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Full text of "Reminiscences of Ogdensburg, 1749-1907"

PRESENTED 

TO 



The University of Toronto 

by 

2^t && Jk (U^Mk 



REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 




NATHAN FORD. 



REMINISCENCES OF 
OGDENSBURG 

1749-19W 



Edited by 

Swe - Kat - Si - Chapter 

Daughters of the American Revolution 




W&»* 



i'' 



SILVER, BURDETT AND COMPANY 

New York, Boston, Chicago 

1907 



Copyrighted iqoj 
By Swe-Kat-Si Chapter, 

Daughters of the American Revolution 



TO AI.lv THOSE WHO 

I,OVE THIS OI,D TOWN IN THE 

NORTH COUNTRY 






Table of Contents 



PAGE 

The First Settlement of Ogdensburg i 

Nellie Merriam. 

The Pioneer Families and Early Social Customs . . 18 

Laura M. Hasbrouck. 

The War of 1812 39 

Mary Chapin Brown. 

The Patriot War, 1837 55 

Lucia James Madill. 

District Schools and Old Fire Companies .... 84 

Charlotte L. Shepard. 

Ogdensburg during the Civil War 112 

Annie E. Daniels. 

Incorporation of the Village and the City, Growth up to 

the Present Time 168 

Emily J. Spratt. 



Illustrations 



-♦ — 

PAGE 



Nathan Ford, Founder of Ogdensburg . . . Frontispiece 

Abbe Franqois Picquet facing 4 

David Parish facing 24 

George Parish facing 38 

Battle of the Windmill (From an old print) . . facing 72 

Picture of Soldier's Monument, Ogdensburg . facing 166 



Preface 



After several years spent in studying the various periods 
of United States History, the Literary Committee of Swe- 
kat-si Chapter, D. A. R., thought it might not be amiss to 
review the history of our old town on the St. Lawrence. The 
work proved so pleasant, and aroused such general interest, 
that it was decided to incorporate the papers in a book — 
hence this volume. Swe-kat-si Chapter disclaims any literary 
pretensions for this book, but it does think, and hope, that 
it may preserve for future generations the early history of 
Ogdensburg, and many reminiscences of those days when this 
was only a small and remote village. 

Thanks are due to Mr. Henry C. Deane, whose kindness 
has enabled us to publish the book. Acknowledgment should 
also be made of the assistance given us by the already pub- 
lished Histories of St. Lawrence County, from which sources 
we have freely taken such material as was needed for the 
historical part of the papers. Old diaries and family letters 
have been loaned most willingly by those who could aid us 
with such records. 

The personal anecdotes have been gladly furnished by 
those who remember the exciting events of 1837 and the 
years succeeding, while the reminiscences of the pioneer 
days have been given verbatim as related by those of our 
friends who remember the tales as told to them by their 
grandfathers and grandmothers who were children when this 
old town was new. l. j. m. 



Reminiscences of Ogdensburg 



THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 

In preparing the following sketch, large abstracts have 
necessarily been made from Hough's " History of St. Law- 
rence Co.," also the later history published by Everts & 
Holcombe. To these and a few private sources of informa- 
tion, the writer makes grateful acknowledgment. 

When the first settlements were made in this locality, the 
river front of Canada, most of the distance above Montreal, 
had been settled about twenty years, chiefly by Tories, refu- 
gees from the States during the Revolution. These were 
known as " United English Loyalists," and many of them 
suffered extreme privation as they hurriedly fled from their 
homes, leaving their property to be confiscated. Although 
the British government gave them lands, assisting them in 
settling on the St. Lawrence, yet many hardships remained 
which time alone could remedy. 

It is a well known fact that several permanent settlements 
were located at an early date along the St. Lawrence, and the 
features of this majestic river were familiar to those enter- 
prising explorers, before New England had a white inhab- 
itant. With an earnestness doing credit to their sagacity and 
foresight, they began at once the labor of conciliating the 
friendship, and securing the interest of the savages, who 
previously roamed the forest in quest of game, or in stealthy 



2 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

midnight marches in search of some poor victim of their 
vengeance. 

The French labored to locate these wandering tribes in 
permanent villages near the settlements of Montreal and Que- 
bec, of which the Missions of St. Louis and Lorette are ex- 
amples. It was found, however, that an atmosphere of moral 
degradation hung about the white settlements, peculiarly fatal 
to the red man, who was more easily corrupted than influ- 
enced for good. Another plan was desired that should at- 
tach the natives to the French, while alienating them from 
the English. The result of these efforts was the establish- 
ment of an Indian settlement and mission on the site of our 
present city. 

In the war between the French and English, resulting in 
victory for the latter, our district was the theatre of active 
strife, and from the Indian settlement Swe-kat-si, small war 
parties continually issued, falling upon the feeble settlements 
of the Mohawk Valley, where they slew, scalped, plundered 
and burned without restraint. To a considerable degree these 
cruel outrages depopulated the frontier, nor were the condi- 
tions changed, until in 1 760, the posts along the St. Lawrence 
were finally evacuated to Gen. Amherst. During the war of 
the American Revolution similar incursions were instigated 
by the British. 

For many years the French had ceased to be masters of 
Canada, but, as at the present day, a large portion of the 
population of the lower provinces was of that nationality. 
They long continued the carrying trade, the voyageurs, with 
incredible toil, dragging their heavily laden bateaux up the 
rapids. These craft usually proceeded in small brigades; the 
fatigue of rowing was relieved by the rustic song of the 
helmsman, the crew joining in the chorus, keeping time to 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 3 

the measured dip of the oars. There was a poetry in these 
scenes that impressed itself on all observers. 

Tom Moore, the sweet bard of Erin, has immortalized 
this quaint custom in the words of his beautiful " Canadian 
Boat Song," commencing: 

" Faintly as tolls the evening chime, 
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time, 
Soon as the woods on shore look dim, 
We'll sing at St. Anne's our parting hymn ; 
Row, brothers, row ; the stream runs fast, 
The rapids are near, and the daylight 's past." 

At an early day the improvement of river navigation was 
begun, by cutting canals with locks around some of the more 
difficult rapids, thus encouraging emigration. Between 1802- 
1807, the tide of emigration from New England poured into 
the Black and St. Lawrence River valleys, which, especially 
the former, settled with a rapidity seldom equalled. Winter 
was usually the favored time for moving, as streams and 
swamps were bridged by ice, routes were passable which 
otherwise were impracticable. 

A few of the first settlers with their families entered by 
the tedious and expensive waterway up the Mohawk to Fort 
Stanwix, now Rome, thence by canal through Wood Creek, 
Oneida River and Lake, Oswego River, Lake Ontario and 
the St. Lawrence to their destination. Others by the equally 
toilsome and more dangerous route from Lake Champlain 
up the St. Lawrence. 

Rumors of war darkening the political horizon, emigra- 
tion was stayed for a time, and at its outbreak the growth 
of the settlements diminished more rapidly than it had previ- 
ously increased. The channel of trade down the St. Law- 
rence fast becoming established, was broken up, and it be- 
came apparent that other avenues to market exempt from 



4 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the casualties of war must be instituted. This need our 
superb system of railways has long since supplied. 

Near where the black waters of the Oswegatchie mingle 
with the blue of the St. Lawrence, in the city, then village 
of Ogdensburg, could be seen as late as the year 1853 traces 
of a broken wall, the foundation of an edifice erected by the 
Sulpitians more than a century previous. Their purpose was 
to attach to the interests of the French, then masters of 
Canada, such of the Iroquois or "Six Nations " confederacy 
of Indians as could be persuaded to embrace Christianity and 
espouse the cause of their white brethren. These buildings, 
or others erected on their site, were subsequently for many 
years occupied by a British garrison, and as a court-house, 
jail, ■ store, dwelling and barracks for troops. With them 
commences the earliest authentic history of St. Lawrence Co. 

It is well known how the corner-stone of this ancient 
fort, with its Latin inscription, — 

" In nomine ♦ Dei omnipotentis, 
Huic habitationi initia dedit 
Frans. Picquet, 1749." 

("In the name of Almighty God, was laid the foundation 
of this habitation by Francois Picquet, in 1749"), — was 
saved from destruction by one of our patriotic citizens, was 
long preserved as the keystone over the portal of the old 
Arsenal, and is now incorporated in the massive walls of our 
beautiful City Hall. At the northern terminus of Commerce 
Street, where some rubble half imbedded in the road is all 
that is left of the old French fort, now stands a tall shaft 
of Barre granite, erected by Swe-kat-si Chapter, D. A. R., 
and unveiled in October, 1899. A handsome bronze tablet 
affixed to the monument shows a bas-relief portrait of Abbe 
Picquet, with the following inscription beneath: 




ABBE FRANCOIS PICQUET. 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 5 

THIS MONUMENT MARKS THE SITE OF 
FORT LA PRESENTATION 

ERECTED IN I 749 BY 

ABBE FRANCOIS PICQUET 

FOR THE PROTECTION OF HIS MISSION AMONG 

THE INDIANS OF THE FIVE NATIONS 

THIS FORT WAS OCCUPIED IN 1760 BY THE BRITISH, AND EVACUATED 
BY THEM JUNE 1ST 1 796 UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE JAY TREATY 

IT WAS THE FIRST BUILDING ERECTED WHERE NOW STANDS THE CITY 
OF OGDENSBURG 

Before studying- the missions established by the French 
on the St. Lawrence, it will be interesting to give a cursory 
glance at the earlier efforts to found European colonies in 
Canada. 

Two years after the discoveries of Columbus became 
known in England, Henry VII. induced John Cabot, a Vene- 
tian merchant, to sail in quest of discoveries in the West, 
and in 1497 this navigator reached the coast of Labrador, 
which he named Prima-Vista. Others voyagers followed, 
his son Sebastian in 1498; Gaspar Cortereal in 1500, to 
whom the discovery of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is by some 
attributed. On a second voyage Cortereal perished at sea. 
In 1504 the French first attempted a voyage to the New 
World; in that year some Basque and Breton fishermen 
began to ply their calling on the Newfoundland Banks, giv- 
ing their name to Cape Breton Island. In 1535 Stefano 
Gomez sailed from Spain and is supposed to have entered 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence for purposes of trade. Castilian 
tradition relates that, finding neither gold nor silver mines 
nor wealth of any kind on these inhospitable shores, they fre- 
quently exclaimed " Aca-nada," " Here is nothing," whence 
the name Canada, vouched for by Father Hennepin. An- 



6 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

other authority claims as its origin the Indian word " Ka- 
na-ta," meaning village. 

In 1534, Francis I. of France dispatched Jacques Carrier, 
an able navigator of St. Malmo, who sailed April 20th, 1534, 
with two ships of sixty tons each and one hundred twenty 
men, reaching Newfoundland in May. Not knowing this 
was an island, he coasted along for some time, finally passing 
the Straits of Belle Isle, and traversing the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence. He sailed for France July 25th, much pleased with 
his reception by the natives, but the following year returned 
with increased forces, and after encountering great vicissi- 
tudes, August 10th, 1535, they came to a great gulf filled 
with beautiful islands. To this gulf, Cartier gave the name 
" St. Lawrence," having discovered it on that saint's festival 
day; from this our great river and county take their name. 
Cartier moored his vessels where a little river flowed, which 
he named St. Croix, near the Indian village of Stadacona, 
now the site of Quebec. In the autumn he ascended the 
river to the populous village of Hochelaga; to the hill three 
miles from there, from whose summit the country lay spread 
in all its beauty, he gave the name " Mont Royal," since 
applied to the city at its feet, Montreal. 

For some years expeditions came with varying fortune to 
the newly discovered river, but no efficient effort at coloniza- 
tion was made until 1608, when Champlain and Pontgrave 
came to establish the fur trade and begin a settlement. In 
1609, Champlain with two Frenchmen ascended the great 
river to the beautiful lake that bears his name, and near its 
southern extremity surmounting a rapid, they entered another 
lake, to which they gave the name St. Sacrament, now known 
as Lake Horicon or George. 

In 16 14, Champlain, by his entreaties, procured four 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 7 

" Recollects " to undertake a mission for the conversion of 
the Indians, but their efforts among the Iroquois were not 
successful. A few years later, 1625, five priests and laymen 
of the order of Jesuits were sent over, being received by the 
Recollects with kindness, and admitted under their roof. 
Thenceforward Jesuit missionaries continued to explore the 
country. Every canton or tribe of the Iroquois of New York 
had its missionary, as did nearly every nation throughout the 
range of the " Great Lakes " and the Mississippi valley, while 
many of them had a depot for the purchase of furs and sale 
of merchandise. 

The first military post of any note above Montreal was 
established at Cataroqui, now Kingston, by Count de Fron- 
tenac. 

For many years the tide of emigration among the Indians 
turned toward Canada, and it being deemed necessary and 
best to establish a mission at the head of the rapids, M. 
TAbbe Picquet left Montreal May 4th, 1749, with twenty-five 
Frenchmen and four Iroquois Indians, arriving the 30th at 
the " Riviere de la Presentation, called Soe-gat-zy." He 
wrote, "the land there is the finest in Canada; oak timber 
in abundance, and trees of a prodigious size and height, but 
it will be necessary for the defense of the settlement to fell 
them without permission." He built a storehouse to preserve 
his effects, and a small fort of pickets for defense. 

The manufactories of Ogdensburg date back to the year 
1 75 1, when the abbe erected a sawmill, probably a dam also, 
to manufacture lumber for his new settlement. The mill 
was used during the ten years he labored here. About 1785, 
it was rebuilt, or repaired, by one Capt. Lorrimer, and op- 
erated for some time. In 1796, both dam and mill were 



8 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

repaired by Nathan Ford, and since then manufacturing 
industries have steadily increased. 

To induce the natives to settle, the governor is said to 
have placed here a large magazine of all kinds of clothing 
suitable for Indians, also arms, ammunition and provisions, 
distributing them liberally. 

The attempt of the French to establish a mission at " Swe- 
gat-zy " naturally excited the jealousy of the English, whose 
relations with their Canadian neighbors each day tended 
toward open hostilities. June 19th, 1754, the celebrated 
" Congress of Representatives " from the several English Col- 
onies convened at Albany, to agree upon a " plan of Union " 
for the common defense against the encroachments of the 
French and the hostilities of the Indians, whom they incited 
to make inroads on the back settlements of the English. The 
measure which was the prime object of this Congress failed 
because of its strong republican tendency, but a portion of 
the statement laid before it is germane to our subject. 
" They (the French) are continually drawing off the Indians 
from the British interest, and have lately persuaded one half 
of the Onondaga tribe, with many from the other nations 
along with them, to remove to a place called Oswegatchie, 
on the River Cadaraqui, where they have built them a church 
and fort; and many of the Senecas, the most numerous na- 
tion, appear wavering and inclined to the French." 

Hendrick, the Mohawk chieftain, warrior and orator, 
ever the firm friend of the English, endeavored to dissuade 
the confederates of New York from joining the settlement 
at Oswegatchie, but with little avail. 

Between the French and the English, the poor savages 
had scarce a hunting-place left, and knew not which way to 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 9 

turn. What wonder that in their ignorance they wounded 
the hand that fain would bless them. 

An embassy from the " Five Nations," among them the 
Iroquois from La Presentation, held an interview with Mont- 
calm April 24th, 1757. The Iroquois at this time called the 
village of " La Presentation " the " tail of the Five Nations." 
The scalping parties fitted out at La Presentation, that so 
harassed the English settlements along the Mohawk River 
and the frontier of New York during 1757-59, in the latter 
year led to an attempt, by Brig.-Gen. Gage, to stop the out- 
rages by crushing the fortress from which they emanated. 
He dallied along, however, until the season was so far ad- 
vanced he was obliged to postpone the expedition until the 
next campaign. General Wolfe captured the French for- > 
tress at Quebec in 1759, and early the next season three ex- 
peditions were fitted out to reduce the French strongholds in 
the interior. One after another the fortified places on the 
St. Lawrence fell into the hands of the English, La Presen- 
tation being surprised by James Zouch, an English officer, 
who came through the woods bearing letters from Lord 
Amherst. 

The conquest of Canada by the English was completed 
in the year 1760. With the fall of the fort on Isle Royal, 
now Chimney Island, French supremacy in St. Lawrence Co. 
ceased. This fort was subsequently occupied by a small body 
of British troops and held till the summer of 1796, when, 
in accordance with the stipulation of the " Jay Treaty/' it 
was surrendered to Judge Ford, who received it for the 
proprietors. 

In the middle of the last century a cemetery still existed 
on the west side of the Oswegatchie, wherein were several 
headstones marking the graves of British soldiers. 



10 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

The history of this station, from the time of the English 
conquest to the surrender under the Treaty, is nearly or 
quite lost so far as we can learn. In April, 1779, an expe- 
dition led by Lieuts. McClellan and Hardenburgh, with a 
small body of Indians, left Fort Schuyler intending to sur- 
prise the British garrison at Oswegatchie. Encountering 
some straggling Indians, a few shots were exchanged, thus 
alarming the garrison, and the expedition returned to Fort 
Schuyler without accomplishing its purpose. The English are 
believed to have maintained the fort at Oswegatchie for the 
protection of their fur trade, and this was the excuse to 
justify their retaining it after the " Peace " which followed 
the " Revolution." 

The Oswegatchies continued to reside in the vicinity after 
the English conquest, and adopted the new allegiance, act- 
ing with the British in the Revolutionary War. A portion 
of the Mohawk emigration settled at the Lake of the Two 
Mountains. The Oswegatchies for some years occupied a 
village of twenty-three houses on Indian Point in Lisbon, 
about three miles below Ogdensburg, where they remained 
until driven out by command of our government at the in- 
stance of the white settlers. This village, described by one 
who saw it in 1802, consisted of a single street parallel with 
the river, the houses ranged regularly on each side with end 
toward the street, sharp roof covered with pointed shingles. 
Each house was built for two families, had two doors in 
front, glass windows, a double fireplace with one chimney, 
and a partition through the centre. These Indians spent the 
summers on Black Lake hunting and fishing, as many as 
forty being seen at one time when the settlement was new. 
In the autumn they returned to their cabins. " Indian Point " 






FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 11 

is now known as " Point Airy," where is located the State 
Hospital for the Insane. 

Directly opposite this village of the Oswegatchies lies the 
island that was fortified by the French, and captured by the 
British under Lord Amherst in 1760. Because of the ruins 
of the fortifications, of which slight traces still remain, it 
received the name of Chimney Island. Many relics of the 
French and Indian occupation were found on the island and 
shore, while it was the scene of " money digging " on rather 
an extensive scale by the overcredulous. A beautiful feature 
of the landscape as one approached the historic island, either 
by water or the " great highway," were two giant elms of 
ante-revolutionary date, forming a complete vernal arch. 
These reared their graceful heads until the summer of 1907, 
when a furious gale laid one of the " Twin Trees " low. 

In February, 1796, was ratified the treaty known as 
" Jay's," from the statesman who negotiated it with Great 
Britain. This treaty provided that all forts should be evac- 
uated and possession given on or before June 1st, 1796. 
Mr. Samuel Ogden had purchased large tracts of land in 
this locality, but was unable to obtain possession until the 
ratification of the treaty settled the right of ownership. 

Settlement under the proprietorship of Mr. Ogden was 
commenced by his agent Nathan Ford, who arrived here 
August nth, 1796, and was given the power of attorney for 
the sale of lands July nth, 1797. The first stock of goods 
opened in Ogdensburg was brought by the tedious route 
of the Hudson River, the Mohawk, Wood Creek, Oneida 
Lake, Oswego River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, 
by Mr. Ford. En route up the Mohawk, one of the boats 
laden with goods was sunk in the rapids, and the cargo badly 
damaged. The stock was opened in the sergeant's room of 



12 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the late British barracks, and Richard Fitz Randolph was the 
first man to measure tape, or sell salt and sugar in the em- 
bryo city. Others accompanying Mr. Ford were Thomas 
Lee, a carpenter; John Lyon and family, and a few boatmen 
from Schenectady. The family of Tuttle, whom he had sent 
on to stay in the fort and keep things in order, he placed in 
the barracks adjoining the store; Mr. Lyon was placed in 
the mill-house. Ford at once crossed to Canada, and ob- 
tained three yoke of oxen, four milch cows, peas, wheat, etc., 
hired forty men and set about building a dam and sawmill. 

Many persons on the other side were anxious to come 
and settle, but Ford had, as yet, no authority to sell lands, 
and was forced to defer their applications by telling them 
settlements could not be made until the land was surveyed. 
In a few days Joseph Edsall arrived and began to survey 
lands. He brought with him a small bag of orchard grass- 
seed, half for Ford, the other for Mr. Farrand on the north 
shore. 

On the approach of winter, Mr. Ford left for New Jersey, 
and did not return to Oswegatchie till August 9th, 1797. 
He found the Canadian claimants to the lands had been over 
in the spring, held a town-meeting, elected civil and mili- 
tary officers, and sent on Eusley, their moderator, to have 
their proceedings ratified by the governor; they had also 
opened a land office for selling and settling the Ogden tracts. 
Ford was finally obliged to purchase the lease from these 
Canadian claimants for the sum of £62 lay. Canada cur- 
rency, for a quitclaim, " during the rest, residue and re- 
mainder of said term which is yet to come and unexpired, 
to wit; so long as wood shall grow and water run, peace- 
ably and quietly to enter into, have, hold and occupy, possess 
and enjoy." A grist-mill, that known later as the Wm. 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 13 

Furniss, later still the S. W. Day mill, was completed and 
in grinding order December ist, 1798. 

The next great undertaking was to build roads so that 
the long journey might be made with more ease. In con- 
nection with laying out the highways and building roads, it 
may be of interest to note that the writer's grandfather, 
Gen. Ela Merriani of Lewis Co., his brother-in-law, Elisha 
Backus of Utica, grandfather of our townsman Mr. Frank 
Chapman, associated with Samuel Bulkley of Watertown, 
were proprietors of the first through line of stages to the 
lake and river. They held the government contract for car- 
rying the U. S. mails from Utica to Sackett's Harbor from 
the year 1824- 1850, when the construction of the R. W. & O. 
R. R. greatly shortened the route at this end. Later the con- 
struction of the U. & B. R. R. R. as far as Boonville short- 
ened that end of the route, but for some years longer the old 
stage line over the State road transported passengers and 
mail from Boonville to Lowville, twenty-two miles. 

The first 4th of July celebration of our nation's birthday 
in Ogdensburg, if not in the county, was held in 1802. Ex- 
ercises were in the old barracks, and Mr. John King, in the 
employ of Ogden and Ford, delivered the oration. In 1804, 
a pleasant celebration was held; dinner was given by Judge 
Ford, for such was now his title, and fireworks prepared on 
the premises were set off in the evening. A party of both: 
sexes came from Canada to assist in the festivities. At this 
early date were the amenities thus observed by the opposite 
neighbors. 

In 1803, Mr. Washington Irving, then a young man, ar- 
rived with some of the proprietors, remaining a short time. 
His signature appears on several old deeds as a witness. In 
1804, Mr. Louis Hasbrouck, the first county clerk, who had 



14 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

been here for the previous two years, removed with his family 
and settled in the village. 

The township of Oswegatchie was set apart March 3d, 
1802; the village of Ogdensburg, named for Mr. Ogden, 
was incorporated April 15th, 181 3; the city charter was 
issued April 28th, 1868; St. Lawrence Co. was set apart 
by act of Legislature, April 26th, 1803. Thus April became 
a memorable month in the calendar of Ogdensburg. 

In 1804 there were living in the village of Ogdensburg 
but four families, viz. : Slosson, on the corner diagonally 
opposite the Seymour House, formerly St. Lawrence Hotel; 
Dr. Davis, on the ground where was later the residence of 
Mr. E. B. Allen, now the property of Capt. Lyon; Geo. 
Davis, who kept an inn at the old American Hotel; and 
a Mr. Chapin in State St., near the Ripley House. Judge 
Ford kept a store at the old barracks, now the Geo. Hall Co. 
Coal Offices, and the settlers had an occasional opportunity 
to purchase supplies from the Durham boats that came from 
Utica with goods for sale. 

In accordance with the law of 1802, one of the stone 
buildings west of the Oswegatchie was fitted up as a court- 
house, and a bomb-proof magazine on the premises as a jail. 
Here the first courts were held, and first delinquents confined, 
until the Court-house was completed in 1803. An act of 
February 12th, 18 13, required the Board of Supervisors to 
raise by tax the sum of $900, " to erect a fire-proof Clerk's 
Office." Previous to its completion, the records were kept 
in the office of Louis Hasbrouck, the clerk. The date of the 
first record was May 29th, 1802. The house in which the 
clerk's office was kept was one of the first dwellings erected 
in Ogdensburg; completed in 1804, tne l ot on which it stood 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 15 

was sold to Mr. Hasbrouck for one guinea. 1 In 182 1 a new 
clerk's office was authorized by the supervisors, and a stone 
building, still standing, was erected on the corner of State 
and Greene Sts. It was afterward used as a land-office by 
Mr. Henry Van Rensselaer. Louis Hasbrouck was appointed 
first clerk of the Board of Supervisors, and held the office 
till 18 10, when Wm. W. Bow en was appointed, serving till 
18 1 9. In that year Bishop Perkins of Ogdensburg was ap- 
pointed, and held the office uninterruptedly till the session 
of 1852, when, being elected to Congress, he resigned, hav- 
ing held the office with entire approbation for a third of a 
century. 

The Baptist Church was formed July 29th, 1809, with 
nine members, the present edifice on State St. being erected 
1833. The Presbyterian Society was organized December 
8th, 1 8 19, with nine males and nine females. The first Epis- 
copal clergyman visited the village in 18 16. May 23d, 1820, 
a society was incorporated. In 1821, it was resolved to build 
a church, and in October, 1823, the building was open for 
worship. The first M. E. Church was incorporated February 
22d, 1825, and a Universalist society was formed April 16th, 
1842. The Roman Catholic Church of Ogdensburg and 
vicinity was organized November 29th, 1848. 

In early years it appears to have been customary to name 
the streets after prominent citizens. This custom) has given 
us Ogden and Ford Avenues on the west side, and Ford St. 
on the east side of the Oswegatchie River. Judge Ford 
gave the names of his six daughters to as many streets: 
Catharine, Isabella, Euphemia, Caroline, Gertrude, and Eliz- 

1 The lot of 500 acres, on which stood the village of " Ogdensburgh," was 
sold by John Taylor, the patentee, June 1 3, 1 789, to Alexander Macomb, 
for £25. 



16 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

abeth. Euphemia and Gertrude were afterward, May 27th, 
1824, changed to State and Franklin. After the Revolution 
streets were named for the heroes of the war, generals, and 
statesmen, Washington, La Fayette, Greene, Knox, Mont- 
gomery, Morris, for Gouverneur Morris, Jay, Patterson, 
Adams, Hamilton. Following down the century, we have 
Van Rensselaer Ave., shortened to Rensselaer, Hasbrouck, 
Clark, James, Seymour, and De Villers Streets, with Proc- 
ter Avenue. 

In the early years of the last century, when the region 
that is now St. Lawrence Co. first attracted the attention of 
settlers and capitalists, it was believed that a great system 
of roads and canals would bring it in close touch with the 
seaboard, and that it would rapidly become one of the best 
peopled, most desirable counties in the United States for 
agricultural, manufacturing and commercial purposes, and 
as a residence locality, especially along the magnificent St. 
Lawrence River. Prominent and wealthy men from New 
York, New England and New Jersey entered heavily into 
land speculation, and many aristocratic families settled in and 
around Ogdensburg, which they fondly believed, situated as 
it was at the foot of lake navigation and with fine water- 
power, would soon become the great emporium of commerce 
for the upper St. Lawrence valley. 

Among these prominent families were the Ogdens, Fords, 
Parishes, Van Heuvels, Van Rensselaers and others. They 
were all Whigs, and having abundant means, proceeded to 
clear the forests, make improvements, erect substantial dwell- 
ings and outbuildings that compared favorably with a sim- 
ilar class in Virginia, Connecticut, along the banks of the 
Hudson, and in the Mohawk Valley. Of this description 
were the mansions on the estate owned by the Hon. Henry 



FIRST SETTLEMENT OF OGDENSBURG 17 

Van Rensselaer, now the property of our honored townsman, 
Maj. Wm. H. Daniels, where a vast sum of money was 
spent in building massive stone fences, laying out broad, 
beautiful grounds, and erecting buildings that would have 
done no discredit to the great manors of England. 

The Parish mansion was erected in 1809-10, and was a 
great establishment in its day, being abandoned in 1869 by 
its last owner, Mr. George Parish, Baron Seftenburg of 
Bohemia. 

After the American Revolution, many loyalist refugees 
were granted lands along the St. Lawrence, and after a time, 
becoming assimilated with those on the American side, a sort 
of landed aristocracy flourished for some years. 

The prediction made by the old abbe, that a beautiful 
town might hereafter arise on the elevated plain opposite his 
fort, has been fully realized in our delightful " Maple City." 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES AND EARLY SOCIAL 
CUSTOMS OF OGDENSBURG 

Compiled from Hough's History of St. Lawrence County and from 

private letters 

At the time Jay's Treaty was ratified in June, 1796, be- 
sides a tribe of Oswegatchie Indians, there were not more 
than half a dozen French and English families living near 
the present site of Ogdensburg. 

Plattsburgh, on the east, was the nearest white settlement, 
with Utica on the south and Oswego on the west. The vast 
space between these points was a dense forest. When one 
looks upon the great path across our State, counting one 
long weary mile after another, one cannot help asking, whose 
fine oversight mapped out this way? Who first dared to 
follow the dim trail that led through many unknown perils? 
Who changed it from a faint, wavering foot-path, by blazed 
trees, to a wagon trail, cut wide and deep? Who marked 
the bridle path by which some of the early citizens of Og- 
densburg found their way to this northern home? These 
same pioneers, whose names are found in the early history 
of Ogdensburg, led the way. They had the courage and 
enterprise and determination to do great things; these men 
added to the sum total of human effort, human knowledge 
and human progress. 

In 1785 the Legislature of the State passed an act, au- 
thorizing the sale of the unoccupied lands in Northern New 

18 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 19 

York. This sale took place in New York City in 1787, when 
John Taylor, for twelve and a half cents an acre, bought 
nearly the whole front of the township of Oswegatchie. 

The American settlement proper began with the arrival of 
Nathan Ford, his black slave Dick and several others, who 
on August nth, 1796, took possession of the old French 
barracks. From this humble beginning the settlement in- 
creased, and soon became a village of no mean importance. 

The old barracks held a very conspicuous place during 
the days of pioneer life, having sheltered and protected the 
representatives of three different nations: the French as a 
military post and Indian missionary station; the English 
as a garrison to protect their fur and lumber trades; and 
the Americans as a dwelling, schoolhouse, church, court- 
house and jail, as well as a military station and a store 
(besides this store, the settlers had only occasionally a chance 
to shop on board the Durham boats from Utica, on which 
goods were displayed for sale). 

From that time on many notable and interesting persons 
have visited Ogdensburg, only a few of whom we may men- 
tion, among them Washington Irving, then a young man, 
who came in 1803. 

At the invitation of Mr. Hoffman, on an expedition to 
Ogdensburg, Montreal and Quebec, he gladly availed him- 
self of the opportunity to extend the range of his travels. 

I quote from " Life and Letters of Washington Irving," 
by his nephew, Pierre M. Irving. 

" The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman, Mr. 
and Mrs. Ludlow Ogden, Miss Eliza Ogden, Miss Anne 
Hoffman." They found themselves on board a sloop July 
31st, bound for Albany from Utica. They came from Og- 
densburg, or Oswegatchie, as it was called, on the St. Law- 



20 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

rence, where Ogden and Hoffman owned some wild land and 
proposed to lay out a town. This journey has an interest 
independent of any literary value as a picture of travel in 
those early days of- our country. On Monday, August 9th, 
they set out from Utica for the High Falls on Black River, 
in two wagons, having dispatched another with the principal 
part of their baggage. The roads were bad and lay either 
through the thick woods or by fields disfigured with burned 
stumps and fallen bodies of trees. The next day they grew 
worse; the travellers were obliged to get out of their wagon 
and walk. At High Falls they embarked in a scow on Black 
River, so called from the dark color of its waters; soon the 
rain began to descend in torrents, and they sailed the whole 
afternoon and evening under repeated showers, partially 
screened by sheets stretched on hoop poles. After a wretched 
night passed in a hovel and two days more of the same for- 
lorn travel through deep mud holes and over fallen trees, 
they came at last in sight of the Oswegatchie. The Journal 
says : " The prospect that opened upon us was delightful. 
After riding through thick woods for several days, the sight 
of a beautiful and extensive tract of country is inconceivably 
enlivening. Close beside the bank on which we rode, the 
Oswegatchie wound along, about twenty feet below us. And 
after running for some distance it entered into the St. Law- 
rence, forming a long point of land on which stood a few 
houses called the ' Garison,' which had formerly been a for- 
tified place built by the French to keep the Indians in awe. 
They were now tumbling in ruins, except two or three, which 
were kept in tolerable order by Judge Ford, who resided in 
one of them, and used the others as stores and out-houses. 
We re-crossed the Oswegatchie River to the Garison as we 
intended to reside with Judge Ford for some time.' , 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 21 

After a lapse of fifty years, September 19, 1853, Mr. 
Irving made a second visit to Oswegatchie, now Ogdensburg, 
and I cannot resist the temptation to take from its place the 
letter which gives the touching contrast. On a return from 
a tour by the Lakes to Niagara he writes to a niece, Mrs. 
Storrow of Paris : " One of the most interesting circum- 
stances of my tour was the sojourn of a day at Ogdensburg, 
at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River, where it empties 
into the St. Lawrence. I had not been there since I visited 
it fifty years since, in 1803, when I was but twenty years of 
age; when I made an excursion through the Black River 
country to Canada in company with Mr. Hoffman and others. 
All the country was then a wilderness; we floated down the 
Black River in a scow; we toiled through forests in wagons 
drawn by oxen; we slept in hunter's cabins, and were once 
four and twenty hours without food, but all was romance to 
me. Arrived on the banks of the St. Lawrence, we put up 
at Mr. Ogden's agent, who was quartered in some rude build- 
ings belonging to a ruined French Fort at the mouth of the 
Oswegatchie. What happy days I passed there! rambling 
about the woods with the young ladies; paddling with them 
in Indian canoes on the limpid waters of the St. Lawrence, 
or fishing about the rapids and visiting the Indians, who still 
lived on the islands in the river. Everything was so grand 
and so silent and solitary. I do not think any scene in life 
made a more delightful impression upon me. Well — here 
I was again after a lapse of fifty years. I found a populous 
city, occupying both banks of the Oswegatchie, connected by 
bridges; it was the Ogdensburg of which a village plot had 
been planned at the time of my visit. I sought the rude 
French Fort where we had been quartered — not a trace of 
it was left. I sat under a tree on the site and looked around 



22 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

upon what I had known as a wilderness — now teeming with 
life — crowded with habitations — the Oswegatchie River 
dammed up and encumbered with vast stone mills — the broad 
St. Lawrence plowed by immense steamers. I walked to trie 
point, where, with the two girls, I used to launch forth in 
the canoe, while the rest of the party would wave their hand- 
kerchiefs and cheer us from the shore. It is now a bustling 
landing place for steamers. There were still some rocks, sum- 
moning recollections of bygone days, and of the happy beings 
by whom I was then surrounded ; all had passed away — all 
were dead and gone; and of that young and joyous party 
I was the sole survivor; they had all lived quietly at home 
out of the reach of mischance, yet have gone down to their 
graves; while I, who had been wandering about the world, 
exposed to all hazards by sea and land, was yet alive. It 
seemed almost marvellous. I have often, in my shifting 
about the world, come upon the traces of former existence; 
but I do not think anything has made a stronger impression 
upon me than this second visit to the banks of the Oswe- 
gatchie." 

During the summer of 1817 President Monroe visited 
Ogdensburg while touring the northern States, coming here 
from Plattsburgh. He was met and escorted into town by a 
committee of citizens, preceded by a band of music, and was 
entertained by Mr. George Parish; next day he received the 
citizens and an address of welcome delivered by Mr. Louis 
Hasbrouck in behalf of the townspeople: in the evening the 
President was joined by Major-General Brown, U. S. A., 
with his entire suite, who accompanied him to Morristown, 
where he lodged with the Honorable Judge Ford. 

During the autumn of 1800 Mr. Nathan Ford writes of 
a visit he received from Gouverneur Morris, who was in- 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 23 

specting his northern lands; Mr. Ford says, "I have tried 
in every way to add to his comfort, but found he had every 
accommodation with him, travelling in the style of an East- 
ern prince." 

The towns of Gouverneur and Morristown were named 
after him, Morristown having previously been called The 
Hague. 

Mr. David Parish, in 1808, bought all the unsold portions 
of the village plat, and immediately began to create, at this 
point, a commercial interest that should contest with every 
other port on the river and lake for superiority. 

Mr. Ford had this same faith in the growth and pros- 
perity of this place, where he had seen and felt the first feeble 
beginnings of a colony grow to a thriving town ; and the 
howling wilderness traversed only by savages and wild beasts 
transformed into cultivated fields and inhabited by intelligent 
and prosperous people. Shortly before his death, a friend 
asked him if in his dreams the future aspect of the town 
ever presented itself. The idea instantly kindled his imag- 
ination and he exclaimed : " Dream ! I see it a rich and pop- 
ulous city, a wide extent of country covered with houses, 
with a harbor covered with the fleet of the Lakes." 

Mr. David Parish was a resident of Hamburg, the pro- 
prietor of a large tract of crown land, carrying with it the 
title of " baron." 

He was sent to this country by the commercial house of 
Hope and Co. of Amsterdam, to make arrangements for the 
transfer of credits amounting to more than seven million 
dollars, to Europe from the Spanish Colonies in Mexico. 
He met Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, the Ogden broth- 
ers, Le Ray de Chaumont and others interested in this part 
of the country. He bought large tracts, and in 18 10 built 



24 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the large stone store on Water Street and his dwelling on 
Washington Street. He is always spoken of in the warmest 
terms of esteem and respect. 

His younger brother George came here about 1816 to 
reside; he had been a collector in the East Indies, and was 
a gentleman of rare intelligence, most courtly manners and a 
great capacity for business. 

David Parish was a great lover of fine horses, and in 
" D'ri and I " Irving Bacheller thus accurately describes him : 
" He was a great whip, that man David Parish, who had 
built a big mansion at Ogdensburg and owned so much of 
the north country in those days. He was a gentleman when 
the founders of the proud families of to-day were dickering 
in small merchandise. Indeed, one might look in vain for 
such an establishment as his north of Virginia. This side 
the Atlantic there was no stable of horses to be compared 
with that he had, — splendid English thoroughbreds, the 
blood of which is now in every great family of American 
horses. And, my faith! how he did love to put them over 
the road. He went tearing up hill and down at a swift gal- 
lop, and the roads were none too smooth in that early day. 
Before leaving home he had sent relays ahead to await his 
coming every fifteen miles of the journey: he always did 
this if he had far to go. The teams were quickly shifted; 
then off again with a crack of the whip and a toot of the 
long horn. He held up in the swamps, but where footing 
was fair, the high-mettled horses had their heads and little 
need of urging." 

Mr. Joseph Rosseel came here in 1807 to look over Mr. 
Parish's land, and began business here, sustained by the cap- 
ital of Mr. Parish, and afterward became his land agent. 

Mr. Louis Hasbrouck was born in 1776 in Ulster Co., 




DAVID PARISH. 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 25 

New York, to which place his Huguenot ancestors fled from 
France during the persecutions. He was graduated from 
Princeton, and studied law in New York with Ogden Hoff- 
man and Cadwalader Colden. 

In August, 1 80 1, he was admitted to practise law in the 
Supreme Court, and while at Albany he met Judge Ford, 
who induced him to come to Ogdensburg, and procured for 
him the appointment of county clerk. 

He came in 1802, and liking it so well, he went home 
and returned in 1804 with his bride, a brother, a cousin and 
two slaves. They came by wagon up the Mohawk Valley 
as far as they could, and then on horseback, by blazed trees 
through the unbroken wilderness, procuring supplies from the 
scattered settlers; through Antwerp by the old stage road 
to Heuvelton, where they crossed the river on a scow. 

They stayed a few weeks in the old garrison with Judge 
Ford, until their house on Ford Street was finished; there 
they always kept open house, and all were made welcome. 

He was adopted by the Indians, and was called the Good 
Father, and my aunt has often told of seeing the kitchen 
floor covered with Indians, all sleeping with their feet to 
the fire ; nothing was ever stolen, as he belonged to them : my 
grandmother was one of the founders of St. John's Church, 
insisting that a clergyman should come to baptize the chil- 
dren, even when it was necessary to send to Canada to find 
one. 

There was no good hotel here then, and all those who 
came on business, and to look after their property, stayed at 
their house: and many were the stores laid down, in the 
cellar, to meet all the festivities and necessities of the winter 
season, by this frugal Dutch housewife, for housekeeping was 
by no means an easy thing in those days. 



26 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

The location of our counties upon the frontier made them 
the theatre of many thrilling events which were a draw- 
back to their growth and settlement; not so much by the 
actual, as the dreaded evils of war, and the entire cessation 
of trade: in order to show the unsettled feeling of the time, 
I quote from some private letters written during the years 
1812 and 1813. 

Nov. 6th, 18 1 2. " Yesterday between sixty and seventy 
Canadian boats came up the river and lodged at Prescott 
last evening. An attack was of course expected, and the 
usual bustle attending preparation for defense ensued. But 
our people had learned wisdom and the British prudence so 
that both parties remained peaceable on their own shores. 

" Early this morning, the wind being fair, they proceeded 
up the river, and we were well content to see them go. 

" The folly of attacking them from our shores, without 
an adequate force to sustain a landing, has become so ap- 
parent, that our officers do not pretend to molest them. They 
have some Indians with them and it is said some thirty or 
forty are stationed at Prescott. We learned that Commodore 
Chauncey sailed out of Sacketts Harbour, on a cruise, with 
the Brig Oneida and eight other vessels, mounting a thirty- 
two pounder each, meaning to sweep the lakes; so we are 
daily expecting great news from that quarter. 

"I do not find that the soldiers have injured anything 
in our house. A gang of them occupy the Judge's old house 
opposite, and are the most noisy set of vagabond rascals in 
the place; they annoy me not a little as they get water out 
of our well." 

November 14th, 18 12. "A great battle was fought on 
the Lakes, near Kingston, on Wednesday last, between some 
of our schooners, and the Royal George, the latter retreated 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 27 

into Kingston Harbour. I met Colonel Simond's regiment 
of about seven hundred men at Indian River and a dirtier 
set of men I never saw. 

" We are building a Fleet, of about two hundred flat 
bottomed boats for the descent on Kingston, and the British 
are also building two vessels at Kingston and two at York, 
besides other smaller ones at Kingston. I must tell you of 
the new Russian stove which the Judge (Ford) has built in 
his new house (December, 1812), it is set in the wall between 
the hall and the dining room: I think we will have one too; 
they are all the rage. Mr. Schwormstede is having one built 
in the red house. Mr. Ramee, a French architect, who is 
making Mr. Parish a visit, is the constructor. They are 
really very fine and give a great heat, with little fuel, and 
have not that unpleasant odour which an iron stove always 
produces; they are built of brick and clay simply, and the 
expense is very trifling; they can be ornamental or plain 
as a person fancies. In spite of our unsettled times Mrs. 
Hill gave a very large party on Tuesday evening; the Gen- 
eral and officers were there and many others, we had four 
or five card tables, and great style; she and her family go 
to Albany next week for the greater part of the winter. 

" Mr. David A. Ogden and his wife made Mr. Parish a 
visit this week; and he entertained at dinner in their honour. 

" Colonel Ford was down yesterday ; Mrs. Ford and 
family are very well, but undetermined whether they will 
remain or move. 

" The Colonel thinks that if Mr. Madison is elected, he 
will make the best of his way to Jersey, calculating that the 
war will in that case be continued." 

November 20th, 1812. " On Monday night we had an- 
other glorious alarm; at half after one I was awakened by 



28 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the firing of a cannon and a general alarm was given; the 
firing continued incessantly, for an hour and a half, when 
it ceased without any bloodshed on our part. It appears that 
three of his Majesty's gun boats passed up the river, opposite 
Ranny's, and coming close in to our shore were hailed by 
our picket guard, and not being answered, the guard fired 
upon them, then the British opened a heavy fire of grape, 
canister and ball on our shore, for nothing else was visible 
to them; the few riflemen, that were on the shore, retreated, 
and when the main body came on the boats were so far 
across the river that they were beyond the reach of our small 
arms, and they continued their cannonading. One of our 
brass pieces was brought to Pigeon Point, in time to give 
them four shots: which was all the firing on our part. 

" One ball, our people are confident, struck their boat, 
and a story is in circulation that it killed three men and 
wounded seven; but the truth is not ascertained. This is 
all the alarm we have had this week, rather uncommon, as 
we generally have two or three a week. I distinctly heard 
the whizzing of the shot, and in the morning, picked up six 
twelve pounders, very near the house. 

" Mr. Parish narrowly escaped being hit, just passed 
over his head, as he was walking from the red house to the 
store, it struck just beyond him and bounded against Le 
Groi's garden fence. 

" I think that Mr. Rosseel's wedding will take place in 
about a fortnight." 

January ist, 1813, 11 p.m. " Today I have been very 
busy with Mr. Parish organizing our Ogdensburg Turnpike 
Company. 

" General Brown has left us, as have most of the militia, 
their time of service being expired and I expect we shall be 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 29 

left with a very small force, only Forsyth's Riflemen, and 
a few three months volunteers. 

" Colonel Benedict now commands again, until it is ascer- 
tained whether General Dearborn will send any troops. 

" We understand that only a small force of three hundred 
men are at Prescott. 

" A number of Yankees have crossed over this week ; 
permission is given to every person not willing to take the 
oath of allegiance to leave the province, and carry their prop- 
erty with them, and if found after the first of February, 
without having taken the oath, they are to be imprisoned. 

" We had a large dinner party at Judge Ford's on Sunday 
last, Mrs. Ford came down from Morristown for the occa- 
sion. Mr. Parish and all his family were there; Mr. Gou- 
verneur Ogden and several others; a very pleasant party: 
the Russian stove keeps the house as hot as an oven. 

" On Monday the Masons had a great parade and dinner, 
Mr. White delivered a sermon." 

March 26th, 18 13. "I arrived home today and pro- 
ceeded to view the wreck of our village. I had heard on 
the road of the dreadful havock, and which I found much 
exaggerated. It is true the village looks desolate and de- 
serted, but does not bear marks of that violent outrage that 
I was led to anticipate. 

" The windows of Mr. Parish's house, McCullom's, Slos- 
son's Tavern, and my house are the greatest sufferers. 

" The lower force of the British entered the village near 
the Slaughter house, proceeded up the street to the rear of 
Mr. Rosseel's and then divided; part going up by the side 
of Mr. Parish's house, and the others going past Mr. Mayo's : 
the two met our forces (Lytle's) at Mac's corner, where the 
principal part of the engagement took place. When Lytle's 



SO REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

men retreated, the enemy took our cannon, and placing it in 
the street, near our house, fired from there at Forsyth, break- 
ing nearly all our windows. 

" The party that attacked above the village did not ex- 
ceed one hundred and fifty men and they were driven back 
by Forsyth : but when the village party retreated, they again 
rushed on them. 

" Forsyth retreated up the St. Lawrence to Milye's, and 
from there crossed to the Lake, and to Kelloggs, and next 
day proceeded to Sacketts Harbour, where he now is; and 
where Lytle's company are, who joined Forsyth just before 
his retreat. 

" The loss on either side was small : we had three killed ; 
and they about twenty, with a good many wounded on their 
side, some of whom have since died: none of our citizens 
were killed or wounded: a soldier's child was killed in Tut- 
hill's house, by a ball which passed through. 

" Indeed so completely were our people taken by surprise 
that many of them were scarcely out of their beds; and the 
soldiers scarcely mustered before the British had possession 
of the place; their force did not exceed five hundred men, 
from all I hear ; and ours was about the same. Mrs. Rosseel 
and her sister jumped out of bed, and half dressed, started 
in their sleigh, just as the British, who were coming up from 
the Slaughter house fired a charge of grape and canister shot, 
which passed just over their heads : they thought they were 
dead enough, but proceeding, found themselves unhurt; they 
went as far as Kellogg' s and the second day returned 
home. 

" Mrs. Scott remained in her house and saved her prop- 
erty. 

" Mrs. York fled and lost all. 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 31 

" Many of the male villagers were taken prisoners and 
carried across the river, but suffered to return the next day. 

" A great deal of private property was plundered, and 
many have lost nearly all their clothing, but I have no doubt, 
from all I can hear, that not a small part was taken by our 
own people, who in the general confusion decamped with 
their booty. 

" I found scarcely anything touched inside our house; 
my books and papers in the office are all gone; those at the 
Judge's are safe : the Judge says ' most laughable that they 
should have taken your Bible ; much good may it do them ! ' 

" My barn is finely peppered, the corner nearest the house 
has upward of one hundred grape shot in it, caused by For- 
syth shooting at the British, while the piece appeared to have 
been elevated a little too high, passed over their heads and 
entered the full charge into the barn. 

" Mrs. Davies has returned home with her family and 
is now at Black Lake. Six Indians, a few days since, went 
through all our Oswegatchie settlement and frightened the 
people very much: they behaved very peaceably and, after 
travelling across the Lake, to Kellogg' s, returned home. 

" They were sent by Colonel McDonald as a party of 
observation: learning that a military force is coming on, he 
wished to ascertain the facts: he promises not to send them 
again." 

April 13th, 1 81 3. "We are all quiet and peaceable at 
present, with the exception of an occurrence which has ex- 
cited the interest of all our citizens: a few days since a 
detachment of fifty Dragoons and Riflemen passed through 
the rear part of the county, and yesterday returned with 
eight of the inhabitants of Massena, as prisoners, on their 
way to the Harbour. 



32 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

" Denison, Stedman, Seaton & Philips are among the 
number. It appears that Colonel Pike commanding at the 
Harbour, issued a military warrant in blank, as to names, 
and sent it (by his detachment) to Richards, who was to 
insert the names of those to be arrested; this Richards did, 
and the persons were accordingly arrested. 

" Their crime is stated to be ' unauthorized intercourse 
with the enemy/ or in other words, smuggling. 

" This order of Colonel Pike is considered a high-handed 
outrage against the Liberty of the citizen, and a gross at- 
tempt at military despotism. They may as well proclaim 
martial law at once, and do away with all civic rights; no 
man is safe who will not do homage to the noble Colonel 
and his worthy co-adjutor Richards. 

" If these men had violated the laws, an appeal to them, 
would have punished them, and is the only tribunal to which 
they are subject; but it appears that the Colonel is deter- 
mined to hang them by court martial. 

" What an exact reproduction this is of French Revolu- 
tionism and Liberty! these men were not suffered to ride, 
but were driven on foot, like so many convicts, and treated 
with great harshness. ,, 

May 14th, 18 1 3. " The campaign seems to be opening 
on the Lake with considerable vigor, no doubt you have 
already received the particulars of the taking of Little 
York. 

" They say the slaughter was very severe, about five hun- 
dred of our men were killed; General Pike, Colonel Pearce, 
and four hundred men are reported to have been blown up 
by their magazine exploding with two hundred and fifty bar- 
rels of powder. 

" Our troops took possession on the 27th, Tuesday, and 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 33 

embarked again on the Monday following, wholly abandon- 
ing the place. 

" The Prescott folk seem to be greatly alarmed and are 
building a large strong Block House, and throwing up Forts 
in every direction ; they have now about fifteen hundred men 
at that Port. 

" They have pitched about one hundred of our tents, 
which we lent them last winter. You would be surprised to 
see how peaceably they behave to us, and with how much 
unconcern we stand looking on, when in half an hour, they 
could destroy our Village and drive us off the ground, as 
we have no troops here, and are not expecting any. 

" Their flag was over on Monday and they told us, that 
General Harrison was taken by their troops on April 29th 
with three hundred men: that the General was made pris- 
oner, but the men, refusing to surrender, were every soul 
cut off. 

" Our fleet sail masters of the Lake, and the British ves- 
sels are all snugly moored at Kingston: they are not ready, 
their new vessels not completed, nor have they sufficient sail- 
ors to man them. 

" The arrival of their Fleet from England, which they 
expect about June first, will, no doubt, bring reinforcements 
of both soldiers and sailors. 

" I am very anxious for I am confident that the fate of 
this campaign depends upon our early success." 

May 21st, 1813. "Mr. Parish is expending immense 
sums of money in improvements, in different parts of the 
county : clearing one hundred acres of land in Cookham, and 
has sixty or seventy carpenters and joiners at work there, 
building hotels, country-seats, &c. 

" The Rossie establishment progresses finely, and the 



34 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Iron works will begin to manufacture that article by Octo- 
ber i st, with from eighty to one hundred men constantly em- 
ployed. I have this day completed contracts for the whole 
route from the St. Lawrence Turnpike to the Oswegatchie 
Town line, near Giffin's, to be completed in the month of 
October. We will not have to wallow through the mud as 
heretofore." 

Dec. 18th, 1813. " Our village continues as gay as ever, 
I must tell you how nicely I was ushered into a large party 
on Tuesday evening. After closing the Polls, the Judge 
and myself called to see Mr. Parish, and spent the evening 
with him till about half after nine o'clock. The countersign 
being out, we went to the Colonel's to get it, to enable us to 
get home, as I was staying with the Judge; when, lo! we 
entered a room crowded with company; four card tables 
filled, and many others, all in great mirth. The Judge and 
I, of course, cut in, and at half after twelve we broke out, 
and walked home, had great sport and a very good supper." 

In order to have some local means of defense, a regiment 
was formed in St. Lawrence County, April 5th, 1805, m 
which are found many names of those long associated with 
Ogdensburg: Colonel Ford, Louis Hasbrouck, D. W. Church, 
John King, Jacob Arnold, Jr., etc.: they formed with other 
companies a brigade in 1808 under General Moore. 

While the rank and file drilled, like Yankee Doodle, in 
any uniform, or none at all, often with broomsticks for 
muskets, Colonel Ford mustered all his officers each year, 
on the Windmill Flat at Morristown, where the drills and 
manoeuvres were held, while all Morristown entertained the 
families of the visiting officers; they arrived in carriage- 
loads, and feasting and revelry lasted as long as the officers 
drilled. 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 35 

Very brave and gay were these same officers, mounted 
on fine horses, and clad in uniforms glittering with gold 
braid, and dazzling white plumes adorning their chapeaux. 
Among the generous entertainers of that day were Mr. and 
Mrs. Henry Van Rensselaer, whose father, Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, owned much land here, which he promised to 
give to his son if he would marry and live here. They built 
the lovely house still remembered by many, and entertained 
with gracious hospitality, endearing themselves to all who 
knew them. Their musical parties, their balls, and garden 
parties were bright spots in the reminiscences of many other 
entertainments. 

At Ellerslie, near Waddington, lived the Ogdens, two 
brothers of a large family who had displeased their father 
by joining in the Revolutionary War. Samuel Ogden mar- 
ried a sister of Gouverneur Morris, and became concerned 
extensively in land purchases in the township of Oswegatchie. 

The brothers built themselves beautiful homes, one on 
Ogden Island and one on the shore, where still may be seen 
the remnants of the old-time gardens and hidden cellars, 
where, they say, smuggled goods and deserters were some- 
times hidden, and the homes where many friends were always 
welcome and entertainments were constantly given. 

Tea parties were the ladies' favorite diversion, to which 
they would go early, with their knitting; the gentlemen 
would join them later; the big double sleighs in winter, 
comfortable with foot-warmers and fur robes, would gather 
up congenial loads of friends, and, with merry jingle of 
bells, start off for Mr. Van Heuvel's; the river road was 
gay with many guests. 

Mr. Van Heuvel met them at the door, and stood bare- 
headed in the biting wind till all were safely landed in his 



36 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

hospitable mansion; the great mackinaw stoves were red- 
hot, and the log fires in the big fireplaces were bright and 
cheerful. Going up the old Colonial stairs with the guests, 
we find in the great front room the huge mahogany four- 
post bedstead, decked with tester and valance of dimity 
trimmed with knotted fringe. 

Many greetings and jests were exchanged, many showing 
new stitches for knitting, and, after the final adjusting of 
puffs and pulling out of curls, and arranging the huge tor- 
toise shell combs, they went down to the drawing-room, and 
were received by the host and Mrs. Arnold, who always 
chaperoned the delightful parties given by Mr. Van Heuvel. 

Tea was served from large trays, handed by the neat 
maid, on which were delicious tea biscuits, cold meats of 
different kinds, and pickles; then rich preserves and creams, 
with specially famous home-made cakes, and tea of finest 
flavor; the rare old china, the ancient sampler, and prints 
of early days shown off by the flickering firelight and mellow 
candle-light made a picture long remembered. 

Rumor says that this courtly old-time gentleman, Mr. 
Van den Heuvel as his name really was, had built this house 
for his bride. Soon after coming to this part of the world, 
he fell in love with a very beautiful but uneducated girl, 
whom he sent to New York to be educated and then to marry 
him. In her absence he built " Laurentia," and brought from 
France handsome furniture of gold and sky-blue satin, and 
when everything was ready he awaited the stage which was 
to bring his fiancee. She came, and, stepping lightly from 
the old stage-coach, greeted her benefactor, and, turning, 
said : " Let me introduce my husband," whom she had 
brought with her. It is said that Mr. Van Heuvel never 
recovered from this disappointment. 



THE PIONEER FAMILIES 37 

Gossip says that many of these old French gentlemen 
were so exquisite in their dress, so particular in all details 
of costume, that they thought no one here could launder 
their fine lawn shirts with many ruffles, and they actually 
brought over enough of them, that they could send them 
home to France by the trunkful to be laundered. 

Romance can tell no more thrilling tale than that of 
Madame Vespucci, who, after many social triumphs, being 
received and entertained in royal style in Boston and New 
York, and almost getting the land she came to claim, as a 
descendant of Amerigo Vespucci, suddenly met Prince de 
Joinville, son of Louis Philippe, who refused to recognize 
her, knowing that for a consideration she had been induced 
to leave Paris and his brother Due d'Orleans, She hurriedly 
left Washington and within a week was in Albany with 
" Prince " John Van Buren, as he was called. 

The story goes that she became infatuated with Mr. 
George Parish while at Van Buren's house. 

One night, while engaged in a gambling bout, Prince 
John lost heavily, and finally Parish, who had won over five 
thousand dollars from him, offered to return the gold if 
Prince John would allow Madame to accompany him to his 
northern home. 

Here they came, and in the old brick house on Washing- 
ton Street, surrounded by high brick walls and lovely garden, 
he lived many years with this beautiful woman, who was 
virtually a prisoner. 

Here they entertained in princely style, with sumptuous 
dinners, at which Madame was the only lady present. 

In time Mr. Parish went back to live on his estates in 
Bohemia, and died there. 

Madame lived here for several years, grown old before 



38 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

her time, and finally selling off all the personal property 
given her by Mr. Parish, with something over two thousand 
dollars in her possession, went back to France, and died in 
Paris before she came to actual want. 

In Ogdensburg there are still many memories of the 
graceful, fascinating woman, gentle, clever, kind and tender- 
hearted, who mourned Mr. Parish as though she had been 
his lawful wife. 

Before she went away she gave a garden party for all 
the little children of the village, of whom she was always 
very fond. 

Another favorite visiting place was Mrs. Ranney's, now 
Mrs. Irving's, where weary travellers, by stage and horse- 
back, coming through from the south, stopped to refresh 
themselves at the hospitable tavern, with its bountiful table, 
roaring fires, and hearty welcome from the hostess. 

Here many gay parties danced till morning in the old 
ballroom, the vaulted ceiling of which can still be seen. 

There is a pleasure and a sadness in looking into the lives 
of long ago in our quaint little town; their fears and terrors 
in the stress of war ; their gaieties and the incidents of every- 
day life, all make up a chapter of intense interest that makes 
one wish to linger and gather up all the events in the lives 
of all those hardy pioneers of our northern country. 




GEORGE PARISH 



THE WAR OF 1812 

The measures which led to the War of 18 12 belong to 
our national history. St. Lawrence County being on the 
frontier, its growth and settlement were checked to a most 
lamentable degree; not so much by the actual as by the 
dreaded evils of war, and the entire cessation of trade, which 
had mainly found an outlet by the St. Lawrence. With busi- 
ness stopped and the brightest prospects of the future 
blighted, it is not surprising that the war was unpopular. 

In December, 1807, Congress laid an embargo upon all 
ships and vessels in the ports of the United States. As a 
result Captains Samuel Cheney and Thomas Anderson were 
stationed at Ogdensburg to enforce non-intercourse. Their 
two companies of troops are represented as the worst set of 
men that ever lived. They overstepped all bounds in search- 
ing the men and women who crossed the river, and, as a 
consequence, the people became hostile to them and, finally, 
for their own protection, organized a nightly patrol to pro- 
tect their gardens and hen-roosts; thus, between the preser- 
vation of national and personal rights, the village bore the 
appearance of a military camp. This lasted until, to the 
great joy of the people, the news arrived that the soldiers 
were to be withdrawn. As they were leaving, a citizen, who 
went down to their boats to recover some stolen property, 
was seized and thrown overboard. This instantly raised an 
excitement, and as they left they were followed by the hoot- 
ings and cries of the irritated crowd. The old iron cannon 

39 



40 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

and the discordant music of a hundred tin horns, with as 
many cow-bells, assisted in expressing the general satisfac- 
tion. 

April ioth, 1812, Congress called for one hundred thou- 
sand men to be raised in anticipation of war. General 
Brown, whose brigade included this county, sent instructions 
to Col. Benedict for a company of eighty men to be raised 
and stationed at Williamstown, now DeKalb. Darius Haw- 
kins of Herkimer County was made captain, and John Polly 
of Massena and Elisha Griffin of DeKalb lieutenants. From 
there they were ordered to Ogdensburg, and arrived, bearing 
a letter from Col. Benedict to D. W. Church, the adjutant 
in charge of the barracks here. The letter read in part as 
follows : 

" You will receive by Whipple four barrels of pork, four 
axes and one frying-pan which belong to the troops, together 
with one barrel of whiskey for their use. I have to request 
the favor of you to furnish flour, bread and other camp 
necessaries until my arrival." 

These troops arrived on the last of May, and for a few 
days were quartered in the Court-house. After their former 
experience the citizens disliked the idea of having troops 
among them, and made it difficult for them to get their bread 
baked. D. W. Church, the grandfather of our present 
mayor, George Hall, the adjutant of the company, was a 
carpenter. Some years after the war he wrote several let- 
ters of his experiences at that time, from one of which the 
following is an extract. 

" I was building Mr. Parishes house and a number of 
other houses besides my own. The next spring I was busy 
fitting up Mr. Parishes furniture when the news of the war 
came and all business was at an end. In a few days the 



THE WAR OF 1812 41 

Colonel of our regiment of Militia wrote me a letter and 
wished me to discipline the men. After getting them set- 
tled in their barracks I left them for the night — the next 
morning I went down and found no guard or sentinel. I 
told lieutenant Polly that a squaw might come and cut all 
their throats if they kept no guard. He said he knew noth- 
ing about the guard and it was so with all the rest of us. 
However, I got some old military books and went to work 
drilling them into camp duty and soon business went on 
regular." 

Among those who had just been called from the quiet 
labors of the field to participate in the events of war and 
take part in the rigid discipline of a camp, the utmost cau- 
tion was required so as not to incur the death penalty. 
Such, no doubt, was the feeling of the sentinel, Seth Alex- 
ander of DeKalb, who was placed on duty the first night 
of his arrival without being given the countersign. He 
obeyed orders to the letter : " to know no man in the dark 
and to stop all persons passing by land or water." The 
guard had all been posted for the night and the sergeant 
was returning with the relief guard. When they approached 
the spot where the new recruit was on duty, they were or- 
dered to stop, one by one commanded to advance, lay down 
their arms and sit upon the ground. Here they were obliged 
to remain in perfect silence, motionless, and threatened with 
instant death should they attempt to rise or recover their 
arms. Mr. Church gives a most graphic description of 
this event in one of his letters, as follows : 

" Capt. Hawkins was officer of the day. a squad of vol- 
unteers had come in from the near towns, had come in on 
an alarm. I detailed one of the best of them, Seth Alex- 
ander, on guard that day. Seth Alexander of DeKalb with 



42 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

whom I was well acquainted. Ensign Holt was officer of 
the guard and sergeant Barheyte was sergeant of the guard. 
I told the sergeant to look well to the guard and see the 
new recruits instructed in their duty. The Adjutant of a 
regiment never knows when his duty is done, he is liable 
to be called upon by every one for something and my duty 
kept me busy until near midnight, and as I was going to 
my quarters I met the officer of the day who wished me to 
turn and go the grand rounds with him. When we came 
to the guard house we found no sentinel at the door, we 
went in and found the guard all asleep on the floor. Haw- 
kins mustered them up and inquired for the officer of the 
guard, they said he went with the sergeant, corporal and 
relief and had not returned. What said Hawkins have they 
deserted No I said Holt or Barheyte would not desert they 
are true men. something very strange has happened. We 
started on the grand rounds and at the first post we came 
to were hailed who comes there, who comes there, who 
comes there, without giving time for an answer between 
the hailing. Hawkins answered the Grand Rounds. I'll 
grand rounds you d — n ye. Hawkins says, what does this 
mean. I expect it is some new recruit that don't know his 
duty, he ordered one of us to come along, one of the 
escort went up he ordered him to lay down his musket and 
sit down, then ordered another up. the other escort started 
but Hawkins stopped him and said he would go and reason 
the case with him. he went to him and began to speak but 
Alexander said damn you not a word out of your head sit 
down there, he sat down, now another came along. — the 
other soldier went up and was seated. I had reflected while 
all this was doing that I would rather risk his fire than go 
there and sit down, besides it was very dark — now darn 



THE WAR OF 1812 43 

ye do you come along — I'll see ye darned first ye darned 
fool. He fired and missed me and I went up and as I came 
up Hawkins had closed with him and fell back saying he 
has wounded me do you take him off his post. I took a 
pistol out of my belt to drop him but on reflection concluded 
I would not sacrifice a man I well knew and let him stand 
and took Hawkins to the guard house. I went to one of 
the companies and got volunteers in addition to the guard 
and set a line of sentinels around Alexander's post leaving 
him to stand there, in going to my quarters saw a light in 
a tavern. I went in some young officers were gambling, 
when I told them what had happened one of them ensign 
emerson, pished at it and said he could get him off his post. 
I answered you may try. he started off and I went to my 
quarters — the next morning emerson was found there a 
prisoner. Alexander as soon as he came seated him and 
stood with his piece at a charge before him the remainder 
of the night, if he lifted his hand to brush off the mosche- 
toes he would fly at him again darn ye sit still and would 
not let him say one word, sometimes the wind would stir 
the plume of his hat and Alexander would fly at him again 
— darn ye sit still — such is the way with new recruits/ ' 

History tells us that Seth Alexander of DeKalb did not 
leave his post at daybreak until Capt. Hawkins had been 
carried near enough to order him off duty. 

No sooner was the news of the declaration of the war 
received than the greatest alarm was immediately created 
on both sides of the line. In St. Lawrence County espe- 
cially this fear was greatly increased by rumors that parties 
of Indians were about to fall upon the settlements and lay 
waste the country with fire and tomahawk. On the slight- 
est alarm, families would hasten off, leaving their houses 



44 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

open and the table spread with provisions, laden with such 
articles of value as they were able to snatch in their haste, 
some driving their flocks and herds before them. Many 
of these did not return until peace was declared, and some 
never. To say that this alarm was general would be doing 
injustice to a large class of citizens who awaited whatever 
consequences the war might entail. 

At the time war was declared there were eight schooners 
in the Ogdensburg harbor. These attempted to escape to 
the lake, but a Mr. Jones of Maitland, seeing the movement, 
raised a company and, seizing two of the vessels, set the 
passengers and the crew on an island above Brockville and 
burned the boats. The other six sailed back to Ogdensburg. 
At first the citizens proposed to sink them, but finally de- 
cided to take up the bridge and pass the vessels above it, 
where they could be better guarded. Later they were safely 
removed to the lake, and some of them entered the govern- 
ment service. 

The effect of this upon the town is given in a letter 
written by Mr. Joseph Rosseel, from which I extract the 
following : 

" July 2, 1812. 
" The report was that two vessels had been burnt in the 
narrows by Indians and whites, who secreted themselves on 
the islands. This report which run through the county with 
the swiftness of lightning together with the general orders 
which were at the same time issued to march to Ogdens- 
burg, all the men in town prepared for immediate action, 
created such confusion as is indescribable. In less than an 
hour all the settlements on Black Lake and St. Lawrence 
from hence upwards were entirely deserted — people every- 



THE WAR OF 1812 45 

where running through the woods in great dismay. At 
2 p. m. we were all under arms an immediate attack being 
expected from the enemy, with a view as was supposed of 
burning our vessels; our fears were not realized. 

" Joseph Rosseel." 

An interesting incident of this period is taken from a 
paper written by W. E. Guest, who lived in Ogdensburg 
during the War of 1812 and who, as a boy, was an eye- 
witness of much that transpired. 

" A Volunteer Company was formed here, an Artillery 
Company, and the spirit was such that many joined who 
were exempt from duty. In bad weather they would meet 
and drill in the Goff House (the frame building corner of 
State and Knox Streets) then the principal hotel in the place. 
Joseph York was Captain, Chas. Hill, Solomon Cleveland 
and Sylvester Gilbert, Lieuts. The company applied for and 
received from the State two brass 6 pounders. When it 
was known the pieces were within 15 or 16 miles it was 
decided that the company go out and escort them in. It is 
impossible to describe the roads as they were then; they 
would be called now impassable. The company all got as 
far as Remington's now Heuvelton and then many gave out, 
and returned, these were called in derision, the Silk Stocking 
Party; the rest went in and met the guns. When they were 
coming into the village the inhabitants went out to escort 
the company and guns in, and the Silk Stocking Party es- 
sayed to join their company; but the men who had gone 
in through mud and water would not allow them to partici- 
pate in their hard earnings, and would not allow them to 
take place in the ranks. The guns were taken to the bank 



46 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

of the river, and fired a number of times as though to advise 
our enemies of their arrival.' ' 

When we hear of the early settlers fleeing* to the woods 
for safety, it is hard to realize that the village at that time 
was itself almost a wilderness. The father of one of our 
old residents, living to-day, tells a story of hunting in his 
boyhood in the immediate vicinity and killing two moose no 
farther away than the Chapin farm on the ridge. 

It seems incredible how times have changed, as regards 
naval matters, since the War of 1812. We read of the 
Julia, at that time one of our gunboats, in an engagement 
with a British gunboat at Morristown, dropping anchor side 
by side, and cannonading each other for three hours and a 
quarter, with no loss of life and very little damage to the 
vessels. The Julia only received a slight injury from one 
shot. Although the attempt, in September of that year, to 
capture a number of British boats laden with supplies was 
unsuccessful, the bravery of the men ordered to the under- 
taking was remarkable. The account, taken from one of 
Mr. Church's letters, is most interesting. 

" We got news of a number of boats coming up from 
Montreal and I was ordered down with a gun boat and 18 
men to capture them and their boat a detachment of men 
was to accompany us, we landed about midnight on an island 
near the British shore, opposite Madrid and a scouting party 
sent out to reconoitre reported the boats lying in the nar- 
row run between the island and Canada. At daylight we 
went around the island below while the other boat went 
around above in order to have the boats surrounded, when 
we came round the lower point of the island, we found the 
boats lying in a narrow run and a detachment of 150 red- 
coats of the 49 Regiment Paraded close by them we run 



THE WAR OF 1812 47 

up the narrow channel against the boats and came to an 
anchor, they fired a volley upon us and before we had brot 
the gun to bear upon them they fired another volley, the first 
did us no harm but the second wounded five out of the 18 
one Sergeant Clitz badly and others slightly. I fired the 
gun at their center, then to their right and then again to 
their left when they broke and all run helter skelter back 
into the field a mile off, we had no more trouble with the 
redcoats when I was leaning against the mast with my 
shoulder a rifle ball nicked a little notch out of the mast close 
by my ear I presume within an inch. After waiting four 
hours for the other boat (for I had only 10 men at the 
oars and six at the gun one of the best of them shot through 
the knee and entirely disabled) news came that the men had 
abandoned the boat. If the other boat had joined me noth- 
ing could have hindered the capture of the boats. I had 
kept the enemy at a respectful distance the space of four 
hours and nothing to do but shove off and go out but so 
it was. — We left them with regret. " 

These brave men endured hardships and surmounted dif- 
ficulties which would seem beyond human endurance. In 
writing of a trip to Madrid to guard some boats coming up 
the river, Mr. Church says: 

" We left Ogdensburg after dark in a drizzling rain. 
We were accompanied by an escort of infantry under Capt. 
Lytle we had no horses to draw the six pounder it was ex- 
tremely dark so much so that we could not see each other 
except one of the men who had a white frock, he was a 
bright active fellow and we constituted him leader. The 
roads were new and eight miles of woods between Lisbon 
and Madrid and a number of deep gulfs to pass, we got on 
well until we all had to help the horses at all the hills and 



48 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

deep mire, the drag ropes were rigged and the officers & 
men were all in requisition at the bad places and a muddier 
set of fellows could not be found after the light of the morn- 
ing came. Capt. Lytle and myself lifted at the wheels of 
the gun carriage until we were saturated with mud." 

They stopped at Waddington at one the next morning 
and at daybreak afforded protection to the boats passing, 
pushing on later to a point opposite Iroquois for the same 
purpose. 

Late in the fall, Captain Benjamin Forsyth, with a com- 
pany of riflemen, arrived at Ogdensburg. On the 4th of 
October, 18 12, an attack was made upon the village by the 
British gunboats. It had been learned from spies that the 
British were planning this attack, and Captain Forsythe had 
written to Gen. Dearborn at Plattsburg asking for assistance. 
The latter had sent word that he could not afford to help 
him, and that if he could not defend the place he was at 
liberty to evacuate, as the loss of the place might arouse the 
American spirit. Captain Forsythe sought the advice of his 
officers and they decided to abandon only when conquered. 

On Sunday morning the batteries at Prescott opened fire. 
The morning parade had just been dismissed, but the order 
to rally was instantly given. Mr. Church writes : 

" Gen. Brown came to the door and ordered me with 
my piece down to the shore ready to receive the enemy and 
by this time the shot came into the village merrily they had 
fourteen guns playing on us nine in the fort and five gun 
boats, we had only two guns, one twelve and another a six- 
pounder except an old four-pounder with but one ball to 
fit it — when they came near enough we opened up on them 
the twelve pounder recoiled on descending ground and being 
manned by villagers under Sheriff York they could not bring 



THE WAR OF 1812 49 

it back. I sent some of my men to assist them. Gen. 
Brown was soon with us he asked me where my men were. 
I told him at the 12 pounder. Where is Cook he said point- 
ing to him curled up under the net work. Why do you not 
assist at the 12 pounder. I am no Artilleryman. Youre 
a darned coward was what passed between them. We ham- 
mered at them. I requested Capt. Dixon a sea Capt. to see 
where my shot struck, he leaped up and stood on the bat- 
tery, he said you have raked them quartering. I have since 
heard that shot took off one man's head and another's legs 
close to his body, poor fellows they had their work finished 
for this world. This is war they came on within musket 
distance, the 12 pounder under York began to use grape shot 
I had none and used only round shot but they were beaten 
back and that sufficed, the battle was reported next morn- 
ing in the newspapers and no names mentioned of those that 
did the work but others who stood parade and ready and 
undoubtedly would have done well, however they were cele- 
brated for what they would have if — this is the way pup- 
pies get Peoples food, by snatching — they were behind the 
stone store in a safe place while we with two guns against 
fourteen were in the field there was but one shot and two 
or three pieces of broken iron fired from the four pounder 
— this has always operated in my mind when I read ac- 
counts of battles, there is always some puppy to run away 
with the credit." 

Writing of spying on the enemy, Mr. Church says : 
" Our method was to tie a white handkerchief on our 
heads and a white blanket around us and walk as near as 
would answer and then creep as far as that we could hear 
and understand their conversation and ly still on the ice 
until morning or towards it so as to get away undiscovered." 



50 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Time or space will not allow the relation of the trials 
and suffering which the people of Ogdensburg bore at this 
time. Living as they did with the enemy constantly in sight, 
they were without adequate military protection, and thus 
exposed to continual annoyances. They were often awa- 
kened at night by cannon-balls striking the wall over their 
beds. Even the children could not play by the river's edge 
for fear of stray shots from the enemy. The American 
Army refused them the assistance they so much needed, and 
it is not to be wondered at that later the indignation of the 
people was aroused when some of the troops in this vicinity 
succeeded in impressing many of their horses into its serv- 
ice; horses that to most of them were a means of livelihood. 
It is needless to say that they did not get Mr. Church's 
horse. I quote from his account of it: 

" I had engaged work for Mr. David Parish at Parish- 
ville and when we arrived in the vicinity of Potsdam we 
met people flying with their teams crying, turn about the 
soldiers are coming they will press your horses. Well let 
them press if they can I have fought the British to prevent 
impressment and will continue to do it as long as I live, we 
passed on and when we came in sight of Potsdam village I 
saw a squad of soldiers in the road and told Smith to stop 
I would meet them on my feet, he drove on before me and 
I hobbled after, I could not keep along so fast as he drove 
but they stopped him and when I came up, I said to Smith 
what is the matter, they say they must have the horses, they 
shall not, yes I shall sir, not while I live, what will you do 
you are but one and I have a guard about me, order your 
guard to make a motion if you dare, with thumb on the 
cock of my musket, What can I do I have orders to take 
all horses I can find but you seem like a soldier. I will tell 



THE WAR OF 1812 51 

you the horses shall go to headquarters and if your com- 
mander will not give me a pass I will bring them back and 
you and me will fight for them I will never live if they are 
taken from me. I went to Col. Pike he gave me a pass and 
made many inquiries about the battle, he said he was tempted 
to take Prescott on his route to the harbor. I told him I 
would go back with him and find some good fellows to go 
with us but he said it was strictly against his orders to 
interfere another evidence of the tender conscience of the 
South, they say much about the agressions of the North but 
nothing about the recall of Harrison and sending old Wil- 
kinson and Hampton for the very purpose of doing nothing 
nor do they say anything of the Florida war, their abuses 
to the Indians taking away their lands and the Mexican 
war for their Agrandisement but for sooth, Northern ag- 
gression, they heated the poker a little too much I had con- 
siderable conversation with Col. Pike and was convinced 
that the sacrifice of this frontier was to be the order of the 
day and I have never felt good natured at the dough faces." 

Our ancestors suffered greater losses than the impress- 
ment of their horses. On February 226. of the following 
year, 18 13, an attack was made upon the village. It had 
been previously learned from spies that the British were con- 
templating such an attack and the small force under Capt. 
Forsythe made preparations to resist it. Fifty of the resi- 
dents volunteered their assistance and a company was 
formed under Sheriff Joseph York, great-grandfather of 
the writer. The total number of militia and volunteers prob- 
ably did not exceed one hundred and fifty. 

The British numbered eight hundred, and, marching 
across the frozen St. Lawrence, approached the village in 
two divisions. One of five hundred directed their attack 



52 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

towards a point below the village where a breastwork had 
been thrown up but was not defended; the rest of the force 
approached from a point above the stone garrison. Capt. 
Forsythe had drawn up his men in the rear of the building 
facing the enemy. Lieutenant Baird was near the right line 
with an iron six-pounder, and Adjutant Church part way 
down the line with a brass six-pounder. The snow had 
drifted three feet in front of them on the bank. When the 
enemy reached this point they fired. Captain Forsythe then 
ordered his men to fire, and as the British were near enough 
to hear the order, they fell on their faces, and immediately 
after the volley sprang up and ran off without ceremony. 
Eight of their number were left on the ice dead. 

The other detachment of the enemy entered the village 
from below and met with no resistance. Sheriff York and 
his company of volunteers were stationed at the corner of 
Ford and Euphemia (now State) Streets. The cannon was 
facing the bridge as they expected the enemy to approach 
from that direction. Great was their surprise when they 
turned and discovered five hundred soldiers advancing up 
State Street. The gun was brought to bear upon them and 
several shots were fired. Two of our men, however, were 
killed by the enemy, and the others, with the exception of 
Sheriff York, turned and fled. But he, disdaining to leave 
his post at the moment of danger, resolved to face the enemy 
alone. While he was engaged in charging the guns, the 
soldiers approached with guns levelled ready for the order 
to fire. Then the captain raised his hand and turning to 
his company, said : " There stands too brave a man to 
shoot." 

When the British returned to Prescott, they took back 
with them fifty prisoners, one of whom was Joseph York. 



THE WAR OF 1812 53 

We wonder what the families of these brave volunteers 
were doing during this exciting time. History tells us that 
the greatest confusion prevailed throughout the village, and 
that the women and children fled, most of them in the direc- 
tion of Heuvelton, taking with them such articles of value 
as they could gather in the excitement. 

Extracts from a letter written by Mrs. Joseph York give 
an idea of the hardships they endured at the hands of the 
British. This letter was written on February 26th, 18 13, 
only four days after the battle. 

" I did not leave the house until the British were close 
to it and not till they had shot a great number of balls into 
it. I took nothing with me but some money and my table 
spoons and ran as fast as possible with a number of other 
women. Our retreat was to the distance of about fifteen 
miles. The next day I returned. Our house was plundered 
of almost everything and my husband a prisoner on the 
other side. You can easier imagine my feelings than I can 
describe them. They did not leave any article of clothing, 
not even a handkerchief; they took all my bedding but left 
the beds; they broke my looking glass and even my knives. 
Thus situated, I determined to go over to Canada and ac- 
cordingly went to a flag of truce which was stationed in 
this village, for permission, which I obtained. I went to 
one of my acquaintances on the other side where I was 
favorably received. I applied to the commanding officer for 
the purpose of ascertaining whether I could procure any of 
my clothes; he assured me I should have them if I could find 
them, but did not trouble himself to make any inquiry. My 
journey was not lost; I procured the release of my husband, 
who was paroled and returned with me. Most of the houses 



54 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

in the village were plundered. You will be astonished when 
I tell you they were not contented with what the Indians 
and soldiers could plunder during the battle, but, after it 
was over, the women on the other side came over and took 
what was left. Lavinia Foot York." 

The looking-glass Mrs. York refers to, although only 
about eight inches square, was the largest owned by any one 
in Ogdensburg up to this time. 

After this battle most of the citizens returned to the vil- 
lage, but the place was left without any military defense dur- 
ing the remainder of the war. This exposed the people to 
frequent insults. On one occasion, some deserters having come 
over from the enemy, an officer was sent across with a flag 
of truce, threatening to commit the village to the flames if 
they were not killed. To this requisition Judge Ford, with 
his usual promptness, replied that they would do no such 
thing, for that no sooner should he see them landing than 
with his own hands he would set fire to his own house, 
rally his neighbors, cross the river with torches and burn 
every house from Prescott to Brockville. 

This practically ended the war so far as Ogdensburg was 
concerned. 



OGDENSBURG DURING THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 

Taken from Hough's History of St. Lawrence County, Curtis's His- 
tory of St. Lawrence County, " Humors of '37," by R. and K. Lizars, sup- 
plemented by personal recollections related by Mrs. J. G. Averell, the 
Misses Gilbert, Miss Margaret Perkins, Mrs. Hoard, Mr. Joseph McNaugh- 
ton, Mr. McClellan, the late Mrs. A. B. James, and others. 

Of the causes that led to the Patriot War of 1837, it is 
not my purpose to write at any length. Suffice it to say 
that there had existed for several years in the Canadian 
provinces a party which labored to obtain certain reforms 
in government, among which were the extension of the elect- 
ive franchise and the procuring of a responsible elective 
council. The movement grew until this handful of reform- 
ers, or Patriots, as they called themselves, even dreamed that 
through their efforts Canada might become an independent 
republic. 

All this aroused bitter feeling, and late in November, 
1837, the press of the reformers was destroyed by a mob, 
which so increased the excitement that the military force 
was called out, and certain prominent leaders of the reform 
party were arrested. Soon the prisons became filled with 
persons charged with conspiracy against the government; 
martial law was proclaimed in the lower province, and 
numerous instances of wanton violence on the part of the 
soldiers served to augment the ill feeling. 

Numbers of Canadians fled to the Northern States for 
an asylum, and these Patriot refugees related in excited 

55 



56 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

language their version of the occurrences in Canada, enlist- 
ing the sympathy of many Americans in a cause having for 
its avowed object the independence of Canada. We of this 
generation cannot readily understand the intense feeling 
there was between the British and the Yankees of those days. 
The troubles of 1812-14 were so recent that the recollection 
of them was unpleasantly vivid. Indeed it is a fact that 
many loyal Americans really believed that to be truly patri- 
otic presupposed utter detestation of the British, and oppo- 
sition to everything that was British. Absurd as it may 
seem, one might paraphrase Horace and say " It is sweet 
and glorious to hate the British," to voice the popular senti- 
ment of those days. 

Many Americans, whose love of liberty or craving for 
excitement overcame their judgment, hastened to offer their 
services to the Patriots, and to supply them with arms and 
munitions to the extent of their means. Excitement along 
the border was at white heat, and especially here at Ogdens- 
burg more than at any other point on the frontier. Cana- 
dians dwelling on the shores of the St. Lawrence were in 
constant dread of attack from this side by the Patriot forces 
and their recruits from the United States; while the Ameri- 
cans were fearful lest the acts of their impetuous compa- 
triots might involve us in serious trouble with Great Britain. 

The New York Courier and Enquirer had the honesty, 
in the recapitulatory articles which all border events called 
out, to say, " It is idle in this matter to affect concealment 
of the fact that the present Canadian rebellion receives its 
chief impulse and encouragement from the United States." 

At the foot of the terrible three hundred and thirty-four 
feet of water-leaps taken in the last thirty-six miles of the 
river bed of the Niagara lies Navy Island, only a mile and 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 57 

a half above the Cauldron, and within three-quarters of a 
mile of the worst of the rapids. Here on American soil, 
safe from the Canadian authorities, Mackenzie set up his 
toy kingdom, and here on December 13, 1837, tne ^ rst P a ~ 
triot flag was run up over the Patriot headquarters. Mac- 
kenzie's coadjutor from the United States was Rensselaer 
Van Rensselaer, a naturally handsome man under thirty, 
though looking much older from dissipation, who spent most 
of his time in the shabby headquarters on Navy Island' in 
the double occupation of drinking brandy and writing love^ 
letters. 

To communicate with the main shore and to bring sup- 
plies across those turbulent waters, the provisional govern- 
ment of this tiny republic, represented by Mackenzie, hired 
a small vessel named the Caroline . 

The Caroline, constructed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, after- 
wards known as Commodore Vanderbilt, was built of live- 
oak timbers, and was originally intended for use in the coast- 
ing trade along the shore of South Carolina. She was con- 
verted into a steamer and brought up the canals to Lake 
Ontario, had been used as a ferry at Ogdensburg, and was 
later taken through the Welland Canal to be used as a ferry 
at Buffalo, where, as already said, she was hired by the 
Patriots on Navy Island. 

The Loyalists in Canada had for some time suspected 
the Caroline of carrying contraband goods to the Patriots, 
so several volunteers started out to investigate and make 
report. They succeeded in proving the truth of their sus- 
picions, with the result that several determined Loyalists 
braved the dangers and terrors of those seething waters, and 
rowing to Navy Island, burned the Caroline as she lay at 
the dock the night of December 29, 1837. 



58 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

The firing of the Caroline, the murdering 1 of her crew, 
the cutting the steamer adrift and sending her over the falls 
of Niagara, served to increase the excitement to an extraor- 
dinary degree. It let loose the tongues of ministers and 
diplomats, and it gave a great impulse to the outside move- 
ment of sympathizers. Public meetings were held through- 
out the country to express an honest indignation at the out- 
rage and to invoke the executive arm to protect our national 
rights. The subject became the absorbing topic of the press. 
On the 1 2th of February, 1838, Mackenzie addressed the 
citizens of Ogdensburg on the Canadian question. In the 
evening and again the following morning a cannon was fired 
several times with the intention of honoring the speaker, but 
with the effect of assembling crowds of excited citizens. 
That evening several persons from Prescott, who had heard 
the firing, crossed the river to ascertain the cause. They 
were met in the street by a party of Patriot sympathizers, 
who promptly arrested them, in spite of their indignant pro- 
test, and detained them until the following morning. This 
illegal proceeding irritated the Canadians and increased the 
feeling of hostility. 

On the 1 8th of February, 1838, the State arsenal at 
Watertown was robbed, and the State offered a reward of 
$250 for the burglars. The Patriots and their sympathizers 
now took active measures to assemble arms and munitions of 
war along the frontier, and secret associations styled " Hunt- 
ers' Lodges " were soon formed in the large villages, to 
organize a plan of resistance, and circulate early intelligence 
of new movements. 

On the night between the 29th and 30th of May, 1838, 
the British steamboat, Sir Robert Peel, on her passage from 
Prescott to the head of the lake, while taking fuel at Wells 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 59 

Island, was boarded by a party of armed men, painted and 
disguised as Indians. " All hands ashore," called out the 
leader of the band. Gangplanks were run out fore and aft, 
and with hideous yells and violent threats they drove all the 
officers, hands and passengers on shore, the passengers, in- 
cluding several women, escaping in their night clothes. 
Then the pirates set fire to the steamer, and rowed away. 
Captain Jessup of Prescott, who was the leader of the Pres- 
cott Independent Co., which later assisted in the capture of 
the windmill, was among the passengers on the Sir Robert 
Peel. Burning with indignation, and full of military ardor, 
clad only in his night-shirt, he scrambled on a great rock, 
drew himself up to his full height, and, shaking his fists at 

the retreating pirates, repeatedly exclaimed, " J C , 

if I only had a sword I " Just as the pirates disappeared, 
an anguished cry was heard above the crackling flames, 
" My God, will no one help me? " and those on shore were 
horrified to see the mate of the Peel, standing like Casa- 
bianca on the " burning deck, whence all but him had fled/' 
Willing hands seized a small boat tied to the wjharf, and 
rowed to his aid. All on fire, he leaped into the water, and 
was pulled into the boat and taken back to the island, where 
his terrible burns were cared for as well as possible. It 
seems he had slept through all the commotion and excite- 
ment, and had only wakened to find himself on fire and sur- 
rounded by flames. In the cold, gray dawn of the morning, 
while the Sir Robert Peel was still burning, the steamer 
Oneida arrived on her downward trip, and her commander, 
Capt. Smith, rescued the passengers from their ridiculous 
and most uncomfortable situation, carrying them to King- 
ston, the nearest British port. Such an outrage as this com- 
pelled the notice of the government, and prompt and decisive 



60 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

measures were adopted by the authorities on both sides of 
the St. Lawrence to arrest and punish the authors of the 
act. On June ioth, William Johnston, who held a commis- 
sion from the provisional Patriot government as " com- 
mander-in-chief " of its purely mythical " naval forces and 
flotilla/' openly paraded the streets of Ogdensburg with his 
belt stuck full of pistols, dirks and bowie knives, and im- 
mediately after issued a proclamation which was published 
in most of the papers, publicly acknowledging the act of 
burning the Sir Robert Peel, and frankly stating his motive 
for so doing, which was not for his own grievance, such as 
the confiscation of his property on the British side in 1812, 
but to avenge the United States for the burning of the 
Caroline. 

And who was this redoubtable William Johnston, better 
known as " Bill ? " At this time he was a man about sixty 
years of age, of great physical strength, bold, hardy and 
absolutely fearless, " a good friend and a terror to his ene- 
mies.' ' He stated that " whoever attacked him must bring 
his own coffin, as he himself had no leisure for cabinet 
making." He made his home on an island without the juris- 
diction of the United States, at a place he named Fort Wal- 
lace. From there he and his chosen followers would start 
on their numerous expeditions, and, their purpose accom- 
plished, they would row rapidly away in their swift boats 
to elude pursuit in the many hiding-places known to them 
among the islands. The boat used by Johnston himself was 
twenty-eight feet long, twelve-oared, a marvel of swiftness; 
so light that two men could carry her with ease, but capable 
of accommodating twenty armed men. 

Mr. Joseph McNaughton, who well remembers those stir- 
ring times, tells me that after the capture of Bill Johnston, 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 61 

his boat served as a model for others. One in especial, 
named the Banner, built after her lines for Ogdensburg par- 
ties, was so swift that she, with her crew, of which Mr. 
McNaughton is the sole survivor, swept the river, and won 
every race for which she was entered. 

Bill Johnston believed that it was a glorious thing to be 
a pirate king, and certainly this buccaneer, armed to the 
teeth, actuated by revenge for real injuries, carrying out his 
threat to be a thorn in Great Britain's side, flying from 
island to island, a price set upon his head, determined to 
sell his life at desperate cost, devoted to his daughter and 
adored by his children, has a touch of poetry about him. 
His four stalwart sons assisted him on his raids, but the 
most interesting member of his family was his daughter 
Kate, whom his ambition was to make Queen of the Thou- 
sand Islands. She was a beautiful girl of nineteen, coura- 
geous, armed like her brothers, and skilful enough to keep 
her father supplied with provisions on those exciting occa- 
sions when he had to hide among the fastnesses of his be- 
loved islands. We have, no doubt, all seen that particular 
cavern among the Thousand Islands, which, to this day, is 
pointed out as " Bill Johnston's Cave." 

All this time the troubles along the border continued, 
and the local authorities seeming unable to cope with the 
situation, in the autumn of 1838, Col. W. J. Worth, who 
was stationed at Sackett's Harbor, was ordered with two 
companies of government troops to Ogdensburg, to assist in 
maintaining order. Whether their coming was pleasing to 
the Patriots, I leave you to conjecture, but it requires no 
imagination to understand how they were received by the 
rest of the town. Then began gay times for Ogdensburg. 
Col. Worth and his officers were welcomed with royal hos- 



62 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

pitality. I have often heard my grandmother tell of the balls 
and parties given in honor of Col. Worth and his officers, 
where the brilliant uniforms of the soldiers made such pleas- 
ing contrast with the dainty gowns worn by the belles of 
those days. Ogdensburg, then as now, was celebrated for 
its pretty girls. Cupid was very busy, and the glances of 
bright eyes caused many hearts to flutter. Some " loved 
and rode away," but one of Col. Worth's young officers, 
Lieut. George Lincoln, son of Gov. Lincoln of Massachu- 
setts, wooed and won the beautiful Nancy Hoard, of whom 
Bancroft Davis (nephew of Bancroft, the historian), who 
had been charge d'affaires to Minister Ingersoll at the Court 
of St. James, said in after years to Mrs. James Averell, 
" She was the most beautiful and gracious woman I ever 
saw. I have seen many beautiful women in London and 
Paris, but she excelled them all in grace and charm." My 
grandmother has told me how, just before the arrival of 
the officers, the lovely Nancy sprained her ankle, and while 
all the other girls were having the fun, she, lying on her 
sofa, was obliged to take her enjoyment second-hand from 
the girls who came each day to tell her all that she was miss- 
ing. But not even sprained ankles can last forever, and 
Nan was able to attend the last dance, given just before the 
departure of the officers. There she met Lieut. Lincoln. It 
was a case of love at first sight. They were married six 
months later, and their happiness only ended when he was 
killed, during the Mexican War, at the battle of Buena 
Vista. 

At this time existed in Ogdensburg an organization 
known as the Ogdensburg Artillery Company, whose captain 
was my grandfather, the late A. B. James. I have often 
heard my grandmother tell how fine the company looked in 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 63 

its handsome uniforms, which consisted of white trousers, 
blue coats with gold buttons and epaulets, and cocked hats 
with long red and white plumes. Mr. McClellan (who for 
so many years has been our favorite kalsominer) says, " I 
was about seven years old at the time, and I can well re- 
member how I used to go out to the Gilbert farm to see them 
drill. My, but they used to look handsome in their uni- 
forms! They don't have such fine uniforms nowadays, and 
they don't have such fine men either. They were all tall, 
handsome men, and the handsomest of the lot was A. B. 
James. I never saw such a fine-looking officer as he was! 
And John Grant too! " 

It was at this time that the ladies embroidered the flag, 
which was later presented with much pomp and ceremony 
to the Artillery Company. Mrs. A. B. James designed and 
drew the wreath of oak leaves and acorns which adorns one 
side of the banner. Then the question arose, what to em- 
broider on the other side. All agreed that it should be mili- 
tary in character, but no one felt equal to making such a 
design, so Mr. George Seymour, a member of the Artillery 
Company, appealed to one of Col. Worth's officers, Lieut. 
Sully (son of the famous Philadelphia artist of that name), 
who had great skill in drawing, to help them in their quan- 
dary. " To be sure I will," said this accommodating young 
man, and forthwith he drew the design of the eagle, etc., 
which decorates one side of the flag. The chenille and silks 
had to be procured in Montreal, and the embroidery was 
done in the parlors of Judge Brown's house on Caroline 
Street. Among the workers were Miss Mary Gilbert, Miss 
Nancy Hoard, Miss Sophia Hoard, Miss Julia Cooper, Miss 
Elizabeth Fine, Miss Margaret Perkins, Miss Elizabeth 
Guest, Miss Elizabeth Hasbrouck, Miss Jane Brown, Miss 



64 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Louise Allen, and no doubt many others, but all unite in 
saying that the largest part of the work was done by Mrs. 
A. B. James, as she could embroider most skilfully, the eagle 
being entirely the work of her clever fingers. 

At this time Ogdensburg was but a small village, in fact, 
one who remembers those days says that Prescott seemed 
large by comparison. But if Ogdensburg was small, it was 
a thriving town, and a great amount of business was done 
here, though the only means of communication with the 
outside world was either by coach or by water, railroads and 
telegraph lines being conspicuous by their absence. The 
principal part of the business section of the village was situ- 
ated on Water Street, between the ferry dock and the bridge. 
The Tremont was the first hotel in the village, and stood 
just opposite the Allen Block in Marble Row, the name given 
to a fine group of buildings destroyed some years later in 
Ogdensburg's most disastrous fire. The Hasbrouck house, 
surrounded by its large garden, stood on Ford Street, where 
now the Hasbrouck Block - is built, and opposite was Mr. 
Bell's store, where now stands the Bell Block. There were 
a few other dwellings on Ford Street, and some scattered 
shops. Where the Merriam house now stands, on the cor- 
ner of Franklin and Knox Streets, was a wood-yard, and 
cord-wood was cut on the low ground in front of the Cathe- 
dral; Elizabeth Street was a cedar swamp where the boys 
used to skate in winter. The shores of the Oswegatchie 
were covered with fine timber, and deer and game could 
be found in abundance. There are several houses now 
standing which were then in existence, among them the 
Ford mansion, now incorporated in the City Orphanage; 
the stone house at the corner of Ford and Hamilton Streets, 
then occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Ripley, and now used by the 






THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 65 

nuns as a school; the old Webster house on the corner of 
State and Jay Streets, once the home of Preston King; the 
house on Franklin Street, built by Baron Van Heuvel, now 
occupied by the Hasbroucks; the Gilbert house on State 
Street, and the old Goff house built by Col. Goff diagonally 
across from the Post-office. The E. B. Allen house, now 
occupied by Capt. Lyon, was originally built for and used 
as a tavern, as was also the Isaac Seymour house on the 
corner of Caroline and Greene Streets, now occupied by 
Dr. Cooper. Other buildings are the James house on Caro- 
line Street, now occupied by Dr. and Mrs. Madill; the 
Parish house, where Mr. George Hall is living; the George 
Hall coal office, originally built by Mr. Parish for his office; 
the buildings on State Street occupied by the American Ex- 
press Company and the New York Central ticket office; the 
houses now occupied by Dr. Hanbidge and Dr. Bell, also 
the old stone dwelling at the corner of Washington and 
Isabella Streets. Some of these buildings have been more 
or less altered since the days of '37, but others, outwardly, 
at least, are just as they were at the time of the Patriot War. 
Among the families living here at the time of the Patriot 
War, the following have descendants now living in Ogdens- 
burg, who, in their turn, are carrying on the friendships 
formed, so many years ago, by that earlier generation, — 
the Ford, Averell, Arnold, Gilbert, Seymour, Hasbrouck, 
Allen, Bell, Peters, Brown, Ripley, Perkins, Fine, Hoard, 
Stilwell, Myers, Ranney, Sherman, Guest, Church, James, 
Fairchild, Clark, Davies, York, Daniels, Lyon, Edsall, Cha- 
pin and McNaughton. 

Early in November, 1838, the Patriots began to exhibit 
intentions of renewing demonstrations upon Canada. About 
the 10th of November, two schooners, the Charlotte of To- 



66 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

ronto and the Charlotte of Oswego, were noticed as being 
freighted at Oswego from boats that had arrived by canal 
from Syracuse under circumstances somewhat suspicious. 
Soon after loading, they left the harbor, taking a northerly 
course. The next morning, November nth, the steamer 
United States, which had been undergoing repairs at Os- 
wego since the 6th, left on her regular trip down the river. 
Just as she was leaving she was boarded by about 150 men, 
who were without other baggage than small bundles and 
two or three trunks. A nail keg put on board fell in the 
handling, and the leaden bullets which it contained rolled 
all over the deck. At Sackett's Harbor more men came on 
board, and more were taken on at Cape Vincent. Shortly 
after they passed the United States government boat Tele- 
graph off Point Peninsula, and the mate of the United 
States later testified that he heard the leaders of the party 
cautioning the men to keep out of sight until they had 
passed the Telegraph, which, unknown to them, was then on 
her way to Sackett's Harbor to bring Col. Worth and his 
men back to Ogdensburg, they having returned to their post 
when any necessity for their remaining longer at Ogdens- 
burg seemed to have disappeared. On arriving at the foot 
of Long Island the two schooners were discovered, and at 
the request of a respectable-looking passenger, who repre- 
sented that they were his property and freighted with goods 
for Ogdensburg, Capt. Van Cleve of the United States, as 
he could find no valid reason for refusing, although some- 
what doubtful of the proceeding, took the schooners in tow, 
as the wind was in a quarter disadvantageous to sailing ves- 
sels. Soon after leaving French Creek, where more men 
came aboard, the nature of the business of the passengers 
was evident, for they proceeded openly to arm themselves 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 67 

with swords and pistols taken from the boxes which had 
been transferred from the schooners to the steamer. A hur- 
ried consultation was held between the captain, two of the 
owners of the steamer and Mr. Denio (one of the bank 
commissioners who was on board), and it was decided to 
stop at Morristown, the next American port, there give 
information as to the character of the passengers and their 
supposed object, and send an express to the authorities at 
Ogdensburg with similar information. Just before reaching 
Morristown, one of the passengers, John W. Birge by name, 
whose military bearing and the sword only partially con- 
cealed by his cloak proclaimed a person of authority, di- 
rected that half of those men on the steamer should return 
to the schooners, which then were cut adrift, to be seen no 
more until the United States arrived at Ogdensburg, about 
three o'clock in the morning, Monday, November 12th, 
where she tied up at her wharf and her fires were extin- 
guished according to the usual custom. Then it was seen 
that one of the schooners had grounded on the bar at Og- 
densburg while the other had landed at Prescott and made 
fast to the upper wharf. A Polish exile, a man of cultiva- 
tion, whose ardent love of liberty had led him to embrace 
the misguided cause of the Patriots, Von Shoultz by name, 
was in command, and he urged his men to land, march into 
the village and take possession of the fort. Had they fol- 
lowed his advice, there is little doubt that they would have 
captured the fort, and taken possession of Prescott, but dis- 
cussions arose, other leaders counselled otherwise, and after 
some delay the schooner cast off, fell down the stream, and 
anchored about a mile below Prescott, nearly opposite the old 
windmill. At that time several massive stone houses stood 
close to the mill, the whole being surrounded by groups of 



68 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

cedar thickets. The mill, then as now, was round in shape, 
and the walls heavy and massive. In fact, its architecture 
was such that the more the cannon battered it, the stronger 
it became. The interior was divided into several stories, 
and as no grain had been ground there for some years, the 
machinery had fallen into ruin. 

On Monday, November 12th, in the gray dawn of the 
early morning, an iron nine-pounder cannon belonging to the 
village of Ogdensburg, and a brass four-pounder belonging 
to the State of New York, and in charge of the Ogdensburg 
Artillery Company under Captain A. B. James, were seized 
by the so-called Patriots, and conveyed across the river in a 
scow to the windmill. At sunrise the streets were filled 
with armed men. It was evident from their actions that 
they intended to seize the steamer United States. The mar- 
shal of the district was absent. The collector, Smith Stil- 
well, made strenuous efforts to hold the boat, but without 
effect. The leaders of the Patriots began the muster of a 
volunteer company to man the steamer, openly deriding the 
efforts of the civil authorities in trying to prevent them. A 
crew having been obtained, and steam got up, they left the 
wharf, greeted by loud cheers of the crowd, and went to the 
assistance of the schooner that had run aground, but not 
succeeding in floating her, they returned to the wharf for 
additional hands, hawsers, and provisions. Meanwhile, those 
on the river front could see that Prescott was alive with 
preparations to resist the movements which were in progress 
against them. The Experiment, a British steamboat, lay a 
the wharf in Prescott, and being armed with cannon, she 
repeatedly fired, but without effect, at the United States as 
she cruised up and down between the grounded schooner 
and Windmill Point. The crew of the United States re- 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 69 

ceived the fire of the Experiment with derisive shouts, until, 
as she was returning with great speed on her last trip, a 
cannon-shot from the British steamer entered the wheel- 
house and instantly beheaded a young Ogdensburg man, 
Solomon Foster, who stood as pilot at the wheel. 

When the steamer reached her wharf, it was seen that 
only a few of those who crossed the river in her had re- 
turned. As she tied up at the wharf, she was formally seized 
by Nathaniel Gorrow of Auburn, N. Y., United States Mar- 
shal for Northern New York, who had just arrived, and her 
machinery was taken apart. The Patriots in Ogdensburg 
now seized the small ferry steamboat, the Paul Pry, and 
with her finally succeeded in releasing the grounded schooner, 
when she passed down and took a position near the other 
vessel. During Monday there were frequent crossings of 
the river in small boats, and no attempt was made to pre- 
vent it by the authorities of either side. That night there 
was no disturbance, except the sound of occasional firing, 
but here the excitement was intense. Miss Margaret Perkins 
has told me that, while she was playing in the yard that 
Monday afternoon, she saw her uncle, Mr. John Grant, who 
lived with Bishop Perkins and his family, come in and walk 
hastily toward the stable. Curious as all little children are, 
she followed him and heard him tell the coachman to keep 
the horses harnessed, the buffalo robes in the sleigh, and 
to remain there himself, for, in the excited state of affairs, 
they might be obliged to leave at any moment, day or night. 
Greatly alarmed, Miss Margaret ran to her mother and re- 
peated what she had overheard. In the absence of Bishop 
Perkins, whose duties as supervisor had called him away to 
Canton, Mrs. Perkins went at once to her brother and 
begged to be informed of the true state of affairs. He at- 



70 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

tempted to reassure her, but she said, " If we have to go, 
we might just as well be ready, so I will go and pack the 
silver and some clothes.' , " Perhaps it would be as well if 
you did," admitted Mr. Grant. 

Miss Hannah tells how her father, who lived near Lis- 
bon, shared in the excitement, and hearing that the Patriots 
were fortifying the windmill, and a battle was imminent, 
bade good-by to his wife, saying he was off to join the 
Patriots. " But surely you will not leave me and the chil- 
dren for such a cause ? " she said. " I have said I would 
go, so I am going," he replied. When all was ready for 
him to start, she appeared in her riding-habit. " Where are 
you going?" he asked. "To the Patriot War," she replied. 
"But how can you leave the children?" he demanded. 
" Why," she replied, " if you can leave me and the children 
to go to this war, I can leave the children to go with you." 
He stayed at home. 

While the events described were taking place, the Patri- 
ots were busy fortifying the windmill and adjacent build- 
ings, under the direction of Von Schoultz, upon whom de- 
volved the defense of this position in the absence of his 
superior officers, who, it has been strongly insinuated and 
firmly believed, lacked the courage to carry out their own 
plan. In this novel and perilous crisis the citizens of Og- 
densburg held meetings to determine the best course to pur- 
sue. Rumors of every kind floated through the town. Some 
were for aiding the Patriots; those wiser, embracing most 
of those of influence and property, called on every good 
citizen to lend his aid to discourage the movement and to 
protect national honor and the interests of the village. How- 
ever, these meetings amounted to little else than giving an 
opportunity to people to express their sentiments, for so 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 71 

many armed strangers patrolled the streets that the good 
citizens of Ogdensburg, being decidedly in the minority, 
could only await developments with what patience they could 
muster. 

About ten o'clock Tuesday morning, November 13th, the 
two schooners were seized by the marshal, as they lay at the 
wharf at Ogdensburg, and were placed in charge of Col. 
Worth, who arrived on the Telegraph, and were subse- 
quently sent to Sackett's Harbor for safe-keeping. The ar- 
rival of Col. Worth and his troops also put an end to the 
communication that had been kept up between the Patriots 
and the American shore. Another circumstance which as- 
sisted Col. Worth in his efforts to maintain order was the 
arrival at Prescott of the British armed steamers, the Co- 
burg and the Victoria, with reinforcements of troops. They, 
with the Experiment, commenced throwing bombs at the 
Patriot forces in the windmill, who returned the fire with 
field-pieces from their batteries on shore. The sound of the 
cannon was so loud that it could be distinctly heard in Can- 
ton, where the supervisors were then in session, and was 
heard so plainly at Lisbon that a woman living near that 
village became so much alarmed for the safety of her hus- 
band, who had been summoned to Ogdensburg on business, 
that she ran to the pasture, seized the horse, and throwing 
the bridle over his head, mounted and rode as fast as pos- 
sible to Ogdensburg. A -few miles out of town she met her 
husband returning on foot. "Oh, John, are you safe?" she 
cried, slipping down from the horse. He seized the horse's 
bridle, mounted post-haste, and exclaiming, " One brave 
man is worth a dozen women," rode home as fast as the 
horse could go, leaving his wife to care for herself. 

The following story well illustrates the local excitement, 



73 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

and the high feeling which divided friends who differed in 
their opinion as to the right of the Patriot's cause. To the 
old Washington Hotel, kept by a genial and pleasant man, 
came every morning a well-known citizen of Ogdensburg, 
who would lay three copper cents on the counter, receive in 
exchange his glass of toddy (liquor was cheaper in those 
days), and after an exchange of greetings and mutual cour- 
tesies would depart to attend to the business of the day. 
This citizen had large interests both in Canada and St. Law- 
rence County, so in the discussion that arose concerning the 
Patriots he could say nothing for either side lest he imperil 
his investments. The morning after the battle at the wind- 
mill, he arrived as usual for his toddy. No attention being 
paid him by the large group of men discussing the situation, 
he beckoned to his friend, " Just put in a little sugar, a little 
water, and stir it around a few times as usual," he called 
out to the erstwhile genial Boniface. Looking up he saw 
his host striding toward him with an expression which boded 
no good. Wishing to avoid an encounter, he hurried to the 
door, only to be forcibly assisted in his exit by his host's 
foot, to the accompaniment of the wrathful words, " By 

, do you think I'll mix drinks for a d — Tory ! " 

These exciting events drew a large crowd to Ogdensburg 
from the surrounding towns and country. The river front 
and Mill Point, the present site of the Rutland Depot, were 
black with spectators. Miss Louise Allen, who afterwards 
became Mrs. Louis Hasbrouck, took a part of her young 
friends to watch the proceedings from the top floor of her 
father's (E. B. Allen) store on the water front, and my 
grandmother has told me how she and her sister, Laura 
Ripley (afterwards Mrs. Charles Shepard), watched the bat- 
tle through a spy-glass from the roof of their father's house, 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 73 

now the nuns' school on Ford Street, and how plainly they 
could see the redcoats fall. Most of the day the battle 
continued, and the people here stood watching the contest. 
The Patriots, protected by the thick walls of the mill, lost 
but five killed and thirteen wounded, but the British suffered 
severely from the sharpshooters posted on the top floors of 
the mill, and their loss is said to have been one hundred 
killed and many more wounded. On the morning of 
Wednesday, under a flag of truce, both sides buried their 
dead in a great trench at the foot of the mill. On Wednes- 
day, Col. Worth, humanely anxious to prevent more of this 
useless bloodshed, consulted with a few of the prominent 
citizens of Ogdensburg, and as a result, Col. Worth, accom- 
panied by Judge Fine, Preston King, Judge Stilwell, and 
Dr. S. N. Sherman, crossed to Prescott on the United States 
steamer Telegraph, where they called upon Col. Plomer 
Young, the British commander, who received them with 
marked politeness, and accompanied them back to the 
steamer, where a private interview was held between the 
two colonels. At this interview, Col. Worth deplored the 
useless sacrifice of life by allowing the battle to continue, as 
it was evident that the brave but misguided men must soon 
be overcome in the unequal contest, and he offered to be 
surety for their behavior if he might be allowed to remove 
the Patriots, many of whom were mere lads not more than 
sixteen or seventeen years of age, who had been induced to 
embark in this foolish enterprise. As a military commander, 
Col. Young could not, of course, grant such a favor, in fact, 
pointedly denied it, but the humanity of Col. Worth's prop- 
osition must have appealed to him, for, either by accident 
or design (I, myself, think the latter, for he was an un- 
usually fine man), he intimated that the machinery of the 



74 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Experiment, also that of the Coburg and Victoria needed 
repairs which would prevent their being used until two 
o'clock the next morning. With mutual amenities the two 
colonels parted, and Col. Worth and his party returned to 
Ogdensburg. On arriving, Preston King undertook to raise 
a company of volunteers to assist him in his work of rescu- 
ing the Patriots in the windmill, and after nightfall he, with 
John Grant and other assistants, started off in the Paul Pry. 
The shallow water obliged them to anchor about twenty-five 
feet from land, and row ashore in small boats. In spite of 
all the arguments brought to bear by the eloquent Preston 
King and the men who accompanied him, they succeeded in 
inducing only six or seven men to return with them; the 
others, burning with misdirected zeal, preferred to remain, 
hoping for the promised reinforcements which never came. 
It is universally believed that the anguish of spirit at being 
obliged to abandon those men to their fate so preyed upon 
the mind of Preston King that it brought on the mental 
trouble which eventually caused his death. 

During the whole of Thursday, the 15th, a white flag 
was displayed from the windmill, and three or four flags 
were sent out, but their bearers were shot down as soon 
as seen, proving that Great Britain would no longer parley 
with the rebels. On the morning of the 16th, the British 
reinforcements having arrived, systematic firing was begun 
to reduce the windmill, and that same day an unconditional 
surrender was made, and the prisoners were taken to Fort 
Wellington in Prescott, thence to Fort Henry at Kings- 
ton for trial. It is related that, had it not been for the 
interposition of the regulars, the prisoners would have been 
torn in pieces by the enraged militia, who exhibited a vin- 
dictiveness and animosity that has scarcely found a parallel 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 15 

in the annals of French and Indian warfare. During the 
firing that ensued in celebrating the surrender, Capt. Drum- 
mond of the British army was accidentally shot. Von 
Schoultz was said to be opposed to surrendering, and be- 
sought his men to rush upon the enemy and die in the con- 
test, but their ammunition and provisions were exhausted, 
and the fatigue of five days and nights incessant watching 
and labor had made them indifferent to their fate. 

During this exciting week Bill Johnston had been seen 
publicly in the streets of Ogdensburg, apparently defying 
arrest, but after the surrender of the Patriots he and his 
followers returned to their old haunts among the islands. 
Several attempts were made to capture him, but Bill laughed 
at them all, and managed to elude his pursuers. 

One morning not long after the surrender of the wind- 
mill, Mrs. A. B. James was doing her marketing as usual, 
being one of the few ladies who were not intimidated by the 
prevailing excitement. While chatting with friends whom 
she met in the course of her morning's walk, one said, " If 
you knew where your husband is, you would not be so full 
of laughter. " Word had been brought into town that Bill 
Johnston was in hiding in the woods near by, and two 
parties, hurriedly got together, had gone off in search. One 
party was composed of Charles T. Burwell and A. B. James 
on horseback, the other of United States soldiers, who were 
to meet the first at a given rendezvous. On arriving at the 
place, the two horsemen found young Johnston sitting by 
the shore waiting for his father. After some resistance 
young Johnston was taken, his boat seized and the oars hid- 
den. The capture of the father was not so easy. When he 
caught sight of the three, he rushed to where he expected 
to find the boat, warning the townsmen to keep off. He had 



76 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

a pistol in each hand, but demurred to use them, as his pur- 
suers were " fellow Americans." After considerable parley, 
when he realized that the second party momentarily expected 
by boat would put him beyond hope, he surrendered. But 
he stipulated that his son should receive his arms, he himself 
to retain only four small pistols and his bowie-knife; he 
then quietly fell in with James and Burwell for the return 
to Ogdensburg. A very short walk brought them to the 
other party just arrived, the United States soldiers, a sheriff 
and deputy marshal, to whom Bill Johnston was delivered. 
In spite of the large sums offered as reward for his capture, 
the testimony is that James's share no more than reimbursed 
him for the "loss of the brass cannon, for the safe custody 
of which he had been responsible. Johnston was delivered 
over to Col. Worth, who had him taken to Sackett's Harbor 
on the government boat, and so he disappeared from the 
scene and his river haunts knew him no more. 

On the Monday after the surrender of the windmill, 
the Hon. John Fine of Ogdensburg, with Charles G. Myers, 
consented, at the earnest solicitation of anxious friends, to 
visit Kingston, to carry money to the prisoners, and perhaps 
render them timely assistance by testifying to their previous 
good character, and pleading the extenuating circumstances 
of their extreme youth. The season of travel being past 
and there being no direct communication with Kingston, 
they wrote to Col. Worth at Sackett's Harbor, asking if he 
could send them over to Kingston in his boat, and also give 
them a letter to the commanding officer. Both of these re- 
quests were declined, as being a United States officer Col. 
Worth could not lend what would appear to be government 
sanction to a mission of such a private and delicate char- 
acter. 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 77 

Judge Fine and Mr. Myers then crossed the river to Pres- 
cott to confer with Col. Young, who received them courteously 
and gave them a note of introduction to Col. Dundas at Kings- 
ton. A citizen of Prescott gave the use of a small steamer 
without charge. On arriving at Kingston they found, at the 
hotel, several Americans from Oswego, Salina and else- 
where, who had come on a similar errand, but had been 
denied all access to the prisoners. The next morning the 
gentlemen from Ogdensburg presented their note to Col. 
Dundas, who referred them to the sheriff in charge of the 
prisoners. He was told that the sheriff had positively re- 
fused similar applications under orders from the governor. 
Then they added as a last resort that, being lawyers, they 
had some right to serve the prisoners in the capacity of legal 
counsellors, having been employed by their friends for that 
purpose. They also reminded Col. Dundas that it was the 
boast of the English law, which the Americans had inherited 
from the mother country, that every one was presumed inno- 
cent of a crime until proved to be guilty. Upon this the 
colonel rose, conducted them to the fort, and, taking the 
keys from the unwilling sheriff, with the assurance that he 
would himself be responsible to the governor, he led the 
gentlemen to the rooms where the prisoners were confined. 
These rooms were large, clean and airy, and each contained 
about fifty prisoners, who, replying to questions, said they 
had good and sufficient food and were well treated. Special 
inquiry was made as to the needs and desires of those from 
St. Lawrence County, of their want of clothing, etc., which 
was afterwards procured and sent to them. One boy, when 
questioned as to his wants, begged for some candy. Some 
of the boys broke down completely and wept piteously when 
alluding to the causes which had induced them to engage 



78 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

in so foolish an enterprise. This so affected the Canadian 
officers that they proposed to leave. The Ogdensburg gen- 
tlemen managed to cheer the boys, telling them that there 
was hope in their case, adding that the power of England 
was not so feeble as to fear the loss of Canada at the hands 
of boys, and advised them to plead their infancy and throw 
themselves on the mercy of the court. 

When their trial occurred, it was conducted with all 
fairness by Solicitor-General Draper, and on promise to keep 
the peace most of those boys under age were liberated from 
time to time and allowed to return home. 

Some of the prisoners were hanged at Fort Henry, some 
at Brockville, some, including Von Schoultz, were shot, the 
others were transported to Van Dieman's Land. While de- 
tained in the penal colonies they suffered incredible hard- 
ships, and numbers of them died. Those who survived 
mostly came home with impaired constitutions from the pri- 
vations and the hard labor to which they had been subjected. 
When the news of the trial and sentencing of these rebels 
reached Queen Victoria, she was much grieved over the 
brave young lives that had been sacrificed in so useless a 
cause, and from what she said, without doubt, many would 
have been pardoned had not the delay in receiving the news 
rendered such an act of clemency impossible. 

The issue of this expedition did much to render the Pa- 
triot cause unpopular, and a healthy reaction was soon felt 
along the frontier, but a spirit of hostility had been engen- 
dered that led to much difficulty. On the 21st of December, 
the trustees of the village of Ogdensburg resolved to organ- 
ize a company, to be held ready at a minute's warning, to 
act in preserving order and repel, if necessary, any aggres- 
sion, and arms were procured for them from Russell. This 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 79 

company was known as the " Home Guard." Many laugh- 
able tales are told of their drills, that were held on what 
are now the circus grounds on State Street. Mostly raw 
recruits, they were a regular " hay-foot, straw- foot " com- 
pany, as absurd as that described in " Yankee Doodle," 
without uniforms, and supremely ignorant of military tac- 
tics. But what they lacked in some respects was more than 
made up for in others, for they were skilful marksmen and 
could shoot with unerring and dangerous precision. 

On the last day of December, 1838, a crowded meeting 
was held in Ogdensburg, to unite in a petition to Congress 
for protection to the frontier and intervention in favor of 
the prisoners. On the 2d of January, 1839, another public 
meeting was held to discourage all further invasions of Can- 
ada. The call for this was signed by nearly seventy prom- 
inent citizens of all parties, and it was addressed by several 
of the leading men of the village, and by Major-General 
Winfield Scott. At the close of the meeting a series of res- 
olutions was passed, appealing to all good citizens to aid 
in putting an end to these proceedings so destructive of the 
public peace, and so perilous to our local and national wel- 
fare. But petty hostilities still continued, and on the eve- 
ning of April 14, 1839, as the steamboat United States, in 
charge of Capt. Whitney, was leaving Ogdensburg with a 
large number of passengers, from six to ten rounds of mus- 
ket-shot were fired from a wharf in Prescott, where a crowd 
was assembled, but inquiry failed to find the culprit. That 
same evening the steamer was fired upon from the wharf 
at Brockville. These insulting measures were greatly aggra- 
vated by a high-handed outrage upon the schooner G. S. 
Weeks on Friday, May 17, 1839, at Brockville, where she 
had stopped on her way down the river to discharge some 



80 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

merchandise. The usual papers were sent to the custom- 
house, and a permit to unload was issued by the deputy col- 
lector. There was lying on deck a six-pound iron cannon 
belonging to the State, consigned to Capt. A. B. James, to 
replace the one that had been seized by the Patriots. When 
this was discovered, an attempt was made to seize it, but 
was resisted by the crew until the collector of the district 
came up and took possession of the vessel under some al- 
leged irregularity of her papers. The gun was then taken 
by the mob, who paraded the streets with it and fired it 
repeatedly. Word was immediately sent to Col. Worth at 
Sackett's Harbor, who repaired, without delay, to Brock- 
ville, on the steamer Oneida, and sent a respectful inquiry 
to learn on what grounds the schooner was detained. To 
this the deputy could give no direct answer, but from what 
he could learn, Col. Worth inferred that the seizure was 
without justification, and resolved to vindicate our national 
honor in recovering the cannon. On Saturday evening he 
went to Prescott, and peremptorily demanded of Col. Fra- 
zier a release of the vessel and her cargo, to which at ten 
o'clock the next day answer was given that the vessel and 
cargo should be released, but doubts were expressed whether 
the cannon could be got from the mob. To be prepared with 
an intelligent and prudent witness in case necessity for ex- 
treme measures should arise, Col. Worth invited Bishop 
Perkins to accompany him to Brockville. He also took with 
him on the steamer Oneida a company of about one hundred 
regulars, well supplied with a double number of muskets 
and ammunition sufficient for the occasion. The steamer 
took up a position alongside the schooner, and a demand was 
sent for the restoration of the gun. The wharves and block- 
house were densely crowded with an excited and furious 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 81 

mob, many of whom were armed. The civil authorities 
endeavored to procure the restoration of the cannon, but 
found themselves unable to either persuade or compel the 
robbers to surrender it. The excitement was intense, and 
had any of the crowd on shore fired on the steamer, there 
is no doubt that the fire would have been promptly returned 
by the regulars, with fatal results to the crowded masses on 
the wharves. Matters remained thus for several hours, 
during which a collision was momentarily expected. At 
four p. m. a steamer from Kingston arrived with British 
regulars, which had been sent for by the magistrates of the 
town. These soldiers arrested several of the leaders of the 
mob, and lodged them in the guard-house. Having waited 
sufficiently long, Col. Worth notified the authorities for the 
last time that the cannon must be instantly returned, which 
was done with the utmost haste, and the Americans returned 
to Ogdensburg. 

The tidings of this event brought his Excellency Gov- 
ernor Sir George Arthur to Brockville, where he was pre- 
sented with an address signed by two hundred and sixty- 
six persons, attempting to justify the recent outrages. In 
his reply, the governor admitted that the seizure was illegal, 
though he recognized that the magistrates had evinced com- 
mendable zeal in their efforts to preserve order (an opinion 
likewise expressed by Col. Worth), and he deplored the 
personal abuse offered to the foreign officers who had en- 
tered the country on public duty. Governor Arthur removed 
the collector of Brockville from office, and the Canadian 
press, as well as the more considerate portion of the inhab- 
itants, denounced the seizure as wholly unjustifiable. 

On Tuesday, June 25, 1839, a party from Prescott at- 
tempted to abduct a deserter from Ogdensburg, but their 



82 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

plans being discovered, the gang was surrounded by a large 
crowd of people, covered with tar, and marched back to 
their boat under an armed guard. The leader of the gang 
was said to have commited suicide the next day. The Brit- 
ish steamers commenced touching at Ogdensburg in the lat- 
ter part of June, and were so well received that it was hoped 
the animosity existing between the border inhabitants of 
the two nations might soon be allayed. But on the 4th of 
August, 1839, as the American steam-packet St. Lawrence 
was passing down on her regular trip, she was fired on by 
an armed British schooner lying in the river opposite Brock- 
ville. The particulars of this infamous outrage, committed, 
not by a lawless rabble, but by a government vessel, became 
the subject of a correspondence between the officers of the 
two governments in command of the naval and military 
forces along the frontier. To the explanation demanded by 
Col. Worth, the crew of the British schooner feebly at- 
tempted to justify their act on the ground that they were 
afraid the steamer contained Patriots, that they wanted to 
know to what nation it belonged, etc., all frivolous excuses, 
some of which would have been applicable on the high seas, 
but when applied to the St. Lawrence became extremely 
ridiculous. 

On the tenth of August, 1840, Gen. Scott arrived at 
Ogdensburg in the steamer Telegraph. He came to view the 
condition of affairs and make report to the United States 
government before proceeding to Plattsburg. 

Troubles along the border continued until 1841, when 
on September 5th President Tyler called upon all good citi- 
zens to discountenance the continuance of secret lodges for 
the agitation of the Patriot question as tending to evil con- 
sequences. 



THE PATRIOT WAR, 1837 83 

Little by little affairs along the border resumed their 
normal condition, and so gradually died out the feeling 
which had led to a movement that reads in history like a 
comedy, but which, to those who believed in the justice of 
their cause, must have been a heart-breaking tragedy. 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS AND OLD FIRE 
DEPARTMENT 

When we look back at the early settlement of our town, 
and realize the hardships the pioneers of St. Lawrence 
County endured, we wonder that any of them had ambition 
enough left, after arriving here through snows four feet 
deep over almost impassable roads, to do anything but plan 
for the barest necessities of life, to say nothing of " schools 
and churches " and " promoting literature." But when the 
land on which our homes now stand was sold at public auc- 
tion, in New York City (at twelve and one-half cents an 
acre), it was stipulated that in every township was to be one 
lot reserved for " the support of the gospel and schools " 
and another for " promoting literature," to be located as 
near the centre of the town as might be. 

The gospel and school lots were afterward sold by au- 
thority of the Legislature, 1825, authorizing the inhabitants 
of the several towns at their annual town meetings to vote, 
directing the whole of the income of the gospel and school 
lots to be appropriated to the schools of the town. Mr. 
Nathan Ford arrived in Ogdensburg as the agent of Samuel 
Ogden, the landed proprietor, August nth, 1796, accom- 
panied by a clerk, Richard FitzRandolph, Thomas Lee, a 
carpenter (grandfather of Mrs. Ella Lee Austin), John 
Lyon and family, and a few boatmen from Schenectady. 

Mr. Ford took possession of the old fort, or " garrison," 
as it was called, then recently vacated by the British sol- 

84 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 85 

diers, using it as a residence, and opened a store in the ser- 
geant's room. The Lyon family established themselves in 
the mill house, and the barracks adjoining the store were 
occupied by a Mr. Tuttle, who had been employed to care 
for the premises during the temporary absence of Mr. Ford. 

In 1804 there were but four families living in the vil- 
lage : " Slossons," near the present site of the Gilbert Block, 
Dr. Davis in Capt. Lyon's present residence, corner of the 
Crescent and Greene Street; Geo. Davis in the American 
Hotel (the old Goff house, corner State and Knox Sts.) ; 
and Mr. David Chapin on State Street near the Ripley 
House, afterward the home of the Webster family; and one 
store at the barracks. It was during this year that Mr. 
Louis Hasbrouck brought his family to Ogdensburg. 

There were two small dwellings in connection with the 
sawmill on the west side; these, with the stockade or gar- 
rison, made the sum total on that side of the Oswegatchie, 
which was forded at low water below the dam and crossed 
by a ferry. 

Mr. William E. Guest, who came here as a boy of five 
or six in 1808, tells us in an interesting lecture delivered 
before the Young Men's Association in Lyceum Hall, in 
January, 1857, of some of the conditions of the town and 
surroundings at that time. The place was then little more 
than a hamlet. There were a court-house, grist-mill and 
sawmill, and not to exceed a dozen dwellings. State Street 
much of the time in summer was impassable with mud, the 
road on the river-bank past the court-house was the one 
mostly travelled. The American Hotel and the building now 
occupied by Capt. Lyon as a residence completed the public 
houses. 

The square where the Bell Block is now incorporated, 



86 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

on the northerly side of Ford Street, between Isabella and 
Catherine Streets, was without a building. 

Two paths crossed it diagonally, and it was covered with 
trees and underbrush and was a beautiful spot. There was 
scarce a house where Prescott now stands, and just below 
the present fort was a small log house known as " Mixters," 
the name of the occupant who kept a ferry to the garrison 
across the river. 

Johnstown, three and a half miles below Prescott, now 
almost deserted, was a place of much business, supplying a 
large portion of the country on both sides with dry goods 
and provisions brought from Montreal and Quebec. The 
court-house in this place was frequently used for preaching, 
and, previous to the War of 1812, it was not uncommon for 
quite a portion of the congregation to have come from Og- 
densburg; indeed it was often so after the war, for some 
years during the barrenness of our Sabbath ministrations. 

Of the inhabitants, one may say of them mostly, they 
had been accustomed to the enjoyment of refined life, and 
their views and feelings harmonized. They had endured a 
common hardship in becoming members of the community, 
and a common danger in the absence of civilized society in 
close proximity around them, all operating as a band to keep 
them together. Sectarianism was then unknown; the one 
common place of worship was the court-house, and all ortho- 
dox ministers were acceptable. 

Although there were no regular ministrations on the 
Sabbath previous to the War of 181 2, yet service was held 
occasionally by itinerants, but, though the minister was not 
always present, the Sabbath was strictly observed, and indeed 
the habits of the population carry a sufficient guarantee of 
this. 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 87 

Mr. Ford as early as 1805 suggested the establishment 
of an academy here, " to be taught by the Presbyterian min- 
ister," as " there was na such thing in Canada short of 
Montreal. " Notwithstanding his efforts to establish so de- 
sirable an institution, it was not accomplished until 1834. 
Judge Ford was a zealous Presbyterian, and the story is 
related that when Mr. Ogden planned to send an Episco- 
palian clergyman to the " Burgh," Mr. Ford was as deter- 
mined to establish one of his own denomination. He de- 
clared, rather than be disappointed in having a Presbyterian, 
he would " go to hell for one, if necessary." 

" The Burgh," or " Garrison," as it was called, was sur- 
rounded on the rear and either side by impassable forests. 
The pioneers coming from the interior of the State were 
forced to take the most roundabout courses to arrive here, 
in the absence of suitable roads. 

One family started from Rome, N. Y. To get here, 
they crossed the ice on Lake Champlain, went to Sorrell in 
Lower Canada, from thence to Kingston until their log 
house could be completed, then building under the hill, where 
now stands the house occupied by the Irving family, oppo- 
site the Klondike Lumber Mill on the river road. 

When they came from Kingston in midwinter they 
stopped opposite on the Canadian side to obtain fire in the 
foot-stove, and crossed the ice to their wild home. They 
found the floor covered with dirt, and a carpenter's bench 
in the middle of the room. A stick chimney, the mud with 
which it had been plastered in the autumn fallen off (the 
floor being the only place where any plaster had remained), 
presented a most inhospitable appearance to the newcomers. 
However, the father, in the midst of his wife's very natural 
discouragement, soon made a fire, cleaned out the rubbish, 



88 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

and the clouds of grief gave way to the sunshine of hope, 
and many a happy day did they spend there; and when the 
log house had well and cheerily performed its part, the large 
stone mansion arose near it, and our parents and grand- 
parents were witnesses to the pleasant and joyous gatherings 
of the youth of the " Burgh " and vicinity for many a year 
after. 

At this house, built about 1820, called " G. Ranney's 
Inn," standing on one of the roads leading to the village, 
a hearty welcome was always extended to the tired travel- 
lers, who, reaching there at nightfall, were glad to rest their 
wearied limbs, and warm themselves at the glowing fireside, 
before the coming day brought new duties to confront them. 
This house was afterward named " Rockingham " by one of 
Mrs. Ranney's grateful visitors. One of my own childhood's 
memories is of the story told by my mother of her arrival 
here in 1828, with her parents, sister and small brother, one 
cold autumn evening, after a long ride in the stage-coach, 
and the warm welcome which greeted them, with the blaz- 
ing fire piled high in the capacious fireplace; and how in 
the morning, the young daughter of the family, about her 
own age, mounted a horse to ride to the village for the mail. 
This child was afterward Mrs. Charles G. Myers. 

Mr. Guest says in his lecture, " The first schoolhouse in 
my remembrance was on what was called Diamond Square 
on Catherine Street, fronting the large stone store, north- 
west of the Washington Hotel. It had been erected and 
occupied as a store previous to the occupation of the stone 
store built by Mr. Parish across the street. The building 
was but a temporary one, and after Judge Ford had moved 
into the mansion, the stockade on the west side of the Oswe- 
gatchie was offered and occupied as a schoolhouse. Henry 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 89 

Plumb was one of the six or eight scholars who attended this 
school. Many a memento of its former warlike use did the 
children disinter from the grounds around the building, such 
as grape-shot, musket-balls, and pieces of the mountings of 
muskets. 

" The portion occupied for this purpose was low and 
poorly lighted, erected more for protection from a foe and the 
inclemencies of a northern winter, than a proper place for 
young ideas to shoot, but they were thankful to obtain such 
a place. Seven thousand dollars for a schoolhouse would 
have astonished the inhabitants for many a year afterward. 

" The Stockade, or old French fortification, covered not 
far from an acre of ground. In form it was nearly square; 
on the eastern side, and fronting the Oswegatchie, were the 
two two-story stone buildings, with an opening of some six- 
teen feet between them, occupied by a couple of massive 
oaken gates about fifteen feet high. The remainder of the 
eastern or southeastern portion was a high, heavy stone wall; 
indeed this may be said to have enclosed the whole. The 
stone buildings had gone to decay, but the long, low one- 
story building on the south side was in tolerable repair, and 
this was the building used as a residence by Judge Ford 
and afterward as a school building." 

Hough says, that the earliest record of a school in Og- 
densburg which he has been able to find is the following 
memorandum furnished by Joseph Rosseel, dated November 
24th, 1809. " Upon application of some of our citizens I 
have granted the use of the house designed for Capt. Cherry 
to bivouac as the place for the use of a school for up- 
wards of thirty children, whose parents have engaged Mr. 
Richard Hubbard as teacher. Mr. H. was from Charles- 



90 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

town, N. H. ; his numbers increased from six up to ten or 
twelve." 

Curtis says, " On account of the impending trouble which 
culminated in the War of 1812 the barracks were required 
for the use of soldiers, and the school was therefore opened 
on the east side of the Oswegatchie in 1809 in what was 
known as Capt. Cherry's bivouac." Who was Capt. Cherry? 
one might ask. Mr. Guest says, " During the embargo 
which preceded the War of 18 12, the better to enforce its 
enactments, the government sent a company of troops to 
this place under the command of a Capt. Cherry. As a large 
part of our supplies came from the opposite shore of the 
St. Lawrence, this was looked upon by the burghers as 
extremely onerous, even taking it in its most favorable 
light; but when you take into consideration the fact, that the 
men who composed the rank and file were of the lowest and 
most degraded portion of society, and their officers either 
unwilling or unable to restrain them from drunkenness and 
theft, it added to the evil. The villagers were highly in- 
censed, and remonstrated again and again until their efforts 
were crowned with success. When the news of their recall 
was known, preparations were immediately made to give 
them a demonstration of the joy felt in the prospect of their 
departure. At last the day came, and, as the troops marched 
from their quarters to the vessel which was to bear them 
from the scene of their inglorious sojourn, the inhabitants, 
provided with tin pans, tin horns, cow bells, and similar 
sweet instruments of music, labored earnestly to provide 
sounds expressive of the extreme joy in their exit. Had 
a stranger at this time entered our hitherto quiet Burgh, 
he would have thought we were in the midst of a carnival, 
as indeed, we were, for a more joyous event had not tran- 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 91 

spired than that of getting rid of such a thievish, scampish 
set as those who composed the company of U. S. troops 
under the command of Captain Cherry. Little urchins who 
could just crow and scream joined in the universal yell, 
making it one of the greatest babels of sound and assem- 
blage that had ever been combined in these northern parts. 
These continued until the soldiers were well on their way 
out upon the St. Lawrence." 

The number of pupils in the school soon increased be- 
yond the capacity of the place, and a private house was used 
up to the first year of the war only. 

On the return of peace in 1815, a school was again 
opened in a private building. In about 18 17 a plain two- 
story building was built on the east corner lot on the corner 
of Greene and what is now the Crescent, where the residence 
of Mrs. H. R. James stands, which served the whole village 
for a number of years. 

In 1825 the population had so increased that a stone 
schoolhouse was erected near the corner of Knox and Caro- 
line Streets, opposite the Episcopalian Church. 

In 1837 a house was erected on Main Street, west side, 
and three school districts formed, two on the east side and 
one on the west side of the Oswegatchie. 

I can remember the " district school," which stood where 
Miss Kelly's apartment house is now, on Knox Street, as 
holding the place, in the imagination of a small child, of 
temporary confinement for wild and rebellious youth under 
the restraint necessary for instruction. 

It was not until the year 1849 tnat the * aw establishing 
free schools in the State of New York was passed by the 
Legislature. This resulted in Ogdensburg in taxing school 
district No. 1, and in building the brick schoolhouse on 



92 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Franklin Street No. i between Montgomery and Jay. That 
this tax was not entirely a popular one is shown by a cir- 
cular published by the tax collector, thanking those who had 
cheerfully paid their dues, and commenting freely upon the 
" Whiners, Croakers, Backhangers, Dodgers, Evaders, Groan- 
ers, Grumblers/' etc., picturing the immense " Ball of Prog- 
ress " moving irresistibly forward in spite of those unfor- 
tunates who stood in its way, only to be crushed by its 
onward movement; begging that the people may never be 
so foolish as to repeal the free school law (as an oppor- 
tunity was to be given the following November). 

"Let others go to California (the forty-niners), leave 
the children, home, kindred and friends if they will, the good 
work must go on while they are gone. Let us gain the glory 
of right action and progress while they gain gold. 

" If any citizen has not been taxed, or any of our friends 
in California who should think that we are on the right 
road, wish to join us and come in for a share of the honor, 
their voluntary contribution to the prosperity fund, will be 
thankfully received and faithfully applied for one year and 
twenty days ending May i, 185 1. After that time, it is very 
doubtful whether they will ever have an opportunity of do- 
ing so much good with $10, $20, or $100." 

As the author was my grandfather, Christopher Ripley, 
who was then in the last years of his life, it has been pre- 
served in the family, to show the astonishing fact that any 
one could oppose or think of repealing so beneficent a law 
as that of establishing free schools in the State of New 
York. 

Hough speaks of this Franklin Street school-building, 
erected in 1850, as " spacious and elegant, a model for those 
who contemplate the erection of a convenient and well ar- 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 93 

ranged schoolhouse." It was built under the direction of 
Dr. S. N. Sherman, A. B. James and Otis Glyn, trustees. 

An act of April, 1833, directs that the money then in 
the hands of the supervisor and poor-master of the town of 
Oswegatchie should be delivered up to D. C. Judson, I. Gil- 
bert, G. N. Seymour, M. S. Daniels and H. Thomas, who 
were appointed a committee to receive these moneys and 
enough more raised by tax upon the town to make $2,000, 
to purchase therewith a lot and buildings for an academy. 

On the 20th of April, 1835, the academy was incorpo- 
rated with the following trustees: David C. Judson, Henry 
Van Rensselaer, David Ford, Royal Vilas, Bishop Perkins, 
George N. Seymour, Baron S. Doty, E. B. Allen, William 
Bacon, Sylvester Gilbert, Amos Bacon, Thomas J. Davies, 
J. W. Smith, Ransom H. Gillett, Rodolphus D. Searle, Silas 
Wright, Jr., William Hogan, Gouverneur Morris, George 
Reddington, Jr., and Augustus Chapman, together with the 
supervisor and town clerk of the town of Oswegatchie, and 
the president and clerk of the village of Ogdensburg, for the 
time being. 

On the 8th of October, 1834, Taylor Lewis of Water- 
ford, subsequently a teacher of languages in New York Uni- 
versity, and later of Greek and Latin in Union College, was 
appointed as principal, with a salary of six hundred dollars. 
The first president of the board was David C. Judson. He 
was succeeded by John Fine. 

In the summer of 1849 Messrs. Hart F. Lawrence and 
Roswell G. Pettibone entered into an agreement jointly with 
the trustees, in which they assumed the care and government 
of the institution, receiving whatever might accrue from 
tuition, literature, and the ferry fund, excepting only suffi- 
cient to pay insurance and repairs. The academy remained 



94 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

under the tuition of these gentlemen for many years, enjoy- 
ing every facility which the talent of competent teachers can 
impart. 

The academy building of stone was erected for a hotel 
by a company in 1819, and opened in 1820 as the St. Law- 
rence House. Upon the organization of the academy, it was 
purchased by the commissioners, the village of Ogdensburg 
contributing one thousand dollars to its purchase, with tile 
privilege of the use of the chapel for town meetings and 
elections. 

Pleasantly situated at the corner of State and Knox 
Streets, directly opposite the old court-house, it held many 
happy memories for the youth of its time, and when it was 
burned in 1859, it was like a personal loss to many of its 
pupils. 

Schoolhouse No. 2, on Washington Street, was used for 
awhile as an academy or high school. 

The old academy embraced at one time apartments for 
a family, chapel, study and recitation rooms, a well-selected 
library, philosophical apparatus, and every facility to impart 
a thorough and practical education. 

In the summer of 185 1 a teacher's department was or- 
ganized by the regents of the university. 

In 1854 No. 2 schoolhouse was built of brick on Wash- 
ington Street; No. 3, of brick on Park Street; No. 4 of 
stone on Ford Avenue, Second Ward, 1856; No. 5, of 
brick on the east side of the village; No. 6, of stone on 
Lafayette Street in 1864; No. 7 of brick on Bar re Street, 
1870; No. 8, corner of Ford Avenue and Pine Street same 
year; No. 9, of wood, on the engine-house lot on Knox 
Street that was purchased in 1847. The house was erected 
in 1865 and remodelled in 1889. 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 95 

The grammar school building was erected of brick on 
Washington Street about 1877. The Free Academy, orig- 
inally the Town Hall, was remodelled in 188 1. The Board 
of Education, consisting of nine members, was organized 
in 1857, consolidating in one school district all the territory 
of the village of Ogdensburg and districts one and twenty- 
one of the town of Oswegatchie. 

When the vote was to be taken authorizing the tax to 
build the present Opera House and Town Hall, it was looked 
upon as a great extravagance by many of our less progres- 
sive citizens. The suggestion to buy the old Town Hall for 
a new academy (which was sadly needed), and thereby as- 
sisting in the prospect of a new Town Hall, was frowned 
upon by those who did not care for extra taxes. This oppo- 
sition party was well represented at the meeting called, and 
was rather surprised to see so many ladies there. These had 
been gathered by some of those most interested, who remem- 
bered that women, even in the State of New York, were 
entitled to vote on school matters. Miss Frances Rosseel 
canvassed the town, calling on those ladies known to be in 
favor of the plan, and a goodly attendance was the result. 
Earnest addresses were made by S. H. Palmer, president of 
the Board of Education, H. R. James and Col. E. C. James, 
Hon. D. Magone and others; and when the project of pur- 
chasing the old Town Hall for a new academy was put to 
vote, the ladies all voted on one side, and the matter was 
enthusiastically carried. 

From the Ogdensburg Daily Journal, April 1, 1904 (Og- 
densburg Free Academy) : " The O. F. A. was opened in 
1 88 1 with an attendance of two hundred pupils under the 
direction of B. Whitney, A. M., principal and superintendent 
of city schools, assisted by Prof. O. W. Dodge, Miss Julia 



96 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

M. Guest and Miss Frances L. Matheson. There were many 
non-resident students, young men and women who had 
gained from the country schools all they could give, and 
were eager to avail themselves of the opportunities for ad- 
vanced study. They brought to their work a zeal and devo- 
tion which gave to the school a tone and dignity, the influ- 
ence of which is still felt. 

" Teachers of science and music, French and elocution 
were afterward added. The first class of eight members was 
graduated in 1884. W. Seward Partridge and Maurice C. 
Spratt were the first to enter college from the academy. 

" Mr. Fred Van Dusen, Ph. D., a graduate of Union 
College, the present principal, came to the academy in 1891. 
Miss Alice Olds has been a member of the faculty since 
1888. There have been graduated (in 1904), 341 students, 
and the academy has been represented in all the Eastern 
colleges. Some of the students have taken the highest hon- 
ors the colleges .could bestow, and the graduates are repre- 
sented in the various professions and business enterprises in 
our own city. The standard for graduation has steadily 
advanced to meet the increased requirements of the colleges, 
and a diploma from the academy to-day represents, more 
than ever before, achievement and conquest, and its most 
loyal friends believe that the school contains within itself 
the elements of permanent improvement." 

Since the above paper was written, the Hon. George 
Hall has, in keeping with his well-known public spirit and 
generosity, offered to furnish the necessary funds for the 
erection of a new building to be used for a high school and 
academy as a part of the public-school system of this city 
and as a perpetual memorial to his deceased wife, Helen 
Brown Hall, upon a suitable site to be provided by the city. 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 97 

Mr. Hall makes this offer with no conditions whatever, ex- 
cept that he will desire an ample site and a fireproof build- 
ing of the best modern type, and that the building bear the 
name of Helen Brown, wife of George Hall. 

During the year ending September 30, 1872, twenty- 
eight teachers were employed. The number of children of 
school age was 4,237; number attending school, 2,655; 
average attendance, 968; amount expended for school pur- 
poses, $17,507, and the value of schoolhouses and sites, 
$52,914. 

The then superintendent, R. B. Lowrey, gave the follow- 
ing particulars relative to the educational interests of the 
city, which refer to a later period. 

There are ten schoolhouses, six of which are built of 
brick, two of stone, and one of wood and one is rented. 
There are twenty-one schools, in which are employed twenty- 
five teachers. The schools are graded as higher, including 
an academic department, secondary and first; each grade 
comprising two years work and consisting of two classes. 
The number of scholars is 1,472 and the average attendance 
1,048. Wages paid to teachers -in the higher department or 
Educational Institute is to one, $800, another, $600. In 
the secondary, $500, in the first grade of primary depart- 
ment, $400, in the second and third grade of that depart- 
ment, $350. 

In 1862 population was 7,520 

No. of dwelling houses i,34i 

No. of families 1,279 

No. attending school during the year . . . .1,835 
No. who cannot read or write 725 

Later on, No. 1 needing much repairing, it was deter- 
mined to pull down the old building and rebuild, which was 



98 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

done in 1897, costing about $15,000, selling at the same time 
No. 6 on Lafayette Street. This soon overcrowded the new 
No. 1, and it was determined in 1906 to move No. 9 to 
the upper part of the First Ward. 

In the Easter number of the Daily Journal, 1904, the 
following is printed in regard to St. Mary's Academy, a 
large institution under the care of the Roman Catholic 
Church : "In the fourteen years of its existence, St. Mary's 
has developed rapidly along the most approved lines of mod- 
ern education. The institution has now a permanent home, 
and it will become a perpetually endowed school. Co-edu- 
cation is in vogue, and the institution is under the charge 
of the Gray Nuns, a Roman Catholic teaching order. It 
was a parochial school back in the '60' s. Fourteen years 
since it received an absolute charter from the State Regents, 
and entered the academic ranks. It has taken Regents' ex- 
aminations since 1884, twenty years in all. The present 
class numbers 475 students, has kindergarten, primary and 
high school departments. There are two French Catholic 
parochial schools, one in the lower Fourth Ward. 

" The school property is valued at $30,000. They hope 
to have an endowment fund of $100,000." 

Besides the scholars registered in the public schools, 
there have always been many private schools well attended. 
In the '30's Perry's Academy, standing where the Opera 
House does now, a two-story long wooden building, held a 
large and successful school, and had many attendants from 
out of town. 

In the '40's a Miss Wheeler from Malone, whose younger 
brother was afterward Vice-President with Hayes as Presi- 
dent, had many pupils. 

Miss Mary Ann Lankton taught younger scholars on 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 99 

Jay Street, and afterward on the location where Dr. W. N. 
Bell's office is. Among other names familar as having pri- 
vate schools are Misses Sanford, Miss Lucy Lawrence, Miss 
Sarah Foster, Miss Cole, Mrs. Richard Herriman, etc. A 
Mr. Lake taught in what is now the Windsor House Block. 
Miss Harriet M. Starks has for fifteen years taught a 
very successful Froebel school and kindergarten, scholars 
from there graduating with high records to the academy. 
Miss Mary Sherman has a private school at present. 



From Mayor's Report 1905- 1906 

Total number of schoolhouses 9 

Total value of school property $173,850 

Total expenditure on schoolhouses and lots from June, 1905, 

to March, 1906 I9»300 

Total paid to teachers . 25,090 

Total number of children between 5 and 18 years . . . 2,751 

Daily attendance of pupils between 5 and 18 years . . . 1,758 

Private schools 3 

Ogdensburg Free Academy, total registration (largest number 

in the history of the school) 313 pupils 

Number of non-residents is 64, an increase of 9 over last 
year and 41 more than three years ago. 

Non-resident attendance has been trebled in three years. 
Twenty-five graduates of the academy are now in leading 
American colleges and three in the normal school. All 
statistics and facts in mayor's report, 1905- 1906, prove de- 
cisively that our educational growth and educational interest 
are more than keeping pace with our industrial growth or 
our increase in population. Mr. S. L. Dawley has gene- 
rously paid the expenses of instruction in a night school for 
two years in connection with the public schools. 



100 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Old Fire Department 

In the early days of Ogdensburg there was no regular 
fire department. When a fire occurred men, women and 
children formed in line and passed the deep leathern fire 
buckets, filled with water drawn from some near-by well or 
cistern. These buckets formed part of the equipment of 
every household, and were hung near the door to be in 
readiness at the first alarm of fire. A painting exists, 
owned by descendants of Judge Stilwell which represents 
an actual occurrence, the burning of Judge Stilwell's home 
on State Street. The judge, fully dressed, even to a tall 
silk hat, stands at one side with a group of family 
friends watching the destruction of his house. This was 
sixty-five years ago. Judge Stilwell moved from Albany to 
the wilderness of St. Lawrence County, where his long life 
passed usefully and creditably. He was a member of the 
Legislature from St. Lawrence County in 1851, and again 
in 1862, and was collector of the port and county judge. 
In 1880 he was the oldest voter and oldest Mason in New 
York State. He was ninety-one December first of that year. 
He had at that time eighteen male descendants who were 
voters and all Republicans. 

A fire department was organized in 1820, and a com- 
pany formed in 1827. In the obituary notice in Hough's 
history Mr. Joseph York is spoken of as one who in time 
of danger placed himself in front, and by word and example 
encouraged the more timid. This was particularly the case 
at fires, where he never failed to take the lead in measures 
for repressing the consuming element and in rescuing prop- 
erty. He died in 1847, a & e d forty-six. 

In 18 1 3 some deserters having crossed the river from the 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 101 

enemy, an officer was sent across with a flag, with a threat 
to commit the village to flames if they were not restored. 
To this requisition, Judge Ford, with his usual promptness, 
replied that they would do no such thing, for no sooner 
should he see them landing than with his own hands he 
would set fire to his own house, rally his neighbors, cross 
the river with torches, and burn every house from Prescott 
to Brockville. The British officer, seeing the consequences 
that might ensue, afterward apologized for his conduct. 

In 1853 the village owned three hand fire-engines, a 
fourth one was owned by individuals, and a fifth by the 
Northern Railroad Company. Large reservoirs were built 
at central points for use at fires. A most destructive fire 
occurred at Ogdensburg on the night between the 16th and 
17th of April, 1839, by which nearly one-half of the business 
portion of the village was laid in ashes. The loss was esti- 
mated at little less than $100,000. The irritation that at 
this time of the Patriot War existed on the frontier led to 
the suspicion that it was the work of an incendiary. This 
fire consumed the premises on the southwest corner of State 
and Ford Streets, including the Post-office, Republican print- 
ing office and a large number of stores and shops. 

Twelve years later a series of conflagrations startled the 
inhabitants of the quiet town. The following from the St. 
Lazvrence Republican will give some idea of it — September 
7th, 1852. " A destructive fire on the north side of Ford 
St. swept every building on that side and also on Isabella 
St. The fire occurring in the early morning, was well under 
way before help came, the buildings being of wood and dry, 
burned rapidly and the heat was intense, and also a deplor- 
able want of water baffled the firemen. It was stopped by 
the fireproof store of G. N. Seymour, where Nathan Frank's 



102 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Sons now are, loss $17,700.'' On September 21st, the same 
month, a fire consumed several buildings corner of Ford and 
Isabella Streets. " By the active and incessant exertions of 
the fire department, assisted by our citizens, the fire was 
confined to these buildings, loss $5,500." October 19th the 
wagon shop of Israel Lamb, west side of Isabella Street, 
burned, and in an astonishingly brief time every building 
on the west side of Isabella and north side of Ford west of 
Benedict Block was burning furiously. The flames now 
crossed Ford Street to the historic Hasbrouck mansion, mak- 
ing a clean sweep on both sides of Ford between Isabella 
and Catherine Streets, including offices of the Republican 
and St. Lawrence Herald, loss $112,000. It was thought 
strange that all these fires were at the same time, between 
three and five a. m., and it was believed that they were not 
accidental. This was October. There were no more fires 
until New Year's Day, at an early hour, the houses of Amos 
Bacon and Dr. M. G. Sherman were burned ; the Bacon house 
was empty, and fire starting there, was believed to be the 
work of an incendiary. January 18th, at 5 a. m., the car- 
riage factory, cabinet shop and S. G. Pope shingle mill were 
burned, and on February 6th, between three and four a. m., 
the house of George Ranney, south of the Episcopalian 
Church ; the flames were by strenuous effort prevented from 
spreading any further. 

One of our earliest recollections is of one winter night 
watching through the frost-covered window the flames burst- 
ing through the roof of a neighbor's house (Amos Bacon's), 
while down-stairs we heard the slamming of doors and 
tramping of heavy feet, as furniture was brought in to a 
place of safety. Or again, when a young cousin rushed in, 
saying, " Mother sent over the silver spoons, for Mrs. Ran- 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 103 

ney's house is on fire and they are spreading wet blankets 
on our roof." February 8th the Republican asks, " When 
will our fires cease ? " For three months the " fire fiend " 
remained quiet. March 29th the Republican says, " Active 
preparations for rebuilding are going on over the ruins of 
the late fires, " also " Rumor has it that it is a fixed fact that 
Ogdensburg is to be lighted with gas. When?" Same 
paper, May 24th, 1853 : " Were we believers in demonology, 
witchcraft and presentiments generally, we should unhesi- 
tatingly say that Ogdensburg was a doomed spot; that its 
wickedness, its haughtiness, its pride or some other emphatic 
tendency to sinfulness has singled it out as a locality deserv- 
ing an awful retribution.' ' For on the morning of that day 
a fire had burned six stores, A. Vilas, J. & G. R. Bell, Chas. 
Hill and others. In one building R. W. Judson had a law 
office and Justice Bacon held his courts. The third story 
was used as village " black hole," or " lock-up," and con- 
tained at the time one prisoner, who was rescued uninjured, 
but horribly scared. Many now believed that the town con- 
tained a " fire-bug," and rewards were proposed for his dis- 
covery, and during the summer and fall a special watch was 
kept. As a result no more fires occurred until December 
29th, at 11 p. m., a fire burst out in a long line of wooden 
buildings on the south side of Ford Street; the night was 
intensely cold and the citizens were sleeping; a few taps on 
the bell aroused the sleepers, but for want of water the whole 
row, sixteen stores, burned. January 18th, 1854, the large 
stone building on the west side, known as Doty's woollen 
mill, burned; January 25th, a cabinet shop. January 28th, 
a lot of pine shavings were put under the door of the Meth- 
odist Church and set on fire, but went out. There was no 
further alarm till May 6th, when three dwellings on Franklin 



104 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Street burned. The Republican of August ist, 1854, says, 
" Truly our village may well receive, as it has earned the 
appellation of the ' City of Fires/ " July 30th, at 2 a. m., 
Mr. Bacon's barn and two others burned, George Guest's 
and Robert Wilson's. (Note this) " By unparalleled exer- 
tions our firemen prevented the destruction of the Presby- 
terian Church and other buildings. Some scoundrel cut the 
hose with a knife, rendering it useless. The fire was un- 
doubtedly the work of an incendiary." 

The cholera was at this time raging in the town, brought 
by immigrants from Montreal, and adding to the terror of 
the inhabitants Fifteen deaths had occurred during the 
week ending August ist. August 31st, at three a. m., the 
barn of James Averell, on the north side of Ford Street, op- 
posite St. Lawrence Hotel, now Seymour House, burned, 
also the Averell's house and two stores. September 10th, 
Ryon's shop burned, R. W. Judson's barn and other build- 
ings caught, and were saved with difficulty. A heavy rain 
prevented spreading. October 4th and November 20th a 
hole was bored through the door of Thomas Bacon's gro- 
cery, with intention of setting fire, but the miscreant was 
evidently disturbed by passers-by. Was it any wonder that 
in those days the red-coated fire companies marched in our 
Fourth of July processions, and the ladies of the village 
decked their fire-engines with flowers? And now came the 
end, after two years of fear and vigilance. We have a copy 
of an " Extra," published by the St. Lawrence Republican. 
Wednesday evening, November 22, 1854, eight o'clock, the 
day after the capture of Robert Wilson, a well-known white- 
washer and paper-hanger, familiar with the interior of most 
of the houses in town, and having constant opportunities of 
planning his crimes and carrying them out successfully. He 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 105 

was discovered by E. W. Benedict, a hatter, and a near 
neighbor of Wilson's, in a house on Franklin Street, near 
his own home and Wilson's. It was uninhabited. Looking 
through a window, he saw Wilson stuff a quantity of sha- 
vings into a stove-pipe hole overhead, scratch several matches, 
and, after finding one that burned, touch it to the shavings, 
which did not ignite. At that moment Benedict burst in the 
front door, and Wilson retreated through the back door, 
closely pursued by Benedict, who caught him as he was 
climbing the fence. After much scuffling, in which he re- 
ceived severe blows, Wilson surrendered and was immedi- 
ately brought to the police office by his captor. This old 
house, which was but recently removed from Franklin Street, 
was near where R. J. Algie's house stands. 

The extra says, " Thrilling News ! Arrest of an Incen- 
diary ! His examination on the charge of Arson ! Prisoner's 
Confession! Police office crowded with citizens! Intense 
Excitement! Arrest of prisoner's son. Recovery of stolen 
goods. Arrest of the prisoner's wife. More goods found. 
The prisoner's wife feigning sickness, Officer Glynn called 
Dr. Bridges, who pronounced her well. Whereupon the 
officer lifted her out of bed, and on examination of her per- 
son found wound upon her limbs, one whole piece of Irish 
linen, several pieces of cashmere, flannel, etc. She is being 
arrested, and appearances indicate that a very foul nest has 
been found which stands a fair chance of being broken up." 
Both husband and wife were convicted of arson and sent 
to State Prison, where both of them died. Mrs. Wilson was 
sent for five years and died in the fourth year; Mr. Wilson 
was sent for life. 

Mr. Benedict was rewarded by the grateful citizens with 
a gold watch and about six hundred dollars in money for 



106 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

his persistent efforts in searching* out and detecting the cul- 
prit. 

The house in which Robert Wilson lived, which was 
moved to the upper part of the town, is still standing; the 
floor being cut in many places, either to make hiding-places 
for stolen goods, or by the officers in searching after them. 
The effrontery of this man Wilson is shown by the record 
of a bill presented for $4.50, September 12th, 1854, for dam- 
ages done his own property at a fire set by himself about 
two months before his arrest. 

The St. Lawrence Directory, published by the Advance 
Co. in 1873 anc * 1874, says, " The Ogdensburg Fire Dept. 
consists of three companies, each comprising thirty-six men, 
who are paid by the city. There are two first-class steamers, 
and five hose-carts, supplied with 2,250 feet of hose." 

A fire March 16th, 1873, Sunday morning, destroyed 
$150,000 worth of property, threatened the destruction of 
the entire city, and demonstrated the efficiency of the Fire 
Department and water works which were built in 1868. 

The engine-house, now demolished, stood opposite where 
the present General Hospital stands on Knox Street and was 
built in 1847. 

From a bundle of old letters, etc., belong to the Fire 
Department, I glean the following items : — 

In September, 1855, a torchlight procession was given 
by firemen from Malone and Fort Covington, who were re- 
ceived by the Ogdensburg firemen, on the occasion of an 
excursion to Ottawa. 

July 2d, 1856, J. H. Guest was chief engineer of Og- 
densburg Fire Department; E. M. Holbrook, secretary. 
Company was invited to join 4th of July procession. 

Third of July same year, Urias Pearson, foreman Fire 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 107 

Co. No. 3, declined invitation to join 4th of July procession, 
lacking time for preparation. 

February 7th, 1857, Watertown Engine and Hose Co. 
invites No. 3 of Ogdensburg to Watertown to their first 
annual ball. Carriages in attendance at 6 p. m. 

In May, 1857, $3,000 was raised to purchase a steam 
fire-engine. 

August 7th, 1857, Riley Johnson, foreman of Engine 
Co. No. 3, invited with company to Prescott to a Fireman's 
Jubilee. 

August 17th, 1857, Iroquois Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 
of O. will present a speaking trumpet for a friendly contest. 
(Signed) William Wheeler, 

Chairman of Committee. 
Chief Engineer Rockwell. 

Judges: Mayor Gilbert of Ogdensburg, Mayor Jessup 
of Prescott. This contest will be between the five companies, 
August 25th, 1857, subject to rules and regulations as below. 
The contest will be, to throw a stream of water the greatest 
number of feet from hose pipe horizontally. Each engine 
to play from suction through 250 feet of hose with an inch 
nozzle. (Patent nozzle prohibited.) The companies will be 
restricted to two trials, not to exceed two minutes each, no 
person allowed to man the brakes but actual members of 
respective companies. 

S. G. Pope, Chairman. 

August 9th, 1858, $1,100, payment on fire-engine. 

H. Rockwell, Chief Engineer. 

July 9th, 1858, Fort Covington firemen thank St. Law- 
rence Co. No. 3 for fine present. (This was a speaking 
trumpet. ) 

(Signed) C. B. Herriman, Secretary. 



108 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Hook and Ladder Co., 1863, James C. Spencer, Chief; 
C. B. Herriman, D. J. Crichton, Warren Houghton, J. Mc- 
Naughton, S. H. Palmer, William Stilwell, William Wheeler, 
H. R. James were some of the well-known members. April 
8th, 1863, J. C. Spencer resigns, after serving as chief for 
two years. 

September 29th, 1863, Firemen's tournament at Ogdens- 
burg. Brockville accepts. 

Ogdensburg, 1863. Plattsburg, to Thomas Hall, Sep- 
tember nth. Telegram, 35 men en route for Ogdensburg 
Tournament. 

March 28th, 1864, Ogdensburg Fire Department is asked 
to assist in collecting articles to be disposed of at the Met- 
ropolitan Fair, to aid Sanitary Commission to care for sick 
and wounded soldiers. 

The interest was kept up in these companies by many 
pleasant gatherings, and the balls given by the firemen, 
and especially the Hook and Ladder Co., which was com- 
posed mostly of the young men then active in business cir- 
cles, were occasions when all ranks mingled in the festivities. 

The first engines were worked entirely by hand power, 
sixty men, thirty on a side. 

Major Osborn, who was a boy at the time ('54 to '6o), 
tells of the friendly contests to see which companies could 
throw the highest streams of water. He belonged to a com- 
pany of boys who fell heir to one of the old fire-engines when 
a better one was purchased for the men. 

One of these contests was to take place in Plattsburg, 
and the men had been out for preliminary practice. James 
Lytle, blacksmith, was captain at this time; at the last test 
before starting, the company threw the highest stream on 



DISTRICT SCHOOLS 109 

record: but the captain thought he would make assurance 
doubly sure, and that some valve about the engine needed 
repacking, and so worked until the last minute before leav- 
ing, to have everything in first-class order; but alas, the 
captain's ambition had o'erleaped itself, and when they came 
to the trial, work as hard as they would, they could get 
nothing but wind from the engine, and instead of the bril- 
liant success anticipated, a most melancholy failure was all 
that Capt. Lytle's company had to console themselves with. 

Mr. Guest closes his lecture of fifty years ago, from 
which I have drawn a large part of my information, with 
this tribute to the men prominent in our early history: 

" We may well pause awhile in this age of steam and 
lightning to pay a merited tribute to the men of other days. 
The pioneers, whose manliness, perseverance, and indom- 
itable energy opened up for us the beautiful spot we now 
inhabit. As we trace them battling with impediments and 
obstacles almost herculean, deprived of the aids now so effi- 
cient, in opening and developing the resources of a new 
country, we feel that we owe them a lasting debt. Well may 
we honor our hardy pioneers, before whom the forests fell, 
and cities rose up in their track; a race fast fading away, 
and ere long will be known only in history. The scenes, " 
he says, " through which we have briefly passed have been 
a part and parcel of my existence, and in reviewing them 
many a fond and pleasing association has been recalled of 
other days." 

I quote to finish, not only to show Mr. Guest's apprecia- 
tion of the town where he had lived so long, but also the 
quaint style of composition jn vogue at that time, the poem 
that ends his lecture. 



110 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

" Ogdensburgh, I love thee 
There's not a spot within — around, of 
grassy walk or wooded dell — but I have 
trod. I knew thee in thy youth — before 
distinction's line had sectioned thee — when 
all were like one family — I knew thee too, 
Before one spire for humble worshiper 
was pointed to the skies — and I have thought 
that He — who looks upon the soul, did less 
Of imperfection see, when neath that ancient 
cupola on Sabbath morn we met — one 
voice — One heart — nor differed we who filled 
the desk, if good ; no party jealousies, 
no stress of strife — I saw thee 
When the tented field was spread — when bomb 
and ball, were flying thick, and serried hosts, 
were marching to the fight — While plume and helmet 
glittered in the morning sun — when 
Freemen fought for liberty. 

Again I 
looked, the cloud had passed from off thy brow, and 
Peace, mild Peace was smiling there and Commerce 
laying at thy feet her stores — Well pleased to 
honor thee — And Agriculture, rising from her 
sleep, hasted to pour her treasures 
in thy lap — Once more I view thee, pride of 
Iroquois — and now on all the length and 
breadth of that proud stream that laves thy feet there's 
none so beautiful — St. Lawrence lingers 
As she passes thee — then dashes on, nor 
deigns the like again — and that half mad, half 
wild brunette, Miss Oswegatchie — that 
rushes from her wild wood home — astonished, 
falters in her course, then side by side, she 
joins that fair one in her courtesy — 'Tis 
beautiful to view thee — from the western 
wave — When Sol gilds spire and dome ; and stars and 
stripes blend richly with the snowy sail — and 
steamers passing to and fro — and Bark of 
every size and hue, tell, life's upon thy 
waters. Yet these — tho' grand, are but the 
externals of thy loveliness — far famed 
for industry and honest worth — courteous 






DISTRICT SCHOOLS HI 



alike to all — but much to those in want. 
In thee, the houseless find a home, and here 
the wanderer a rest — Thy daughters vie 
with each to mitigate the ills of life, 
and many rise to call thee blessed — Home 
of my youth — I love thee." 



OGDENSBURG DURING THE CIVIL WAR 

Compiled from the newspapers and histories of the period and from 
personal recollections. 

The political canvass preceding the presidential election 
in i860 was a very exciting one. Party feeling ran high, 
and the election of Abraham Lincoln brought to many minds 
the query, are we to have peace or war? Many thought he 
never would be inaugurated, so far had men's passions car- 
ried them on to extraordinary deeds and acts. 

Time flew rapidly by; a number of Southern States se- 
ceded from the Union, but the 4th of March, 1861, saw the 
inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United 
States. Never before, perhaps, in the history of the country 
was an inaugural address waited for with such anxiety. The 
calm, conciliating, yet powerful language in which it was 
couched showed the character, the measure of the man. I 
quote the closing words of the address : — "In your hands, 
my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the 
momentous issue of civil war. The government will not 
assail you, you can have no conflict without being yourselves 
the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to 
destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn 
one to preserve, protect and defend it. I am loth to close. 
We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. 
Though passion may have strained, it must not break our 
bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching 
from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart 

112 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 113 

and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the 
chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely as they 
will be, by the better angels of our nature." 

The address closing with these prophetic words, as we 
now realize, strengthened the hopes of the North, but it did 
not make the same favorable impression in the South, and 
matters seemed each day to grow more ominous and dark. 
At last the blow fell! The flag had been fired upon! For 
months and weeks had the feeling of anxiety throughout the 
country been growing more and more intense. Each day 
had the papers been scanned with the hope of finding that 
there would be no war, that the pride in, and love of, our 
great country would, even at the last moment, surmount all 
other feelings that might animate the minds of those who 
sought to dissolve the Union. It is sad to recall the events 
of that period. 

In spite of the strong indications that the vindication of 
the law must be accomplished by force, there were many and 
oft-repeated assertions made, both in the North and in the 
South, that no matter how strained the situation might be 
over questions of sectional rights and other matters, there 
could be no war, no strife, that would call for the use of 
arms and armies between the beautiful South and the sturdy 
North. 

But alas and alack! How rudely were these dreams dis- 
solved ! News came of the firing upon the Star of the West, 
the boat going to the assistance of Fort Sumter; then people 
trembled and grew silent and grave. Later came the stu- 
pendous news that the flag upon Fort Sumter had been fired 
upon. In our village, as in every town and hamlet of the 
land, it came like a thunderbolt. People thought themselves 
prepared for it, yet over the entire North and South it fell 



114 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

with appalling force. It meant war! It meant death, deso- 
lation and grief. It might mean the breaking up of this 
grand old Union of States, the Union given to us by Wash- 
ington and the Continental Army, by those ancestors whose 
memories we honor. 

In Ogdensburg the streets were filled with excited people. 
Stores and workshops were abandoned, men rushing out to 
hear the news with blanched faces ; women wept and prayed ; 
all seemed to realize what it might mean. The news spread 
with great rapidity, and at the corner of Ford Street, at the 
Seymour House, a large concourse of people gathered. The 
despatch announcing the stupendous news was read aloud, 
and the feeling in every mind was made manifest that some- 
thing must be done at once to show that the people of Og- 
densburg were ready to stand by the government in enfor- 
cing the laws of our nation. It was in keeping with this 
spirit of patriotism that the announcement was made by the 
editor of the Ogdensburg Journal that, while he was speaking, 
the enrolment papers were being printed at his office, that 
all who desired to do so could enroll their names at once. 

It was proposed to raise a regiment of one thousand vol- 
unteers in St. Lawrence County. The form of enlistment 
was as follows : 

" We, the undersigned, citizens of St. Lawrence County, 
hereby agree to enlist in a volunteer company for a period 
of six months and longer, if necessary. We hereby further 
agree and pledge ourselves to tender our services to the 
Governor of the State of New York for the aid of the fed- 
eral government, reserving to ourselves the right to elect 
our own company and battalion officers, and, in case the 
number shall reach one thousand, our regimental officers, and 
expecting, if called out, to be armed at the State expense. " 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 115 

It was expected three months would be spent in drilling 
and the remaining three in active service, when those who 
could would remain longer, and those who could not would 
be relieved. 

Quite a large number had been enrolled in what was to 
be called " The St. Lawrence Regiment." But when, on 
April 19th, 1 86 1, the official copies of the new law were 
received for the first time, by its provisions it seemed that 
the governor could accept and equip no volunteers for a 
shorter time than two years. There were hundreds anxious 
to serve their country in the emergency, and ready for an 
immediate start, and had so enlisted, who did not feel that 
they could enlist for two years. 

It was decided that no further steps could be taken for 
the organization of a six-months regiment, and another com- 
pany was started by those willing to enlist for the necessary 
two years. Everybody was excited, nothing but war was 
talked about. Flags were displayed from hundreds of places. 
The spirit of patriotism pervaded the community. On Mon- 
day evening, April 22d, a large and enthusiastic meeting was 
held in the Town Hall. The company was organized and 
elected the following officers: 

Captain, David Nevin; First Lieutenant, P. L. VanNess; 
Second Lieutenant, C. L. Jones; Orderly Sergeant, Isaac T. 
Merry; Second Sergeant, Oliver B. Flagg; Third Sergeant, 
Hill H. Wilson; Fourth Sergeant, Michael Cox; First Cor- 
poral, Henry C. Spaulding; Second Corporal, William H. 
Daniels; Third Corporal, J. Newton Carver; Fourth Cor- 
poral, Henry V. R. Patterson; seventy members of the com- 
pany were present. This was the first company from North- 
ern New York to perfect its organization. Sumter was fired 
upon the 12th of April; twelve days later, on April 24th, 



116 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

this company left home, two days after its organization. 
Scarcely time for a man to arrange his business matters, 
scarcely time in which to say farewell to loved ones. 

On April 24th, 1861, the company left for Albany, via 
the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad for Rouses 
Point, thence by steamer to Whitehall and by rail to Albany, 
where it arrived on the 25th and was accepted the same day. 
The day of the departure of the company will never be for- 
gotten by the people of Ogdensburg who witnessed the scenes 
at the depot. The sound of martial music filled the air, the 
flags were waving, the sad partings were said, as the train 
slowly pulled out, bearing away the loved ones who might 
never return. They were gone! The stalwart men, the 
brave boys, and then did our people begin to realize what 
war might mean. Immediately after the departure of the 
first company, which became Co. A, 16th Regiment, New 
York Volunteers, a second company was raised and on May 
3d left, arriving in Albany on the 4th instant. It was mus- 
tered in as Co. K, 18th Regiment, New York Volunteers. 
This regiment, shortly after its organization, was commanded 
by Col. George Myers of this city. The officers elected be- 
fore the departure from home were as follows: Captain, 
D. L. Bartlett; First Lieutenant, A. Seely; Second Lieu- 
tenant, H. G. Goodno; Orderly Sergeant, T. H. Brosnan; 
Second Sergeant, F. F. Huntington; Third Sergeant, Philip 
Wand; Fourth Sergeant, M. Huligan; First Corporal, A. 
Corcoran; Second Corporal, E. Guyette; Third Corporal, 
C. W. Lasher; Fourth Corporal, R. R. Grant. 

The two companies spoken of so fully were known as the 
Ogdensburg companies, as being formed, perhaps exclusively, 
of the citizens of the village, but many brave men enlisted 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 117 

later in the different organizations, formed in the vicinity, of 
which I will speak later. 

In the surrounding country the same spirit of patriotism 
caused the formation of other companies. One of the first 
to leave home was that composed largely of Macomb and 
Depeyster volunteers, under command of Captain Newton 
Martin Curtis. First Lieutenant, John Snyder; Second Lieu- 
tenant, William L. Best. They came from their homes in 
wagons provided by the farmers of those towns, and ren- 
dezvoused at the Baldwin House on Catherine Street (since 
burned). This company was made up of the bone and 
sinew of the land, and was composed almost entirely of 
farmers' sons, all more or less expert with the rifle. On 
their way to Ogdensburg, as they came through Heuvelton, 
a national salute was fired and other patriotic demonstra- 
tions were made. Before proceeding to the depot in Og- 
densburg, they marched through the streets, escorted by the 
Old's and Oswegatchie Bands. They were halted in front 
of Norman's Hat Store on Ford Street, and each member 
was presented, by James C. Spencer, United States District 
Attorney, with a cap. These checked gingham caps were 
worn until the men received their uniforms from the State. 
This company was Co. G, 16th Regiment, New York Vol- 
unteers. 

At this time Ogdensburg had the honor of numbering 
among its citizens a United States Senator, the Hon. Pres- 
ton King; a member of Congress, the Hon. Socrates N. 
Sherman; the Attorney-General of the State of New York, 
Hon. Charles G. Myers; a Justice of the Supreme Court, 
Hon. Amaziah B. James. It is a rare occurrence when the 
occupants of four such important offices all reside in the same 
small village. 



118 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

It is hard to realize, after so many years, the tense, ex- 
cited feeling which pervaded the minds of all. Every one 
felt it a duty and a privilege to do what he could to help the 
cause. A committee of business men was formed at the very 
first to raise funds to provide, where necessary, for the fam- 
ilies of volunteers. This committee consisted of David C. 
Judson, Chairman; William C. Brown, Norman Sackrider, 
William J. Averell and Ela N. Merriam, Secretary. 

On May 21st a meeting of the ladies was called at the 
Town Hall. The Town Hall was in the building now used 
as the academy. It has been added to and changed to a 
considerable extent. The meeting was well attended and a 
society was organized for the purpose of assisting in furnish- 
ing to our volunteers such articles as would contribute most 
to their health and comfort. It was to be called the Ladies' 
Volunteer Aid Association. The following officers were 
chosen : President, Mrs. A. B. James ; Vice-Presidents, Mrs. 
L. D. Hoard, Mrs. T. C. Atchison, Mrs. Hiram Chatterton; 
Treasurer, Miss Kitty Clark; Secretary, Mrs. Roscius Jud- 
son. Committee to solicit and collect funds, First Ward, 
Miss Lavinia Chapin, Miss Lucy Furness; Second Ward, 
Mrs. George Mack, Miss Green; Third Ward, Mrs. Pom- 
eroy, Mrs. S. L. Holmes. This society met once every week 
in the Town Hall, sewing and working for the absent soldier 
boys. I have, within a few days, seen the books of the sec- 
retary and find that about one thousand dollars were ex- 
pended for materials, etc. Meetings were also held at many 
of the homes, where socks were knit, lint scraped and, in 
fact, everything that could be of service was made by these 
patriotic ladies. Their noble efforts did not cease during the 
entire war. 

Previous to the outbreak of the war, the Ogdensburg 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 119 

Academy had burned and an appropriation was to be voted 
upon at the spring election for the purpose of raising money 
to build a new edifice. The academy had stood on the cor- 
ner of State and Knox Streets, opposite to the present Cus- 
tom-house and Post-office. After the burning of the acad- 
emy, school had been held in No. 2, the brick schoolhouse 
on Washington Street. As the time drew near for the mat- 
ter of the rebuilding to be decided upon, there arose in the 
minds of many citizens a feeling that it would be wise to 
postpone the expenditure necessary until some later time. 
In consequence and as a result of these opinions, the follow- 
ing circular was issued: 

" In view of the present emergency of the country and 
the prospective burdens to be laid on its people for its de- 
fense, we, the undersigned, citizens and taxpayers of Ogdens- 
burg, who have heretofore intended to vote for levying 
$12,500 on this village for rebuilding the edifice for an educa- 
tional institute, do hereby recommend deferring the levying of 
said tax for the present and unite in this expression of opinion 
that both use and expediency require that the proposition be 
voted down. S. N. Sherman, D. C. Judson, Stillman Foote, 
B. F. Sherman, C. P. Geer, R. Atchison, J. Armstrong, A. 
A. Babcock, A. W. Wooley, George Hurlbut, H. Rockwell, 
A. B. James, Z. B. Bridges, R. W. Judson, J. F. Seely, 
Chester Waterman, S. F. Judd, Smith S til well, Benjamin 
Tilley, David Fields, T. C. Atchison, A. M. Herriman, N. 
Sackrider, N. Fine. Ogdensburg, April 27, 186 1." 

We are all proud of our grand old county of St. Law- 
rence, and can appreciate the feeling that prompted the writer 
to express his admiration in the following article, taken from 
a paper printed at that time, in regard to a review of the 
Sixteenth Regiment in Albany. 



120 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

" At the review, St. Lawrence County was there. The 
Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, besides the officers and a ma- 
jority of the soldiers are from St. Lawrence County. The 
U. S. Senator was there, from St. Lawrence County; the 
State officers were there, from St. Lawrence County; the 
member of the military board was there, from St. Lawrence 
County; the member of the Court of Appeals was there, 
from St. Lawrence County. It was St. Lawrence County 
all over and first rate. This tableau of St. Lawrence County 
at the camp ground was eminently illustrative of its intel- 
lectual and physical powers. St. Lawrence County, long may 
she wave! " 

The Sixteenth left Albany for Washington on June 25th, 
the Eighteenth about the same time. 

In June, 1861, a meeting of the citizens was called to 
decide upon a Fourth of July celebration. At this meeting 
the Hon. S. N. Sherman moved that "it be the sense of this 
meeting that the oath of allegiance be administered to the 
entire audience at the public ceremonies on the Fourth of 
July, immediately after reading the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence." Thus will be seen the trend of all minds and 
hearts in the days of '6i. Among the features of the cele- 
bration were to be races of all kinds of oared boats, the 
parade of the Zouave Cadets, a grand procession, public 
dinner, and a torchlight procession in the evening. The 
Ogdensburg Zouave Cadets was the title of a military com- 
pany organized by the younger men of the place. They 
made their first appearance on July 4th, and went through 
the drill peculiar to that arm of the service. They made an 
exceedingly gay appearance and formed an attractive feature 
in the celebration. The orator of the day was Rev. L. Mer- 
rill Miller; reader of the Declaration of Independence was 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 121 

John Magone. The enthusiastic patriotism of Rev. Dr. Mil- 
ler was well known and felt during the entire war, yes, 
during his long life spent in Ogdensburg as the beloved pas- 
tor of the Presbyterian Church. For over fifty years he 
blessed his people by his ministrations, and there never was 
a time when his great loyalty to his country was not consid- 
ered to be one of the strongest traits of his character. The 
women of his church made a large flag about sixty feet long, 
and Dr. Miller had the necessary tackle put on the steeple 
and it was raised. The flag was of cotton. The merchants 
contributed most of the material and others gave money. 
When it was up at the top of the steeple, the point came 
below the belfry. There have been some changes in the 
steeple of the church since those days. The people were 
ready to sing — 

" 'Tis the flag that has waved through our country's bright story, 
'Tis the patriot's pride and the hope of the world, 
'Mid the clouds of the future, God grant that its glory 
From ocean to ocean may yet be unfurled." 

In fact flag-raising was to be witnessed on all sides. In 
many school districts in the country a flag-pole was raised 
and the stars and stripes thrown to the breeze. In a paper 
published at the time, we find the following: 

" The flag raised at Schoolhouse No. i was an interest- 
ing and pleasing ceremony. After the announcement of the 
raising, the scholars sang a patriotic piece written for the 
occasion, to the tune of Yankee Doodle, the scholars then 
adjourned to raise the flag, after which they sang a hymn 
to the air of the ' Star Spangled Banner.' Then Senator 
King addressed the meeting in a patriotic speech, which was 
followed by ' The Red, White and Blue ' by the scholars. 
Remarks and singing then followed in the following order. 



122 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

" Remarks by E. C. James ; Song, * Hurrah for the 
Union;' Remarks by N. Taggert; Song, ' Hail, Our Coun- 
try's Natal Morn ; ' Remarks by George Parker and Stillman 
Foote, followed by the recitation of the following original 
poem by Miss Mary Newmeyer, which was well done and 
highly spoken of, of which the following is the first verse. 

" Behold ye, the banner we've lifted on high, 
To toss forth its stars and its stripes to the sky, 
That the sheen of its splendors hath been seen from afar, 
On the battlement's heights, both in peace and in war, 
'Tis but late 'twas planted o'er church and o'er school, 
Furled now is the exception, displayed is the rule." 

And now disquieting rumors came from Washington in 
regard to a forward movement of the troops. On July 16th 
news came that the movement " On to Richmond " had ac- 
tually commenced. This meant much to the citizens of Og- 
densburg, for among the troops in this advance were Co. 
A, 1 6th New York, and Co. K, 18th New York, numbering 
nearly one hundred and fifty, all from Ogdensburg. Shortly 
after this came the news that in a skirmish near Fairfax 
Court House Sergeant John S. Allen of Co. K, 18th Regt, 
was mortally wounded. He was the first to fall of those 
who went from this place to defend the honor of the stars 
and stripes. Then came the news of the battle of Black- 
burn's Ford on the 18th, with rumors that a general engage- 
ment of the entire army was impending. Sunday afternoon, 
July 2 ist, 1 86 1, rumors came that a great battle was being 
fought. Monday brought confirmation of the battle of Bull 
Run and the defeat of the Union Army. Never before had 
the citizens of Ogdensburg felt such anxiety. Groups were 
gathered on all corners, the newspaper offices were besieged 
all day and until a late hour in the evening. The anxiety of 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 123 

those who had friends in the army was most intense and in 
many instances very pathetic, until the welcome news came 
from Hon. S. N. Sherman, our member of Congress at that 
time, that none of our boys were hurt, when a great load was 
taken from all minds. 

The result of this battle dispelled conclusively the illusion 
that many were laboring under, that the war would end in 
three months. All could now realize that it would be a long 
and terrible struggle for the preservation of the Union. The 
President made a requisition on the State of New York for 
25,000 additional volunteers to serve for three years, or dur- 
ing the war. Recruiting was carried briskly on. Governor 
Morgan ordered the 33d Regt, New York State Militia, 
to be recruited and rendezvous at Ogdensburg. A camp was 
prepared in the large buildings formerly used by the North- 
ern Railroad Co. as workshops for the manufacture and re- 
pair of the rolling stock of their road. These shops were 
located about a mile below the eastern limits of the city, on 
the line of the railroad now known as the Rutland Road. 
At that time a number of residences were erected in that 
locality for the accommodation of the families of the men 
employed in the works. This hamlet was commonly known 
as " New Boston." Shortly before the war these works 
were abandoned for the purpose for which they were erected, 
and the government leased and converted the buildings into 
quarters for the 33d Regiment. After the companies were 
recruited to the required strength, the regiment was desig- 
nated by the governor as the 60th Regiment of New York 
Volunteers. The camp had been named " Camp Wheeler " 
in honor of William A. Wheeler, president of the Northern 
Railroad and member of Congress from the 16th Congres- 
sional District. This was a deserved compliment to Mr. 



124 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Wheeler, who, it is said, had from the first labored unceas- 
ingly for the vigorous prosecution of the war as well as for 
the welfare of the men who had gone or were going to the 
front. Mr. Wheeler became later, in 1876, Vice-President 
of the United States. 

The first company fully organized of the 60th Regiment 
arrived at the camp on September 10th, 1861. Everything 
was in a bustle preparing for the men, and by September 
17th the companies were nearly all in. The men were all 
strong, athletic men, and most of them practical marksmen, 
accustomed to the use of the rifle, farmers and merchants. 
The quarters at Camp Wheeler were ample and roomy and 
furnished abundant accommodations for the full regiment. 
There were six or eight of the buildings, as many as were 
used for the men's quarters, and the remainder assigned to 
other uses. The centre building was the kitchen and dining- 
room. In the kitchen were three large dairy cauldrons, a 
large cooking stove, a patent baker, and a large force of 
cooks were in attendance to prepare the meals. Gen. Schuy- 
ler F. Judd and Mr. J. B. Armstrong supplied the table. 
The dining-room had accommodations for five hundred men at 
a single sitting. Tin cups and plates were used. The sleep- 
ing quarters were arranged in berths, four tiers high, and 
furnished with good fresh straw. The ladies of the Volun- 
teer Aid Association contributed extra blankets and comfort- 
ables to the men as the season advanced. A picnic was 
given, in fact, several picnics were given to the companies 
from different localities by their friends. Wagons loaded 
with eatables of the nicest kind were seen going to Camp 
Wheeler frequently; the friends of the particular company 
to be favored turned out in large numbers on these festive 
occasions. On October 24th Hon. William A. Wheeler pre- 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 125 

sented the 6oth a splendid regimental flag. The occasion 
drew a large concourse of people, not only from Ogdensburg 
but from all parts of the county, and a number from Frank- 
lin County. We find the following account of the affair: 

" When the hour of presentation arrived, the regiment was 
formed in a hollow square around a stand erected for the 
accommodation of the speaker. In Mr. Wheeler's address 
he briefly reviewed our national history and feelingly re- 
ferred to the patriotic blood that had been shed in making 
us a nation and giving us the flag. He spoke of the great 
Washington who marched from victory to victory under its 
folds until finally the rebellion was crowned with ultimate 
success, and also the victory of McDonough on Lake Cham- 
plain, of Perry on Lake Erie, the gallant conduct of Scott 
at the Niagara frontier, and the victory of Jackson at New 
Orleans, all gained under the same flag. He then spoke of 
the unnatural rebellion that had called them from their peace- 
ful homes to meet privations and shed their blood in defense 
of the starry ensign which he now presented to them and 
charged them to defend. The flag which was the national 
ensign was made of silk and mounted on a beautiful stand- 
ard, the colors were the brightest and the stars in the union 
were of gold. 

" Lieutenant-Colonel Goodrich received the flag in a beau- 
tiful reply to Mr. Wheeler, reciting Longfellow's stirring 
poem, ' The Ship of State/ and promising on behalf of the 
regiment, to carry it to victory or death." 

On Thursday, October 31st, at the regimental parade, 
the ladies of Ogdensburg presented the regiment with a 
beautiful State banner. The Hon. John Fine made the pres- 
entation on behalf of the ladies. He said: 

" Officers and soldiers : — I am commissioned by the la- 



126 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

dies of Ogdensburg to present to you this banner, which is 
emblematic of the pride and greatness of the State of New 
York. We have confidence in your courage and patriotism, 
and that you will, with God's blessing, bear this banner aloft 
triumphant to victory. Some of you are the descendants 
of men who fought and died on the Revolutionary field. A 
descent from such ancestors is a strong guarantee that you 
will not disgrace this banner by cowardice. Some of you 
are soldiers of the cross, and have laid your vows upon the 
altar to be faithful to God and your country. Remember the 
warning in your book of discipline : ' It is better not to vow 
than to vow and not perform/ Most of you are natives of 
St. Lawrence County, and have been taught from your child- 
hood to be proud of a county whose citizens are equal in 
intelligence, virtue and patriotism to any other county in the 
Empire State. See to it that you do not, by misconduct, 
tarnish the fame of a county which contains the ashes of a 
Silas Wright. The finest representative of man, of fallen 
but redeemed man, is the Christian missionary, who, after 
toiling to instruct and bless his fellow men, dies the death 
of a martyr in attestation of the truth he has taught. Next 
to him is the patriot soldier, who leaves his peaceful home 
for a distant field of battle to fight and die for his country. 
You have a glorious mission, and may well be envied by 
many of us, who, from age and sex, are unable to accom- 
pany you; but we shall follow you with our sympathies and 
prayers. The acceptance by you of this banner is an engage- 
ment on your part to make it your pillar of cloud by day, 
and your pillar of fire by night, to lead you on your march. 
Wherever it shall go you will go; wherever it shall stand 
you will stand; and on the battle-field it shall recall to your 
memory the charge which I now give you, in the name of 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 127 

the ladies of Ogdensburg, to conquer or die. May God bless 
you and crown your arms with success in restoring peace and 
union to our beloved country ! " 

The flag was received by Col. Hayward, who made the 
following reply: 

" As the representative, and in the name of the officers, 
non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Sixtieth Regi- 
ment of New York State Volunteers, I accept with profound 
emotion this beautiful and costly testimonial from the ladies 
of Ogdensburg to the beloved relatives and friends who are 
leaving their homes and firesides, and all that life holds dear- 
est of tenderest relations, to go forth to the defense of the 
Union of these States, so blessed heretofore by God, but 
which now is sought to be disintegrated by wicked, aspiring, 
ambitious men. This flag shall be our rallying point; and 
as we look up to its folds as they float upon the breezes 
which are sent from heaven, and as we catch the words 
'Jehovah Nissi ' (God is our banner), we shall, with bless- 
ings upon the ladies of Ogdensburg for so touching a me- 
mento of their kindness, their goodness, and their patriotism, 
and with a firm, unwavering trust in Almighty God to crown 
our efforts with successful issue, enter into the conflict 
strengthened by the battle-cry of God and our country ! " 

The 6oth left Ogdensburg on the morning of November 
the first, 1 86 1. The subsequent history of this gallant regi- 
ment filled with pride every heart in St. Lawrence Co. In 
the spring of 1862 a feeling of uneasiness was manifested 
along the northern frontier. There were rumors that three 
hundred troops were to be sent by the Canadian government 
to Prescott, and so, when the bill appropriating $6,500,000 
for frontier defenses came up in the United States Senate, 
and Senator Preston King moved that the word " Ogdens- 



128 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

burg " should be inserted before " Oswego," it was felt 
that the interests of the place were not overlooked. 

Matters went on as usual, primaries and elections were 
held, entertainments in the way of dramatic performances, 
concerts and lectures were given at the usual place, Eagle 
Hall. People had taken up their daily life, but under and 
over all was the same tense feeling of anxiety, for none knew 
what a day might bring. There were no troops in Ogdens- 
burg during the winter. The papers were eagerly scanned 
each morning, only to find this, " All quiet on the Potomac." 

The news came in February, 1862, of the capture of Fort 
Donelson on the Cumberland River, by Gen. U. S. Grant. 
When Gen. Buckner proposed an armistice to arrange terms 
of capitulation, he replied, " No terms except unconditional 
and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move 
immediately upon your works." We quote from an eminent 
writer the following : " His resolute phrase gained him a 
prouder title than was ever bestowed by knightly accolade; 
thereafter the army and the country, with a fanciful play 
upon the initials of his name, spoke of him as ' Unconditional 
Surrender Grant/ This great success filled with renewed 
enthusiasm the minds of the loyal people of the North." 

In April was heard no more that familiar phrase, " All 
quiet on the Potomac," for the magnificent Army of the 
Potomac had commenced its march on Richmond. Many a 
heart ached at the news in Ogdensburg and throughout St. 
Lawrence County. In May news was received of the en- 
gagement at West Point, in which a part of the 16th Regt. 
participated, having six men killed and eleven wounded. 
Among the latter was Capt. N. Martin Curtis. 

In June came tidings of the terrible Seven Days' fight 
before Richmond. Word fail to describe the anxiety and 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 129 

grief of the people of this locality at that time. In the first 
day of the Seven Days' fight, both the 16th and 18th Regts. 
were engaged, the 16th having in that one day lost, by hav- 
ing killed and wounded, 231 men. In this battle, among 
others, Captain Horatio G. Goodno of the 18th Regt, from 
this city, was painfully wounded by a bullet passing through 
both cheeks. 

The Union armies, both east and west, had sustained 
frightful losses, and others were called upon to fill the gaps 
in the ranks. In June the President called for 300,000 addi- 
tional men. Then came the response from the great sturdy 
North, " We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred 
thousand more." In July news came that another regiment 
was to be raised in St. Lawrence County, to be known as the 
106th New York Volunteers, to rendezvous at Camp Wheeler 
at Ogdensburg. Again were the scenes enacted that were 
witnessed but a short time before, when the 60th Regt. was 
forming here. In the latter regiment very few enlisted from 
Ogdensburg. In the 106th Regt. a large number were from 
this village. Again were seen the wagons filled with recruits, 
passing through the streets, always with flags flying and 
drums beating. 

The 106th was rapidly filled. Camp Wheeler had been 
put into good condition, and was made even more comfort- 
able than when the 60th had occupied the barracks there. 
The men received their blankets and uniforms before leav- 
ing Ogdensburg. Sunday services were held at least part 
of the time. The regiment, being so largely composed of 
men from this immediate vicinity, received many visits from 
friends, and the time seemed to hasten all too rapidly on to 
the day of the departure, August 28th, 1862, when the regi- 
ment left under command of Col. Schuyler F. Judd. The 



130 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

regiment proceeded to West Virginia, arriving at New Creek 
on September 2d. Arms and ammunition had been pro- 
vided for the regiment at New York City. Soon after reach- 
ing New Creek, Col. Judd was taken ill and resigned and 
returned home, and Edward C. James of this village, who 
was at that time major of the 60th New York, was promoted 
to the colonelcy of the 106th and took command. 

No regiment came out of the war with a more gallant 
record than the 106th, which was honorably won on many 
a hard-fought field. 

While this regiment was being recruited, the country was 
passing through some of the most trying days of the war. 

In August came the news that General Lee was marching 
towards Washington and the accounts of the terrible fighting 
of the second Bull Run battle, and of other sanguinary en- 
gagements in that vicinity. 

Soon after General Lee had forced General Pope to retire 
to the defenses of Washington came the startling news in 
September that Lee had invaded the State of Maryland, and 
from his position threatened both Washington and Balti- 
more. What depression seized, for a moment, upon the 
minds of the most hopeful of the citizens of this village as 
well as over the entire North! A cloud of despondency 
and gloom seemed to hang over the entire community, which 
was dispelled when the news came that the great battle of 
Antietam had been fought and Lee had retreated back to 
Virginia. 

On September 22d, 1862, was signed, by President Lin- 
coln, the Emancipation Proclamation. The knowledge that 
at last the final step had been taken in this matter caused 
a feeling of intense interest in Ogdensburg. By the stroke 
of the pen a people had been freed from bondage and the 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 131 

shame of slavery removed from our land. All realized the 
importance and the gravity of the step. A step taken only 
after the most deliberate and conscientious consideration, and 
made necessary by the exigencies of the war. A new wave 
of patriotic enthusiasm seemed to sweep over the country, 
and the 106th had been gone but a short time when the 1426. 
Regt. was forming at Camp Wheeler. Roscius W. Judson 
of Ogdensburg was made colonel of the regiment. Colonel 
Judson was presented by the officers of his regiment with 
a handsome sword and belt. This regiment was rapidly 
rilled; recruits arrived daily from all parts of the county, 
many enlisting from this village, among them Capt. John 
D. Ransom, in honor of whom Ransom Post, the Grand 
Army Post of Ogdensburg, is named. This regiment was 
here but a short time, but during that period the same scenes 
were enacted, so familiar now to the citizens : the visits to 
the camp, the effort of the ladies of the Volunteer Aid Asso- 
ciation to make everything as comfortable as possible for 
those so soon to leave for the seat of war. 

The I42d Regiment left camp on the morning of Oc- 
tober 6th, 1862, thirty-five days from the time recruiting 
was begun. Long before daylight and until the time of de- 
parture teams of every description continued to arrive, as 
well as persons on foot. Between five and six thousand 
people gathered at the depot upon this occasion, and the 
partings between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, 
parents and sons, friends and neighbors, were deeply affect- 
ing. 

In no place was the spirit of patriotism more manifest 
than in the village of Ogdensburg. In the short time of 
a little over three months, two full regiments had been 
formed at Camp Wheeler and despatched to the front, both 



132 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

regiments recruited, practically, from St. Lawrence County. 

This, in addition to all those gone before, and still they went, 

marching! marching! with brave mien in response to the 

call for three hundred thousand more! Well might the poet 

sing: 

" Full many a heart is aching, with mingled joy and pain, 
For those who go so proudly forth and may not come again, 
And many a heart is aching for those it leaves behind 
As a thousand tender memories throng in upon the mind. 
The old men bless the young men, and praise their bearing high ; 
The women in the doorways stand and wave them bravely by. 
Oh ! mothers, when around your hearths you count your cherished ones 
And miss from the enchanted ring the flower of all your sons : 
Oh ! wives, when o'er the cradled child ye bend at evening's fall 
And voices which the heart can hear across the distance call : 
Oh ! maids, when on the sleepless nights ye ope the little case 
And gaze till you can gaze no more upon the proud young face : 
Not only pray the Lord of Life, who measures mortal breath, 
To bring the absent back unscathed out of the fire of death, 
Oh ! pray with that divine content which God's best favor draws 
That whosoever lives or dies, He save His holy cause." 

In the fall of 1862 the Board of Village Trustees au- 
thorized a village currency. It was in the form of script 
and was commonly known as " shinplasters." This cur- 
rency was in fractions of a dollar, represented by these min- 
iature bills in five, ten, fifteen, twenty and twenty-five cents. 
They were issued in many places by corporations, and some- 
times by individuals for the accommodation of local trade, 
specie being increased in value and difficult to get. It was 
redeemed by those issuing it. Later it was withdrawn, as 
the general government informed the local banks that they 
could be furnished with one hundred and twenty-five dollars 
each week in government postage money of the same nature. 
The use of this money was a very great convenience. 

While with patience and patriotism undimmed the people 
of the North were bearing the sad burden of the war, it 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 133 

seems almost incredible, as we look back to those days, to 
find that even in our own village, as in other localities, there 
were those whose sympathies were not with the North, not 
with those who were fighting to preserve the Union; these 
persons were known throughout the North as Copperheads. 
It was an added pang to hearts filled with anxiety for loved 
ones to listen to the seditious utterances of these people. 
There was at the time a paper printed in Ogdensburg called 
the St. Lawrence Democrat, whose columns were filled with 
the most rabid writings. So incensed were the people that 
the probability of a demonstration against the office was 
openly discussed. The District Attorney, like all law-abid- 
ing citizens, felt that a resort to mob law would bring dis- 
grace, not only upon the participants, but upon the entire 
community permitting such lawlessness. He issued the fol- 
lowing : " Warning is given that steps will be taken to pre- 
vent all mob violence, and should any destruction of property 
occur, I shall prosecute, to the extent of the law, all persons 
interested in the outrage. 

" B. F. Vary, District Attorney." 

Mr. Vary was himself a most loyal and patriotic man, 
and while with him, as with many others, there seemed justi- 
fication for much that was said against the paper, he repre- 
sented the law and that must be obeyed. 

Terrible anxiety was felt when news of the battle of 
Fredericksburg was received in December, 1862, but no cas- 
ualties were reported among the Ogdensburg soldiers. In 
February, 1863, Col. Roscius Judson, who commanded the 
I42d Regiment upon its departure, resigned and returned 
home. Capt. N. Martin Curtis of the 16th New York Vol- 
unteers was promoted to the colonelcy of the I42d Regiment. 



134 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

In the meantime the ladies of the Aid Association, never 
weary of well-doing, gave a grand Union Ball on February 
1 2th, 1863. Tickets five dollars, admitting gentleman and 
lady; additional ladies, one dollar each. The proceeds to 
be devoted to the use of the sick and wounded soldiers. This 
was a social and financial success. 

About this time recruiting was very actively carried on, 
there being in Ogdensburg no less than ten to twelve re- 
cruiting offices for various organizations. In the last days 
of April, 1863, in many homes in Ogdensburg, in fact in the 
entire county, was there anxious suspense, for news came 
of the forward movement of the Army of the Potomac, in 
which were so many loved ones from this section, the 16th, 
1 8th and 60th Regiments. Then came the tidings of the 
battles of Chancellorsville and Salem Church, where the 16th 
Regiment, on the 3d of May, went into action with thirty 
officers and three hundred and eight men, and lost, killed 
and wounded and captured, one hundred and fifty-four. 
This was, indeed, the irony of fate, for the terms of enlist- 
ment of this regiment expired twelve days later. 

The men of the 16th New York had enlisted for two 
years, and on May 22d, 1863, received their discharges. 
Recruits who had joined the ranks later for three years re- 
mained behind and were transferred to other commands. 
There were a number of men that had gone with the first 
company who left Ogdensburg in response to the call for 
volunteers, who had been promoted and were serving in other 
commands, and who did not return with the regiment; in 
fact, the regiment, after the ceremonies attending the dis- 
charge in Albany, did not keep intact, but dispersed to the 
different localities from which the men had enlisted. The 
battles from Bull Run to Chancellorsville, in which this regi- 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 135 

ment participated, were Bull Run, West Point, Gaines Mills, 
Glendale, Crampton's Pass, Antietam and Salem Church. 
A noble record for our first St. Lawrence Regiment. 

On May 16th the 18th New York was mustered out at 
Albany. Co. K of this regiment being from Ogdensburg, 
the people had always felt great interest in the regiment. 
Co. K was the second company to leave this city in 1861. 
The regiment had left Albany in 1861 with 834 men. It 
had received a considerable number of recruits, the casual- 
ties of war had reduced its ranks to 425 men. Its return 
was with a most honorable record of faithful service. 

In June, 1863, came the tidings that brought dismay to 
every mind, for again was Northern soil invaded by General 
Lee. Gen. McClellan had been superseded by Gen. Burn- 
side, who in turn gave place to Gen. Hooker; with each 
new commander had the people of the North felt new en- 
couragement. But the fateful day at Chancellorsville, when 
even Fighting Joe Hooker failed to win the looked-for vic- 
tory, matters appeared gloomy enough. Thus, when Gen. 
Meade was placed in command of the army just at the crit- 
ical time of the invasion of Pennsylvania by Lee, people 
prayed that he might prove to be the one who should lead 
to victory that great Army of the Potomac. On July 1st 
the first engagement of the terrible battle of Gettysburg oc- 
curred. We are all familiar with the result of this great 
battle, which lasted for three days. On July 4th, which has 
been said by an eminent author to have been made mem- 
orable for the second time to all generations of Americans, 
mingling the associations of Gettysburg and Vicksburg with 
those of Philadelphia in the last century; for the news had 
electrified the country that not only had the Army of the 
Potomac been victorious and the second and final invasion of 



136 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the North repelled, but that Vicksburg, the Gibraltar of the 
West, had also fallen before the prowess of the Union forces. 

The Fourth of July, 1863, in this village was celebrated 
most quietly, in a fitting manner by the citizens, who, know- 
ing of the terrible struggle taking place in Pennsylvania at 
Gettysburg, had decided the evening of the third of July to 
hold service in the Presbyterian Church. The Declaration 
of Independence was read and a number of extemporaneous 
orations made by several gentlemen. In an extract from a 
letter written by a young lady of this place to a cousin in 
the army, describing this service, we find the following : " It 
was with tear-dimmed eyes and a sad heart that I took part 
in the exercises of our church, for you know we thought 
that both you and Charlie (her brother, who later fell at 
Cold Harbor) were with the Grand Army at Gettysburg. 
When Stillman Foote spoke, he said that the 4th of July, 
1776, was a day of peril and hope, and that to-day is a day 
of peril and hope; of peril, because the Northern homes are 
even now made desolate by the invading foe and our very 
life as a nation wavers in the balance, and when our be- 
loved pastor referred to the honored names of Hopkins, 
Allen and others, strong men were not ashamed to weep; 
but the darkest hour is always before the dawn, for that 
very day the Southern army was retreating from the scene 
of the battle." 

During the summer and fall of '63, the pendulum of war 
swung to the southwest, and we read of the battle of Chick- 
amauga, of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The 
splendid victory of the last two brought joy to the entire 
North. In the battle of Lookout Mountain, " the battle 
above the clouds," the 60th, from St. Lawrence County, took 
part. 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 137 

In the fall of 1863 a Thanksgiving Festival was held by 
the Ladies Aid Association at Lyceum Hall. This was a 
large hall over the stores now occupied by Mr. Britton's 
hardware store and Mr. McGillis' furniture establishment. 
There were two good-sized anterooms, which served as 
kitchen and serving-rooms on this occasion. The object of 
the festival was to raise funds to furnish material to meet 
the wants of the sick and wounded soldiers. The hall was 
most tastefully trimmed, beautified by national flags, mottoes 
and pictures. The tables groaned under the loads of good 
things, the contribution of the citizens, adorned with best 
plate and served to the elite of the town. At three o'clock 
the people sat down and from that time until eight o'clock 
in the evening. The fee of admission to the hall was ten 
cents, dinner seventy-five cents, ice-cream twenty cents. At 
ten in the evening the floor was cleared, and those who 
wished spent a few hours in dancing. The total receipts of 
the day were $460. 

In November, 1863, came the first of the disquieting 
rumors which from that time until the close of the war were 
to affect to a greater or less degree the people of the fron- 
tier. The Governor-General of Canada notified Lord Lyon, 
British Minister at Washington, and the latter communicated 
the information to our government, that a nefarious plot, 
hatched by persons who had found an asylum in Canada, had 
been discovered. It had for its object the release of the rebel 
prisoners on Johnston's Island and the destruction of Buf- 
falo and Ogdensburg; this information was communicated 
to the Secretary of War, the Mayor of Buffalo, and private 
messages were received here at the same time conveying the 
same information. 

When war broke out, the government had some seven 



138 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

or eight small armed vessels which could have been made 
serviceable in protecting most of the places easily accessible 
from the band of desperadoes from the Canadian side. They 
had all been taken down the St. Lawrence to the sea, so that 
there was but a single armed vessel, and that an old schooner, 
to guard the frontier from the head of Lake Superior to the 
foot of the Long Sault Rapids in the St. Lawrence. 

In the arsenal here there were two cannon, a six-pounder 
and a nine-pounder, old-fashioned, and about five hundred old 
cast-iron hammer muskets, one perhaps out of ten of which 
might stand firing a dozen rounds, but the guns and muskets 
had disappeared, so that even had notice been received of the 
coming of a sacking party, all resistance that could have 
been made would have been with " old Long Tom." 

The two years, the time of enlistment of the 6oth New 
York, having about expired, the men decided to re-enlist. 
The government at this time offered a bounty of four hun- 
dred dollars and the privilege of thirty days furlough to 
all troops re-enlisting who had been in the service two years 
or more. Recruiting was done on the field. On the 24th 
of December, 1863, the regiment was mustered out and re- 
mustered as the 60th Regt. New York State Veteran Vol- 
unteers. The regiment started for home on Christmas day. 
On the arrival at Ogdensburg, they found large crowds 
assembled at the depot to give them a hearty welcome and 
escort them to the Town Hall, which was warmed and 
thrown open for their accommodation, after which a repast, 
composed of everything hungry soldiers could desire, was 
served at the Morton House. The next morning a formal 
reception was held in Eagle Hall at eleven o'clock. After 
breakfast the regiment formed in front of the Town Hall 
and marched to Eagle Hall, where a large number of citi- 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 139 

zens, men and women, assembled to give formal welcome. 
After prayer by Rev. L. Merrill Miller, the address of wel- 
come was made by the Hon. Charles G. Myers, and was 
responded to by Col. Godard in a speech full of feeling and 
patriotism. Quartermaster Merritt made a presentation of 
a cane cut from Lookout Mountain, overlooking the place 
where the fighting was the most severe, to Hon. Preston 
King. As United States Senator, Mr. King was always 
laboring for the efficiency of the military service and the 
well-being of all who were engaged in it, especially from 
this section. During the proceedings, the glee club sang 
patriotic songs, and remarks were made by different people. 

Two years before the first of November, the regiment 
left us 980 strong, but it now returned reduced to 300, but 
every one of these had re-enlisted for three years longer. 
This example of noble and devoted men could not fail to 
touch the hearts and cause the wells of the soul to overflow. 
At the close of the exercises at the hall the regiment moved 
to the street, went through military evolutions, and then re- 
turned to the Town House and prepared for a dinner which 
awaited them at one of the hotels. These men were to leave 
for their several homes after their dinner. All classes of 
our citizens contributed to make this demonstration one 
worthy of our place and acceptable to the regiment. 

In January of 1864 the patriotic ladies of the Aid Asso- 
ciation gave another grand ball at Union Hall. This was 
a large hall in the Judson Block building on the corner of 
Ford and State Streets. Tickets $5.00, extra ladies $1.00. 
Supper was served in an adjoining room. This was a very 
fine ball, and many elegant toilets were worn, and again a 
very handsome sum was netted for the benefit of the soldiers' 
fund. 



140 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

The gallant 6oth Regiment marched on their return to 
the seat of war Saturday morning, February 12th. When 
it was known that they were positively to leave on Saturday, 
some of the ladies and gentlemen of the village interested 
themselves in procuring a new flag. On arriving at the Sey- 
mour House, the regiment was halted and the Rev. L. Mer- 
rill Miller, in behalf of the friends of the gallant regiment, 
presented a new set of colors. The emblem was inscribed 
" The 60th Regt. N. Y. Vols." He feelingly alluded to the 
many battles through which they had passed. Col. Godard 
received the flag on behalf of the regiment and acknowledged 
the many kindnesses of our citizens. He then presented 
R. W. Judson with the old tattered flag which was presented 
to the regiment by the Hon. William A. Wheeler before they 
left Camp Wheeler more than two years ago, with the re- 
quest that he would have it deposited in the archives of the 
State at Albany. This flag had been carried by the regiment 
in all the battles in which it had participated, from Cedar 
Mountain to Ringold. Mr. Judson accepted the charge with 
appropriate remarks. The proceedings were closed with 
cheers from the troops, and at their close the line of march 
was resumed and they were followed by a large concourse 
of friends. 

The Army of the Potomac was in winter quarters in the 
winter of '6y'64 at Brandy Station, Va. Will you pardon 
a personal note, when I tell you that in February, '64, the 
writer had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the Army 
of the Potomac. It was at the headquarters of Gen. Emory 
Upton, one of the bravest and most brilliant officers in the 
army, that this glimpse of the soldiers' life was obtained: 
my husband being, at that time, a member of Gen. Upton's 
staff. I have many pleasant reminiscences of my army visit. 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 141 

An event of historical importance took place while I was 
there. Gen. U. S. Grant, who had just been made lieut- 
general in command of all the Union armies, visited the 
Army of the Potomac and decided that he would make his 
headquarters with that army. This was gratifying news to 
the loyal North, as it was to the officers and men of the 
Army of the Potomac, for all had the utmost confidence in 
General Grant. The preparations for the spring campaign 
were soon begun, and it has been said that " the wearers of 
the blue and the gray looked with the same eagerness to the 
fading patches of snow on the summits of the Blue Ridge, 
which they knew would be the signal of firm roads and 
marching orders." Soon after midnight on the 4th of May, 
1864, the Army of the Potomac, the army which included 
among its brave soldiers the pride and hope of many homes 
in St. Lawrence County, started on the forward march, 
which was only to end with the close of the war. It is 
hard to write, to think, of the days that followed, when were 
fought the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold 
Harbor. Sherman had started on his march to Atlanta. 
How eagerly in our village were the daily papers watched 
for news from the front. How fearfully and tearfully were 
the long lists scanned that contained the names of the 
" Killed, wounded and missing," for often were seen the 
names of those who had gone from this village and county. 
Shortly after the battle of the Wilderness I received a 
call from Mr. Fairchild, whose sister, Miss Nellie Fairchild 
of this village, was the wife of Capt. Hickmot of the 49th 
New York. His name had appeared in the papers among 
those who were killed in the battle. Knowing that my hus- 
band had known Captain Hickmot and that I had also met 
him while making the visit to the army spoken of before, 



142 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

he came to inquire, on behalf of his sister, if I had received 
any definite information regarding the captain. It was with 
a sad heart that I told him of the receipt of a letter that 
morning, in which my husband gave me a vivid description 
of the terrible scenes when Lee attempted to turn the right 
of Grant's army. Among many others of our friends, poor 
Captain Hickmot had fallen. His body was placed by a 
comrade under a tall pine-tree, with his name written on a 
piece of paper and pinned to his coat; the woods taking 
fire afterwards, it is doubtful if the body of this brave and 
gifted man was ever recovered. 

When the news of the battle of Cold Harbor reached 
Ogdensburg, many were the anxious hearts, for in that battle 
were the 106th and the I42d Regiments. The losses in the 
1426. were light, but the 106th suffered fearfully, losing in 
killed and wounded 126 men. When the news reached Og- 
densburg it caused grief and sorrow in many homes. Among 
the killed that day was Lieutenant Charles Shepard. Antici- 
pating the chronological order which I have endeavored to 
keep, I will relate how Lieut. Shepard was buried on the 
field where he fell. Immediately after the war, his sister, 
who was in Washington at the time, visited Richmond and, 
with some of the officers of the regiment, went to Cold Har- 
bor for the purpose of obtaining the body of her brother. 
These comrades who accompanied her told her that when 
he was buried they had written his name with a pencil on 
a piece of a cracker box and put it at the head of his grave. 
If that were found where it had been put, the grave could 
be easily identified. A year had elapsed, but it was found 
undisturbed, and from the rubber blanket in which he had 
been rolled and from some peculiarity of the soil which had 
preserved him, there had been little change. By permission 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 143 

of the proper authorities the body was placed in a metallic 
coffin and brought back home, when, with a military escort, 
it was borne to our own cemetery. The piece of cracker 
box with the name of Lieut. Charles Shepard and the time 
of his death written upon it is one of the treasures of the 
family. 

The summer of '64 seemed to be one long continuous 
battle. Grant had crossed the James River and laid siege 
to Petersburg. Sherman's forces were encountering stub- 
born opposition in their march to Atlanta. 

In July came the startling news that Gen. Early was 
marching through the Shenandoah Valley upon Washington, 
and that the Sixth Corps had been hurried from the Army 
of the Potomac to the defense of the Capital. The third 
division of the corps, in which was the 106th, arrived in 
Washington and started to intercept Early. At the Monoc- 
acy River they met the enemy, and the battle, while it did 
not permanently stop the progress of Early, was the means 
of detaining him on his journey until after the other two 
divisions of the corps should arrive in Washington. This 
delay, no doubt, saved the Capital from falling into the hands 
of Early. We are proud to think of the deeds of valor per- 
formed by the brave boys of this section, but, oh! the tears 
and sorrow each one of these engagements brought to the 
homes of Ogdensburg. Afterwards, when the attempt to 
capture Washington was abandoned by Gen. Early, the Sixth 
Corps joined Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. 

There was no advertised celebration of the Fourth of 
July, 1864. At sunrise the village bells were rung, and 
again at noon, and national flags were displayed. At eleven 
o'clock there were services in the Presbyterian Church, con- 
sisting of prayer, reading of the Declaration of Independ- 



144 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

ence, remarks by several gentlemen and appropriate singing. 
There was also held at the French Church a service, at which 
a collection was taken for the benefit of the Ladies Aid As- 
sociation. This was announced at the Presbyterian Church, 
and a collection then taken there, which together swelled 
the contribution to $160. People from the surrounding 
country had been so in the habit of visiting the village on 
the Fourth of July that about noon they commenced to drive 
in and the principal streets were filled. No guns were fired 
during the day, which was, perhaps, the second time such 
a thing had occurred since the formation of the village. 

In August the friends of the 106th Regiment resolved 
to present the regiment with a new flag. The funds were 
to be sent to Mrs. T. C. Atcheson. The response was very 
general from different parts of the county, and in Septem- 
ber the order for the manufacture of the flag was given to 
Tiffany and Company, New York. The flag was to be of 
regulation make; the names of the battles in which the regi- 
ment had participated were to be embroidered on it. When 
it was finished it was exhibited in Lyceum Hall. It was 
said to be the handsomest flag ever seen here at that time. 
It was sent to the regiment by one of the officers who was 
home at that time on a brief leave of absence from the front. 
Permission had to be obtained from the War Department 
to allow the regiment to carry it before it was presented. It 
was said to be the handsomest flag or banner in the army. 

During the summer there had been no small amount of 
excitement on account of discrepancy in the report of the 
provost marshal in regard to the quota of the town, which 
had been given at one time as 228, 229 having enlisted as 
previously reported, which number was in excess of the num- 
ber of men required to fill the quota. Later, it was said, 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 145 

by consent of the town supervisor, there had been several 
transferred to the credit of other towns, taking from Os- 
wegatchie's accredited number and making it possible that a 
draft would be ordered here if enough volunteers were not 
found to fill the desired quota. There was much feeling on 
the subject; a special town meeting was called to decide 
the matter. The supervisors voted at the meeting held to 
give as a bounty for enlisting one year, $700, for two years, 
$800, and for three years' enlistment, $900. The bounties 
offered by the supervisors, State and general government 
made a total of $1,275 f° r three years' service. Surely we 
can feel no surprise, with such inducements, that the quota 
was soon filled. On September 226. the official announce- 
ment was made that no draft would have to be made in St. 
Lawrence County, the quota being filled. 

Ogdensburg was greatly excited on Wednesday, Octo- 
ber 19th, 1864, to receive word that a party of desperadoes 
had made a raid on St. Albans, robbed three banks of $150,- 
000, shot and killed four persons, wounded others and es- 
caped to Canada. Afterwards it was learned that no one 
was killed, although some few were wounded. It seems 
that some thirty or forty men had quietly gathered in the 
place, going to different hotels, and when the time was ready 
had met by preconcerted arrangement at a given place and 
began their work of robbery. They had taken horses from 
stables and from the street and thus escaped. All sorts of 
rumors were rife in this village, and many thought that there 
might be a repetition of the lawless actions in other places 
on the frontier. After some delay three men were arrested 
by the Canadian government, but were released again. This 
action on the part of the Canadian government was viewed 
with amazement by our people. A public meeting was called 



146 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

for the purpose of forming Home or Frontier Guards, as 
they were called. Two companies were formed. To add 
to the excited state of mind of our people, a fiendish attempt 
to burn the city of New York was discovered. All the prin- 
cipal hotels were set on fire, as well as some of the theatres 
and Barnum's Museum. They were discovered soon after 
and the fires extinguished. Some inflammable materials be- 
ing placed, in every instance, in places most likely to cause 
a general conflagration. It was said that other towns and 
villages were liable to the same attempt as long as they did 
not exercise due vigilance. So it will readily be seen that 
a necessity existed for the Frontier Guards, and the com- 
panies were soon formed under command of Mr. Seth G. 
Pope. On Friday night, December 2d, 1864, information 
was sent over from officials in Canada that a raid was con- 
templated by persons from that side upon this village. It 
was in explanation of the warning that about sixty sus- 
picious characters had left Montreal on the up train, that 
a portion of them got off at Morrisburg eighteen or twenty 
miles below Prescott, and on account of their suspicious 
movements the authorities of Morrisburg had arrested them 
and kept them in confinement overnight, releasing them in 
the morning. Orders were received here from the governor, 
ordering a sufficient number of Springfield rifle muskets to 
arm the Home Guard, to be placed in the hands of the vil- 
lage authorities, also a supply of ammunition for the same. 
The authorities ordered the guns to be turned over to the 
military commandant, to be by him distributed to the com- 
pany. Every property holder felt that he should bear his 
proportion of the burden of having a good efficient Home 
Guard, which would furnish ample protection to both life 
and property. In the early part of December a company of 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 147 

Regulars was sent here and were quartered in the Parish 
stone store on N. Water Street. With the forming- of the 
Frontier Guards and the advent of the soldiers, it was the 
impression of many of the citizens that the government was 
in possession of information that there was danger of the 
frontier towns being attacked; at all events it showed to all 
that every precaution was being taken to protect them. 
From this time until the close of the war the Frontier Guards 
maintained their organization. There were also detachments 
of cavalry stationed here. The Vermont Cavalry under 
Captain Rhodes and a detachment of Massachusetts Cav- 
alry. 

It was reported at various times that the St. Albans raid- 
ers were to be rearrested. The rumors caused rejoicing in 
the frontier towns, as, if such was the case, persons with 
the inclination to plunder and burn would feel that a haven 
of refuge could not be found by crossing the Canadian line. 
If these men were punished severely, it would preserve peace 
and quiet between people speaking the same language and 
whose interests were closely woven and identical. These 
men were re-arrested, but it really amounted to nothing. I 
have be'n unable to learn that they were ever punished for 
their ci me. The Canadian authorities, however, to do sub- 
stantial justice in spite of the courts, refunded fifty-eight 
thousand dollars of the money stolen by the raiders. 

In all these trying and alarming times there were many 
ludicrous happenings. The streets were patroled at night for 
some time, and the unlucky individual who found himself 
out after certain hours was compelled to reach home by cir- 
cuitous routes and obscure ways or to face the ordeal of ar- 
rest by the Frontier Guard. Many people sent their silver 
and most valuable belongings to the country, and plans were 



148 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

made in many households for the spiriting away of the fam- 
ily in case of an attack. In many stables the horses were 
harnessed each night ready to be driven out at a moment's 
notice. It is told with laughter to this day, in one family, 
how one of the daughters, who had lately been married, 
determined, if she went, she would carry with her the most 
valued part of her wedding trousseau. She therefore con- 
ceived the idea of sewing two of her white skirts together at 
the bottom and tacking between them many articles, gowns, 
skirts, wraps, etc., and so on. One night when the rumors 
had grown more and more alarming, as such things always 
do, she decided to array herself in this improvised affair, 
it was a somewhat difficult task, but it was accomplished 
at last, when to her horror she discovered that she could 
not take a step. How could she ever mount into the car- 
riage that was to bear her to safety? And so, to her disap- 
pointment this plan was abandoned. In another instance the 
cook of the household appeared in her mistress's room ready 
to leave the house with her, making the remark, " If we have 
to die, we will die together. " In her excitement she had 
brought with her but one article, a new flannel petticoat, 
which was rolled up in a small parcel under her arm. The 
expected raid never occurred, and in later years people could 
look back and laugh over the many ridiculous things that 
occurred, but at the time these matters were serious enough, 
and those that passed through those days and nights of 
anxiety would not care to repeat the same experiences. 

I have a copy of a circular issued by the Ladies Aid As- 
sociation which I give. This was only one of the many 
appeals sent out by this organization. They always met 
with a generous and ready response. 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 149 

" To the Women of St. Lawrence County: 

" Our soldiers are now in the midst of an active and 
bloody campaign in Virginia, and while we daily await tid- 
ings from them with the most painful anxiety, we can best 
show our sympathy by assisting in caring for the sick and 
wounded. Many of our aid societies are in a languishing 
condition; not from any want of patriotism, but because we 
have not seen clearly the necessity for continued exertion. 
The third annual report of the Women's Central Relief As- 
sociation in New York calls upon us all for assistance and 
plainly shows us our duty. Let us resolve to consider our- 
selves ' enlisted for the war,' and esteem it a privilege to 
be untiring in our labors of love. The battle-fields seem 
far away from us, but many homes in St. Lawrence County 
are sad to-day for gallant husbands, sons and brothers who 
have fallen in this campaign. We mourn for them, but our 
hearts throb with exultant pride when we remember their 
patient endurance, sublime self-devotion, and unflinching 
courage. Let us gladly do all in our power to aid the sick 
and wounded; let us care most tenderly for those who have 
so nobly suffered for our beloved country. 

"Lucia R. James, 
u Associate Manager of Women's Central Relief Asso- 
ciation/' 

In September came from the Shenandoah Valley news 
of the battle of the Opequon, and in October of that famous 
ride of Sheridan's from " Winchester, twenty miles away," 
to Cedar Creek, where his presence turned defeat into vic- 
tory. The news, with the history of the dramatic incidents 
of the day, was received with wildest enthusiasm by the 
North. In November Sherman began his " march to the 



150 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

sea," reaching Savannah in December and presenting it to 
the nation as " a Christmas gift." In the march to the sea 
went the veteran 6oth Regiment. Then came good news 
from Thomas in the southwest, and all felt that the end 
could not be far off. 

I have passed over the account of the excited and heated 
days previous to the presidential election, 1864, when every 
man and woman realized the importance of the result to the 
Union cause. There were bitter controversies, and the 
friends of the administration had to listen, with burning 
hearts, to the assertions of the disloyal Copperheads of the 
war being a failure, etc. But when the time came, the loyal 
men at the North went forth to battle at the polls, and 
Abraham Lincoln was re-elected. I will omit the account 
of the rejoicing at this result. It can better be imagined than 
told by me. The feeling ran high against those who had 
sought his defeat. 

Grace Greenwood, in a lecture during the war, expressed 
the views of loyal people in the following illustration: 
" Some lads in conversation about ten years after the close 
of the war may be imagined as saying, the first, ' My father 
fell in beating back the invaders at Gettysburg; ' says an- 
other, ' Mine fell at Lookout Mountain fighting above the 
clouds ; ' a third, ' My father suffered martyrdom in Libby 
prison;' another, 'My father went down in the Cumber- 
land; ' yet another, ' My father was rocked to sleep below 
the waves in the iron cradle of the Monitor; ' and there will 
be here and there a youth most unfortunate who will steal 
away from his comrades and murmur in bitterness of spirit, 
1 Ah ! God help me, my father was a Copperhead.' " But 
those days are gone, and it is best not to recall the bitter- 
ness of heart that was felt at times. 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 15) 

The Thursday before Christmas, the younger ladies of 
this village held a bazaar in Lyceum Hall in aid of the sol- 
diers' fund. Preparation had been made for some time by 
these willing workers, and the bazaar proved a financial suc- 
cess; after paying all expenses the proceeds were $612. Two 
hundred dollars were placed in the hands of a committee 
for immediate distribution among needy families of soldiers 
residing in Ogdensburg, and the remaining $412 given to 
the Ladies Volunteer Aid Association. 

In January the recruiting committee recommended David 
A. Piercy for the captaincy of a new cavalry company to 
be raised here. Captain Piercy was a native of Ogdensburg 
and had seen considerable service in the cavalry of the West. 
The men were to be enlisted for one year for service on the 
frontier, unless the exigencies of the war should demand 
their presence elsewhere. This company was recruited in 
Ogdensburg, but the rapid events of the closing days of the 
war rendered it unnecessary for them to go farther than 
the rendezvous at Malone. 

In January, 1865, the passport system was inaugurated 
along the northern frontier by orders from the Secretary of 
State. The Secretary of the Treasury authorized the col- 
lector of the port to issue certificates of citizenship to Amer- 
icans wishing to enter Canada. The stringent order of the 
Secretary of State and the instructions issued to collectors 
by the Secretary of the Treasury in relation to what classes 
of persons should be required to procure passports caused 
considerable sensation among the people on both sides of the 
lines, as it virtually put an end to the heretofore free inter- 
course which had so long existed between people of Canada 
and the States on the border. The large passenger travel 
which had hitherto availed itself of the direct route from 



152 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

the East to the West had been almost suspended since the 
passage of the passport system. This cutting off of the 
travel through Canada affected the hotel business at all 
points of communication, and called out complaint from 
those classes of our population, while all persons who had 
hitherto had considerable business to transact in Canada felt 
the burden of the passport system; those were mainly the 
persons on this side of the lines; every class of community 
and every branch of industry in Canada was affected by the 
non-intercourse with the United States. 

A gentleman from Prescott was stopped at the lighthouse 
while endeavoring to cross the river; he was an American 
who had been naturalized in Canada, and could obtain no 
passport from the British or American agents at Prescott. 
When he was stopped by the guard, he found himself in an 
unpleasant predicament. 

A farmer back of Prescott, who wished to cross for the 
purpose of selling a load of potatoes, borrowed the passport 
of a resident of Prescott; at the same time a woman from 
this side who had been visiting in Canada wished to cross; 
it was arranged that she should represent herself as the 
farmer's wife. When they reached this side, the descrip- 
tion in the passport represented the bearer to be six feet, 
three inches, when by actual measurement he was but five 
feet, seven inches, and thus the deceit came out, and the 
farmer and his wife were arrested, whereupon they made a 
clean breast. The collector was disposed to let the parties 
suffer the consequences of their attempt to practise deception; 
but the tears of the woman, which were shed copiously, won 
the day, and they were allowed to go at liberty with the 
advice to hereafter pursue the lawful course. 

A cartman who had been doing business on a borrowed 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 153 

passport for ten days, when the custom officials demanded 
his passport, refused to show it. When his case was reported 
to Captain Jackson, he commanded that he be arrested; after 
he was taken into custody, he showed a passport which 
proved to be that of another person, and he was locked up; 
in both cases the gentlemen who had so lightly treated their 
obligations lost their passports. 

The passport order, so far as it applied to the persons 
entering the United States from the Province of Canada, 
was rescinded in March, 1865, an d the free intercourse which 
was enjoyed by the people living on the border previous to 
the St. Albans and Lake Erie raids was resumed. 

January 17th, 1865, brought the welcome intelligence of 
the fall of Fort Fisher. The daily paper was being printed 
at the time, and the press was stopped that the great news 
could be inserted. Col. Curtis, with the I42d Regt, from 
St. Lawrence County, was in the assault, Col. Curtis com- 
manding the brigade. In memoirs of Gen. Grant, written 
after the war, we find the following : " Curtis' Brigade 
charged successfully, though met by a heavy fire; some of 
the men having to wade through the swamp up to their 
waists to reach the fort, many were wounded, of course, and 
some were killed, but they soon reached the palisades. These 
they cut away and pushed on through." I often think, in 
reading such an account as the foregoing, how little we real- 
ize the heroic deeds of our veteran soldiers in their efforts 
to perpetuate the Union. Col. Curtis was severely wounded, 
and was promoted Brig. General U. S. V. on the field, his 
appointment having been written on a sheet of foolscap by 
the Secretary of War for " gallant services in the capture 
of Fort Fisher." 

In January Sherman began his march north through the 



154 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Carolinas to join Grant. We listen to-day with interest to 
the incidents of that long march as related by the veterans 
of the 6oth, of the capture or occupation of Columbia, of the 
many skirmishes on the march, with loss of life in some 
instances. On the last of January peace commissioners 
from the so-called Confederate States presented themselves 
on Grant's line around Petersburg, and were received by 
General Grant, who notified the President. How all re- 
joiced here when it was known that President Lincoln was 
to have an interview with them, for it was felt that now 
was the time when submission to the flag would surely be 
made. The commissioners were Alexander H. Stephens, 
Vice-President of the Confederacy, Judge Campbell, Assist- 
ant Secretary of War, and R. M. Hunter, formerly United 
States Senator and then a member of the Confederate Sen- 
ate. At Hampton Roads they met Mr. Lincoln, who told 
them in the short interview held that it would be useless to 
enter into any negotiations unless they would recognize two 
things, first, that the Union as a whole must be forever pre- 
served, and second, that slavery must be abolished. 

Then began the series of battles and engagements which 
culminated in the capture of Petersburg and the fall of Rich- 
mond. When the news was received here, people went wild 
with joy, for although General Lee had not surrendered, yet 
with Richmond, the Capital, gone, with success after success 
of the Union army, the end of the Confederacy must soon 
come, and so the people over the entire North celebrated the 
great victory with ringing of bells, with bonfires blazing and 
the firing of guns. Just one week later came the news of 
the great surrender of Lee's army, and the people rejoiced 
in a greater degree than before. Again the stars and stripes 
were seen everywhere floating, again was the music of the 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 155 

bells heard over the North, and it seemed to all as though the 
music was far sweeter and clearer than before, for it bore 
a message of peace to a happy country. I have the copy of 
a letter written from this village by a young lady to her sis- 
ter who was in Washington at that time; in it she says: 
*■ What did you do when you heard the news ? Every one 
went daft here; the men left their business, shaking hands 
with every one they met; women laughing and crying at the 
same time, and the gay bells pealing forth their glorious 
sounds; the boys have hunted up firecrackers left over from 
last Fourth of July. The Massachusetts Cavalry boys sta- 
tioned here went in with a gusto, tending the cannon and 
singing patriotic songs, and finally, to finish up with, put in 
such a charge in the cannon that it shattered all the windows 
in the Seymour House and Judson Bank. Last night the 
Home Guards went at it again, and to-day no one can do 
anything but think of the newspapers and maps. It must 
have been splendid to have been in Washington." 

The paper of April nth contained the following article, 
which I quote : " The carnival of blood, fire and destruction 
has come to a close, and peace with her gentle wings will 
once again settle down upon us to be disturbed by civil war 
and rebellion no more forever. There will be no further 
calls for quotas, no more bounties to pay, but instead we shall 
have rejoicings, celebrations and welcoming home of the gal- 
lant lads who have so nobly fulfilled their mission in restor- 
ing the starry emblem of the free over the States who went 
astray, and established the foundation of government and 
union so firmly that no future shock may wreck them." 

The committee of arrangements appointed for the pur- 
pose, decided to celebrate by the following program : 

One gun at daybreak. 



156 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Thirteen guns at sunrise, bells rung one hour. 

National flags, public and private, given to the breeze. 

Thirty-six guns at noon, and bells rung one hour. 

At 2 o'clock p. m. a public meeting will be held, music 
by the band and singing by the glee club. 

Fifty guns at sunset. 

At dark a grand torchlight procession and fireworks. 

On the morning of April 15th, the entire country was 
stunned by the awful news that President Lincoln had been 
assassinated the night before. The story of that terrible 
crime is well known to you all : how seated in his box at 
the theatre, accompanied by his beloved wife and two young 
friends, he had been shot and mortally wounded. No words 
of mine are needed to tell you of the sorrow of the grief- 
stricken people. I quote from the Daily Journal of that 
day: 

" Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky came these succes- 
sive announcements, ' Dying, Murdered, Dead ' upon our 
people in the midst of rejoicing over a country saved, aye, 
in the very midst of a full fruition of our hopes for the last 
four years. Well may the nation mourn for him, whose 
great heart and clear head had piloted the ship of state 
through troubles and dangers unknown to a clear sea and 
the promise of a haven of rest, stilled in death, struck down 
in the full glory of manhood in the very hour of his greatest 
usefulness, at the very moment when his praise was on every 
lip and the deep feeling of honor and reverence in every 
heart, till all felt he had won the title of ' savior of his coun- 
try/ and that his place in history was opposite our illustri- 
ous Washington. Vain are tears, vain are tolling bells and 
muffled drums and drooping flags and saddened hearts. The 
great man is gone. To us is left to honor his memory, to 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 157 

study his example and avenge his murder. Thus is our jubi- 
lee turned into mourning, thus is our joy clouded with sor- 
row. Thus with saddened hearts and falling tears we ap- 
proach the bier of our beloved President. Dear, departed 
noble dead. Hail and farewell." 



" O glad bells of victory, ringing for peace, 
O loud roaring cannon, your jubilee cease. 
Take down the bright banners, wherever they float, 
And drape them half-masted with emblems of woe, 
For over the land goes a terrible breath, 
With the starting of tears and the tidings of death, 
And the nation to God in her agony cries, 
For the hero who falls, for the martyr who dies. 

" O'er the sore smitten land let the muffled bells toll, 
And the deep-throated cannon their monody roll, 
Half-masted the flags with the emblems of woe, 
For a wiser and better we never shall know. 
He has gone to his rest and his great heart is stilled, 
He has gone to his God with his mission fulfilled, 
And the tears of the people shall never be dried, 
For the hero who fell, for the martyr who died." 

" At a meeting of a committee of arrangements for the 
celebration of the recent triumph of our arms held at the 
Seymour House on Saturday morning, on motion of the 
Hon. D. C. Judson, it was resolved that in consequence of 
the terrible calamity which had befallen the nation in the 
death of President Lincoln by assassination, all further pro- 
ceedings preparatory to a celebration of the fall of Rich- 
mond, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, and 
the glorious success of our arms be indefinitely postponed, 
and that the committee stand adjourned subject to the call 
of the chairman. A. B, James, Chairman. 

" A. M. Herriman, Secretary" 



158 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

The Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches in Ogdensburg 
were draped in mourning on Sunday, April 17th. 

When it was learned that the funeral of President Lincoln 
would take place at Washington on Wednesday, the 19th of 
April, it was deemed best that whatever demonstration of 
respect our citizens might adopt should be made on that day. 
The Board of Trustees were therefore convened in special 
session at two p. m. on Tuesday. Captain Rhodes, command- 
ing Company B Frontier Cavalry, stationed here, was present 
for the purpose of concert of action between civil and mili- 
tary authorities. 

By a general order from the War Department, the troops 
were to fire half-hour guns from sunrise to sunset. After 
discussion the Board adopted a resolution requesting a gen- 
eral suspension of business of the citizens of the village 
throughout the day, that the flags be set at half-mast, the 
clergymen of the village invited to hold suitable services, 
and that the bells be tolled from twelve o'clock noon to 
three p. m. 

Although there was but a few hours to circulate the in- 
formation of this action on Tuesday night, compliance with 
it by all our citizens was general, and the entire day of 
Wednesday was observed in the most solemn manner. All 
places of business were kept closed from morning until night, 
and all day half-hour guns were fired. At sunrise the bells 
were tolled and continued one hour, and all of the village 
flags, most of them draped in mourning, were hoisted at 
half-mast. At ten a. m. the cavalry, dismounted, National 
Guards, and the several organizations of the Home Guards 
met at the Town House, where they formed in procession 
and marched to the Seymour House, where a very large and 
imposing procession was formed in the following order: 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 159 

Martial music; Cavalry (dismounted); Home Guards, 
Companies A and B; Martial music; National Guards; 
Board of Trustees; Board of Education; Citizens and 
Strangers. 

At twelve o'clock noon, with arms reversed and slow 
and solemn tread to the music of the Dead March, the pro- 
cession commenced moving. The procession moved up State 
Street to Montgomery Street, down Montgomery to Caro- 
line, down Caroline to Greene, down Greene to Hamilton, 
down Hamilton to Ford and up Ford to the Presbyterian 
Church, where the following exercises were held: 

Dirge; Prayer by Rev. Mr. Miller; Singing of a Psalm 
by the choir; Prayer and reading of the service by Rev. 
H. R. Peters; Singing of a hymn by the choir; Eulogy 
upon the life, character and services of Abraham Lincoln, 
and remarks upon the signs of the times and promises and 
duties of the hour by Rev. L. M. Miller; Requiem by Mr. 
Hull, Mr. Ashley, Mrs. Watrous and Mrs. Monroe; Bene- 
diction. 

Early in the morning most of the stores, Post-office, Cus- 
tom-house, Seymour House, and very many of the private 
residences were draped in mourning, so that the village pre- 
sented a most solemn appearance. At the church the serv- 
ices were of the most impressive character, very few, if any, 
being able to restrain the struggling tear. The discourse 
was most appropriate and found a response in every heart. 
The inhabitants of Prescott, at the request of the mayor of 
the town, closed their places of business between twelve and 
two on Wednesday, the 19th, the time of the funeral of the 
late President and passed a resolution of sympathy with the 
people of the United States in their sad bereavement. At 
the same time a public meeting for religious services in con- 



160 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

nection with the above was held in the Presbyterian Church 
of Prescott. The attendance was good, considering the short- 
ness of the announcement, and was composed of the most 
respectable citizens. 

Thursday, June the first, was set apart by the President 
as a day of humiliation and prayer in consequence of the 
assassination of the late President Lincoln. The President 
recommended that religious services be held at the various 
churches. The day was so observed in this village. 

The tragical death of President Lincoln brought such a 
cloud of sorrow over the whole country that it was with 
chastened hearts that the people of this village began their 
preparations for welcoming home the soldiers who had gone 
from among us. There were also many tears shed in our 
homes at the thought of dear ones who would not return 
with their comrades, those who had fallen in defense of their 
country's honor, and yet, even with bleeding hearts and 
weeping eyes, all felt that no honor was too great to pe paid 
to our returning heroes. It was expected that the I42d 
Regiment would arrive home on June 20th, and preparations 
were made to receive it. At six o'clock in the morning a 
special train arrived, bringing 425 men. They marched to 
the Town Hall for temporary quarters. 

At three o'clock the regiment, escorted by the Frontier 
Cavalry, marched through the principal streets of the city, 
and was reviewed by C. W. Gibbs, president, at the Seymour 
House, and proceeded thence to Eagle Hall, where a recep- 
tion took place. The speech of welcome was made by R. W. 
Judson, Col. Barney responded. An elegant floral wreath 
was presented to the gallant colonel who led the old I42d 
through so many battles, by Mrs. H. R. James. Rev. L. M. 
Miller, Col. E. C. James and S. Foote, Esq., being called 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 161 

on, made appropriate speeches. Songs were sung, and the 
old drum corps honored us with some of their best music. 
The war-scarred and bronzed veterans were furnished with 
a most sumptuous repast, furnished by the ladies of the vil- 
lage. The ceremonies at the Hall lasted for more than two 
hours, and were as appropriate to the occasion as it was pos- 
sible to make them. 

When the men emerged from the hall, each one was fur- 
nished with a bouquet of choice flowers, and as they took 
up their line of march for the Town House, as it was called 
in those days, placed it in the muzzle of his musket, giving 
the regiment the appearance of a floral procession. During 
the march and the reception ceremonies, the bells rang a 
merry peal, and a salute was fired by the detachment of 
cavalry. All day the flags floated from the village poles. 
At the corner of Ford and State Streets a triumphal arch 
was erected, and upon it placed in large letters " The Heroes 
of Ft. Fisher," and through which the soldiers passed on 
their return to the Town House. Although but little time 
was allowed for preparation, the reception in every partic- 
ular was on the grandest scale and such as brave fellows 
returning to their homes at the close of a successful war 
were entitled to receive. 

When the regiment entered Eagle Hall, a hundred voices 
struck up the well-known song, " When Johnnie comes 
marching home. ,, And when the old flags, tattered and torn, 
came in, they were loudly cheered and excited much interest 
throughout the proceedings. 

The gallant 106th Regiment arrived here on special train 
on June 26th at 11. 10; a telegram from Captain Robertson 
at Watertown at 7.30 announced its near approach. The 
regiment was met at the depot by a large concourse of 



162 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

friends and citizens, eager to grasp the hands of the bronzed 
veterans who, for three years, had fought and won in the 
struggle for the protection of the Union, and very many were 
the affecting scenes which occurred. 

Wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children 
were there to embrace husbands, sons, brothers and fathers 
who had been daring death in many forms for the sake of 
their country. 

As soon as it was fairly disembarked, the regiment 
formed in line, headed by the regimental band, and marched 
across the bridge, up through Ford Street to State Street, 
down State Street to Washington and down Washington to 
the Town House. In the morning, as soon as it was known 
that the regiment was so near, all the flags of the village, 
public and private, were set, and all along the line of march 
the brave fellows were greeted with cheers, waving of hand- 
kerchiefs and all kinds of demonstrations. At three o'clock 
the regiment fell into line of march and marched through 
the principal streets to Eagle Hall, where a formal reception 
took place, while on the march the bells of the village rang 
forth a merry peal and the national salute was fired. The 
hall was handsomely decorated with flags and evergreens 
and floral wreaths in profusion. At the head in large letters 
was this beautiful verse: 

" O brothers, here's a welcome, 
A welcome warm and true, 
And here's a hearty greeting, 
To every boy in blue." 

At this point a most sumptuous repast was served to the 
soldiers by the patriotic ladies. It was discussed with a 
hearty relish by the noble fellows. The repast over, Mrs. 
E. C. James, in behalf of the ladies, presented Col. McDon- 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 163 

aid with a floral wreath, which was acknowledged by the 
regiment with cheers. 

S. Foote, in behalf of the ladies, presented Sergeant 
Royal, the color-bearer who planted the new flag on the bat- 
tlements of Petersburg, with a beautiful floral wreath, and 
Col. Judson performed a like service to Corporal Child, who 
carried the old flag, after which remarks were made by Rev. 
L. Merrill Miller, who closed by reciting a very beautiful 
and touching welcoming poem written by a lady who had lost 
a son. A steady deluge most of the afternoon was the only 
drawback, but the rain was forgotten in the general joy. 

In anticipation of their coming, the triumphal arch at 
the corner of State and Ford was tastefully decorated with 
evergreens, mottoes and inscriptions. On the other side of 
the arch was the 6th Corps Badge, with the words " Wel- 
come to the Brave," and the following battles in which the 
regiment participated: Sailors' Creek, Petersburg, Spottsyl- 
vania, Cold Harbor, Wilderness, Fisher Hill, Monocacy, 
Winchester, Fairmount and Cedar Creek. 

It was determined to inaugurate measures for the cele- 
bration of the Fourth of July, 1865, on a grander scale than 
ever before attempted. All citizens joined in with hearty 
zeal to make this Independence Day a most memorable one, 
with far different feeling than had pervaded their minds 
during the past four years. With flags flying, processions 
and music, with firing of guns and orations and much patri- 
otic enthusiasm, the great celebration was held in this vil- 
lage. 

In July the following named persons were appointed a 
committee to make arrangements for a reception for the 60th 
New York Volunteers, expected to arrive soon : Charles 
Lyon, Chairman; Col. E. C. James, Major William H. 



164 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Daniels, Capt. P. Robertson, Capt. T. C. Atcheson, Capt. 
James Young, Capt. Thomas Shaw, Adj. C. A. Vilas. The 
citizens made preparations to give the regiment a suitable 
reception, the triumphal arch at the corner of Ford and State 
Streets was redecorated: on one side was the 20th Corps 
Badge, white star and blue ground, and the words " Wel- 
come, Veterans," with a list of the many battles in which 
they had taken part. 

Eagle Hall was tastefully decorated with festoons of red, 
white and blue, evergreens and pictures, among the latter 
the portraits of Grant, Sheridan, Sherman, and the lamented 
President Lincoln. At the head of the hall the words, " Wel- 
come, Veterans," and on the side " All hail, heroes of Look- 
out Mountain ; " the chandelier in the centre of the hall was 
neatly trimmed with flags, evergreens and flowers; on the 
left of the hall was the word " Atlanta," an important one 
in the history of the war. 

Seven-forty-five p. m. the regiment arrived and was met 
at the depot by a large concourse of citizens and strangers, 
and amid the booming of cannon and the joyous peals of 
bells marched up Ford Street, through the triumphal arch 
and some of the principal streets to Eagle Hall, where the 
gallant fellows were served with the substantiate and delica- 
cies which had been so liberally prepared by the patriotic 
ladies of Ogdensburg. 

Remarks were made by Rev. L. M. Miller and Rev. 
Richard Eddy, former chaplain of the regiment, and many 
others. These gentlemen spoke in the happiest way, over- 
flowing with eloquence, humor and happiness. The pro- 
ceedings were closed with a benediction, and the regiment 
dispersed to the Town Hall for quarters for the night. 

In writing this paper it has been my aim to confine myself 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 165 

to the events which transpired in that four years of cruel 
war, that were, at the time, of especial interest to the people 
of Ogdensburg. I have not spoken of military organizations, 
and there were many of them, numbering among their mem- 
bers some from Ogdensburg and St. Lawrence County, ex- 
cept the 1 6th, 1 8th, 6oth, io6th and 1426. Regiments. These 
seemed filled with Ogdensburg boys, and the three latter ren- 
dezvoused here. 

Our village felt proud of the young men who went forth 
in '61 to '65. In every battle that the Grand Army of the 
Potomac fought, to the end at Appomattox, also in the ever 
memorable campaign of Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, 
Ogdensburg was represented ; in the " battle above the 
clouds," in the march to and capture of Atlanta, in Sher- 
man's " march to the sea," Ogdensburg was represented. 

I have not spoken of the brilliant naval engagements, nor 
of the fear that assailed all when out from the city of Nor- 
folk came that iron destroyer, the Merrimac, which sent the 
good ship Cumberland to the bottom; the Cumberland, whose 
crew bravely fired the guns until the waters of the Chesa- 
peake Bay covered the very muzzles as she sank. The Mer- 
rimac threatened to destroy every boat in the fleet after 
injuring several, until the little Monitor arrived and routed 
the enemy. The success of the Monitor revolutionized the 
construction of the future navies of the world. 

I have omitted the capture of New Orleans and that 
other naval battle that will ever be famous in song and story, 
where Farragut, lashed to the mast of his flagship, the Hart- 
ford, headed the procession of his fleet into Mobile Bay. Of 
many of the engagements in the war I have been silent, but 
in all and every one of them the people of Ogdensburg re- 
joiced at the victories and wept over the defeats. Elated by 



166 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

success and depressed by failure, the citizens of the village 
lived through the days of the war, perhaps with outward 
appearances the same as of yore, yet we know of the bitter 
sorrow and aching hearts that were under all the brave show. 
Not only was there anxiety for those in the front of the 
battles, but there was a worse fate meted out to some, for 
in the prison at Andersonville men from this village were 
suffering and languishing for want of food. The end of the 
war had come, and with it the restoration to their homes of 
those who had survived. No longer were heard the sullen 
roar of the cannon and the sharp rattle of musketry; no 
longer the bells rang out the glad peals of rejoicing for 
victories gained on the field of battle, for peace had come, 
and the flag of the country was waving the length and 
breadth of the land. 

In Library Park stands the Soldiers' Monument, the 
creation of a soldier's daughter and former Ogdensburg girl, 
Mrs. Sally James Farnham. Built of enduring bronze and 
granite it will always recall to memory those who went at 
their country's call. Many there are who sleep in Southern 
soil, and many in our own cemeteries on the banks of the 
Oswegatchie, yet wherever they rest, this beautiful monu- 
ment stands before the people of the city in their honor. 
Victory is holding the laurel wreath over the head of the 
bronze soldier who stands beneath. One might deem him 
a sentient being, and fancy, if he were, the thoughts that 
would pass through his mind as he stands, a sentinel at his 
post. Would he dream of the camp-fire's cheer and of the 
comrades gone before to join the great majority, would the 
strains of martial music fill his ear, would he remember 
when he, too, sang: 




Designed by Mrs. Sally James Farnham. 

soldier's MONUMENT. 
Ogdensburg, New York. 



DURING THE CIVIL WAR 167 

" Tenting to-night on the old camp ground, 
Give us a song to cheer " ? 

On last Memorial Day, there gathered around this monu- 
ment two thousand pupils from our schools. They saw the 
bronze soldier, symbolic of those brave soldiers of the Civil 
War, crowned with a wreath of flowers, crowned as a rep- 
resentative of the Grand Army of the Republic, and as the 
tiny flags fluttered in their hands and their fresh young 
voices joined in the hymn of the nation, the " Star- Spangled 
Banner," methinks they learned a lesson in patriotism and 
love of country they will never forget. 

" The strength of a nation lies in the patriotism of its 
people." 



INCORPORATION OF THE VILLAGE AND CITY 
OF OGDENSBURG AND GROWTH UP TO DATE 

Twenty-one years after the coming of Nathan Ford 
to found a dwelling-place upon the beautiful site where, 
sixty-eight years before, Abbe Francois Picquet had effected 
a settlement, laying the corner-stone of a habitation to the 
glory of God, and had erected the first temple to divine wor- 
ship in the County of St. Lawrence, a thriving little village 
stood. The approach of the War of 1812 had greatly re- 
tarded the growth of the village, and commerce for a time 
was abandoned. While hostilities raged, many families were 
obliged to seek shelter farther inland. With the restoration 
of peace, however, they returned to take possession of their 
property, which had suffered much destruction at the hands 
of a lawless people. The place was greatly impoverished 
with the ravages of war. With the returning citizens came 
many wealthy and influential men to make Ogdensburg their 
home, among them George Parish, David C. Judson, John 
Fine and Henry Van Rensselaer. Such men greatly assisted 
in restoring order and reorganizing society which had become 
demoralized. The upbuilders of our fair home in its infancy 
were men of superior minds, cultured and refined, of indom- 
itable courage, energy and perseverance. Order was soon 
restored, and soon again the little hamlet assumed an air of 
industry and thrift. On the 5th day of April, 1817, Og- 
densburg was incorporated a village by an act of the Legis- 

168 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 169 

lature of the State of New York; the boundary lines ex- 
tended from the Oswegatchie River east to what is now 
Paterson Street, and from the St. Lawrence River south to 
Montgomery Street, comprising forty-two blocks, including 
the triangular block now owned by Mr. Louis C. Nash. 

The first village election was held on the 12th day of 
May, 1817, at which Louis Hasbrouck was chosen president; 
Joseph W. Smith, Charles Hill and John Scott, trustees. 
The board met on the 17th of May, and appointed Joseph 
W. Smith, treasurer; Sylvester Gilbert, clerk; Louis Has- 
brouck and J. W. Smith a committee to draft a code of 
by-laws, which were read and adopted on the 26th day of 
the same month. 

The chief industries of the village consisted in the com- 
merce of the St. Lawrence River and the handling of the 
products of the forest. As early as the year 1808- 1809, two 
vessels were built in the village for George Parish by Mr. 
Jonathan Brown and Selick Howe of New York. The first 
built was called Experiment, and was launched on the 4th 
of July, 1809, forming part of the celebration of the day. 
She was subsequently commanded by Captain Holmes. The 
second vessel was the schooner Collector, launched in the 
later part of the summer of 1809, which made several trips 
up the lake that season under command of Captain Obed 
Mayo, and the next year she was run by Captain Samuel 
Dixon. Mr. Rosseel, of the firm of Rosseel & Co., became 
the owner of the boat; her first arrival in port was on the 
15th of November, with a cargo of salt and dry goods from 
Oswego. In the following summer, 18 10, a third schooner, 
the Genesee Packet, was launched and rigged. She was 
owned and commanded by Capt. Mayo. These boats were 
built on the same plan, with a capacity of carrying fifty tons. 



170 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

Commercial and mercantile enterprise flourished for a 
season; the vessels belonging to the port of Ogdensburg 
became the carriers on Lake Ontario, and at the breaking 
out of the War of 1812 Ogdensburg was growing more rap- 
idly than any port on the lake. These boats, with others 
plying between the village and various points along the River 
St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, added much to the com- 
merce of the village. In the meantime various highways 
were constructed, leading to different points in the county, 
and in this way communication by land and water was estab- 
lished throughout Northern New York. 

The Erie Canal was constructed in 1825, crossing the 
State from Lake Erie to the Hudson River. In 1828, the 
Oswego Canal was built. The opening of this canal was of 
great importance to this village, as it furnished a direct ave- 
nue to market. Soon the smaller craft of earlier years gave 
way to larger and more commodious vessels. In 1833, the 
Welland Ship Canal was finished, and on the 20th of Sep- 
tember, 1850, the first through train on the Ogdensburg and 
Lake Champlain Railroad steamed into the village station 
amidst the booming of cannon, ringing of bells, music of 
bands and great demonstrations of joy. This highway, with 
its connections to the east, opened up a great thoroughfare 
which extended from Boston to the River St. Lawrence and 
via the Great Lakes to the far West. As an item of interest 
to the people of Ogdensburg, I quote the following extract 
from the Youth's Companion of October, 1905 : 

" Like many another homely convenience of every-day 
life, the refrigerator car, which is now attracting the atten- 
tion of Congressmen, claims a Yankee origin. It was never 
invented at all. The Companion was in error recently in 
attributing the idea to an unmentioned meat-packer. The 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 171 

first refrigerator-car was ' just fixed up ' by a Yankee rail- 
way man, Mr. J. Wilder, now living" at Woodstock, Ver- 
mont, who needed some such convenience in his business. 
In June, 1851, the first car is said to have made its trip from 
Ogdensburg, New York, to Boston. The farmers near Og- 
densburg made a great deal of butter, but could not ship 
it to market except in cold weather. Mr. Wilder, who was 
then in charge of the through freight, conceived the idea 
of an " ice-box on wheels," spoke to the president of the 
road, and got an order for the master mechanic to fi^ up 
several of them. The farmers were receiving only about 
twelve cents a pound for their butter. The iced car was 
loaded with eight tons of it and sent through, and was al- 
lowed to stand on the market in Boston till the butter was 
sold. It brought seventeen cents a pound after paying all 
expenses and commissions, and the plan was voted a success. 
In a short time the road had a regular service on, using a 
number of cars, and the idea spread rapidly. Mr. Wilder 
did not patent his idea, but allowed it to be used by whoever 
so desired." 

The citizens of the place were quick to see the great op- 
portunities thus offered to increase the transportation facil- 
ities of the village, and before long many vessels were con- 
structed and the name of Ogdensburg was seen on many 
boats in the harbors of western States. A large and com- 
modious line of passenger and freight steamers plied between 
the lake ports and Ogdensburg until the Civil War para- 
lyzed business enterprise. 

Later on, in 1862, the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg 
Railroad was extended to the village, and in 1878, the Utica 
and Black River Road was forming a second southern outlet 
for the city of Ogdensburg. Various other lines of com- 



172 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

munication, together with the St. Lawrence River canals, 
securing safe passage of vessels to ports below the rapids, 
gave great impetus to the business interests of the village. 

At a very early date large and substantial buildings were 
erected, among others the warehouses now occupied by the 
George Hall Company; flouring mills on the west side, 
and the wharves, warehouses and elevator on the grounds 
of the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad. In the 
year 1853 the Marine Railway and Shipyard was completed, 
and for several years a number of transportation boats were 
built there. It proved a great convenience to vessel owners 
in the repairing and reconstruction of their boats. 

Among other industries which were established in the 
village, and one which has proved to be one of the greatest 
and most important, is the Skillings, Whitney and Barnes 
Lumber Company. This business was founded by Daniel 
Whitney, Jr., in 1859, who selected the late William L. Proc- 
tor his manager. He proved to be a wise, careful and pru- 
dent man, and by his untiring energy and devotion to the 
business succeeded in building up and greatly enlarging the 
same. Originally the local plant was confined to the river 
front in the vicinity of the terminal of the Rutland Railroad. 
At this place the company had about three-quarters of a 
mile of dockage and many acres of yard for lumber storage. 
A large box factory was also located in connection with the 
North Yard, part of the plant. For many years lumber has 
been received by boat at the company's docks in the rough. 
It is here sorted and graded and otherwise manufactured 
into all the different forms requisite for building purposes, 
and ultimately shipped over the Rutland Railroad to the 
New England markets. About seven years ago the increased 
business of the company and the necessity of acquiring 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 173 

greater yard capacity and more advantageous shipping facil- 
ities to the New York market necessitated the purchase of 
another yard to the southwest of the city. This new yard 
was advantageously situated for the transport of lumber over 
the New York Central lines to the market south. A large 
planing and finishing mill has been erected in connection with 
this yard, together with extensive dockage. At present the 
company employs approximately five hundred men, and their 
pay-roll averages about $6,000 each week. During the past 
fiscal year they have handled in the vicinity of 100,000,000 
feet of lumber, a large part of which passed through some 
form of manufacture in this city. Most of the lumber is 
received from the vast forests of Canada, in Georgian Bay 
region. During the winter an immense quantity of the un- 
finished lumber arrives by way of the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way, being carried across the St. Lawrence River by car 
transfer. From two to three train-loads of finished lumber 
are shipped south each day. The company has an admira- 
ble force of men at the head of its office management in this 
city to-day. Most of them have been brought up in the busi- 
ness and are stockholders in the present corporation. 

The milling industry of the village and city since 1833 
has been of considerable importance, and has given constant 
employment to a number of skilled men. A great deal of 
capital is required to successfully operate the same. At one 
time quite a business was carried on in the manufacture of 
wool, but it never assumed large proportions, nor proved 
very profitable. 

It seems from the beginning that the business of water 
transportation attracted more attention upon the part of our 
citizens than any other, and it would appear, from the fact 
that from the early days they built and operated both sail- 



174 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

ing and steam vessels, it proved a remunerative business. 
In later days we know that the George Hall Coal Company, 
the Ogdensburg Coal and Towing Company, and the Rut- 
land Transit Company have been successfully and profitably 
operated, have given employment to many of our people and 
added wealth to our city. Within a recent period new indus- 
tries have sprung up in our midst, such as the Leyare Boat 
Factory, Randle's Skirt Factory, Algie Skirt Factory, Phair 
Glove Factory, and many more factories, the Oswegatchie 
Manufacturing Company, otherwise known as the Silk Mill, 
all of which inure to the benefit of the city. 

I would like to dwell at length upon the many industries, 
but it would be impossible within the scope of this paper to 
give the details of the various enterprises; but, as the manu- 
facture of silk fabrics is new in this part of the State, I have 
acquired, through the courtesy of Mr. Hulser, some facts 
which I think will be of interest. The company was formed 
and opened a school in this city in 1902, and began building 
a mill immediately. During the year 1903, the business had 
progressed so that they employed 150 operatives, and paid 
out in wages during the year $27,000. The business has 
progressed steadily since then, until now, with a force of 
275 employees, and an annual . pay-roll of $88,400, they are 
producing $540,000 worth of silk dress goods. When the 
new building is filled with machinery and in operation, they 
will employ about 375 to 400 operatives, and pay out about 
$132,000 annually. The goods manufactured by this com- 
pany are of a better grade than the average popular priced 
dress silks, and the 1,000,000 yards turned out annually find 
a ready market. 

Religion and education were not neglected by the early 
inhabitants of the village and city. Education has been fully 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 175 

dealt with in a preceding paper, so it will be unnecessary for 
me to discuss the same. After the destruction of the Cath- 
olic Mission founded by Father Picquet in 1749, there was 
no religious organization until 1805, when a society was 
formed under the name of the First Church and Congrega- 
tion of Christ. It was undenominational. The first regular 
church organization was the Baptist, which was organized 
July 29th, 1809. Services were held in private houses, 
school edifices and public halls until 1833, when a church was 
erected upon the present site on State Street. In 1855, the 
church was repaired and enlarged, and again in i860. In 
1 87 1, the church was substantially rebuilt from basement up, 
refurnished, decorated and a fine organ installed. On the 
29th of August, 1 88 1, the church edifice was nearly destroyed 
by fire. This loss was courageously met by the people, and 
the building was restored. The Presbyterian Church was 
organized on the 8th day of December, 18 19. Services were 
held in a plain wooden chapel which had been built on the 
southwest corner of Ford and Caroline Streets. In 1824, 
a new stone church was erected on the corner of Ford and 
Franklin Streets. This church was materially enlarged in 
1848. In 1867, the old church was torn down and replaced 
by the present beautiful edifice. The Society of St. John's 
Episcopal Church was organized May 23, 1820, and on the 
10th of August, 1 82 1, a small stone church was built on the 
present site on the corner of Caroline and Knox Streets. 
In 1843, the church was rebuilt and enlarged. In 1870, the 
old church was removed and the present magnificent edifice 
erected. In 1875, a fine chapel was added, built after the 
same style of architecture. The seating capacity of the 
church is 1,000, and that of the chapel 300. 

The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized February 



176 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

21, 1825, and in the same year built a small wooden chapel 
on the corner of Caroline and Montgomery Streets on a lot 
donated by Mr. Parish. In 1850 the chapel was removed, 
and the present large and commodious edifice was erected 
upon the same site. In 1866 the church was somewhat 
remodelled. In 1890, owing to destruction caused by a se- 
vere wind storm, the church was reconstructed and a large 
amount of money expended in beautifying the same. 

In 1828 the Roman Catholic congregation consisted of 
twenty-five families. Mass was occasionally said in private 
houses. In 1835, a small stone church was built where the 
Cathedral now stands. In 1852, the present church was built. 
In 1872, the Diocese of Ogdensburg was formed, consisting 
of the counties of St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, 
Jefferson and Lewis, and Ogdensburg was named the epis- 
copal residence. The late beloved Edgar Phillip Wadhams 
was appointed the first bishop, and under his direction the 
church was thoroughly repaired, the sanctuary and sacristies 
enlarged and marble altars erected. 

The French Catholic congregation, under the name of 
St. John Baptist, was organized in 1858. Soon after this 
the corner-stone of the present edifice was laid, but it was 
not until after many years of patient toil and many sacrifices 
that it was finally completed. In 1865, the Jewish denomina- 
tion was organized, since which time services have been con- 
tinued. The First Congregational Society of Ogdensburg 
was organized in 1882, and the present beautiful edifice was 
erected on the west side of the city in the same year. For 
many years the Universalist denomination held services in 
various halls, and it was not until 1868 a society was formed 
here, and some years after purchased a lot on the corner 
of Greene and Franklin Streets and erected the present 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 177 

chapel. It is but just to say that the religious denominations 
of this city have labored incessantly, made many sacrifices 
and have accomplished a great work. The clergy from the 
earliest times have been pious, intelligent and good men, 
who by their zeal and example have greatly tended toward 
the elevation of the community. It is a pleasure to say that 
religion at the present time has a greater hold on the people 
of Ogdensburg than ever before, and that love, respect and 
kindly feelings prevail throughout this community. 

Ogdensburg was incorporated a city on the 27th day of 
April, 1868. The elective officers elected at large by the 
citizens were a mayor and recorder. Each ward elected its 
three aldermen independent of each other. On the day ap- 
pointed, a very spirited election was held, the Republicans 
having nominated Hon. William C. Brown for mayor, and 
the Democrats Hon. David C. Judson. The Republicans 
were successful. Mr. Brown was elected mayor, and Mr. 
Delos McCurdy recorder. Other city officers the first year 
were, Charles I. Baldwin, Walter B. Allen, Henry Rodee, 
aldermen, 1st Ward; Benjamin L. Jones, Galen W. Pear- 
sons, Patrick Hackett, aldermen, 26. Ward; Carlisle B. Her- 
riman, Urias Pearson, Chester Waterman (until July), Wm. 
L. Proctor (after July), 3d Ward; Calvin W. Gibbs, super- 
visor, 1st Ward; William C. Alden, supervisor, 2d Ward; 
Zina B. Bridges, supervisor, 3d Ward; Nathaniel H. Lytle, 
clerk. Under the village charter three wards were estab- 
lished, and these wards were continued under the city char- 
ter until the year 1873, when a fourth ward was created. 
The original three wards were bounded, First and Second 
as at present, the Third Ward extended from Paterson 
Street to the Tibbets tract of land in Lisbon. The Fourth 
Ward was taken from the Third Ward, the division line 



178 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

being Paterson Street. Since the organization of the city 
large sums have been expended in improving the same. 

Soon after its incorporation, the services of George E. 
Waring, an eminent sanitary engineer, were procured, and 
after a careful examination he laid down a very intelligent 
and systematic plan for the sewerage of the city, which plan 
was adopted and has been generally followed except on rare 
occasions, when some egotistical alderman, without educa- 
tion or experience, has attempted to improve upon the work 
of this most eminent man, and signally failed, costing the 
city considerable sums of money. 

The attention of the municipal government was early 
called to the necessity of establishing a proper water system. 
Many animated discussions took place among the citizens as 
to which should be used, the water of the St. Lawrence or of 
the Oswegatchie. A noted public meeting was held in the 
old town hall, and it would be of great interest were I able 
to reproduce the arguments of the gentlemen who addressed 
the meeting upon that occasion. The address of the late 
Gen. R. W. Judson, as recorded and delivered on many an 
occasion by our late beloved friend and neighbor, Col. E. C. 
James, is well worthy to be preserved for all time to come. 
After full and free discussion it was finally decided to use 
the Oswegatchie water, and in the summer of 1869, the 
City Water Works on the Holly system were erected at the 
south end of the dam. Water mains were laid, mostly of 
cement pipe, through the principal streets of the city the first 
year, and several fire hydrants set. Those cement pipes have 
been replaced by cast iron and the mains have been enlarged 
and largely extended, and the city abundantly furnished 
with hydrants for fire purposes of the most approved pattern. 
Sometime after the water-works buildings were enlarged and 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 179 

reconstructed and new machinery installed. Not long ago 
the city entered into an agreement with the State authorities 
to furnish water to the State Hospital, and we are advised 
it has given entire satisfaction. It has always been a source 
of regret to many of the townspeople that the shores of the 
upper Oswegatchie, with their beautiful trees, were not pre- 
served as a park instead of being given over for residential 
purposes, and it is hoped that some time action may be taken 
to utilize this river shore for a park, which would be both 
beautiful and beneficial. 

For many years no systematic plan was adopted for the 
improvement of the streets or sidewalks, and much time and 
money were uselessly expended. A few years ago, by an 
act of the Legislature, the charter was amended, creating a 
Board of Street Commissioners, since which time great im- 
provements have been made. The Fire Department of the 
city is probably one of the best in the State. We are all 
justly proud of it. 

The City Library is located in one of the most beautiful 
spots in the city, and contains within its walls thousands of 
volumes which are freely read by all classes of our people. 
It also has a department for children, founded and largely 
maintained by Swe-kat-si Chapter, Daughters of the Ameri- 
can Revolution. This chapter of the National Society of the 
D. A. R. was founded by Miss Harriet L. S. Hasbrouck, a 
granddaughter of Louis Hasbrouck, first president of the vil- 
lage of Ogdensburg. A second library, known as the Mary 
D. Bean Library in the Fourth Ward, is fast becoming pop- 
ular. 

Prior to the incorporation of the city, in the year 1866, 
the United States government erected the Post-office and 
Custom-house, one of the substantial buildings of the place, 



180 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

upon the site where the old Court-house formerly stood. 
Since the incorporation of the city, our beautiful and com- 
modious Town Hall has been erected at the joint expense of 
the town and city. Another grand and magnificent State 
building is the Armory of the Fortieth Separate Company. 
In the year 1887, a law was passed directing that a State 
Hospital for the Insane should be erected at Point Airy, 
then a part of the Town of Lisbon, but since brought within 
the limits of the city and made a portion thereof. Upon the 
site so named costly and magnificent buildings have been 
erected at an expenditure of millions of dollars, being the 
most modern and best adapted to the needs of the afflicted 
there treated. The liberality of the taxpayers of the State 
in erecting and maintaining such an institution speaks well 
for the Christianity of our times. The liberality of the State 
has been seconded by that of our citizens in the establishment 
of orphanages and hospitals. The City Hospital especially 
is a beautiful and magnificent building, well equipped, thor- 
oughly furnished, having an excellent corps of nurses, and 
a most worthy staff of surgeons and physicians. It is an 
honor to its largest benefactor, Hon. George Hall, and I hope 
may stand for many generations a monument to his kindli- 
ness of heart and generosity to the human race. We are 
also fortunate in having St. John's Hospital for contagious 
diseases, which is situated outside of the city limits. An- 
other hospital where the sick can be cared for is the North- 
ern New York General Hospital on Knox Street. The 
City Orphanage gives charity and care to the aged and in- 
firm as well as to many orphan children, and orphan children 
also find care and shelter at the United Helpers' Home on 
State Street. 

The first newspaper printed in St. Lawrence County was 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 181 

the Palladium, a two-page weekly, n by iyy 2 inches. It 
was started in Ogdensburg in December, 1810, by J. C. 
Kipp and T. C. Strong; David Parish furnished the capital 
and D. W. Church the office building. The paper was dis- 
tributed through the county by foot-post. On account of 
the difficulty in getting suitable paper it was sometimes 
printed on foolscap. This paper was discontinued in 18 14. 

From that period until the present many other papers 
have been started in Ogdensburg, the greater portion being 
published for only a limited time. At present we have two 
daily papers and three weeklies, the St. Lawrence Republican 
being one of the oldest weekly papers in the State. This 
paper was first printed in Potsdam in the fall of 1826. It 
was purchased in 1830 by the Hon. Preston King, and from 
that time to the present has been published in Ogdensburg 
under the management of various editors, numbering among 
them some of the brightest newspaper men of the State. 
The Ogdensburg Advance, a weekly paper, was first pub- 
lished in Ogdensburg in 1861. Since then many able men 
have been connected with it. To-day it ranks among the 
leading weekly papers of the State. The Mirror, another 
weekly, has been published for several years. The original 
editor and manager is still in control. Its circulation is 
confined principally to the city. 

Several attempts had been made to publish a daily news- 
paper in Ogdensburg, none of which were successful until 

1857- 

The Boy's Journal was commenced in 1856 by H. R. 
James, James W. Hopkins and Charles R. Foster, all lads 
in their early teens. These boys had been for some time 
printing a little paper entitled The Morning Glory, on a 
small hand press from second-hand type. Realizing the 



182 REMINISCENCES OF OGDENSBURG 

earnestness and enthusiasm of the youthful editors, their 
fathers united to purchase them a Guernsey press, and they 
added a Weekly Journal to the daily issue. In 1857 Mr. 
Foster sold his interest to James and Hopkins, who con- 
tinued the publication of both papers until they purchased 
the St. Lawrence Republican, into which was merged their 
weekly issue, and the " Boy's " dropped and " Daily " sub- 
stituted in the title of the daily paper. This was the first 
successful daily newspaper printed in Ogdensburg. Its pub- 
lication in connection with the weekly St. Lawrence Repub- 
lican has continued until the present time and enjoys a large 
circulation. 

The Ogdensburg News was first published in 1883 as 
a semi-weekly. It was purchased by the present editor and 
proprietor in 1890, and was converted into a daily in 189 1. 
It has since been ably and successfully conducted and takes 
rank with the daily papers of Northern New York. 

In preparing this paper it would be impossible to give 
any subject lengthy consideration, and many things, perhaps 
most worthy of mention, have been left out. 

We will have to turn to the press, which early in 18 10 
made its appearance in the village and has kept abreast of 
the times, faithfully reflecting the conditions existing and 
courageously urging the citizens towards progress and pros- 
perity, to be better informed of what transpired in the ninety 
years intervening since the incorporation of the village. 
Could the pioneer settlers look back upon the fair city now 
standing where they so assiduously labored to make firm 
the foundation, see the extent of beautifully shaded avenues, 
the many handsome residences with picturesque grounds sur- 
rounding, the hundreds of pretty homes with smiling lawns 
and gardens, the several little parks, the numerous and vari- 



INCORPORATION AND GROWTH 183 

ous mercantile establishments extending to every point of 
the land, see the increasing traffic daily carried on by boat 
and railroad, the palatial steamers that enter our harbor 
from everywhere, the innumerable pleasure craft that make 
merry the summer days going to and from the Thousand 
Islands, carrying pleasure seekers to that most beautiful Ven- 
ice of America, they would recognize that the realization of 
Nathan Ford's prophetic dream is upon the land — " Og- 
densburg is destined to be a ' Rich and Populous City.' " 





—J 








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