot 
and shell, supported by a terrible discharge of musketry. 
The roar of cannon was deafening, and the air was filled 
with missiles, but the gallant brigade rushed forward. 
The Twenty-second became intermingled with the Thir- 
tieth, when within fifty yards of the enemy's line, and was 
compelled to halt. At that moment the rebels were 
abandoning their works, and scattering in every direction ; 
many throwing down their arms, came into the federal 
ranks. But the pause was fetal to the promised success. 
The troops of the brigade hesitated to advance, and com- 
' menced a rapid and disordered firing. The confidence of 
the rebels was restored by this hesitancy, and they imme- 
diately reoccupied their strong position. The fire of the 
enemy, which had been partially suspended, was now 
resumed with increased intensity. The Union troops were 
rapidly falling, and it was next to impossible to remove 
the wounded from the field, as both flanks were swept by 
the enemy's guns. At this juncture, a brigade was ordered 
to the support of the troops, in their perilous and terrible 
position ; but it had scarcely emerged from the wood, be- 



236 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

fore it broke and fell back. The firing on both sides con- 
tinued rapid and unremitting. 1 

The remnant of the brigade able to fight continued to 
fire until their ammunition was all expended, and then 
slowly withdrew, closely pursued by the enemy. The 
whole army soon after fell back upon Centreville. On the 
retreat there was neither panic nor rout, but the troops 
sternly retired, fighting as they retreated. 

The casualties of the Twenty-second in the battles of these 
bloody days were severe almost beyond a parallel. On 
the 29th, its effective strength was six hundred and 
twenty-six men. Its loss in killed, wounded and missing, 
according to the record of the military bureau, was five 
hundred and four. The regiment entered the field with 
twenty-five officers, and on the night on which it fell back 
to Centreville, it retained only one captain and four lieu- 
tenants. Colonel Frisbie commanding the brigade on the 
30th was killed, while urging the troops to advance. 

Lieutenant Colonel Gorton T. Thomas was mortally 
wounded, and soon after died in the hospital. 2 Among 
the other losses of the regiment, were, in company C. Lieu- 
tenants C. D. Beaumont killed and Charles B. Pierson, 

1 It was a bright and clear day, and the smoke disappeared rapidly. On 
looking back upon the field, it appeared like the surface of a pond in a rain 
st ( diii ; the dust being kept in continual agitation by the pattering of the 
bullets. * * * The roar of cannon was so great that a man could not hear the 
report of his own gun. Indeed, instances occurred of soldiers continuing 
to load after their pieces had missed fire, until they were charged to the 
muzzles and rendered useless. There was no difficulty in procuring others, 
as the ground was strewn with them. Many changed their muskets, as 
the barrels had become so heated by the rapid firing, that they could not be 
held. — Captain Edgerly's letter. 

'Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Avas shot in the body, but maintained his 
seat, until, incapable of controlling his horse, he was borne into the ranks of 
the sharpshooters, and there by a singular concidence, when falling from 
the saddle, was received into the arms of two neighboring boys attached to 
that regiment. He was carried by them to a house in the vicinity, and from 
thence was removed to the hospital at Washington, where he died of internal 
hemorrhage. No braver spirit or truer patriot moved on the battle-fields 
of the rebellion. The name of Colonel Thomas was the first attached to 
the enlisting roll in the valley of the Au Sable. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 237 

mortally wounded, and Captain O. D. Peabody, wounded ; 
in Company I, Captain Lyman Ormsby and Lieutenant 
Daniel Burgey, wounded ; in Company K, Captain M, P. 
S. Cadwell, killed, Lieutenants E. F. Edgerly and C. W. 
Huntley, wounded, the former twice. These companies 
averaged in these actions,.a loss of nearly thirty men each. 1 

On the 6th of November, the Twenty-second moved 
from its encampment at Upton's hill to act in the Antietam 
campaign. Its feeble relics of one hundred and twenty-six 
combatants fought at South Mountain, were closely en- 
gaged and suffered heavily. The entire brigade in this 
action and at Antietam was under the command of Colonel 
Phelps. At Antietam the regiment was constantly ex- 
posed to a raking artillery fire, and out of sixty-seven, its 
whole remaining strength, it lost twenty-seven men. It 
was engaged, with its ranks restored to two hundred and 
ten effective strength, at Fredericksburg and afterwards 
at Chancellorville, and although conspicuous in its conduct 
in those actions its casualties were inconsiderable. After 
the disaster at Chancellorville, the brigade acted as rear 
guard to the army and gallantly covered its retreat. On 
the succeeding 19th of June, on the expiration of its term 
of enlistment, the Twenty-second was mustered out of ser- 
vice at Albany. 

Subsequent to the desolation it sustained in the battles 
of the 29th and 30th of August the regimental organiza- 
tion was restored by the appointment of Major McKie, 
lieutenant-colonel, and Thomas M. Strong, major. The 
changes which occurred in the companies connected with 
Essex county, from their excessive losses, were numerous. 
In Company C, Beaumont and Piersou were succeeded by 
Gorton T. Thomas, Jr., and James Valleau ; in Com- 
pany C, Lieutenant Burgey was promoted on the resig- 
nation of Seaman and B. F. "Wickham appointed second 

1 1 have indulged in more minute details in reference to these events than 
my space usually allows, but it was the first great sacrifice that the district 
offered to the war, and its people will always cherish a deep and peculiar, 
though sad interest in the gloomy narrative. 



238 



HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 



lieutenant ; in Company K, Lieutenant B. F. Edgerly was 
promoted to the captaincy. Sergeant John I. Baker was 
appointed first lieutenant in place of Huntley, discharged 
from disability on account of wounds, and Charles Bellamy, 
sergeant, promoted to second lieutenant. 1 

Officers attached to the Twenty-second Regiment when mustered out 
of service, June 19</i, 1863. 



Walter Phelps, Jr., Col. brevet 

Brig. Gen. U. S. V. 
Thomas J. Strong, Lt. Col. 
Lyman Ormsby, Major. 
Malachi Weidman, Adjutant. 
James W. Schenck, Q. M. 
Elias L. Bissell, Surgeon. 
Austin W. Holden, Assist. Surg., 

brevet Major N. Y. V. 
Henry J. Bates, Chaplain. 
Addison L. Easterbrooks, Capt. 
Matthew L. Teller, " 

James W. McCoy, 
Oliver D. Peabody, Capt., brevet 

Major and Lieut. Colonel. 
Lucius E. Wilson, Captain. 
Daniel Burgey, " 

Fred. E. Ranger, " 

Duncan Cameron, " 



Benj. F. Wickham, Captain. 

Edward F. Edgerly, 

Amos T. Calkins, 1st Lieutenant. 

A. Hallock Holbrook, 

Wm. H. Hoystradt, 

Gorton T.Thomas, 

Henry Cook, 

Warren Allen, 

James H. Merrill, 

John J. Baker, 

Asa W. Berry, 

Patrick McCall, 2d Lieutenant. 

James Valleau, 

Charles H. Aiken, 

George C. Kiugsley, 

Salmon D. Sherman, 

George Wetmore, 

Lester A. Bartlett, 

Charles F. Bellamy, 



Resignations and discharges of officers attached to Essex County 

Companies. 

Joseph R. Seaman, 1st lieutenant, resigned Feb. 26th, 1862. 
Clark W. Huntley, 1st lieutenant, discharged Feb. 6th, 1863, on 
account of disability. 

The first regimental fiag of the Twenty-second was lost 
at second Bull Run. Another which was borne through 
its subsequent battles is deposited in the military bureau. 



1 Besides official documents to which I had access, I am indebted to inform- 
ation from the officers of the Twenty-second, and especially to Captain E. 
F. Edgerly for the facts I have referred to in the text and incidents. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 239 

Perforated by forty-six bullet holes, and its staff wounded 
by a ball, it is an eloquent witness to the perils and 
endurance of the regiment. 

The Thirty-fourth Hegiment New York Volunteers. 

This regiment, to which the company raised in Crown 
Point, commanded by Captain Doolittle, was attached as 
company H, was organized on the 24th of May, 1861, by 
the elections of William La Due, colonel, James A. Suitor 
lieut. colonel, and Byron Laffin, major. The original offi- 
cers of Company H left the service at an early period. 
Capt. Doolittle resigned October, 1861. Lt. Buck was not 
mustered in, and Lt. Wright, having been promoted to fill 
these vacancies, 1st lieutenant May 11th, and captain 
November 11th, resigned on the 28th November, 1861. 
James McCormick of Crown Point was appointed 2d 
lieutenant, September 29th, 1862, and promoted 1st lieute- 
nant May 8th, 1863. Simeon P. Mclntyre was appointed 
2d lieutenant January, 1863, and George B. Coates Decem- 
ber, 1862. Each of these officers was mustered out with 
the regiment June 30th, 1863. The Thirty-fourth arrived at 
Washington the 5th July, 1861. It was soon after assigned 
to duty on the upper Potomac. It was attached to the 
brigade then commanded by General Stone. The regiment 
was ordered to Ball's Bluff, but only arrived in time to aid 
in the removal of the wounded. Until the following spring 
it was occupied in continual harassing marches, and par- 
ticipated in all the hard services, which were at that period 
encountered by most of the army. The regiment at this 
time became attached to the first brigade commanded by 
General Gorman and the second division of the second 
corps, and remained in this organization during its subse- 
quent services. 

The Thirty-fourth landed at Hampton at the initiation of 
the peninsula campaign on the first of April, 1862. It was 
actively engaged in the siege of Yorktown, and was the 
first regiment in the enemy's works at Winne's mills. At 
Fair Oaks it was eminently distinguished, and was warmly 



040 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

engaged for nearly three hours, with a loss of ninety-four 
killed and wounded. The Thirty-fourth participated in 
most of the operations of this campaign, and at Glendale 
and Malvern Hill lost more than one hundred men, and 
was compelled in the first action to abandon its killed and 
wounded to the enemy. It was now subjected to a series 
of the most vigorous picket and field duties, and on the 
withdrawal of the army of the Potomac from the peninsula, 
the regiment endured the terrible forced march from Harri- 
son's Landing to Xewport New8. The Thirty-fourth was 
transferred from that point by water to Alexandria, and 
was at once advanced to the front, encamping without 
tents or shelter, amid a furious storm of wind and rain. 
On the eventful 30th of August it was efficiently engaged 
in covering the retreat of Pope's army. At Antietam the 
Thirty-fourth entered the field on a double quick, and was 
moved directly to the front, where it was exposed to a 
wasting fire from infantry, in front and on both flanks, and 
by artillery on its left; but maintained its position, al- 
though abandoned by a supporting regiment, until ordered 
to fall back by General Sedgwick personally, who received 
two wounds while giving the command. In another 
period of the action, the regiment was again exposed to a 
destructive cannonade. During this bloody day, the 
Thirty-fourth sustained a loss of one hundred and fifty men, 
amounting to one-half of the effective strength with which 
it went into action. Through the remainder of the cam- 
paign, the regiment was employed in constant and arduous 
services, in severe marches, reconnaissances and picketing. 
On the 11th December, it led the van of the brigade, at that 
time commanded by General Sully in the passage of the 
Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, when the enemy were 
driven from the town. The regiment lost on this occasion 
more than thirty men from the fire of the enemy's batte- 
ries. After this action, the Thirty-fourth remained in 
camp during the winter, its repose being frequently inter- 
rupted by picket duty. At Chancellorville and Fredericks- 
burg the ensuing spring it was present, but only slightly 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 241 

engaged. On the expiration of its enlistment the regi- 
ment was mustered out at Albany on the 30th June, 1863. 
The Thirty-fourth had participated in seventeen battles 
and numerous skirmishes. Iu all these scenes, Company 
H had sustained a conspicuous and honorable attitude, 
and worthily received, in common with the regiment, the 
official encomium " that it never failed in duty to its 
country, or devotion to its flag." 

The Thirty-eighth New York Volunteers. 

This regiment, under Col. J. W. Hobart "Ward, was 
mustered into service at New York, in June, 1861. The 
company enrolled in Essex county, of which Samuel B. 
Dwyer was elected captain, William H. Smith first lieu- 
tenant, and A. C. Hand Livingston second lieutenant, was 
incorporated with the regiment as Company K. The 
Thirty-eighth regiment left the state on the 19th, and reached 
Washington on the 21st of June, and was soon after 
attached to Wilcox's brigade, and Heintzelman's division. 
It advanced with the Union army to Bull Run, on the 
21st of Jnlv. and was engaged i n that battle, suffering: 
a loss in killed, wounded, and missing of one hundred and 
twenty-eight men. It was distinguished by its heroic 
bearing. During four hours it was in close action and 
exposed for a long time to a deadly fire of artillery both in 
front and on its flanks. Such an exposure affords the 
severest test to the constancy and courage of fresh troops. 
The regiment bore the heat and dust with all the suffering 
of the early part of the engagement, with the highest sol- 
dierly resolution, and when confronted with the enemy, it 
firmly met and successfully repulsed the attacks of his in- 
fantry. When compelled by the disasters of the day to 
abandon the field, the Thirty-eighth retreated in compara- 
tive order, and returned to the encamping ground from 
which it had marched in the morning. Company K, 
in this action, was in charge of Lieutenant Smith and 
Lieutenant Livingston, owing to the absence from sickness 
of Captain Dwyer. In this initial battle of the war, Com- 
16 



242 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pany K was the only organization from Essex county 
engaged, and although none were killed on the field, it 
seems proper to record the names of the wounded and 
captured. Orlando R. Whiting, captured and died in 
prison ; James A. Coburn, Henry Van Oman, killed at 
Chancellorville; Patrick Waters, Pitt A. Wadhams, killed 
at Fredericksburg ; Loyal E. Wolcott, John M. Gladden, 
George Boutwell, James McCormick, died in prison ; and 
Wesley Sumner, killed at Fredericksburg. Lieutenant 
Smith resigned August 2d, 1861, Lieutenant Livingston, 
four days afterwards. The officers who subsequently served 
in this company, were Fergus Walker, second lieutenant 
August, 1861, promoted first lieutenant May 1862, promoted 
captain August, 1862 ; and William Warren second lieu- 
tenant May, 1862, promoted first lieutenant December, 1862. 

Until the opening of the peninsula campaign the Thirty- 
eighth was employed in picket duty and the construction 
of field works for the defense of Washington. In August, 
the regiment was assigned to Gen. Howard's brigade. 
This brigade, known as the third brigade, was successively 
commanded by Generals Sedgwick and Birney. Upon 
the organization of the army of the Potomac, the division 
to which this brigade was attached constituted the first 
division of the third corps, and these various designations 
were retained during the subsequent service of the regi- 
ment. 

The Thirty-eighth was at the siege of Yorktown and 
sustained in the operations before the works some slight 
casualties. Its bearing at the battle of Williamsburgh 
was highly conspicuous, and it encountered there a loss of 
eighty-six men. In this engagement, the gallant Captain 
Dwyer, of Company K, fell mortally wounded, and died 
a few days afterwards at St. Johns Hospital in Phila- 
delphia. His body, claimed by the popular enthusiasm, 
was borne to the village of Elizabethtown, in his native 
county, of which he was a prominent citizen, and there 
buried with the imposing and touching obsequies due to 
his patriotic devotion. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 243 

The resriment was engao-ed in all the battles that imrae- 
diately followed on the peninsula. It also fought at second 
Bull Run, Chantilly, Fredericksburg and Chancellorville. 
On the 21st December, 1862, the remnants of the ten com- 
panies of the Thirty-eighth regiment was consolidated into 
six companies, and marked from A to F inclusive, while the 
Fifty-fifth New York Volunteers was also consolidated into 
four companies, enumerated from G to K, and aunexed to 
the Thirty-eighth regiment. A large proportion of the regi- 
ment reenlisted, embracing a considerable part of Company 
K, and when it was mustered out on the expiration of the 
term of service June 22d, 1863, these men were transferred 
to the Fortieth New York Volunteers. This regiment, both 
before and after the consolidation, was ranked among the 
most distinguished regiments of the state volunteers. In 
noticiug the departure from the field of the Thirty-eighth 
regiment, the commander of the third corps in a special 
order paid the highest tribute to its service and reputation. 

The Forty-fourth Regiment New York Volunteers. 

A happy inspiration suggested the idea of forming a 
regiment to be composed of chosen men to be selected 
from the various towns and wards of the state, and organ- 
ized and known as The Ellsworth Avengers. The 
design proposed at once to appropriately commemorate 
the name of the young hero, who was the earliest martyr 
to the Union cause, and to animate a just and patriotic mili- 
tary spirit throughout the state. Essex county promptly 
responded to the invitation, and most of the towns sent 
their representatives to the regiment. It was mustered 
into the service on the 24th September, 1861, as the Forty- 
fourth New York Volunteers. The services of the Forty- 
fourth were active and conspicuous in the varied operations 
of the army of the Potomac, and it is believed that its 
name and associations rendered it to the rebels an object 
of .peculiar hostility and vindictive assault. The gallantry 
of the Forty-fourth was eminently conspicuous at Hanover 
C. H., where four times its flag was cut down by balls, 



244 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

and as often triumphantly raised. When the color-bearer 
fell, the standard was promptly raised by another hand. 
In the midst of the fierce and terrible conflict, which the 
Forty-fourth in connection with the Second Maine : " How 
many men," was demanded of a captain of the former, 
"will follow me to the charge." "Every man," was the 
Spartan reply, " save the dead." Such was the character 
and spirit of this regiment. The staff* of the torn and 
faded flag, deposited in the military bureau, had about 
eighteen inches with the eagle and top shot away at Spott- 
sylvania. When the Forty-fourth was mustered out of 
service, October 11th, 1864, the veterans and recruits were 
transferred to the One Hundred and Fortieth and One Hun- 
dred and Forty-sixth regiments, New York Volunteers. 

The Seventy-seventh Regiment JSew York Volunteers. 

This regiment was mustered into service November 
23d, 1861, for three years at Bemis's Heights, Saratoga, 
and by the suggestions of the spot appropriately num- 
bered seventy-seventh. At this organization, James B. Mc- 
Lean was elected colonel, Joseph A. Henderson, lieut. colo- 
nel, and Selden Hetzel, major. Two companies attached 
to the seventy -seventh, designated A and I, were principally 
enrolled in Essex county. Company A was recruited in 
the towns of Westport, Jay, and Keene. It was inspected 
on the 15th of September, and two days later proceeded 
to Saratoga. The company was organized by the electiou 
of Renel W. Arnold captain, William Douglass first and 
James H. Farnsworth second lieutenant. It originally 
mustered ninety-five men and received fifty recruits, chiefly 
nonresidents of Essex county, during its service. Lt. 
Farnsworth resigned January 5th, 1862, and Charles E. 
Stevens was promoted to second lieutenant. Captain 
Arnold resigned April 3d, 1862, and was succeeded by 
1st Lt. George S. Orr of Company G. In December fol- 
lowing, Lt. Stephens was appointed first lieutenant and 
Orderly Sergeant William Lyon was promoted to his post. 
Captain Orr of Company G was wounded at Cedar creek 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 245 

and mustered out with the regiment at the expiration of 
its term. Lt. Stevens was promoted to the captaincy 
of consolidated Company E, October 15th, 1864. Lt. Lyon 
was killed at Spottsylvania May 10th, 1864. Charles 
H. Davis was promoted second lieutenant October 16th, 
1864, and appointed first lieutenant Company E, November 
15th, 1864, and captain, April 25th, 1865. Company I was 
recruited in the northern towns of Essex and the adjacent 
towns in Clinton county. Mr. Wendell Lansing was 
largely instrumental in the enrollment of this company, but 
on its organization was transferred to the commissary 
department, in which he served about one year. The com- 
pany officers on its organization were Franklin Norton cap- 
tain, Jacob F. Hay ward and Martin Lennon first and second 
lieutenants. Capt. Norton was promoted August 18th, 

1862, to lieut. colonel of the One Hundred and Twenty-third 
New York Volunteers, and died on the 12th of May, 1863, 
of wounds received in the battle of Chancellorville, on the 
10th December, 1862. Lt. Lennon was appointed captain 
of Company I, and January 3d, 1863, Lt. Hay ward was pro- 
moted to quarter master and remained in that capacity 
until the term of enlistment expired. John W. Belding 
was made first lieutenant, March 17, 1863, was promoted 
to the captaincy of Company K, but never mustered in as 
such, and died October 27th, 1864, from wounds received in 
action. On May 19th, 1863, Orderly Sergeant Carlos W. 
Rowe was appointed second lieutenant. Lt. Rowe entered 
the service as corporal in Company I. At the organization 
of Co. I, William E. Merrill was corporal. He was made a 
sergeant July following, and orderly sergeant February, 

1863. He reenlisted in February, 1864, was severely 
wounded at Spottsylvania, was made second lieutenant 
September 19th, 1864, and promoted to first lieutenant 
April 22d, 1865, and was mustered out with the regiment, 
at the close of the war. 

Immediately after being organized, the Seventy-seventh 
started for the field of active service, and reaching Wash- 
ington in December, 1861, went into camp on Meridian 



246 HISTOEY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

hill. The regiment was incorporated with the army of 
the Potomac on its first organization, and continued con- 
nected with it until its disbandment; it participated in all 
the fortunes of that army, from the commencement of 
McClellan's campaign to the close of the war. Its earliest 
experience of battle was in the charge upon the enemy's 
works, at Mechanicsville, in which a youth from Keese- 
ville, Clifford Weston, a private in Company I, was killed, 
the first offering of the regiment to the country to be 
succeeded by a long and heroic line of sacrifices. The 
Seventy-seventh was conspicuous throughout these services, 
and no part of it was more distinguished than the two 
companies from Essex county. The regiment belonged 
to the immortal sixth corps, and its torn and fragmentary 
flags and guidons, and their shattered staffs deposited 
among the archives of the state, prove its worthiness of 
the association. 

I do npt possess the materials from which to form a 
narrative of the specific services of the Seventy-seventh, 
nor indeed could its movements be properly separated 
from the general operations of the army. That its services 
were severe is attested by the records of thirty distinct 
battles, and that they were gallantly performed is evident 
from the bloody decimation of its ranks. One or two 
instances will illustrate the character and endurance of 
the regiment. In the battle of White Oak swamp, the 
division to which the Seventy-seventh was attached, was 
suddenly assailed by a superior force of the rebels. The 
regiment was stationed some distance from its brigade, and 
could not be approached owing to the severity of the 
enemy's fire. Although not directly exposed to this fire, 
it was in imminent danger, from its position, of being cut 
off 1 . " Not proposing to move without orders," as one of 
its gallant members writes, the regiment maintained its 
post. A slight suspension of the action enabled an aid 
to reach it, with orders to change its ground. This order 
was promptly executed, but only in time to save the regi- 
ment from capture. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 247 

At the battle of Spottsyl vania, May 10th, 1864, the Seventy- 
seven th was selected with several other regiments to form an 
assaulting column, to charge the enemy's lines. The attack 
continued scarcely more than fifteen minutes, but was of the 
fiercest and bloodiest character. The position assailed was 
extremely formidable, and the attacking column was not 
sufficiently strong to maintain it. They were compelled to 
fall back and abandon the position with their dead and 
severely wounded to the mercy of the enemy. Twenty 
members of the Seventy-seventh were left upon this field. 
In the terrible conflict at Spottsylvania, the regiment lost 
seventy-four men, about one-fourth of its strength engaged. 
Lt. Lyon of Company A was killed in the charge, and Lt. 
Rowe of Company I was taken prisoner. 

The regiment participated in the eventful scenes on the 
peninsula. At Mechanicsville it captured a guidon be- 
longing to a Georgia regiment ; it was at Gaines's Mills, 
Savage's Station, and in all the operations before Richmond, 
which terminated at Malvern Hill. Transferred from 
that field it was engaged at second Bull Run, Crompton 
Pass and Autietam, closing the services of that year at 

1 Lt. Rowe made his escape. The story in its detail is full of interest from 
its romantic incidents and the adroitness and courage by which success was 
secured. The fifth day after his capture, he began a march with about 
twelve hundred prisoners, in the direction of southern prison houses. On 
the second day of the march, they were compelled to ford a stream, which 
was waist deep. In effecting the passage the line became scattered. The 
guard was comparatively small, and in the confusion, Rowe was able soon 
after crossing to plunge into a thicket and secrete himself behind a heavy 
cluster of bushes. He was concealed in this covert until the whole detach- 
ment had past. He had procured a map from a fellow prisoner, and aided 
by this and a pocket compass, he deliberately marked out the route he should 
pursue to regain the Union lines. Pursuing for a while nearly the course of 
the party from which he had escaped, he at length diverged and crossing the 
Richmond and Gordonsville rail road and then the Gordon ville and Lynch- 
burg, proceeded by a long circuitous route. He traveled in seven days and 
principally in the night, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, and suc- 
ceeded on the thirteenth day after his capture in joining the Union forces at 
Fredericksburg. In his perilous journey he encountered innumerable hair- 
breadth escapes, endured extreme suffering, and had no other subsistence 
than he secured from his own efforts and the kindness and charity of the 
negro people. 



248 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Fredericksburg on December 13th. In January, 1863, it 
encountered the horrors of the "mud campaign." At 
Marye's Height, on the 3d of May, it captured the flag of the 
Eighteenth Mississippi: it fought atFrederickeburg, Gettys- 
burg, Rappahannock station and Robinson's tavern. In 
the campaign of 1864, it was at the Wilderness, Spottsyl- 
vania, Coal Harbor and Fort Stevens. Transferred to the 
Shenandoah valley, it was engaged in the battle of the 
19th September in which Captain Lennon, of Company I, 
and Lieutenant Belding were mortally wounded, and died, 
the former on the succeeding 1st November, and the latter 
the 29th October. It was at Fisher Hill September 22d, 
and at Cedar Creek on the 19th of October, gallantly aiding 
in the achievement of that crowning victory. In this en- 
gagement Captain Orr of Company A was severely wounded. 

In November, 1864, at the expiration of its term of enlist- 
ment, the regiment was mustered out of service ; but it 
left in the field a battalion composed of veterans who 
reenlisted, formed from the original organization and new 
recruits. This was designated the 77th Battalion New 
York State Volunteers. The relics of Companies A and 
I were consolidated into a new company designated C, 
and attached to the battalion. This company embraced 
eighty-five men and was formed of nearly equal proportions 
of the original companies. The officers of Company C 
consisted of Charles E. Stevens captain, appointed major 
but not mustered in as such; 1st lieutenant Charles A. 
Davis, and 2d lieutenant William E. Merrill. The battalion 
was engaged in the final siege of Petersburg and in the 
assault of the 2d April its flags and guidons were the first 
colors on the enemy's works. 1 It was mustered out, in 
June 27th, 1865. The regiment had fourteen hundred 
and sixty-three on its rolls, of whom seventy -three were 
killed in battle, forty died of their wounds and one hun- 
dred and forty-eight of disease. 

The different banners of this regiment in their torn and 
shattered condition, which are deposited in the Bureau of 

1 Flag Presentations. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 249 

Military Records at Albany, are invested with deep and 
peculiar interest. In the charge up Marye's Height, one 
of the color guards of the regimental flag was killed, and 
the banner torn into shreds by a shell. A national flag 
borne in many fields, is half gone, its ends ragged, its field 
in ribbons. The top of its staff was shot off at the battle of 
the Wilderness. In the battle of Chancellorville itsfield was 
torn by an enemy's shell. Among its bearers in battle, 
Corporal Joseph Murray was killed at Antietam, Michael 
McWilliarns in the Wilderness. Corporal Horicon of the 
color guard was killed at Cedar Creek, and Corporal 
Myers shot through the hand in the Wilderness. Its in- 
scription was placed upon the flag by the order of General 
Sheridan. 

Officers of Seventy-seventh mustered out on expiration of original 
term of enlistment, Dec. loth, 1864. 

Lt. Col. Winsor B. French. Joseph H. Loveland. 

Major Nathan S. Babcock. 1st Lt. Alonzo Howland. 
Q. M. Jacob F. Hayward. " Henry C. Rowland. 

Surgeon George T. Stevens. " Lewis T. Vanderwarker. 

Asst. Surg. Justin T. Thompson. " William W. Worden. 

" " Wm. A. Belong. 2d Lt. Bavid Lyon. 
Chaplain Norman Fox, Jr. " Carlos W. Rowe. 

Captain George S. Orr. " George W. Gillis. 

Officers mustered out on discharge of Battalion, Seventy-seventh 
New York Volunteers. 

Bavid J. Caw, brevet Col. U. S. V. Capt. George M. Ross. 

Q M. Charles B. Thurber, brevet 1st Lt. William E. Merrill. 

Capt. U. S. V. " Thomas S. Harris. 

Surgeon John G. Thompson. " Adam Flansburgh. 

Capt. Isaac B. Clapp, brevet '' Robert E. Nelson. 

Major U. S. V. " James A. Monroe. 

Capt. Bavid A. Thompson. 2d Lt. Sorrell Fountain. 

" Charles E. Stevens, ap- " William Carr. 

pointed major but not mustered " William H. Quackenbush. 

in as such. 1 " Thomas M. White. 

1 1 am under peculiar obligations for the facts I have embodied in the 
account of the Seventy-seventh to Major Stevens, Lt. Rowe, and Mr. W. 
Lansing. My researches, not only in respect to this, but every other 



250 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Brevet Commission issued by Governor to Enlisted Men. 
Hospital Steward Alexander P. Waldron, 2d Lieutenant. 

The Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers. 

This regiment was wholly enrolled in the northern section 
of New York. Only a single company, as appears from the 
documents which I have been able to collect, originally or- 
ganized, belonging to the Ninety-sixth, was enrolled in Essex 
county, although large portions of other companies were 
recruited in the county, and towards the close of the war, 
numerous drafts from the county joined this regiment. 
Essex was therefore largely represented in the organiza- 
tion. Captain Alfred Weed enlisted principally in Ticon- 
cleroga, a company which he commanded, and of which 
Thomas W. Newman was second lieutenant. This com- 
pany wa3 attached to the Ninety-sixth as Compauy G, 
George W. Hinds, of Au Sable, was captain, February 18, 
1862, and promoted to major, March, 1865. Earl Pierce 
of Jay, originally attached to Company K, of the Oue 
Hundred and Eighteenth, was appointed first lieutenant of 
the Ninety-sixth, January 27, 1864, and promoted to 
captaincy, January 20, 1865. The regiment was organized 
at Plattsburg, and departed for the field, March, 1862, 
under the command of James Fairmau, Colonel Charles 
O. Grey, lieutenant-colonel, and John E. Kelley, a veteran 
of the regular army, major. Nathan Wardner of Jay was 
appointed chaplain of the organization, John H. Sanborn, 
(juarter-master, and Francis Joseph D'Avignon,of Au Sable 
Forks, surgeon. The Ninety-sixth, in the early stages of 
its services, was severely depressed, through the unfavor- 
able auspices by which it was surrounded, but after the 
brave and accomplished Grey was placed in command, the 
regiment rapidly attained a very high reputation. It had 
been precipitated by ill-advised councils into active ser- 

niilitary organization of the state, have been enlightened by the invaluable 
report of Adjutant General Marvin, 1868. For a copy of the work, I am 
indebted to the courtesy of Hon. Smith M. Weed. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 251 

vice, without the advantages of any adequate drilling, and 
was hurried into the peninsula campaign before the habits 
of the troops were adapted to field duty, and while they 
were yet unacclimatecl. Company G marched from Fort- 
ress Monroe, comprising more than seventy combatants, 
and when it entered the conflict at Fair Oaks, it retained 
only eighteen men fit for duty. The remainder had been 
stricken down by diseases incident to hard service and a 
malarious climate. This fact illustrates the general con- 
dition of the regiment, the efficiency of which was also 
deeply impaired for a season, by dissensions among its 
officers. A number of the subordinates had resigned 
from this and other causes. Captain Weed, immediately 
previous to Fair Oaks, was compelled by severe sickness, 
to relinquish his command, and Lieutenant Newman, 
who was discharged in May, 1862, had already left the 
regiment. 1 

The company for a time was in charge of Orderly Ser- 
geant Patrick English, and was ultimately consolidated 
with Compauy C of Clinton county. 

Major Kelly was killed in a picket skirmish, immediately 
before the battle of Fair Oaks. In that action the losses 
of the Ninety-sixth regiment were extremely severe. The 
services of the regiment, throughout the peninsula cam- 
paign, were marked by great perils and hardships, and eli- 
cited from General Peck, the commander of the division, 
warm and unusual encomiums. It was afterwards ordered 
to Suffolk, enduring all the trials and sufferings of that 
field, and was subsequently engaged in the North Carolina 
expedition, and gallantly participated in all the hard ser- 
vices of that vigorous campaign. In the battle of Kingston, 
December 14th, 1862, Colonel Grey, who had already, 
although a youth of twenty-four, achieved a brilliant fame, 
was killed while charging at the head of the regiment over 

1 Lieutenant Newman afterwards joined a Maryland regiment, and re- 
mained in the service during the war. Captain Weed, after his health was 
restored, enlisted as a private in the Ninety-third New York Volunteers, 
and did not return to civil life until the spring of 1865. 



252 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the bridge on the Neuse, and in the act of planting its 
standard upon the enemy's works. Three weeks before, 
in presenting a new flag to the Ninety-sixth, he had uttered 
a glowing and eloquent tribute to its old flag, and now this 
enveloped his coffin, as his remains were borne from his last 
battle-field to its resting place among his familiar mountains. 
That venerated flag is deposited in the military bureau. 
After this event the Ninety-sixth regiment was for a short 
term under the command of Colonel McKenzie. 

Early in 1864, the regiment was transferred to the army 
of the James before Petersburg, and attached to the same 
brigade with which the One Hundred and Eighteenth was 
counected. It was incorporated with the eighteenth and 
afterwards with the twenty-fourth corps. The Ninety-sixth 
was engaged in all the subsequent operations of the eigh- 
teenth corps. At Coal Harbor, and the assault on Fort 
Harrison its casualties were appalling. In the attack upon 
Fort Harrison, the Ninety-sixth and the Eighth Connecti- 
cut formed the assaultiug columns, with the One Hundred 
and Eighteenth New York, and Tenth New Hampshire on 
their flanks as skirmishers. The division approached the 
works in close order, and in a distance of fourteen hundred 
yards was exposed to a plunging and galling fire of artil- 
lery and musketry. 1 

It steadily advanced to the base of the hill, which was 
crowned by the enemy's work. Here the column, 
exhausted b}' its rapid progress, paused. The enemy per- 
ceiving the point of attack were meanwhile pouring reen- 
forcements into the menaced works. The crisis was 
imminent, and General Stanuard commanding the division 
sent an earnest order for an instant assault. 2 The head of 
the column charged up the hill, and scaling the parapet, 

1 Gen. Stannard's Report. 

a General Stannard claims that this order was carried by Captain Kent 
his aid. Other authorities state that it was communicated from General 
Burnham by Lieutenant Campbell, of the One Hundred and Eighteenth, 
who was on his staff. Perhaps the orders were coincident. — Butler's Ad- 
dress to the Army of the James. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 253 

drove the enemy from their guns. Sergeant Lester Archer 
of the Ninety-sixth and the color bearer of the Eighth Con- 
necticut, simultaneously planted their respective regimental 
flags upon the ramparts. The Rev. Nathan Wardner, 
chaplain of the Ninety-sixth, charged with his regiment in 
the advancing columns, prepared to administer spiritual 
consolation on the very field of carnage. 1 The captured 
guns of the fort were turned upon the retreating enemy 
with terrible effect. The Ninety-sixth was conspicuous in 
opposing the repeated, resolute and desperate attempts of 
the rebels to recover this important position. 2 The death 
or wounds of four superiors, placed Colonel Cullen of the 
Ninety-sixth, at the close of this sanguinary battle, in com- 
mand of the division. 

The Ninety-sixth continued near Fort Harrison in camp 
with its brigade, after the capture of that work, until the 
24th of October, when the entire division, marched against 
Fort Richmond, at Fair Oaks. It bivouacked that night, 
about three miles from the fort. While the skirmishing 
party of the One Hundred and Eighteenth was engaged in 
the perilous and hopeless assault of the enemy's line, the 
next morning the Ninety-sixth, in common with the remain- 
der of the division, stood idle spectators of the slaughter 
of those troops, although little doubt now exists, that a 
combined and energetic attack of the fort, when the One 
Hundred and Eighteenth advanced and while it was occu- 
pied by a force wholly inadequate to its defense, would 
have secured a glorious success. A designed feint had 
been converted into a real and sanguinary assault, and the 
character of this bloody field, conspicuous for its profitless 
and murderous losses, 'was only redeemed by the valor of 
the troops. 

For two long and trying hours, after the repulse of the 
One Hundred and Eighteenth, the residue of the division 



1 Butler's Address. 

2 I more particularly describe these events in noticing the services of the 
One Hundred and Eighteenth on the occasion. 



254 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

stood under arms, in front of the enemy's lines, with no 
orders, either to advance or retreat, while the rebels were 
observed, eagerly rushing troops into the fort, on foot and 
upon horseback. Horses were constantly perceived hurry- 
ing up at their highest speed, bearing three riders, and as 
they approached the works, two leaping from the horse 
would enter the fort, while the third returned at the same 
speed, to bear back another freight of defenders. At 
length, when the lines by this delay had been rendered 
impregnable to an attack, the divisiou was madly hurled 
upon the works. It was bloodily repulsed. The casual- 
ties of the Ninety-sixth were in the highest degree severe. 
Its last colonel, Stephen Moffit, of Clinton county, who 
continued in the command until the regiment was dis- 
banded, lost a leg in this action, while gallantly leading 
in the fruitless and disastrous assault. He was borne from 
the field by Captain Earle Pierce of the Ninety-sixth, and 
Capt. M. V. B. Stetson, of the One Hundred and Eigh- 
teenth, the latter of whom was wounded in the generous act. 

The ground upon which these unfortunate operations 
occurred, had been signalized by the sanguinary battle of 
Fair Oaks, during the peninsula campaign. The works 
erected by McClellan were still discernible, and as the 
federal troops moved to the assault, they disturbed and 
trampled upon skulls and bones and other ghastly memo- 
rials of the former conflict. The Ninety-sixth participated 
in the brilliant closing scenes of the war around Richmond 
and its final consummation. 

I should not close this notice, which I regret is so inade- 
quate, of this gallant regiment ' without referring to the 
memory of one of its members, who was alike distin- 
guished for the ability and zeal with which he performed 
his official duties, and his warm hearted and generous 
sensibilities. Francis Joseph D'Avignon was placed at 
the head of the medical corps of the Ninety-sixth at its 



1 1 have made every effort to obtain information, but generally with very 
unsatisfactory results. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 255 

organization. His skill and courage early attracted atten- 
tion, and led to his promotion. He was made surgeon-in- 
chief to a division, was captured at Drury's Bluff and 
remained a prisoner for several months. He was confined 
for a short term in Libby Prison and encountered its 
rigors, but was soon released from confinement and al- 
lowed with slight restraints to mingle freely with the 
Union prisoners, and minister to them his professional 
services. He was mustered out on the expiration of his 
term of service, March 14th, 1865. Surgeon D'Avignon 
had been a Canadian patriot, and was involved in the 
perils of 1837. He fled into the states from the scaffold, 
and yielding to his republican instincts became an Ame- 
rican citizen. He married and permanently resided at 
Au Sable Forks. 1 

Officers of the Ninety-sixth mustered out with the Regiment, Feb- 
ruary Qth, 1866. 

Col. Stephen Moffitt, brevet Brig. Thomas E. Allen. 

Gen. U. S. V. Oscar B. Colvin. 

Lt. Col. George W. Hinds, brevet 1st Lt. William B. Stafford. 

Col. N. Y. V. " Thomas Burke. 

Major Courtland C. Babcock, " Charles H. Hogan. 

brevet Lt. Col. N. Y. V. " Orlando P Benson. 

Q. M. Allen Babcock. " Lyman Bridges. 

Surgeon Robert W. Brady. " George J. Cady. 

Chaplain Nathan Wardner. " Lucien Wood. 

Capt. Earl Peirce. " Alexander M. Stevens. * 

Moses Gill. " Alonzo E. Howard. 

Moses E. Orr. 2d Lt. Washington Harris. 

Henry C. Buckham, brevet Maj. " Stanford H. Bugbee. 

N. Y. V. " Alexander McMartin. 

William B. Brokaw, brevet Ma- " Charles Sharron. 

jor N. Y. V. " Amos S. Richardson. 

Merlin C. Harris, brevet Major " Silas Finch. 

N. Y. V. " Judson C Ware. 

1 A brother officer in the regiment, himself as well as Surgeon D'Avignon, 
since deceased, remarks of the latter : " He stood very high in the army, and 
was beloved by both officers and privates." 



256 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Enlisted Men of the Regiment to whom Medals of Honor have been 
Awarded by the Secretary of War. 

Sergeant Lester Archer. 

The archives of the state present the following brilliant 
record of the services of the Ninety-sixth : Gainesville, 
second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Mine Run, 
Fredericksburg, Chancellorville, Gettysburg, "Wilder- 
ness, North Anna, Mattapony, Spottsylvania, Bethesda 
Church, Petersburg, Weldon Rail Road, Chapel House, 
Hatcher's Run, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, 
Seven Days' Battle, Blackwater, Kingston, Whitehall, 
Goldsboro', Siege of Newbern, Drury's Farm, Port 
Walthall, Coal Harbor, Battery Harrison, Charles City 
Road. 

Fifth New York Cavalry. 

At the opening of the war of the rebellion, the govern- 
ment suffered severely from the absence of an efficient 
cavalry arm. In this force, the rebels were far superior, 
both in numbers and efficiency. A wide defection among 
the cavalry officers of the army, in one instance, embracing 
almost an entire regiment, and the peculiar equestrian 
habits of the southern people, which rendered most men 
expert riders from early youth, combined to furnish mate- 
rials for an immediate and powerful organization of mounted 
'troops. Directly after Bull Run, the government addressed 
itself to the task of remedying this deficiency. Agents 
appeared throughout the north, arousing the chivalric spirit 
of the country, and urging everywhere the formation of 
cavalry companies and regiments. This appeal reached 
the town of Crown Point, which, as I have mentioned, had 
but recently, by private munificence, equipped an infantry 
company, and was responded to with an ardor and prompt- 
ness that has few parallels in all the incidents of enthusiasm 
that characterized the times. The fervid zeal that was 
inspired could not be restrained to await the formal 
preparation of enlisting papers, or for a regular mustering 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 257 

in, by the usual machinery of the department. But a 
written compact was at once prepared, by which each man 
was pledged to serve the government for three years in the 
mounted service, and in an incredibly short period it re- 
ceived the signatures of one hundred and twenty-seven of 
the youth of that town and its immediate vicinity. 1 They 
constituted the bone and muscle of the community. To 
each name is attached the age and occupation of the signer. 
Nearly all were between the ages of twenty and thirty years, 
and most of them were either farmers or mechanics. 
Almost every signature was an autograph; thus affording 
evidence of an intelligence and education rarely found in a 
body of soldiers hastily recruited. Of such materials, 
Cromwell formed his memorable Ironsides, and these 
young men of Essex carried with them into the service, the 
resolute qualities and the exalted spirit that made the 
troopers of the English enthusiast invincible on every field. 
Under this compact, to which all implicitly adhered, 
the company, without officers and without any other 
restraint, proceeded to New York, and were there regu- 
larly mustered into the service. The entire body of men 
were accepted as privates, nor were their officers elected 
until the company joined the regiment on Staten island. 
John Hammond was commissioned captain, September 
14, 1861; major, September, 1863; lieutenant-colonel, 
March, 1864 ; colonel, July, 1864, and brevet brigadier- 
general, May 22, 1866. Jonas A. Benedict was commis- 
sioned first lieutenant, and James A. Penfield second 
lieutenant of the company, the 22d of October, 1861. 
Lieutenant Benedict died in the next December, and was 
succeeded by Penfield, who was appointed captain in 
July, 1863, and resigned in May, 1865. John G. Viall 

1 This instrument, so novel and remarkable in its character and so illustra- 
tive of the patriotic ardor that pervaded the country, is worthy of the choicest 
preservation. This is its exact language : "We, the undersigned, hereby agree 
to serve the government of the United States in the mounted service for 
three years, unless sooner discharged, subjecting ourselves to all the rules 
and regulations governing troops in that branch of the regular service." 

17 



258 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

was appointed second lieutenant, December, 1861 ; first 
lieutenant, September, 1862, and captain, April, 1864. 
Elmer J. Barker was appointed second lieutenant, Sep- 
tember, 1862 ; first lieutenant, November, 1863 ; captain, 
March, 1864 ; and major, November, 1864. Eugene B. 
Hayward was appointed second lieutenant, November, 
1863; first lieutenant, March, 1864; and captain, Novem- 
ber, 1864. Lucius F. lienne, appointed first lieutenant, 
November, 1864; and Clark M. Pease, second lieutenant, 
November, 1864. This catalogue embraces all the changes 
in the officers of the company during its service. The 
company was collected mainly by the zeal and earnest exer- 
tions of John Hammond, of Crown Point. The father of Mr. 
Hammond, Charles P. Hammond, Esq., advanced the funds 
for the purchase of all the original horses, amounting to 
one hundred and eight, supplied the company. These 
horses were selected with extreme care, in reference to 
their adaptedness to the service, and were probably supe- 
rior to those of any troop in the army. 1 

This body of men was organized as Company H of the 
Fifth New York Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Othniel 
De Forest of New York. The regiment employed the 
winter of 1861 - 62, at camp Harris near Annapolis in con- 
stant and thorough drilling, and acquired the discipline 
and proficiency, that rendered its subsequent service so 
efficient and so valuable to the country. This narrative pro- 
poses to trace the movements of Company H distinctively 
and the operations of the regiment, where that company 
or the soldiers of Essex were prominently connected with 
them. In April, this company was detached to Luray 
Valley on special service. Here, in frequent skirmishes, 
it gradually prepared for the toils and the scenes of peril 
and hardships which were approaching. It rejoined the 
regiment in May, and did not participate in some of its 

1 These animals were delivered in New York by contract, at one hundred 
and thirteen dollars each ; but such was the spirit of the men, that they 
frequently paid from their own means, from five to twenty-five dollars in 
addition, to secure to themselves a horse they particularly desired. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 259 

earlier achievements, but was with it in the disastrous cam- 
paign of General Banks, aud the terrible retreat through 
the mountains, incident to it. A part of the regiment, includ- 
ing Company H, acted as flankers to the army in this retreat, 
aud was exposed perpetually to severe fighting. 1 Through- 
out the month of July, the regiment was engaged in 
frequent skirmishes, and was in constant motion, often 
suferiug severely from the want of rations and forage. 

On the second of August a brigade composed of most of 
the Fifth and the First Vermont approached Orange C. H., 
from the east under the command of General Crawford. 
The streets were silent and apparently deserted, as the 
troops entered ; but a sudden and heavy fire poured upon 
them announced a concealed enemy, and while confused 
by its effect they were repulsed and driven back from the 
town. Captain Hammond had been detached in charge 
of Companies G and H across the country to the Gor- 
donsville road which penetrates the village from the south- 
west. He reached the road, and was approaching with no 
knowledge of the assault and repulse of the brigade. The 
Confederates were equally ignorant of his presence. Or- 
dering his command to draw sabres, he said to them : "This 
is the first favorable opportunity you have had to try your 
sword; use your hardware well and we will take the place 



1 A single incident will illustrate the character of this service. Captain 
Hammond, while in the advance with ten men, marching upon the flank, 
noticed a superior body of rebels in front, and immediately pursued. 
Leading his men he soon personally came up to their rearmost man, a 
strong and completely armed soldier. They exchanged several shots, 
which were without effect, owing to the great speed with which they were 
riding. Captain Hammond's pistol had become foul and useless, while his 
antagonist had two chambers undischarged. Hammond lost his in attempt- 
ing to strike him with the butt, but determined to secure the rebel he 
seized him by the collar with both hands and tore him from his horse. In 
the struggle, Hammond's horse also went from under him, and they both 
fell to the ground. Hammond above, one hand grappling the throat of the 
rebel and the other hold of his pistol hand, while the rebel was attempting 
to shoot Hammond. At this moment a private of Company F came up and 
by Hammond's order fired at the rebel. The ball grazing his head, brought 
him to surrender. 



260 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

or die in the attempt." They rushed at full speed upon 
the enemy in an impetuous charge and with a wild shout. 
Although surprised, the Confederates met them by a wither- 
ing discharge of musketry ; but the enthusiasm of the ca- 
valry was irresistible. The enemy were driven back 
to an open space, where they rallied for a moment and 
then broke and fled in utter disorder. More prisoners 
were taken than the feeble force were able to secure. 

The charge was most gallantly executed and terrible in 
its effect. The area, in which the rebels made their last 
stand, was strewn with the killed and wounded, and with 
unhorsed men bearing fearful evidence of the force of the 
sabre's blow. When the cavalry, after these events, ad- 
vanced along the street, they were first apprized by the 
dead and dying, men and horses, of the preceding com- 
bat. Lieutenant Peufield of Company H was peculiarly 
conspicuous in this brief conflict, by his chivalric bear- 
ing. The enemy's force was composed of the celebrated 
Virginia horse, which had been organized by Ashley. 1 

Soon after this action, a part of the regiment was en- 
gaged in the battle of Cedar Mountain. During the month 
of August it was occupied with brief relaxations, in toil- 
some marches, reconnaissances and various harassing and 
exhaustive duties. It participated with great gallantry in 
the warm engagements at Kelley's Ford and Waterloo, and 
on the 27th of August was broken up iuto detachments to 
perform escort services to different generals. Duties of 
this character, patroling, observing roads and guarding 
trains constitute an importaut part of the operations of 

1 The ludicrous and comic sometimes relieves the grim visage of war. 
As the command was advancing to the charge, Captain Hammond advised 
the company's cook, Henry Spaulding, who was leading a pack horse, 
loaded with frying pans, kettles, and all the paraphernalia of his office, to 
remain in the rear ; but this, he was unwilling to do. Guiding his own and 
leading the pack horse, with sabre in hand, he kept well up and boldly 
rushed into the thickest of the affray. The gallant officer who furnished me 
with the anecdote, remarked that he often doubts, whether the strange din 
of the kettles combined with the shouting of the men, was not as effective 
as their sabres. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 261 

cavalry, acting in a campaign under the circumstances 
which surrounded both armies in the war of the rebellion ; 
but like the trench duties of the other arms of the service, 
these operations were far the most irksome and onerous 
imposed upon the mounted regiments, attended often with 
greater hardships, toils, and perils than actual combats ; 
they were not sustained by the excitement and glory of 
battle. The movements of the Fifth, with a few brief in- 
terludes of repose, were incessant and generally severe. Its 
history from May, 1862, when it entered into active duty, 
to April, 1865, presents a remarkable and scarcely parallel 
series of severe services and hard fought battles. Besides 
the toils and endurance of this special service, it was en- 
gaged in a mass or by detachments in one hundred and 
eighteen skirmishes and fifty-three battles, necessarily 
varied in their importance and severity. 1 

The scope of my work will permit me only to glance at 
some of the most prominent of these events. The Fifth 
was on the bloody fields of second Bull Run, Chantilly and 
Antietam. Major Hammond conducting an expedition in 
October, came in collision with the Confederates at Lees- 
burg, Upperville and Thoroughfare Gap, and engaged in 
a running fight while pursuing their cavalry from Hay- 
market to Warrenton. The opening weeks of 1863, were 
devoted by the regiment to unremitting picket duty charged 
to oppose and repel the incursions of the guerrillas, that 
thronged the front of tbe Union lines. On the 26th Janu- 
ary, a detachmeut was ordered in pursuit of a party which 
had captured a picket of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania, and 
at Middleburg, Major Hammond, who was in command, 
executed a brilliant charge through the town, captured 
twenty-five of Mosby's cavalry, and dispersed the party. 
A fortnight later, Captain Penfield in command of 

1 The interesting Historic Record of the Fifth New York, by the Rev. 
Louis N. Boudrye, its chaplain, exhibits a tabular statement of the skir- 
mishes and battles in Which the regiment was engaged, with the date and 
locality of each. 



262 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Companies F and H, was engaged in warm skirmishing 
with large detachments of the enemy at New Baltimore 
and Warrenton. On the 9th of March, Mosby by a bold 
movement surprised, at Fairfax C. H., nearly six miles 
within the Federal lines, an Union detachment and captured 
thirty prisoners, including General Stoughton and Captain 
Augustus Barker, of Company L, and fifty choice horses, 
belonging to the Fifth. These men had been detached 
from the regiment, and were acting under the command 
of the provost marshal. The brigade pursued the enemy 
by different routes, but with no success. On the 23d, 
the regiment experienced another severe and mortifying 
reverse. The rebels making a feint attack on a picket 
retreated rapidly, pursued by a part of the Fifth, in 
charge of Majors Bacon and White. The pursuers were 
arrested by a barricade across the road, and suddenly as- 
sailed by a sharp fire in front and flank. At this moment 
Mosby dashed upon them in an unexpected impetuous 
charge. The cavalry broke and precipitately retreated, 
with a loss of five killed and wounded, and thirty-six 
prisoners, including one commissioned officer. It was at 
length rallied by the efforts of the officers, and reenforced ; 
it in turn repulsed and pursued the enemy a distance of 
several miles. Yet the chagrin and mortification of the 
defeat remained. Whatever lustre was lost to the fame 
of the Fifth by this reverse was gloriously restored on the 
3d of May. Early in the morning, the First Virginia 
cavalry while dismounted, were surprised by Mosby with 
a detachment of the Black Horse Cavalry and a guerrilla 
force. Separated from their horses, the First retreated to 
a house, and courageously defended themselves, refusing 
to surrender. • Mosby then ordered the building to be 
fired. At that critical juncture, the Fifth, which, without 
the knowledge of the rebels, was bivouacking in a neigh- 
boring grove, burst upon them, under the command of 
Major Hammond. A furious fight ensued ; but the Con- 
federates fled, broken and scattered, sustaining a heavy 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 263 

loss in killed, wounded and prisoners. This gallant ex- 
ploit was noticed in warm commendation by a special 
order of the division commander. 

On the 30th of May, the rebels, by an adroit expedient, 

arrested a train advancing by the Orange and Alexandria 

rail road to the Rapidan, heavily ladened with army 

supplies, and opened upon it a fire from a twelve-pounder 

mountain howitzer. The infantry guard upon the train, 

unable to oppose the storm of cannister, dispersed, and the 

whole train with its contents was consumed. The Fifth, 

with the First Vermont and Seventh Michigan cavalry was 

stationed on the road, and through their encampment the 

train had just before passed. They were startled by the 

report of the gun, and those not engaged on picket duty 

directly mounted, and taking different routes marched 

across the country with the hope of intercepting the rebel 

retreat. The Fifth first came upon them and immediately 

charged ; but was repulsed by a discharge of small arms 

and the howitzer, at close quarters iii a narrow road which 

the guns completely commanded. The officer in command 

of the Fifth, Capt. Hasbroock, judiciously hesitated on 

renewing the assault, but Lieutenant Barker of Company 

H, unwilling to allow the enemy to escape in their triumph, 

and calling on the men to follow in the charge upon the 

gun, he dashed up a steep hill at the head of less than a 

score of volunteers, and when they had nearly reached 

the howitzer it poured forth a withering shower of 

cannister, by which the young leader was stricken down 

with two shot through his thigh, another severing the 

sole from his boot ; his horse received three grape and two 

pistol balls in his body. Three of the little baud were 

killed and most of the others severely wounded; but before 

the piece could be reloaded the survivors were sabreing 

the gunners at their post. After a brief but fierce conflict 

the howitzer was recaptured, for it had been taken at 

Ball's bluff', and to the captors it was a proud and grateful 

trophy. The rebels lost two officers and several men, 



264 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

wounded and captured. In this movement Mosby first intro- 
duced his use of artillery. 1 

Soon after this occurrence, the cavalry division to which 
the Fifth was attached, joined the army of the Potomac in 
the Gettysburg campaign. On the last day of June, the 
cavalry division of Kilpatrick, with two batteries of 
artillery, were defiling through Hanover, Penn. Each 
regiment, in its passage, was regaled by the patriotic 
citizens. "While the Fifth was in the act of participating 
in this hospitality, a cannon sounded from an adjacent 
height. For the moment it was supposed to be connected 
with the demonstration, but it proved to be a signal gun, 
and its echo had scarcely ceased, when Stuart, at the 
head of a large party of cavalry, rushed in a furious assault 
upon the Eighteenth Pennsylvania, which held the rear 
of the brigade. Stuart was unexpectedly present with 
three thousand horse, supported by artillery, and was in 
occupation of the surrounding hills. "With consummate 
coolness and judgment, Major Hammond, then in com- 
mand of the Fifth, which in the street received the first 
shock of the attack, instantly formed the regiment, faced 
to the rear in column, and charged the enemy's front. 
A fearful hand to hand conflict in the narrow street suc- 
ceeded, when the rebels, broken and repulsed, with a 
heavy loss, sought the protection of their artillery. The 
casualities of the Fifth were forty killed and wounded, and 
a few missing. Adjutant Gall was killed while charging 
in the street, and Major White slightly wounded. The 
trophies of the Fifth included the commander of a bri- 

1 The age of nineteen was attached in the compact I have mentioned to 
the signature of Elmer J. Barker. On the 9th of February, preceding this 
action, he suffered a severe contusion by the fall of uis horse while charging 
in the fight at New Baltimore. After receiving the wounds mentioned in 
the text, he was first carried to the hospital at Fairfax C. H., and subsequently 
in haste to Alexandria. From thence he was removed to New York, 
nursed and tenderly cared for by two ladies* whose husbands were in the 
regiment. From New York he was brought by the wife of a distinguished 
officer to his native mountains, where he recovered from his wounds and re- 
turned to the army. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 265 

gade, and a battle flag, and a few prisoners. The division 
was engaged in the afternoon of the 2d of July, with the 
enemy's cavalry on the left of their line at Gettysburg. 
Custer, with the second brigade, retaiued that position 
through the 3d. The First brigade including the Fifth, 
under Kilpatrick and Farnsworth, marched all the night 
of the 2d, and reached the right flank of the rebels about 
ten o'clock on he 3d, and maintained a vigorous contest 
through the day. Repeated charges were made upon the 
enemy's infantry line, in one of which General Farnsworth, 
the commander of the brigade, gallantly fell. The Fifth, 
during a part of these events, was left in support of Elder's 
battery, and exposed to a tremendous cannonade. 

On the night of the 4th, the cavalry division intercepted 
upon the summit of South mountain the enemy with an 
immense train transporting the spoils of Pennsylvania. 
After a sharp contest the entire train was captured with 
fifteen hundred prisoners and two hundred wagons burnt. 
On the 6th, the division was engaged in the defense of 
Hagerstown against the attacks of Stuart's cavalry, and in 
the afternoon of that day retreated before Hood's infantry 
towards Williamsport amid continuous and severe fighting. 
In one of the charges in these conflicts the horse of Cap- 
tain Penfield of Company H was killed under him, and 
while attempting to extricate himself from the fallen ani- 
mal he received a fearful sabre cut upon the head, and 
was taken prisoner. He suffered in the southern prisons 
until March, 1865, and resigned soon after his exchange. 
The third division, united with Burford's, maintained on 
the 8th upon the plains near Antietam creek a severe 
engagement with Stuart supported by Hood. The conflict 
was desperate and sanguinary, but in a final charge by the 
Union cavalry towards the close of the day, the rebels were 
swept from the field with a heavy loss. On the 14th the 
division attacked the rear of the retreating enemy near 
Falling Water, and captured a brigade of infantry under 
General Pettigrew, who was mortally wounded, two flags 
and two pieces of cannon. During the remainder of the 



266 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

summer and far into autumn the regiment was iucessantly 
engaged in the severest field duties, attended with frequent 
bloody collisions with the enemy's horse. On the 10th and 
11th of October, the division was involved in a most cri- 
tical position from a formidable attack by infantry and 
cavalry in the neighborhood of Culpepper, and near Brandy 
Station. Surrounded by the enemy, it was only extricated 
by one of the most daring charges led by Kilpatrick, Davies 
and Custer that signalized the war. The enemy was 
checked, and the division united with Burford's, and at night 
fell back across the Rappahannock. During these operations, 
Major Hammond, with half of the Fifth, was iu support of a 
section of Elder's battery, while Major White was support- 
ing the other section with the remainder of the regiment, 
and by a bold and opportune charge they saved the battery 
from capture. On the 10th of December, Major Ham- 
mond and Captain Krom were ordered home on recruiting 
service, and returned to the regiment before the middle of 
March, having enlisted five hundred men by great efforts 
and personal disbursements. A large part of the regiment 
at this time reentered the service on a new enlistment. 

At the approach of the new year of 1864, the Fifth were 
permitted to construct near Germania Ford its winter 
quarters ; but this promise of repose resulted in only slight 
actual relaxation of their active patrol service. On the 
28th February, the entire third division marched upon a 
raid of more than usual importance towards Richmond. 
A detachment of the Fifth was detailed to serve in the 
subordinate and unfortunate expedition of Colonel Dahl- 
gren, but it embraced no member of Company H. The 
division encountered in its movement extreme suffering 
and toil, at length reached the Union lines near Yorktown, 
were transported to Alexandria, and from thence reached 
its former camp at Steven sburg. Towards the close of 
April, the regiment broke up its nominal winter quarters 
and prepared for the impending campaign. On the 4th 
of May, the Fifth leading the division forded the Rapidan ; 
the first regiment in this campaign that crossed that 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 267 

stream. Early the next morning a heavy column of infantry 
appeared on its flank, and a furious conflict immediately 
commenced. This action was the initiative of the memo- 
rable battle of the Wilderness. Colonel Hammond after 
holding his ground three hours, advised General Meade of 
the evidently large force in his front, with the assurance 
that he would "hold them in check as long as possible." 
By voice and example he maintained the regiment reso- 
lutely in hand. A portion of it was dismounted, and as- 
sailed the enemy with the Spencer rifle with terrible effect. 
Until relieved by a part of the sixth corps, the Fifth, with 
unsurpassed firmness and devotion, confronted for five 
hours the assailing column, and slowly and defiantly fall- 
ing back. It performed most valuable service to the 
army but at a fearful sacrifice to itself. After this bril- 
liant achievement, the Fifth was ordered to bivouac near 
the Wilderness Tavern, to be under the immediate orders 
of General Meade. 

On the 7th, the Fifth, in conjunction with two other 
regiments, all under the command of Colonel Hammond, 
was again in the advance, intrusted with the respon- 
sible duty of guarding the fords and picketting the 
roads. In the afternoon, the command was attacked by 
cavalry and artillery, and a part giving way, Hammond 
was compelled to make a rapid retreat down the river. 
When Grant effected his first flank movement, the Fifth 
was the last regiment that left the Wilderness. It was in 
the rear of Burnside's corps, and the command of Ham- 
mond, subsequently formed the rear of Hancock's corps. 
Colonel Hammond was reen forced on the 17th, by the 
First Massachusetts, twelve hundred strong, with direct 
orders from General Meade, to destroy the Guineas station, 
and make a reconnaissance on Lee's flank. He found 
the enemy strongly fortified on the banks of the Potomac, 
and a warmly contested action occurred, without dislodg- 
ing their force. Four days later, the regiment had 
another severe fight on the Mattapony. On the 23d, it 
encountered the enemy in large force, near Mt. Carmel 



2(38 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

church. A furious fight ensued, that brought on a general 
engagement between the armies, which resulted in the 
rebels being driven from their strong position on the 
North Anna. The brigade, on the 1st of June, met the 
rebels in a conflict of unusual severity, at Ashland station. 
Although inflicting a heavy loss upon the enemy, it suf- 
fered itself severely. Major White of the Fifth, was 
dangerously wounded, and Colonel Hammond received 
a ball just above the ankle, that had flattened upon his 
scabbard. On a previous occasion he had been wounded 
jn the hand. At Salem church the brigade was again en- 
gaged, and on the 15th, near White Oaks Swamp, the 
division suddenly encountered a heavy Confederate co- 
lumn, and after a severely contested action, the division 
was overwhelmed by superior numbers, suffered heavily, 
and was compelled to fall back. 

General Wilson, who had succeeded Kilpatrick in the 
command of the Third division, aided by Kautz's brigade 
of cavalry, and fourteen pieces of flying artillery on the 
22d of June, commenced his remarkable raid which was 
designed to sever the enemy's communications below Rich- 
mond. Rushing with the utmost celerity along devious 
roads and through unfrequented bypaths, it accomplished a 
vast work of devastation. It first struck the Weldon rail 
road ; it next reached the South Side road ; here and every- 
where on its march destruction marked its track. Near 
the close of the second day, it was met by a strong force 
of the enemy ; a sharp engagement followed, protracted long 
into the night. The Fifth was in the skirmish line, and 
fought with its usual ardor and efficiency. On the 24th 
the expedition reached and effectually broke up the Danville 
road. The next da} 7 Kautz was repulsed in an attempt to 
burn the bridge over the Staunton river. Up to this point, 
ten important and several smaller stations and depots had 
been destroyed, and fifty miles of rail road track with their 
bridges and culverts. The course of the expedition was 
now describing a wide circle gradually tending towards the 
Union line. The 28th, it reached the Weldon road, and 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 269 

through the night with brief pauses was engaged in a fight 
with an infantry force. On the eighth clay of its march it 
again approached Ream's station. The Fifth was leading, 
and a mile and a half in advance of the column. Here the 
harassed troops had the assurance of meeting a support, but 
instead of succor and friends, they were confronted by an 
impassable barrier, supported by a force of overwhelming 
strength. The decision was promptly made to attempt a 
retreat to Rowanty creek and there fortify while scouts 
should penetrate the rebel lines and apprise General Grant 
of the critical position of the command. The execution of 
the plan was attempted, but while the main body was 
in bivouac it was irresistibly assailed by the rebels on its 
flanks and rear and utterly routed. I am unable to trace 
the incidents by which the command, broken up and scat- 
tered, reached the Federal lines by detachments, in small 
parties and individually, many after several days of severe 
suffering. The artillery, wagons and trains were lost. Many 
of the troops were slain and numerous prisoners and horses 
left in the enemy's hands. Hundreds of slaves, who had 
gathered in joyous exultation around the column, were 
abandoned to their fate. 

The shattered Fifth, after its fearful endurance in this 
expedition, was allowed a brief period of repose, but on the 
6th of August, the whole division was embarked on trans- 
ports at City Point and transferred to a new field of action 
with the army of the Shenandoah. A number of the regi- 
ment, who were disabled or had lost their horses in the 
raid, had been previously sent to camp Stoneman near Wash- 
ington, participated in the series of battles fought the 
month of July in upper Maryland. The Fifth was soon 
after actively engaged in picket duty, in aiding to cover 
Sheridan's retreat from Cedar creek, slowly falling back 
amid incessant conflicts. On the 25th of August, the first 
and third divisions of cavalry met a heavy force of the 
enemy under Breckenridge, and after a protracted engage- 
ment were forced to retreat. The regiment lost a number 
in. killed and wounded, including Lieutenant Greenleaf 



270 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

commanding Company A; mortally wounded. At night it 
moved to the Potomac, and crossing at Maryland heights 
on a pontoon bridge, it did not pause until it reached Antie- 
tam creek. Two days afterwards the division recrossed 
the Potomac and with the army again assumed an offensive 
attitude. 

The term of Colonel Hammond's service having expired 
and private duties constraining his return to civil life, on 
the 30th of August, he bade a formal farewell to the noble 
regiment he had so long commanded and led through a 
series of such brilliant services. An infinitude of toils and 
privation, of perils and triumphs and a common fame, had 
united the officers and men of the Fifth by no ordinary 
ties of cordial affection, and fraternal sympathy. As no 
man had entered the service of the country from loftier 
impulses than Colonel Hammond, so no officer of his 
grade left the army with a higher reputation. He was 
succeeded in the command of the regiment by Lieutenant 
Colonel Bacon. 1 

In the early part of September, the brigade was con- 
stantly engaged with the enemy's forces, and on the 
13th captured at Opequan the South Carolina Eighth with 
its colonel and standard. On the 19th, it was engaged in 
the terrible battle near Winchester, and during that day 
executed five distinct charges, four of which were against 
the close serried ranks of infantry. Its losses were heavy, 
but its bearing was eminently conspicuous. Advancing 
in the pursuit of the enemy, the regiment was exposed 
near Ashbury church to a furious shelling, such as it had 
never before experienced; but it maintained its position 



1 The application of Colonel Hammond to be mustered out, was approved 
by General Wilson, in an endorsement from which I make the following 
extracts: "Colonel Hammond is a most valuable and worthy officer, 
and has served with great credit to himself, and benefit to the service." 
General Torbet in his approval writes : "lam pleased to mention from per- 
sonal observation, that he is one of the most accomplished officers I have 
known in the service, and the country can ill afford to lose the services of 
such an officer at this time." — Boudrye. 






MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 271 

with unfaltering firmness and tenacity. Through the 
month of September it had trifling relief from incessant 
and harassing duty in patroling, forming escort, and in 
actual conflict. During this period, one of the most sad 
and revolting services was imposed on the Fifth, that the 
harsh severity of warfare exacts from the soldier. A Lieu- 
tenant Meigs of the Union army had been barbarously 
assassinated by unknown persons residing near Dayton. 
The government deemed a stern retaliatory example de- 
manded, and ordered every edifice to be burnt in an area 
of three miles. The regiment was detailed to execute 
this fearful retribution. Numerous splendid mansions and 
happy homes were consigned to the torch, without any 
discrimination between the innocent and guilty ; but the im- 
pulses of compassion at length prevailed and the order was 
arrested before the devastation reached the pleasant village 
of Dayton. During several successive days, the regiment 
was employed in the burning of forage and grain and the 
destruction of mills; a ruthless necessity of war, that 
marked the course of Sheridan's army with ashes and ruin. 
Determined to arrest the harassing assaults of the enemy 
upon the Union pickets and rear, Custer, with the Third 
division on the 9th of October turned back upon and at- 
tacked them in one of the most spirited cavalry actions of 
the war. Amid the animating clangor of the bugles 
along the whole front, sounding the charge, the entire line 
rushed forward ; Custer himself at the head of the Fifth 
dashed upon the rebel's strong central position. The issue 
formed a brilliant success to the federal troops. On the 
19th, the division was lying at Cedar creek with the 
Union army, and indulging in its fatal security. It en- 
dured the common disasters incident to the surprise and 
rout, and fully participated in the crowning victory 
wrought by the marvellous inspirations of Sheridan. Near 
the close of the day, the Confederates made a final and 
desperate effort to redeem its fortunes, by a cavalry attack 
upon the flank of the Union army. This movement, Cus- 
ter was ordered to repel. Torn by the Union artillery, 



272 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. , 

and at sundown assailed by the whole line, the rebels 
broke and fled in a disordered rout. At that moment, 
the Third division burst upon them in a merciless pursuit. 
There was no cheering; no sounding of trumpets, and 
the flying enemy were admonished of impending slaughter 
only by the trampling of pursuing horses. At length they 
halt and pour a volley upon the Union cavalry. Then 
the bugles sounded and Custer and his men were in their 
midst, and a scene of carnage ensued that had scarcely a 
parrallel in the war. A bloody track, weapons broken or 
abandoned, the bodies of the dead and wounded, attested 
the horrors of the flight. For five miles the pursuit con- 
tinued, until darkness spread its compassionate mantle 
over the frightful spectacle. Captain Barker of Company 
H, by the personal command of Custer, had led the charge. 
The Fifth, commanded in the field by Major A. H. Krom, 
gleaned immense spoils from the common harvest of the 
great victory. 1 

The Second and Third divisions of cavalry while engaged 
in a reconnaissance on the 22d of November, near Mt. 
Jackson, were involved in a hard fought battle, and 
again the Fifth was peculiarly distinguished, in repelling 
by a bold and vigorous movement a flank attack on the 
column by the Confederate cavalry. On the 25th, the regi- 
ment was ordered into camp near the headquarters of the 
commanding general, and a few days after was allowed to 
construct its winter quarters near Winchester. On the 
27th of February, 1865, Sheridan moved with the cavalry 



1 This is attested by the official receipt : " Received of the Fifth New York 
Cavalry commanded by Major A. H. Krom, twenty-two pieces of artillery, 
fourteen caissons, one battery wagon, seventeen army wagons, six spring 
wagons and ambulances, eighty-three sets of artillery harness, seventy-five 
sets of wagon harness, ninety-eight horses, sixty-seven mules, captured in 
action in the battle of the 19th October, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Va. A. C. M. 
Pennington, Jr., colonel commanding brigade." General Custer, in an enthu- 
siastic address to the Tbird division, among other high panegyrics on its 
achievement, exclaims : " Again, during the memorable engagement of the 
19th, your conduct throughout was sublimely heroic and without a parallel 
in the annals of warfare." 



MILITARY AXD POLITICAL HISTORY. 273 

of the Shenandoah towards Staunton, and on the 1st of 
March at Waynesboro', nearly annihilated the relics of 
Early's army. Fourteen hundred prisoners were among 
the fruits of this victory. Sheridan decided to trausfer 
most of these to the Union rear, and the Fifth, under Colo- 
nel Boice, with broken parties of other regiments, amount- 
ing in all to about one thousand men, was detached as 
their escort. The distance was more than one hundred 
miles, through a country infested by guerrilla bands, and 
occupied by General Rosser, an alert and energetic rebel 
leader. The service was difficult and perilous, but was 
successfully executed. Rosser made a vehement effort to 
rescue the prisoners, but was repulsed with a severe loss, 
leaving a number of his troops to augment the aggregate 
of prisoners. General Sheridan had detained about his 
own person a small detachment of the Fifth, selected for 
special duty. These accompanied him on his trying march 
to the James ; participated with their wonted efficiency in 
the closing battles of the war, and were present at the sur- 
render of Lee. 

The main body of the regiment performed on the 19th 
of May its final service in an expedition to Lexington, Va., 
to effect the arrest of Governor Letcher, and on the 19th of 
July it received its last general orders, directing its return 
to Xew York, to be there mustered out of service and 
discharged. By an auspicious fortune the Fifth had fought 
at Hanover, Pa., the first battle on free soil ; it was the first 
Union regiment that crossed the Rapidan in Grant's cam- 
paign ; it received the first shock at the battle of the 
Wilderness, and was the last to leave the field. 1 

The One Hundred and Eighteenth New York Volunteers. 
This gallant regiment was recruited entirely. in the six- 
teenth congressional district, and throughout its whole 



1 Besides official documents, I am largely indebted to the Rev. Mr. Boudrye's 
Historic Record of tlie Fifth for the facts I have embodied in the preceding 
pages. I have also received valuable information from officers connected 
with the regiment. 

18 



274 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

career, was an object of peculiar pride and solicitude to 
the people of that district. Its organization embraced 
three companies from Warren county, A, D, G; three 
from Clinton county, B, H, I ; three from Essex county, 
C, E, F ; and one, K, from Essex and Clinton. The latter 
company was enrolled chiefly in the Au Sable valley ; a 
part in Peru, and a small portion, including the captain, 
were residents of Jay. The regiment, with great appro- 
priateness designated the Adironclac, was mustered into 
service the 29th August, 1862, with Samuel F. Richards 
of Warrensburg, colonel, Oliver Keese, Jr., of Keese- 
ville, lieutenant-colonel, and George F. Nichols, of Pitts- 
burgh, major. By the successive resignations in both 
cases from severe sickness, of Colonel Richards in the 
summer of 1863, and Keese, in May, 1864, Major Nichols 
was promoted to the command of the regiment, and led 
it with distinguished skill and courage in many of the 
severe conflicts it encountered. Colouel Keese, during 
his command of the regiment, was usually in the perform- 
ance of active duty in the field. At the mustering in, the 
officers of Company C were James H. Pierce of St. 
Armands, Captain Nathan L. Washburn of Wilmington, 
first, and George M. Butrick of Jay, second lieutenant ; 
the two latter resigned in 1863, and were succeeded by 
George F. Campbell and Luther S. Bryant. Of Company 
E, Jacob Parmerter of North Hudson was captain, Jo- 
seph R. Seaman of Schroon, first lieutenant, who was 
promoted to the captaiucy of Company A, and came home 
in that command ; and John Brydon of Crown Point second 
lieutenant, who succeeded Seaman, was promoted to the 
command of Company K, was afterwards in the ordnance 
department and general staff", and brevetted major. Ser- 
geant Edgar A. Wing succeeded Brydon and Sergeant J. 
Wesley Treadway, promoted to second lieutenant; in 
November, 1864, first lieutenant Company A. Corporal 
M. V. B. Knox was promoted second lieutenant Colored 
Volunteers, and left the service with rank of captain. In 
Company F, Robert W. Livingstone of Elizabethtown, 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 275 

was captain, and received the brevet of major; John L. 
Cunningham, of Essex, first lieutenant, was promoted in 
1863, to captain of Company D, and to major in 1864, and 
brevetted lieutenant-colonel ; and William H. Stevenson 
of Moriah, second lieutenant, who succeeded Cunningham. 
Henry J. Northrop was appointed second lieutenant in 
1864; Daniel A. O'Connor was promoted to first lieu- 
tenant in 1864, and came home in acting command of 
company. Charles A. Grace was promoted to second lieu- 
tenant. Henry J. Adams and Nelson J. Gibbs were pro- 
moted from this company to lieutenancies in Companies 
G, and I. Adams was afterwards advanced to captain 
and commissioner of subsistence and brevet major, 1ST. Y. 
Y. Rowland C. Kellogg, promoted to second, soon after 
first lieutenant Company D, and in 1864 appointed captain 
in commissary department. The officers of Company K 
were John S. Stone of Jay, captain, John H. Boynton of 
Peru, first lieutenant, resigned in spring of 1864 and suc- 
ceeded by Sam Sherman of Company D. Henry M. 
Mould, of Keeseville, second lieutenant resigned in 1863 
and succeeded by Charles "W. Wells, who was promoted 
to captaincy of Company C, and came home in command. 
Philip Y. N. McLean was promoted from this company to 
second lieutenant Company D. Charles E. Pruyn was 
adjutant of the regiment on the organization. Patrick 
H. Delany, quarter master; John K. Mooers, surgeon, 
James G. Porteous, assistant, promoted to surgeon in Forty 
sixth, and Charles L. Hagar, chaplain. 

The One Hundred and Eighteenth regiment entered 
the service with an aggregate of nine hundred and eighty- 
three men ; it was reenforced at intervals, by three hun- 
dred and fifty recruits, but returned from the field at 
the expiration of its term with only three hundred and 
twenty-three in its ranks, embracing both officers and pri- 
vates. Immediately upon joining the army the regiment 
commenced a series of active and incessant duties. It 
formed a part of Peck's force, in the memorable defense of 
Suffolk, and was employed in the arduous raids along the 



276 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Black river. It was warmly engaged through two days and 
often under heavy fire, in a continued skirmish with the 
rebel sharp-shooters near Suffolk, and participated in the 
feint upon Richmond in June, 1863. The brigade to which 
the One Hundred and Eighteenth regiment was attached 
was in the advance, and the regiment was ordered to destroy 
parts of the Richmond and Fredericksburg rail road. 
While the regiment was engaged in executing this service, 
two companies, A, Captain Norris, and F in the absence 
from severe sickness of Captain Livingstone commanded 
by Lieutenant Cunningham, were advanced as skirmishers 
along the rail road, towards the South Anna river, and after 
cautiously proceeding about one mile came in contact with 
the rebel pickets. The command continued to advance in 
line under a sharp and constant fire, the enemy slowly re- 
tiring, and speedily in addition to small arms they opened a 
fire on the Union troops from batteries in front commanding 
the line of the rail road and on a flank. The companies under 
this concentrated fire were compelled to retreat and fell back 
in order, assuming a strong position in a wood, behind a 
ditch with an open field in front. During this movement, 
Lieutenant Cunningham received a painful wound from a 
spent ball, but did not leave the field. Major Nichols 
soon after appeared on the ground with two fresh compa- 
nies, D, Captain Riggs, and a company of the Ninety-ninth 
New York. These companies deploj^ed on either side, 
and the line thus formed made a rapid advance. A warm 
action ensued in which the command was subjected to a 
heavy fire of mingled bullets, shot and shells. The enemy 
were at length driven back along their whole front, except 
at one point in their position, which was obstinately main- 
tained and appeared to be fortified. This point, which 
proved to be a breastwork of plank, Lieutenant W. H. 
Stevenson of Company F proposed to capture; and calling 
for volunteers for the service, selected five of the first who 
offered. He rapidly advanced in the dark behind a screen 
of bushes, which flanked the rebel's position on the right, 
and with fixed bayonets and loaded guns rushed upon the 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 277 

breastwork with a wild shout. Although surprised, the 
enemy attempted a resistance, but the gallant Stevenson 
killed one with his revolver, wounded a second and cap- 
tured the remainder of the party consisting of thirteen 
men, who were brought into the Federal lines. This dash- 
ing exploit initiated the brief though brilliant career of the 
stripling hero. The constancy and resolution of the regi- 
ment was first tested on this occasion, and the conduct of 
the officers engaged and the steadiness and discipline of 
the troops received the highest encomiums. 

The One Hundred and Eighteenth continued attached 
to the column of the James until the spring of 1864, and 
was engaged in operations near Norfolk and Bermuda Hun- 
dred. It composed a portion of Wistar's command, when 
it advanced to Bottom's Bridge from Williamsburg, in 
an attempt upon Richmond. 

It at this time constituted a part of the second brigade, 
first division of the eighteenth corps. General W. F. Smith 
commanded the corps, Brooks the division, and Burnham 
the brigade. All these officers were eminently distinguished 
by their fighting qualities and high reputation. Early 
in May, the army marched upon the ill-omened expedition 
against Fort Darling on the James, which was terminated 
by the fatal results at Drury's Bluff. The march from the 
commencement to its disastrous issue, was a constant scene 
of fighting and skirmishes. On the tenth, Companies D, 
F, and K, were advanced in a skirmishing line, the last held 
in reserve, while the remainder of the regiment was de- 
ployed. The coolness and bearing of Lieutenant Stevenson 
of F, and Kellogg of Company D, were conspicuous, and the 
steadiness of the whole line was eminently distinguished. 1 

The One Hundred and Eighteenth, four days after, cap- 
tured with small loss a series of rifle pits, redoubts and 
batteries, which formed a strong advance line of the enemy. 
* , 

1 The firmness and constancy of the skirmishing line drew out from Burn - 
ham's adjutant general, the emphatic tribute : " There is a line the rebels 
can't break." 



278 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

This work from the form of its construction afforded no 
protection to the Federal troops. The enemy occupied a 
short distance in front, far more formidable works mounted 
with heavy guns, and during the whole day the second 
brigade was exposed to a severe fire of shells from this 
work. One of the missiles crushed the head of Sergeant 
Place of Company K, a brave and intelligent soldier. 
Throughout Sunday, the 15th, the brigade maintained this 
exposed position, which was soon to acquire a dread and 
bloody prominence in one of the darkest pages of the 
war. Heckman's brigade, lying to the right of the Second, 
formed the extreme right of the army line. Between 
Heckman's brigade and the James, there was an interval 
of a mile in length, which was left unoccupied, except by 
a few feeble and scattering posts of colored cavalry. No 
entrenchments had been constructed either in front of the 
Union lines or on the flank ; excepting such as were 
hastily thrown up, under the direction of commanders of 
particular brigades or regiments. The ground had been 
previously occupied by the Confederates, by whom scattered 
and irregular redoubts, trenches and rifle pits were con- 
structed ; but these were so arranged that they afforded no 
protection to the Union troops in their present position. 
The line held by the second brigade, stretched along a 
deep excavation which had beeu made by the rebels, and 
at this time was filled with water. A standing place was 
formed for the brigade, by levelling a narrow space, between 
this ditch and the embankment created by the earth thrown 
up in its construction. 1 Slight bridges were at short inter- 
vals thrown across the Trench. These precautions proved 
a few hours later of infinite importance. The embankment 
was thus converted into an imperfect defense, which in the 
subsequent action afforded great protection to the troops. 
General Brooks conceived the novel and happy idea of 



1 Contrary to the prevailing opinion I ani assured by an officer who par- 
ticipated in the campaign that the One Hundred and Eighteenth, at least 
was supplied with entrenching tools. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 279 

extending a telegraph wire in front of the brigade ; but 
unfortunately, Heckman's brigade was without even this 
feeble protection, and lay totally exposed to the assault of 
a vigilant foe. 1 

At three o'clock on the morning of the 16th, the One 
Hundred and Eighteenth was aroused and at its post, 
in conformity to special orders, or its established practice. 
The air was loaded with a thick, dank fog, which the 
opening dawn but slightly dissipated. As sun-rise ap- 
proached, the advance or movement of troops was noticed 
in front, but in the obscure light, the color of their uniform 
could not be distinguished, nor their evolutions deter- 
mined. A few shots from Belger's artillery, in front of 
the brigade, were thrown into the ravine along which 
these troops were advancing, and they were seen to halt 
and lie down. A staff* officer, who at that moment ap- 
peared on the field, pronouncing them to be federal 
pickets retiring, and ordered the firing to cease. Small 
white flags or signals were distinctly discerned, waving 
in the mist, and voices shouted from the obscurity, " Don't 
fire on your friends." The musketry had already become 
sharp on the right, but the second brigade had received 
no orders of any kind. There was a period of fearful 
suspense and hesitation. Captain Ramson of Company I, 
unable to restrain his impatience, leaped upon the em- 
bankment, and firing his revolver, exclaimed : " This is 
my reception of such friends." The last chamber was 
scarcely exploded, when he fell, pierced by a ball that 
passed through his body, and shattered an arm. Doubt 
no longer existed of the character or purpose of these 
troops, and the Ohe Hundred and Eighteenth instantly 
poured a volley into the advancing line. The front rank 
of the enemy now rushing impetuously forward, and in 
the dimness of the light, stumbled over the wires, and those 
in the rear pressing after them, all were hurled together 



J The inspiration I have imputed to General Brooks has been also ascribed 
to other sources. 



280 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

in a promiscuous mass ; their ranks broken and thrown 
into inextricable disorder. Many of the enemy involved 
in this confusion, threw down their arms and surrendered, 
and were sent to the rear. Up to this point, the One 
Hundred and Eighteenth had achieved a success. It was 
vigilant, and the contemplated surprise had been defeated ; 
but Heckman's brigade was surprised and nearly flanked, 
from the undefended space on its right. It had fallen 
back, and at one time the whole brigade were prisoners ; 
but in the tumult, and amid the dense mist and smoke, 
escaped. The Eighth Connecticut, next on the right of 
the One Hundred and Eighteenth, was attacked in flank, 
doubled up and disappeared from the field. The One 
Hundred and Eighteenth was now exposed to a crushing 
fire in front and upon the right flank. The extempora- 
neous traverses which it had constructed at this crisis, 
were most effective, affording a partial protection, and for 
awhile the resistance of the regiment appeared to be suc- 
cessful ; but it was enveloped by an overwhelming force, 
and a terrific and sanguinary conflict ensued. In this 
desperate aspect of the battle, each man was directed to 
gain the rear without regard to discipline. A few em- 
braced the opportunity to retreat; others still sustained 
the fight, while the wounded implored their comrades not 
to abandon them, and more than one noble life was sacri- 
ficed to preserve these sufferers from the horrid calamities 
of a hostile prison house. The regiment was soon after 
rallied, and made a gallant stand ; but was compelled to 
fall back : again advanced a short space, and ultimately 
retreated in order. Captain Dominy, the senior officer, 
succeeded to the temporary command of the regiment, on 
the disability of Colonel Mchols. 

The dire aceldama was ennobled by deeds of daring 
heroism, and instances of exalted devotion. An intrepid 
young lieutenant, Henry J. Adams, of Elizabethtown, at 
the moment the regiment was breaking, seized a standard, 
and shouting the words so familiar to scenes of home and 
festive joy ousuess : " Rally round the flag, boys," attempted 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 281 

to arrest the retreat, and essentially aided in rallying the 
troops. Captain Robert W. Livingstone of Company F, 
early in the action, moved from the cover of the embank- 
ment in order to communicate with Colonel Nichols, and 
while standing a moment exposed, was struck down by a 
frightful wound in the shoulder. His gallant young lieu- 
tenent, W. H. Stevenson, who was behind an embankment 
and in a situation comparatively secure, saw him fall, and 
calling on the men to bring in their captain, rushed out 
to Livingstone's assistance, accompanied by four of the 
company. Livingstone admonished them of the great ex- 
posure they incurred, and urged that he might be left; but 
Stevenson persisted in his generous purpose, and in a 
moment after fell dead at his commander's side, a sacrifice 
to duty and friendship. Two of the brave men 1 were pro- 
strated by wounds, were captured and died in southern 
prisons. Livingstone, as he was borne from the field, was 
struck by another shot, that terribly lacerated his foot 
and leg. He languished in great suffering fourteen months 
in a hospital, before his severe wounds permitted a return 
to his home, a mutilated and disabled soldier. 2 

The regiment was not pursued by the severely puuished 
enemy and was immediately rallied by its own officers. It 
maintained a bold and defiant attitude until most of its 
wounded were borne from the field. In that conflict, 
scarcely extending over the space of half an hour, the 
One Hundred and Eighteenth out of the three hundred 
and fifty men engaged lost one hundred and ninety-eight 
privates and thirteen officers in killed, wounded and 
prisoners. Amid all these disasters and sacrifices, the 
regiment had captured and secured two hundred prisoners, 



1 George Miller and William Huff. Their names are worthy of commem- 
moration. 

2 Captain Livingstone gives utterance to this just and feeling tribute to 
the memory of Stevenson : " No more gallant and generous spirit was 
offered among the victims of the war." No praise of Lieutenant Stevenson — 
his gallant ardor — his dash — his generous friendship, can be misplaced. — 
Major Livingstone's Letter. 



282 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

a greater number than it retained men fit for duty. 
Among the killed on this fatal day was Captain John S. 
Stone of Company K. 1 Lieutenant Stevenson was killed 
and Lieutenant Edgar A. Wing, Company E, a youth of 
high promise who had joined the company only a few days 
before, was mortally wounded, taken prisoner and died the 
next day. Lieutenant Colonel Nichols was slightly wounded 
in the side and hand, from which his sword was stricken by 
a shot; and his clothing, as was that of several other officers, 
was riddled by bullets. Adjutant John M. Carter lost an 
arm and was captured ; Captain Livingstone and Ransom 
were severely wounded ; Lieutenants Treadway and Sher- 
man were wounded, and Captain Dennis Stone, Company 
A, and James H. Pierce, Company C, taken prisoners. The 
arm}- on the same day fell back to Bermuda Hundred and 
fortified; but the stricken and fragmentary One Hundred and 
Eighteenth were exempted from the toil of entrenching. 

On the 29th of May the eighteenth corps, embracing the 
One Hundred and Eighteenth, embarked in transports, and 
passing down the James, ascended the Pamunky and 
landed at the White House. Directly upon disembarking 
it was rushed to the front, and on the 1st of June joined 
the army of the Potomac. On that day near Coal Harbor 
commenced a battle which continued until the 3d, and was 
one of the most severely contested and sanguinary engage- 
ments of the war; but its incidents and results have been 
singularly veiled from the public eye. The Eighteenth 
corps occupied a position in front of the Union army. The 
One Hundred and Eighteenth was engaged in the bloody 
scenes of these conflicts, but not unconnected with its corps. 
Its casualties were extremely severe. At times exposed to 
a heav}- fire in front and enfiladed by a battery and rifle 



J Captain Stone, before entering the army, was pastor of the Presbyterian 
church at Au Sable Forks. Although singularly modest and retiring in his 
habits, he was disposed from the impulses of duty to engage in the conflict, 
and when a large number of the intelligent and energetic youth of the 
vicinity offered to enhst under his command, he freely and promptly offered 
his services to the country. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 283 

pits, to escape annihilation the troops were compelled to 
lie prone upon the earth, while a tempest of miuie balls, 
shot and shells, hurtled just above them. The dead could 
neither be removed nor buried, and their corpses were thrown 
upon the breastwork, with a slight covering of earth strewn 
upon them, and thus their decaying bodies aided to form a 
bulwark for the protection of their living comrades. The 
taint from the decomposing mass became almost insuffera- 
ble, before the corps was withdrawn from the trenches. 1 
The sufferings of the regiment through the trying ordeal of 
those eight days were extreme. It lost at Coal Harbor 
seventy men and officers. Among the casualties were 
Lieutenant Michael Reynolds of Company A, killed, and 
Captain Jacob Parmerter of Company E severely wounded 
with the loss of a leg. 

An impregnable line in front arrested all advance by the 
Union army, but the enemy was held in an equally tenacious 
and unyielding grasp. The eighteenth corps sustained its 
exposed position, and in the end formed a curtain behind 
which, on the 12th, General Grant accomplished his perilous 
and memorable flank movement which effected the change 
of his base. When this bold and remarkable operation had 
been accomplished, the Eighteenth, also, hastily abandoned 
its entrenchments and fell back unopposed to White House, 
and returned to its previous field of duty. On the 15th of 
June, the One Hundred and Eighteenth was engaged in the 
attack on Petersburg. Here it suffered a heavy loss in the 
death of Major Charles E. Pruyn, who was in temporary 
command of the regiment. While standing in an exposed 
position, and in the act of surveying the works he was pre- 
paring to assault, he was struck and horribly mutilated by 
a shell. He had acted as adjutant in the* organization of 
the regiment, and its singular proficiency and high disci- 

1 An intelligent and gallant officer who was present in some of the most 
severe battles of the war, said to me that the terrible fighting at Coal Har- 
bor " far exceeded anything he had witnessed ; that the field was literally 
swept by the storm of bullets, and that a hat raised a short space from the 
ground would instantly be riddled by balls." 



284 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pline were chiefly imputed to the skill and assiduity of his 
services, sustained by the field oflicers preeminently by the 
military attainments and persistent zeal of Colonel Keese. 1 
Lieutenant Rowland C. Kellogg was also wounded by the 
explosion of a shell. Captain Levi S. Dominy of Company 
B succeeded to the immediate command of the regiment. 

The fierce and protracted siege of Petersburg exacted 
from the One Hundred and Eighteenth the most arduous 
and exhaustive duties. Night succeeded the day, days 
rolled into weeks, and the weeks formed months, but their 
toils had no mitigation, while their endurance and dangers 
were perpetual. Now exposed to the burning sun and 
breathing the arid sand, and now struggling in mud and 
water ; often suffering for drink, seldom able to wash, and 
never changing their clothing for rest. Constantly shelled 
and frequently enfiladed by new batteries ; burrowing in 
the earth to escape projectiles, against which ordinary 
entrenchments afforded no protection, the troops were 
yet joyous, patient, enduring and full of hope. Amid 
all these exposures and suffering, after it had recovered 
from an almost universal prostration by chills and fever at 
Gloucester point, and although moving in a malarious 
region, the One Hundred and Eighteenth was always 
vigorous and healthy. The rigorous ordeal to which it 
was now subjected, continued with brief relief until the 
29th of July, when the regiment was withdrawn to aid in 
the support of the storming column, which was designed 
to assail the enemy's works, on the explosion of the long 
projected mine. They witnessed in sadness and humilia- 
tion the disastrous failure of that magnificent experiment. 
On the 27th of August, after a term of two months, the 
second brigade -was relieved from its arduous trench 
duties. During the long period of one hundred and thir- 

1 Major Pruyn had been first lieutenant in the Ninety-seventh, but resigned 
and became attached to the One Hundred and Eighteenth. In the summer 
of 1863 he was appointed major, on the recommendation of a large part of 
the line officers of the regiment, a majority of whom held senior rank. — 
Major Livingstone's letter. 




■ r-SS 







MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 285 

teen days, the One Hundred and Eighteenth had marched 
and toiled, and endured, with no enjoyment of quiet repose, 
and almost incessantly subjected to the fire of the enemy. 
A single month, the One Hundred and Eighteenth was 
permitted to repose, after its prolonged and severe service, 
in a pleasant encampment near the southern banks of the 
James. In that interval, the Ninety-sixth had been attached 
to the second brigade. This brigade, by the proficiency of 
its drill, its exact discipline, and general efficiency, had be- 
come conspicuous and universally esteemed second to no 
other in its distinguished corps. On the 27th September, 
every indication presaged the renewal of active duty. 
Rations for two days were ordered to be prepared. An 
unusual earnestness and activity were manifested by the 
generals and their staffs. The next night, the tattoo, sug- 
gestive of repose, had scarcely sounded, when the brigade 
was ordered to move promptly and in profound silence, 
leaving their tents standing. Previous to breaking camp, 
the One Hundred and Eighteenth and the Tenth New 
Hampshire had by a special order exchanged their Enfield 
guns for the Spencer repeating rifle, a tremendous weapon 
in the hands of resolute and expert marksmen. This selec- 
tion by the corps commander was a distinguished recogni- 
tion of the efficiency of the preferred regiments. At three 
o'clock on the morning of the 29th, the division led by the 
second brigade, was passing over the James upon a pontoon 
bridge, which had been completed the same hour. The 
sound of the movement was suppressed by earth or other sub- 
stances strewn upon the bridge. On reaching the north bank 
of the river, the One Hundred and Eighteenth and Tenth 
New Hampshire were thrown out as skirmishers and flank- 
ers, while the remainder of the command was advanced 
along the road in column. Soon after daybreak a brisk 
fire was opened by the enemy's pickets which fell back on 
their reserves, and the whole were forced rapidly back 
through a dense wood, for the distance of more than two 
miles, when the Union column entered upon open ground. 
A strong earth work was now revealed in front, and 



286 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

mounted with heavy guns. This formidable work, was 
Fort or rather Battery Harrison, and General Stannard 
instantly ordered Burnham to take it by assault. The 
Ninety-sixth and Eighth Connecticut forming the storm- 
ing column were supported by the First and Third bri- 
gade of the division with the One Hundred and Eighteenth 
New York, and Twelfth New Hampshire as skirmishers 
on their flank. The column rushed impetuously forward, 
along the open space, met by a furious plunging fire from 
the enemy's lines. When it reached, after this rapid 
advance along a distance of nearly three-fourths of a mile, 
the base of the eminence upon which the works were 
erected, the column breathless and exhausted, paused in a 
position comparatively protected. As we have already 
seen, the enemy was hastening reenforcements to the point 
of attack, and the commander both of the division and 
brigade, alarmed at the posture of affairs, sent a mem- 
ber of his staff to order an instant assault. Lieutenant 
George F. Campbell, Company C, One Hundred and 
Eighteenth, aid to General Burnham, dashed across the 
plains exposed to the whole range of the enemy's fire and 
unhurt communicated the order. In the strong tribute of 
the official address, this was pronounced a most gallant 
act. The two regiments impetuously scaled the hill, 
mounted the parapet, and their gallant color-bearers planted 
simultaneously their flags upon the works. The enemy 
precipitately abandoned the lines, falling back to other 
works, while their own guns were turned upon them, with 
deadly effect. In the act of training one of these guns 
upon the fugitives, General Burnham was mortally 
wounded and died in a few minutes after. 

While these events were in progress in the centre, the 
skirmishing support had approached the fort, and used 
their terrible rifles in picking off the gunners in the works, 
and demoralizing the defense. Lieutenant-colonel Ni- 
chols, with the One Hundred and Eighteenth, after being 
distinguished " for his cool conduct of the skirmish lines 
in the general assault, captured two redoubts on the right 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 287 

of the fort, during the main assault. Lieutenants N. J. 
Gibbs and H. J. Adams, were the first men in the redoubts, 
and promptly turned the captured guns upon the retreat- 
ing enemy. Surgeon F. G. Porteous, of the One Hun- 
dred and Eighteenth, was officially noticed with strong 
recommendations for bravery and attention to duties, 
being the only surgeon in the brigade, advancing with 
his regiment in the charging column." 1 The second 
brigade now moved upon two entrenchments in front, 
and captured them successfully, driving the enemy back 
upon their third and last defense on this line of works. 
Fort Harrison had thus been snatched from the jaws of 
the Confederate army, which lay in great force immedi- 
ately contiguous, and was too important a position to be 
relinquished without a desperate struggle. The last line 
captured by the Union troops was exposed to the fire of 
the enemy's gun-boats and to assault, and it was deemed 
expedient to fall back upon Fort Harrison. The enemy 
vigorously pursued, and in this movement both Colonel 
Donohoe and Lieutenant-colonel Nichols were severely 
wounded. The night and the succeeding morning were 
assiduously employed in extending and strengthening the 
works, which now acquired the form and strength of an 
enclosed fortification. A,second and third time the onset 
was repeated, and met in the same courageous spirit, and 
with similar results. On the last assault, those of the 
assailants who survived the withering fire of the federal 
troops, threw down their arms and surrendered. About 
noon the next day, rebel troops had been massed in three 
heavy columns, and covered by two batteries, rushed upon 
the new federal lines with heroic impetuosity. The One 
Hundred and Eighteenth and Tenth New Hampshire 
were stationed at salient points in the works, and the 
fatal power of their new weapons was frightfully demon- 

1 These notices of the One Hundred and Eighteenth, I extract from the 
address of General Butler to the army of the James. He also refers with 
warm approbation to the conduct of Corporal Michael Finnigan, and Pri- 
vate Frank Jandrew, of the regiment. 



288 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

strated upon the Confederate ranks. Gun-boats were 
constantly, but with trifling effect, shelling the Union 
position. This formidable assault was repulsed by mus- 
ketry alone, and the rebels falling back to cover, aban- 
doned their numerous dead and wounded upon the field. 

In the critical period between the two first assaults, a 
gallant act occurred that reflected the highest credit upon 
the bravery and zeal of Captain Brydon of the One Hun- 
dred and Eighteenth. 1 Twenty-two pieces of cannon, 
several battle flags and numerous prisoners were among 
the results of this enterprise which secured to the Union 
army an important position that was never relinquished. 
The confederate loss was known to be very large. Cling- 
man's North Carolina brigade was almost annihilated. The 
federal loss amounted to nearly one-fifth of their combat- 
ants engaged. Besides Lieutenant Colonel Nichols, Cap- 
tain Dobie and Lieutenant Treadway of the One Hundred 
and Eighteenth were wounded. 

The One Hundred and Eighteenth moved with its division 
from the quarters near Fort Burnham where it had re- 
mained since the capture of that work, on Ihe 26th of 
October, to a position within about three miles of Fort 
Richmond, erected on the former battle ground of Fair 
Oaks. The regiment at that time was composed of two 
hundred and five men for duty including supernumeraries. 
At dawn the succeeding morning it advanced. That part 
of the regiment embracing more than half which was 



1 " Finding that my ammunition was getting low — I had a few minutes 
before sent a staff officer with orders to bring up a wagon from my ord- 
nance train : the wagon came just at the right time, during the second as- 
sault, and was driven up to the sally-port of the fort by Captain John 
Brydon, One Hundred and Eighteenth New York Volunteers. A. 0. O., of 
the division, and kept there until the action was concluded. It was in full 
view and but short musket range from the enemy, yet Captain Brydon gal- 
lantly held his mules, three of which were killed and three wounded while 
he was thus occupied, while Lieutenants Burbank and Cook of my staff dis- 
tributed the ammunition to the command." — General Stannard's Report. 
For this gallant feat Captain Brydon received from the governor, with words 
of warm encomium, the brevet of major. 



MILITAKY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 289 

armed with Spencer rifles, was thrown in front as skir- 
mishers, aud the remainder held in reserve. Passing a 
covert of woods, the skirmishers entered upon a cleared 
field, which extended to the fort a distance of about one- 
fourth of a mile. Over this space, they made a rush upon 
the work, in the face of a terrible fire, and succeeded in 
approaching it within about one hundred yards. The 
enemy's lines at this moment were only slightly manned, 
but the entrenchment was heavy aud formidable, and wholly 
unassailable by the feeble skirmishing force. Major 
Dominy, an officer conspicuous for his fighting qualities, 
commanded the regiment, and at this time passed an order 
for the troops to lie down, seeking any cover that presented 
itself, for protection against the irresistible tempest of shot 
and balls that was hurled upon them. Soon after, they 
were directed to fall back singly to an excavation on a road 
in the rear. The regiment made no further advance, but 
after the repulse of the assaulting column mentioned in the 
notice of the Ninety-sixth regiment, retreated to its former 
encampment. 

The losses of the regiment were greater in proportion 
to its strength than on any previous occasion. The skir- 
mishing party entered into action with nine officers : three 
of these, Major Dominy, Lieutenants McLean and Gibbs 
returned in safety, but Captain J. R. Seaman, Company A, 
was seriously wounded. Lieutenant M. J. Dickinson was 
wounded and taken prisoner, with Lieutenants Saunders, 
Potter, O'Connor, and Bryant. Captain M. V. B. Stetson 
in the reserve was also wounded while aiding to remove 
Colonel Moffitt of the Ninety-fifth from the field. When 
the regiment reached its former quarters, scarcely forty men 
had gathered to its standard, but others returned until the 
aggregate was increased to nearly one-half the number who 
had marched out the day preceding. The One Hundred and 
Eighteenth remained in camp through the winter, and on the 
march upon Richmond the ensuing spring, its relics were 
engaged on picket duty and advanced as skirmishers, cover- 
ing the third division of the twenty-fourth corps. It was 
19 



290 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the first organized Federal regiment that entered Richmond. 
The One Hundred and Eighteenth bore the noble inscription 
upon its national flag: " Suffolk — South Anna — Coal 
Harbor — Fort Harrison — Bermuda — Swift Creek — Peters- 
burg — Fair Oaks — Drury 's Bluft' — Crater — Richmond." 
This attests its military glory, but its high moral quali- 
ties are still more illustrated by the remarkable fact, that 
not a single member of the regiment was known to have 
deserted to the enemy. In more authoritative language 
than I can use, General Devens,in recapitulating its services, 
pronounces this eulogium upon the One Hundred and Eigh- 
teenth at Drury 's Bluff: " This regiment distinguished itself 
for great valor and pertinacity, and won the reputation it has 
since enjoyed, of being one of the most resolute regiments in 
the service." He adds : "'With this weapon (the Spencer rifle) 
they will return to your state armed, and it is a most appro- 
priate testimonial of their efficiency." x I have been guided 
essentially in the brief survey of the operations of the One 
Hundred and Eighteenth by official documents. I owe my 
acknowledgments, also, to a series of articles first published 
in the Glen's Falls Bejmblican as to other authentic newspaper 
correspondences, but particularly to officers of the regiment 
from whom I have derived the most valuable information; 
among these I may enumerate Colonel Nichols, Majors 
Livingstone and Brydon, and Lieutenant McLean. 

Officers of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment, when mus- 
tered out of the service, June VSth, 1865. 

Col. George F. Nichols, brevet Q. M. Henry J. Northrup, brevet 

General U. S. V. Captain N. Y. V. 

Lt. Col. Levi S. Dominy, brevet Company A. 

Col. N. Y. V. Capt. Joseph R. Seaman, brevet 

Major John L. Cunningham, Major U. S. V. 

brevet Lt. Col. U. S. Y. 1st Lt, J. W. Treadway, brevet 

Surgeon William 0. Mansfield. Captain N. Y. Y., from Co. E. 

Asst. Surg. J. C. Preston. Company B. 

Chaplain Charles L. Hagar. Capt. George F. Campbell, brevet 

Adjutant Clifford Hubbard. Major N. Y. Y., from Co. C 

1 General Devens to Governor Fenton. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 



291 



1st Lt. Jas. A. Garrett, brevet 
Captain N. Y. V., from Co. A. 

2d Lt. Merril Perry, brevet Cap- 
tain N. Y. V., from Co. A. 
Company C. 

Capt. C. W. Wells, brevet Major 
N. Y. V., from Co. K. 

1st Lt. L. S. Bryant. 

2d Lt. N. H. Arnold, from Co. E. 
Company D. 

Capt. Jobn W. Angell, from Co. 
E. 

2d Lt. Philip V. N. McLean, 
from Co. K. 

Company E. 

Capt. Henry S. Graves, from 
Co. I. 

1st Lt. George H. Potter, from 
Co. A. 

2d Lt. William T. Bidwell, late 
Hospital Steward. 

Company F. 

Capt. Robert W. Livingstone, 
brevet Major N. Y. V. 



1st Lt. Daniel 0. Connor, Asst. 

Hospital Steward. 
2d Lt. Charles A. Grace, from 

Co. A. 

Company G. 
1st Lt. James H. Pitt, from Co. 

H. 

Company M. 
Capt. David F. Dobie, brevet 

Major N. Y. V. 
1st Lt. F. Saunders. 

Company 1. 
Capt. Martin V. B. Stetson, 

Major N. Y. V. 
1st Lt. Nelson J. Gibbs, brevet 

Captain N. Y. V., from Co. 

F. 

Company K. 
Capt. John Brydon, brevet Major 

N. Y. V. 
1st Lt. John W. Calkins, from 

Co. K. 
2d Lt. George Vaughan, from 

Co. I. 



Officers connected with Essex County Troops who resigned or were 

discharged. 

Samuel T. Richards, Col., July rick, discharged February 14, 



8th, 1363. 

Colonel, Oliver Keese, Jr.. re- 
signed Sept. 14, 1864. 

Captain James H. Peirce, dis- 
charged Feb. 9, 1865. 

1st Lieutenant Nathan S. Wash- 
burn, discharged February 14, 
1863. 

2d Lieutenant George M. But- 



1863. 
Jacob Parmerter, discharged 

Nov. 15, 1864. 
1st Lieutenant John S. Boynton, 

resigned March 12, 1864. 
1st Lieutenant Sam Sherman, 

discharged Oct. 19, 1864. 
2d Lieutenant Henry M. Mould, 

resigned Aug. 1, 1863. 



Brevet Commissions issued by the Governor to Enlisted Men of this 

Regiment. 

Sergeant Cass C. La Point, 2d SergeantMajor Ashley S. Prime, 
lieutenant. 2d lieutenant. 



292 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Sergeant Joseph A. Hastings, Sergeant Freeman D. Lindsay, 
2d lieutenant. 2d lieutenant. 

Enlisted Men of this Regiment to whom Medals of Honor have been 
awarded by the Secretary of War. 

Private Franklin Jandro. 

The One Hundred and Fifty-third Regiment N. Y. Volunteers. 

This regiment was recruited from various sections of 
the state, and mustered into service October, 1862. Tho- 
mas Armstrong of Clinton county received the appoint- 
ment of lieutenant-colonel at its organization, and resigned 
February, 1863. A large part of a company which was 
attached to the One Hundred and Fifty-third as Company 
I, was enrolled by John F. McGuire of Keeseville, from 
Clinton and Essex counties, and in it he was appointed 
second lieutenant. By the successive resignations of the 
superior officers he was promoted in December, 1863, to 
the command of the company. The regiment immediately 
after its organization was ordered to Alexandria, and sub- 
sequently at "Washington was employed in provost duty. 
Company I was specially detached in that service. Early 
in 1864 the One Hundred and Fifty-third was transferred 
to Louisiana and incorporated with the nineteenth army 
corps. It was engaged in the Red river expedition and . 
participated in all the hardships and disasters of that cam- 
paign. "When the Union forces, after the battle of Sabine 
Cross Roads, fell back, Company I was the rear company 
in the retreat of the army. The nineteenth corps sailed 
from New Orleans on the 3d of July, with sealed orders ; 
but its destination proved to be the Chesapeake. The 
One Hundred and Fifty-third and four companies belong- 
ing to other regiments, the advance of the corps, on their 
arrival at Fortress Monroe, were instantly ordered, with- 
out disembarking, to the defense of Washington, then 
menaced by Early's incursion. These troops were has- 
tened through the city amid the deep excitement and 
alarm of the people, to a position at Fort Stevens, where 
they went into immediate action. After the repulse of the 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 293 

rebels, the One Hundred and Fifty-third joined in their 
pursuit across the Potomac into the Shenandoah valley, 
but was suddenly recalled to the vicinity of the capital to 
oppose another apprehended advance of the enemy. The 
regiment was soon after engaged in the battle of Winches- 
ter, and Company I here sustained some slight casualties . 
It participated in the engagement at Fisher Hill and in 
the pursuit of the Confederates from that field. 

The Nineteenth corps was at Cedar Creek and suffered 
heavy losses incident to the surprise and early catastrophies 
of that eventful day. The One Hundred and Fifty- 
third formed part of the picket line that enveloped 
"Washington after the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and 
discharged guard duty at the arsenal on the military trials 
that succeeded. In June, 1865, the regiment was ordered 
to Savannah, where it performed provost duty until its 
discharge. Captain McQuire of Company I, brevet ma- 
jor IS". Y. V., during that service acted as adjutant provost 
marshal of the city. In the succeeding October, the One 
Hundred and Fifty-third was disbanded at Albany. 

Brevet commissions issued to enlisted men of this regiment. 

Sergeant James C. Bullock, 2d lieutenant. 
Private Melchior H. Hoffnagle, 2d lieutenant. 

The Second New York Co.valry. 

The last organized company in Essex county was en- 
rolled in Ticonderoga in the summer of 1864, of which 
William H. Sanger was appointed captain, James McCor- 
mick first, and George B. Coates, second lieutenant, each 
on the 8th of September, 1864. They had both belonged to 
the Thirty-fourth New York Volunteers. It was attached 
to the Second New York Cavalry as Company E, 1 with the 
army of Sheridan, and performed excellent services in the 
Shenandoah valley, attended him in the perilous march to 

1 When the original members were mustered out, and the veterans and 
recruits were organized into four new companies. 



294 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the James, and was engaged with his command in the bat- 
tles that preceded the surrender of Lee. This regiment 
was ultimately associated with the Fifth in the achievements 
of the Shenandoah campaign. Lieutenants McCormick 
and Coates were both wounded, the former very seriously 
at the battle of Cedar Creek. Lieutenant McCormick was 
discharged May 1st, 1865. Coates was promoted to first 
lieutenant but not mustered in as such, and remained with 
the regiment until it was disbanded June 5th, 1865. Cap- 
tain Sanger was made brevet-major New York State 
Volunteers and discharged May 15th, 1865. 

Medals of Honor were awarded to the following enlisted men : 
Frank Miller. J. S. Calkins. 

List of brevet commissions, second lieutenant issued to enlisted men. 

Private John J. Morse. Private Burnet Galloway. 

Sergeant Fred. A. M. Ball. 

An approximation only can be reached of the number 
of troops contributed by Essex county to the Union army. 
The official military records and the census returns which 
are known to be imperfect, are far below the reality, ex- 
hibits a total of one thousand and three hundred and six. 
These records do not embrace the large numbers who 
were mingled in the various other organizations of the 
state, and the census returns must most inadequately 
exhibit the true amount. Many other residents of Essex 
county, estimated at the time to amount to several hundred 
in the aggregate, were enlisted by the active zeal of agents 
from several of the New England states. The excess of 
seven dollars per month pay, offered by Vermont, allured 
large numbers of the youth of the county, who enlisted into 
the line of that state. The archives of New York show 
that from the recruits credited on the quota of Essex county, 
three hundred and sixty-six deaths occurred on the field of 
battle from wounds, accidents, and diseases incident to the 
exposures of the service. The actual casualties among the 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 



295 



citzens of Essex were far heavier, and can never with any 
degree of accuracy be computed. 

An attempt to ascertain the expenses and disbursements 
in their infinitely varied forms, is still more difficult and 
unsatisfactory. The amounts actually authorized by the 
board of supervisors to be raised by the county and the 
several towns, at different sessions and without the accu- 
mulation of interest reached a total of $553,871.47. This 
great sum does not include the vast amounts realized by 
the liberal contributions derived from personal and local 
efforts, nor the money expended in recruiting and equip- 
ping the early volunteers. Nor the supplies of provisions, 
clothing, medicines and other subscriptions essential to the 
health and comfort of the troops. Heavy sums were ag- 
gregated by the individual payment of the $300, by an 
early act authorized to avoid the draft, and by the pur- 
chase of substitutes. Private liberality and patriotic zeal 
expended in silence and secrecy vast amounts which were 
unknown and incomputable. The magnitude of all these 
contributions and expenditures can never be known, nor 
will human pen ever record the extent and value of these 
efforts. 

The following tabular statements exhibit interesting 
statistics illustrative of the devotedness and responsibilities 
incurred by the towns of Essex county : 1 



Table No. 1. Number enlisted by several towns. 



Chesterfield, 92 

Crown Point 192 

Elizabethtown 105 

Essex, 60 

Jay, 93 

Keene, 47 

Lewis, 115 

Minerva, 50 

Moriah, 157 

Newcomb, 8 



North Elba, 27 

North Hudson, 24 

St. Armands , 19 

Schroon , 94 

Ticonderoga, 128 

Westport, 58 

Willsboro', 43 

Wilmington, 64 



Total,. 



1306 



1 1 have obtained these materials through the research and courtesy of 
Major R. W. Livingstone. 



296 



HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 



Table No. 2. Died, etc. 



Chesterfield, 28 

Crown Point, .. 44 

Elizabethtown, 19 

Essex, 16 

Jay, 25 

Keene, 9 

Lewis, 35 

Minerva, 12 

Moriah, 34 

Newcomb, 1 



North Elba, 6 

North Hudson, 

St. Armauds, 7 

Schroon, 28 

Ticonderoga, 45 

Westport,.". 24 

Willsboro', 17 

Wilmington, 16 



Total, 



366 



Table No. 3. Toion Indebtedness. 



Chesterfield, $16,192 33 

Crown Point, 

Elizabethtown, 3,777 91 

Essex, 1,275 00 

Jay, 12,300 00 

Keene, 

Lewis, 6,600 00 

Minerva, 3,500 00 

Moriah, 9,860 00 

Newcomb, 600 00 Total, $64,763 74 

The towns which appear blank in the above statement, made 
separate provision for their local liabilities. 



North Elba, 

North Hudson, $1,100 00 

St. Armands, 2,000 00 

Schroon, 200 00 

Ticonderoga, 

Westport, 2,600 00 

Wilmington, 900 00 

Willsboro', 3,858 00 



CHAPTER XV. 

Grants and Patents. 

I have reviewed in preceding pages, the circumstances 
connected with the grants of territory contiguous to Lake 
Champlain, in accordance with the ordinance of the king 
of France, in the year 1676. The action of the colonial 
government, under the British proclamation of October 7, 
1763, authorizing grants of land to be made in such colonies 
as they might prefer, to the reduced officers and soldiers 
who had served in the regular army, in the Canadian 
campaigns ; and transactions connected with such grants, 
I have fully discussed. The purchasers of these rights 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. £97 

usually located their lands in the names of the grantees, 
but not apparently in all cases. William Gilliland em- 
braced in one body, the entire tract from the Boquet to 
Splitrock, under several distinct rights, and other pur- 
chasers pursued the same course. All these locations, 
many of which were established as early as 1765 and 
1766, and authenticated by appropriate legal formalities, 
have been perpetuated and still exist, under the names of 
the original grantees. In many instances, the officers and 
soldiers located and perfected the titles themselves to 
these lands. . 

The history of the grants and the change of policy con- 
nected with them possess no inconsiderable value and de- 
mands a brief attention. The quantity of these grants 
contemplated by these proclamations was the concession of 
five thousand acres to a field officer; to a captain three 
thousand acres; to a subaltern staff officer two thousand 
acres ; to a non-commissioned officer two hundred acres, 
and to a private fifty acres. These grants were conferred 
by parchment patents, under the great seal of the colony 
and impressed with the royal arms. They reserved to the 
king " all mines of gold and silver, and all pine trees fit 
for masts of the growth of twenty -four inches diameter and 
upwards of twelve inches from the earth." These grants 
were held for ten years " in free and common socage ex- 
empt from all quit rents, and after the expiration of that 
term, rendering and paying in the custom house in New 
York, at Lady Day, the yearly rent of two shillings and 
sixpence sterling, for each and every hundred acres of the 
granted land." The farther conditions imposed the settle- 
ment " of as many families on the tract as shall amount to 
one family on every thousand acres thereof," and " to cul- 
tivate at least three acres for every fifty acres susceptible ot 
cultivation." Both of these conditions were to be performed 
within three years from the date of the grant. " No waste 
was to be committed on the reserved timber; the grant to 
be registered at the secretary's office and docketted at the 
auditor's office in Xew York." A neglect to perform either 



298 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

of these conditions worked a forfeiture of the grant. We 
may trace in the land papers serious consequences result- 
ing from these delinquencies. The council seems to have 
possessed certain powers to control the nature and form of 
these proceedings. In February, 1765, it adopted a rule, 
that no soldier was entitled to a grant " unless disbanded on 
the reduction of the regiment." By minutes in 1770, 1771, 
it required grants to be taken out in three mouths after 
the petition had been presented, and in the last date 
ordered names of delinquents to be stricken from the list of 
grants. Most of these grants were located in the vicinity 
of Lake Champlain, and a large proportion upon the east- 
ern side, upon what is now the territory of Vermont. In 
the confusion of the agitated period that preceded the re- 
volution, numerous cases of these petitions remained in an 
inchoate condition : and in others, although the proceedings 
had been regular and ample, were not consummated by 
patents from the colonial government. In most of these 
instances the succeeding state government refused to ratify 
the proceedings of the claimants, and large estates, as we 
have seen illustrated in the notice of Gilliland, were lost. 
The state constitution of 1777, by a provision which has 
been incorporated in the constitutions of 1821 and 1847, 
abrogated all royal grants after October 14th, 1775. 

Deep interest attaches to those ancient grants, the 
rewards of military services, while strong romance has 
gathered about a portion of them. "We recognize the 
peculiar justice and appropriateness, that conferred on the 
gallant men who participated in the terrible scenes, which 
impressed on the region its gorgeous historic associations, 
these acknowledgments of their services from the territory 
won to their country by their blood and sufferings. 

A small part only of the great area of Essex county was 
occupied in the location of these grants. Since the revo- 
lution, large tracts of unappropriated lands, belonging to 
the state, have been patented to individuals. The re- 
mainder, at an early period of the present government, 
was run out into tracts and townships by the state, and 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 299 

subdivided into lots, which have been sold in any amount 
desired by the purchaser. These lands were devoted to 
the accumulation of an educational fund, and the proceeds 
of the sales have been appropriated to that beneficent pur- 
pose. The state yet retains a large extent of this domain. 
Much of it possesses considerable value from the wood and 
timber forests it embraces, but other portions, constituting 
as they do, the rocky upheavals and mountains of the 
Adironclacs, are worthless, except for the mineral wealth 
that may be hidden in their recesses. 

I am indebted for most of the materials upon which I 
have founded the following account of the grants and 
patents of the county, to the zealous and careful investiga- 
tions of a learned legal friend, whose professional studies 
have constrained a thorough research into the land titles 
of the district. With such aid I have made the notices I 
now present, of the origin and history of these patents and 
grants as accurate and complete as I believe so intricate a 
subject admits, but I am aware that the execution is 
necessarily imperfect. The long list of the patents I have 
endeavored to make full and correct, but it may be found 
defective. 1 The magnitude of many of these grants will 
attract attention. Land was at that period the most 
abundant of all commodities, and the government felt that 
it controlled a " whole boundless continent." In the 
voluminous Land Papers, documents frequently occur, 
referring to surveys of " that small piece of land," some- 
times embracing five hundred and often two thousand 
acres. 2 The Southier Map, to which I shall make frequent 
reference, was prepared under the direction of Governor 
Tryou, and published in London, 1779. 

Abeel. James Abeel, for himself and twelve others Feb- 
ruary 3d, 1773, petitioned for a grant of thirteen thousand 
acres of land lying on the west side of Schroon lake in 

I I have received peculiar aid from the examinations of Mr. F. C. Hale, in 
the archives of the office of secretary of state. 

s The Calendar of Land Papers, and the Catalogue of Maps and Surveys, 
shed a flood of light on the history of these grants and patents. 



300 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Totten and Crossfield's purchase. 1 Southier's map has a 
tract with this name and corresponding with the above 
description, which would embrace the present Schroon 
Lake village. From the frequent appearance of his name 
in the Land Papers it may be iuferred that Abeel was 
engaged in large and numerous land operations. 

Benzel. Adolphus Benzel has been already mentioned 
as a prominent official in the county and a weathy resident 
of Crown Point. He seems to have acted largely as sur- 
veyor in locating the ancient patents. He was conspicuous 
in the New Hampshire grant controversies, and necessarily 
highly obnoxious to the settlers there. The reply of the 
Bennington committee to Governor Tryon, in reference to 
Colonel Reid's action, speaks of " the vicious and haughty 
aid of Mr Benzel, the famed engineer." 2 He was among 
the reduced officers embraced in the royal proclamation. 
Southier lays down two patents in his name, one in Moriah 
between Small's and Legg's; the other in Crown Point 
adjoining south of the garrison grounds. The former is 
known as Springer patent of three thousand acres, and the 
latter as Benzel's of one thousand acres. We conjecture 
that the former may have been applied for by Benzel, but 
subsequently issued to Springer and others. 

Benson. Richard Benson, and a number of other pri- 
vates reduced from the Eightieth, Sixtieth, and Forty- 
fourth regiments, received a patent for five hundred and 
fifty acres Oct. 29th, 1765, which was located in the present 
town of Willsboro' north of Wreisburg and west of the 
Montressor patent. It appears that the Benson and also 
the Montressor patent were occupied only by squatters 
until 1819. In that year both were purchased by Seth 
Hunt of Keeue, New Hampshire. The validity of the ori- 
ginal patent and his title were soon after established and 
his rights judicially enforced. Many individuals, who had 
been innocent purchasers under the spurious titles to these 
patents, were severe sufferers by this adjudication. 

1 Land Papers, xxxiii, page 25. 2 Hall's Vermont. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 301 

Bniyn. Two patents granted to Lewis Bruyn, are laid 
down west of Schroon lake on Southier's map. 

Campbell, Allen. A reduced field officer, is thus described : 
"having served in 1ST. A., during the late war in Second 
battalion of our Royal Highland regiment of Foot." 
Campbell united in a petition with Lt. John Kennedy, 
praying for a grant of seven thousand acres. Tbe bounda- 
ries indicated " extending from the first mountain west of 
the carrying place at the foot of Lake George " along said 
mountain to where it touches Lake Champlain near Crown 
Point, and thence to the mouth of the outlet from Lake 
George. Kennedy's grant embraces a portion of this 
highly desirable territory, but Campbell's was located else- 
where. His patent for five thousand acres, dated July 11, 
1764, was laid out in Crown Point, on the lake shore : 
Benzel and Legg on the north, and Grant on the south. 

Campbell, Donald. The petition of Donald Campbell, 
December 17th, 1763, describes him as late lieutenant in 
the Royal American regiment, and claims two thousand 
acres. The land his petition indicated was nearly iden- 
tical with the last. Another- petition, Feb. 18, 1773, of 
Quarter Master Donald Campbell, asks for two thousand 
acres on the south-west side of Lake George, near the gar- 
rison grounds. On November 1st, 1784, Donald Camp- 
bell filed a petition for a confirmatory grant of a tract of 
land surveyed for him in 1764, pursuant to the Royal 
proclamation. No action appears upon record on this peti- 
tion, but on the 25th of May, 1786, the return was filed of 
a survey of two thousand acres north of N. Sutherland's 
tract to Donald Campbell, for which he paid on the follow- 
ing 28th of June, one hundred pounds. A tract is laid 
down on the map, under this designation between Grant's 
on the north, and Southerland's on the south. 

Connelly. John Connelly presented a petition for a grant 
as surgeon'smate and belonging to a military hospital. A 
patent was issued April 13th, 1765, for two thousand acres. 

1 Land Papers, lii, 45. 



302 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

It lies in Willsboro, and Essex, and is one of the grants 
located by William Gilliland. 

Deal. Samuel Deal, a merchant of wealth in the city 
of New York, embarked in heavy land operations in the 
present county of Essex in 1767, and purchased about that 
time a tract of five thousand acres between Lakes George 
and Champlain. His connection with the Kennedy patents, 
I shall notice in its proper place. He received July 12th, 
1769, a grant for one thousand acres, which was located by 
him in Ticonderoga and west of the village of Lower Falls. 
Another tract, adjoining the above, is called and designated 
on the county map as Deal's patent. 

Field. John Field was a surgeons mate and applied by 
petition April 14th, 1764, for agraut of two thousand acres 
in pursuance of proclamation. The patent was issued April 
15th, 1765, and the land surveyed on the south side of the 
Boquet by Gilliland as assignee of Field immediately after. 

Franklin. Joseph Franklin, late sergeant in Twenty- 
seventh regiment, united with Sergeant Benjamin Porter, 
in a petition, July 9, 1764, praying a grant to each of two 
hundred acres, described as " bearing west north-west 
thirty-nine chains from the salient angle of the King's 
bastion, fronting the lake half a mile, and then west 
north-westerly, until it completes the said number of 
acres." Mr. Beuzel, the engineer, made a note of the 
survey. The patent to Franklin issued July, 1765, and 
was laid out in conformity with the petition between the 
Porter and McKensie's tracts, and embraced Cedar point 
at Port Henry. On the 5th of March, 1792, Franklin 
conveyed his title to James Graham, and April 15, 1792, 
Graham devised it to his daughter, Ann Eliza. Graham 
was a fur trader, and the mother of this child was a half 
breed. The daughter, in 1802, executed a will in JS"ew 
York, devising the property to St. Peter's (Catholic) 
church of that city, in trust for the school of the church. 
The church conveyed it to Mr. J. B. Spencer, under this 
will, whose title was judicially sustained. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 303 

Priswell. John Friswell applied as late lieutenant in the 
navy, and having acted as midshipman on board the 
Princess Amelia, at the siege of Louisburg and Quebec, 
February 15, 1765, for a grant of three thousand acres of 
land on the west side of Lake Champlain. On the May 
following a return of a survey was filed of two tracts, con- 
taining two thousand acres ; one in Plattsburg, and the 
other of one thousand acres nearly west of " Splitten 
Rock," and lying upon the lake. This is one of Gilliland's 
locations. 

Frelegh. A certificate of location of six hundred acres 
of land to George Frelegh, on the west side of Lake 
Champlain, appears in Long Island Papers, xlvi, 41, Feb- 
ruary 3, 1789, and a patent in Willsboro' and Essex, 
bears this name. 1 It is not on Southier's map, and must 
have been granted subsecpuent to the revolution. 

Gilliland. A Gilliland patent is laid down on Southier, 
west of Benson's grant in Willsboro'. James, a brother 
of William Gilliland, about 1767, settled upon a lot on the 
north bank of the Boquet. 2 

"William Gilliland $ Matthew Watson.'" Their tract 
which appears on the large county map, contained two 
hundred acres, and began according to the certificate of 
location, seven chains north of the south-west corner of 
James Judd's patent, June 22, 1789, and was surveyed 
under a title from the state. 3 

Grant. Robert Grant is described in a patent for three 
thousand acres issued August 7th, 1764, as late captain in 
the Seventy-seventh regiment. He was promoted to major 
and killed at the battle of Hubbardton July 7th, 1777. A 
return of survey with map of the location in the town of 
Crown Point was filed in the colonial office, August 3d, 
1764, Land Papers, xviii, 8. About twenty years after the 
death of Grant, a spurious agent appeared in the city of 

1 Calendar, 777. 

2 Champlain Valley, 41, etc. It is probable that this may have been his 
location. 

% Land Papers, xlvii, 33, 34. 



30-i HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

New York, and pretending to hold authority from him, 
deeded the patent, as such, with an agreement that the 
grantee and agent should participate in the avails. The 
sisters of Major Grant, more than half a century after his 
decease, instituted proceedings as heirs at law for the re- 
covery of the patent. Under a commission issued in the 
suit and sent to Scotland in the year 1830 among other 
witnesses examined, was Lieut. General Thomas Scott then 
eighty-four years old, who swore, that he saw the dead 
"body of Grant on the battle-field at Hubbardton and wit- 
nessed its interment at that place with military honors, and 
that he brought back to Scotland relics of Grant which he 
delivered to the brother of Grant. The claimants necessa- 
rily recovered the premises. This patent embraces a large 
portion of the most valuable part of the town of Crown 
Point. 

Guise. "William Guise and three others non-commis- 
sioned officers iu the Fifty-fifth regiment of foot, received a 
grant of eight hundred acres, Jan. 5th, 1773. On the county 
map, this grant is placed on the east side of Schroon lake 
near the county line. It is not on Southier. By the sur- 
vey and map for Guise and associates, the location of the 
patent was on the north-east branch of the Hudson on the 
boundary between Schroon and Warren county. 1 

Hasenclever. Peter Hasenclever and others petitioned 
June 30th, 1766, for a grant of fifteen thousand acres, on the 
east side (?) of Lake Champlain, and praying a resurvey of 
Franklin, Porter and McKensie's patent (inMoriah) so as 
to admit a passage to the lake and land for store house. 
On Southier's map the patent is laid down north of Small, 
but it does not appear on the county map, and the present 
Iron Ore bed tract is bounded by Small's patent on the 
south. This grant was probably confiscated if ever actually 
consummated. 

Micks. John Hicks is described as " gentleman, a reduced 
staff officer," and " surgeon in one of our independent com- 

1 Land Papers, xxxn, 91. ''Idem, xxi, 51. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 305 

panies of Foot," Patent April 15th, 1765, for three thou- 
sand acres. Lies in Essex and located by Gilliland. 

Judd. James Judd, described as " gentleman, reduced 
officer and surgeon's mate in our military hospital." Patent 
issued April 15th, 1765, for two thousand acres, with bound- 
aries " beginning at Cloven or Splitten Rock, etc." Lies in 
the town of Essex. 

Kellett. Roger Kellett " gentleman, a reduced subaltern 
officer," late lieutenant in Forty-fourth regiment. The 
grant was surveyed August 2d, and patent granted August 
7th, 1764, for two thousand acres. 1 This patent situated in 
Ticonderoga with those of Stoughton and Kennedy, were 
selected with great judgment by officers familiar with the 
beauty and value of the territory. 

Kelly. John Kelly appears to have been a large opera- 
tor soon after the revolution, but I find no traces of him 
anterior to it. A tract of land in Essex and Westport 
known by this name, is probably the same described as 
lying west of Split rock or Northwest bay, for which he 
proposed to pay on April loth, 1793, two shillings per acre, 
and contained about three thousand acres. 

Kennedy. JohnKennedy, " gentleman, reduced subaltern 
officer," lieutenant in the Sixtieth regiment. Patent granted 
August 7th, 1764, for two thousand acres. It lies in Ticon- 
deroga, and extends from the lower falls along the north 
side of the stream to the fort ground, thence across to Lake 
Champlain and down its shore, and sweeping into the 
interior included a large part of the valuable plateau in the 
north section of the town. 2 At the death of the grantee, 
the property passed to " his oldest brother, Henry Kennedy, 
surgeon," who sold it September 26th, 1765, for one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds sterling, to Abraham P. Lott and 
Peter Theobaldus Curtenius, "merchants of the city of New 
York," and they sold it December 16th, 1767, for one hun- 
dred and eighty pounds, lawful currency to Samuel Deall 
"merchant, etc." 3 

1 Catalogue, 155. 2 See Allen Campbell patent. * Cook' s Ticonderoga. 
20 



306 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Legge. The singular incidents connected with the his- 
tory of this patent have attached peculiar interest to it, 
and no portion of Essex county has been the subject of 
more bitter and protracted litigation. Francis Legge, 
who I infer belonged to the family of the Earl of Dart- 
mouth, was a captain in the Forty-sixth regiment. Under 
the royal proclamation, he received a concession on June 
26th, 1769, of five thousand acres which had been located 
in the present towns of Moriah and Crown Point by a sur- 
vey returned the 6th of April preceding. The early action 
of Legge in reference to his grant, is enveloped in consider- 
able obscurity. A mandamus was issued by the king in 
council September 5th, 1765, for five thousand acres to be 
surveyed to Francis Legge, captain of the Twenty-sixth, in 
one continuous tract in the province of New York. 1 On 
the 3d of November, 1766, Captain Francis Legge pre- 
sented "a petition for five thousand acres of land on the 
west side of Connecticut river, with specific boundaries." 2 
He made a similar application for a grant of five thousand 
acres in the township of Norwich in a wholly different sec- 
tion from the preceding. The identity of the name and the 
quantity of land solicited, seem to warrant the conclusion, 
that the several applications if made by one individual, 
rested upon the same claim ; but it is difficult to determine, 
why all should have been advanced. In 1809, a William 
Legge, assuming to be the heir of Francis, conveyed or 
pretended to convey this patent to one Winter, who after- 
wards deeded it to Shaw. One of them caused the tract 
to be subdivided into lots, and sold a portion of these to 
settlers. Subsequently, Shaw brought ejectments against 
occupants who refused to admit his title. Another claim, 
known as the James Brown title, was founded upon a 
deed dated in the year 1818, and purporting to have been 
executed by John Legge in Ireland, who also claimed to 
be heir of Francis, to two persons, mother and son, by the 
name of Sinclair. They conveyed to James Brown, who 

1 Calendar, 377. Udem, 204. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 307 

also brought ejectments, and some suits under this title are 
said to be still pending. 

In 1831, suits were brought against some of the occu- 
pants upoua claim some times called the " Cape Ann title." 
It was asserted, that, in the year 1770, Francis Legge, 
while at Ipswich, Mass., residing with a Dr. Manning, 
executed a deed of the whole patent, to one Rowe, then a 
child of four or five years. One of these suits was against 
Brown and an occupant, was tried, with a verdict and judg- 
ment for the plaintiff, but this was reversed in the court of 
errors. On the trial of this suit, proof was introduced by 
defendants, tending to show, that Legge died and was 
buried in Troy, N". Y., in 1780. In 1860, a commission 
issuing out of the United States circuit court, was executed 
in London, by which the following series of facts were 
established, from records in the war office and those of 
the state paper office and the colonial office, the registry 
of the court of probate, in doctor's commons, and by 
exhibits and the examination of proper officials, that 
Francis Legge, was appointed lieutenant, in Thirty-fifth 
Foot in 1754, captain in Forty-sixth in 1756; that at this 
time he was serving in America; that he was major in 
1767 ; lieutenant in Fifty-fifth Foot in 1773, and appointed 
governor of Nova Scotia in August, 1783 ; that he was 
recalled, and his conduct as governor investigated in 
1786 ; that he was buried in the parish of Primer, Mid- 
dlesex, England, in 22d May, 1783; that his will dated 
April 18th, 1769, was proved the May following by his 
executors, the Earl of Dartmouth and William Baillie, 
Esq., and that the Earl of Dartmouth, whom he styles in bis 
will " his much esteemed friend," was his principal legatee 
and devisee. Personal property was left by the will to 
various relations. The record of his burial described him 
as " Lieutenant Colonel Francis Legge, late governor of 
Nova Scotia." It is not my province to discuss the singu- 
lar features of this case. 

Miller. Paul Miller, a corporal in Sixtieth regiment of 
foot, located a patent dated April 16th, 1765 of two hun- 



308 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

dred acres on the south side of the Boquet. It lies in 
Willsboro'. 

Mallory's Grant Nathaniel Mallory, on March 25th, 1799, 
entered the return of a survey or tract of land on west 
side of Lake Champlain containing nine thousand nine 
hundred and seventy-three acres, situated in Jay, Keene 
and Wilmington. 1 

Mathews. This patent was granted October 30th, 1765, 
to James Mathews and seven others, privates, for four 
hundred acres. It lies in Ticonderoga. 

Maule's. This tract, comprising forty-two thousand nine 
hundred and fifty-seven acres, was patented to Thomas 
Maule, August 21st, 1800. Embracing large sections of 
Chesterfield, Jay, and "Willsboro', it also occupies a por- 
tion of Au Sable and Black Brook, in Clinton. In March, 
1803, Maule and wife conveyed to five persons in trust 
about twenty thousand acres of this patent in Chesterfield 
and Jay. This trust was for the benefit of the Farmers' 
Society, a benevolent organization, intended, as is now 
understood, to supply mechanics and others in moderate 
circumstances with freehold farms; but as the scheme 
proved a failure, there is no object for tracing its history. 
The trustees executed a mortgage for fifty thousand dol- 
ars on the purchase. This mortgage came into the hands 
of Edward Livingstone, who assigned it to his sister, the 
widow of General Montgomery; and the surviving trustees, 
conveyed, or released the property to her. She devised 
it to Edward Livingstone, and on his death he devised it 
to his wife. By these various owners, parcels were con- 
veyed to numerous settlers. 

Mcintosh. Alexander Mcintosh, late captain of Seventy- 
seventh regiment August 3d, 1764, filed the return of a 
survey of three thousand acres between Crown Point and 
Ticonderoga. Patent issued August 7th. 

McBride. Patent issued April 23, 1765, to James McBride, 
late sergeant in Forty-seventh foot, for two hundred acres. 

1 Calendar, 1010. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 309 

Lies in Willsboro', aud is bounded south and west by the 
Boquet, and east by the lake. 

McDonald. Three tracts bearing this designation appear 
on Southier's map, lying west of Schroon lake and river. 
On December 1, 1773, Captain Lieutenant (he is thus 
described more than once in the land papers) Alexander 
McDonald and associates, presented a petition for three 
tracts of land, containing in the aggregate thirty thousand 
three hundred and sixty acres, and lying " within the 
bounds of Totten and Crossfield's purchase." 

McKensie. Alexander McKensie, sergeant in the Fortieth 
regiment, received two patents, October 29, 1765, one of 
a hundred acres adjoining the Franklin patent, and fifty 
acres called the Grove. Both are situated in Moriah, in 
which town a grandson and numerous descendants reside; 
a descendant lives upon the original patent. I am aware 
of no other instance, except that of William Gilliland, in 
which the family of an original patentee of these ancient 
grants have remained in the county. 

Montressor. Patent issued June 6th, 1765, to John Mon- 
tressor, Francis Mee and Egbert Wallace for three thou- 
sand acres, " called Ligonier point, as also four small 
islands called Les Isles des Quatre Vents, in the lake east- 
ward of Ligonier point." l This is the beautiful tract now 
known as Willsboro' point. 2 The original petition also 
asked for Schuyler's island. Some doubt exists in refer- 
ence to the origin of the name Ligonier. I venture to 
refer it to Sir John Ligonier, who, about the date in 
which it must have been applied, was commander-in-chief 
of the army in Great Britain. 3 

Old Military Tract. An act was passed May 5th, 1786, as 
a memorial of public gratitude, to remunerate military 
service in the revolution, devoting to the purpose, a large 
territory known as the Old Military Tract, lying north of 
Jessup's purchase and beginning thirty miles from the 
north-east corner of lands granted to Philip Skene, 6th 

1 Land Papers, xix, 31. ' See Benson. 'Doc. Hist., x, 705 note. 



310 ' HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

July, 1771, and extending twenty miles in width and to 
the north bound, of the state, a computed distance of sixty 
miles. It was run out into large townships. Nos. 11 and 
12 constitute St. Armands and North Elba. Nos. 1 and 2, 
were also embraced within the present bounds of Essex 
county. These townships were subdivided into lots, known 
as the Thorne and Richard's surveys. 

Ord. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ord, Royal regiment 
of Artillery, was granted, December 23, 1774, a patent of 
five thousand, acres part of lot 27, in Totten and Cross- 
field's purchase. This patent lies in Newcomb. 

Porter. Benjamin Porter, late sergeant in Twenty-seventh 
regiment, obtained a patent July 5th, 1765, for two hundred 
acres. 1 Port Henry is situated on this tract. 

Potts. This patent, issued in the name of William Potts, 
April 26th, 1755, for two thousand acres, located by William 
Gilliland. Essex village stands on the line of Potts and 
Hicks patents. 

Boss. Patent issued to James Ross, " late apothecary's 
mate in our military hospital," for two thousand acres 
April 16th, 1765. The patent is bounded on the Boquet. 
It was occupied in 1766 by two persons, Wilson and Good- 
rich, who established an agency at Flat Rock bay, which 
they called Burton. The scheme was abandoned the 
February ensuing, and no further occupation in Willsboro' 
north of the, Boquet occurred until 1790, except one slight 
improvement near the river. 

Ryerse Grant. In 1791, the state granted to one Vreden- 
burgh a tract of three hundred acres, the title of which be- 
came vested in Gozen Ryerse. On the compromise with 
Massachusetts, this territory was embraced in the new pre- 
emption line of that state. In compensation to Ryerse 
for this loss, New York in 1800 patented to him a tract of 
eighteen hundred acres lying in the centre of Wilmington, 
and now known as Ryerse grant. 

1 See Franklin. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 3H 

Stoughton. A patent was issued to John Stoughton, 
late lieutenant in New York independent company, July 25, 
1774, for two thousand acres lying on both sides of the out- 
let of Lake George. Stoughton was drowned in Lake 
George, leaving a widow and only child. This child 
became the wife of Governor Wolcott of Connecticut, and 
the valuable estate of Edward Elice in this patent was 
derived from her by purchase. 1 A question was agitated 
for a period in reference to the legitimacy of this child, but 
this has long since subsided, and the estate which had not 
been previously sold is now held by an indisputable title 
by Mr. Charles Wheeler of Ticonderoga. 

Skene. I have adverted sufficiently to the history of 
Skene. The patents were granted to Major Philip Skene 
July 5th, 1771, one for two thousand four hundred acres, 
situated in the present town of "Westport, and embracing 
a part of the village of Westport, and the other for six hun- 
dred acres, lying in Moriah and formerly referred to as 
the Iron Ore tract. The property of Philip Skene was con- 
fiscated under the attainder of Philip and Andrew Skene, 
and the patent in Moriah was sold by the commissioners of 
forfeitures under the act of 1786. 

Small. John Small, late captain in the Twenty-first regi- 
ment, on April 5th, 1774, received a patent for five thou- 
sand acres. It lies in Moriah, and is occupied by Moriah 
Centre and part of the village of Moriah. Grants were also 
issued to Small by the New York colonial governor, which 
were located in Vermont. His name appears as plaintiff in 
a test suit brought in the New York court, to establish the 
validity of these grants. 2 

Sutherland. Patent issued to Nicholas Sutherland, late 
captain of Seventy-seventh Foot, August, 7th, 1764, for 
three thousand acres. Lies in Ticonderoga. 

Springer or Sharp. On the 10th November, 1766, John 
Springer, Elizabeth Springer and Ann Chadarin Partin, 
afterwards Sharp, filed a petition for three thousand acres, 

1 Oook's Ticonderoga. 2 Hall's Vermont. 



312 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

in the county of Albany, or on Otter creek. The basis of 
this claim appears to have rested upon rights vested in 
Adolphus Benzel and his associates. Elizabeth Springer 
was a sister-in-law of Adolphus Benzel. A return of the 
survey of three thousand acres on the west side of Lake 
Champlain, is on record April 6th, 1772. A warrant author- 
izing this survey had been issued 1st May, 1771. In April, 
1785, the parties presented a petition to the new govern- 
ment, " for land already ordered to be surveyed for them 
between the Legge and Small patents." On the 10th 
November following, Zephaniah Piatt filed a certificate of 
location of the same tract, praying for a grant of the same. 
His claim seems to have been founded on the delinquency 
of the original claimants, but after considerable controversy 
it was withdrawn March 13th, 1786, and 1st May following 
the patent was- granted to Elizabeth Springer and Ann 
Catharine Sharp, for the consideration of £150 paid the 
state. It is situated in Moriah. 

Soldiers' Bights. On Southier's map," a tract is laid down, 
commencing about a mile and a half from the flag-staff 
at Ticonderoga, and extending along Lake Champlain, 
from a mile and a half to two miles wide, upon which is 
inscribed, " Soldiers." A map has been exhibited to me 
by the distinguished professional gentleman already re- 
ferred to, which seems to have been executed more than 
sixty years ago, in which the seven tracts are laid down, 
in conformity to Southier, beginning with "William Doug- 
lass on the north, succeeded by four others, of one thou- 
sand acres each ; one of seven hundred acres, and one of 
four hundred acres, making an aggregate of six thousand 
one hundred acres. It appears by the Land Papers, that 
a return was filed February 8, 1772, of a survey for " Wil- 
liam Douglass and others, noncommissioned officers and 
private soldiers of sundry tracts of land containing together 
six thousand one hundred acres on the west side of waters 
running from Wood creek to Lake Champlain." On the 
county map, six of these rights are laid down in Essex 
county. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 313 

Stevenson. James Stevenson, December 7, 1765, applied 
for a patent in right of his father, James Stevenson, com- 
missary of ordnance, etc., for three thousand acres; but 
it was not granted until the 11th of July, 1776. This 
patent lies in Ticonderoga, and is usually called, the 
Kirby patent. 

Stewart. A tract of fifty acres, granted May 2d, 1772, 
to James Stewart, is situated on Lake George, in Ticon- 
deroga, and south of Tomlin's patent. 

Summervale. This tract of fifteen thousand one hundred 
and twenty acres, was surveyed in 1771, but a patent to 
Golclsboro' Banyar, and others, was not granted until 
August 14, 1786. The tract lies in Crown Point and 
Ticonderoga. 

Toiten § Crossfield. Experience had proved, that transac- 
tions for the acquisition by private individuals of Indian 
lands were fraught with infinite mischief and injustice. 
At an early period, the instructions to the colonial go- 
vernors, and at length, soon after the cession of Canada, a 
peremptory proclamation of the king, prohibited every 
purchase of the kind, and declared that all purchases of 
lands from the Indians should be made by the crown. 1 
The same wise and beneficent policy was engrafted in the 
state constitution of 1777, and those which have succeeded. 

On the 10th of April, 1771, Joseph Totten and Stephen 
Crossfield, shipwrights, residing in the city of New York, 
presented a petition to the council, asking for a license to 
purchase from the Indians a tract of land lying on the 
west side of the Hudson, and on the 7th June following 
the license was granted. In accordance with this privi- 
lege a treaty was held in July, 1772, at Johnson Hall, 
with all the peculiar solemnities of such occasions and 
under the auspices of Sir William Johnson, for the pur- 
pose of perfecting the contemplated purchase, with the 
Mohawk and Caughnawauga Indians. The purchase was 
made for the consideration of about one thousand one 

1 Doc. Hist., vii, 571. 



314 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

hundred and thirty-five pounds New York currency, and 
a deed formally executed for the tract, embracing about 
eight hundred thousand acres and with boundaries care- 
fully designated by courses and land marks, but singularly 
vague and obscure. This interesting document is still 
preserved in the office of secretary of state, among the 
Land Papers, vol. xxxn, 45. A written agreement of 
association was entered into March 27th, 1772, between 
" the intended proprietors of lands about to be purchased 
by Ebenezer Jessup in behalf of Totten and Crossfield and 
their associates," and on January 14th, following, a fur- 
ther agreement was executed and a ballot made of twenty- 
four of the townships in the purchase. A catalogue of 
the lots drawn, with the proprietors' names annexed, is on 
file in the secretary's office. 1 

Ebenezer Jessup, a large operator in lands at that period, 
was the active agent in these arrangements, and purchased 
the tract for Totten and Crossfield and their associates. 
This Indian deed conveyed no legal title, the absolute fee 
in the land existing in the crown. It undoubtedly pro- 
tected them against intrusion and conferred rights proba- 
bly analogous to the preemptive rights existing at the 
present day. The government recognized these rights 
and issued patents in subordination to them. Jessup ad- 
vises Governor Coldeu, December 27th, 1774, that he had 
agreed with certain individuals for Totten and Crossfield 
to convey ten thousand acres to them in the purchase, and 
requested that letters patent should be granted, in con- 
formity with the agreement, which was soon after done. 2 

The territory comprised in the Totten and Crossfield 
purchase lies in the counties of Essex, Warren, Hamilton 
and Herkimer. The west and part of the north lines were 
surveyed in 1772, with an outline of a portion of the town- 
ship, each of which included about twenty thousand acres. 



1 Land Papers, lix, 9, 10, 88. This volume is occupied exclusively with 
papers referring to this tract. 

2 Land Papers, xxxrx, 157. 



MILITARY AND POLITICAL HISTORY. 315 

Slight vestiges of these surveys may still be traced. The 
colonial government issued patents for a few townships 
previous to the revolution, some of which I have men- 
tioned, but none of these extended to lands in Essex 
county. Among these patents, the return of a survey of 
twenty thousand acres for Sir Jeffrey Amherst appears 
among the Land Papers under date of March 27th, 1774. 
Sufficient evidence exists upon which to form an estimate 
of the market value of these lands at that period. Jessup 
executed December 3d, 1772, a receipt to Philip Livingstone 
for two hundred and six pounds and eight shillings, the 
purchase money of two townships; in July he gave another 
receipt to Thomas Lewis for fifty-one pounds, in payment 
of three thousand acres, and on 8th April the same year 
another to Chris. Duyckinck for one hundred and three 
pounds " in full of twenty-four thousand acres." These are 
preserved among the Land Papers. The action of the pro- 
prietors at a meeting, January 14th, 1773, in reference to 
the construction of a road, indicates that their measures 
for the improvement of the territory were active and judi- 
cious. 

On the 21st of April, 1775, and only a few months pre- 
ceding the day established by the constitution of 1777, 
from which all royal grants were abrogated, Dartmouth 
wrote to Tryon, that the king would confirm by letters 
patent to Totten and Crossfield and their associates, " their 
lands, on humble application" and " a disavowal of all asso- 
ciation" with the nonintercourse measures of the colonists. 1 
The two former, at least probably yielded their adhesion 
to the government. Tradition asserts that these estates 
were confiscated. It is certain that a large portion of the 
purchase reverted to the state government. The imaginary 
lines of all the townships were laid down on Southier's 
map, although a part only had, at that time been practi- 
cally surveyed. In the years 1785 and 1786, numerous 
petitions were presented to the state for grants of large 

1 His. Doc, vni, 570. 



316 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

tracts in this territory, and many by the original proprie- 
tors, who thus asked the confirmation of their former 
claims. These applications were generally conceded, the 
claimants usually paying the state a valuable consideration 
for their grants. 

Tomiin. Thomas Tomlin obtained a grant of two hun- 
dred acres May 2d, 1772, located east side of Lake George 
and adjoining Stoughton. On the old map referred to, 1 
this patent is thus located. 

Wharton. A patent was granted to John Wharton, Esq., 
late captain in Sixtieth regiment, April 16th, 1765, for 
three thousand acres, which was located by Gilliland in 
Essex. 

Wriesburg. On the same day a patent was granted to 
Daniel Wriesburg, late captain Sixtieth Foot, and was 
located by Gilliland, in Willsboro'. 

1 See Soldier's Rights. 



PART II. 
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 



The physical formation of Essex county combines pecu- 
liar and striking characteristics. The beautiful and pic- 
turesque are singularly blended with the magnificent and 
imposing. Exhibitions of impressive grandeur, scarcely 
transcended by the magnificence of Niagara, are combined 
with scenes of incomparable sylvan beauty and romantic 
seclusion. A very large proportion of the county is formed 
by a general upheaval, which produced a common eleva- 
tion of the whole region, except along the shores of Lake 
Champlain, and some of its tributaries. It may be pro- 
nounced in the aggregate, a broken and mountainous terri- 
tory. Many districts, however, embracing large portions 
of entire townships, exhibit a very high degree of native 
fertility and adaptation to tillage. The surface of these 
tracts is usually level, or presents gentle and agreeable un- 
dulations. Extensive valleys, lying elevated among the 
mountains, possess the richest soil, formed by the accumu- 
lation of ages, from the debris of the higher steeps. Allu- 
vial flats of great extent and natural fertility, spread along 
the margin of numerous streams, and surround the hidden 
lakes and ponds in the interior. 

The hills and mountains, far up their slopes, often afford 
a rich and generous soil, yielding the choicest pasture and 
meadow lands. Although these advantages may mitigate 
its general character, the country presents a vast surface, 
rock bound and inaccessible in its cliff's and heights, and 
impracticable to cultivation. A large portion of this 
territory, stamped by nature with ruggedness and desola- 
tion, and closed against the approaches of agriculture, 
teems with immeasurable wealth in its forests and mines. 



318 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Several detached and broken ranges of mountains enter 
the county from the south. These mountains appear to 
lose their distinctive peculiarities as a system or general 
range, and are thrown together in promiscuous, massive 
groups. Two of these disturbed ranges reach the limits 
of the county at Ticonderoga. They are not high, but 
exceedingly abrupt and jagged. One suddenly terminates 
at Mount Defiance, and the other subsides into slight 
eminences, in the vicinity of Lake George. Two other 
ranges, loftier and more important, exhibiting the same 
dislocated character, traverse the county in nearly parallel 
tracts. They both terminate in bold and majestic pro- 
montories upon Lake Champlain, and spread their lateral 
projections over the couuty. These lofty promontories, at 
some points upon the lake, present a high and nearly 
perpendicular wall, and at others, their huge and beetling 
cliffs impend over the water. These impressive spectacles 
of mountain scenery are exhibited at Moriah, Willsboro', 
Westport and Chesterfield. 

Peaks occur along the line of these sierras, which in 
other regions would be regarded as conspicuous land- 
marks, but here, associated with loftier and more impos- 
ing summits, they have neither names nor notoriety. 
Among the class of secondary mountains within the 
county, are Pharaoh, in Schroon, Mount Dix, in North 
Hudson, and the Bald mountain, in Moriah, which 
attract attention, and are admired for their position and 
formation. The Bald mountain rises to an altitude of 
more than two thousand feet. By its proximity to the 
lake, and its isolated position, one standing upon its bald 
peak may trace the sinuosities of the lake, studded with 
its islands and promontories, distinctly revealed in a course 
of more than forty miles. The villages and mountain 
scenery, with the intervening plains on both sides of the 
lake, form a brilliant picture, while directly beneath, 
the eye rests upon the elevated plateau in Moriah, " all 
dressed in living green," and the busy scenes that sur- 
round the numerous ore beds. This peak will soon be 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 319 

reached by a convenient ascent, when the explorer may 
enjoy, without any great effort or fatigue, one of the most 
impressive and beautiful panoramic views afforded by 
this region of forests, mountains and lakes. In the Adi- 
rondac group, situated chiefly in the towns of Keene and 
Newcomb, a cluster occurs of the loftiest and most re- 
markable mountains east of the Mississippi. Less ele- 
vated than individual summits of the White hills of New 
Hampshire, or the Black mountain of North Carolina, 
they far exceed any entire range in the gigantic magni- 
tude of their proportions, and in the grandeur and beauty 
of their structure. It is extraordinary, that the public 
should, until so recent a period, have been in comparative 
ignorance of this remarkable group of mountains, and of 
the deeply interesting and romantic country they envelop 
in their mighty folds. They are within forty miles of 
Lake Champlain, the great avenue of northern commerce, 
and so familiar to the fashionable tourist. Their highest 
peaks are visible from Burlington, and the altitude of 
Mount Marcy has actually been determined from that 
point. The idea, however, is inaccurate, that this tract 
had not been explored until a recent date, or that these 
mountains were unknown until a late discovery. Most of 
these scenes have been, for many years, familiar to innu- 
merable hunters, pioneers and surveyors. Most of these 
prominent summits are visible through a wide territory 
(which has been occupied for more than half a century), 
not in the obscurity of distance, but in the full exhibition 
of their majesty and glory. 

Mount Marcy, the monarch of these wilds, towers above 
the surrounding pinnacles, in a beautiful cone, and in one 
view nearly an acute apex. Ascending above every contigu- 
ous object, and piercing with this striking formation far up- 
ward no one can contemplate it without recognizing the force 
and appropriateness of its name, in the energetic and beauti- 
ful nomenclature of the Indians. They called the towering 
mountain projecting its acute top toward the heavens, 
Tahawus, The Cloud-splitter. The height of this mountain, 



320 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

above tide water, is 5,467 feet. Another eminence, 
Mount Mclntyre, supposed to fall a little below Mount 
Marcy in altitude, perhaps surpasses it in ponderous 
magnificence, and presents a more uniform, massive and 
compact structure. The Dial mountain, Mount Seward, 
McMartin, Colden, and other peaks unmeasured, of appa- 
rently equal if not greater dimensions, mingle in this 
cluster, and impress a stamp of Alpine grandeur upon the 
scenery. 

A lofty range known as the Keene mountains, pre- 
sents a peculiar aspect; dark, broken, and frowning. The 
White-face mountain, in the majestic Indian dialect 
"Waho-partenie, an eminence of 4,855 feet, 1 stands re- 
mote from the other groups, and occupies the northern 
extremity of the huge mountain belt that encircles the 
town of North Elba. This peak from its rare and admira- 
ble proportions, its bald summit, solitary isolation, and the 
vast preeminence of its height above surrounding objects, 
is a beautiful and conspicuous landmark, over a wide 
horizon. A few years since it presented a spectacle of un- 
equaled sublimity. In the heat and drought of midsummer, 
the combustible materials upon its summit were fired by 
accident or design, and during one whole night the confla- 
gration raged, exhibiting to the gaze of hundreds, almost 
the splendor and awfulness of a volcanic eruption in its 
wild vehemence. A convenient pathway has been con- 
structed to the summit of the mountain from which a mag- 
nificent view is commanded over a wide expanse of 
territory. 

Public sentiment will not ratify the acts of private men, 
who would obliterate the aboriginal names of the great 
physical features of this continent, and substitute those of 
individuals, however eminent their political position, or 
excellent and esteemed their private characters. The In- 
dian nomenclature is singularly rich in its force and 



J A recent observation gives to White-face about the same altitude as 
Mount Marcy. 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 321 

euphony, and in the beauty and illustrative appropriateness 
of its designations. The names they have attached to 
physical objects will soon be the only vestige of their ex- 
istence. They will leave no other monuments of their 
former presence upon the land they once possessed, and 
fondly deemed their own peculiar heritage. 

Lakes. 

Lake Champlain. In an early part of this volume, I 
glanced at the military aspect and commercial importance 
of Lake Champlain. The rare and exceeding beauty of 
its scenery arrests and delights the observer. On the east 
it is bounded by an undulating plain, rich in a high and 
luxuriant culture, whilst beyond this, the horizon is 
limited by the bold and broken outline of the Green 
mountains. On the western border, the dark and tower- 
ing Adirondacs, spread far into the interior, here and there 
projecting their rugged spurs into the bosom of the lake, 
and often forming lofty and inaccessible headlands, covered 
with forests, or exposing bleak and frowning masses of 
naked rock. The lake ranges in width, from one mile to 
fifteen miles. It is studded by innumerable islands ; some 
of which are mere rocky projections; others clothed in 
their native green woods, rest like gems upon the waters, 
and others formed by alluvial deposits, are unsurpassed in 
their native loveliness, or in their exuberant fertility. 

The severity of a northern climate closes the navigation 
of this lake no inconsiderable portion of the year. The 
ice usually forms upon the broadest part about the 1st of 
February, and remains, in an average of years, until near 
the middle of April. The navigation is suspended for a 
longer period by the ice forming earlier and remaining 
later at each extremity. 1 The lake occasionally remains 
open the entire winter. The transition from navigation to 
the transit of the lake upon the ice, is often amazingly sud- 
den ; teams having crossed its broadest part, upon the ice 

l Iddo Osgood, Esq. 
21 



322 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the fifth day after it had been passed by a steamer. The 
ice often attains great thickness. The spectacle, frequently 
afforded by this vast expanse of icy surface, is singularly 
beautiful and exhilarating. It furnishes for several weeks 
the great highway of business and pleasure. Roads di- 
verging from every point, are animate with activity and 
excitement. Long trains of teams, freighted with the 
commodities of the country, glide easily over it, whilst the 
pleasure sleigh bounds along its smooth and crystal field, 
breaking the stillness by the music of its merry bells. 
Little danger occurs in the transit of the ice, except in the 
passage of the cracks or fissures, which starting from the 
various points and headlands, rend the ice asunder with a 
sound and concussion like the reverberation of thunder, or 
the prolonged discharge of ordnance. These fissures en- 
tirely separate the ice, and are designed by the wise pur- 
poses of providence to strengthen it, by affording an 
escape to the pent up air beneath. 

The balmy atmosphere and warmer sun of approaching 
spring, affect and gradually weaken the ice. Traveling on 
it, then becomes hazardous, and is often attended with 
great jeopardy and frequent loss of life and property. The 
inhabitants, residing upon the shore of the lake, are habi- 
tuated to these perils and familiar to the modes of assist- 
ance. On the alarm of accidents, they rush to the point 
of danger, with prompt and efficient zeal bearing ropes 
and boards and other requisite articles, and rarely fail to 
extricate the sufferer, when the scene can be reached. 

The final breaking up of the ice in the spring often 
affords a spectacle of intense interest. The evidences are 
readily recognized, which portend the event. Its surface 
exhibits several marked and peculiar phases, which indicate 
the progress of decay. Its usual transparent and brilliant 
clearness yields to a dark and clouded aspect. This is 
succeeded by a soft and snowy color, as the moisture leaves 
the surface and penetrates the mass. The next stage in its 
dissolution is exhibited as the body of ice becomes porous 
and losing its buoyancy, sinks to the level of the water. 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 323 

Its appearance then is black and portentous,, and can 
scarcely be contemplated without a feeling of awe and 
dread. The fissures now open and expand. The ice sepa- 
rates into larger bodies, and driven by the winds in immense 
fields, is broken up, and often piled in huge masses upon 
the shores where it remains late in the spring, a memorial 
of the passed empire of winter. At other times, the ice 
continues nearly entire, until saturated with water, it at 
once, in a moment a3 it were, disappears, dissolving into its 
original element. In the progress of dissolution of the ice, 
a singular phenomenon is revealed. The mass at this time, 
exhibits a combination of an infinitude of parallel crystals 
or icicles, arranged in a perpendicular formation, and each 
distinct and perfect, extending from the lower side to the 
surface, or in other words, from the water to the atmosphere. 
These particles separate from each other in the process of 
disintegration. 

A day of jubilee and rejoicing succeeds, when these icy 
fetters are finally broken up, and intercourse is restored. 
The advent of the first steamer of the season, always reju- 
venated during the winter, and fresh from the hands of the 
painter, is hailed at each landing by joyous shoutings and 
often by the booming of artillery. 

Interior Lakes and Rivers. 
The numerous lakes and gem-like ponds, that stud the 
surface of the country in such profusion, not only diversify 
and adorn the scenery, but are the source of the vast water 
power so essential to the industrial interest and prosperity 
of the country. This water, chiefly arising from springs, 
is usually cold, clear, and pure. Schroou lake, lying partly 
in Warren country, is ten miles long and one and a half 
broad, and is remarkable for its quiet and romantic beauty. 
A high, precipitous shore encloses it on the east, and on 
the west a cultivated and delightful tract spreads its fertile 
fields down to the brink. This lake forms the reservoir 
to the waters of the upper Hudson. It is already the chan- 
nel of a valuable traffic, and will become highly important 



324 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

to the rapidly increasing manufacturing business of the 
district. 

Paradox lake is situated in the 'same valley, and is 
separated from Schroon lake by a drift or alluvial, of 
apparently modern formation. Paradox lake occupies the 
basin of hills that environ it in a gentle ascent, except the 
narrow passage at its outlet, which is a confluent of the 
Schroon river and nearly on a level with it. The river, 
swollen by the mountain torrents, often rises higher than 
this lake, and pours its waters into the basin, presenting 
the paradoxical appearance of a stream rushing back upon 
its fountain head. The lake derives, from this singular 
fact, its unique but not inappropriate name. Directly east 
of Schroon lake, and elevated above it several hundred 
feet, lies Lake Pharaoh, an important body of water, sur- 
rounded by a group of dark and gloomy mountains. In 
this vicinity cluster numerous ponds, the fountain heads 
of valuable streams. 

The miniature lakes and ponds, which repose in almost 
every valley among the Adirondacs, and form the head 
springs of the Hudson, possess indescribable romance and 
beauty. Now they are embraced and hidden by dense 
and unbroken forests, and now encompassed by lofty 
mountains, whose inaccessible precipices descend into 
their waters by a nearly vertical wall, and now slumbering 
in the bosom of some lovely and picturesque nook, their 
mirrored surface, reflecting this varied scenery, is alone 
broken by the leaping of a trout, the gambols of a deer, 
or, at far intervals, by the oar of the solitary hunter. 
These gentle and subduing beauties of nature, combined 
with the awe-imposing and thrilling grandeur of their 
mountain spectacles, with the pure, invigorating and 
health-inspiring air which envelops them, must render 
these solitudes among the most desirable and attractive 
resorts, to the philosopher, the invalid and the tourist of 
pleasure. 

Lake Placid, situated principally in North Elba, just 
touches that beautiful valley, in the incomparable land- 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 325 

scape of which it forms a conspicuous and very essential 
feature. Its great expanse, its deep and transparent 
waters, its beautiful proportions, stretching its sinuosities 
along bold headlands far into the recesses of the moun- 
tains, uutil in the distant view, its waters seem to lave 
the base of Whiteface, although in fact separated from it 
by a rich valley of two miles in width, unite to render 
Lake Placid one of the most delightful and attractive 
objects in this land of loveliness and silence. A small 
pond connects with the lake by a narrow channel ; this 
pond has no other inlet or outlet, and is distinguished by 
a singular circumstance. The water flows for a period of 
two or three minutes from the lake into the pond; an 
interval of a few seconds succeeds, with no apparent 
motion of the water ; after this, for the same time, it flows 
back again into the lake. This ebbing and flowing is, I 
believe, perpetual. 1 Lake Placid is one of the most 
important heads of the An Sable river. The manufac- 
turing interest on the line of that stream, has erected at 
the outlet of the lake, an expensive and ponderous dam. 
This work forms the lake into a capacious reservoir, and 
secures a permanent supply of water, at all seasons, to the 
immense works moved by the Au Sable. 

The Au Sable ponds form the loftiest as well as most 
important reservoir of the South branch of the Au Sable 
river. Lying amid the acclivities of the Adirondacs, and 
buried deeply in the solitudes of forests, which have yet 
scarcely been disturbed by the movements of enterprise, 
these waters are calculated, when more fully known, to 
attract the attention of the tourist and sportsman, by their 
solitariness, their beauty and sporting wealth. They are 
four or five miles from civilized habitations. Small boats 
have been placed upon them, to facilitate access to Mt. 
Marcy, towards which they afford one of the most direct 
routes. The Upper pond is classed among the most beau- 
tiful lakes of the region. The state some years ago 

1 T. L. Nash. 



326 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

erected a dam on the outlet of these ponds, to aid the 
manufacturing interests of the district, but it yielded to 
the pressure of a sudden and extraordinary accumulation 
of water, which contributed to produce a flood, that 
poured upon the Au Sable valley, in wide and terrible 
desolation. 1 

I may here appropriately refer to a fact of some philo- 
sophical interest and great practical importance. In the 
progress of my survey, I have observed, in repeated in- 
stances, the ruins of mills and dams, which, in the early 
occupation of the county, had ample water power, not a 
vestige of which now remains but a deep and worn ravine 
that once formed its channel. As the progress of agri- 
cultural and manufacturing improvements — before which 
forests are leveled, the country opened, and the earth 
exposed to the influence of the sun and atmosphere — 
advances, springs and streams will be dried up, and it will 
become imperatively necessary to adopt artificial means 
to control and preserve the water power of this county. 

Rivers. 

The elevated and extended highlands of Essex county, 
naturally form the great water shed of an extended terri- 
tory. In their recesses, the sources of the Hudson almost 
mingle with the waters that flow into Champlain and the 
tributaries of the St. Lawrence. A rivulet gurgling 
towards the Hudson, discharges from one extremity of the 
Indian pass, and a branch of the Au Sable from the oppo- 
site. A pond lying amid the rocks, hundreds of feet above 
the pass, pours its waters into a confluent of the St. Law- 
rence. The streams of a district, like Essex county, broken 
and mountainous, will be numerous, but turbulent and pre- 
cipitous. These characteristics are eminently useful in the 
aspect of a manufacturing interest. Wherever the demands 
of business require water power in the county, it exists or 
can be at once created. 

1 Mr. George S. Potter. 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 327 

The tributaries of the Hudson traverse every section of 
the southwestern portion of the country, and afford illi- 
mitable facilities to various mechanical and other industrial 
occupations. Putnam's creek, formed by the lakes and 
ponds in the mountains of the interior, courses a distance 
of twenty miles, supplying the power to numerous works 
and enters the lake at Crown point. The Boquet inter- 
laces, by its numerous branches, the central portion of the 
county, and affording, in a course of forty-five miles, 
unnumbered water privileges, discharges into the lake 
at Willsboro'. Several of the most extensive and valua- 
ble manufacturing works in the county are established 
upon this stream. The Boquet was formerly navigable 
to the falls, a distance of three miles, by the largest ves- 
sels upon the lake. Its channel, now changed and ob- 
structed, only admits, at favorable periods of the year, the 
lightest crafts. 

Lake George penetrates Essex county several miles, and 
discharges through an outlet of about three miles and a 
half in length, into Lake Champlain, by a strong, deep, 
and equable stream, which is navigable to the lower falls. 
This stream, in its course from Lake George to the falls, 
forms a most extraordinary water power, in some pecu- 
liarities, without a parallel. It discharges per second a 
volume of water, exceeding four hundred feet, along a 
natural canal of one mile and a half in length, making 
chiefly by a gradual descent, a fall of two hundred and 
twenty feet. Through almost its whole course water 
wheels, connected with machinery, may be dropped from 
its elevated rocky banks, into the stream, and propelled 
almost without any artificial arrangement. The sloping 
banks of Lake George form au immense receptacle where 
the excess of water is accumulated, and gradually dis- 
charges. Hence, no freshets can endanger the works upon 
its outlet, but a uniform and permanent supply of water is 
secured at all seasons, and under all circumstances. This 
stream rarely varies three feet from its ordinary level. 



328 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The warmth of the water, and the rapidity of the cur- 
rent prevent every obstruction from ice to the wheel. 
The water may be diffused laterally, and its power mul- 
tiplied to any extent. The great and rare purity of 
the water renders it particularly adapted to those manu- 
factories which require dyeing, bleaching and print- 
ing facilities. In combination with all these singular 
advantages, this position commands the commercial tho- 
roughfare formed by the lakes ; it may reach the immense 
forests extending far into the interior, spreading on each 
side of Lake George ; it has, within its own environs, a 
rich and abundant mineral region, and has near and easy 
access to the vast iron deposits of the Moriah district. 

Such harmony in its arrangements, so great and re- 
markable advantages in the bounties of providence, are 
rarely combined. The utilitarian spirit of the age, the 
interests of business and enterprise, would long since have 
converted these neglected privileges into elements of pro- 
sperity and wealth; but the blight of foreign ownership has 
paralyzed those high bounties. The cupidity or grossly 
mistaken and pernicious policy of these proprietors has 
imposed terms so exacting, as to repel through a long term 
of years almost every purpose of an adequate occupation of 
these advantages. 

The two main branches of the Au Sable river, nearly equal 
in size and importance, rise principally in the western part 
of Essex county, and by their numerous and wide spread 
confluents drain a territory of about eight hundred square 
miles. These branches unite at Au Sable Forks and roll 
along the Au Sable valley a motive power that impels 
varied and extensive industrial pursuits equal to any other 
stream within the state of no greater extent and capacity. 
The river Saranac penetrates Essex county from Franklin 
near the line that divides the towns of North Elba and St. 
Armands, and crossing the latter diagonally, enters Clinton 
county. Gliding along high level banks, with scarcely a 
perceptible current, it exhibits- almost the form and aspect 
of an artificial canal. It is navigable in Essex county 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 329 

about fifteen miles by small boats, and probably by slight 
improvement might be adapted to the passage of the 
smaller class of screw steamers. 

Natural Curiosities. 

Indian pass. The mighty convulsions which have up- 
heaved the lofty mountains of this region, or rent asunder 
the barriers that enclosed the seas, which washed their 
cliffs, have left impressive vestiges of their power, in the 
striking natural phenomena spread over the country. 
None of them afford more wonderful exhibitions of those 
terrific agencies, or more imposing beauty and magnifi- 
cence, than a remarkable gorge, known as the Indian 
pass, in the impressive aboriginal Otneyarh, the Stony 
Giants. It occupies a narrow ravine, formed by a rapid 
acclivity of Mount McMartin on one side, rising at an 
angle of forty-five degrees, and on the opposite by the 
dark naked wall of a vertical precipice, towering to an 
altitude of eight hundred to one thousand two hundred 
feet from its base, and extending more than a mile in 
length. The base itself is elevated about two thousand 
five hundred feet above tide water. The deep and ap- 
palling gorge is strewn and probably occupied for several 
hundred feet, with gigantic fragments hurled into it from 
the impending cliffs, by some potent agency. The elements 
still advance the process. So exact and wonderful is the 
stupendous masonry of this bulwark, that it seems, could 
human nerve allow the effort, a stone dropped from the 
summit, might reach the base without striking an impedi- 
ment. The pencil cannot portray, nor language describe, 
the full grandeur and sublimity of this spectacle. The 
deep seclusion, the wild solitude of the place, awe and 
impress. Many miles from human habitation, nature here 
reigns in her primitive silence and repose. The eagles 
form their eyries amid these inaccessible cliffs, and seem 
like some humble bird as they hover over the deep abyss. 
The heavy forests that clothe the steeps of McMartin, and 
shroud the broken and confused masses of rock in the 



330 HISTORY OF ESSEX CODNTY. 

gorge, add to the gloom and solemnity of these dark 
recesses. A tiny rivulet just starting from its birthplace 
amid these solitudes, chafes and frets along its rocky pas- 
sage, in its course to the Hudson. A ravine lying among 
the Adirondacs, near Keeseville and known as Poke-O- 
Moonshine (the origin or meaning of this euphonious 
name I have not been able to trace), presents a feeble copy 
of the Indian pass in reduced proportions. 

The Wilmington Notch. The western branch of the Au 
Sable breaks through its mountain bulwarks, in a scene 
almost as thrilling and impressive as the Indian Pass. The 
river compressed within a narrow passage of a few feet, in 
width, becomes here an impetuous torrent, foams and 
dashes along the base of a precipitous wall, formed by 
Whiteface mountain, which towers above it, in nearly a 
perpendicular ascent of thousands of feet, whilst on the 
other side it almost laves the abrupt, naked aud rugged 
crags, of another lofty precipice. Bursting through this 
obstacle, it leaps into an abyss of more than one hundred 
feet in depth, so dark and impervious from mantling trees, 
and impending rocks, that the eye cannot penetrate its 
hidden cavern. A road which has been recently constructed 
through the pass, renders this remarkable spot easily 
accessible to the tourist ; and I can imagine few scenes 
more attractive by its wild and romantic beauty, or its 
stern and appalling grandeur. Nearly the whole course of 
the Au Sable and its branches presents a series of falls, 
cascades and rapids, which, whilst they adorn and animate 
the scenery, afforded innumerable sites of water power, 
rarely exceeded in capacity and position. 

Walled Banks of the An Sable. The passage of the Au 
Sable river, along its lofty and perpendicular banks aud 
through the chasm at the High bridge is more familiar 
to the public mind, than most of the striking and pictu- 
resque features in the interesting scenery of that romantic 
stream. The continued and gradual force of the current, 
aided perhaps by some vast effort of nature, has formed a 
passage of the river through the deep layers of sandstone 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 331 

rock, which are boldly developed above the village of Keese- 
ville, and form the embankment of the river, until it 
reaches the quiet basin below the high bridge. In the 
vicinity of Keeseville, the passage of the stream is between 
a wall upon either side of fifty feet in height; leaving these 
it glides gently along a low valley, until suddenly precipi- 
tated over a precipice, that creates a fall of singular beauty. 
Foaming and surging from this point, over a rocky bed 
until it reaches the village of Birmingham, it then abruptly 
bursts into a dark, deep chasm of sixty feet. A bridge 
with one abutment setting upon a rock that divides the 
stream, crosses the river at the head of this fall. This 
bridge is perpetually enveloped in a thick cloud of spray 
and mist. In winter, the frost work encrusts the rock and 
trees, with the most gorgeous fabrics, myriads of columns 
and arches, and icy diamonds and stalactites glitter iu the 
sunbeams. In the sunshine a brilliant rainbow spreads 
its radiant arc over this deep abyss. All these elements, 
rare in their combination, shed upon this scene an effect 
inexpressibly wild, picturesque and beautiful. The river 
plunges from the latter precipice, amid the embrasures of 
the vast gulf, in which for nearly a mile it is nearly hidden 
to observation from above. It pours a wild torrent, uow 
along a natural canal, formed in the rocks in almost per- 
fect and exact courses, and now darts madly down a 
precipice. The wall rises on a vertical face upon each side 
from seventy-five to one hundred aud fifty feet, whilst the 
width of the chasm rarely exceeds thirty feet, and at seve- 
ral points the stupendous masonry of the opposite walls 
approaches within eight or ten feet. Lateral fissures, deep 
and narrow, project from the main ravine at nearly right 
angles. The abyss is reached through one of these crevices 
by a stairway descending to the water by two hundred and 
twelve steps. The entire mass of these walls is formed 
of lamina? of sandstone rock, laid in regular and precise 
structure almost rivaling the most accurate artificial work. 
The pines and cedars starting from the apertures of the 
wall, spread a dark canopy over the gulf. The instrument- 



332 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ality, which has produced this wonderful work, is a pro- 
blem that presents a wide scope for interesting, but unsatis- 
factory speculation. 

A report of the state geologist asserts, " that near the 
bottom of the fissure at the High bridge, and through an 
extent of seventy feet, numerous specimens of a small 
bivalvular molusca, or lingulse," are discovered, and 
" that ripple marks appear at the depth of seventy or 
eighty feet." 

Split rock. Travelers in paesing through Lake Cham- 
plain, observe in the town of Essex, a remarkable point, 
known to the French as Rocher fendu, and to the English, 
as Split rock. It contains about half an acre of land, and 
rising thirty feet above the water, in a bold, precipitous 
front, is separated from the promontory by a fissure of ten 
feet in width. Its slope and position have created the 
belief, that it has been detached from the adjacent 
headland by its own weight, and in sojne shock of nature, 
although it has probably been separated in the gradual 
attrition of the earth and disintegrating rocks, by the 
action of the elements. It is a striking and interesting 
formation. Guide books, and some works of high pre- 
tensions, describe an abyss of five hundred feet in depth, 
dividing the rock from the promontory. I visited it last 
autumn, and walked through the fissure, two feet above 
the level of the lake. 

Near Port Kendall, in Chesterfield, another of these 
remarkable phenomena occurs, to which frequent allu- 
sion has been made. The outlets of several ponds upon 
these highlands, unite in a stream which forms at this 
place, a very superior water power, directly upon the 
margin of Lake Champlain. The water rushes a distance 
of forty or fifty rods above the falls, through a chasm, 
which appears to have been opened by some mighty phy- 
sical convulsion. It presents a gulf sixty or seventy feet 
wide, with a depth of thirty or forty feet. 1 At the extre- 

l Lem Hiyby, Esq. 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 333 

mity of this passage, the stream plunges into the lake over 
a precipice of about forty feet. A similar spectacle known 
as Split rock, is exhibited near Pleasant valley, where the 
whole volume of the Boquet rushes through a ravine of 
this character. 

The Bainbow Falls. This remarkable cascade is situated 
in Keene within a mile of the romantic Au Sable ponds and 
forms a striking feature of that wild picturesque region. 
It is upon Rainbow brook, a small tributary of the South 
branch of the Au Sable river. The fall is computed from 
careful observation to be one hundred and twenty-five feet in 
sheer vertical descent. The site is separated from the Keene 
flats, the nearest human residence, by a dense forest three or 
four miles in extent, and is hidden in the recesses of the 
vast wilderness of the Adirondacs. It is embraced in 
the extensive tract of timber land recently purchased by 
Messrs. Thomas & Armstrong, and is now first revealed 
to general knowledge. The falls are at present only accessi- 
ble by a path through the forest; but they have already ex- 
cited the attention of the artist and explorer, and it is in 
contemplation to immediately open by convenient roads, a 
district that will be regarded not among the least attrac- 
tive or interesting in the Adirondac region, to the sports- 
man and the worshiper of nature, in her secluded temples. 1 

The Hunter's pass. This gorge lies in the town of Worth 
Hudson, and is formed by the deep, parallel precipices of 
Dix's peak and Nipple top, which are among the highest 
and most sequestered mountains of the Adirondacs. It is 
similar to the Indian Pass, and second only to that amazing 
exhibition in its sublime and imposing features. This pass 
is rarely penetrated even by the hunter, and at a very late 
period only has been visited for the specific purpose of 
exploration. It is buried several miles deeper in the 
mazes of these forests and mountains than the Au Sable 
ponds or Rainbow falls, but is sufficiently near these points 
to enhance the attraction of the district, when it shall have 

1 Almon Thomas, George 8. Potter. 



334 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

become a new object of interest and resort. The scene 
can now only be reached by the severest toil of several 
miles (but the feat has been achieved by brave and delicate 
woman) and when this is accomplished, the dense forest, 
the masses of rocks and their mosses, and their debris 
gathered for ages, renders the gorge almost impenetrable. 1 
These successive revelations in the physical aspect of the 
county, illustrate the profound seclusion and great extent 
of the wilderness, and warrant the opinion, that other objects 
of deep interest remain in its recesses yet to be unveiled. 
It is believed that several of the most secluded peaks of 
the Adirondacs have never been ascended. This circum- 
stance becomes still more impressive, if upon a map 
of the state, one point of the dividers graduated at one 
hundred miles, is placed at the Capitol, and we find on 
describing a circle, that it traces a line through the central 
part of the Adirondac group. Mouut Marcy and other 
prominent objects we have noticed, lie scarcely beyond 
this circle. 

Two very remarkable subterranean passages in the 
town of Schroon near Paradox lake are worthy of examina- 
tion. The first of these forms the channel of a small 
rivulet, by a natural perforation of some hundred feet 
through the massive rock, ten or fifteen feet below the sur- 
face, over which passes the public road, as if by an artificial 
bridge. The other, which I find referred to in early w r orks 
on the topography of this region, is a highly curious and 
interesting exhibition. The explorer enters a lofty arch, 
several feet below the surface, carved out of the solid 
rock. It presents, at some points, the appearance of 
nearly an exact gothic structure, and at others, broken 
and ragged sides and canopy. This dark and gloomy 
cavern extends a number of rods, and is from four to 
twelve feet in width, and ten to fifteen in height. It con- 
stitutes the sluice way of a large stream, which propels a 

1 The Elizabetlitown Post. 






PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 335 

mill just above the entrance, and foams and dashes 
through the rocky and precipitous descent. 

Trout are often found in pools within this passage, 
which are formed by the obstructions to the stream in its 
course. 

Inflammable Gas. A striking phenomenon is noticed in 
Schroou lake. In parts of that picturesque and beautiful 
sheet of water, inflammable gases are emitted from the 
bottom, where the water is eighteen or twenty feet deep. 
When the surface is frozen over, the gas collects in 
various insulated bodies beneath the ice, where it can 
be readily discovered. If a small aperture is cut in 
the ice above one of these collections, the gas rushes 
forth with violence, and when a match is applied to it, 
the gas ignites and flames up in a brilliant fiery column 
eight feet high, and continues to burn, usually, from five 
to fifteen minutes or until the receptable is exhausted. 
In the summer, the gas rises to the surface at intervals, 
producing a strong ebullition of the water, which con- 
tinues about five minutes, when it ceases and the lake 
becomes as calm as usual. Sometimes burning shavings 
have been thrust into the gas before it is dissipated, 
when it instantly takes fire and bursts into a flame that 
ascends several feet high and spreads along the surface of 
the lake frequently two rods. 1 

The Wilderness of Northern New York. 

This remarkable territory has not, until a comparative 
recent period, attracted any considerable public attention. 
The mind can scarcely comprehend the fact, that a dis- 
trict equal in size to the superficial area of several of the 
separate states of the Union, lies in the bosom of New 

1 1 am indebted to Hon. Joel F. Potter for the above statements. In 
bis note be mentions tbe following additional facts : " A neighbor of mine 
cut a large opening in the ice, but was somewhat slow in lighting his 
match. When he did apply it, the gas had accumulated and he was thrown 
back by its sudden ignition about eight feet, with the lost of whiskers and 
eye-brows." He relates another experiment in which the gas was collected 



336 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

York, touching on one extremity the long occupied and 
densely populated valley of the Mohawk, and encircled by 
a highly cultivated and matured country, is still shrouded 
by its primeval forest, and remains almost as it came from 
the hands of its Creator. This territory embraces nearly 
all Hamilton county, and parts of Herkimer, Oneida, 
Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex, and Warren, and 
extends over one hundred miles in length, and about 
eighty miles in breadth. 

Nature reigns in this wilderness, in her primeval seclu- 
sion and solitude. The daring hunter alone formerly 
penetrated its mazes in pursuit of its only denizens, the 
moose, the bear, the panther, and deer. The fisherman, 
whose ardor leads him to the deep recesses of the forest, 
breaks the quiet repose of these lakes and rivers, but 
within the boundaries of this sequestered region, man has 
scarcely an abode, in his civilization and improvements. 
A portion of this territory is mountainous and impracticable 
to culture. Here, as I have already remarked, the highest 
group of mountains east of the Mississippi, lift their pinna- 
cles to the skies. The sheer and lofty precipice, the dash- 
iug torrent, the sylvan lake and the boundless ocean of 
forest, combine to form a scenery, which is unrivaled in 
its magnificence and beauty. The votaries and admirers 
of nature will learn to visit these scenes, and will gaze on 
them with wonder and delight. 

The existence of this range of mountains, imposing and 
magnificent as it is, enveloping in its gigantic folds, the 
rich and beautiful region beyond, and to the approach of 
which it seemed to impose an impenetrable bar, has given 
rise to the opinions and estimates of that entire territory, 
which prevail. Eminent men, in supreme ignorance of 
the character of this district, have sneered at it, as the 

and retained in a rude receptacle. " We have cut a hole in the ice, and 
placed a harrel over it, with the lower head on. Around this, snow was 
piled, and a gas burner attached to the upper head of the barrel, protected 
by a glass lantern. With this apparatus the gas from one of the collections 
referred to has burnt nearly a whole night." 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 337 

Siberia of New York, little aware of the illimitable 
wealth which must be revealed, not only in its immense 
forests, of the most valuable wood and timber, and its 
boundless mineral riches, but in the adaptation of large 
sections of it to agricultural purposes. Other men, im- 
pelled by their example, have habitually indulged in sar- 
casm and ridicule, upon the character and resources of 
northern New York. These and similar views, have cre- 
ated impressions relative to the soil, the capabilities and 
climate of this territory, which have arrested emigration, 
and induced the board of land commissioners of the state, 
in an unwise and mistaken policy, to sacrifice by inade- 
quate sales a large proportion of the public domain, which 
had been consecrated by our fathers, to a noble and glori- 
ous purpose — the education of our children. 

I am anxious to correct those opinions, where I regard 
them to be false, and briefly to describe the physical fea- 
tures, the topographical arrangement, the agricultural and 
industrial capacity of this wilderness district. It is known 
that a part of this tract is situated within the limits of 
Essex county, aud that it embraces the loftiest mountains 
of the Adirondacs. This range, stretching into Hamilton 
and the southern section of Franklin counties, partially 
bounds the table land on the south. 

The fertile aud beautiful plains of North Elba, on the 
eastern side of this district, are encircled by a lofty amphi- 
theatre of these mountains. This territory, I have suffi- 
ciently described in another place, and have attempted to 
show by an analogy with some sections of Vermont, of 
nearly the same altitude, and which constitute a part of the 
most valuable and productive districts of that state, the 
great importance and adaptedness of these plains to culti- 
vation. These mountains abound with ores, and are 
mantled to their summits by forests of the heaviest timber 
and choicest varieties of wood. Such is the present condi- 
tion and aspect of this region, in the county of Essex, and 
these are some of its natural resources. Beyond the con- 
. 22 



338 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

fines of this county, it reveals another appearance. The 
broken and rocky range of mountains subsides into a high 
plateau, with a fertile soil, adapted by its ingredients and 
formation to tillage and more particularly to grazing. 
The plains of North Elba extend to, and unite with this 
territory, forming an expansion of the plateau, in the bosom 
of the mountains over an area of about one hundred square 
miles. 

The systems of lakes, which extend over this territory 
and yield to it so much beauty and animation, and almost 
mingle their waters, form the sources of the Hudson, of 
many atSuents of the Mohawk and the Black river. Here 
also, are the fountain heads of the Oswegatchie, the Grass, 
the Raquette and St. Regis rivers, large and important 
streams, which discharge into the St. Lawrence, and the 
Saranac, Au Sable and Boquet, which flow into Lake 
Champlain. 

The project of forming, in the connection of these 
streams and lakes by slight artificial constructions, an 
inland water communication, designed to open to enter- 
prise and emigration the solitudes of this wilderness, I 
shall notice elsewhere. 

The Black River canal skirts this territory on the west. 
The existing and proposed rail roads from Utica and Rome, 
in a northern direction, traverse its western borders. The 
Saratoga and Sackets Harbor rail road, now in progress, 
and which has been fostered by a magnificent bounty of 
five hundred thousand acres from the state lands, will, it is 
estimated, penetrate for a distance of one hundred and 
twenty miles through the heart of an unbroken wilderness. 
It will thread the mazes of this sequestered tr^ct, along the 
base of lofty mountains (towering above it thousands of 
feet), through dense forests and amid the loveliest lakes 
and rivers. The original contemplated route of this road 
traverses the south-western section of Essex county, 
through the rich and important town of Minerva, and 
approaches within a few miles of the Adirondac works, 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 339 

and will thus render accessible the boundless wealth of 
that amazing district. 

The most effective and decisive work, however, for the 
development of the entire region, would be created by the 
extraordinary reconnaissance referred to on another page. 
This subject I propose to notice elsewhere. 

On every side, the slow but constant progress of im- 
provement and cultivation is invading the wilderness. 
The pioneer of agriculture is each year occupying the 
haunts of the hunter, and gradually supplanting him. 
The valuable town of Greig, in Lewis county, now embrac- 
ing a population of about nineteen hundred inhabitants, 
has within comparatively a few years, been carved from the 
silent forest. 

This wilderness is distinguished for the healthiness of 
its climate. There prevails in the atmosphere, which 
envelops these mountains, a pureness, an elasticity and 
vitality that imparts health, and affords an indescribable 
physical enjoyment in the mechanical process of inspira- 
tion ; the lungs are filled, and perform their functions 
without effort or labor. In my explorations of the coun- 
try, I have met with repeated instances of individuals, 
who had reached their forest homes, in advanced stages 
of pulmonary affection, in whom the disease had been 
arrested, and the sufferer restored to comparative health. 
They uniformly imputed the change to the influence of 
the atmosphere, and to the soothing and invigorating 
effect of the peculiar property referred to. No invalid 
enters these solitudes without experiencing upon his sys- 
tem this strengthening and renovating influence. The 
atmosphere can be impregnated by no noxious miasmas, 
but is poured down from the summits of these stately 
mountains, fresh and pure, and life giving as it comes 
from the laboratory of nature. 

Parts of the southern section of this territory in Warren 
and Hamilton counties, particularly where the lofty group 
of Mt. Seward upheave and dislocate the surface, are high, 



340 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

broken and mountainous. "With this exception, and the 
portions of Essex county already described, the altitude 
of the country is lower than the plains of North Elba, but 
it still has an elevation which sensibly affects the climate ; 
far less, however, than has been imputed by an erroneous 
public opinion. That this severity is not extreme, or 
such as to repel occupation, may be judged from the 
fact, that for many years, while the visitors to this region 
were limited, the hunters and guides were accustomed to 
procure their supply of potatoes from the spontaneous 
growth of the vegetable, gathered in the earth, and which 
had sprung from the peelings left upon the surface the 
preceding year. 

Like every new country, in northern latitudes, which is 
shrouded by a thick and heavy vegetation, this tract is 
now far more liable to the effects of cold and frost, than 
it will be, when the advance of improvement has removed 
the massive forests, and exposed the earth to the influence 
of heat and light. The face of this country is represented 
by those who have thoroughly explored it, to be .formed 
of a series of plains, or high valleys, distinct in their 
arrangement, and slightly elevated one above the other. 

The streams, particularly those which are affluents of 
the St. Lawrence, flow in a strong, but neither rapid nor 
violent current, generally between high banks, and through 
a level and beautiful country. The land bordering upon 
these streams is chiefly occupied by dense and stately 
forests, comprehending the most magnificent and valuable 
evergreen timber, aud the choicest varieties of hard wood. 
These forests are not unfrequently interspersed with wide 
and beautiful wet prairies, or natural meadows, spreading 
along the margin of the rivers, and presenting in their 
luxuriant herbage or native grasses, the appearance of 
highly cultivated fields. Myriads of deer graze and fatten 
upon these meadows. 

The soil, whether sustaining its towering growth of 
primitive wood, or revealing the natural meadows, is 



y 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 341 



represented as possessing native fertility and adaptation 
to agriculture, seldom surpassed by any districts of equal 
altitude, and in as high parallel of latitude. Such I know, 
from personal inspection, to be the character of the lands 
in North Elba. Specimens of soils, from the alluvial flats, 
upon the Au Sable river, and the loam from the uplands 
in that town, which were analyzed by Professor Salisbury, 
indicate the highest degree of native fertility. In some 
sections of this territory, a white silicious earth predomi- 
nates, which is evidence of a light and rather sterile soil ; 
other parts of it are, doubtless, rocky and broken ; but a 
large portion of the land is susceptible of useful cultiva- 
tion, and much more will be found congenial to grass and 
grazing. 

The general face of this region may be inferred from 
the circumstance, that tourists speak in their description 
of it, of seeing, while floating upon the remote lakes and 
rivers, the summits of the Adirondacs, towering above 
the surrounding plateau, at a distance of thirty, and even 
fifty miles. 

The nearness and facility of access to various markets, 
which must soon exist, is a most important and obvious 
advantage, which this country will at an early day possess. 
When the different public improvements, existing or con- 
templated, are accomplished, and that result is morally 
certain, every section of this region will enjoy an easy 
access to the Hudson, to the marts of the St. Lawrence 
and to Champlain. But the emigrant to this territory 
need not place any reliance upon remoter markets, 
while an infinitude of forge fires illuminate the re- 
cesses of the Adirondacs, the banks of the Saranac, and 
the valley of the Au Sable, and the varied other manufacto- 
ries exist, which are springing into importance along the 
whole confines of this wilderness. These immense and 
increasing consumers will always secure a certain and 
prompt demand, at the highest prices, for all the charcoal 
that can be made, for every animal that can be raised upon 



342 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

these hills, and every production of agriculture that the 
earth can yield. Already, as the pioneer reaches the out- 
line of the wilderness, we see the manufacturer and the 
lumberer press on his track, requiring the coal he produces 
in clearing his land, the timber he falls and every article 
of consumption he produces, at prices often exceeding 
those of the Atlantic cities. This domestic market will 
never be exhausted, but must constantly augment. 

Large appropriations have been applied by the state, to 
the improvement of the navigation of several of the streams, 
which flow from this region, to facilitate the transporta- 
tion of logs. Many of them are now navigable for this 
purpose, from the lakes where they rise, to their mouths. 
The incalculable amount of saw logs, embraced in the 
wilderness, may by these channels be transported at an 
insignificant expense, in their direct course to market, to 
points where they are fabricated into lumber, for exporta- 
tion. The same spirit has cherished and will continue to 
foster the constructing of rail roads calculated to develop 
the affluence of this region. This wise policy of public 
munificence is calling into practical existence and utility an 
immense aggregate of property, which has been hitherto 
inaccessible and valueless. While it will administer to 
the efforts of private enterprise, and supply new fountains 
of individual wealth, it will return to the treasury of the 
state, tenfold, the expenditures, by opening the vast public 
domain to market and by the immense accession to the 
business of the public works it must create. Hence, it is 
manifest, that the labor of the settler, which removes the 
forest and reveals the earth to cultivation, also prepares 
the coal for the manufacturer and the timber for transport- 
ation; and thus, while he is remunerated for his toil, he is 
enabled to pay for his farm and adapt it to tillage. In 
addition to the pine, spruce and hemlock timber, which 
occupies this territory and which may be computed by 
millions of saw logs, it comprehends a vast amount of 
excellent cedar, and several varieties of oak, birch and 



„ PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 343 

cherry, that attain an immense size, and are in great re- 
quest by the manufacturer, for choice fabrics, and coal 
wood, that can be estimated by tens of millions of cords. 

Iron ore is known to exist here in large deposits, suffi- 
cient, probably, for all its requirements ; but if this opinion 
should prove to be incorrect, aside from many other sources 
of supply, its most remote sections will soon, by means 
of the contemplated works, join hands with the exhaustless 
masses of the Adirondac deposits. 

The unrivaled fish, which throng these waters in the 
utmost profusion, and now afford an article of such ex- 
quisite luxury, may be made an important and valuable 
commodity of exportation, when the means of a rapid 
and certain transportation are established. An immense 
quantity of venison is every season sent from the wilderness 
to the southern and eastern cities. 

The price of land, in this territory, ranges from one dollar 
to six dollars the acre. 

The wisdom of the development by the state of the 
resources of this region, and the promoting of its settlement 
by every liberal and fostering policy, is so apparent and 
imperative, that its expediency can scarcely be enforced by 
any argument. Let avenues be opened into it ; let the 
navigation be perfected, and the rivers made more available 
for the floating of saw logs, and it will soon be colonized 
by sturdy and energetic emigrants, and the silent and 
gloomy wilderness will resound with the din of labor and 
industry. False and deceptive public sentiment has shed 
a blighting influence over this territory, and created obsta- 
cles to its occupation, more impracticable than its mountain 
barriers, or all the impediments with which nature has 
surrounded it. 

Mineral Springs. 

Numerous springs of mineral water occur in Essex 
county, but a few only are known to possess any high or 
peculiar medicinal properties. The Adirondac springs, 



344 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. * 

consisting of a cluster of four fountains, lying within a 
small circle, are situated upon premises formerly owned 
by Mr. Stevenson of Westport. About two years since, 
the property was purchased by Mr. George W. Spencer, 
who gave the springs their present appropriate name. 
They are beautifully situated upon a slope of the Adiron- 
dacs, about half a mile from the lake, and command an 
extended view of its course, with a magnificent mountain 
scenery on both shores, and a landscape formed by a 
highly cultivated and picturesque country. The site of 
these springs is about four miles and a half from Port 
Henry, and the same distance from the village of West- 
port, and is approached in both directions by excellent 
roads, through an interesting and beautiful district. Mr. 
Spencer has erected, at large expense, convenient struc- 
tures about the fountains. These waters have been known 
and celebrated in the region during the last forty years, 
for their singular efficacy in relieving various diseases and 
affections. 

In the year 1852, while acting under my appointment 
by the State society, I procured a gallon of the water 
from each of the springs mentioned below, and submitted 
them to Professor Salisbury, at that time the chemist and 
geologist of the society. After a careful examination, he 
returned to me the subjoined result. I may properly 
remark, that the appearance of the springs and the vici- 
nity, disclose the presence of minerals in an extraordinary 
degree. The deposit of a substance that appears to be 
chiefly magnesia, through which the Cold spring ascends, 
is about ten feet thick ; and the concretion formed by the 
water of the Sulphur spring has been opened eighteen 
feet in depth without reaching the base. These encrusta- 
tions are very similar to the High Rock spring in Saratoga. 
This residuum of the waters may be traced along their 
course several feet, after the discharge from the fountain. 
In its first stage, before induration, it is about the con- 
sistence of putty, soft and unctuous, and without grit to the 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. 345 

touch. This substance, while soft, has been used con- 
stantly, and with remarkable success, as an external 
application in cutaneous affections. The Sulphur spring 
is characterized by the constant, and often quite active 
ebullition of a gaseous substance. The following are the 
analyses of Professor Salisbury : • 

1 gal. water from 1 gal. water from 

Sulphur spring. Cold spriug. 

Sulphuretted hydrogen, 16 cubic inches. ...... 

Organic matter, 8.64 grains. 8.16 grains. 

Sulphur, 2.88 " 

Lime, 10.32 " 12.88 " 

Magnesia, 2.24 ". 3.12 " 

Potassa, 1.36 " 1.20 " 

Soda, 1.12 " 0.88 •< 

Iron 1.04 " 1.44 " 

Chlorine, trace 0.48 " 

Sulphuric acid, 0.88 " 1.52 " 

Phosphoric acid,.' 0.32 " 2.48 " 

Carbonic acid, 1.36 " 1.44 " 

Silicic acid, 0.40 " 0.48 " 

Total solid matter in one gallon,... 30.64 " 34.08 " 

" One distinguishing character of the Sulphur spring is 
the large quantity of sulphuretted hydrogen its waters con- 
tain. A portion of the alkaline basis is also combined with 
sulphur, forming sulphides. 

The water designated in the analysis, as No. 3, was taken 
from a spring upon the premises of L. Pope in Chesterfield, 
and No. 6 from a spring in Jay, situated almost within the 
water line of the Au Sable river. In relation to these 
waters, Prof. Salisbury remarks : " On removing the cork, 
I found in No. 3 a mere trace of sulphuretted hydrogen ; 
in No. 6 no trace of this gas, or carbonic acid gas could be 
detected. They both contained a very small quantity of 
a ferruginous sediment. No. 6 has a slightly bituminous 
odor. No. 3 a slight fetid odor." 



346 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

A gallon of water from No. 3 contains 12.16 grains of 
solid matter, and from No. 6, 6 grains of solid matter. Of 
this solid matter 100 parts gave of 

No. 3. No. 6. No. 5. 

Organic matter, 31.98 41.32 19.73 

Magnesia, 23.39 14.64 16.14 

Sulphuric acid, 10.13 5.28 23.32 

Lime, 11.03 17.34 4.75 

Potassa, 6.01 7.98 20.33 

Soda, 3.32 0.27 2.34 

Carbonic acid, 6.40 4.01 3.59 

Phosphoric acid,. 5.11 5.32 4.18 

Chlorine, 1.82 2.31 3.79 

Iron, 0.51 1.19 4.18 

Silica, 9.23 0.14 0.11 

Sulphuretted hydrogen, trace 

99.93 99.80 99.86 

The spring from which the water marked No. 5 was 
taken, is situated almost within the shadow of the giant 
wall of the Indian pass. A fountain of health, suffi- 
cient to constitute a " watering place," within the pure 
and invigorating atmosphere of the Adirondacs, and amid 
scenes where nature reigns iu profound seclusion, and in 
such imposing and terrific grandeur, would possess infi- 
nite attractions and interest. One gallon of this water 
gave of solid matter 12.64 grains, and 100 parts of this 
solid matter gave the preceding analysis. " The analysis 
shows No. 5 to be a magnesia potassa water. The magne- 
sia and potassa are probably mostly in the form of sulphates. 
No. 5 has a slight earthy odor." 

The discovery of a spring near Schroon lake has re- 
cently been announced. The locality is almost as impos- 
ing and picturesque and even more beautiful than that in 
Indian pass, and if the properties of the water prove as 
valuable as is claimed, and the purpose of erecting a hotel 
is accomplished, I can imagine no resort more delightful 
or attractive. 



PART 111. 
NATURAL HISTORY. 



Animals. 

Charnplain, and the early explorers of the environs of 
Lake Champlain, allude to the abundance and variety of 
the game and wild animals found in that region. The 
reminiscences of the living recall the prevalence in vast 
numbers of these animals, at their first settlement of the 
county. Fearful legends are still rife of exposures of the 
original settlers, and their terrific encounters with the 
panther, the bear, and wolf. 

The moose within a late period has been discovered in 
the recesses of the interior wilderness. The panther and 
wolf still prowl in these wilds, but rarely, and by solitary 
individuals. The small black bear exists in small num- 
bers among the fastnesses of the Adirondacs, but are sel- 
dom seen in the more inhabited sections of the county. 
The bear, wolf and fox, in the early occupation of the 
county, committed the most destructive depredations upon 
the flocks of the pioneers. They literally occupied and 
infested the forest, and by their great prevalence seriously 
retarded and embarrassed the introduction of sheep. The 
howling of wolves around the solitary cabins of the settlers, 
is described as having been most appalling. In the lan- 
guage of an aged pioneer, 1 " the deer, sixty years ago, were 
more abundant in our fields than sheep." Venison was 
then the cheapest food of the settler, and at different 
periods, their almost exclusive dependence. A bear cub 
was esteemed as delicate and luscious as the fattest lamb. 

1 Mr. Leavitt, Chesterfield. 



348 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Deer still abound in the interior solitudes, and are annually 
destroyed in vast numbers, in the mere wanton and brutal 
instincts of slaughter. Under the influence of public sen- 
timent and a determined purpose of enforcing the stringent 
statutes for the preservation of game, the cruel extinction 
of both deer and fish, has been in some measure suppressed 
in this wilderness. Sometimes expelled from their retreats 
by the attacks of wolves, their ferocious foe, they appear 
in the older settlements, and in their extreme terror, occa- 
sionally dash into a village ; but only to find man as 
merciless as the savage beast. Thus, torn and devoured 
by wolves; chased by dogs, and overtakeu when their 
sharp and tiny hoofs peuetrate the crust of snows, and 
they helplessly flounder in their depths ; huuted by torch- 
light, and pursued in the lakes and ponds of their native 
wilds, this beautiful, timid and gentle creature, now afford- 
ing so much beauty and animation to these forests, and 
such luxury to the table of even our metropolitan epicures, 
must soon be extirpated, or greatly diminished in their 
numbers. 

The beaver was found in great abundance throughout 
the region, by the first occupants. They no longer exist, 
it is believed, in the territory of Essex county. The skele- 
ton of probably the last patriarch of the race is still 
preserved. Numerous vestiges exist of their former 
habitations. The evidences remain throughout the county 
of their wonderful architectural works, and of the amaz- 
ing sagacity that approached human intelligence. The 
skill with which the beaver selected the position of his 
dam, the untiring industry and great vigor exhibited in 
prosecuting his work, the exactness of its capacity to the 
required object, and the great beauty of its structure, 
excite the deepest admiration and wonder. The water 
obstructed by these dams flowed over extensive flats, 
destroying the trees and vegetation which had flourished 
upon them. These were carefully removed by the beaver, 
as they decayed, leaving the surface as clear and unobstructed 
as if the work had been accomplished by the nicest labor 



NATURAL HISTORY. 349 

of human industry. These clearings were ultimately 
occupied by a spontaneous growth of natural grasses. 
The beaver meadows of the county, formed by this pro- 
cess, were of incalculable benefit to the early settlers, 
preparing for many of them in advance, an abundant sup- 
ply of excellent fodder. 

The hunter who penetrated deeply into the solitudes, 
beyond the western limits of this county, until recently 
found the moose in considerable abundance. 1 Individuals 
occasionally appeared among the nearer Adirondack. A 
solitary bull or a cow and calf, usually selects in autumn 
a hill or spur of a mountain, where abounds the mountain 
ash and striped maple, his choicest food. Here he hiber- 
nates in what the hunter terms his yard. As the snows 
deepen, he industriously keeps open the paths leading to 
the various sections of his domain. He uniformly traverses 
the same route, and thus preserves a beaten track in the 
deepest snows of winter. In this seclusion he passes the 
season, feeding upon the tender branches of his favorite 
shrubs, until spring returns, and the voice of nature 
invokes him to seek new companions. During the sum- 
mer they frequent the vicinity of ponds and marshes, feed- 
ing upon aquatic plants. The roots of the pond lily they 
greedily devour. 

The pursuit of the moose is among the most animating 
and attractive sports of the huntsman. The senses of this 
animal are supposed to be peculiarly acute. He discovers 
afar off the approach of danger, and breaks from his covert 
and flies with incredible celerity. His stately horns thrown 
back upon his shoulders, his nose projecting, and with the 
gait and action of a fast trotting horse, he dashes amid the 
forest, over mountains and through morasses, with a speed 
that defies pursuit, unless the crust of snow yields to his 
enormous bulk, when he is readily overtaken. Although 
naturally a timid animal, he then turns at bay, and with 
immense power and indomitable courage faces his foes, and 

1 A. Ralph. 



350 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

woe betide the hunter or dog who falls within the reach of 
his horns, or the trampling of his hoofs. He is then the 
very symbol of savage ferocity. His aspect is terrific ; his 
eyes glare, his mane erect, every hair, long and protruding, 
seems to expand and become animate. His defiant roar 
resounds among the mountains ; he defends himself to the 
last throe with unyielding energy. The meat of the moose 
is considered a choice and rare delicacy. 

The fox and the muskrat are abundant, and, with the minx 
and martin, are yet pursued for their pelages. The lynx 
is occasionally found. The squirrel, in most of its varieties, 
exist in great numbers. Small colonies of the flying 
squirrel are found in some localities. Its singular construc- 
tion and great beauty render it an object of much interest. 
A peculiar incapacity alike for defense and escape, makes 
it the victim of innumerable euemies. A remarkable fact 
in natural history is observed in relation to these animals, 
and particularly of the common red squirrel. A district 
of country, which has been nearly exempt from their pre- 
sence, is suddenly thronged by innumerable multitudes. 
Every tree and bush and fence seems alive with them, 
until they at once and as mysteriously disappear. This 
circumstance affords undoubted evidence of the migration 
of the squirrel, but to what extent the habit prevails is 
unknown. Popular opinion assumes, that they traverse 
Lake Champlain in these progresses. The autumn of 1851 
afforded one of these periodical invasions of Essex county. 
It is well authenticated, that the red squirrel was con- 
stantly seen in the widest parts of the lake, far out from 
laud, swimming towards the shore, as if familiar with the 
service; their heads above water, and their bushy tails 
erect and expanded, and apparently spread to the breeze. 
Reaching land, they stopped for a moment, and relieving 
their active and vigorous little bodies from the water, by 
an energetic shake or two, they bounded into the woods, 
as light and free as if they had made no extraordinary 
effort.' 



NATURAL HISTORY. 351 

Fish. 

Lake Champlaiu embraces most of the species of 
fish, usually found in fresh water lakes. Several varieties, 
formerly abundant in these waters, are now rarely found 
or have totally disappeared. My work does not pretend 
to the dignity of science, and I propose to glance only at 
the subject of the fishes of the region in a few general ob- 
servations and in familiar language. Champlain, whose 
veracity, researches always vindicate, speaks of a remarka- 
ble fish, which many have supposed to be fabulous. Al- 
luding to other fish, he continues " among the rest, there is 
one called by the Indians chaousarou, of divers length. 
The largest, I was informed by the people, are of eight and 
ten feet, I saw one of five feet, as thick as a thigh, with a 
head as big as two fists, with jaws two feet and a half long, 
and a double set of very long and dangerous teeth. The 
form of the body resembles that of the pike and is armed 
with scales, that the thrust of a poniard cannot pierce, and 
is of a silver grey color. The point of the snout is like 
that of a hog." Professor Thompson believes the original 
of this description to have been the Bill-fish (Lepirostrus 
oxyurus), a fish still existing in the lake, but rarely 
taken. Prof. Agassiz appears to have found traces of the 
same fish in the upper lakes. The muskalonge, to which 
the fish of Champlain bears a slight analogy, and supposed 
by some naturalists to be an enormous growth of the pick- 
erel, frequents some sections of the lake and often attains 
the weight of thirty or forty pounds. 

The early settlers of the valley of Lake Champlain, 
found the streams upon both sides filled with salmon. 
They were very large, and among the most delicate and 
luscious of all fish. At that period they were abundant, 
and so fearless as to be taken with great ease and in im- 
mense quantities. A record exists of five hundred having 
been killed in the Boquet in one afternoon, 1 and as late as 

1 Levi Higby, Esq. 



352 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

1823 about fifteen hundred pounds of salmon were taken by 
a single haul of a seine, near Port Kendall. They have been 
occasionally found within the last twenty years, in some 
of the most rapid streams, buthave now totally disappeared. 
The secluded haunts they loved, have been invaded ; dams 
have impeded their wonted routes ; the filth of occupied 
streams has disturbed their cleanly habits, or the clangor 
of steam boats and machinery has alarmed their fears. 
Each of these causes is assigned as a circumstance that 
has deprived the country of an important article of food 
aud a choice luxury. The subject is not unworthy the in- 
quiry and investigation of the philosopher of nature. 1 

The Lake Shad (Coregonus Albas). In the absence of 
the salmon the shad will be classed as the choicest and 
most valuable fish belonging to the waters of Lake Cham- 
plain. Owing to its shyness and the peculiarity of its 
habits, its natural history is little understood. It appears 
not to resort promiscuously to every section of the lake, 
but only frequents or abides in chosen haunts. It delights 
in clean, sandy or gravelly bottoms. In the early spring, 
it is taken in considerable quantities, lying at night along 
the shores. Practical fishermen state that as the water 
grows warmer and recedes, the shad retires into the 
deeper channels of the lake. This fish abounds chiefly in 
the lower parts of the lake, and in particular localities is 
taken by the seine in great abundance throughout the sea- 
son, and in some years and at favorable sites sufficient for 
barrelling. When its haunts and habits are better under- 
stood its pursuit may become an important branch of indus- 
try. It rarely takes the spoon or bait in trolling. The clam, 
used as a bait, an amateur sportsman informs me, some- 
times attracts it. It is occasionally caught by dropping 
the hook in deep water, so that it lies on the bottom. It 
is supposed that the fish is usually hooked while playing 
with the bait in that position, rather than in attempting 
to swallow it. The spawning season of the shad is be- 

1 Documentary History. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 353 

Heved to be in autumn or winter. The ground it selects 
is uncertain, but observers of its habits incline to the 
opinion, that it seeks for the purpose, the deepest and 
coolest pools. After the most careful inquiry, I can 
obtain no information or facts in reference to the fry of 
this fish. N"o person with whom I have conversed has 
ever seen them. The appearance of young shad eight or 
ten inches long is not uncommon. They are most difficult 
to be obtained, and from the singular delicacy of their 
organization would hardly bear transportation. 

The Pickerel (JEsox reticularis). This fish is a favorite 
object of pursuit in both trolling and spearing. In the 
spring, directly after the dissolution of the ice, when the 
rising water of the lake sets back upon the marshes and low 
lands, it is taken in those places, at night, by the jack light, 
in great numbers. During the day in pleasant weather it is 
prone to lie near the surface, basking in the warm vernal 
sun, and is then shot with great facility. The pickerel 
does not rank among the best fish in the lake for the table. 
To many it seems infected by an unpleasant odor, and its 
taste is sometimes strong with a muddy taint, and yet its 
great size and beauty, its extreme eagerness at the bait, and 
its powerful and determined resistance in the taking, renders 
it very desirable sport and attractive trophy. The pick- 
erel is often and with uniform success transferred to other 
waters. When introduced into the lakes and ponds of the 
interior all its qualities are transformed. The cold and clear 
waters of the mountain springs, and the novel and abund- 
ant food it rejoices in, seem to remove its objectionable 
properties; it becomes hard-fleshed, pleasant and high fla- 
vored, and almost approaches the exquisite delicacy of the 
trout. In these favorable situations it attains a great size, 
and by its wonderful fecundity and rapid growth, in an 
incredibly short period throngs the waters into which it 
has been translated and every contiguous stream which 
connects with them. By the myriads it soon produces, 
and its remarkable voracity and pugnacious habits, the 
pickerel very rapidly extirpates almost every other variety 
23 



354 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

of fish. For this reason its introduction into lakes and 
streams, which have been the abode of the trout, is always 
deprecated by sportsmen. This fish is distinguished by a 
peculiarity, which possibly, although I am not aware of the 
fact, may be common to some other species. It seeks in 
the spring the shallow waters upon marshes and swamps 
which at that season are overflowed, and deposits its spawn 
not upon the bottom, but on the small bushes and rushes 
then submerged, and to these plants the spawn is made to 
adhere by the glutinous substance that enfolds it. If the 
water, as frequently happens, subsides before the eggs are 
hatched, they of course must perish. Fishermen recount 
marvelous tales of the discovery of the spawn of the picke- 
rel in this condition, and estimate the quantity by measure, 
instead of any infinity of numbers. The incalculable pro- 
lificness of the fish is evinced by the myriads of the fry, 
which will be observed in the summer thronging the small 
brooks, that are usually discharged from the places fre- 
quented by it in the spawning season. Instinct, doubtless, 
retains them in shallow water, which affords a protection 
from indiscriminate destruction by their voracious parents. 
The pickerel is an example of the changes which are con- 
stantly observed among the fishes of the lake ; a frequent 
increase of one species, and a diminution of another. A 
few years since, the pickerel was the prevailing large fish, 
and the pike was rare in the waters of Champlain. At this 
time the former has perceptibly decreased, while the latter 
has become abundant. 

The Sturgeon. Two species are found in Lake Cham- 
plain. One, the acipenser rubicandus, Mr. Thompson states, 
is of a large size frequently reaching six feet in length and 
a hundred pounds in weight. The other species is smaller. 
The flesh, although not highly esteemed, is palatable. It 
is not, however, pursued for its edible qualities and is only 
captured incidentally in drawing the seine. In some 
parts of the lake it is said to be very abundant. It runs in 
schools and often in vast numbers. We hear sometimes 
remarkable tales of the foremost files of those schools being 



NATURAL HISTORY. 355 

projected on a beach or shoal and stranded by the momen- 
tum of the enormous masses pressing in their rear. 

The Yellow Perch is the most abundant of the smaller 
class of fish. It often reaches an unusual size, and is 
highly valued as a pan fish. The exuberauce of the 
perch is nearly incredible. In a serene sunny afternoon, 
they often seem to collect in vast shoals near the surface, 
animating and rippling the water in an area of acres, 
either by their gambols, or in the pursuit of insects. At 
such times the skill and industry of the angler have no 
success. 

The Bull Pout is also very common and abundant. 
It is often taken a foot in length, and although repulsive 
in its form and general appearance, is an excellent article 
of food when manipulated by scientific hands. 

Several varieties of Eels abound in the lake and its 
tributaries, and are taken in large quantities, both, by the 
book and in seines. 

The Blue Lamprey is a small, odious parasite, often 
captured in seines, and usually adhering, by its peculiar 
construction, to the bodies of other fishes. It possesses 
more of the qualities of the blood-sucker than of the fish. 
It fastens, by the suction powers of its mouth, upon a 
larger fish, and thus preys on its living flesh. ISTo effort 
of the suffering creature can displace its tormentor, which 
usually adheres to its victim until it dies from pain and 
exhaustion. 

The Lixg or Methy {Lota maculosa), occupies one of 
the lowest positions iu the scale of animated nature. Its 
form is loathsome, and its habits so sluggish and inert, 
that it seems to crawl along the bottom, as it slowly moves 
up the little brook it has selected for its migration. 
Xotwithstanding this appearance, Mr. Thompson, in his 
Natural History, states it to be remarkable for voracity, 
and that he found its stomach gorged with small fish, to 
the utmost capacity of its huge abdomen. These it must 
have seized by art rather than dexterity. Its annual mi- 
gration is performed in the winter, when the ling, in 



356 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

greatest profusion ascends its favorite stream in long pro- 
cession. Although tough, tasteless, and disagreeable, it 
is taken in immense numbers, and salted by the poorer 
classes, for winter food. Holes are cut in the ice, and as 
the fish passes beneath it is pierced by a fork or any pointed 
implement, and is even seized by the hand. Bushels of 
lings are often thus thrown out in an incredible short 
time. At night, which is the most favorable time, a 
brilliant fire is enkindled on the ice at the opening, and 
the fish is thus taken in great abundance, and with ease. 

The Smelt, a small but very fine fish, of marine origin 
and migratory habits, have recently appeared in the lake 
and are taken through the ice in large quantities. Varie- 
ties of the bass and pike are arnoug the most valuable 
and delicious of the lake fish and are taken in great num- 
bers. Mauy of the lake fish are highly esteemed, and 
secured in ice, are exported by rail roads to the southern 
cities and watering places, where they command exorbitant 
prices. 

In early spring, when the rising water has formed an 
open space between the shore and the ice, the shad and 
indeed most of the larger fish of the lake are pursued 
with keen avidity, by the spear and with torch-light. 
This very exciting and pleasant sport also occurs at the 
season in which the fish seek the estuaries and the lower 
grounds covered by the shallow water which have over- 
flowed from the lake. In a calm night (and if dark more 
certain the success), the boat impelled by a single paddle 
glides silently through the water, bearing an iron jack at 
the bow, loaded with light wood, which emits a bright 
flame, shedding an illumination far in advance. The 
spearsman, with poised weapon, stands behind the light, 
with full opportunity of seeing the fish, that sleeping 
quietly or attracted by the gleaming of the fire, lies uncon- 
scious of danger, and is easily approached and killed. 
Every part of the lake adapted to this sport, presents at 
the season a brilliant and animated aspect and glowing 
with hundreds of these fires. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 357 

Trolling ia a favorite and highly exciting sport of the 
amateur fisherman upon these waters. This mode is 
adapted to deep water, and is conducted by towing the line 
some distance behind the boat, in a sea somewhat agitated. 
Fish, of extraordinary dimensions, are thus frequently 
taken in large numbers. Fishing by seines and nets is 
much and successfully used in the lakes and more import- 
ant streams. Several varieties of the most choice trout 
occur in great profusion, in most of the innumerable 
streams, ponds and lakes which are scattered among the 
forests and mountains of the interior. The salmon trout 
is peculiarly distinguished for the great size it attains, and 
the superior delicacy and excellence of its qualities. 

Two distinct species of the trout, in popular language 
designated the lake and the brook trout, prevail in the 
lakes and streams of the interior. These are supposed to 
ramify into a number of varieties. They differ very per- 
ceptibly in color and appearance, and the distinctions 
which science detects, are very clear and marked. The 
color of the flesh, which is either red or white in both 
species, is not characteristic of either, but seems to be an 
individual peculiarity. The lake trout, fierce and vora- 
cious in its habits, is the tyrant of the waters. It attains 
a very great size, and specimens have occasionally been 
taken, which weighed fifty pounds. These are rare, and 
fish of ten to twenty pounds are deemed choice sport. 
The brook trout seldom exceeds three pounds. The 
former spawn from the 15th to the 25th of October, 
and the brook trout about ten days earlier. The two 
species run in separate schools, and although found asso- 
ciated, they appear not to amalgamate. The brook trout 
frequents the streams, and near the entrances and outlets 
of the lakes. The fry of both remain on the spawning 
ground until the ensuing spring. Notwithstanding the 
avidity with which these fish are pursued, their marvel- 
ous fecundity preserves them from apparent diminution 
in these lakes. The acquaintance with men, however, 
renders them shy, and thus is enhanced the pleasure and 



358 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

excitement of the sport, by exacting additional skill and 
perseverance for their capture. The procreative habits of 
these fish are peculiar and interesting. The female pre- 
pares the bed, and entering upon it for a brief period each 
day, gradually deposits the spawn, ejecting a part on 
every visit, through the entire spawning season. In her 
absence, the male daily occupies the bed, and for a short 
time remains upon it in the performance of his functions. 
It is believed that a large proportion of the spawn is not 
fertilized. 

My attention has been called by gentlemen peculiarly 
familiar with the fish of these lake*, to another trout, 
which, although I have no specimen to examine, I am 
inclined to regard as a distinct species, or certainly a 
different variety. This fish appears late in the fall, in 
great abundance, but long after the other species have 
left the fishing grounds. It is rounder in its form, longer 
and more slim than either the lake or brook trout, in pro- 
portion to its weight. It is distinguished by a brighter 
and more silvery coloring; has brilliant spots on its sides, 
indiscriminately red or yellow ; seldom reaches a pound 
and a half in weight ; is taken by any kind of bait or fly, 
and either by trolling or still line. Unlike the other 
species it spawns in the spring. In its edible qualities, it 
is equal to either of the others. 

These waters are singularly deficient in other classes of 
fish. Few are found in them except the perch and the 
coarser kinds, as the bull pout or sun-fish, except one of 
remarkable habits and appearance, and known to the 
sportsman as the white or frost fish. This fish usually 
appears about the 1st of November, near the outlets of 
the lakes, or in shallows, in immense shoals, at times, and 
in places, literally thronging the waters in myriads. 
They are small, weighing about four to the pound, and 
are light colored, with large scales that cleave from the 
body at the slightest pressure. They persistently refuse 
the hook, and every contrivance of bait, but are taken in 
great quantities by the grapple and nets, and afford, in the 



NATURAL HISTORY. 359 

absence of the trout, excellent sport to the angler. They 
supply a good article of food. These fish appear in num- 
bers at no other season, and are supposed to resort to the 
deep waters of the lakes, from whence they are expelled 
by the periodical return of the trout. 

No country offers to the sportsman more delightful and 
diversified attractions, than this region of lakes and ponds. 
It is deeply to be deplored, that the same barbarous and 
ruthless improvidence that formerly depopulated with such 
rapidity the forests of deer, has hastened in some districts 
the extinction of the trout. They have been not only pur- 
sued in utter wantonness, and in the passion of destruction 
at the legitimate seasons, but they were mercilessly fol- 
lowed by the net, the fly and the spear, to their spawning 
bed, where, in the extinction of one life, the embryo of 
thousands is annihilated. Laws are plenary in their strin- 
gency and severity, but have not been adequately enforced. 
Even now in many lakes the most exposed to such ravages, 
these fish are nearly extirpated. Happily these remarks 
are more applicable to the recent past than the present. 
As I have before stated these practices are now becoming 
generally restrained. 

A striking and very curious difference occurs in the 
character of the fish occupying lakes which lie in close 
proximity. One body of water in its normal condition is 
filled to exuberance with the choicest trout ; whilst another 
situated in the same lofty valley, fed by the same mountain 
springs, and mingling its waters in the same stream with 
the former, is destitute of every variety of fish, except the 
hardier and coarser kinds. At periods when these latter 
lakes are extremely low, numbers of the dead bodies of the 
fish which occupy them, are found floating upon the sur- 
face of the water. These facts, well established, attracted 
my attention as interesting in the physiology of these 
creatures, and an important feature in natural history. 
The result of my examinations of the subject was conclusive 
to my mind, that this effect is produced by foreign and 
noxious substauces impregnating the waters. On inspec- 



360 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

tion I discovered in every instance, where the phenomenon 
occurred, the presence of native copperas, other sulphates, 
and incidentally arsenic largely developed in deposits 
within the surging of the water, or in its immediate vicinity. 

Reptiles. 

The rattle-snake formerly infested several localities in 
this county in horrid profusion. In the early settlement 
of the region, they were seen in vast numbers basking in 
the sun, near their dens. A mountain, in the vicinity of 
Lake George, is pointed out, where the legend says eight 
hundred were killed in a single season. These reptiles are 
now almost exterminated. No other snake of a venomous 
character is found in the county. The other reptiles, 
birds, insects, and bugs, which prevail, are familiar to the 
popular mind, to science, and the practical farmer and 
gardener. 

Wild Bees. 

The hunting of wild bees has been, in parts of Essex 
county, a pursuit of considerable importance, and as excit- 
ing and amusing, as it often is profitable. It is still con- 
tinued to a limited extent. The wild bee, although similar 
in appearance and habits to the domestic bee, is undoubt- 
edly a native of the forest, and indigenous to the country. 
It appears to be adverse to the. vicinage of man, and 
recedes into the deeper wilderness as cultivation approaches 
its secluded and hidden haunts. The hives of the wild bee 
are found far in the solitudes of unoccupied tracts, removed 
from the habitations of men, and occupying the most seques- 
tered retreats. It selects, for the location of its hive, an 
elevated position, far up some retired and shady ravine, in 
the midst of hills or mountains, and in the vicinity of a 
body of water. If the country is flat, the bees establish their 
domicile upon the margin of a lake or stream, in as much 
seclusion as possible. They appropriate usually, for this 
purpose, the hollow of a tree, generally selecting one of 
great magnitude; but occasionally they construct their 
hives in the crevices of rocks. They enter the opening in 



NATURAL HISTORY. 361 

the tree by a small orifice, which very essentially protects 
them from observation and discovery. Here they remain 
for years, in possession of the same abode, models of labo- 
rious and untiring industry, accumulating hoards of their 
luscious treasures, and annually casting off new colonies. 
These retreats are found with difficulty, aud by the exer- 
cise of much skill by the hunter; and when found, are often 
very difficult of access. They are exposed, not only to the 
merciless ravages of man, but insects and animals, particu- 
larly the bears, commit great depredations upon them. 

The professional bee hunter, when engaged in this pur- 
suit, provides himself with a quantity of honey comb, 
strained honey, and a small light box, about six or eight 
inches long, and four inches deep and four wide. This 
box has two slides, one at the top, and the other in the 
centre. The slides move in grooves. In the upper lid he 
arranges a piece of glass ; the lower compartment contains 
comb filled with honey. Thus equipped, the hunter pro- 
ceeds, late in autumn, to a district, which by previous 
observation, he has ascertained is frequented by the bees, 
in pursuing tbeir labors. Two modes are adopted by the 
hunter for procuring the bees, which he uses to discover 
the position of the hive. By the first, and this is the 
most common, when he detects a bee upon a flower, which 
is generally a wild plant, known to the hunter as the 
frost blow, that blooms late in October, he places the box 
beneath the insect with the upper lid drawn, and by a 
quick and dexterous movement thrusts it into the first 
compartment, and the lid being closed, the bee is seen 
through the glass. The lower lid is then drawn and the 
glass darkened, when the bee immediately settles upon 
the honey and commences its feast. It is now left undis- 
turbed, with both lids open. After having supplied itself, 
the bee leaves the box, and, rising above it, seems to take 
a particular note of its locality, flying around in circles, 
which grow wider at every gyration ; the bee constantly 
ascending, until at length it takes an air line for its hive. 
This crisis tests the skill and vigilance of the hunter. 



362 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The course of the bee is carefully watched and the dis- 
tance of the hive is computed by the length of its absence. 
The hunter estimates this by allowing three miles to the 
minute, for its flight and return. The bee is allowed to 
make the journey several times, when it is again secured 
and the hunter proceeds in the direction of the hive, as 
indicated by the course of the bee's flight. It seems to 
communicate its discovery to the hive ; as frequently on 
its return it is accompanied by others. The hunter often 
finds it necessary to catch and mark an individual bee, so 
as to identify it in his operations. 

After advancing as far as he deems it expedient, the 
hunter opens the box, a second time, and allows the bee 
to escape. It repeats the same reconnaissance as before, 
and then takes its line for the hive. If this, as often 
occurs, has been passed, the fact is indicated by the bee 
returning on the hunter's track. It frequently becomes 
necessary, when the position of the hive has been dis- 
guised, with more than usual adroitness and success, for 
the hunter to make several lines in this manner, when he 
determines the locality of the hive, by ascertaining the 
point where the different lines intercept. A number of 
bees from the hive are often in the box together, and 
occasionally those from different hives, as appears from 
their making distinct lines, on rising from the box. 

The other mode pursued by the hunter is this : Upon 
a cleared spot in an elevated situation, he builds a fire 
and heats some flat stones ; on these, some of the comb is 
burned; the odor of the burning comb will attract the 
bee ; fresh comb, containing honey, is then placed on the 
stone, upon which the bee is allowed to feed. "When it 
leaves, the comb is removed from the stone and the box 
substituted in the same place ; the bee, on its return, alights 
upon the honey in the box and is thus secured ; afterwards 
the hunter proceeds by the same process as before. The 
tree, which contains the hive, is then felled and the whole 
family of bees are exterminated, usually by burning straw. 
This ruthless work, the hunter considers necessary, as 



NATURAL HISTORY. 363 

well to protect himself from their assaults, while securing 
the honey, as to prevent his being thrown on a false line, 
by wandering bees from the same hive, who would bring 
him back to the already ravaged tree. This -often happens. 

Bee hunting, my informant 1 remarks, in closing, "is a 
most exciting sport, and when pursued by a skillful hunter, 
is also very profitable. 1 have known of over a ton of 
honey having been procured in a single month by three 
persons, myself being one of the number, besides more 
than four hundred pounds of wax. This honey was sold 
in Boston for fifteen dollars the hundred weight, and the 
wax for twenty cents the pound." " We discovered in 
this excursion fifty-seven hives, which yielded from thirty- 
five to one hundred and fifty pounds of honey each, de- 
pending on their age and size." * 

In the south-western section of the town of Chesterfield, 
and amidst a rude and mountainous tract of country, I 
am informed, an immense colony of bees existed, consist- 
ing of numerous hives. Their abodes were in the crevices 
and fissures of the rocks and inaccessible. The whole 
atmosphere in the vicinity, it is represented, was filled with 
the bees. Various attempts by excavation and blasting 
have been made, to reach the deposits of honey, but with- 
out success. Owing to these annoyances and many dis- 
turbances, the bees became so exasperated and ferocious, 
and they were so formidable from the infinitude of their 
number, that it was hazardous to approach their retreat. 
It is supposed, that this remarkable and most interesting 
colony, has been destroyed by the conflagrations, which in 
recent years have swept over that district. 

A singular fact in the nature and habit of the bee is re- 
marked by hunters. While they permit some persons to 
approach their habitations with perfect impunity, they 
evince towards others the most determined and inveterate 
instinctive hostility. 

1 Mr. James M. Weston, Chesterfield. 



364 history of essex county. 

Forests. 

The woodlands of this region afforded to the early set- 
tlers a ready and available resource, and still afford a most 
important element in the business and prosperity of the 
country. When the wilderness was penetrated and the 
forest fell before the woodman's axe, in most parts of the 
country, he collected the bodies of the trees into log heaps, 
reduced them to ashes, and with the simple chemistry of 
the woods, and in the rude laboratory that necessity had 
invented, manufactured them into potashes. This com- 
modity commanded a prompt and high price in the Cana- 
dian markets, and was received by the local merchant in 
exchange for merchandise and provisions required by the 
settler. 

The several species of the pine, the spruce and hemlock 
constituted the great glory and magnificence of the ori- 
ginal forests. We still see vestiges in their remaining 
stumps and roots that indicate their immense size. These 
giants of the forests were at an early day only incum- 
brances upon the soil, and were destroyed by a careless 
hand. The native of the county, to whom I have referred, 
informs me that he has seen white pine trees girdled and 
left to fall and rot upon the earth in the process of prepar- 
ing ground for a potatoe field, which would now be worth 
one hundred and fifty dollars upon the stump. Similar 
enormous trees are still found in the interior wilderness. 
A gentleman lately stated to me, that he had seen a pine 
log, which in floating down the Raquette river, had become 
stranded in a cove, which measured nearly six feet in dia- 
meter. 

The beauty and magnificence of the forests upon the 
islands and shores of Lake Champlain, excited the admi- 
ration of its discoverer. His description of the scenery in 
this particular evinces the singular accuracy which charac- 
terises his entire work. He speaks of "the quantity of 
vines, handsomer than any I ever saw." The wild grape 
is still found upon these islands, and upon the mainland, 



NATURAL HISTORY. 3(35 

in the greatest profusion, and in numerous varieties of 
color and flavor. They spread their tendrils far and wide, 
often overtopping the loftiest trees in their luxuriance and 
beauty, and forming barriers in their tangled branches, 
impervious to man or beast. In the month of July, when 
Champlain first visited the lake, he could only see and 
admire the splendor of the vegetable growth, without being 
able to judge of the quality of the fruit. 

The shag bark hickory, the hazel, the butternut, and the 
chestnut, now rarely found, but formerly very common in 
the southern sections of the county, are indigenous to the 
county. The various species of the maple, birch, beech, 
elms and oaks, are all natives of these woodlands, and often 
attain in the primitive forest a magnificent growth. The 
white cedar of great beauty and size abounds in the 
swamps, and often appear in large numbers on the uplands. 
I noticed them, far upon the acclivities of the Adirondacs, 
of [immense proportions, but observed, and was assured 
that the fact was uniform, that, although beautiful in their 
exterior appearance, they were defective and hollow at the 
core. The red cedar was discovered at the first occupa- 
tion of the country, but is nearly extirpated. Several 
varieties of the maple and birches, the black walnut, the 
black cherry and butternut, often stately and splendid trees, 
are highly valued in the arts and manufactures, and are 
exported in considerable quantities for the purpose. The 
oaks (particularly the white oak), were formerly of great 
importance, and still continue to a considerable extent, as 
articles of exportation, at one period, to Canada, but now 
to the southern markets. The larch or hackmatack, is 
abundant and highly valuable. This timber with the cedar 
and oak, affords most excellent material in ship building. 
The juniper flourishes in great abundance in many sections 
of the county, indicating, however, by its presence a thin 
and sterile soil. It spreads, a few inches elevated above the 
earth, a thick and perfect umbel, often several feet in dia- 
meter, mantled by a deep and rich green foliage. Stand- 



366 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

ing in solitary plants or in clusters, it imparts an unique 
and highly ornamental feature to the scenery. 

The product of* wood, in the primitive- and vigorous 
forests, is vast; upon exuberant soils, sometimes exceed- 
ing one hundred cords to the acre, and among the rocks 
and broken acclivities, seldom yielding less than twenty 
cords. Within an area of several miles around manufac- 
turing works, the value of the wood, standing, ranges from 
twenty-five cents to one dollar and a half the cord, con- 
trolled in its price by its quality and position. This 
estimate refers to localities where the advantages of trans- 
portation authorize the erection of manufactories, and not 
to regions more remote and inaccessible. Such districts 
are happily rare in the county, and are rapidly diminishing 
before the progress of improving facilities of intercourse. 
At one period, a large demand existed for wood to be used 
as fuel in steam boats. 

The quantity of wood iu Essex county, consumed for 
manufacturing purposes, has been immense, and can only 
be computed by a rough approximation. It probably 
should be estimated by hundreds of thousands of cords. 
A great change has in late years occurred in the substitu- 
tion, in many manufactories and generally with steam boats, 
of mineral coal for the charcoal and wood. This is due to 
the increasing scarcity and enhanced price of wood, and to 
other economic views. In extensive districts of the county 
where the wood has been cut exclusively for coaling, and 
the land is not required for agricultural pursuits, a second 
spontaneous growth rapidly shoots up, soon mantling the 
earth with a luxuriant product, which in the term of fifteen 
or twenty years, yields a heavy burthen of wood and timber. 
This growth rarely contains plants of the original forest, 
but is usual!} 7 composed of trees of a totally dissimilar 
character. Pine is usually succeeded by hard wood, and 
the site of a forest of the latter is occupied by evergreens. 
Different sections of the county produce in this aspect, 
irregular and various results. The aspen, yellow poplar, 
white birch, and oaks, generally succeed the pines ; but in 



NATURAL HISTORY. 367 

the vicinity of the Adirondac works, the small red cherry 
is almost the exclusive second growth succeeding the stately 
hard wood forest. The dry and loamy plains contiguous to 
the Elba works, of a past generation, which were cut over 
to supply them with fuel, are now clothed with forests of 
spruce. The latter fact is remarkable and worthy of reflec- 
tion, as the habits and peculiarities of the spruce in its 
natural position adapt it to a totally different soil. This 
recuperation of the woodland, which nature thus bounti- 
fully provides, may in connection with the waste and 
broken territory, afford, by judicious economy and manage- 
ment, a certain and permanent supply of fuel, to all the 
arts for many ages. 

I observed in my investigations relative to this second 
growth, circumstances that excited my attention, and which 
I deem entitled to consideration. In the fastnesses of the 
Adirondacs I perceived entire groves of the young cherry 
trees, loaded with a black excrescence, similar in appear- 
ance to the disease which has been so destructive in our 
plum orchards. In other sections of the county, I noticed 
large tracts of the black cherry and birch, dead and dying, 
and presenting in their blackened and blasted bark, the 
aspect of the pear and apple trees which have been visited 
by the destroying fire blight. If, as I conjecture, these 
diseases are identical with those known to our gardens 
(their results are certainly very analogous), does not the fact 
open an interesting field for the researches of science, as to 
their origin, causes, and operations? 

The chestnut groves, which so beautifully adorn some of 
• the northern towns of "Warren county, only enter the con- 
fines of Essex. The sweet walnut is, however, widely 
scattered over various, sections of the county, and flourishes 
in great profusion and beauty, in the lovely tract that spreads 
from the cliffs of Lake George to Champlain. When the 
early frosts of autumn have opened the husks, and their 
luscious treasures are poured upon the earth, the bright, 
shouting, joyous groups of nutting children, which gather 



368 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

beneath their boughs, communicate to the landscape a 
most primitive and pastoral scene. 

Spreading from the warm soil that borders Cham plain, 
to the Alpine summits of the Adirondacs, where almost 
the rigors of the frigid zone are stamped upon the climate, 
the soil of Essex county, naturally imparts a great diver- 
sity to its botanical productions. There is nothing, how- 
ever, so distinct or novel, as necessarily to require notice 
in a work of this character. The cryptogamic plants are 
exceeding rich and exuberant. 

Climate and Winds. 

Grave senators who have pronounced northern New 
York the Siberian district of America, exhibit more fancy 
on the subject, than intelligence. No climate is more salu- 
brious, or better calculated to secure enjoyment and comfort 
to man. The atmosphere, clear, elastic and invigorating, 
bears no miasmatic exhalations. The winters of this climate 
are often severe but equable. The summers are warm, 
and yield a rapid impulse to vegetation, that promotes an 
early maturity. The heat of summer is modified by the 
cool and exhilarating breezes of the lakes and mountains. 
A signal ditference occurs in the climate and seasons of 
the territory bordering upon the shores of Lake Champlain 
and that of a few miles in the interior. The influence of 
that large expanse- of fresh water mitigates equally the 
rigors of the winters and the heats of summer. The terri- 
tory bordering upon the lake has usually an exemption of 
at least two weeks from the late frosts of the spring and 
the early frosts of autumn, to which the interior is ex- 
posed. The fact is well authenticated, although its philo- 
sophy may not be so readily explained, that premature 
frosts often occur in the meridian of Pennsylvania when 
the valleys of Essex county are totally free from its effects. 
The suows accumulate among the mountains and in the 
higher valleys to the depth of several feet, although in 
most parts of the county they are less abundant than in 
the western or central sections of the state; they remain, 



NATURAL HISTORY. 



369 



however, longer upon the earth. An excess of snow is a 
rare event, although the want of it often embarrasses the 
operations of business. 

The absence of snow as well as rain is peculiar to the 
valley of the Au Sable, and in many seasons, essentially 
affects its agricultural and manufacturing prosperity. No 
part of the country is visited more frequently by protracted 
and blighting draughts than this district. The circum- 
stance is universally remarked, and may satisfactorily be 
imputed to the influence of the mountains and lake upon 
the atmospheric currents. These aerial currents, governed 
by much the same laws which control the course of all 
fluids, are involved in eddies created by the gorges and ra- 
vines of the mountains, are arrested by their airy summits, 
and often receive a direction from these causes. Clouds, 
not uufrequently, are perceived approaching the valleys, 
bearing rain and portentous of thunder and lightning, 
when in a moment their course is chang-ed, and skimminar 
along the acclivities of the mountains, they pour upon 
them their contents. Hence, in a dry season when nature 
elsewhere is parched and seared, the slopes of these moun- 
tains smile in verdant and luxuriant beauty. The move- 
ments of these atmospheric streams, witnessed from the 
valleys embosomed by lofty mountains, are often beautiful 
and sublime exhibitions. 

A valued correspondent * furnished me with several 
highly interesting facts illustrative of this subject. The 
amphitheatre of mountains that nearly surround North 
Elba, is imperfect on the western side from whence the 
plateau spreads far into the interior. Volumes of clouds 
often advance from that direction, until entering within 
the influence of these currents, they suddenly divide, the 
dissevered masses passing to the north and south, along 
the brows of the respective mountains. He describes a 
scene of singular grandeur and sublimity, that occurred at 
North Elba in 1847, and strikingly elucidates this remark - 

1 T. L. Nash. 
24 



370 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

able influence. On a still and sultry evening of summer, 
when not a breeze moved the leaf, a dark and heavy bank 
of clouds suddenly appeared in the western horizon, and 
gradually approaching, menaced an immediate and vio- 
lent storm. Whilst gazing upon the advance of the 
impending tempest, he beheld in a moment the masses 
rent asunder. One column rushed along the crest of 
Whiteface, and the other amid pealings of thunder and 
torrents of rain, careered over the lofty summits of the 
Adirondacs, whilst in the valley, an instant before threat- 
ened by the tornado, all was serene, and calm, and the 
moon and stars beamed softly upon it, through the riven 
canopy of black and flashing clouds. I introduce these 
impressive incidents to illustrate the powerful agency which 
is exerted on the elements, by these lofty pinnacles. 

The winds in the vicinity of Lake Champlain are mate- 
rially modified in their direction by its influence. 

The aurora borealis, displayed in the latitude of Essex 
county in transcendent splendor and effulgence, exerts, it 
is believed, at times a decisive effect upon the course and 
character of the atmospheric current. The exhibition of 
that phenomenon is generally, if not uniformly succeeded 
by a prevalence of southerly winds. The duration and 
severity of the one seems proportionate to the intensity and 
expansion of the other. 

The climate of northern New York, has, since its dis- 
covery, gradually, but very decidedly ameliorated. The 
improvements which have removed the forests, and ex- 
posed the earth to the action of the sun and atmosphere 
have eminently tended to promote amelioration. The 
winters are pronounced by aged settlers to be at this time, 
far less rigorous and protracted, than in their early recol- 
lections of the country. The rains are now more equally 
diffused through the mild seasons, and not falling as 
formerly in periodical and severe tempests. 1 The autumnal 
season is the glory of this climate, often lingering late into 

1 John Hoffnagle, Esq. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 



371 



November,* and clothing the forests with its gorgeous 
and brilliant robes. It is, to all animated nature, the most 
delightful and joyous period of the year, fraught with bless- 
ings and pleasure, and beariug the inspiration of health 
and vigor. 

Hardy stock is often turned off by the 1st of April, 
although the 20th of that month mav be regarded as the 
average period when grazing may be relied upon. The 
commencement of foddering usually ranges with the 
varieties of stock, from the loth of November to Christmas. 
Plowing commences in a series of years, about the middle 
of April, and usually terminates in November, although in 
some seasons it is extended into the last days of the year. 

The table which the following is a copy, has been formed 
by the careful observation of Mr. Alvin Colvin at Port 
Kent for a series of years, and exhibits very interesting facts 
in illustration of the climate and seasons on Lake Cham- 
plain. 

Trips between Burlington and Port Kent, each year. 



Last Trips. 

Steamer Saranac, Jan. 1, 1845 

Schooner LaFayette, Feb. 3, 1845 

Steamer Saranac, Jan. 3, 1846 

Sloop Cashier, Feb. 1, 1846 

Steamer Saranac, Jan. 5, 1847 

" John Gilpin, Feb. 8, 1848 

Ethan Allen, Jan. 6, 1849 

LaFayette, Jan. 11, 1849 

" Saranac, Jan. 15, 1850 

Sail boats ran all winter. 1850 

Steamer Saranac, Jan. 25, 1851 

Boston, Jan. 25, 1852 

" Boston, Feb. 10, 1853 

" Francis Saltus, Jan. 23, 1854 

Sloop Danl. Webster, Jan. 24, 1855 
Steamer Francis Saltus, Jan. 19, 1856 

" Montreal, Jan. 9, 1857 

Montreal, Feb. 1, 1858 

" J. Clark, Feb. 7, 1858 

" Montreal, Jan. 9, 1859 

Sail boat ran to, Jan. 25, 1860 



First Trips. 
Steamer Winooski, April 1,"1845 

" Winooski, April 7, 1846 

Saranac, May 7, 1847 
" Ethan Allen, March 30, 1848 
" Saranac, April 16, 1849 

" Saranac, March 26, 1850 



Steamer Boston, 

" Boston, 

Sail boat ran to, 

Steamer Boston, 



Jan. 10, 1861 

Jan. 1, 1862 

Feb. 1, 1862 

Jan. 21, 1863 



" Saranac, 

" Boston, 

" Boston, 

" Saranac, 

" Boston, 

" Boston, 

" Montreal, 

" Montreal, 

" Montreal, 
Schooner Excelsior, 
Steamer Montreal, 

" Boston, 

" Boston, 



April 
April 
April 
April 
April 
April 
April 
April 



1, 1851 
25, 1852 
15, 1853 

19, 1854 

20, 1855 

21, 1856 
10, 1857 

7, 1858 



April 2, 1859 
March 28, 1860 
April 4, 1860 
April 15, 1861 
April 28, 1862 



Montreal, April 27, 1863 



372 



HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 



Last Trips. 






First Tn 


'ps. 






Sail boat ran to, Jan. 


28, 


1863 


Boat J. G. Weather- 






Steamer Boston, Feb. 


13, 


1864 


bee, 


March 30, 


1864 








Steamer Montreal, 


April 


8, 


1864 


Steamer Montreal, Jan. 


14, 


1865 


" Montreal, 


April 


7, 


1865 


Lake closed, Jan. 


18, 


1865 










Schooner Excelsior, Jan. 


21, 


1866 


Boat Oregon, 


April 


11, 


1866 








Steamer Montreal, 


April 


12, 


1866 


Steamer Montreal, Jan. 


11, 


1867 


" Montreal, 


April 


15, 


1867 


Sail boats run all winter. 














Steamer Montreal, Jan. 


4, 


1868 


" Montreal, 


April 


17, 


1868 


Lake froze to Burling- 














ton, Jan, 


11, 


1868 











MINERALOGY AND GEOLOGY. 

The Adirondac District.- 

The field of researches presented by Essex county in 
these departments is so expanded and rich, that the labor 
of years would be required for its competent examination. 

The mineral wealth of Essex county is not limited to 
iron ore, but comprehends numerous other minerals of 
great interest and value. Iron, however, in immense 
deposits, constitute its predominant resource. In many 
sections of the county, it forms the basis of the entire 
structure of the earth, and occurs not merely in veins, nor 
even masses, but in strata which rise into mountains. The 
surface is often strewn with boulders of iron ore, weighing 
from a few pounds to many tons, as ordinary rocks are 
scattered in other districts. The Adirondac district is 
probably surpassed in no region in the extent of its deposits 
of iron, and the higher qualities and varied properties of 
its ores. The ores seem to concentrate in the vicinity of 
the village of Adirondac, and here literally constitute the 
formation. The cellars of their dwellings, in many in- 
stances, are excavated in the massive beds. 

The discovery of a mineral deposit, extensive and valua- 
ble, as the Adirondac Iron District, is an event so rare and 
important, that it seems appropriate in a work of this 
character, to perpetuate its minute history. An Indian 



NATURAL HISTORY. 373 

approached. the late David Henderson, Esq., of Jersey city, 
in the year 1826, whilst standing near the Elba iron works, 
and taking from beneath his blanket a piece of iron ore, 
he presented it to Mr. H. with the inquiry expressed in his 
imperfect English, " You want to see 'um ore, me fine 
plenty — all same." When asked where it came from, he 
pointed towards the south-west and explained " me hunt 
beaver all 'lone, and fine 'um, where water run over iron 
dam." The Indian proved to be a brave of St. Francis 
tribe, honest, quiet and intelligent, who spent the sum- 
mers in hunting amid the wilds of the Adirondacs. An 
exploring party, consisting of Mr. Henderson, Messrs. 
Duncan and Malcolm McMartin, John McD. Mclntyre, 
and Dyer Thompson, was promptly arranged, who submit- 
ting themselves to the guidance of the Indian, plunged 
into the pathless forest. The first night they made their 
bivouac beueath the giant walls of the Indian pass. The 
next day they reached the site of the present works, and 
there saw the strange spectacle described by the brave; 
the actual flow of a river over an iron dam, created by a 
ledge of ore, which formed a barrier across the stream. 
The reconnaissance revealed to their astonished view, 
various and immense deposits of ore, equal almost to the 
demands of the world for ages. A glance disclosed the 
combination in that secluded spot of all the ingredients, 
and every facility for the most extensive manufacture of 
irou, in all its departments. In close proximity existed an 
illimitable supply of ore, boundless forests of hard wood 
and an abuudant water power. The remote position of 
the locality formed the chief impediment to the scheme, 
which was adopted at once by the explorers. Having ac- 
complished a hasty but satisfactory examination of the 
deposit, the party with no delay that might attract attention, 
the same night and in intense darkness and a driving 
storm, retraced their path through the forest, after having 
carefully concealed the evidences of their work. Messrs. 
Henderson and McMartin, taking with them the Indian, of 
whom they did not deem it safe to lose sight, proceeded 



374 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY 

» 

directly to Albany, and there effected the purchase from 
the state of an extended tract embracing the scene of this 
remarkable discovery. 1 A road was soon constructed to 
the site with slight aid from the state, at great expense, 
through a dense uninterrupted forest of thirty miles in 
length. The purpose was pursued with untiring energy 
and strong enthusiasm, by the proprietors, Archibald Mc- 
Intyre, Archibald Robertson and David Henderson, Esqs. 
A settlement was soon commenced and an experimental 
furnace constructed. Iron was produced of rare and 
valuable qualities, rivaling almost in toughness and strength 
the best products of the Swedish furnaces. A small blast 
furnace was soon afterwards erected, together with several 
forge fires and a puddling furnace. Bar iron was subse- 
quently fabricated to a considerable extent. Iron produced 
from this ore has proved admirably adapted to the manu- 
facture of steel, and has been extensively used for that 
purpose by the steel works of the Adirondac Company at 
Jersey city. 2 I need only refer in addition to the report 
of Mr. Johnson which exhibits the triumphant display of 
that steel at the World's Fair. A magnificent blast fur- 
nace was completed about 1850 at the Adirdoudac works, 
of the largest dimensions, perfect in its construction and 
powers, and most judiciously adjusted in all its arrange- 
ments. The first furnace had been erected in 1848. 

Numerous ore beds exist within an area of three miles, 
and nearly all are comprised within half that distance 
from the works. They are singularly distinct in the 
appearance, nature, and quality of the ores. 3 The Mill- 
pond ore bed is situated in so immediate proximity with 

l Mr. Henderson's Journal. 

2 See J. Dellafield's address, page 142, State Agricultural Transactions, 
1851. 

3 1 derive much of my information relative to the history and minerals of 
the Adirondacs, from the valuable manuscripts prepared at my request, by 
Alexander Ralph and Robert Clark, Esq. I have before me a copy of the 
original journal of"Mr. Henderson, furnished nic by Mr. Clark, now of 
Cincinnati. I regret that rny space will not allow me to publish these 
highly interesting documents. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 375 

the furnace erected by the company, that its foundation 
rests upon a section of the vein. The length of this bed, 
ascertained by the actual mensuration of Professor Em- 
mons, is three thousand one hundred and sixty-eight feet, 
and the width seven hundred feet. An opening of forty 
feet in depth has been excavated, and at that point, the 
ore is found more free from rock, and richer than at the 
surface. Its hardness is not of „that character which con- 
stitutes the hard iron of the mines, nor does it communi- 
cate that quality to iron which it yields. Slight injections 
of serpentine in irregular veins, crystals of green feldspar, 
seams of carbonate of lime, and the common rock, are 
mingled with this ore, and incidentally, small particles of 
sulphuret of iron may be traced, although too minute to 
injure the quality of the ore. This bed has afforded nearly 
all the ore used in the furnace. 

The Sanford Bed is situated about two miles from the 
former, and occupies the slope of a hill, which terminates 
upon Lake Sanford. The elevation of the bed' is six 
hundred or eight hundred feet above the lake, but is 
approached by a gradual and easy ascent. This ore is less 
coarse than the preceding, and of a dark, black color. 
It has, when exposed in the bed, almost the appearance 
and form of a stratified rock. It possesses great and 
unusual purity, and is almost entirely exempt from stone. 
The ore may be projected from the bed to the lake, by an 
inclined plane, or it may be transported by teams loaded 
within the bed. The width of this vein is five hundred 
and fourteen feet, and its length along the centre, one 
thousand six hundred and sixty-seven. At each extre- 
mity it does not terminate, but passes beneath the rock. 
No correct or proximate calculation can be formed of the 
probable contents of this vast deposit. The minimum 
estimate exhibits the immense amount of 6,832,734 tons, 
which may principally be raised without blasting. This 
would yield 3,000,000 tons of the purest iron. 1 Personal 

^Emmons's report. 



376 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

examination, corroborated by the opinions of highly prac- 
tical and intelligent men, warrants the conjecture that 
this estimate is below the real amount of ore. Ores, ex- 
hibiting similar qualities, crop out at different points, 
along an extension of the same course. One of r these 
indications present a face of thirty-two rods in length, and 
fifteen rods in width. Such facts suggest the conclusion, 
that these veins are a prolongation of the Sanford deposit, 
and that its true magnitude may embrace a distance of 
two miles and a half in length, with a proportionate width. 
Another important deposit, known as Mount Magnet, 
apparently forms the mass of an eminence directly east 
and fronting the village. This is distinguished as the 
fine grained ore bed. This is very marked and peculiar 
in its characteristics. Although it is generally firm, with 
grains closely cemented together, it often becomes ex- 
tremely friable when exposed to atmospheric influence. 
The oxidation makes it appear as if mingled with rock. 
On trie surface it has an aspect of leanness, although 
singularly rich, free from impurities, and probably of 
more practical value for the furnace, than either of the 
preceding veins. 1 

This vein is remarkably uniform and regular, and 
extends in length five thousand seven hundred and forty- 
two feet, and in width about seventy feet. 2 It exhibits a 
strong appearance of stratification in the bed. The divi- 
sional seams are very distinct at the surface, but like those 
in the hyperstene rock, they are the result of a law of 
nature analogous, if not identical, to the principle of crys- 
talization. A small vein, or probably a branch of this 
bed, occurs in the same hill, and is designated the crystal- 
ized ore bed. This vein is lined on the sides by a wall a 
few inches thick, formed of pure hornblende. A rare and 
peculiar formation. On the eastern slope of the same 
eminence, another vein of fine grained ore is developed, 
and probably of equal extent with that already noticed. 

1 R. Clark. a Professor Emmons. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 377 

The Cheney bed, situated about three miles west of Lake 
Sanford, yields the finest grained ore of the district. It 
occurs in gneiss, and differs from every other vein in that 
peculiarity. Numerous other veins are known to exist 
in proximity to these, but have only been superficially 
explored. A supply of ores, that the consumption of 
centuries cannot exhaust, immediately encompasses these 
works. Little doubt can exist that the entire district con- 
stitutes one vast formation of ore, concealed by a narrow 
and slight encrustation of earth and rock. I found, in 
the centre of the Indian pass, a specimen of ore, closely 
analogous to the ore of the Sanford bed. These ores are 
all varieties of the black oxide of iron, exhibiting a mecha- 
nical mixture of the protoxide and peroxide of iron. 

I propose to deviate from the formal arrangement of 
my subject, in order to present in one group, the varied 
and interesting topics embraced in this important district. 
An exhibition in one view, of its striking features; of its 
geology and mineralogy, the peculiar harmony and adap- 
tation of its resources to sustain its great predominant 
interest, will enable the reader more distinctly to appre- 
hend the nature, the varied capacities, and singular 
advantages of this extraordinary region. When appro- 
priate avenues, equal to its resources, shall connect it 
with the marts of commerce, the Adirondac iron district, 
it is adjudged, is capable of being made, and will pro- 
bably attain a position among the most extended and 
wealthiest iron manufactories of the earth. This strong 
declaration is predicated upon the facts, that these ores, 
so singularly and distinctly varied in their properties, 
that they are adapted to the manufacture of every iron 
fabric ; that they are inexhaustible and of the easiest 
access for working; that the stately forests which mantle 
the mountains, encircling these works, are nearly as 
boundless as the ores ; and that every material, almost 
essential to the manufacture, are embraced within the 
district. Clay prevails contiguous to the works, of a 
quality, it is believed, adapted to the manufacture of the 



378 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

required brick. Lime is abundant, and, although par- 
tially affected by native impurities, may be converted to 
the desired purposes. The hydraulic power will ever 
remain, and be always adequate to every demand. The 
resources of this region will ultimately compel the con- 
struction of appropriate avenues to it. 

The upper works, and the village of Adirondac, are 
situated upon the river, midway between Lakes Hender- 
son and Sanford, in a narrow ravine, embosomed amid 
the lofty pinnacles that surround it. This neat little 
village realizes to the mind our ideality of a Swiss ham- 
let, its lake, its river, its mountains " crowned with their 
coronal of snow." Lake Henderson, in exceeding loveli- 
ness, slumbers in quiet and beauty at the foot of the 
giant Santonine, and is almost enveloped in a mountain 
screen. These works, by the existing circuitous road, 
are about fifty miles removed from Lake Champlain. 

A ponderous and costly dam erected by the Adirondac 
Company, at the lower works, a distance of ten miles, 
throws back the volume of water to the very base of a 
dam erected at the upper works, in connection with the 
furnace completed in 1861. This fact affords striking 
evidence of the formation of the country. An excellent 
water communication is created by this improvement 
between the upper and lower works. At each extremity 
of the navigation, wharves, cranes, and every other appli- 
ance, are constructed to facilitate the transportation of 
heavy commodities. A survey has established the exist- 
ence of a practicable and cheap route for either a rail 
road or a plank road, from the lower works to the Schroon 
valley, a distance of only eighteen miles. The wants of 
an industrious community, and the exigencies of general 
business, must secure the construction of a rail road 
through that valley to the Hudson. When this most 
desirable project is accomplished, the furnaces and ore 
beds of the Adirondac district will he separated by a 
land transportation of only eighteen miles from New 
York. The rail road at this moment approaching Essex 



NATURAL HISTORY 379 

county through "Warren, promises still more practical 
result, by penetrating in its proposed route, within a few 
miles of the Adironclac mines. 

The lofty group of mountains which occupy this region 
formed almost exclusively of the hyperstene rock, which 
has been rendered somewhat familiar to the scientific 
world by the reports of the state geologists. This rock, 
in different proportions, is diffused through almost every 
section of the county. The mineral hyperstene from 
which it derives its name, is incorporated in it, in very 
minute quantities, whilst the labradorite or opalescent 
feldspar constitutes its most conspicuous element. Al- 
though essentially granite, the hyperstene does not exhibit 
the ordinary appearance of that rock. Its color, as revealed 
in the quarry, is a smoky gray. In some quarries it is 
lighter, and in others it presents a strong green tinge, 
which forms a predominant shade. On the surface this 
rock is seamy to so great a degree, as to present almost an 
appearance of stratification ; deeper in the quarry it is 
thrown out in large and firm blocks. Its beauty is greatly 
enhanced when lines of lighter color occur, by which it is 
traversed. Experiments have been successfully made in 
sawing and polishing slabs from this rock. If it yields 
blocks sufficiently firm and consolidated for this purpose, 
it will prove a most valuable and desirable material for 
the structure of the delicate and ornamental fabrics, to 
which the choicest marble is only appropriated. No 
Egyptian stone surpasses it in its beautiful and variegated 
colors, or in the brilliancy of its lustre. The hyperstene 
is equal to the granite as a building material. The 
labradorite is an exquisitely beautiful mineral, rivaling 
the plumage of the peacock in its brilliant iridescence 
when wet or polished, and exposed to the action of the 
light. 1 Highly opalescent specimens are not common, 
although that characteristic is partially exhibited in every 
crystal. Blue is the predominant shade, at times mingled 

1 B. Clark. 



380 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

with green. The green seldom occurs alone, but is exceed- 
ingly brilliant and beautiful. Gold aud bronze specimens 
are occasionally discovered, and rarely, crystals are found 
combining all these colors in a splendid iridescence. At 
times the crystals are striated, each alternate stria showing 
the opalescent reflection. Occasionally two colors alternate 
in the same crystal; both are seldom seen in the same 
direction of light. The bed of the Opalescent river, which 
derives its name from the circumstance, abounds in this 
mineral, and when the sun shines at the cascades through 
the clear water, the whole rock seems to beam and glow 
with the refulgence of the beautiful gems. 1 Bright opal- 
escent specimens, polished and in settings, are highly 
valued in jewelry. This mineral was discovered by the 
Moravian missionaries in Labrador, and when originally 
introduced into England, commanded most exorbitant 
prices. There are but few foreign minerals enclosed in 
the hyperstene rock. Some of the feldspar taken from a 
vein near the works are peculiarly beautiful; they exhibit 
a remarkable glittering, spangled appearance. Crystals 
of iron have been found in this vein, similar to the crys- 
talized ore. Serpentine is also sparsely mingled in it. 2 

Graphite exists in this locality, but has not been dis- 
covered either in sufficient extent or purity to give it value, 
although often found in very beautiful radiated nodules. 
It usually occurs in small quantities at the juncture of the 
gneiss and primitive limestone rocks. Slight veins of trap 
are numerous, aud, I may add, to avoid recurrence to the 
subject, that this rock is prevalent in almost every section 
of the county, sometimes exhibiting extensive walls, and 
forming the dyke of most of the iron ore beds. At Jay, 
lower village, it spans the river in a massive dam. Re- 
markable developments of trap dykes occur both on Mt. 
McMartin and Mt. Mclntyre, on the former its disintegra- 
tion has formed a huge gorge, which, at its entrance, is 

1 11. Clark. 2 Idem, 



NATURAL HISTORY. 381 

one hundred feet wide and one hundred and fifty feet 
deep. This gorge beautifully discloses the entire stratifi- 
cation of the rock. The debris from the gorge, in large 
masses, was deposited in Avalanche lake. This lake is a 
fountain head of the Hudson, situated two thousand five 
hundred feet above its level, and is probably the most 
elevated body of water in the state. Its cold element is 
only inhabited by a small lizard. 

The Adirondac Company was originally incorporated 
with a capital of $1,000,000. Large sums have been dis- 
bursed in the progress of these improvements, in opening 
the wilderness, and in a series of experiments upon the 
ores of this district. The tragic death of Mr. Henderson 
in the midst of these scenes, which his great energy and 
spirited enterprise had tended so much to animate and 
reveal, impeded these efforts. Not a sound, not a pulsa- 
tion of business indicates the heart of a region boundless 
in the wealth of nature. 

The lofty upheaval, that embraces the immense de- 
posits of iron ore, which have been revealed in the Adiron- 
dac district, extends northerly through Essex and into 
Clinton county, and includes -the town of Minerva at 
the south. The rocks and general geological formation 
throughout this extended territory are closely assimilated. 
In Clinton county, this range is the site of most of the 
valuable ore beds belonging to that district. 

The town of Minerva, lying directly south of Newcomb, 
exhibits the evidence of great mineral wealth, although but 
one bed of iron ore has been actually opened and partially 
worked. In the language of a correspondent; "Minerva 
may already be regarded as a mineral town, with wood 
equal to the supply of charcoal, for fifty years." The bed 
which has been opened, lies on lot 21, township 25, 
Totten and Crossfield purchase. It is owned by a com- 
pany, composed of Hon. E. H. Rosekrans, J. C. Durand, 
and other prominent aud energetic men. On the surface, 
the ore is somewhat impregnated with sulphur, but as the 
excavation penetrates the deposit, the quality of the ore 



382 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

obtained is pure, rich, and highly magnetic. It is easity 
reduced, and is pronounced better adapted for making pig, 
than bloom iron, but has produced in the forge, the best 
quality of iron. 1 The abundant presence of ore on the ad- 
joining lot ~No. 28, and upon most of the contiguous ter- 
ritory, is satisfactorily ascertained. In comparing the 
results of my examinations of the ore beds fifteen years 
ago, with their present condition, I observe many striking 
changes in the characteristics of the ore. In the ores 
from several of these mines, sulphates, phosphates and other 
foreign substances were then incorporated; but in almost 
every instance in which the mines have been worked to 
any considerable extent, the ore is now wholly or nearly 
so exempt from the impurities. 

Schroon. 

The Schnfield Bed is situated in the town of Schroon, 
near the head of Paradox lake, and was opened in the year 
1828, by Horace Hall. Bar iron was at that time made 
in the Schroon forge from the ore of this mine, which 
was worked by various proprietors, until 1845. In this 
year, I infer, operations were suspended at the bed. An 
average of two hundred tons of iron was made during the 
above period, which established and maintained the highest 
character in market. The bed has been again worked 
during the last year by the present owner, Mr. John Roth, 
and the ore has been used in both of his forges in Schroon, 
with decided success. The ore yields fifty per cent of iron 
of the first class. The vein is only from three to four 
feet in thickness, and has been worked about two hundred 
and fifty feet in length and from twenty to sixty feet in 
depth. Horse power is used in hoisting the ore, but the 
pit is pumped by steam. 

The Skiff Bed lies about two miles from Paradox lake. 
It was opened by A. P. Skiff in the year 1857, but is now 
owned by Mr. Roth. This ore, like that from the Scho- 

1 E. F. Williams. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 383 

field bed possesses the highest qualities, but the same 
embarrassments impede at present its successful and re- 
munerative development. The vein is small, where it has 
been disclosed, and is compressed between walls of rock, 
that immensely enhance the difficulties and expense of 
working it. The energetic owner, under the conviction 
that a wider vein exists and can be reached, has already 
expended many thousands of dollars, in the construction 
of a tunnel at the base of a mountain, in the hope of re- 
vealing such a vein. If this enterprise, which is still to be 
pressed, results in the discovery of a large deposit of ore 
equal to that which has been worked, this bed will proba- 
bly be made one of the most valuable in the region. 
The ore furnished by both of these mines is generally 
conceded to be equal to any in the country. 



Crown Point. 

Near'the boundary line between Schroon ana' Crown 
Point two iron ore beds of great value are located, which 
were included formerly by the state geologists in the Mo- 
riah district. They are of the magnetic type, and appear 
to possess inexhaustible deposits of the mineral. They 
are known as the Hammond, and Penfield mines. These 
mines are situated about ten miles from Lake Charnplain. 

Hammond Bed. The existence of this mine was ascer- 
tained as early as 1827, but it was not worked extensively 
until 1845. It is situated on lot No. 278 in Paradox tract, 
and is now owned by Gr. & T. Hammond and E. S. 
Bogue. It has been constantly worked since 1845, and 
produces an average of about four thousand tons of ore 
annually, which is consumed in the blast furnace of the 
proprietors, for making pig iron. It requires no sepa- 
rating. It is a black magnetic ore, of a close, tine grain 
or texture, with very pure white quartz in small particles 
disseminated very evenly through it. The ore is hard to 
drill and sledge. Worked in a blast furnace, it yields a 
fluid glassy cinder, and makes a superior quality of pig 
iron, The ore has no infusion of sulphates or phos- 



384 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pborus. There are two pits opening out of this mine; 
one descends, at an angle of about forty-five degrees to 
the depth of four hundred feet, and the other, recently 
opened, has reached a descent of about fifty feet. The 
ore is raised by horse power. In 1852, I saw teams loaded 
alongside of the breast of ore. The Hammond ore pos- 
sesses the highest qualities of peculiar strength and soft- 
ness, and is eminently adapted to the purposes of the 
foundery and the fabrication of machinery. The harder 
parts of the pig metal are particularly calculated for the 
manufacture of car axles and malleable articles. The ex- 
treme fluidity of this iron, and the long time it remains 
fluid, renders it highly valuable in the manufacture of 
these fabrics. 

Penjield Bed is about half a mile from the Hammond 
bed. The ore is very similar, and the mines are probably 
parts of the same deposit. The Penfield bed was first 
opened many years since, but not worked to any extent 
until 1824, when it was opened by Messrs. Penfield & 
Taft. Since that period, it has been in constant operation. 
It was subsequently carried on by Penfield & Son ; after- 
wards by Penfield, Harwood & Co., and at present by 
Penfield & Harwood. Although worked for so long a 
term, this mine exhibits no appearance of exhaustion. 
The ore excavated is used in the forges of the proprietors 
in Crown Point. I regret that I have been unable to 
procure more in detail statistics of this highly import- 
ant mine. The description, however, of the characteristics 
and qualities of the Hammond ore has a general applica- 
tion to the ore of this bed. I shall refer to the properties 
of the iron it produces, in my notice of the Irondale forge. 

In the south part of Crown Point large deposits occur of 
magnetic iron ores, but these are strongly impregnated 
with sulphurets. In the central part of the town an ore 
bed, known as the Saxe bed was worked about forty years 
ago by Jacob Saxe, and used in a blast furnace, of which 
he was the proprietor, that stood at the mouth of the Sal- 
mon river in Plattsburgh. The furnace has long since been 



NATURAL HISTORY. 3g5 

abandoned and fallen into ruins. The bed has not re- 
cently been worked, and is superseded by mines yielding 
richer and more desirable ores. The Saxe bed and ore 
are fully noticed in the Natural History of the state, part 
4, Geology, page 232. 

TlCONDEROGA. 

The development of iron ore in the eastern part of the 
town of Ticonderoga has not been favorable. Graphite 
appears at present to be the prominent mineral of the dis- 
trict. A bed known as the Vineyard possesses a large de- 
posit of iron ore, but it is so impregnated by sulphur as to 
be unavailable for practical purposes. A vein of red 
oxide has been opened, from which about one thousand 
five hundred tons of ore have been taken, but it is too 
hard in drilling to be remunerative. A vein of magnetic 
ore about two feet wide upon Mount Defiance is being 
opened by Weed & Burleigh. A shaft is excavating, in the 
hope of discovering a large expansion of the vein. Upon 
the Tub-mill property five veins of iron ore have been 
partially opened, and afford evidence of large deposits of 
good ore. They are situated ten miles from the lake, and 
have been only partially developed. 

Moriah Iron District. 
This tract, scarcely, if at all subordinate, to the Adiron- 
dac district in the extent of its deposits, perhaps superior 
in the quality of its ores and far more eligibly situated, is 
calculated to excite the wonder and admiration of the 
observer. The immense aggregate of iron ore which has 
been dug from those rugged hills, instead of affording 
any evidence of appreciable diminution, seems to prove the 
boundless magnitude of this source of enterprise and 
wealth. As these excavations widen and deepen, and the 
quantity of the mineral appears to augment, its quality 
almost universally improves. An air of life, of prosperity 
and success animates the whole scene. Activity and effort 
are everywhere impressed upon the character of the peo- 
25 



386 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pie. Idleness in this stirring community has no tolerance. 
Brain and muscle are put upon their highest tension. I 
propose to present a brief outline of the progress, and pre- 
sent condiiion of each of the ore beds in this district sepa- 
rately, and although I have made every effort to obtain 
ample information on the subject, the interests are so diver- 
sified and my materials so incomplete, I fear the result of 
my labor will appear inadequate and unsatisfactory. 

The Cheever Ore Bed. A knowledge of the existeuce of 
ore in this locality appears to have beeu almost cotempo- 
raneous with the settlement. The first child born in the 
township after the revolution, who is still living, 1 states, 
that his earliest recollections are associated with this ore. 
It cropped out so prominently on the surface, as to attract 
the notice of any casual observer. Local legends refer 
the earliest working of the mines to squatters upon the 
land without title. Ore is known to have been procured 
from the bed in the year 1804, but the subject excited 
slight interest, and no appreciation existed of the vast 
magnitude and incalculable value of the deposit. In 
1820, '21, it was leased to a Charles Fisher, at a rent of 
two gross tons of bloom iron, worth at that time, one hun- 
dred dollars per ton. 2 I have found it difficult to trace the 
varied ownership of the property, but ascertain that between 
thirty and forty years ago the title was in a person named 
John Coates, to whom Dr. Abijah Cheever as guardian of 
minor children, had loaned certain funds. Dr. Cheever 
was ultimately obliged with great reluctance to accept 
this property, either in payment or as security for the 
debt. It is a striking incident in the history of its pro- 
gressive value, that this ore bed, now almost beyond price 
in the hands of the present owners, should in a compara- 
tively recent period, have been urged upou the market by 
Cheever, and offered at scarcely above a nominal price with- 
out a purchaser, and ultimately sold, it is said, at five thou- 
sand dollars. This sale was made in the year 1838, to Horace 

1 Alexander McKensie. a Hon. John A. Lee. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 337 

Grey of Boston. The statement of the amount of the price 
paid for the property varies from two thousand five hun- 
dred dollars to six thousand five hundred dollars. I have 
adopted that which appears to be the most authentic. In 
1840, Mr. Grey transferred his interest to the Port Henry 
Iron Company, and leased from them iu 1846, the furnace 
property and the Cheever ore bed. In the fall of 1852, 
Mr. Benjamin T. Reed of Boston purchased all the property 
of the Port Henry Iron Company, and in the following 
year transferred the ore bed to the Cheever Ore Bed Com- 
pany. 1 Mr. John 0. Presbrey is the present resident agent 
and manager of the mines. The bed has been owned and 
worked since 1853, by that company, which is an incor- 
porated organization composed of gentlemen of affluence 
residiug in Massachusetts. It is situated on the J. Wil- 
liams tract, formerly called the Rogers Ore Bed patent, 
about three miles from Port Henry, and less than three 
fourths of a mile from Lake Champlain. Since the occupa- 
tion by the present proprietor, the mine has been worked 
without intermission, and yields annually from fifty thousand 
to sixty thousand tons of ore. A large per centage of this 
ore is used by the furnaces of the Bay State Iron Company 
at Port Henry. The remainder is exported to Massa- 
chusetts, Pennsylvania, and to various points in New York 
and other sections of the Union. The ore is found in a 
regular vein and perfectly developed, from five to fifteen 
feet in thickness. The vein is reached by five different 
shafts or pits, one of which descends vertically to the depth 
of three hundred and fifteen feet. The work of opening has 
been pursued from the several pits and shafts, until abreast 
work of nearly one thousand and five hundred feet of ore 
has been formed and is now worked. From the foot of 
the perpendicular shaft, four distinct rail tracks have been 
constructed, which enable cars to transport the ore a dis- 
tance of about two hundred feet. At the shaft, the ore is 
tipped into iron buckets, capable of holding about a ton 

1 Mr, W. T. Foote, and W. F. OooHn. 



388 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

and a half of ore. These are hoisted to the surface, where 
by the action of appropriate machinery, the buckets are 
discharged into cars which carry it by a rail road along an 
inclined plane to the company's wharf, at the lake, or by 
the same machinery, the ore may be deposited on a plat- 
form, ready to be conveyed away by teams. The ore is 
conveyed on the rail trains in the pits by cars from the 
breast, and discharge into boxes, which are hoisted up the 
slide or inclined plane, to the platform above from which 
it is transported. These slides require ropes seven hun- 
dred feet Jong to connect with the drum in the engine 
room. Steam is the motive power, created by three sta- 
tionary engines, for all the movements and elevating of the 
cars, buckets and boxes with ore about the mine. The 
rail road, which conducts the cars to the lake, is about three- 
fourths of a mile in length. From the wharf it is shipped 
for exportation. This ore does not require separating. 
No stone appears in it, except an occasional slight cleavage 
from the wall rock. The following is the analysis of this 
ore in 1856, by Prof. A. A. Hayes : 

Proto and peroxide of iron, 90.54 

Phosphate of lime, 3.80 

Amphibole, 2.80 

Silicic acid, 1.60 

Pilanferous iron, 1.26 

100.00 

About two hundred men are constantly employed in 
this mine. I descended the perpendicular shaft in an 
iron bucket, accompanied by Mr. John O. Presbrey, the 
courteous agent at the mine. The stopping of the bucket 
at the foot was so gentle and noiseless that I was scarcely 
aware the descent of more than three hundred feet was 
ended. A strange, wierd and thrilling spectacle was 
revealed. There was no noise but the ceaseless clink of 
the hammer, and the jarring of the machinery. Along 
the different chambers a series of twinkling lamps, shin- 



NATURAL HISTORY. 389 

ing more and more dimly, as the long lines receded in the 
deep darkness, were sufficient to reveal the low, dark 
arched roofs supported by massive and glittering doric 
columns. These columns stand about one hundred feet 
apart, and average sixteen feet square. They are chiefly 
formed of solid ore, a most costly material, as each column 
contains about one thousand tons of ore. At the remotest 
extremity of one of the galleries I noticed a single light 
moving, and inquired the cause. It was a lantern carried 
by one in pursuit of powder, kept in that retired spot in 
small quantities for immediate supply, and to guard against 
accidents. With every precaution, frequent serious cata- 
strophies occur in blasting, through the carelessness or 
inadvertence of the workmen. Several years ago, the 
pillars of ore left to support the enormous burthen of rock 
and earth above a chamber previously worked yielded to 
the weight, and the whole mass was crushed together. 
The concussion is represented to have been not unlike an 
earthquake, rending the earth and dislocating the massive 
rocks for acres. I was struck by the singular freeness of 
this mine, in its deepest recesses, from dampness, and by 
noticing the pure and dry atmosphere which pervades it. 
In summer the temperature is cool, but in winter the cold 
is severe in the pits. A remarkable and unusual effect 
was produced, when, in the progress of the work, the dif- 
ferent passages were connected. A strong current of air, 
precipitated down one pit and rushing in a powerful draft 
through the mine, ascended at the opposite extremity of 
the bed by another opening. The volume of air was so 
great, that it became necessary to erect partitions in the 
mine, to protect the workmen from the cold, and to pre- 
vent the extinguishing of the lamps. The Cheever mine 
was one of the first opened in the town of Moriah. It has 
occupied and will probably maintain the highest rank in 
respect to reputation and value, both by the quality of the 
ore and the position and locality of the bed. 

Goff Bed lies in the vicinity of the Cheever, and possesses 
a great similarity of ore. It is situated near the margin of 



390 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the lake, and has connected with it a wharf and separator 
This bed was opened in 1845, and was formerly owned by 
Hon. George W. Goff, but three or four years since was 
purchased by its present proprietors, known as the Champ- 
lain Ore and Furnace Company. Besides its advantageous 
location on the lake shore, this mine enjoys another great 
and rare facility in being penetrated by nearly horizontal 
openings. It has three of these openings, one of which 
follows the vein almost eight hundred feet. A mule car is 
employed in the transportation of the ore from the mine. 
This bed is not at present worked, but when in operation 
it yields about four thousand tons of ore annually. The 
ore is magnetic, and about one-half taken from the mine 
requires separating. It is exported to various markets. 
"When both this bed and the furnace al Westport, owned 
by the same company, are. in operation, they give employ- 
ment to about one hundred men. This is esteemed a val- 
uable ore. 

Port Henry Ore Bed is situated in a ravine between two 
hills, about one mile west of Cheever bed. This mine is 
owned by George B. Pease, and has been but partially 
developed. About one thousand tons have been raised. 
Prof. Hayes has made the following analysis : 

Metallic Iron, 64.15 

Oxygen with it, 34.15 

Silica, 4.10 

Lime and Magnesia, 1.10 

Phosphate of lime, 6.20 

He remarks, " the ore is very much like the covering ore 
of the Cheever bed, and will doubtless as it comes from a 
deeper point, exclude much of the earthy minerals now 
found with it. It is a soft ore, working easily." 

Cleveland Mine, formerly known as the Sherman bed, is 
located near the above, and is owned by a company in 
Cleveland, Ohio. It has been worked the last three years 
with an annual production of ore from eight to ten thou 
sand tons, which is principally conveyed to Cleveland for 



NATURAL HISTORY. 391 

puddling purposes. A shaft has been sunk about two 
hundred feet. Steam is used as the motive power, in 
hoisting the ore and pumping the mine. From thirty to one 
hundred men are employed about the mine and in connec- 
tion with the business. Most of the ore requires separating. 

About six miles west from Port Henry and upon an ele- 
vation of nearly fifteen hundred feet above the lake is 
situated a cluster of pits and shafts which open into seve- 
ral different ore beds ; but occupying the corners of several 
lots, they stand within a space embraced by an area of five 
acres. These shafts descend into a deposit of ore, that 
can be divided by no visible lines; but beneath the surfac e 
there exists a uniform and unbroken mass of ore. The 
operations in several of these pits have so nearly approached, 
that the sound of the implements in one may be distinctly 
heard in another. When this ore was first worked, it was 
coujectured that it formed an enormous pocket ; a term 
used by miners, to designate an isolated and limited body 
of ore, without the formation of a vein and liable to sud- 
den exhaustion ; but as the pits descend and expand, it is 
asserted, that the evidence augments of the presence of an 
inexhaustible deposit. The opinion seems to be warranted, 
that all this extended eminence has been formed by a vast 
upheaval of iron ore, and that the whole formation of these 
hills is charged with the mineral. The terrific power of 
the agency which wrought this work, is indicated by the 
position of the disturbed and dislocated rocks of the vici- 
nity. The whole district is barren, broken and distorted. 
The worthlessness of the territory, as estimated by an 
ordinary standard, appears from the fact, that most of this 
land was originally sold at fifty cents the acre. 

Indications of the presence of iron ore in Moriah were 
revealed at an early period, in the occupation of the town. 
When the Kellogg survey was made in 1810 of the 
territory, appropriately designated the Iron Ore tract, 
strong attractions disturbed the magnet, and particularly 
along the common lines between lots N"os. 21, 23, 24 and 
25. ISTo openings were made on any of these lots until 



392 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

1824, although large specimens of ore had been found ten 
years before on lot No. 25. 

The Old Samford Bed is situated on lot No. 25, of the 
above tract, and is about six miles from the wharves at the 
lake. The subject of ore upon this lot excited some degree 
of attention in the summer of 1824. Messrs. Harry Sher- 
man and Elijah Bishop proposed at that time to Mr. D. E. 
Sanford, the owner of No. 25, to become associated with 
him in exploring the lot, and that each should pay him 
one hundred dollars for an undivided one-fourth interest 
in the property. The terms were accepted and operations 
were immediately commenced by the parties, near the 
north-east corner of the lot, and ore was discovered about 
one foot below the surface. Other places within a few 
rods were explored with the same result. A few rods 
south of the first opening, a large boulder of iron, as it 
was conjectured, was found embedded in the earth, with 
many smaller pieces strewn upon the surface. On attempt- 
ing to remove this supposed boulder, it was ascertained to 
be the outcropping of a vein, or the index, as it proved, 
to an enormous body of ore. It was followed down, the 
excavation being enlarged about a rod square. The ex- 
plorers still believed it to be a limited deposit of ore, but 
their work was in fact the opening of the old Sanford 
bed. Ore from this bed was tried in a blast furnace at 
Port Henry, in the year 1834, but the experiment from 
injudicious management was unsuccessful. Two years 
later, Mr. G. W. Goff used at the same furnace some of 
the lean ore, which had been thrown out, at the bed, and 
was purchased by him at fifty cents per ton. Mixed with 
the Cheever and other ore, it produced good iron. In the 
spring of 1846, the property came into the possession of 
John A. Lee, George Sherman and Eliphalet Hall. Mr. 
Hall sold his interest the same year to Mr. A. J. Rosseau 
of Troy, who transferred his title in 184 i, to Messrs. S. H. 
& J. G. Weatherbee. When I first e cammed this bed 
in 1852, teams were driven into it, down a slight depres- 
sion of the ground, and loaded directly alongside of the 



NATURAL HISTORY. 393 

breast of ore. At that time, the length of one of the 
openings was two hundred and fourteen feet, with an 
average width of thirty feet. The breast of ore worked 
was about eighty-two feet. The ore was then stratified, 
easily drilled ; a single blast not unfrequently threw off 
thirty tons of pure ore. A large infusion of phosphate of 
lime was at that time disclosed in this ore. Another 
breast was worked in the mine that exhibited a face of 
ninety-nine feet ; sixty feet in length and an average depth 
of twenty-five feet. This bed is now entered by three 
distinct shafts. One of these requires a rope five hundred 
and fifty feet long ; another a rope of two hundred feet, 
and the third opening is one hundred and fifty feet deep. 
The ore is raised by cars on an inclined plane of about 
forty-five degrees. The cars are hoisted by a wire cable, 
moved by the agency of a drum and steam power, to a 
platform at the mouth of the shaft, where they are made 
to discharge themselves by a- simple apparatus. The ore 
falls upon a large sieve, which separates the coarse from 
the finer particles. The lumps are destined for puddling ( 
furnaces, and the fine for other purposes. The average 
yield of this bed during the last six years has been forty- 
three thousand and three hundred tons of ore. It is used 
in forges, furnaces, and rolling mills, and requires no sepa- 
rating. The Sanford ore is inclined to be cold, short, and 
is extensively used as a mixture with ores of an opposite 
quality to render them neutral. 1 We descended into this 
mine by a box along the inclined plane escorted by the 
agent, Mr. TifiPt. The depth is about two hundred and 
thirty feet. The area worked in this bed, from the nature 
of the ore, has acquired a different and more compact form 
than the chamber of the Cheever bed. The distance from 



1 Red or hot short iron, is ductile when cold, but extremely brittle when 
heated, a defect caused by the presence of a small quantity of sulphur. 
Cold short iron is ductile when hot, but brittle when cold ; caused by a 
small quantity of phosphorus. Neutral iron is exempt from both of these 
defects. 



394 HISTOKY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the point where the ore passes under the cap rock, to the 
bottom of the present working, about thirty degrees, is 
three hundred and fifty feet, and the length of the bottom 
from east to west is two hundred and fifty feet. The 
shaft is about one hundred and fifty-five feet deep to the 
ore. Drifts have been run north and south from the bot- 
tom of the shaft, making a breast of one hundred and 
seventy-five feet. The base rock has not yet been reached, 
and the thickness of the breast is therefore still to be de- 
termined. The Miller pit is a few rods north of the old 
bed, the vein dipping at forty-five degrees. The depth 
from the light hole is about one hundred and fifty feet, 
length of breast two hundred feet and height about forty 
feet. The roof which has been left in excavating the old 
bed is lofty, and supported by eleven corresponding pil- 
lars, averaging fifty feet high and thirty feet square, and 
computed to contain already one hundred thousand tons 
of ore. Among numerous other explanations of their 
processes, Mr. Tift't described the methods pursued in 
working the mine. Commencing at one extremity, a pre- 
scribed depth is excavated, which is preserved to the other 
extremity and laterally throughout the opening. By this 
Bystem a nearly level surface is maintained, and the size 
and foundations of the pillars preserved. My attention 
was directed in this mine to the working of a diamond 
drill, and the implement with its operations was courte- 
ously exhibited and explained to me. It may be pro- 
nounced a vast improvement in economy, efficiency aud 
safety to the usual drilling by manual labor. The instru- 
ment is operated either by hand or steam power. In the 
process I witnessed, two men turned the propelling wheel, 
and the instrument bored into the hard ore with great 
ease and incredible rapidity. From two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred men, including teamsters, are em- 
ployed in connection with this bed. Two large steam 
pumps draw off the water from the two deepest pits. I 
noticed in this mine the same singularly low temperature 



NATURAL HISTORY. 395 

I observed in the Cheever bed. The following is the 
analysis of this ore : 

Metallic iron, 72.09 

Insoluble silicious matter, .34 

Phosphorus, .01 

Oxygen and moisture, 27.56 

100.00 

Bed on No. 21. In the year 1829, parties by digging a 
shaft about twelve feet deep, discovered ore on this lot. It 
was then owned by Jonas Reed and Elias Smith of Moriah, 
and Allen Smith of Addison, Vt., who had purchased it of 
the original proprietors for a merely nominal sum. The 
latter sold his one-half interest about this time for the sum 
of one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and Messrs. San- 
ford, Bishop & Sherman, with a view of avoiding compe- 
tition, acquired a title to a majority of the different 
interests, and paid as the consideration for their purchase, 
" five hundred tons of old bed ore in the ground." No 
further operations occurred at this bed, until the year 1846, 
when it came into possession of Messrs. Storrs & Rosseau. 
The actual and practical opening of the mine is referred to 
this epoch. The entire interest in the property had pre- 
viously been divided into small fractional shares. Mr. 
Storrs secured a preponderance of these shares. In 1846, 
the parties resumed operations in the shaft, which had been 
opened and abandoned more than twenty years before, and 
after sinking it about thirty feet, reached the body of ore. 
In 1852, a judicious observer wrote me, in reference to the 
bed aud the indications of ore in the vicinity : "It would be 
difficult to obtain an approximation to the quantity of ore, 
in this single deposit, without estimating the contents of 
the entire hill." 1 The result has vindicated the accuracy 
of this judgment. Messrs. Storrs & Rosseau succeeded 
in raising about one thousand tons of ore, aud in 1853 
conveyed their interest to the American Mineral Com- 

l J. P.Butler, Esq. 



396 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

pany. This company erected extensive separating works 
for the purpose of extracting the phosphates from the 
ore, while separating the latter for market. They did not 
succeed in procuring the phosphates in sufficient purity 
for agricultural uses, and after an expenditure of sevei-al 
thousand dollars in the experiment, the scheme was relin- 
quished. The company was at the same time engaged in 
mining the ore for market. This association passed 
through various changes. 

On the organization of the Port Henry Iron Company, 
that company, under various agents, furnished a large 
amount of ore for market, until 1864, when Weatherbees, 
Sherman & Co., having purchased personally one-fourth of 
the capital stock, became the managing and selling agents. 
This position they still occupy. The shaft which we de- 
scended, accompanied by Mr. Goff the superintendent, is 
two hundred and thirty feet in depth. The track upon 
which the ore boxes move, is supported by heavy timbers, 
which traverse the chasm. Looking down from the box, 
in which one is slowly gliding in the descent, into the 
hideous cavern, where the lamps are flickering far below, a 
spectacle is revealed, grand and imposing, but calculated to 
disturb ordinary nerves. The magnitude of this deposit 
will appear from the fact that the area of the opening is 
"nearly two hundred and twenty-five feet from the base of 
the slide on the north end, to the first pillar on the south 
side, and about one hundred feet on the bottom from east 
to west. The solid ore on the south side, is vertically 
about one hundred feet high. Drifts have been driven on 
the north side, at right angles under the rock one hun- 
dred feet. Other drifts have been driven east and west 
from the pillar. The length of the opening in that direc- 
tion is two hundred and twenty-five feet. Above a part of 
the opening, the superincumbent rock and earth have been 
removed. The roof is high and apparently formed of the 
cap rock, and supported chiefly by columns of the same 
material. An average of thirty-six thousand tons of ore is 



NATURAL HISTORY. 397 

yielded annually by this bed. The annexed is au analysis 
of the ore : 



Protoxide of iron, ") . , ,. .... nn _ . 25.29 

n .j y (yielding metallic iron, 69.82) n ~ OCL 

Peroxide, " " j VJ " ' J 71.65 

Alumina, 40 

Oxide of titaneum, Trace 

Phosphate of lime, .39 

Magnesia, .05 

Silica and insoluble matter. 2.22 

100.00 

The pay roll, embracing this mine and those on Nos. 23, 
and 24 comprises from two hundred and fifty to three 
hundred names. 

In this, as in every mine I have explored in Moriah, I 
was impressed by the quiet, discipline and regularity, in 
which its vast operations were conducted. This harmony 
and subordination conveys a most favorable idea of the 
judgment and efficiency of the system of management 
that prevails. It is said that laborers prefer a situation in 
these mines to toiling on a farm or in lumbering occupa- 
tions. 

Beds on Lots 23 and 24. These lots are contiguous to 
Nos. 25 and 21 which embrace the ore beds above de- 
scribed. In the year 1824, while the development of the 
mine on No. 25 was in progress, Jeremiah Cook, the 
owner of No. 23, began an exploration on his side of the 
dividing line between the two lots. He associated with 
him, Solomon and Hiram Everest, to whom he sold one- 
half of his interest for two hundred dollars. This was the 
earliest opening of lot No. 23. After effecting this opening, 
the parties commenced disposing of interests in the mine, as 
minute as T l g and possibly J 2 on a valuation of four thou- 
sand dollars for the entire bed. Mr. Rosseau, the partner 
of Mr. Storrs, secured a majority of these shares, as the 
latter had obtained those of No. 21. Old pit on 23 was 
opened in 1823 and Brinsmade shaft on the same lot in 
1865. These are the only openings upon this lot. There 



398 HISTORY OP ESSEX COUNTY. 

is one shaft on No. 24 which was opened in 1845, but not 
extensively worked until 1864. The annual yield of No. 
23 for the last six years has been an average of nine thou- 
sand four hundred tons of ore, and that of No. 24 since 
1864 has been nine thousand seven hundred tons. The 
ores from these beds are used in forges, furnaces and roll- 
ing mills. I have seen no analysis of the ore, but under- 
stand that the quality of No. 23 is similar to that from the 
old bed on No. 25 as they lie in direct contact. Old pit 
on 23 is three hundred aud fifty feet deep. Brinsmade 
shaft is one hundred and fifty feet deep with a breadth 
one hundred and seventy-five feet from north to south. 
The shaft on No. 24 is two hundred and thirty feet. A 
steam engine of twenty-four horse power is used at these 
beds for raisiug ore and ruuuing a pump for draining the 
pits. The vein on 23 grows thicker as it advances south, 
and it is conjectured that it extends to No. 21, a distance 
of six hundred feet. 

New Bed. The deposit, which is now known by this 
name was discovered by E. E. Sanford in the south-west 
corner of lot No. 24, in the year 1844, and was opened by 
him the following season. The sale already mentioned of 
the Old Bed by Mr. Sandford to Sherman & Hall, em- 
braced his title to the New Bed. Mr. Hall the same year 
(1846), sold his interest to Mr. A. J. Rosseau, who in 1849 
conveyed the same interest to Messrs. S. H. & J. G. 
"Weatherbee. The bed was first practically worked in 
1845, and has produced, during the last six years, an ave- 
rage of six thousand seven hundred and twenty tons of 
ore annually. The ore is in large demand for forges and 
blast furnaces. The following is an analysis of this ore : 

Pure metallic Iron, 71.19 

Insoluble silicious matter, 1.12 

Phosphorus, a trace 

Oxygen and moisture, 27.69 

About one-third of this ore requires separating. It is 
inclined to be red short and when mixed with the ore of 



NATURAL HISTORY. 399 

the Old Bed, produces a neutral iron of exceeding tenacity. 
It is stated that the demand for the New Bed ore is larger 
than can be supplied. The pure ore from this bed is pro- 
nounced by those interested, to be the richest ore known 
to exist in this country. " Perfectly formed crystals weighing 
more than an ounce, are often found, the plane surface of 
which resembles burnished steel, rather than iron ore." 
The bed contains the celebrated shot ore, and on my 
former examination I found it difficult to obtain a large 
specimen, from the feet that it disintegrated by the touch. 
The depth of this bed, measuring along the slide from the 
light hole to the base is seven hundred feet on a slope of 
forty-five decrees, with a thickness at rio;ht angles with the 
vein varying from fifteen to thirty -five feet. A seventy-five 
horse power engine is required for hoisting the ore and 
pumping the water from the bed. This mine is about six 
and a half miles from the lake and possesses the same 
facilities as the other bed, for the transportation of ore. 

A separator and saw-mill are propelled by the steam 
power, which hoists the ores. At the saw-mill all the lum- 
ber and plank are produced, which are required for the 
mines and plank road. From fifty to seventy men are 
employed about the mine and separator. 1 

Barton Bed. This mine is situated on Lot No. 34, Iron 
Ore tract, and is about seven miles from Port Henry. 
It was opened previous to 1850, and was formerly owned 
by Caleb D. Barton. This ore has been highly esteemed 
by forge holders. In 1863 the mine was purchased by 
the Port Henry Furnace Company, and is now owned by 
the same individuals, under the corporate name of the 
Bay State Iron Company. A large proportion of the ore 
yielded by this bed, has been used in the manufacture of 
pig iron. About eight thousand tons of ore is produced 
per annum, and an average of thirty-five men, including 



1 I am chiefly indebted to the zeal and public spirit of Mr. W. F. Gookin 
for the statistics embraced in the above notices. 



400 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

teamsters, are employed about the bed. The following is 
the analysis of the Barton ore : 

Magnetic oxide of iron, 51.418 

Oxide magnesia, Trace 

Titanic acid, 0.110 

Aluminium, 0.329 

Magnesia, 0.159 

Lime. 0.498 

Silicic acid (quartz, with a very little horn- 
blende), 47.433 

Phosphoric acid, 0.050 

Sulphur, 0.003 

10.000 

Quantity of metallic iron, 37.24 

Phosphoric, 22 

The Barton ore is used by the Bay State Iron Company 
furnace, at Port Henry, in combination with the Cheever 
ore, and in about equal proportions. The ore from the 
Barton bed is slightly mixed with silex. 

Fisher Hill Bed. This mine was opened at an early 
period in the history of Moriah, by Fisher, and was sold 
by him to Eliphalet Hall. During a long term of years, 
the title was involved in a remarkable and exciting litiga- 
tion, which was ultimately settled by a compromise. The 
mine is situated about seven miles' from the lake. It was 
purchased by its present proprietors, an eastern company, 
in the year 1863, at seventy-five thousand dollars. The 
ore is lean and silicious, and requires separating, but is 
classed among the best ores of the district, and is in great 
requisition among the forges of the vicinity. It finds 
market also with the iron manufacturers along the Hudson, 
and in various other localities. 

The mine has three shafts ; two of which are now worked. 
Shatt designated number one, has a descent of five hun- 
dred and fifty feet, and number three has a descent of five 
hundred feet. The latter presents a breast of fifty feet and 



NATURAL HISTORY. 401 

twenty-five feet in height. The ore is said to become 
of a purer quality as the mine is developed, and is 
reputed to be well adapted to the fabrication of wire and 
steel. Horse power is used in raising the ore. This bed 
was sold to the present proprietors in 1863, for seventy-five 
thousand dollars. It is now owned by eastern capitalists. 
Mr. 0. Hall is the resident manager. 

The Cook, or M. T. Smith Shaft. The revelation of this 
valuable mine was a striking triumph of practical science 
and determined perseverance, that has few parallels in 
mining operations. The bed is situated on lot 37, Iron 
Ore tract, and about six miles from Port Henry. The 
site of this ultimate great success was an open range, and 
the particular locality a sandy knoll in a pasture, where 
not the slightest appearance was disclosed on the surface 
of the presence of ore, although its existence at the place 
had been long suspected, from an unusual magnetic attrac- 
tion. The needle, when passed along an area of about 
forty rods square, was drawn as much as possible to a 
vertical position. During the term of fifteen years, before 
the enterprise of Mr. M. T. Smith, several attempts to 
reach ore on the lot had been made and abandoned. Mr. 
Smith and an associate finally made an arrangement with 
Patrick Cook, the owner of the lot, to open the mine. 
In consideration of their services and disbursements, they 
were to receive a conveyance of two-thirds of the property. 
They commenced their labor, and, following the indications 
of the magnet, excavated a shaft ten feet square, through 
a hundred feet of earth, without finding any additional 
evidences of ore. Here they struck hard pan, but unde- 
terred by these adverse results, they persisted with una- 
bated zeal. At length they reached and passed through 
a very thin vein of ore, and this the croakers pronounced 
the cause of the attraction. But Mr. Smith, wisely judg- 
ing the deposit too small to have produced effects so 
powerful, and with unyielding confidence in the assurances 
of the needle, continued the excavation, and after pene- 
trating through rock and hard pan eighty feet further, he 
26 



402 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

revealed a fourteen feet vein of ore, of the first quality. 
The mine was opened in June, 1866. In the first year it 
produced eight thousand tons, and in 1868 yielded fourteen 
thousand five hundred tons. The breast now wrought is 
two hundred feet in length, and averages fifteen feet in 
width. The ore is exported to Troy, Hudson, Pittsburg, 
and various other manufacturing localities. It is raised 
by horse power, but the water is pumped out by steam. 
No separating of the ore is necessary. The mine is worked 
both night and day, and requires the labor of thirty or 
forty persons. The future of this bed promises results 
which must secure an ample remuneration to the skill and 
energy of the enterprising explorers. 

The impurities which affected most of the ores of Mori ah 
were chiefly phosphates and white flint; but all these 
ores have become purer and softer as descents have been 
made in the mines. The first separator erected in the 
town was built in 1842, by Eliphalet Hall. In the year 
1853 Lee & Sherman consolidated their interests with 
S. H. & J. G. Weatherbee. The firm of Lee, Sherman 
& Weatherbees continued until 1862, when Mr. Lee re- 
tired, selling his title to "Weatherbees, Sherman & Co., who 
also purchased the remaining -small interest, and are now 
the sole owners of the old and new beds. Mr. George R. 
Sherman is a member of this firm. The Port Henry Iron 
Ore Company, consisting of the above firm, and Messrs. 
John A. Griswold and H. Burden & Son of Troy and 
Bech, Tower & Brinsmade of Pokeepsie, now owns the 
mines, designated Nos. 21, 23 and 24, with ore rights 
on the west end of lot 25. The ores from these and the 
adjacent mines have been transported for several years by 
a plank road, extending to the wharves of these companies 
at the lake. Immense loads, averaging about five tons, and 
sometimes it is stated reaching nine tons, along nearly an 
uninterrupted descent, are conveyed by this medium. The 
Lake Champlain and Moriah Rail Road Company, formed 
of the above companies, is now constructing a railway 
along the same route, which will be completed in the sum- 



NATURAL HISTORY. 403 

ruer of 1869. It will supersede the plank for teaming, 
and must effect a great economy in transportation of ore. 
This railway overcomes an ascent of fourteen hundred feet 
in about seven miles, on the extraordinary grade of two 
hundred feet to the mile. 

A cloud seems to have rested upon the miues of Moriah 
for some period after their discovery. A distrust prevailed 
in regard to the character of the ore, and it required the 
struggle of several years before the confidence of the iron 
manufacturers could be secured. The sales of ore from 
these mines during the first three or four years amounted 
to scarcely two hundred tons annually, and then decreased 
to half that quantity. The aggregate of ore which had 
been sold, when Lee, Sherman & Hall came into posses- 
sion of their interest, was about six thousand tons, at prices 
ranging from fifty cents to two dollars and a half, at the 
beds, payable in barter or on such terms as the purchaser 
proposed. The first specific trial of these ores was made 
at Ticonderoga, with a load sent there for the purpose. 
This issue was favorable, and about three hundred tons 
were raised the same year, only a part of which was sold, 
but" the next year an increased interest in the ore was 
manifested by a more animated demand for it, by their iron 
works in Vermont. From that period, the sales of ore 
have been rapidly progressive. In 1847 Lee & Sherman 
effected a sale of twenty thousand tons to F. H. Jackson 
of the Sisco furnace at Westport. This was the first sale 
made of ore to be used in furnaces. About the same time 
their ores were introduced in furnaces at Troy and other 
points on the Hudson. The mines owned by this firm 
produced between the years 1846 and 1854, about fifty 
thousand tons of ore. A competent authority estimates 
the aggregate of ore raised from the mines of Moriah from 
their development up to January 1st, 1869, at one million 
and one huudred thousand tons, of which one-third has 
been raised during the last six years. These ores are used 
in all the manufacturing districts of New England and the 
middle states, and largely at the west and south. A heavy 



404 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

supply of the ore is constantly maintained at the depot in 
Cleveland, Ohio, to meet the demand in that state and 
Western Pennsylvania. The ores of Moriah are all mag- 
netic and chiefly cold short, and are in request to combine 
with the red short ores of other districts to form a neutral 
iron. This trade is steadily increasing, while in Moriah 
new mines are constantly developing. The product of the 
several ore beds in the town in 1868 is as follows : 

Tons. 

The Cheever bed, 68,000 

Mines of Port Henry Iron Co., 59,000 

" Weatherbees, Sherman and Co., 59,500 

" Lake Champlain Mining Co., 2,500 

M.T.Smith, 14,500 

Fisher bed, 6,500 

230,000 

Most of these companies have supplied their different 
openings with improved hoisting power. The Port Henry 
Iron Ore Company and Weatherbees, Sherman & Co., 
are now prepared, if the demand justifies the effort, to 
raise one thousand tons daily from their various mines. 1 
In the summer of 1869, a fresh activity seems to animate 
the business of Moriah. A fleet of vessels assembled about 
the wharves at Cedar Point, loading or awaiting their 
turns. Fifteen hundred tons, in part the accumulation of 
the winter, are daily shipped, while five hundred tons are 
delivered from the beds by teams. In the above aggregate 
of two hundred and thirty thousand tons of ore, it is com- 
puted that eighteen thousand tons are consumed by the 
works in Moriah, leaving two hundred and twelve thousand 
tons for exportation. 

Spear and Butler Bed. In a former work, I used the fol- 
lowing language in relation to this mine. This bed lies 
about a mile and a half from the lake. The ore is a mag- 

1 1 owe these statistics to a very intelligent paper, supplied by W. F. 
Gookin, Esq. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 405 

netic oxide, impressed with a hermatite type. The vein 
has been traced by a magnet nearly one-half a mile. It 
has been opened about ten rods in length, and about 
twenty feet in depth, presenting a tireast of nine feet, 
widening as it descends. This ore is very peculiar and 
of great value from its malleability and toughness. It is 
mixed with silex and carbonate of lime ; requires separat- 
ing, but works freely and reduces rapidly in a common 
force fire. The bed was discovered in 1848. The first 
analysis of the ore was made at my request by Professor 
Salisbury, and presents the following results: 

Butler's 
Magnetic ore. 

Peroxide of iron, 56.53 

Protoxide of iron, 28.49 

Silica, 13.81 

Alumina, 1.62 

Carbonate of lime, 

99.85 

Percentage of pure iron in the per an,d prot- 
oxides,. 61.202 

Percentage of oxygen in the per and protox- 
ides, 23.318 

I learn that this bed has never been worked, but remains 
in the same condition as when I examined it. 

The Elizabethtown and Westport District. 

The territory included in this designation, is a continu- 
ation of the same mountainous range, which embraces 
most of the important iron mines in Moriah. Similar in its 
general characteristics, it is identical in geological forma- 
tion, and it seems to exhibit a prolongation of the same veins 
and deposits. A large number of mines have been already 
discovered, and the presence of iron ore in almost every 
section of the district is disclosed by evidence existing 
upon the surface, and the unerring indications of the mag- 
net. Most of these mines have been but partially opened ; 



406 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

neither Lave such indications in all instances been effici- 
ently pursued. Although the magnitude of the deposits 
has been confidently asserted, their full development has 
been impeded by unfavorable circumstances. These beds 
are generally remote from the facilities of commercial in- 
tercourse, and the character of most of the ores for practical 
purposes is yet to be determined. They necessarily have 
been depressed in competition with mines enjoying every 
convenience of access, and with ores, whose high qualities 
have been established by long experience and the severest 
tests. A cautious observer remarks in reference to the 
ore beds of this district: "All that is wanting to render at 
least nine out of ten of these beds profitable and valua- 
ble, is means of transportation and a market." I have 
been unable to collect the materials necessary to a just and 
competent account of the mines of this district, and am 
constrained to present scarcely more than a bare enumera- 
tion of them. For'the limited statistics I have received, I 
am indebted to the zeal of a gentleman who possesses no 
pecuniary interest in the property. 

Elizabethtown. 

Castaline Bed was discovered and worked to some ex- 
tent about the year 1800. Considerable quantities of ore 
were transported from this mine to Hinesburg, Vermont, 
and used in the iron works at that place at an early day. 
The bed is situated on land owned by M. J. Post, but the 
heirs of W. D. and H. H. Ross are proprietors of the ore. 
The following is an analysis of the Castaline ore : 

Black oxide of iron, 95.04 

Silex alumina, 3.12 

Lime and magnesia, 1.84 

100.00 

Boss Bed is located on lot No. 72, Roaring Branch tract, 
and about one mile north-east of the above. It was dis- 
covered about the same period, and is very similar in its 



NATURAL HISTORY. 407 

qualities to the Castaline. [The ore has been partially 
worked and makes good iron. The declination of the 
vein under or into a mountain, prevents at present an 
extensive opening of the bed. The land belongs to Mr. 
Thomas Doyle, and the ore to the heirs of the Messrs. Ross. 
The following is an analysis of the ore : 

Black oxide of iron, 87.64 

Silex and alumina, 9.80 

Lime and magnesia, 2.56 

100.00 

Nigger Hill Bed. This mine was discovered between the 
years 1825 and 1830, and slightly opened by Frederick 
Hoag-. It is about five miles south of the Court House in 
Elizabethtown, and was long known as the Hoag bed. 
The ore was used at the Kingdom forge, by Mr. H. R. 
Noble, in a considerable amount for several years, and 
was esteemed a good furnace ore. Mixed with the old 
Sanford bed of Moriah, it worked successfully in a forge. 
Portions of this ore work admirably alone. This ore bed 
was sold in 1864, by the heirs of Mr. Noble, for $100,000, 
to the present owners, the Lake Champlain Ore and Iron 
Company. The property was assessed in 1868 on the 
grand list at $12,000. This mine is described as an im- 
mense mass of magnetic ore, so rich that it does not require 
separating, but so hard that it has to be roasted. 1 The 
following is an analysis of this ore : 

Black oxide of iron, 89.36 

Silex and alumina, 6.96 

Lime and magnesia, 3.68 

100.00 

Wakefield Bed was discovered about 1845, and opened by 
Col. E. F. Williams. The title of the land is in Stephen 
Pitkin. The ore is owned by the heirs of the Messrs. Ross. 

1 W. G. Weilson's report. 



408 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Little Pond Bed. This remarkable deposit was found about 
1840. It is situated on lot No. 199, Iron Ore tract, and a 
half mile from the village of Elizabethtown. It was 
opened by E. F. Williams. A correspondent remarks, 
"this is a wonderful mass — a mountain of ore." The 
title to this property has been repeatedly changed, and is 
now held by W. J. Averill, of Ogdensburg. In a report 
on the survey of Essex county in 1852, I advanced these 
views in reference to this deposit : The Little Pond bed is 
among the most remarkable formations of ore in this 
county, and from the quality of the ore, the apparent 
magnitude of the deposit, and its favorable position, may 
be classed among the most valuable mines of the region. 
This bed is situated about six miles from the lake, and 
near a plank road. It apparently forms the mass of an 
eminence, probably covering at the base an area of forty 
acres, and elevated nearly two hundred feet. The exa- 
minations already made, which are corroborated by the 
general appearance and indications of the mound, seem to 
authorize the opinion, that this entire eminence is a mass 
of ore, covered only by an incrustation of rock and earth 
of a few feet in depth. 

If further developments shall establish this fact, the 
quantity of the ore in this deposit may be pronounced 
illimitable, and in value and importance almost beyond 
computation. The subjoined is an analysis of this ore 
made by Dr. Chilton : 

Protoxide of iron with a little peroxide of iron, 40.27 

Silica, -4.11 

Alumina, '-2 

Lime, -83 

Magnesia, 3.43 

Water, etc., 114 

100.00 

Judd Bed was discovered in 1845, and was opened to some 
extent between that year and 1855, by David Judd. The 



NATURAL HISTORY. 409 

present proprietors are the Kingdom Company of Lake 
Champlain. 

Finney Bed was discovered in 1854 on lot 139, Iron Ore 
tract, and was opened by 0. Abel, Jr., W. W. Root, J. E. 
McVine and J. H. Sanders. Several hundred tons have 
been raised and sold from this bed. It melts readily and 
produces superior iron. In 1865, the bed was sold for five 
thousand dollars- to the present owners, the Vulcan Furnace 
Company. 

Gates Bed was found about the same time as the Finney 
bed, and upon an adjoining lot. It is supposed to be a con- 
tinuation of the same vein, which may be distinctly traced 
for the distance of more than half a mile. It has been 
partly opened by Willis Gates, who has been offered and 
refused ten thousand dollars for his interest. 

Bart Bed was discovered in 1840. It is located in the 
extreme south-east corner of Elizabethtown, and near the 
Fisher Hill mine. The ore is very similar to that taken 
from that mine, and was formerly pronounced by an expe- 
rienced manufacturer to be the best forge ore in the county. 
The vein of the Burt ore dips at an angle of forty-five 
degrees, and is opened by a slope over three hundred feet 
long. The area excavated at the bottom was in 1867 about 
eighty-five feet, with a breast of ore of about fourteen feet. 
The ore is hoisted, iu boxes, which slide on beams laid 
along the slope, or by horse power. There are several 
other openings on the same lot, which exhibit strong indi- 
cations of the presence of valuable veins. The Burt ore 
has been successfully used both at the Valley and Kingdom 
forges. This property was purchased by the present owners, 
the Essex and Lake Champlain Ore and Iron Company, 
in 1864, at thirty-five thousand dollars. It is assessed on 
the grand list at fifteen thousand dollars. 

Steel Bed is situated about a half mile south-east of the 
village of Elizabethtown on lot ISTo. 189, Iron Ore tract. 
The bed was discovered in 1810, and the ore worked in 
local forges in combination with other ore to some extent. 



410 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

After the destruction of these forges by the freshet of 1830, 
the bed was not worked for many years. The ore was 
originally considered sulphurous, but Messrs. Whallon & 
Judd in 1850, successfully consumed a considerable quan- 
tity, which had been raised for some time and exposed to 
the action of the elements. Mr. R. Remington in 1866, 
sunk a shaft, and obtained ore of a superior quality, and 
apparently free from the infusion of sulphur. The present 
proprietors of this bed are the Kingdom Iron Ore Com- 
pany and Mr. Remington. This property is assessed at 
one thousand dollars. 

Odell Bed. Two openings in the eastern part of Eliza- 
bethtown have received this name. Neither have been 
worked to any extent, but they are esteemed good deposits 
of ore. Mitchell bed is on lot No. 116, Iron Ore tract, and 
was discovered about 1830. It was partially opened by 
Eliab Mitchell. The ore is very similar in its qualities to 
the ore of the Burt bed. The property is owned by the 
Essex and Lake Champlain Ore and Iron Company. 

Buck and Noble Beds: These beds are situated upon lots 
Nos. 109 and 110 Iron Ore tract, and near the boundary 
Hue between Elizabethtowu and Moriah. Lot No. 109 is 
owned by the heirs of Hiram Buck, and No. 110 by the 
heirs of Henry R. Noble. The deposit was discovered in 
1865. It has been sufficiently worked to disclose the 
existence of a great body of ore, with the most promising 
evidences of superior qualities. The ore does not require 
separating, but pounding in the machine prepares it for the 
forge. The bed on 109 is opened about forty feet in 
length with an average depth of about twenty feet. 

Thompson Shaft. On lot No. 48, Iron Ore tract, and about 
eight rods from the M. T. Smith shaft on lot No. 47 in 
Moriah. This mine has been recently opened. A shaft 
has been sunk one hundred and thirty feet, and about twenty- 
five tons of ore are raised daily by horse power. The 
ore is similar to that of the adjoining Smith shaft. The 
bed is owned by W. Thompson, M. T. Smith and others. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 411 

On lot No. 127, IJorth River Head tract, a vein was dis- 
covered in 1854. Partially developed it presents a view 
of about ten feet in thickness of ore suitable for the furnace. 

"Westport. 

The Campbell Bed, now more generally designated the 
Norway Bed, was opened between the years 1845 and 
1850, and lies on lots Nos. 166 and 168, Iron Ore tract. 
It was worked by Mr. Henry J. Campbell and "Whallon & 
Judd, in 1852 and 1853. Several hundred tons of the ore 
during that period were manufactured by Whallon & Judd. 
It has established a reputation as a first class forge ore, 
very similar in its qualities to the Burt and Fisher hill 
ores. The ore is lean. The strongest indications exist, 
that this mine embraces a vast deposit of superior ore. 
The proprietors of the property are Hon. A. C. Hand, R. 
Remington and the Kingdom Iron Company of Lake 
Champlain. A road is now in process of construction 
to connect the Norway Bed with Lake Champlain at the 
village of "Westport. 

The Merriam Bed is situated on lot No. 165, in the Iron 
Ore tract, about five miles from "Westport. It was opened 
by Messrs. W. P. & P. D. Merriam in 1867. Two other 
distinct veins are disclosed on the same lot, which have 
not been developed to any extent. The opening which 
has been partially worked, exhibits a vein of five feet of 
very pure ore, from eighteen to twenty feet in width. One 
shaft has been sunk to the depth of twenty-five feet. This 
ore, it is claimed, yields more than sixty per cent of sepa- 
rated ore. It is neutral in its qualities, and produces in a 
forge good iron. It has been successfully used in the forge 
of the owners, since the bed was opened. The train road 
of the Norway Company, will, when completed, approach to 
within forty rods of this bed. 

Jackson's Bed. Some years since a bed was opened in 
"Westport, by Mr. F. H. Jackson and slightly worked. He 
used the ore to some extent in the Sisco furnace but re- 
cently it has not been operated. ¥ 



412 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Essex and "Willsboro'. 

The evidences of iron ore existing in both of these towns 
are copious, but no large beds have been distinctly revealed. 
A deposit is now being opened by Messrs. Nichols, Lynde 
& Ross, about four miles south of the village of Essex 
and near Split rock, and another, about a mile distant from 
this,' known as the Hill bed, by an Albany company. 

Numerous veins of iron ore have been found in Chester- 
field, Keene, Jay, St. Armands and Wilmington. The 
appearance of most of these indicate, that when fully de- 
veloped, they will prove extensive and valuable. I exa- 
mined in North Elba, several large deposits, apparently of 
a high grade of ore. These were strangely overlooked, 
when the original beds owned by the Elba Company were 
abandoned, and it was judged necessary to export the raw 
material from the Arnold bed. Beds of hematite iron ore 
are found in the various sections of the county. Deposits 
of iron ore pervade almost every section of the county, and 
to such a degree, as to often embarrass the operations of 
the surveyor, in the use of ordinary instruments. I have 
been able to exhibit a mere outline of the incomputable 
wealth embraced iu the iron mines of the region. The 
past history and progress of these mines sustain the con- 
viction, that deposits of ore remain unrevealed of equal 
magnitude and of as high properties as those already dis- 
covered. Those known to exist can only be regarded as 
the types and harbingers of the infinite treasures still hid- 
den in the mountains, and beneath the soil of northern 
New York. These vast storehouses of private and 
national wealth will be unlocked when the demands of 
business and facilities of intercourse shall stimulate the 
application of enterprise and capital. 

The Palmer Bed. This mine, remarkable even in this 
region for its magnitude and the quality of the ore, lies 
iu the town of Black Brook, Clinton county, on Lot No. 
15, in the eighth division of Livingstone's patent, and 



NATURAL HISTORY. 413 

within a short distance of the Essex county line. It is 
situated nearly equidistant between the works of Messrs. 
J. & J. Rogers, at Black Brook, and those at Au Sable 
Forks, and about three miles from the depot of the White- 
hall and Plattsburgh rail road. Its site is upon a bleak 
and rocky eminence, that reveals no evidence of the vast 
wealth it embraces. This bed was discovered by Zepha- 
niah Palmer, near the year 1820, both from indications on 
the surface, and the attraction of the magnet, but was not 
efficiently worked until 1833. For a period, the title was 
disturbed by a severe legal controversy ; but these have 
long since been adjusted, and the unquestioned ownership 
of the property is now held by the Messrs. Rogers, and 
the Peru Steel and Iron Company ; five-eighths belonging 
to the former, and the balance to the latter. The average 
yield of this mine, during the last six years, has exceeded 
twenty thousand tons of raw ore to the Messrs. Rogers, 
and from twelve thousand to fourteen thousand tons to 
the other proprietors. Nearly the whole of this large 
aggregate is consumed by the owners of the bed in their 
own works, leaving at present none for exportation. 
This ore has been used principally in forges. It is a lean 
and magnetic ore, and almost uniformly requires sepa- 
rating. 

The long term of years in which the Palmer bed has 
been worked, has produced excavations that form a large 
area, but without exhibiting the slightest appearance of 
exhaustion in the affluent material. The working breasts 
of ore are reached by a number of distinct shafts or pits ; 
the lowest of which has descended to a depth of eight hun- 
dred feet. A map of the premises, which has been oblig- 
ingly furnished me by Mr. Graves, exhibits the hill as 
literally honeycombed by these various openings. The 
ore is raised from these pits by steam power. About one 
hundred and fifty laborers are employed on the Rogers 
section of the bed alone. I refer in other places to this 
interesting locality, its labor and system of operations. 



414 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Peat. 

I may here appropriately notice a material which I 
confidently believe will become intimately associated with 
the mineral interest of the district. Amid all the exu- 
berant bounties of nature with which providence has 
endowed this region, one has been withheld, in the want 
of coal, that causes a serious impediment to its industrial 
progress and prosperity. It is believed that an article 
which prevails in every section in great profusion may 
measurably supply this deficiency, . and it is gratifying to 
know that the attention of prominent manufacturers is 
directed to the subject of using it for fuel, in their work- 
shops as well as for domestic consumption. The supply 
of peat is particularly copious in northern New York, 
and is everywhere accessible. I have examined numerous 
deposits in the county of Essex, and the amount may be 
pronounced literally inexhaustible. I can only refer to 
one bed in Elizabethtown, on the premises of Hon. A. C. 
Hand, as a type of the whole. This deposit spreads over 
several acres. A pole was thrust through the peat a length 
of more than twenty feet below the surface, without reach- 
ing the hard pan beneath. By an analysis I caused to be 
made of peat from the county, it was found to contain 
more than ninety-three per cent of organic matter, com- 
posed of resinous substances, vegetable fibres and other 
combustible material. If art and science can devise any 
process, by which this substance, with the requisite eco- 
nomy, may be prepared for practical use, an infinite boon 
will be presented to the country. In Austria, and various 
departments of Germany, and in Sweden, peat is used in the 
manufacture of iron. Even in Great Britain, and in com- 
petition with the rich coal mines of that country it is being 
introduced for that purpose. It is used in Belgium, I am 
informed by a most intelligent authority, in the manu- 
facture of the more delicate iron fabrics. 1 In some classes 

1 Hon. T. O.Alvord. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 415 

of puddling furnaces peat has been consumed for a fourth 
of a century. On the Grand Trunk rail road in Canada, 
which traverses vast forest tracts belonging to the company, 
where wood may be procured at merely the cost of chop- 
ping by cheap labor, peat for the last year has been 
appropriated for fuel in their engines. It is asserted by an 
authentic source, that it has been thus exclusively used and 
by its utilization has effected a saving of ten thousand 
pounds to the road. 1 

Graphites. 
This mineral, more generally known as plumbago, 
or black lead, seems to pervade Essex county by almost 
as universal a presence as iron ore. I found pure and 
choice specimens in Chesterfield, Jay, Newcomb and 
other towns. A correspondent states, that " Plumbago 
exists in large quantities in Minerva." 2 I am also in- 
formed, that a mine is about being opened on Willsboro' 
mountain. 3 I examined a deposit of graphite, in which 
considerable excavation had recently been made, on the 
furnace property at Port Henry. The mineral here occurs 
in neither a mass nor vein, but is incorporated by minute 
particles in the soil, and is easily detected by its glittering 
appearance. The earth yields on separating about one- 
seventh part of the mineral. I also noticed large leaves 
of very pure asbestos cleaving to the fragments of rock, 
thrown out in this excavation. Ticonderoga, however, is 
the scene of an extraordinary development of the graphite. 
Much romantic legend invests the discovery of this deposit. 
"Whether the slipping of an animal on the wet moss re- 
vealed the lustrous treasure ; or the uncertain sound, 
returned from the blow of an axe , or accident, or careful 
research, as is asserted by different traditions, is less im- 
portant than the fact, that about the year 1815, this im- 
mense mass of graphite became known. The circumstance 
that an Indian arrow was found in an old opening in the vein, 

1 T. B. Hyde's letter. 2 E. P. Williams. 3 John Boss. 



416 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

which was several feet in length, renders the supposition pro- 
bable, that it was known and worked by the aborigines, at 
an early period. The graphite mine appears to constitute 
the principal formation of an eminence, now known as 
Lead mountain, in the north-west part of Ticonderoga. 
It is disclosed in seams throughout the vicinity, and is 
probably injected into the whole ridge that extends into 
Schroon. I examined two openings, near the works of 
Messrs. Treadway in that town, which afforded very de- 
cided indications of the graphite in large deposits and of 
an excellent quality. Immediately after the discovery, 
the different veins which had been disclosed were worked 
in a rude manner by several claimants, but were subser 
quently opened with more system by "William A. G. 
Arthur and C. P. Ives. The whole interest has been pur- 
chased and is now worked with great energy and success, 
by the American Graphite Company. Iu site, this mine- 
ral, gleaming like an infinitude of diamonds, is exquisitely 
beautiful. At Ticonderoga it is found in veins, usually 
from eight inches to a foot in thickness. Some of the 
chambers have been opened between one hundred and 
two hundred feet in length, and from seventy to eighty 
feet in depth. Three hundred pounds of pure ore have 
been raised in one hour from a single vein. The Graph- 
ite Company employ about forty laborers in their mines 
and raise and manufacture five hundred tons of the mine- 
ral annually. The walls of this mine are quartz or trap 
rock. Enormous specimens of the graphite of great beauty 
and purity are excavated. Nearly a total freeness from 
lime, supposed to exist in a portion of the mineral in these 
veins, render it of the greatest value in the construction 
of crucibles. 

Galena. 

I have most assiduously searched for traces of galena, 
with a strong impression of its existence within the 
limits of the county. The coincidence of several circum- 
stances has formed this conviction. It is found in light 



NATURAL HISTORY. 417 

veins in the fissures of the rocks of several localities. A 
map procured in London in 1784, which exhibited an 
exact aud minute designation of the headlands and islands, 
of the soundings and the position of each rock aud reef of 
Lake Champlain, derived from the accurate surveys of the 
French and English engineers, strengthens this opinion. 1 
Upon this map thus maturely and carefully arranged, a 
point is designated in the mountain range between Ches- 
terfield aud Willsboro', as the Lead ore bed. A tradition of 
this ore bed is known to exist among the savage tribes 
north of the great lakes. A little flotilla of canoes, bear- 
ing Indians from that region, as they represent, appear 
yearly about the middle of autumn, lying on the beach in 
the vicinity of those mountains. Lingering here for seve- 
ral days, with no ostensible pursuit, they as suddenly disap- 
pear. I cannot resist the popular opinion that these 
periodical visits have some connection with the legend and 
the existence of this ore bed. Other circumstances tend to 
fortify this impression. Accounts which have been re- 
tained in several families, descended from the early settlers 
of the county, ancestors of which were carried prisoners 
into Canada during the revolution, combine to corroborate 
the following facts. The Indians, who usually were their 
conductors, were in the habit of uniformly landing near 
these mountains (which are the last northern spurs of the 
Adirondacs, aud here fall precipitately into the lake), and 
while a part remained to guard the prisoners, others 
proceeded into the interior, and after an absence of 
a few hours, returned to the canoes laded with lead ore 
of the richest quality. These traditions are all harmonious 
as to the incident, the locality, and the time employed by 
the Indians procuring their lead. Several barrels of crude 

1 This map was brought from England by Elkanah Watson, and was 
loaned by him to a state department at Albany. All trace has since been lost 
of it. It was a most important and interesting document, and believed to 
contain the only minute chart of Lake Champlain extant. The steamer 
Francis Saltus was wrecked in 1852, upon a slight needle rock laid down 
on this chart, but unknown to many of the navigators of the lake. 

27 



418 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

lead ore, which had been collected in the same locality, we 
dispatched from Willsboro' last autumn, for the purpose 
of being examined and assayed. 1 

Copper. 

This metal has been found many feet below the surface 
in the Phosphate mine and at another locality in Crown 
Point. Specimens which I have analyzed exhibit the fol- 
lowing very favorable results. No. 86 was from the Phos- 
phate mine and 68 from the other site. 

No. 68. No. 86. 

Copper 44.50 46.70 

Iron, 31.30 10.45 

Sulphur, 30.20 

Carbonic Acid, 23.10 

Silica, 3.70 19.85 

99.70 99.85 

No. 68 is copper pyrites containing iron as it usually 
does. This is sufficiently rich in copper to make it valua- 
ble if found in any considerable quantity. The greater 
part of the copper of commerce comes from this kind of 
ore. No. 86 is a carbonate of copper, and will be very 
valuable if found in adequate quantities. In reference to 
the deposit in Crown Point, one of the enterprising pro- 
prietors wrote me some years since, "our company ex- 
pended about three hundred dollars last season in sinking 
a shaft upon the copper locality, and found more or less 
all the way, as far as they descended, but no regular lode. 
Some of the specimens we procured were very rich and 
beautiful, and I have no doubt but a rich lode of copper 
would be found by sinking deep. The iron business, 
however, now pays too well to run much risk on copper." 
The subject still slumbers in the same position. 2 

1 A. D. Barber. a C. F. Hammond, Esq. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 419 

Silver. 

Au intelligent resident of North Elba in communicat- 
ing a valuable description of that town, refers to a sin- 
gular and apparently well authenticated account of the 
accidental discovery of a vein of silver ore among the 
Adirondacs and the loss of its trace. He adduces strong 
evidence of the fact, and that pure silver was produced 
from the ore. 

The geological formation along the shore of Lake Cham- 
plain presents an unique and remarkable alternation of 
the primitive with the higher structures. The former in a 
general inclination recedes from the lake, but incidentally 
dislocates the formation of the latter by projecting between 
them, veins and ledges in lateral spurs. At Ticonderoga, 
a range of sandstone and limestone rock supervenes. 
Proceeding northward, we meet at Crown Point, a ledge 
of regular granite and veins of gneiss succeeded by lime- 
stone containing fossil remains and mingled with the 
black marble. At Port Henry is exhibited a remarkable 
and scarcely defined and promiscuous mingling of various 
strata of rocks and minerals. Serpentine, mica in large 
aud beautiful masses, gneissoid granite, primitive limestone, 
are conspicuous. The pure white .of the granular lime- 
stone, spotted by the sparkling black specks of plumbago, 
form most beautiful cabinet specimens. In Keene, I 
found specimens more rare and exquisitely beautiful of 
this limestone, dotted by bright green crystals of sahlite. 
Verd antique occurs in large veins at Port Henry, and is 
au exceeding rich and brilliant material. An observant 
gentleman of that place affirmed that a fossiliferous lime 
stone rock, presenting a perfect stratification, might be 
seen at low water on the margin of the lake, forming a 
substratum to these primitive rocks. 

The granular limestone which crops out at Port Henry, 
appears in Ticonderoga, near Lake George, aud prevails 
extensively in Schroon and Minerva. I found but one 
manifestation of the rock in North Elba, upon the farm of 



420 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Mr. Hinckley, where it develops in a ledge, upon a side 
hill. It appears usually combined with sulphates, phos- 
phates, or other foreign substances. The hyperstene rock 
projects from the mountains in Westport, and, incidentally 
traversed by limestone, predominates. The primitive 
rocks prevail in the southern section of the town of Essex. 
Here occurs that very extraordinary exhibition of porphyry 
so elaborately discussed in the report of Professor Emmons. 
This rock, extending over the surface upon several acres, 
is peculiarly beautiful in its color, structure, and singular 
dentrit.ic formation. It affords perfect demonstration of an 
igneous agency, most potent and terrific, that rent asunder 
the earth, fused and ejected this vast rock. The extreme 
hardness of the porphyry is a marked characteristic. 
Struck with the steel hammer, it evolves a brilliant confis- 
cation of light and sparks. My attention was directed to 
another remarkable exhibition of porphyry, upon the pre- 
mises of Mr. Clark, on Willsboro' point. This vein, about 
a foot wide, is interjected in a seam of blue limestone, and 
the rock has been evidently dismembered in the process. 
Scarcely a fragment of the disrupted limestone remains, 
near the porphyry vein. Various fossils occur in this rock, 
and also in the slate or shale which lies contiguous. Many 
of these remains are of great size, and in unusual preserv- 
ation. A few years since, a single fossil of a reptile was 
exhumed by Mr. Clark, measuring two feet in length, and 
so perfect in its preservation, that the form of the minute 
scales could be distinguished. At Mount Trembleau, as 
in Willsboro', Westport and Moriah, the hyperstene rock 
plunges into the lake in a bold, ragged, and perpendicular 
wall. A very peculiar and large deposit of stalagmite 
lies upon the north bank of the Boquet, near, but not sub- 
jacent apparently, to a mass of limestone. Several veins 
of kaolin develop at Mount Trembleau, upon the lake 
shore, beneath the hyperstene. A large deposit exists near 
Auger pond in Chesterfield. Similar masses occur in 
other sections of the county. A specimen from Putnam's 
pond, in Schroon, was subjected to analysis, many years 



NATURAL HISTORY. 421 

since, by Professor Eaton, 1 and pronounced by him emi- 
nently pure and exempt from injurious combinations. 
Limestone, and very clear quartz rock, supposed to be 
adapted to the glass manufacture, and beds of clay, of 
great purity, occur iu St. Armands. 2 A bed of feldspar is 
also situated on lot No. 31, Pliny Moore patent, in Crown 
Point, is owned by Messrs. S. S. & A. V. Spalding. I am 
informed that it has been tested in pottery works at Ben- 
nington and at Troy, and more recently in New York with 
success, and that it produces a beautiful ware. The deposit 
is represented to be inexhaustible. 

A long and attractive list of rare and beautiful minerals 
might be exhibited, which are incorporated with the rocks 
of Essex county, or imbedded in its earth. Particular 
localities are peculiarly rich in these deposits. The crest 
of a hill upon the premises of Col. Calkins, near Lake 
George, affords a choice field for the researches of the 
scientific explorer. The avalanches, at Long pond, in 
Keene, present a site still more lavishly supplied with 
brilliant gems and minerals. 3 Augite, garnet, zircon, sah- 
lite, sphene, coccolite, adularia, rose colored quartz spar, 
epidote, clorite, jasper, cornelian, are among the minerals, 
yielded by these remarkable deposits. Veins of colopho- 
nite occur in Lewis, Chesterfield and Willsboro'. This 
exceedingly splendid and beautiful mineral is found in vast 
conglomerates, refulgent in the colors and lustre of innu- 
merable gems. 

1 Mr. Treadway. 2 Elias Goodspeed, Esq. 

3 1 have been favored by the Rev. Mr. Pattee with a more particular and 
highly interesting description of the latter locality. It is situated near 
Edinond's pond, at a precipice laid bare by an avalanche in 1830. In the 
bed of a little brook, which leaps down the slide, innumerable minerals 
sparkle, and are strewn about the vicinity in every direction. High up the 
precipice, a series of caves occur, which are the peculiar deposits of the 
gems and minerals, and almost rival in beauty and variety, the caverns of 
east era story. " Here are found large boulders, and even ledges of calcareous 
spar, blue, white, and sometimes beautifully variegated by crystals of epi- 
dote, coccolite, and hornblende. They are occasionally found in stalactitic 
and crystaline forms, but more generally in amorphous masses." The basalt 
is chiefly found in veins and dykes." 



422 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Native Copperas. 

A singular formation of natural copperas exists imme- 
diately below the Wilmington Notch, on the bank of the 
Au Sable river. The impregnated water, oozing from 
the earth, forms a thick Concretion upon the rock, which 
may be removed in large quantities. It is adapted, in its 
crude state, to all the usual purposes of the artificial sul- 
phate of iron. 

The Beaches. 

The naked and barren beaches along the shores of the 
lake occasionally furnish elements of business, which 
are profitably used. The detritus of iron formed by 
the attrition of the water and fragments of rock from the 
ore, which is known by the circumstance to exist on the 
bottom of the lake, is thrown up in several localities, in 
thick deposits. This substance is nearly pure iron, and 
gathered with care formerh- supplied a large demand by 
the stationers. Subsequently it has been employed in the 
manufacture of malt and for other purposes. In some 
seasons it has been a heavy article of exportation. A New 
York company has recently secured extensive rights, with 
the view of erecting works, designed to adapt this " iron 
sand " for use in some mechanical arts. 

Gravel thrown up by the waters of the lake and collected 
on the beaches, is exported in large quantities to Montreal, 
by the Sorel, the Chambly canal and St. Lawrence, and 
is extensively consumed in that city, for both useful and 
ornamental purposes. 

Water Cement. 

A vein of water cement in the town of Willsboro', 
of a very superior quality, has been used for practical 
purposes for many years, and is apparently of great 
extent. Other deposits of this material occur in various 
parts of the county. I noticed one of particular promise 
on the farm of Harris Page in Chesterfield. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 423 

A large ledge of limestone believed to be a water 
cement, occurs iu Crown Point. 

Paints. 

Paint exists in different sections of the county, in 
numerous deposits and various colors. It is generally 
disintegrated and pulverized, and is used in its crude state 
for ordinary painting. When prepared by artificial re- 
finement, it is believed these minerals will be made use- 
ful for practical purposes. An ore occurs inTiconderoga, 
of a rocky consistence, which presents a bright rich Ver- 
million surface, aud is supposed will yield an important 
paint. 

Drift and Diluvial Formation. 

Whilst strong and indubitable evidences prevail through- 
out the county of Essex that an igneous power constituted 
the stupendous agency that impressed upon this region its 
peculiar features and characteristics, it is equally manifest 
that an aqueous action exerted an influence in moulding 
its existing formation. Without designing to vindicate 
any opinion or to educe any theory, it seems appropriate 
that I should present summarily a few prominent facts 
which may possibly convey to other minds elucidations 
and arguments on this subject. 

Lake Champlain is only ninety-three feet above tide 
water, and a plummet descending in it six hundred feet 
has not reached bottom. These facts may be suggestive 
of important considerations. Marine shells, forming large 
deposits of marl, occur in the vicinity of the lake, in a 
state of such preservation that the species may be readily 
defined, and which induces the belief of their being a 
comparatively recent deposit. The tenacious blue clay, 
surmounted by the yellowish clay peculiar to marine form- 
ations, may be traced widely disseminated iu the county. 
ISTumerous deposits are disclosed along the sides of hills 
and mountains, of large gravel, rounded by attrition and 
decay, and presenting every assimilation in appearance to 



424 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the line of a beach, that has been washed by the surges. 
The sand drifts are uniformly, or nearly so, exposed in 
long and narrow expanses, occupying the tracts of valleys 
or ravines. The recent formation is perfectly illustrated 
near the village of Pleasant Valley, where a slide exposes 
the stratification of the earth to a depth of some twenty 
feet. The lower stratum revealed is the yellow clay, suc- 
ceeded by a coarse and rough gravel ; this is surmounted 
by a smaller gravel, clear and abraded; the latter is 
covered by a stratum of sand, light and washed, and 
beneath the entire mass projects logs and roots. The 
lovely valley that borders the Schroon river, and spreads 
over an area of several miles between Paradox and Schroon 
lakes, presents equally decisive evidences of a recent 
formation. This plain is fertile, and now generally under 
high cultivation. In sinking pits for wells and other pur- 
poses, logs nearly entire and prostrate trees are constantly 
found from twelve to seventeen feet below the surface. 1 
I have before referred to the appearance of ripple marks 
mar the base of the walled banks of the Au Sable, and in 
another connection have mentioned the remarkable fos- 
siliferous rock on Willsboro' point. 

In Elizabethtown, on the brow of au eminence, many 
feet above the valley, a formation in the solid rock, smooth 
and rounded, may be seen, not unlike in size and general 
appearance to a common caldron kettle. I examined two 
others on the premises of Colonel Calkins, and similarly 
situated upon the crest of a precipice. I also inspected 
another formation of this kind on the lands of Messrs. 
Treadway, in Schroon. The half circle of this remains 
entire ; the residue has been apparently destroyed by frag- 
ments of rocks, fallen from the cliffs above. The entire 
circle was probably twenty feet in diameter. This also 
stands upon the verge of a high and abrupt precipice of 
probably two hundred feet in depth. The appearance, 
the form, the position, the smooth and worn surface of 

1 Clark Bawson, Esq. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 425 

these extraordinary structures, all indicate that they have 
been formed by the abrasions of a rapid and powerful 
current of water. 

The existence of boulders formed of every rock, and dis- 
seminated through the county, equally upon the hills and 
mountains as in the valleys, presents a broad and attractive 
field for scientific researches and philosophical speculations. 
Boulder rock, dissimilar in character and belonging to 
other formations, worn and rounded, are scattered over 
the county in utter confusion and dislocation. Granite 
intermingled with sand, sandstone resting upon hyperstene, 
and gneiss upon limestone, perpetuall} T occur. A gentle- 
man of intelligence assured me, that he had examined a 
fragment of red sandstone near the summit of a hyperstene 
mountain, in the centre of the county, and remote from 
every rock of that description. I saw in Moriah, a 
Potsdam sandstone block lying upon the surface of a rock 
of gneiss, many miles from the former in site. Among 
the Adirondacs, at an elevation of one thousand seven hun- 
dred feet, and more than one thousand feet above any 
known locality of Potsdam sandstone, pebbles of that rock 
are found, bearing all the close crystaline appearance of 
that stone at Keeseville. 1 They are found in gravel pits, 
sand beds, and along the banks of the river. The presence 
of these boulders, varying in size from the mere pebbles 
to masses of many tous, occurs in every section of the 
county. These are among the facts and circumstances 
existing in this region calculated to illustrate theories and 
speculations on the subject of the drift formation of the 
country. A highly corroborative fact has within a few 
years been revealed to the scientific world by the zeal of 
the eminent Professor Zadock Thompson, of the Vermont 
University. It should be understood that a perfect geolo- 
gical analogy exists between the opposite shores of Lake 
Champlain, in the vicinity of the discovery referred to. 
While laborers were engaged in the town of Charlotte, 

>i?. Clark. 



426 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Vermont, in forming an excavation for the Rutland and 
Burlington rail road. They exhumed a quantity of bones 
embedded in the clay about eight feet below the natural 
surface of the soil. They were partially broken before 
their peculiar appearance attracted attention. A portion 
of the bones was transmitted to Mr. Thompson, who 
immediately repaired to the place, and after much labor 
succeeded in collecting sufficient of the remains to enable 
him to determine, after further inspection, that they were the 
almost perfect skeleton of a member of the whale family. 
Aided by the great science of Professor Agassiz, he suc- 
ceeded in arranging and collecting the bones, and decided 
the animal to be the beluga leucas or small northern 
white whale of Cuvier. This remarkable fossil, so sig- 
nificant of the theory to which I have adverted, is preserved 
in the department of natural history at Montpelier. 

Fertilizers. 

Phosphate of Lime. The extraordinary deposit of this 
rare and valuable mineral in Crown Point, has elicited 
much interest and attention from both the scientific and 
agricultural community of England. 

The public owe the discovery of the mine in Crown 
Point to the discriminating observation and sagacious 
enterprise of C. F. Hammond, Esq. His attention was 
originally attracted to the locality by an appearance of iron 
ore, and the presence upon and near the surface of large 
numbers of quartz crystals. These indications, and the 
peculiar and unusual formation and texture of the rocks, 
suggested a minute examination of the place, which re- 
vealed a substance, the name and character of which Mr. 
Hammond was ignorant. In the year 1838, he directed 
the attention of a naturalist to it, who decided, upon a 
casual inspection, that it was a new and rare mineral, 
and designated its name, but pronounced it of no value 
except for cabinet specimens. 1 The zeal of Mr. Ham- 

1 C. F. Hammond. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 427 

mond was unabated, and in a subsequent examina- 
tion urged by him and made in 1850, the mineral was 
ascertained to be a great desideratum in agriculture — a 
natural phosphate of lime. In the autumn of the same 
year ground was broken at the mine, and excavation com- 
menced. The opening is directly upon a public highway, 
and one mile and a half from the shore of Lake Champlain. 
A shaft eight to ten feet wide has been sunk one hundred 
and fifteen feet. Lateral galleries have been projected 
north and west from the bottom of the shaft. The copper 
ore already noticed, was discovered in one gallery, and the 
phosphate was raised from the other. About one hundred 
and seventy tons of the first quality of the phosphate was 
exported to ISTew York several years ago, and a large ac- 
cumulation of an inferior quality remained at the mouth 
of the shaft. No recent progress has been made in the 
development of this mine. Phosphates have been disclosed 
incorporated with the ores of Moriah and other places, 
taken from near the surface in inconvenient profusion. 

Marl. Specimens of marl from the farm of Mr. Taflft, of 
Crown Point, and the estate of the late Col. Watson, of 
Port Kent, have been examined and analyzed by Professor 
Salisbury, with the following results : 

No. 3. No. 4. 

Marl Marine Marl Fresh 
Shells. Water Shells. 

Silicic acid. 59.20 22.60 

Phosphoric acid. 1.15 2.35 

Carbonic acid. '.. 9.92 28.15 

Sulphuric acid, 0.15 0.09 

Lime, 12.78 36 26 

Iron, 3.40 1.15 

Magnesia, 0.55 0.35 

Potassa, 0.45 0.36 

Soda, 0.40 0.07 

Chlorine, 0.11 0.12 

Organic matter, 11.61 8.44 

99.72 99.94 



428 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

" The marine marl (No. 3, from Port Kent), is a deposit 
of great value as a manure ; aside from its being rich in 
phosphoric acid and lime, it contains most of the other 
inorganic matter which enters into the food of plants. 
No. 4 will also prove valuable to those in its vicinity." 

Limestone. The limestones in every variety so extensively 
diffused in the county, incorporated as they are almost 
universally with other fertilizing elements, will prove, I 
think, of the highest value in the agricultural economy of 
the county. I procured a specimen of rock in Schroon 
which has been practically tested as a fertilizer, with a 
highly favorable result. 1 A careful experiment, comparing 
it with other agents, exhibits very satisfactory effects. The 
Nova Scotia plaster proved the most efficacious. In the 
effect of the Schroon rock and the western plaster, no 
perceptible difference was manifest. The influence of each 
was marked and decisive, indicated by the superiority of 
the crop to which they were applied, over that part which 
had received no application of either of these materials. 
A similar stone is found in Klizabethtown. 

Muck and Peat. These materials exist in boundless 
quantities in every section of the county. I caused analy- 
ses to be carefully made of specimens taken from different 
localities, which were pronounced peculiarly rich and of 
great value. The material prevails in sufficient quantities 
to fertilize every acre of arable land in the district. 

Quarries. 

I have adverted elsewhere to the hyperstene rock of the 
Adirondacs, as peculiarly adapted, by its durability and 
exceeding beauty, for building purposes and ornamental 
work. If art can succeed in subduing the hard and in- 
tractable properties of this stone, and we have seen that 
experiments have been highly successful in approaching 
thai result, few materials exist more beautiful than por- 
tions of the hyperstene, by its rich and glowing texture, 

1 Letter of Abijah Smith, Esq. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 429 

and by the exquisite coloring, so deeply variegated and 
singularly blended in its appearance and formation. The 
hyperstene, after appearing in a wide range, through 
various sections of the county, abruptly terminates on the 
lower Au Sable, in contact with the Potsdam sandstone. 
The latter, for several miles, formed the walled banks of 
the Au Sable, and expands widely through the valley. 

Keeseville Quarries. The Postdam sandstone is largely 
quarried in the vicinity of Keeseville, and is exported to 
a considerable amount. Lying in a perfect lamination, it 
may be excavated in large slabs or blocks. Those sixty 
feet square are easily obtained. The strata are so clearly 
defined and separated, that the only power requisite in 
raising the stone, is the wedge and lever. Mr. S. E. 
Keeler, the occupant of one of the most extensive deposits, 
informs me, that in the experience of many years, he has 
never had occasion to use a blast, in excavations on his 
quarry. The stone presents, on the horizontal side, a 
smooth and plane surface. The stone at Keeseville has 
usually a yellow-gray coloring, and is found admirably 
adapted to flagging and building purposes. It may be pro- 
cured in slabs or blocks, from an inch to nearly a foot in 
thickness. It is asserted that this sandstone is impressed 
in different sites by very dissimilar qualities, and I am as- 
sured, that in some instances, where the Potsdam sandstone 
has been procured in other localities, and has proved 
defective, the deficiency has been supplied by stone taken 
from the Keeseville quarries. In a recent official paper 
addressed to the commissioners of the new Capitol, it is 
stated that " the Potsdam sandstone, in many parts of 
Clinton county, is too friable for any economical use, 
beyond furnishing sand for glass making." I am not 
prepared to dissent from these strictures in reference to 
the stone taken from some quarries, but they are not just, 
if intended to apply to the Keeseville stone. When first 
raised, it is slightly soft, not friable, but after exposure to 
the atmosphere becomes exceedingly hard. Edifices are 
now standing, which furnish proof of the firmness and 



430 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

durability of this stone, after an exposure of more than 
half a century, to storms and the action of the elements. 
The material which forms these buildings, does not exhibit 
the most remote appearance of decay or disintegration. 
In another passage of the same report, which may be con- 
structed as a general application to the Potsdam sand- 
stone, it is remarked : " Its commonly striped or variegated 
color offers an objectionable feature for a general use in 
building." A solitary specimen of the Keeseville stone 
occasionally shows a stain from iron, but it is never 
striped or variegated. It forms, when care and judgment 
are exercised in a selection, a soft, warm and beautiful 
building material in its coloring, that is at once orna- 
mental and enduring. 

A quarry of marble is situated upon the premises of 
Mr. J. X. Macornber in Chesterfield, near Keeseville, and 
apparently of large extent. Its coloring is light brown, 
variegated by white, with a shelly combination, and re- 
ceives a brilliant polish. The uncommon appearance and 
coloring of this marble will probably render it a valuable 
deposit. 

Clark's Quarry, in Willsboro', is on the margin ofWills- 
boro' bay and is worked by S. W. Clark & Co. The rock 
is the Trenton limestone, and embraces two varieties, the 
Black river and the Birdseye. The dip of the strata 
is so slight, that the stone is raised with great facility. 1 
A commodious wharf has been erected on the premises, 
which enables the stone to be shipped at the quarry. The 
operations of this concern are very extensive, and usually 
give employment to from forty to sixty laborers. The 
stones frequently excavated at this quarry are of enormous 
size. They are exported to various points for material 
in the construction of public edifices, and for ornamental 
works, including door steps, columns, sills and monuments. 
In the spring of 1869, the proprietors of this quarry 
effected a heavy contract with the commissioners for sup- 

1 Rev. A. 1). Barber. 






NATURAL HISTORY. 431 

plying stone to the new Capitol. They now (autumn, 1869) 
employ nearly three hundred laborers, and load a canal 
boat daily from their wharf. A massive rock from this 
quarry forms the first foundation stone of the new edifice. 
Near the scene of these operations, another quarry of 
similar stone is worked by the Messrs. Frisbie, for the 
manufacture of lime. A large amount of this material is 
annually burnt at these kilns and exported. In the town 
of Essex, another primitive limestone kiln is owned and 
worked by Messrs. William Hoskin & Co. Another large 
and productive quarry of limestone has for many years 
been worked in Westport. A quarry of black clouded 
marble of rare beauty and softness occurs upon the old 
garrison grounds at Crown Point. Although nearly a 
century and a half ago the entrenchments of Fort St. 
Frederic penetrated a section of this quarry, it has excited 
no interest, until the attention of the Messrs. Hammond— \ 
a few years since, was directed to it. The texture of the 
stone is firm and consolidated, but so soft and free from ' 
grit, that it may be easily carved by a pocket knife. It 
opens in large slabs and blocks, receives a high polish, 
and is adapted for the most delicate fabrics. This quarry 
has not been worked. Another deposit of dark stone, 
near the river, in Ticonderoga, is extensive and probably 
valuable. Harder and less delicate than the marble at 
Crown Point, it is darker, and appears to be susceptible 
of a very high finish. Near the marble deposit in Crown 
Point, an excellent quarry of limestone is successfully 
worked. 

Many quarries of various kinds of rock not embraced 
in the above description are worked in the county for 
local convenience, and the production of lime and others 
are known to exist, but at present are undeveloped. 



PART IV. 
INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 



The earliest business associations of northern New 
York were connected with the markets of the St. Law- 
rence. The illimitable forests of Essex county presented 
the first field to the settler for the efforts of industry, and 
has continued to their successors an inexhaustible source 
of enterprise and wealth. The lumber trade with -Canada 
commenced soon after the permanent occupation of the 
country subsequent to the revolution. It enlisted for many 
years almost the whole energies of the population. 

The public lands yielded a rich aud free harvest to those 
who entered upon them, while the rights of private owners 
of wild lands were regarded with exceeding laxity. Nor- 
way pine and oak were at that time principally esteemed 
for the Canadian trade. White pine had little comparative 
value. The oak sticks, prepared for the northern market, 
were hewn. The pines were designed for the navy of 
England, and were transported to Quebec, round, and of 
any length exceeding twenty feet. Spars of vast dimen- 
sions were exported from the shores of Lake Champlain, 
and sold to the agents of the British government, probably 
to form 

The mast of some tall admiral. 

The winter season was chiefly devoted to preparing and 
collecting these materials, and the whole force of the teams 
and labor of the country was put in requisition for the 
object. The timber was gathered in coves or low marshes, 
protected from the winds and floods of early spring, and 
there formed into immense rafts. Deals or thick planks 
of pine, and oak staves were ultimately manufactured, and 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 433 

exported to the same market. These articles were arranged 
in cribs, and transported with the rafts or piled upon its 
surface. The rafts were often of great size. They were 
propelled through the lake by sails and oars, and were 
borne by the current and tide down the Sorel and St. Law- 
rence river. In passing the rapids of the former, the rafts 
were partially taken asunder. The strong currents of the 
St. Lawrence impelled them rapidly down that stream, 
but the turbulent tides near Quebec often swept them 
beyond the havens of that city, with great danger, and at 
times a total loss. These catastrophes were not uufrequent. 
Th£ average price at Quebec, of oak timber, was forty 
cents per cubic foot, and that of pine, about twenty cents. 
The timber cost, delivered upon the shores of Lake Cham- 
plain, from six to eight cents, and the transportation from 
thence to Quebec, was about two and a half cents in 
addition, per cubic foot. The profit of this traffic seems 
to have been exorbitant, yet singularly, it proved to most 
who engaged in it, unfortunate and disastrous. The mag- 
nitude and activity of this business rapidly exhausted the 
masses of timber contiguous to the lake, and spars and 
timber were eventually transported from forests fifteen 
miles in the interior, to the place of rafting. Small rafts 
of spars and dock stick, formed of the scattered relics of 
the original forests, are still annually collected and carried 
to the southern market. 

No decked vessel, it is stated, navigated Lake Cham- 
plain seventy years ago. The insignificant commerce which 
at that period existed upon its waters, was conducted in 
cutters, piraguas, and bateaux. Few wharves had then 
been constructed. 

The emigrants desiring to land their stock, were often 
compelled to approach some favorable position, and throw- 
ing the animals overboard, swim them to the shore. In 
the more sparsely settled districts, vessels freighted with 
salt would anchor in same adjacent cove, and announce its 
presence to the inhabitants, who were often compelled to 



434 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

haul their grain on sleds through the woods, to barter for 
the salt. In this interchange, a bushel of wheat usually 
purchased a bushel of salt. 1 The merchant visiting the 
southern market for goods, before the introduction of 
steamers upon the lake, which occurred in 1809, consumed 
generally a month on the journey. The return of the 
merchandise was still more protracted. This journey was 
often performed on horseback, and occasionally by a chance 
vessel. The goods were transported in winter by sleighs, 
and at other seasons by water, from "Whitehall. The vil- 
lage of Essex, for a series of years, was the important busi- 
ness mart of this entire region. * 

The construction of the Champlain canal gave a different 
direction, and imparted a new character to the lumbering 
operations of northern New York. Norway pine became 
subordinate in value to the white pine. The Quebec trade 
yielded to the new avenues opened to our own marts. 
Finer articles of lumber were prepared for the southern 
markets. The lumber business in its changed aspect again 
became the paramount occupation of the country. Innu- 
merable saw-mills were erected, and the forests of white 
pine were demolished with as much rapidity as the Nor- 
way pine had been at an earlier day, to supply the Quebec 
market. 

The amount and value of the various fabrics, the pro- 
duce of the forest, which have been transported by the 
Champlain canal from Essex county, are almost inappre- 
ciable. 

The exhaustion of the forests accessible from Lake 
Champlain, has constrained the lumber manufacturer to 
seek his resources in the wilds of the interior. Logs are 
now floated from the most remote districts of Franklin 
county down the Saranac river and through a portion of 
Essex county, to supply the mills on that stream. State 
bounty has been extended with munificence to aid in 
opening that wilderness to this policy, by important irn- 

1 Norman Page, Esq. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 435 

provements in the navigation of the Saranac, Raquette, 
and other rivers, which penetrate that territory. 

A large and valuable tract of timber land lying in the 
confines of Wilmington and North Elba, spreads along the 
acclivities and for many miles around the base of the White- 
face mountain. This is the only district of extent or value 
occupied by the primitive forest of pine, spruce, and hem- 
lock, now remaining of Essex county and accessible. 
Environed by lofty mountain barriers, it is impracticable 
to export manufactured lumber from this region. It is 
estimated that this tract may yield one million of saw logs. 

The numerous and widely diffused branches of the 
Hudson have annually appropriated for the transit of a very 
large amount of logs. Insignificant mountain rivulets 
swollen by the spring freshets, are cou verted into valuable 
mediums for this purpose, by the adroit management of 
the experienced lumberman. 

Whiskey. 

In the early part of the century numerous distilleries 
existed in the county, but the business was the most active 
in the town of Wilmington. The tillage of the town was 
almost wholly devoted to the production of rye, to supply 
these works. During the war of 1812, the manufacture 
of whiskey was au extensive and highly lucrative occupa- 
tion. I am not aware that a single distillery now exists 
in the county of Essex. 

Potashes. 

While the county was passing through its transition 
from a primitive state to cultivation, the forest yielded a 
highly lucrative and available resource, in the manufacture 
of potash. Prohibited exportation by the non-intercourse 
policy of our own government, this traffic was illicit ; but, 
stimulated by the exorbitant prices which the exigencies 
of the British affairs attached to the article in the Canadian 
market, an immense quantity found its way from northern 
New York into Montreal. This manufacture occupied a 



436 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

large portion of the population in its various connections, 
while the excitement existed, which was alone terminated 
by the final declaration of war in 1812. As a distinct 
business it is now nearly abandoned. 

A conflagration of the woods presents a scene in the 
highest degree imposing and terrific, and often inflicts 
destructive ravages upon the pursuits of the manufacturer, 
as well as the products of agriculture. In certain periods 
of the year, the dried leaves and other combustible mate- 
rials of the forest form an inflammable mass, which spreads 
a flame with inconceivable celerity. Impelled by the 
wind, which constantly accumulates in vehemence, its pro- 
gress is so rapid that neither man nor beast is secure of 
safety in flight. It spreads widely its column of flame as 
it advances. It seizes upon tops of the loftiest trees, and 
leaping from object to object, it laps up every combustible 
substance, far in advance of the body of the conflagration. 
Sparks borne by the whirlwind for furlongs, start new 
fires. Immense amounts of property, comprising timber, 
lumber, wood, dwellings, fences, crops of grain and grass 
are often in a few hours consumed by these inflictions. 
The intense heat of these fires, by consuming all the 
organic elements of the soil, frequently destroys for many 
years the fertility of the earth. 

Iron Manufactories. 

The progress of the iron manufacturing interests of 
Essex has not been commensurate with the resources indi- 
cated by its immense mineral wealth. In the comparative 
infancy of a country, this advance could not be expected. 
Specific causes, however, have exerted an influence which 
has largely tended to arrest the general manufacturing 
prosperity of northern New York. The great absence 
formerly of capital, which is the essential basis of extended 
manufacturing operations, the remoteness of the district 
from the centre of business, and the want of all artificial 
channels of intercourse, were very obvious reasons for this 
depression. Lake Champlain has furnished the only 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 437 

medium for transportation to markets, and the closing of 
that navigation for nearly six months of the year suspended 
all transit, and left the productions of the manufactories 
for that long term upon the hands of the producers. In 
all these aspects the changes are most auspicious. Capital 
is more abundant, and the rail roads now in progress of 
rapid construction will soon open this sequestered region 
to a certain and ready intercourse with the world, and 
animate its slumbering resources. 

In pursuing my contemplated plan, I propose, in the 
succeeding pages to present a brief outline of the origin, 
progress and existing condition of the iron manufactories 
of Essex county with an incidental view of all its industrial 
interests. While the magnitude and promiuence of the 
iron interest will demand particular consideration, I design 
in noticing the more prominent localities, to embrace an 
account of other important manufactories connected with 
them, either in business or by territorial affinities. The 
numerous affluents of the Au Sable, descending impetuously 
from high and often mountainous sources, form in their 
course an infinitude of water privileges. The river itself, 
for a considerable extent, is the boundary line between 
the counties of Clinton and Essex. In treating of the 
valuable manufacturing works situated in the Au Sable 
valley, I find it impracticable to separate those essentially 
located on the north side of the river, from those standing 
specifically on the soil of Essex county. The dams usu- 
ally rest upon the territory of each county ; the interests 
of these establishments directly affect, and are intimately 
associated with both counties, and their immense business 
movements extend their operations widely through all the 
adjacent territory on either side of the stream. In de- 
scribing, therefore, the manufacturing interests of Essex 
county, I am compelled, in this view, to include all that 
belongs to the Au Sable valley. 

Early in the century, the fires of small forges illumi- 
nated numerous sequestered spots in almost every section 
of the county. These works exerted a beneficent local 



438 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

influence. They stimulated the indpstry of remote dis- 
tricts; they created a market for all the products of 
husbandry ; by a demand for wood and coal, they imparted 
a value to unprofitable forests, and thus enhanced the 
price of lands, and promoted the cultivation of the earth. 
Little hamlets clustered around thesy sites, and some 
exhibited the impress of civilization by their varied arts, 
their schools, and religious movements. While some of 
these enterprises remain and are prosperous, many have 
disappeared in the mutation of affairs. With some, the 
supply of wood has tailed ; the proprietors of others did 
not possess the requisite strength to resist the adverse 
waves that so often roll across the manufacturing inter- 
ests, and others have been overshadowed or absorbed by 
more powerful institutions. When we view, amid the 
ruins of these scenes, the water rushing over decaying 
dams ; the earth strewn with the vestiges of former in- 
dustry, and the humble dwellings shattered and falling, 
the heart will be saddened, and we almost accept the 
spectacle as an evidence of a fallen business and impove- 
rished land. But in reality, new changes have generally 
proved more favorable to the general interests and expan- 
sion of a large district. 

William Gilliland appears to have contemplated in 1783 
the idea of erecting iron works upon the shores of Lake 
Champlain, and engaged in an actual negotiation in refer- 
ence to that design. 1 The iron manufacturing business of 
Essex county, destined to become an interest of national 
consideration , was initiated in a feeble establishment at Wills- 
boro' Falls. These works were erected in 1801, by Levi 
Highbey and George Throop, sustained by the capital of 
Charles Kane of Schenectady, and primarily designed for 
the fabrication of anchors. The partners held an unlimited 
contract for the sale of all that article they might make for a 
term often years. The anchors varying from three hun- 
dred to fifteen hundred pounds were to be delivered at 

1 Champlain Valley, 190. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 439 

Troy. They were transported by water to Whitehall, 
thence carted to Fort Edward, and there shipped on bateaux. 
One or two unfavorable experiments were made in export- 
ing them to Quebec. It is a remarkable circumstance that 
the ore used in these works for ten years, was principally 
obtaiued in Vermont, with a few loads from Canada. " A 
bed at Basin Harbor, owned by Piatt Rogers, was the only 
deposit of iron ore, which at that period had been developed • 
in the whole region. Soon after the close of the ten years 
contract, the Arnold ore bed in Clinton county was dis- 
covered. 1 The foundery, at Willsboro', in addition to 
anchors, cast mill cranks, grist mill machinery, and ulti- 
mately steam boat irons. This property fell into other 
hands, and was finally converted into a forge. The same 
year in which this enterprise was commenced at "Willsboro', 
Liberty Newman of Shoreham, Vermont, erected iron 
works at the upper falls in Ticonderoga. 2 I have not been 
able to trace the history or results of this movement. 
At an early period in the century, William D. Ross of 
Essex, erected a rolling mill on the Boquet, for making 
nail plates. These plates were manufactured in large 
quantities, and sold at $8 per cwt., to the nail factory in 
New Haven, Vermont. 

Elba Iron Works. About the year 1809, Archibald Mc- 
Intire and his associates erected iron works upon a small 
stream ambng the head waters of the Au Sable river, 
and in a remote section of the county, comprised within 
the limits of the present town, of North Elba. It was a 
forge of four to six fires, and designated the Elba Iron 
works. The ore used at the commencement was found in 
that region, but proving impracticable, was abandoned, 
and the works were afterwards supplied by ore transported 
from the Arnold bed in Clinton county, a distance of many 
miles, over roads only passable on snow. The products of 
the forge were exported both to the St. Lawrence and Lake 
Champlain, but by routes laborious and expensive. 

1 Letter of late Levi Higlihey. 2 Gvodhue's Shoreham. 



440 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The business for a series of years was eminently prosper- 
ous. The works, however, proved too remote from market, 
and ineligibly situated for enduring success, and in the 
year 1815 were abandoned. A decayed dam, and frag- 
ments of broken wheels and shafts, and similar vestiges, 
are the only memorials of their former existence. In the 
meanwhile other forges were gradually appearing in the 
region, and when, in 1820, the Champlain canal had been 
constructed, the iron interest rapidly expanded, and at once 
exhibited in the increase of its varied works, an earnest of 
its approaching prosperity and importance. The valley of 
the Au Sable river was early distinguished as the promi- 
nent seat of the iron manufactories, and it still maintains 
that preeminence. 

Au Sable Valley. 

Wilmington. Some years after the Elba works had been 
abandoned, the Hon. Reuben Sanford, who occupied several 
political positions of prominence in the state, created an 
extensive manufacturing establishment in Wilmington, on 
the west branch of the Au Sable river and about twelve 
miles from Au Sable Forks. Severe changes in the 
fluctuations of business and serious calamities inflicted by 
the elements impaired his affairs, and the property passed 
into the proprietorship of others. It has since experienced 
many vicissitudes. The site is now occupied by a grist 
mill and starch factory ; a saw-mill with three gates and 
running about forty saws, ajid a forge owned by Weston & 
Nye, with two fires but adapted to four. In 1868, about 
two hundred tons of iron were made at this forge. It con- 
sumes charcoal and produces bloom iron. At present it 
uses the Palmer Hill ore, drawn about thirteen miles, but 
a bed is now in process of opening, it is represented, with 
favorable indications in the extent and quantity of the ore. 
At the village of Bloomingdale, in the adjacent town of 
St. Armands, and upon a tributary of the Saranac there is 
at present in operation, a starch factory, and a grist and 
saw-mill. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 441 

Lower Jay Village. Upon the south branch of the Au 
Sable several mills and factories are in operating, but all 
of subordinate importance except upon this site. At this 
place extensive works were erected in 1809. While in the 
possession of Messrs. G. A. Purmort & Co., they included 
a grist and saw mill and forge with other minor workshops. 
These gentlemen suffered severe reverses, and in 1864, the 
property was purchased by Messrs. J. & J. Rogers. It 
is at this time embraced within their vast manufacturing 
domain. The establishment conspires a forge which has 
recently been rebuilt with six fires, one hammer of five 
tons, and four horizontal cylinders with various other 
mechanical works. All are impelled by water power. A 
brick yard is connected with the property that produced 
the past year four hundred thousand bricks, which were 
exclusively used in the business of the firm. The forge 
consumes charcoal burnt in close kilns, and is supplied with 
ore from the Palmer Hill mine. Since its construction, 
the forge is considered a work of the first class. 

Au Sable Forks. The West and South Branch unite at 
this place and form distinctively, the Au Sable river. 
Each stream presents at this point a valuable water power 
of nearly equal volume. The premises which include 
these sites were originally owned by Zephaniah Palmer. 
Messrs. Burts & Vanderwarker became owners of the pro- 
perty in 1825 and erected a saw-mill with two gates. 
About the year 1828, this company in connection with 
Keese, Lapham & Co., with which Caleb & Barton 
was associated, built a forge of four fires. The forge 
was chiefly supplied with ore from the Arnold bed, and 
in part from Palmer hill. Nearly at this time, another 
saw-mill was erected; and soon after, the association sold 
out to a stock company, which was organized in 1834 
under the name of the Sable Iron Company, and repre- 
sented by Reuben Sanford, Arden Barker, James Rogers, 
John Fitzgerald, Richard H. Peabody, Robert B. Hazard 
and Calvin Cook, as trustees. The ensuing year, the 
works were carried on for the company under the agency 



442 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

of John Woodman. In 1836, operations were suspended, 
and in 1837, the entire property was purchased by Messrs. 
J. & J. Rogers. The corporate name, for many purposes, 
is still retained, although the title and exclusive interest is 
now owned by the Messrs. Rogers. Immediately after 
these gentlemen had acquired the property, they pursued 
the most efficient measures to enlarge and improve the 
works. On the West Branch, a short distauce above the 
confluence of the two streams, a heavy dam has been built, 
which is thoroughly protected from freshets and ice by 
strong bulwarks. A forge was erected on this dam in 1848 
upon the site of one which had been consumed, and is the 
only important structure at this place situated on the West 
Branch. This forge contains four fires, one hammer of five 
tons and three horizontal oscillating cylinders, thirty-one 
inches diameter and forty inches stroke. On the south 
bank of the South Branch and on a peninsula formed by it 
and the main stream most of the prominent works are 
located. The rolling mill was built in 1834. It has two 
trains, three heating furnaces, two engines, and one water 
wheel. The nail factory contains forty-eight machines, 
with a capacity of producing eighty thousand kegs of nails 
and spikes annually. The motive power of the rolling 
mill is created by water taken from the forge pond on the 
West Branch, aud conducted to the mill by a wooden tube 
or aqueduct five and a half feet in diameter and ninety 
rods in length. This aqueduct is carried over the South 
Branch upon a bridge one hundred and fifty feet long, and 
eleven feet above the water. A carpenter shop, aud stave 
machinery, are driven by escape water from the forge 
wheels. These works include all the necessary machinery 
for preparing the material for making nail kegs. The 
timber is sawed the appropriate length, the staves as per- 
fectly formed and grooved ; the heading is cut out and ad- 
justed in form, and nothing remains for the exercise of 
manual labor, but to put the different parts together. A 
wheelwright shop is also attached to this range of build- 
ings. A circular saw forty-eight inches, with a carriage 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 443 

fifty feet long and capable of greater expansion is driven 
by an overshot wheel. The boilers attached to the engines 
are chiefly heated by breese (the screenings of the coal), 
shavings and chips. In the connection maybe noticed, an 
improved and most effective method of economizing fuel. 
Between the fires and boilers, iron bars, not unlike a grid- 
iron in form, are arranged, and upon these are placed nail 
plates, and thus the same fires heat both the boilers and 
the plates. The rolling mill is now in the most perfect 
and efficient condition. The cupola furnace and foundery 
which stands in immediate proximity to the rolliug mill 
are mainly if not exclusively employed in fabricating cast- 
ings, constantly required by the various departments of the 
business of the concern. It consumes scrap iron and pigs 
brought from distant furnaces, and possesses a capacity 
equal to the casting of articles of five tons weight in a 
single process. 

Another division of this immense business is located on 
Black brook, a tributary of the Au Sable, and is situated 
in Clinton county about four miles from Au Sable Forks, 
and a mile and a half north of the Essex county line. 
Although separated in location from the works at the 
Forks, by motives of expediency and convenience, those at 
Lower Jay and Black Brook are in effect a part of the 
same establishment, as much as if connected with it by 
contiguous position. The interests are identical ; all their 
operations are inspired by the same intelligent spirit and 
guided by the same enlarged business capacities. Each 
branch and all their varied departments, move in their re- 
spective orbits in perfect system and undisturbed harmony. 
Mr. James Rogers is the resident partner and manager at 
Au Sable Forks, while Mr. John Rogers, residing at Black 
Brook, exercises the immediate supervision of the division 
located at that place. Messrs. Henry D. Graves and 
Halsey Rogers are the efficient assistant managers at the 
Forks, and E. Fairbank at Jay. 

The works at Black Brook are situated on two sites, 
about one-fourth mile apart, and designated, the Upper and 



444 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Lower village. At the former, the Hon. Halsey Rogers of 
Saratoga, John Mclntire and William McDonald in 1830, 
erected a saw mill and other structures. In 1832, Messrs. Mc- 
lntire built a forge of two fires which they run until 1835. 
Messrs. J. & J. Rogers, in company with the Hon. Halsey 
Rogers and Mr. Thomas Rogers, now of Dubuque, Iowa, 
as part owners, in 1832 commenced business at the Lower 
village. In the year 1835, Messrs. J. & J. Rogers became 
sole proprietors of both the forges at Black Brook, and soon 
after one-third owners of the saw-mill and the lands 
connected with it. Nearly at this time John McGregor 
purchased the one-third interest of Mr. McDonald in the 
saw-mill property, and resided on the premises about twenty 
years. John Mclntire soon after sold his one-third of the 
property to Caleb D. Barton, who after holding it a few 
years conveyed his interest to Henry Martin. He, after 
occupying it a short term, sold to Messrs J. & J. Rogers, who 
subsequently bought the part owned by Mr. McGregor. 
These transactions occurred between the years 1853 and 
1846 and invested Messrs. Rogers with the title of the 
whole property. In 1832, the six forge fires operating at 
Black Brook produced six tons of blooms per week ; at 
present ten fires at the same place yield seventy-five tons 
in the same period. Such has been the amazing progress 
of manufacturing skill and science. The Messrs. Rogers 
estimate that one thousand bushels of good coal will now 
make three tons of iron. Two saw mills are running at 
Black Brook; one containing two gangs, and the other 
a single gang, with a circular saw in each mill. These 
mills cut from one hundred thousand to two hundred thou- 
sand pieces of boards annually. These are partly consumed 
in the various operations of the concern, and the residue, 
formerly transperted by plank road to Port Kent for ex- 
portation. A shingle mill is now completed at Black 
Brook village. 

The forge fires embraced in the different works of the 
Messrs. Rogers amount in the aggregate to twenty-two 
fires, and yield an average of one ton each per day. The 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 445 

concern owns forty-three covered kilns for making char- 
coal, and burn in them every variety of wood. They use 
charcoal exclusively in their works, except in the process 
of heating blooms for rolling mills in which they employ 
Pennsylvania coal. The iron business of the Messrs. 
Rogers embraces such proportions, and is arranged with so 
much system and efficiency, that they are prepared for 
almost every exigency of the market. "When nails and 
bars are the most desirable fabrics, a large proportion of 
their blooms are rolled, but if blooms occupy a higher place 
in market, nails and bars become with them a subordinate 
production. The end chunks, cut from the blooms, are 
rolled into bars and nail plates. Their nail factory when in 
full operation presents a spectacle of the greatest animation 
and interest. 

The bloomeries of the Messrs. Rogers are known in 
trade as Peru iron. Their blooms are chiefly sent to 
Pittsburg, Penn., and there made into cast steel, which 
it is asserted, is equal to any made on this continent or in . 
Europe. It is confidently believed by its manufacturers, 
that American cast steel may soon become an important 
article of exportation. The ore used in the works of the 
Messrs. Rogers is derived wholly from the Palmer mine, 
and they calculate that four tons of this ore in a native 
condition, or from two to two and a quarter tons of sepa- 
rated ore, will produce a ton of iron. It is considered 
that the Palmer ore possesses qualities which peculiarly 
adapt it to the fabrication of steel. The company have 
two separators on Palmer brook, and another building 
near the ore bed, and one also at the Forks. The opera- 
tions of this concern in their diversified forms and singular 
ramifications transcend in magnitude most business trans- 
actions in northern ISTew York, and in all their proportions 
can scarcely be excelled by any private interest in the 
state. The Messrs. Rogers possess a landed estate exceed- 
ing fifty thousand acres, and this enormous territory is 
maintained principally to secure an inexhaustible supply 
of fuel for their works. This domain furnishes nearly 



446 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

every raw material they require in their varied operations. 
Their interest in the Palmer hill mine secures all the ore 
they consume ; their boundless forests afford wood for the 
kilns and timber for the saw mills. They own a limestone 
quarry near the works at Black Brook, of the choicest 
quality, at which for their own use they burn annually 
about five thousand bushels of lime. They possess clay 
beds, where all the brick they need is produced. The 
immense amount of agricultural commodities they yearly 
consume, alone exceeds their capacity for producing. 
The moulding sand used in the foundery they procure from 
the bed of Mr. Mace, on the bank of the river above 
Keeseville, although they own a large deposit of the 
material. 

A single fact will illustrate the great and diversified 
resources of this company. They have recently erected a 
large and elegant edifice, appropriated to their own use, 
for a store, warerooms and offices. They have also an 
extensive store at Black Brook and another at Jay. The 
building at the Forks is constructed chiefly of brick and 
iron, and is one hundred and eight feet in height, and 
fifty-eight feet wide, and stands three stories high — two 
of thirteen feet and the other of fifteen feet in height, 
above the basement. The latter is sufficiently high and 
capacious to allow teams to drive in and unload. The 
edifice is situated at the Au Sable Forks, and placed in a 
locality so secluded, is an object that excites alike surprise 
and admiration. But we are impressed by greater astonish- 
ment, when we learn that nearly every article, which 
entered into its construction, was produced from the pre- 
mises of the proprietors. The glass, the paints and oil 
and trimmings were purchased. The felt and cement for 
the roof were not embraced in their resources, but the 
gravel to cover it was procured within a mile of the build- 
ing. The brick was burnt from clay found on their own 
soil; the nails were made from ore taken from their own 
mines, and the massive castings which adorn and strengthen 
the building were fabricated in their workshops ; the lum- 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 447 

ber was felled in their forests and cut at their own mills. 
In their ardor for the realization of the idea, that this 
work should be accomplished from their own resources, 
the Messrs. Rogers utilized the black ash, a denizen of the 
of swamps, usually deemed of no consideration, and even 
little value for fuel. This wood has been discovered to be 
a beautiful building material, and it now decorates their 
rooms in exquisite panel work and columns. Its dark 
grain presents richly variegated shades in strong, deep 
coloring, with a peculiarly soft and rich surface. Is there 
any other business institution in the country capable of 
achieving a triumph like this ? 

That so much energy and enterprise has met with ade- 
quate success, seems to be attested by the fact, that the 
aggregate revenue returns of the different partners, has 
amounted to more than $200,000 in a single year. The 
gross sales at Au Sable Forks and Jay, in the year 1867, 
amounted to $748,837.59. The company has paid internal 
revenue tax from 1863 to Dec. 1, 1868, $82,541.97. 

The course of these gentlemen have not been uniformly 
prosperous, or exempt from the vicissitudes of human 
affairs. In 1856 a freshet of unexampled severity occurred 
in the South Branch, and in the ensuing year another with 
almost equal violence devastated the "West Branch. By 
each of these the Messrs. Rogers lost about $25,000. They 
have also suffered severely from fires, particularly in 1864, 
when their loss, including insurance, amounted to $90,000. 

In noticing the affairs of Messrs. Rogers, it is necessary 
to state that the ore used in their various works annually, 
is estimated at 23,210 tons delivered at the separating 
machine, and 9,716 tons drawn from it, and the charcoal 
consumed at 1,440,000 bushels. Au Sable Forks and 
Black Brook are connected with Lake Champlain at 
Port Kent, by a plank road. The former is situated 
seventeen miles, and the latter four miles farther from the 
lake. Jay is six miles from the Forks by an earth road. 
The Plattsburg and Whitehall rail road, which is now in 
running order from Plattsburg to the Point of Rocks on 



448 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

the Au Sable, a distance of twenty miles, has a depot 
within three miles of Au Sable Forks. 

Clintonville. The great water power formed by the Au 
Sable river at Clintonville, and situated about six miles 
above Keeseville, was occupied by forges early in the first 
quarter of the century. The property passed into the 
possession of a company of southern capitalists, incorpo- 
rated under the name of the Peru Iron Company, with a 
capital of two hundred thousand dollars. . Joshua Aiken was 
the first agent of this company. They established, at an 
early period, one of the most extended and successful iron 
works in the state. Nearly fifty years ago their establish- 
ment consisted of a forge of eighteen fires, which manu- 
factured from two to three thousand tons of iron annually ; 
a rolling mill, from which was produced yearly, eighteen 
hundred tons of marked iron and nail plates. A nail 
factory which fabricated twelve hundred tons of cut nails ; 
si chain cable factory, a pocket furnace, machine shop, 
and grist mill, all of which belong to the company. The 
fabrics of these works established a high reputation, and 
were quoted specifically in the prices current of that period. 
Their peculiar and superior qualities were essentially 
imparted by the remarkable properties of the ores from 
which these fabrics were produced. The ore was derived 
partially, and at an early day, from two small beds in the 
vicinity, known as the Winter and Finch veins ; but sub- 
sequently, the works used exclusively, ore taken from the 
Palmer bed and Arnold Hill mine, but particularly from 
the latter. This extraordinary deposit of ore was at that 
time, esteemed superior to any known to exist in the 
country, alike in its magnitude and the excellence of its 
qualities. It is situated on lots !Nos. 199 and 200. Maule's 
patent was discovered in the year 1805, and purchased 
from Elisha Winter in 1806, for eight hundred dollars, by 
Elisha Arnold and associates. The mine was occupied 
by four main veins, from three to eight feet in width, 
running parallel to each other, but varying decidedly in 
the character and ingredients of the ore. The most ex- 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 449 

tensive aud valuable of these veins was designated the 
Old blue vein, and has been worked to a depth of more 
than three hundred feet. The, ore from this vein first 
imparted to the Peru iron the high reputation it has 
always maintained. The blue ore vein preserves an ave- 
rage width of four to five feet, sometimes compressed to two 
feet, and again expanding to eight. The properties of 
these ores, the great abundance of the deposits, and the 
unlimited demand for their consumption, have rendered 
this mine a source of great affluence, and several fortunes 
have been realized from it. It has been abandoned for 
mauy years for practical operation. The shaft became 
filled with water, and the machinery deranged and decay- 
ing. These circumstauces may, to some extent, be attri- 
buted to special causes, but directly to the vast expenditure 
incident to excavating and raising the ore from the great 
depth to which the operations had penetrated; the depres- 
sion and fluctuations of the iron business, and the enhanced 
cost aud difficulty of transporting the crude material to 
market. The mine has now passed into the hands of iron 
manufacturers of Pennsylvania, and is approached to the 
base of the eminence it occupies, by a rail road. The rea- 
sonable hope may be cherished that this immense fountain 
of public and private wealth will be returned to its former 
importance, where business shall resume its secure and 
defined channel. 

The property at Clintonville has been subjected to many 
vicissitudes and numerous changes in interests. At one 
period it was owned by Francis Saltus and subsequently 
by his son, but the works are now in extensive and success- 
ful operation, controlled by proprietors of wealth and 
enterprise who in April, 1865, were chartered under the 
name of the Peru Steel and Iron Company, with a capital 
of eight hundred thousand dollars. Charles B liven, Esquire, 
of New York, is president of the corporation, and John L. 
M. Taylor, vice president, and the efficient and judicious 
general manager of its affairs at Clintonville. The pro- 
ducts manufactured have been modified under the present 
29 



450 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

name and management of the company, and are now essen- 
tially restricted to one branch ; the fabrication of rolled 
and billot iron calculated for making cast steel. The ore 
used now is exclusively excavated from the Palmer hill 
bed, in which property this company holds a title to three- 
eighths interest. The elements of this ore, it is considered, 
peculiarly adapt the iron made from it for the production 
of steel. The motive power of these works, which occupy 
more than a mile in length along the northern bank of the 
river, is created by two dams. The works consisting of 
forges were origin all}- situated on the opposite side of the 
river. The upper of these dams rests upon a rocky found- 
ation, and is a firm and ponderous structure nearly ver- 
tical in form and crescent-shaped, and designed to resist all 
freshets. The lower dam exhibits an unusual formation. 
It is built upon a sandy bottom, and to render it secure 
from the frequent floods which are peculiar to the stream 
and from the pressure of the ice often borne down by the 
current with immense force, a broad base is required. 
The dam is therefore constructed with two faces, presenting 
a front in each direction and at a small angle. By this 
arrangement a broad and effective foundation is attained, 
and a perpendicular pressure of the water secured which 
combine to support and strengthen the structure. The 
plan has proved eminently successful. 

At the upper dam there is erected a saw mill, grist mill, 
rolling mill and a forge of four fires ; also a nail factory 
which formerly contained forty nail machines. The nail 
manufacture was abandoned by the Peru Iron Company, 
one of the former proprietors of these works in 1856-57, 
from the fact, that the superior quality of their iron ren- 
dered it more profitable to be sold in market as iron, than 
when wrought into nails. The forge and rolling mill are 
under the same roof. The four fires yield at the rate of 
twenty-four tons of bloomery iron per week, and with the 
escape heat from these fires, from fourteen to sixteen tons 
of iron are heated for rolling every twenty-four hours. 
The furnaces which are heated by the escape heat are 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 451 

called gas furnaces. Each one of these is attached to 
two of the forge fires. There are also two coal furnaces, 
for heating iron for rolling, in which bituminous coal is 
used. Experience has proved that the gas furnaces are the 
most economical, and for several years the coal furnaces 
have been almost abandoned. The rolling mill has three 
trains for rolling iron. The largest is a sixteen inch train, 
capable of rolling iron 1 J X % to 4 X 1 inch iron. Rounpls 
and squares from 1J to 3 inch, and also wide band iron. 
The next in size is a ten-inch train, from which are rolled 
H. S. Strapes. Rounds and squares from £ to If, small 
bands and small tires. The smallest of those trains is 
used exclusively for rolling rounds and squares from \ to 
\\ of an inch. 

In connection with the lower dam, an immense forge is 
constructed, which is believed to be the most extensive 
upon the continent, and pronounced equally superior in its 
capacity ; and in the completeness of its arrangements and 
power. This forge embraces sixteen fires, with the appro- 
priate number of hammers. Its motive power is created 
by water conveyed in a canal nearly half a mile in length, 
twenty-five feet wide and ten feet high, to the summit of 
the embankment formed by the material excavated. This 
stupendous work, which as the creation of private enter- 
prise has few parallels, was constructed in 1834 by the 
Peru Iron Company. It is securely guarded by sluice 
ways and waste gates, and presents along its course a scene 
of great activity and prosperous industry. These works 
produce per annum from three thousand to three thousand 
five hundred tons of iron fabrics, and consume in their 
production twelve to fourteen thousand tons of ore and 
from one million to one million two hundred thousand 
bushels of charcoal. This is the principal fuel used, and 
doubtless influences the character and quality of the iron 
produced. The charcoal is made in twenty-three kilns 
owned by the company. Two hundred persons are usually 
engaged about the works, and three hundred others re- 
ceive employment in the varied external operations of the 



452 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

company connected with the estahlishment, and used 
mainly for its convenience there as a foundery ; an exten- 
sive wheelwright and blacksmith shop. The company 
own a wide domain of woodland territory. 

Keeseville. The immense hydraulic power afforded by 
the Au Sable river, at, Keeseville and in its immediate vi- 
cinity has only been partially occupied. The use of its 
full capacity would create one of the most extensive 
manufacturing localities in the state. Commencing at the 
Upper Falls in the village of Keeseville, and extending to 
Birmingham, a distance by the stream of more than two 
miles, four heavy dams are already constructed, creating a 
vast power on both sides of the river, and in addition to 
these, several other sites may be made available, and by ar- 
tificial structures nearly the whole distance is susceptible 
of conversion into a continuous power, where the water 
from one wheel might almost literally be discharged upon 
another. 

The enormous amount of choice pines which half a cen- 
tury ago abounded in the region, stimulated the early 
erection of saw mills on this site. These forests have been 
long exhausted and more extensive mills now exist. Mo- 
dern enterprise, which has been developed with magni- 
ficent success upon the Saranac, has determined that it is 
far more easy and economical to transport logs by the 
agency of streams from the wilderness to the mills and 
towards market, than to convey the sawed lumber from 
the interior, may restore to Keeseville its lumber manufac- 
turing preeminence, with vastly enhanced importance and 
profit. While the inland territory penetrated by the Sara- 
nac has been to a large extent denuded of its forests, the 
timber lands at the head waters of the Au Sable, which 
spread over a great area, remain as I have remarked al- 
ready, nearly in their primeval condition. By the creation 
of artificial facilities, which may be constructed at a tri- 
fling cost in comparison with the infinitely valuable results 
which would be accomplished, this timber, principally 
spruce and hemlock, but with an important proportion of 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 453 

pines, might be rendered accessible. We have seen, that 
the aggregate waters of a wide mountain region, accumu- 
late in the chanuel of the Au Sable and are discharged, 
with rare intervals of slackened current, by a rapid and 
often precipitous course. These peculiarities subject this 
stream to frequent and severe freshets, which although 
perilous to the structures along its banks, singularly adapt 
it to the conveyance of logs by floating. No booms now 
exist on the Main river which would interpose obstacles 
to this transportation of the raw material to Keeseville, 
where the construction of gang saw-mills ou an extended 
scale is now in contemplation. No mill site occurs below 
Birmingham upon the river, but the project exists of erect- 
ing large mills at the' mouth of the Au Sable to be pro- 
pelled by steam. What influence the operation of the 
rail road in progress of construction, and which has already 
reached the Au Sable, may exert upon these views and 
calculations can alone be determined by the issue. It is 
conceded, I think, that the weight and bulk of lumber 
adapts it to transportation by water rather than rail road. 
If the theory is just, the fact will to some extent effect the 
division of this question. Whatever may be the course of 
business, as it impresses the interests of localities, we may 
safely calculate, that the incomputable wealth, which now 
slumbers in the forests upon the upper waters of the Au 
Sable, will at an early period reward the efforts of industry 
and capital, and that the volume of the Au Sable will in 
some form be instrumental in the realization of this desi- 
rable result. 

The enterprise of the pioneers of Keeseville was directed 
to the occupation of its hydraulic powers by other manu - 
facturing pursuits. Forges, a woolen factory, flouring 
mills, a plaster mill, foundery and various other minor es- 
tablishments were erected. The forges were soon suc- 
ceeded by more extensive and important iron works. 
Two rolling mills were built with works on a large scale 
for the production of cut nails and other fabrics. Each of 
these for a term of years were eminently prosperous ; but 



454 HISTOEY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

in the changes of circumstances, and the revolutions incident 
to all business pursuits, were ultimately suspended, and the 
large property passed into different hands. A period of 
severe depression in the progress and prosperity of Keese- 
ville ensued, but new and more valuable interests, which 
promise to be far more stimulating to the general success 
of the region, have at length arisen from the ruins of the 
former occupation. 

A company was formed in the year 1863 with a capital 
of forty thousand dollars, which was subsequently increased 
to eighty thousand, for the manufacture of horse shoe nails 
by a machine invented and patented by Mr. Daniel Dodge 
of Keeseville. The success of the experiment has been 
ample, and not more in a financial aspect, than by esta- 
blishing the superior character of an engine, which exhibits 
a remarkable triumph of mechanical ingenuity and science. 
It transcends, it is asserted, any agency of the kind for 
the execution of its peculiar process, by the magnitude 
and uniformity of its work, and the perfect quality of the 
article it produces. The immense and complicated power, 
combined with extreme simplicity; the beauty and pre- 
cision of the principle, and the exactness and rapidity of 
its execution, impart to this machine its marked superiority. 
Nails formed by other mechanism often present equal exter- 
nal beauty of appearance, but it is assumed, that the force 
which produces the compression of iron by the* Dodge 
machine communicates to the nail it forms, solidity, a tena- 
city and toughness that characterizes no other article of the 
kind. The pressure to which these nails are subject in 
their fabrication, so consolidates and amalgamates the 
metallic fibres, that splitting or roughness in the article is 
deemed almost impossible, while the extreme care and 
caution exercised in preparing the nails for market are 
calculated to prevent any poor or defective fabrics reaching 
the consumer. 

A walk through the workshops, and an examination of 
the various processes connected with the manufacture, 
sorting and preparing these nails, affords a highly interest- 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 455 

ing study. Fifty of the machines are in operation at Keese- 
ville, and are increased as rapidly as the demands of the 
business require. They are all constructed at that place 
under the immediate supervision of the inventor, and at 
an expense of $500 for each machine. One person, usually 
a boy, attends and feeds every machine. At its side is 
placed a small furnace, supplied by mineral coal, in which 
eight or ten thin iron rods or strips are heating. A large 
conductor, through which the air is forced from a reservoir 
by mechanism, conveys it to each furnace by a small tube, 
which the workmau controls by a valve. These rods, heated 
to the proper degree, are successively applied to the machine, 
•and when they become too cool, are returned to the fur- 
nace and auother taken from it, with a celerity that scarcely 
interrupts the revolutions of the machine. The nails are 
discharged almost uniformly perfect on an average of forty- 
five per minute. The article falls from the machine, im- 
pressed with the precise form and appearance of the black- 
smith's nail formed by the most expert hand. The nails 
collected from the machine are carried to auother room, 
where they are singly inspected and pass through a process 
that determines their perfect finish. This duty employs a 
large number of hands, chiefly boys. When this operation 
is completed, the nails descend by a funnel into a lower 
apartment, where they are carefully inspected and assorted, 
and every nail in the slightest degree imperfect is rejected. 
Thus, each fabric is handled twice separately, to secure and 
ascertain its exact perfection. The assorted nails are then 
placed in small square boxes, holding each twenty-five 
pounds. The contents of each box is accurately weighed 
and the top placed upon it, to avoid mistakes or depreda- 
tions. 

A very small fraction of the nails is discharged by the 
machine in an imperfect form, either from a deficient 
pointing or other cause. When a point requires adjust- 
ing, the nail is transferred to another shop, where it is 
perfected by hand. Such nails are never sent into 
market, but are sold at the works for home consumption. 



456 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

A blacksmith's shop is connected with the establishment, 
in which the fragments of the rods are welded together 
and again used in the machine. All the varied refuse is 
carefully gathered up, cleansed by a separator, and, until 
the introduction of a new process, returned to market. 
Another and adjacent room is appropriated to the sharpen- 
ing of tools and repairing and adjusting the machines. 
The company own a saw-mill near the works, at which, 
besides custom and other work, the lumber for construct- 
ing the nail boxes is cut. From the mill the boards are 
conveyed to a planing and cutting machine, where the 
materials for the boxes are prepared. These materials 
are conveyed to another apartment, in which the boxes 
are put together and arranged for use. The conveyance 
of the iron and nails, and the transportation of all the 
materials used in the works are performed by the teams 
and employees of the company. Thus by a wise and 
efficient arrangement, every department of labor in the 
concern is executed by the company itself. An extensive 
coal house is connected with the works. The fuel annually 
consumed amounts to about live hundred tons. 

Each machine produces an average of one hundred and 
fifty pounds of nails per diem, and runs only during day- 
light. A boy examines and kegs from one hundred to 
one hundred and fifty pounds daily. The works yield 
about five hundred tons of nails per annum, worth not less 
than $250,000. The best brands of Norway iron are 
exclusively used in the manufacture of these nails. No 
American iron has yet been produced adapted to the pur- 
pose. Intelligent iron manufacturers do not accept the 
theory, that this impediment is produced by the quality of 
our ores, but ascribe it rather to the peculiar processes 
observed in the production of the iron. The iron is im- 
ported from Norway in bars, rolled into rods or slits in 
New England, and in that shape is conveyed to the works. 
The company has recently reorganized a rolling mill, 
situated between Keeseville aud Birmingham, and propose 
soon to prepare their own rods from the imported Norway 
bars. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 457 

The boys employed in these works earn from fifty cents 
to a dollar and a half per diem, and receive with all the 
workmen of the company payment in money on every Sat- 
urday afternoon. It is pleasant on this occasion to observe 
their cheerful and contented countenances, when they ap- 
proach the table of the agent, and as their names are called 
from the pay roll receive the reward of their industry and 
steadiness. This scene is an infinite improvement upon 
the system, which formerly existed in many of the manu- 
facturing institutions of the country, by which the laborers 
were paid in orders upon a store ; or when the merchant's 
clerk stood ledger in hand at the pay desk to claim and re- 
ceive his account from the wages of labor. Here the work- 
man is independent and uncontrolled in using the fruits 
of his toil. 

This company is incorporated under the style of the Au 
Sable Horse Nail Company, of which Silas Arnold, Esquire, 
is the president, and Edmund Kingsland, Esquire, is the 
active agent and manager. Mr. Dodge, the ingenious in- 
ventor of this valuable machine, has favored me with the 
following account of the labors and trials incurred in the 
progress of the invention, which resulted in his signal 
triumph. It will be read, I think, with great interest. " My 
first experiments with the view of producing a machine for 
makiug horse shoe nails were made in 1848, with a model 
or miniature machine, on a very small scale. In 1849 I 
built a complete machine of working proportions. It 
proved but a partial success, producing nails with great 
rapidity, but not of sufficient uniformity to satisfy con- 
sumers. A series of machines were built on the principle 
of the first, and each was au improvement on its predeces- 
sor. Several of them were so far successful as to produce 
nails of uniform and satisfactory quality and with great 
rapidity ; but they were found unprofitable for use, as the 
expense of the repairs consumed the profits. At length in 
1854, 1 abandoned the leading principle on which they had 
been constructed and adopted a new one, admitting 
greater simplicity of construction and greater ease in the 
movement of the parts. On this principle I also built a 



458 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

series of machines, with successive improvements, result- 
ing about the close of 1862, in the perfected machine now 
used by the Au Sable Horse Nail Company." 

A large economy has been attained in the preparation 
of the refuse crops referred to for their reproduction into 
bars by the introduction early in 1869 into the works of a 
powerful hydraulic press. 

The foundery at Keeseville formerly transacted a heavy 
business. It frequently executed orders from California, 
New Orleans, and various sections of the west. This ex- 
tended demand for its fabrics was created by the superior 
quality of the iron used in their manufacture, but especially 
the unusual excellence of the work. The foundery for a 
period, in common with the other iron establishments of 
the place, experienced a great depression; but at present 
under the energetic management of Nelson Kingland, Es- 
quire, is again in a prosperous condition. Its production 
the last year amounted to about two hundred and fifty tons 
of castings. The foundery and machine shop connected 
with it in the same period did a business of about thirty- 
five thousand dollars, and possess a capacity for performing 
work to the amount of seventy-five thousand dollars per 
annum. 

A company has been organized at Keeseville, and re- 
cently commenced business for the manufacture from 
cotton of twine, carpet warp and wicking, and has already, 
in operation a number of machines competent to consume 
twelve thousand pounds monthly of the raw material. It 
is starting with the designation of Kingsland, Houghton & 
Co., under the most favorable auspices, with means and 
facilities, and the purpose of largely extending its opera- 
tions if the measure is warranted by adequate success. 

The Messrs. Boynton have also just erected several 
machines for the fabrication of cotton hosiery. The move- 
ment is experimental, but if attended with success, the 
business will become an important feature in the industrial 
pursuits of the place. Two flouring mills are located on 
separated sites at Keeseville, a plaster mill, planing mill, 



INDUSTRIAL PEOGRESS AND EESOURCES. 459 

furniture arid tin factories, and various other subordinate 
manufacturing establishments are also in prosperous ope- 
ration. At the village of Birmingham a small part of its 
vast water power is occupied by a paper mill, two starch 
factories, and a grist mill. 

Works are in progress of construction by Messrs. Pollard 
& Pease in the vicinity of Keeseville, and near the vast 
kaolin deposits noticed in a former page for the separating 
and preparing that article for market. 

Boquet Valley. 

New Russia Forge. In the southern extremity of Eliza- 
bethtown, and upon one of the highest branches of the 
Boquet, where it almost mingles with the head waters of 
the Hudson, stands the New Russia Forge. This is one of 
the oldest iron works of the county, it having been erected 
about the year 1802. It has been repeatedly rebuilt and 
in 1860 received a thorough reconstruction. The existing 
forge, owned by Messrs. E. H. & H. A. Putnam contains 
four tires, and a wooden hammer of about one thousand 
eight hundred pounds weight. It possesses both steam 
and water power. The ore used, is principally taken from 
the New Russia mine, owned by the company and situated 
half a mile from the works. The forge is about six miles 
from the Fisher hill ore bed, from which it has obtained 
a part of the ore worked. Charcoal, chiefly made in closed 
kilns, is exclusively consumed in the works. The company 
own in the vicinity about ten thousand acres of woodland. 
The products of the forge are slabs for boilerplates, and 
blooms adapted to the fabrication of wire and steel. 
These are transported by land carriage to West/port, a dis- 
tance of twelve miles for shipping. A grist and saw-mill 
are also in operation on the same site. In 1866, the forge 
consumed 300,000 bushels of charcoal and 2,400 tons of 
ore, producing six hundred and seventy-five tons of iron. 1 



1 For these returns I am indebted to the valuable work of Mr. Wm. G. 
Neilson, to which I shall frequently refer, when I am unable to procure sta- 
tistics of a later date. 



460 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Kingdom Forge is situated about six miles south-east from 
the Court House, upon Black creek, a branch of the Bo- 
quet. It was erected in 1825, and was formerly owned by 
Mr. Henry R. Noble. It has been enlarged within a few 
years by the present proprietors, the Essex and Lake 
Champlain Ore and Iron Company, from two fires, its ori- 
ginal capacity, to six fires. Its supply of ore is chiefly 
derived from the Burt mine, a distance of five miles. It 
consumes charcoal. This property was owned by the same 
interest as the Valley Forge. The company are proprietors 
of about eleven thousand acres of woodland. Two closed 
kilns are appropriated toward the supply of the Kingdom 
forge. These works consume 30,000 bushels of coal and 
produced seven hundred and fifty tons of iron in 1866. 

Valley Forge was erected in 1846, and was several years 
conducted by Messrs. Whallon k Judd. It stands upon 
the Boquet, a half mile from the village of Elizabethtown, 
and has a land carriage eight miles and a half to West- 
port. The premises have passed through various transi- 
tions of proprietorship, and for the term the business has 
been suspended, but has been recently resumed. It came 
into the possession of the Essex and Lake Champlain Ore 
and Iron Company in the year 1864. The forge contains 
six fires and one hammer, weighing about eleven thousand 
pounds. The blast is driven by a horizontal engine, with 
a cylinder of about ten inches diameter and thirty inch 
thick. There are two blowing cylinders. Steam is sup- 
plied by two boilers, heated by escape heat from a part of 
the forges. Its ore is obtained chiefly from the Burt 
mine, a distance of about ten miles. This company are 
the proprietors of numerous ore beds in the district. The 
forge consumes charcoal burnt in six kilns and the re- 
mainder in pits, principally belonging to the company and 
from its own woodlands. The works annually consume 
one hundred and twenty thousand bushels of coal and 
yielded in 1866, ten hundred and fifty tons of iron. They 
produce bloom iron, which is shipped at Westport to 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 461 

various points south and west. "William G. Neilson, Esq., 
is the resident agent and manager of this company. 

Westport Forge stands upon the Boquet, four miles from 
Westport, was built about 1845. It has been for many 
years in the occupation of Messrs. W. P. & P. D. Merriam. 
It contains three fires, one hammer and two wheels. It 
formerly worked Moriah ore transported by land, from 
"Westport. A mine has been opened on the premises of 
the company from which the forge is largely supplied. 
Charcoal is consumed, and is principally burnt in the kilns 
of the company. In 1866 this forge used eighty thousand 
bushels of charcoal, and six hundred and thirty tons of 
ore, producing four hundred and fifty tons of iron. Its 
products are carried to Westport for shipping. 

The Slower Forge is situated in Lewis, upon a small 
branch of the Boquet, and was erected about 1837. It was 
owned and worked several years by General William E. 
Merriam, and subsequently by his son, John L. Merriam, 
and still later by W. H. Roberts. Mr. W. H. Stower 
purchased the property in the year 1864. The forge stands 
upon an excellent water power, and contains three fires, 
three water wheels and a wooden helve hammer, weighing 
about eighteen hundred pounds. The ore used is chiefly 
procured from Moriah, which in summer is shipped to 
Essex or Westport, and thence carried by teams a distance 
of about eight miles. In winter it is transported directly 
from the mines, a distance of about twenty miles. Ore 
beds have been discovered in the town of Lewis, from 
which a supply to a greater or less extent will be derived. 
The forge consumes charcoal burnt both in kilns, and 
several of which are open pits, and uses about eighty 
thousand bushels with about eight hundred tons of ore. 
It fabricates blooms and slabs, which are transported to 
Essex for shipping. Its estimated production annually is 
seven hundred tons. 

WUhboro' Forge is located at Willsboro' falls upon the 
Boquet, and very near the site occupied by William Gilli- 
laud for a saw-mill in 1765, which was supplied for the 



462 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

creation of its motive power by a wing dam. The same 
site was occupied by Higby & Troop for the forge erected 
in 1801. The property has been held by a succession of 
owners. For a period it suspended operations. The 
forge was rebuilt in 1862, and with other improvements 
received an iron roof. It is owned by General Belden 
Noble, and is in the charge of J. M. Ferris, as manager. 
A large body of woodland owned by the proprietors is ap- 
propriated for the supply of charcoal, which is usually 
burnt in closed kilns. The forge consumes annually about 
three hundred thousand bushels, and yields twelve hundred 
tons of iron. 1 These works enjoy peculiar and far greater 
facilities thau any other upon the waters of the Boquet, in 
the vast economy it effects in the transportation of ore and 
the shipping of its fabrics. The Boquet is navigable within 
a short distance of the forge, and canal boats laded with 
ore from Moriah can in good water approach within a 
fourth of a mile, and having discharged their cargoes are 
loaded with iron, which without being reshipped is ex- 
ported usually to Troy. The forge contains four fires, 
one iron hammer of about five tons weight, and two wheels, 
one each for the hammer and bellows. It manufactures 
blooms and slabs. 

A forge of two fires situated on a branch of the Boquet 
in Lewis, and owned by A. H. Wilder, was built in 1844, 
and abandoned in 1862. Another containing four fires, 
standing on the Boquet at Whallonsburg, and owned by 
Hon. J. S. Whallon, suspended operations in 1856. A 
grist and saw-mill, clothier works and a plaster mill have 
been also erected at this place. 

Boquet Works. Extensive and important works embrac- 
ing a rolling mill for the fabrication of bars and iron plates 
from blooms, were erected about 1827 on the Boquet falls, 
two miles and a half west of Essex village. Gould, Ross 
& Low, for a period after they assumed the occupation, 
carried on a large and prosperous business, but the works 

1 Rev. A. D. Barber. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 463 

were suspended in the year 1856. A grist mill and woolen 
factory are in operation on this site. 

JBrainard's Forges, containing two or three fires each, 
were erected in 1830 and stood on Black river, a few miles 
from the Court House. They have been long abandoned. 
A saw mill now alone occupies this very line water power, 
which may be used several times successively, on contigu- 
ous wheels. 1 

Highland Forge was located on Howard's brook, near 
Willsboro' bay, and seven miles from Keeseville. It was 
owned and worked by A. G. Forbes ; built in 1837 and 
suspended operations in 1857. 

West Port Furnace stands upon the margin of North 
"West bay and about one mile from Westport village. It 
was erected about the year 1848 by Mr. Francis H. Jack- 
son, and called by him Sisco furnace. The eost of its 
original construction exceeded one hundred thousand 
dollars. For a term of years it was in the possession of 
Hon. G. W. Goff. The premises are now owned by the 
Champlain Ore and Furnace Company, but the works 
have been suspended for a long period. The motive power 
of this furnace was steam, and its products pig iron. The 
ore used was chiefly from the Cheever bed, and in part 
from a bed two or three miles west of the village of West- 
port, and owned by the proprietors of the furnace, who 
are also owners of the Goff' ore bed in Moriah. Mr. 
Lewis H. Roe is superintendent of this company. 

Moriah. 

The enterprise of Moriah bas been diverted from the 
manufacturing pursuits, which its magnificent capabilities 
were calculated to cherish, by the more tangible and certain 
remuneration afforded by the raising and sale of its ores. 
The works which do exist, however, are on a scale of great 
magnitude and perfection. 

1 B. W. Livingstone. 



464 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Port Henry Furnace. Major James Dalliba, formerly of 
the army, in connection with Hon. John D. Dickenson of 
Troy, erected the first furnace at this place, about the year 
1822. A notice of the work produced by the earlier 
furnaces will strikingly exhibit the vast progress which a 
quarter of a century has accomplished in both the practical 
and scientific operations of these works. The furnace of 
Major Dalliba yielded a product of only fifteen to eighteen 
tons of iron a week, about one-half of the yield of the 
present furnace per day. The former run from three to 
six months for a blast. The ore used was obtained from a 
vein near the furnace, from another about three-fourths of 
a mile distant and from Vermont. The iron made was 
exported to Troy until 1827, when the production of pig 
metal was abandoned and the works were appropriated to 
the manufacture of stoves and hollow ware. On the 
decease of Major Dalliba, the property passed into the 
hands of Stephen S. Keyes, who sold in 1844 to Cole, 
Olcott & Tarbell, and they transferred it the succeeding 
year to Powell & Lansing. These proprietors erected a 
second furnace on the lake shore. In 1838, the title be- 
came vested in Horace Grey, Jr., of Bostou, and was trans- 
ferred by him in 1840, to the Port Henry Iron Company. 
Mr. Grey was the principal stock holder in this company. 
He leased individually the furnace property and the Cheever 
ore bed, in 1846, at a nominal rent. The original furnace 
was demolished and a new one built, which commenced 
operations in 1847. On the reverses which occurred to Mr. 
Grey in the fall of this year, the works were temporarily 
suspended. Improved intelligence and the application of 
the hot blast has gradually augmented the yield of the 
furnace, from two and three tons per day to ten and twelve 
tons for the same period. 

In 1852, Mr. Benjamin T. Reed, of Boston, purchased 
all the property of the Port Henry Iron Compan}% and in 
the following year, the Cheever ore bed was transferred to 
the Cheever Ore Bed Company, and the furnaces to .the 
Port Henry Furnaces. These were distinct corpora- 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 465 

tions organized under the laws of tins state. The Port 
Henry Furnaces company conveyed its property in 1867 
to the Bay State Iron Company, a corporation formed 
under the laws of Massachusetts, and doing business at 
South Boston. The stockholders of both incorporations 
were the same individuals. Under the latter title the 
business of the furnace property is at this time conducted. 
The officers of the company are: Samuel Hooper, president; 
John H. Reed, treasurer; and Wallace T. Foot, superin- 
tendent of the works at Port Henry. In 1853, the old 
charcoal furnaces were repaired and a blast anthracite coal 
substituted, with water as fche motive power. The year 
after a new furnace was erected on the margin of the lake 
near the former structure of Powell & Lansing. " This 
furnace was constructed on a new plan, having an outer 
casing or shell of boiler iron rivetted together and standing 
upon plates, supported by cast iron columns. This was 
the first erection of the kind built in the country, and so 
far as I am aware in the world ; although some have been 
constructed in Europe, with a boiler iron shell supported 
by brick arches. 1 The furnace is forty-six feet high, six- 
teen feet diameter at the top of the boshes, eight feet at 
the top of the furnace, and is blown through five tuyeres, 
by a vertical steam engine having a steam cylinder thirty 
inches in diameter, six feet stroke, and a wind cylinder 
eighty-four inches diameter, six feet stroke. In 1860 
another furnace was commenced, but not completed until 
1862. This furnace is propelled by machinery similar to 
the other, but somewhat enlarged in its proportions and 
power. The furnace built by Powell & Lansing was 
taken down in 1855, and that erected by Gray was demo- 
lished in 1865. 

During the last five years, these furnaces have produced 
58,100 tons of pig iron, consuming 107,700 tons of coal 



'Mr. W. T. Foot, the accomplished manager of the works, to whose 
courtesy I am indebted for most of the facts on this subject incorporated in 
the text. 

30 



466 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

and 100,800 tons of ore. The ore used is chiefly from the 
Cheever and Barton beds. The English method of work- 
ing a high furnace with a closed top has been recently 
adopted, and each of the furnaces has been raised twenty 
feet, giving them an elevation of sixty-six feet. One of 
them, after an operation of three months under this charge 
shows a very satisfactory result by an increased production 
of iron, with a less comsumption of coal per ton of iron 
made. The company obtains lime from a quarry upon its 
own property a short distance from the furnaces. The 
anthracite coal is exclusively used, and is principally trans- 
ported in return boats from Rondout. The fabrics of the 
furnaces are chielly exports to the mill of the company 
at South Boston. A foundery and repairing shop is 
attached to the works for the convenience of the establish- 
ment. The former is a large edifice one hundred and 
sixty feet. The last year the foundery has made about two 
hundred tons of castings. A carpenter's shop contiguous, 
is worked by the same motive power as the cupola and in 
it are formed all the patterns required in the works. About 
one hundred and thirty-five men are usually employed at 
the furnaces. The coal and cinders are transported in 
hand carts upon a small rail road to and from the works. 
The latter are used for filling in the wharf property of the 
company. 

Fletcherville Furnace. This furnace is situated seven and 
a half miles north-west of Port Henry. It is owned by 
Messrs. S. H. & J. G. Weatherbee & F. P. Fletcher; its 
erection was commenced in 1864, and it was blown in, in 
August, 1865. The stack is of stone, and the boiler house 
of brick. The height of the furnace is forty-two feet, and 
width of the boshes eleven feet. The construction and 
mechanism of this furnace is somewhat peculiar and com- 
plicated. As it is not my purpose to present any scientific 
or technical views, I shall refrain from an attempt to 
describe it. The ore used in the establishment is 
obtained mainly from a number of beds owned by the 
company, but not at present fully developed, which are 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 467 

contiguous to the furnace. Steam is the motive power of 
the works, and charcoal the only fuel consumed. This is 
burnt in ten large kilns, capable of containing sixty-five 
cords of wood. Nearly fifty bushels of charcoal is yielded 
in these kilns by every cord of seasoned wood The com- 
pany own extensive range's of timber land, which supplies 
the material for the kilns. The average product per week 
of this furnace has been at some periods seventy-six and a 
half tons per week. 1 A large proportion of the iron pro- 
duced here is manufactured in the Bessemer works at 
Troy. Mr. Thomas F. Weatherbee is the resident agent 
and manager at this furnace. 

Grown Point Iron Company's Furnace. This work is 
situated ten miles west of Crown Point landing, and is 
owned by that company, consisting of J. & T. Hammond 
& E. S. Bogue. A furnace was built on this site in 1845, 
was burnt down in 1865, and immediately erected anew. 
It is forty-two feet high, and nine feet across the boshes. 
It is a charcoal blast furnace, the escape heat being used 
for generating steam, for power for blast, stamping, saw- 
ing coal brands and grinding feed. The furnace consumes 
6,500 tons of ore and 650,000 bushels of charcoal, which 
yield 3,500 tons of pig metal. In the last eight years the 
furnace has not run more than three-fourths of the time, 
owing to the insufficient supply of fuel. The charcoal is 
chiefly burnt in kilns. The ore used is taken from the 
bed owned by the company, situated about one mile from 
the works, and the lime is procured from their own quarry 
about the same distance. This furnace has been pecu- 
liarly successful, both in the manner of its operation and 
the quality of iron it produces. Since the establishment 
of the Bessemer steel works at Troy, a large portion of the 
iron from this furnace has been purchased by that institu- 
tion. The harder and higher qualities of this iron secure 
a constant market from the manufacturers of malleable 

1 Mr. Neilson's report. 



468 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

iron. For their use it is esteemed an eminently desirable 
material. 

In approaching this furnace, then owned by Hammond 
& Co., in 1852, I observed the road formed for some dis- 
tance by a very beautiful material, exhibiting a surface 
soft and lustrous, and glowing* in every shade and tint. 
This substance was the concretion of the slag or cinders 
of the furnace. When gushing from the stack in fusion, 
it will form and draw out, by a wire thrust into the boil- 
ing mass, an attenuated glass thread the entire length of 
the furnace, a distance of sixty feet. The glass presents 
the most delicate and diversified coloring; although com- 
bined in the eruption from the furnace with extraneous 
properties. Thus beautiful in its crude and adulterated 
condition, may not this substance, purified and refined by 
science, be rendered subservient to the arts ? 

Irondale Iron Works are situated six miles west of the 
lake, and upon Putman's creek, which affords the motive 
power. The forge which now contains four fires, one 
wooden twelve hammer, weighing one thousand eight 
hundred pounds, and two wheels, was erected in 1828. 
It is at present owned by Penfield, Harwood & Co. The 
forge consumes charcoal, which is principally burnt in 
covered kilns, about four miles from the works in the 
west part of Ticonderoga. Ore from the bed of the com- 
pany located about five miles from the works, is used in 
the forge. It manufactures blooms and bars. The iron 
made in this forge has established the highest reputation. 
This statement is sustained by the fact that in 1829, the 
company received an order from the government for a 
large quantity of their iron to be fabricated into chain 
cables. It is extensively used for the fabrication of fine 
ware, and at Pittsburg it is used for making cast steel. 
The company have a separator near their works, in which 
the ore is prepared for the forge. It is stated that two 
tons of separated ore will yield a ton of iron. The annual 
amount manufactured at this forge is about five hundred 
tons. There are a saw mill and grist mill standing a 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 469 

few rods below the iron works, and owned by the pro- 
prietors. 1 

The other minor industrial pursuits of Crown Point 
embrace, at the centre village, three miles from the lake, 
a tannery, woolen factory, grist mill, saw mill, tub and 
barrel factory, and wheelwright shop; one mile below 
are a sash and door factory, and a pail and tub factory ; 
still nearer the lake are a grist and saw mill, and wheel- 
wright shop. All these works stand upon Putnam's 
creek, a small stream I have already described. 

TlCONDEROGA. 

Horicon Iron Company. This forge was erected by the Ti- 
couderoga Iron Company, in 1864, under the direction of 
Col. W. E. Calkins. It is a very superior forge, and is es- 
teemed equal to any in northern New York. It is built of 
wood and roofed with slate, and contains six fires with a 
capability of working twelve. It has two wooden helve 
hammers weighing about twenty-seven hundred pounds. 
" The blowing is performed by water power. A forty-eight 
inch Chapman wheel is used. There are two blast cylinders 
of five feet in diameter with five feet stroke." This forge, 
which is supplied by the water that forms its motive power, 
by a tube four hundred feet long, and about six feet in dia- 
meter stands at the Lower Falls about two miles from the 
steam boat landing, and at the head of the navigation acces- 
sible to canal boats from Lake Champlain. These boats 
may moor directly alongside of the works for discharging 
and loading. The company own large tracts of woodland 
on the shores of Lake George. The wood is transported 
on barges, which are towed by a small tug, to the foot of 
the lake, where it is burnt into charcoal in five extensive 
kilns, capable of burning sixty-five cords each. The char- 
coal is carted a distance of about two miles to the forge. 
The ore now used, although the company owns extensive 
mineral property, is principally shipped from Port Henry 

_ ' C. Feidoii. 



470 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUKTT. 

and landed at the works. A separator is erected near the 
forge. The product of the works, which was bloom iron, 
in 1865, was about four hundred and fifty tons; in 1866, 
about three hundred ; but at present the forge is not in 
operation. 1 

A cupola furnace was erected on the lower falls in 1832 
by John Porter & Son, and continued until recently, in the 
occupation of the same family. It is now owned by 
Clark, Strain & Hooper. The furnace and machine shop 
connected with it fabricates about eight thousand dollars 
worth of agricultural implements, stoves, mill irons and 
general work adapted to home consumption. 

The census returns of 1865 report three woolen facto- 
ries in the county. The most important of these is the 
works of Messrs. Treadway, situated on the lower falls in 
Ticonderoga. This factory embraces all the modern im- 
provements, and produces work of the highest quality. It 
is at this time performing an extensive and prosperous 
business, but possessing an unemployed capacity of execut- 
ing very large operations. 

American Graphite Company. The business conducted by 
this company is rare and of peculiar interest. The vast 
deposits of plumbago or black lead, in this vicinity attracted 
early attention to its manufactures. In 1832, William 
Stuart and Xathan Delano commenced mining and pre- 
paring the article for market. The former in connection 
with his sous maintained the business to a late period. 
Appollos Skinner engaged in it in 1833. He was suc- 
ceeded by Messrs. Ives & Arthur. They soon after con- 
structed separate works. The business in Ticonderoga is 
now in the exclusive control of the American Graphite 
Company. They have erected a large and expensive mill, 
which is worked night and day, and produces about five 
hundred tons of black lead annually. The native impu- 
rities of the ore are separated by an ingenious process 
possessed by the company. About sixty men are employed 



1 W. G. Neilson. A. Weed, and 3. G. Burleigh & Bro. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 471 

in the mines and works of this concern. The article pro- 
duced is of very superior quality, and is largely used in the 
manufacture of crucibles. Mr. William Hooper is superin- 
tendent of the company at Ticonderoga. 1 About the year 
1818, Guy 0. Baldwin introduced the process of grinding 
the plumbago in millstone with iron ore. Mr. Baldwin 
subsequently invented a method of manufacturing crayons 
and pencil points, from this material. He erected a factory 
for the purpose of fabricating these articles, which was 
worked many years. This manufacture at Ticonderoga is 
now discontinued. 2 The amount of lumber at present 
cut in this town, is computed at about five hundred thou- 
sand feet annually. 

The Valley of the Hudson. 

The head waters of the Hudson pervade every section 
of the south-western towns of Essex county, and furnish an 
immense water power. The mountains bear a limitless 
supply of fuel, and throughout the territory the presence of 
iron ore is manifested by the clearest indications which 
research constantly corroborates. All these advantages 
should tend to the creation of much more extended manu- 
facturing occupations than now exist, but a remoteness 
from market, and the absence of appropriate artificial 
communication have impeded the development of the vast 
natural resources of the district. A new era is dawning 
upon this seclusion, and very soon enterprise and improve- 
ment will awaken the dormant energies of these valleys and 
mountains. The expense of transportation to Crown Point, 
a distance from the nearest point of about nineteen miles, 
over a difficult route, is highly onerous, but at present, the 
fabrics of the Schroon have no shorter or more direct route 
to market. The rail road already constructed to "Warrens- 
burgh, will soon, it is claimed, reach the confines of Essex 
county. 

1 Alfred Weed. Messrs. Burleigh. 2 Cook, Weed and Burleigh, 



472 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Schroon River Forge stands upon a branch of the Hudson 
twenty-four miles south-west from the village of Elizabeth- 
town. It was built in 1857 by Mr. Jacob Parmerter, and was 
operated by E. B. Walker & Co., with which firm he was 
for a term associated. It became the property of Mr. John 
Roth in 1861. It has two fires, a hammer of about eighteen 
hundred pounds weight, and two wheels. One grist and 
one saw mill occupy the same dam. A little village, 
marked by the usual appliances of manufacturing hamlets, 
has sprung up around these works. The ore used is ob- 
tained from the Norway bed near Paradox lake, and some 
portions from the Moriah beds. Three closed kilns are 
situated near the forge and in the midst of an inexhaustible 
supply of wood. The works produce blooms, billots and 
slabs. 

Head of Paradox Forge is located near Paradox lake ; 
was built in 1864, and is owned by John Roth, the pro- 
prietor of the above. This forge has contained only two 
fires, but a third is now being introduced. It has one 
hammer and one wheel, and is principally supplied with ore 
from the Roth or Norway vein. The charcoal consumed 
in these works is made in pits at the forge. Three hundred 
bushels of this coal is required to produce one ton of iron. 
The two forges of which Mr. Roth is the proprietor, are 
embraced in the same general system of operations. He 
esteems the iron produced in these works from the Norway 
ore of unsurpassed excellence, possessing in its qualities an 
assimilation to the fabrics of Russia and Norway. Its rare 
properties, it is pronounced, are recognized in market and 
control maximum prices. He now manufactures finished 
billots, which are sent to Pittsburg for the fabrication of 
steel and other purposes.- These forges, with their increased 
facilities and power, it is anticipated, will possess a capacity 
of yielding a thousand tons of iron annually, produced in 
1866 five hundred and fiftv tons. Two forges, the Dead 
Water Iron Works and the North Hudson Iron Works 
situated in the town of North Hudson, were formerly owned 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 473 

by the Hon. James S. Whallon, but have long been 
abandoned. 

The Minerva Iron Company have commenced measures 
for the establishment of a first class forge in that town, 
and have already expended a large amount in the scheme. 
The works are incomplete, being not more than half 
finished. Castings and other materials for the construc- 
tion of the forge, are already upon the ground. The forge 
is designed to contain eight fires, with steam as a motive 
power. It is located about two and a half miles from 
Olmstead hill, and a little more than six miles from the 
projected rail road track at Birds Pond Falls. These 
measures are guided by a powerful and energetic company, 
and must exert a most auspicious influence upon the 
development and prosperity of that section of the county. 

Tanneries. 

A number of works devoted to the manufacturing of 
the different descriptions of leather exist in various sec- 
tions of Essex county. These are chiefly supplied with 
the raw material by the hides of animals furnished from 
the district. In the year 1864, two thousand one hundred 
and forty-three neat cattle, and two thousand one hundred 
and fifty-four sheep were slaughtered in the county, 
besides the skins of other animals and those dying from 
disease or accident. In the towns of Schroon, Minerva 
and North Hudson, this business is now the predominant 
and a highly important industrial pursuit. The vast hem- 
lock forests, which spread over that region, afford an 
abundant and accessible material for these works. It is 
rare, in manufacturing economics, that a raw material so 
valuable as the hemlock bark, can be procured not only 
without detriment to another substance, with which it is 
connected, but that the process essentially enhances the 
value of the latter. Such, in these forests, is literally the 
fact in reference to this bark. The logs, when cut for 
market, are stripped of their bark and relieved of its heavy 
weight, they are more easily transported, the floating is 



474 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

facilitated, and the timber preserved from decay and the 
depredations of insects. By a judicious management, the 
hemlock of these forests will be adequate to the supply of 
bark to all the tanneries of the district through a series of 
years. 

The Barhan.s Tannery is situated upon a small branch 
of the Schroon river, and in the town of North Hudson. 
The original works were erected by Erastus B. Potter, and 
purchased about the year 1859 by the present proprietor, 
Edgar W. Burhans, who has through large additions and 
improvements, rendered it one of the most complete tan- 
neries in northern New York. It has the capacity of tan- 
ning from twenty-five to thirty thousand sides of sole 
leather annually. It is chiefly propelled by a steam engine 
of forty horse power for grinding bark, for pumping and 
heating the liquor, and with steam for steeping the bark. 
Spent tan supplies the fuel for running the engine. The 
works yield a sufficient material for the purpose, and thus 
secures great economy in the saving of wood. The rolling 
machine is moved by water power. The hides manufac- 
tured in the works are principally South American. They 
are purchased iu New York, and from thence shipped to 
Crown Point. . The leather produced is transported to 
Crown Point, a distance of nineteen miles from the tan- 
nery. The hides are conveyed from the landing to the 
works by the same route. From twenty to thirty men are 
occupied about the works and a large additional number 
are employed both summer and winter, in lumbering, in 
peeling and transporting bark, and drawing logs by sleigh- 
ing to the Schroon river, an important tributary of the Hud- 
son, by which they are floated to Glen's Falls and Sandy Hill 
to be manufactured into lumber for the southern market. 
All the tanneries pursue the same system. In the efficient 
management of Mr. Burhans, the business of this establish- 
ment is very extensive and equally prosperous. 1 Schroon 
Lake tannery, was erected in 1852, by Lorenzo Hall, and 

1 John Roth. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 475 

is now owued by Milton Sawyer of Glen's Falls. It is 
situated on a small brook about one mile west of Scbroon 
lake, and twenty-five miles west of Lake Champlain. 
The capital employed in these works is about ten thousand 
dollars. This tannery is capable of producing about six- 
teen thousand sides per year, and consumes about one 
thousand five hundred cords of bark. 

Schroon Tannery stands on Schroon lake, at the mouth 
of the stream just mentioned, and was erected in 1861 
by William C. Potter and Daniel Wyman. After several 
transfers the title of the property is now invested in Mr. 
Gridley T. Thayer. This tannery manufactures about 
one hundred tons of leather per annum. 

Wickham Tannery is a small establishment occupying a 
site at the mouth of the same stream, and opposite to the 
Schroon tannery. It is owned by Mr. Benjamin Wick- 
ham, and is used exclusively for the manufacture of upper 
leather. 

Hoffman Tannery was erected by Bracket & Boyle, in 
1856, but is now owned by Mr. Milton Sawyer. It is 
situated about six miles west of his Schroon lake tannery, 
and about thirty miles from Lake Champlain. It pos- 
sesses the capacity of tanning about one thousand sides, and 
consumes nine hundred cords of bark yearly. Mr. Sawyer 
is engaged in erecting a new and extensive tannery on 
the branch in the north part of Schroon. Sawyer & 
Mead are now building a first class tannery on the west 
branch of the Schroon river, about three miles from the 
state road. It is two hundred and sixty-three by forty 
feet; will be capable of tanning from two hundred and 
fifty to three hundred tons of leather per annum, and will 
consume yearly about three thousand cords of bark. 

I am only able to refer, among the industrial pursuits 
of this district, to a large work situated on Mill creek, 
east of Schroon lake, and owned by Messrs. Frazier, 
Major & Co., of New York, which is reported to consume 
fifteen hundred cords of bark yearly. Numerous and 
very extensive tanneries are located in the northern sec- 



476 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

tions of "Warren county, which are largely supplied with 
bark from Essex county. 

The Olmsteadville Tannery, in the town of Minerva, large 
and valuable works, was destroyed by fire in the year 
1867. A part of the structures are still standing, and 
now owned by Messrs. Frazier, Major & Co. Its corre- 
spondent estimates the bark formerly consumed by this 
tannery, at five thousand cords per annum. The materials 
intended for the Olmsteadville works, is now transported to 
the works of the same proprietors at Pottersville, Warren 
county. The same authority states that the various tan- 
neries owned by this company, requires the bark afforded 
by twenty thousand logs yearly. 

A competent authority computes the bark used in other 
tanneries at from ten thousand to fifteen thousand cords 
annually, and that the process of peeling, prepares from one 
hundred thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand logs 
for the mills at Glen's Falls, Sandy Hill and Fort Edward. 1 

Shipyards. The large number of vessels of various descrip- 
tions employed in the navigation of Lake Champlain, 
requires the labors of numerous ship yards, for their con- 
struction and repairing. Of these, Essex county has its 
proportion. This business at one time was carried on at 
Willsboro' to a considerable extent, the estuary of the 
Boquet presenting a favorable location for the purpose. 
In the village of Essex, Iioskins, Ross & Co., have esta- 
blished a commodious yard for boat building and repairing, 
with which is connected a steam saw mill, and shingle 
planing mill, with a grinding attachment and carriage 
factory. 2 Since the first occupation by France, Ticon- 
deroga has been a conspicuous point at which boats and 
vessels navigating the lake have been built and equipped. 
To provide materials for this purpose, was a prominent 
motive, for the erection by the French, of the saw mills at 
the falls. The numerous flotillas which traversed the lakes 
at different periods, bearing hostile armies, were largely 

' Air. John Both. ' Air. John. Ross. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 477 

constructed at Ticonderoga. Amherst paused here, while 
awaiting the building and preparation of a fleet for the 
invasion of Canada. The fleet of Arnold, with which he 
combated Carleton, was chiefly constructed at this point. 
Since the opening of the Cham plain canal, boat building 
has been the prominent business occupation of Ticonderoga. 
Mr. Henry Cassey owns a ship yard at the Lower falls, 
where a large number of first class canal boats are built 
yearly. Two other yards in the town are carrying on a 
regular business, in this industry. During the last ten 
years an average often boats, of one hundred tons burthen 
each, have been built in these yards annually. 1 Another 
large ship yard is in operation at Crown Point. 



AGRICULTURE. 

In describing the topographical features and arrange- 
ment of this county, in the preceding pages, I have 
sufficiently noticed its agricultural capabilities, and the 
soil and climate of its various districts. The same transi- 
tions in its agricultural progress have marked every section 
of this county. The natural fertility of the soil, when first 
opened to cultivation, yielded abundant harvests; injudi- 
cious tillage gradually exhausted its productive elements; 
the cause which tended to these results ceased; new 
interests in the management of the land were excited, and 
a general improvement in the farms was produced by an 
ameliorated system of husbandry. The county still ex- 
hibits these various phases of its agriculture. Some farms 
are just emerging from the primeval wilderness ; some are 
impoverished and exhausted ; others are commencing the 
process of renovation ; while many others have attained a 
degree of improved culture and fertility, scarcely exceeded 
by any portion of the state. 

1 Alfred Reed. H. G. Burleigh & Bro. 



478 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

The lumber business in this as in every region, appro- 
priate to its pursuit, captivated the mind of the pioneer, and 
allures him from other occupations. The winter was de- 
voted to this employment. Every product of the farm 
calculated to return fertilizing elements to sustain and pro- 
mote its productiveness, was borne into the forests and 
there consumed. At the approach of spring, the settler 
returned to his farm, himself and his team, prostrated by 
the severe labors of the winter, and illy prepared to perform 
the recurring duties which pressed upon him. He con- 
ducts his farming operations imperfectly and without skill. 
He has no deposits of manure to apply to his wasting soil. 
The earth, by constant tillage, without renovation, becomes 
impoverished. Each succeeding year witnesses a decrease 
in the harvest. The land, exhausted by this improvident 
management, is denounced worthless in its soil, and with- 
out fertility, and abandoned to briers and desolation, or is 
sacrificed to some shrewd purchaser, and its owner emi- 
grates to new scenes, to pass through the same alterations. 
In this stage of society, agriculture is the secondary and 
subordinate occupation. 

The lumbering business closed, the farmer resumes his 
first duties, and yields to the land the labor .and care re- 
quired for its successful cultivation. In a manufacturing 
district, and such is preeminently Essex county, the team- 
ing upon the road, which abstracts so much of the time of 
the farmer, and the fertilizing riches of the farm, from this 
land, exercises a similar, although far less disastrous effect, 
upon its agricultural prosperity. Other causes of the slow 
progress in the agricultural improvement of this county 
are suggested by an intelligent correspondent, 1 in reference 
to a single town but applicable to all. " Conflicting titles 
have cast a shade over some large tracts," and in others 
" much of the land has been occupied under contracts, in 
their terms liable to constant forfeiture." Tenures of pro- 

1 G. Fenton, Esq. 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 479 

perty so frail and contingent in every region, paralyze the 
efforts of industry and enterprise. 

The early settlers relied chiefly for pasturage and winter 
fodder upon the wild grasses and herbage, bountifully 
supplied by the beaver meadows, the marshes and glades 
of the forests. The indigenous grasses of this region are 
very numerous, and many of them highly nutritious and 
valuable. Several varieties of the ferns, brakes and rushes 
afford excellent hay, particularly for sheep. The instincts of 
the deer indicate to the pioneer the most useful of these 
resources. 

I hesitate to decide, whether I am authorized in classing 
the white clover, trifolium repens, with the indigenous 
plants of this region. It is certain that it soon appears, by 
a spontaneous growth in every opening of the forest, and 
upon soils of sand and gravel formation. Where gypsum 
has been applied, or sheep have ranged, it is immediately 
introduced, forming a massive sward, which constitutes a 
most important basis for future tillage. The presence of a 
white clover turf uniformly secures on sandy soils an excel- 
lent corn crop with an application of plaster. 

Wheat. For a series of years succeeding the first occupa- 
tion of the county, wheat was the predominant crop, 
particularly in that section of it which lies upon Lake 
Champlain. The average yield on new land was about 
twenty-five bushels to the acre. This culture gradually 
declined, under the effects of a change of seasons, the 
exhaustion of the quality of the soil adapted to the produc- 
tion of wheat, and the ultimate infliction of the wevil and 
rust. It was virtually abandoned, until the introduction 
of the Black Sea wheat, which gave it a new and successful 
impulse. The tea wheat and various other spring varieties 
have been the successive favorites, while the general cul- 
ture of wheat has been largely extended. Winter wheat is 
now largely cultivated. 

Rye, in several towns of Essex county, was formerly the 
predominant crop. It is now very generally abandoned 
as a prominent cereal except upon light and gravelly soils. 



480 HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY. 

Rye is seldom used as an article of human aliment, and 
in the absence of distilleries, is chiefly cultivated for ani- 
mal food. The straw is esteemed valuable for that pur- 
pose, and when cut is peculiarly esteemed for horse fodder 
combined with heavy grain. 

Oats. The aggregate produced in Essex county is very 
large. It is cultivated in every description of soil and in 
every section of the county. The heaviest crops I have 
examined were raised in the new openings of the forests, 
upon the slopes of the Adirondacs. The cultivation of 
oats, in the elevated town of Newcomb has been singularly 
successful. 

Peas are cultivated to some extent, and are highly es- 
teemed as a renovating and subduing crop, and are espe- 
cially efficient and useful, in the extirpation of weeds and 
bushes upon new lands. Peas are regarded as a valuable 
substitute for corn in making pork. 

Barley. The culture of this grain has largely increased 
in the county and with favorable results. 

Beans were formerly raised only in connection with 
corn, but recently the great demand for the article, at en- 
hanced prices, has largely stimulated its more extended 
cultivation. 

Buckwheat and Indian wheat, especially the former, are 
largely cultivated in the county, although many f irmers 
deprecate the husbandry as injudicious and improvident. 
Both are used extensively for hog feeding, ground or 
boiled. Buckwheat, floured at the local mills, is exported 
in a large amount, to the eastern and southern markets. 

Potato. This crop has attained great prominence in 
the agriculture of the county. The prevalence of the dis- 
ease, which impaired and often nearly suspended the culti- 
vation of the potato, produced an entire change in the 
tillage connected with it. Heavy, damp and highly 
manured lands, which once were deemed indispensable to 
the successful cultivation of the potato, have been aban- 
doned, and light gravelly sandy soils have been substituted. 
Green unfermented manures are considered unsafe, and 



INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS AND RESOURCES. 481 

charcoal, lime, ashes, plaster and special fertilizers, are now 
generally in use. The potatoes produced in this district 
are of the choicest quality. Of late they have been less 
exported than some years ago, when from a single wharf 
ten thousand bushels were shipped in a season. In the 
interior of the county, the numerous starch factories create 
a certain and generally remunerative market for all this 
crop the industry of the farmer can produce. 

Corn. This crop may be pronounced the agricultural 
staple of Essex county and the basis of the rotation and 
renovating system of its husbandry. The stalks of corn 
are highly valued as a fodder for neat cattle, and when fed 
to milch cows, from their succulent qualities if carefully 
preserved, are considered by most farmers superior to hay. 

Carrots , Beets and Turnips are largely cultivated and 
extensively used in feeding horses, neat cattle and swine. 

Flax is seldom cultivated in the county. Only four 
acres are returned in the census of 1865, as appropriated to 
the crop, and not a single acre of hemp. 

Hay. This crop is of the first importance, and always 
commands the highest prices. The production of hay, how- 
ever, in the country, falls immensely below the consump- 
tion. Large quantities of pressed hay is annually imported 
from Washington county, Vermont and Canada. 

Stock. 

Numerous dairies exist in the county, and some of them 
of a superior character, and embracing ex