History of Bangor, New York
FROM: HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF FRANKLIN COUNTY
AND ITS SEVERAL TOWNS
BY: FREDERICK J. SEAVER
PUBLISHED BY J. B. LYON COMPANY, ALBANY, NY 1918


CHAPTER V
BANGOR

Bangor was organized from Dickinson June 15, 1812. It originally included all of the old town of Brandon, but now consists of a single township, which is said to have been named by the Macomb purchasers from a town in Wales. It is regarded as one of the best farming towns in the county, though in parts the soil is too light to be very productive. The Duncher, Sand hill or Taylor brook traverses the town from its southeast corner to the western border, a small stream (the Little Salmon river) takes its course through the western part, and it is watered also by a number of brooks. The surface is generally level.

The census of 1820 gave the population as 370, which increased to 1,076 in 1830, and to 2,520 in 1860, from which date until 1910 it decreased slowly to 1,946. By the enumeration of 1915 it is 2,179. The proportion of citizens to aliens is larger than in any other town in the county, the latter numbering only six. A few years ago Bangor had about the liveliest and most thorough Republican political organization in the county, and to the zeal of its leaders in looking for voters is perhaps attributable the fact that nearly all aliens were naturalized. The people of the town generally have always been of a sturdy and inteffigent type, with a considerable percentage of men alive to business opportunity and insistent upon public order and individual decency, though it is not meant thereby to say that good men were not at times inclined to a bit of wildness. In point of morality the community ranked from the first among the best.

The first settler within the bounds of Bangor as it now exists was Benjamin Seeley in 1806, who was followed the same year by Joseph Plumb. Both came from Moira, to which they had emigrated from Vermont two or three years previously. Mr. Seeley located about a mile east of worth Bangor Corners. Later in the same year James and Jehiel Barnum located, and were followed in 1807 by Chester Tullar, Robert Wilson, Joel Griffin and others. Probably in no other town in Franklin county has the original stock so taken root, multiplied and survived in its descendants. Run over the names of the pioneers and of the others who became their associates within the next quarter of a century, and note how familiar most of them are in the present generation, and how numerous are those now resident in the town who hear them: Joseph Plumb, Joshua, Gardner, Luther and Henry Dickinson, Coddington and Levi Conger, Jonathan Bowen, Barnabas, Jehiel and James Barnum, Ezra French, Levi and Sylvester Potter, Isaac and James Bigelow, William G. White, Caleb Bates, Reuben and Simeon Davis, James and George Adams, Richard, Lucius and Henry King, Jesse Smith, Russell Lee, Harvey and David Doty, Samuel Brigham, Hiram Frank, Gabriel and Alanson Cornish, John and Horace Knapp (the former the father of Wells of Malone), Elisha Keeler, Jennison Dyke, Warren Tower, Jonathan, Nehemiah and Benjamin N. Lawrence, Heman Harwood, Abel Wilcox, John W. Crooks, Danforth Patterson, Andrew Spaulding, George W., Daniel and Hiram Taylor, Samuel and Anderson Wilson, and Noah- Moody, the last named has ing removed in a short time to Malone. In the fathers and their sons the list measures pretty accurately and fully the sinew, enterprise and character that distinguished Bangor during the first half century of its existence, and, though many others of ability and usefulness of later arrival have earned the right to be included as considerable factors in the business and civic life of the community, descendants of most of those named are among the foremost men of the town to-day - respected and prominent. Nearly all of the early settlers came from Vermont.

On the tombstone of one of these pioneers at North Bangor is this inscription: "Gabriel Cornish died March 2 7th, 1841, in the 83d year of his age. He served during the entire war of the revolution, took part at the battles of Saratoga and Monmouth, was an eyewitness of the execution of Andre and of the surrender of Burgoyne and Cornwallis. and wintered with Washington at Valley Forge."

Though later corners, the Dustins have a lineage of remarkable interest. A considerable number reside in Bangor, Moira and Westville, the immediate descendants of Gilman, Jonathan and Charles, who settled in the last named town some sixty or seventy years ago. Among the descendants in Bangor are Mrs. 0. S. Rhoades and Mrs. Fred Chapin. In 1697 an Indian attack was made upon Haverhill, Mass., and Hannah Dustin, sick in bed with a child only a week old, and her nurse were made captives. The child was brained as an encumbrance on the flight, and the women were taken into New Hampshire. Arrived at their lodges, the Indians apprehended no pursuit, nor any attempt by the women to escape, so that no guard was kept, nor were the captives bound. One night Mrs. Dustin and the nurse, with a lad who had been previously captured, possessed themselves of their captors' tomahawks, and slew ten of the Indians as they slept, even taking the scalps of their victims for proof at home of their exploit. The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to each of the three a money recognition, and monuments have been erected to Mrs. Dustin at Haverhill and at the site of the Indian camp. The Bangor, Moira and Westyule Dustins are direct descendants of Hannah Dustin.

No one locality in the town seems to have been especially preferred for settlement by the first corners, and the central and southern parts, at the points which are now known as Bangor, North Bangor and West Bangor, grew in almost equal pace, though the last named was at one time more populous than either of the others, and is now third in such respect. There are also small settlements known as Cooks Corners and Baconvifie.

The town has no really good water powers, and manufacturing enterprises other than starch making have never been important. The census of 1825 listed the town as having one iron works, but the establishment would not now be so described, as in reality it was little more than a blacksmith shop, which was owned and operated by Joshua Dickinson. Its principal product was axes hammered out by hand, though Mr. Dickinson is quoted as having stated that for a year or two, nearly a century ago, when hunting wolves for the bounties was so prevalent, be did little except to make wolf traps. Nearly all of the output of axes found sale in the towns of Bangor and Brandon and in the edge of Malone, the pioneers in these localities having depended almost wholly upon Mr. Dickinson for these implements, which, with the forests to be cleared before agriculture could be possible, were a first and indispens-. able necessity.

Joshua Dickinson built also and for many years operated a grist mill, a linseed oil mill, a starch mill, kept a store, and ran the hotel which had been kept earlier by William G. White. The grist mill and the oil mill (the former originally a stone structure) he sold in 1844 onethird to Thomas F. Muiholland and two-thirds to Hiram Taylor - the latter subsequently acquiring the Mulholland interest. The oil mill was simple and crude. It consisted of two great stones cut in circular form, with a diameter of perhaps seven or eight feet and a thickness of perhaps two feet, hung upon a shaft and revolving upon a stone bed. The mill was operated by horse power. The flax seed was placed on the bed, and the stones, edge on, ground it to a flour or meal, which was then heated in a revolving cylinder, and afterward subjected to great pressure in an iron press in order to force out the oil. The cakes of oil meal were sold to farmers for feed for stock. The mill was run even after production of flax in quantities had ceased in the locality, and seed had to be hauled from Montreal. Mulholland & Adams operated it in 1863. When the stone grist mill was burned it was rebuilt of wood, and Mr. Taylor ran it until he died in 1861. It was then bought and worked for years by Edmund F. Sargent, and since him by James H. Sargent, Charles J. Adams, H. K. Rider and Newton Lawrence, Fred Dickinson, A. S. Knapp, Fred Lawrence, and now by Colton & Ward.

A carding or cloth dressing mill, built by Caleb Bates and Reuben Davis prior to 1826, was acquired by Mr. Taylor in 1832, and carried on by him for a long time. Apparently he prospered in all of his undertakings, and mention must not be omitted that he bequeathed three thousand dollars to the trustees of Franklin Academy as a perpetual fund, the income to be awarded by them annually to three worthy, indigent students of the institution - two boys and one girl. The fund remains intact, and has served for more than half a century to aid students who otherwise must have foregone a higher education. The benefaction is one of the finest, with admirable results, that any resident of our county ever created, and it would be fortunate if Mr. Taylor's example in this regard were followed by others.

A tannery, built of stone by Abel Wilcox, who started out as a shoemaker, still stands, having been converted into a tenement house. As a tannery it outlived its usefulness a good many years ago. There was also at one time a distillery, which I think was located at a point on the brook above the Keeler wheelwright shop. It is said to have made whiskey from potatoes. It was built by Danforth or L. B. Patterson, probably by the latter, but did business for only a few years. Of course there were asheries, too.

The Dickinson hotel was a large double house on the north side of the turnpike, just west of its intersection with the cross road from North Bangor. It still stands, and is a private residence. Before Mr. Dickinson's occupancy it was owned by Henry Vail, and kept by William G. White. Besides the Dickinson house, which was less a general hotel than an inn to accommodate stage travel, Colonel Luther Taylor had a tavern on the north side of the turnpike, near the brook. A part of the building is still there.

The next hotel at Bangor after these was that of Hial Bentley in the building which Edmund F. Sargent purchased in 1867, and made over into a home. The building was erected in 1851. After Mr. Bentley, Parrit B. ("Put") Wolf was landlord until he entered. the army as a captain in the 98th regiment in 1861, when Joshua Pillings took the management, and was followed by Abe Staves until Mr. Sargent bought the property. Then Henry Bentley and Dana C. Adams converted into a hotel the stone building on the corner which had been Danforth Patterson's store and residence. They added an annex for a dance hall, and ran the establishment until about 1878, when Jarvis Austin succeeded them. Next Steve Fosburg had it for a time, and was followed by James Fish. Then William H. Pearson (since a suicide) and A. H. McKimm came in for a few years, and afterward Mr. Fosburg was there again until the building burned in July, 1917. It is not expected to be rebuilt.

Among the early merchants at Bangor were Wffliam G. White, Gardner Green, Barnes & Brown, Danforth Patterson, Joshua Dickinson, L. B. Patterson, G. L. Sargent (afterward a farmer and political war horse in Brandon), James C. Drake and William M. Leonard. Dwight Dickinson and Clark A. Patterson, Clark J. Dickinson and Thomas F. Mulholland, Allen Hinman, Hial Bentley, Nelson C. Lawrence and Roswell H. Farr, were also in trade here for a time. While some of these did not long remain, and even their names have been forgotten, others continued in business for considerable periods and left an enduring impress. Danforth Patterson was the father of Clark A., who in his younger years was a live wire in the town, and later a stirring figure in Ohateaugay, where bad associations got him into trouble. Mr. Drake became sheriff of the county, and lived thereafter in Malone. Joshua Dickinson's sons, William G. and Wells S., entered into partnership with him in 1846, and later Wells was associated with him in other enterprises also. William moved to Malone, was for several years a leading merchant there, and became county treasurer. A few years after the civil war he moved to Topeka, Kansas, and thence to National City, Cal. Wells was for a generation the most popular and influential man in Bangor, of unbounded energy and marvelous political and business activity. He served in the Assembly before the civil war, and in the State Senate from 1871 to 1875. He was a delegate to Republican national conventions a number of times, and in his later years was in general charge of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company's land, transportation and legislative interests. At one time he was one of the proprietors of a bank at Red Wing, Minn., was almost always deep in big speculative undertakings, was a manufacturer of starch on an extensive scale, and, next to William A. Wheeler, was the Republican leader or "boss" in Franklin county. Dwight and Clark, younger sons of Joshua, removed to Malone, and became wholesale produce dealers. The former was supervisor of Malone a number of terms. Mr. Leonard sold his store in 1850, and removed to Rouses Point - returning in 1864 (having in the meantime engaged in farming and in trade in Malone), and, again entering upon the mercantile business, admitted his son, Marcellus A., to a partnership in 1867. This arrangement continued until 1878, when Marcellus bought the store of Dickinson & Lawrence, and in 1884 his son, William C., and Willard B. Royce became partners with him. . Mr. Leonard retired in 1897, and now resides in Malone. He has given me a few items from his father's and his own books during the years prior to and just subsequent to the civil war. Crackers were sold at one time by count instead of by weight, butter was fourteen cents per pound, and brown sugar ten cents. After the war kerosene sold at eighty cents a gallon, flour at sixteen dollars a barrel, tea at a dollar and thirty-five cents per pound, and coffee sugar at eighteen cents. Considerably later kerosene sold as low as six and a half cents a gallon.

Other merchants at Bangor have included Fayette W. Lawrence, Charles Whitney, and Edwin E. Dickinson, now of New York city.

A fire at the hamlet June 22, 1899, destroyed the Leonard block (occupied by D. W. Grannis as a hardware store), N. W. Lawrence's store, Hinman & Marvin's drug store, A. S. Knapp's meat market, and several dwelling houses, with losses aggregating $20,000.

July 2, 1917, a fire originating in an outbuilding extended quickly to the Fosburgh hotel and also to A. W. Ford's farm implement store and warehouse, both of which were destroyed. Willard B. Royce's general store and Mrs. Royce's millinery store, with their dwelling apartments overhead, and Fred Wilson's blacksmith shop were also burned. The total loss was estimated at nearly $30,000. Business conditions are such that there is no expectation that the Royce store or the hotel, a large stone building, will he replaced.

Bangor was one of the first towns in the county to engage in the manufacture of potato starch, the first mill having been erected about 1846 or 1847. There have been eight such mills in the town-four at Bangor, three at West Bangor, and one at North Bangor, near the railroad station. Not one is now running. The four at Bangor were all on the Sand Hill or Taylor Brook, and were built respectively by Joshua Dickinson and Isaac Wilson, Charles Adams, George Adams and Abel Wilcox. Changes in ownership during the activity of the mills were many - Wells S. Dickinson, Danforth Patterson, E. F. Sargent, Dexter P. Marvin, Fred F. Brown, D. W. Lawrence, Hannibal Wilcox and possibly others having been at one time or another either part or sole proprietors of some one or more of them. One of the mills at West Bangor was owned by J. V. Bowles, another by William L. and Horace A. Taylor, and the third by Davidson & Guernsey, which was burned. That at North Bangor was built and run by Wells S. Dickinson and "Jack" Doty. While these factories often paid as high as twenty-five or thirty cents per bushel for potatoes, and forty cents one year, the usual price was less. Often in the early years they contracted with farmers in the spring at twelve and a half cents per bushel, and some of the sellers used to claim that even at that low figure their potato crops had paid for their farms. The Taylor factory at West Bangor has been converted into a saw mill, while a part of the Bowles mill at the same place has become a barn, and another part is used as a place of worship by members of the Holiness Movement.

Charles J. Adams and Harry Stancliff erected a mill at Bangor about 1870 or 1871 for making extract from hemlock bark for tanning purposes. The extract was barreled and shipped to tanners in localities where the supply of bark had been exhausted. A saw mill was connected with it. The building was burned in 1874, and was not replaced, though in 1886 Mr. Adams erected and equipped a planing mill, which was later torn down.

James Jones had at one time a saw mill on the Sand Hill Brook, below the hamlet. It was run afterward by Hosea Burr, and was torn down about twenty years ago. A half mile or so farther west Charles Spaulding had a saw mill, which was run after him by Eli, James and John Spaulding, but has not been in existence for fifty years or more.

The hamlet of Bangor is lighted electrically by the Malone Light and Power Company, and has a gravity system of water works, provided by private enterprise. Besides its little group of residences, it now contains a Congregational and a Methodist Episcopal church, the grist mill, a creamery, L. W. Keeler & Sons' wheelwright shop, Fred Wilson's blacksmith shop, H. H. Bowles's paint shop, A. W. Ford's harness and agricultural implements salesrooms, Alonzo Avery's meat market, and stores by William M. Hinman and Bradford Brothers.

At West Bangor (known once as Pottersville) the first saw mill is said to have been built at a very early day by Joseph Ross, Sr., and Samuel Silsbee also built one, about forty rods above the grist mill. No trace of the Silsbee mill remains. The Ross mill passed to the ownership of William Ross, who added a coffin and cabinet factory, and then to J. V. R. (" Rans") Bowles, who engaged also in making starch barrels extensively. This mill, now razed, was subsequently owned by Peter Boardway, who has removed the machinery to the old Taylor starch factory, farther down the stream. Niah Wood built a log grist mill at West Bangor, which he sold in 1819 to Levi Potter, who rebuilt it as a frame structure. - It was run for many years by Mr. Potter, and since him by Charles H. Bartlett, Davidson & Guernsey, Lyman Oliver, James Squires, Albert Larue, George Ayres, Myron Barber, and now by Scott G. Crooks. It has been owned for some years by John P. Kellas, of Malone, who has built a concrete dam and improved the property generally.

Statement concerning the West Bangor starch factories appears on a preceding page.

Levi Potter kept a hotel here, near the grist mill, and Daniel P. Moore had a primitive tavern on a side road in the vicinity.

Nash Dyke operated a triphammer works near by, for which he obtained the iron in Duane, and in 1864, when cotton was so high in price, William L. Taylor bought the works and converted it into a flax mill. Besides buying flax from such farmers as could be persuaded to engage in its cultivation, he leased considerable tracts of land at fifteen dollars per acre, and raised large quantities on his own account. The flax was treated only to the point that prepared it for spinning, when it was shipped elsewhere to undergo that process and be woven into linen. The enterprise was continued for about three years.

William L. and Horace A. Taylor, Orson L. Reynolds. Charles J. Adams and Harry Stancliff (the latter from Massachusetts) joined in 1868 in building at West Bangor a mill to make tanning extract from hemlock bark. The business was at first largely experimental, and did not prove remunerative. A cord of bark would make twenty gallons of extract, which commanded a price of twenty cents a gallon. Eventually the business was put upon a paying basis, but a process was then invented for pressing the used bark into bricks salable in cities for fuel, so that tanneries remote from the forests could better afford to buy bark than the extract, and the industry had to be abandoned. The mill at West Bangor burned in 1870, when all of the partners except Mr. Adams and Mr. Stancliff withdrew, and these rebuilt at Bangor. The latter mill having also burned, it was not rebuilt. The loss by the two fires was between forty and ftfty thousand dollars.

Among the early mercantile ventures at West Bangor was the "Protective Union Store," in the ownership and management of which James Bigelow was prominent. The building, owned by Mr. Bigelow, was burned in 1856. Joseph Ross also had a store early, which was run later by Milo Hinman, Sumner Sweet and Josiah Crooks. Other merchants have been Dana Adams, Gustine Adams, William L. and George W. Taylor, S. B. Lawrence, Dr. Ira A. Darling, Nelson C. Lawrence and John O'Connell. At present the oniy stores are those of B. K. Fish and George Haley.

About fifteen years ago the late George R. Taylor, born in the town and residing there for most of his life, prepared a history of Bangor (largely genealogical), in which it is stated that a Mr. Gallup, from whom the Gallup road was named, built a saw mill near his home, about a mile north of the turnpike. If this be true, the mill must have disappeared before 1840, as Wffliam Ross then built one at this point, which was owned in 1859 by Stephen Gates, and in 1870 by Elijah N. Wilson. It ceased to be operated in 1879, when Mr. Wilson removed to California. In the same vicinity Isaac Adams used to have a chair factory.

The southwest quarter of Bangor was owned at an early day by Asahel Bacon of New Haven, Conn., and after his death a large part of the tract was purchased in 1842 by his grandson, Charles C. Whittelsev, then of Roxbury, Conn., and subsequently one of the foremost business men in Malone. A grist mill and saw mill were erected, though by whom is not ascertainable with certainty, but as Charles, a son of Asahel, looked after his father's interests here prior to Mr. Whittelsey's ownership, it is believed that, acting for the father, he was the builder. Mr. Whittelsey sold the mills and a part of the land to Charles Bacon in 1851, and the latter sold in 1863 to Wells S. Dickinson and Edwin L. Meigs. The property next passed in 1870 to Robert Dunlop. There are no mills there now, they having burned in 1883, and at its busiest the settlement comprised only the mills, a shoe shop and a few houses. The locality still goes by the name of Baconville, and the cross highway leading to it as the Bacon road.

A hail mile or so west, on the same stream, there used to be a saw mill owned by Levi Orton, and afterward by E. and F. Orton, which I think was built by John L. Rowley.

A mile and a half west of West Bangor the "Half-Way House" (so called because it was approximately midway between Plattsburgh and Ogdensburg) was kept in stage-coach times by James Lawrence, and then by Leonard Fish. It was a commodious structure, painted red, on the north side of the turnpike, and was famous for a long time for its fine table of good home cookery and also as a favorite resort for large and jolly dancing parties. The house was burned in 1883. Still another stage-coach tavern in the same vicinity, dating from about 1836 or 1837, was that kept by Willard Jepherson or Jefferson, a mile west from Fish's.

North Bangor was incorporated as a vifiage in 1914, and then had a population of 307. It has electric lights, the current for which is transmitted from Malone. It lies near the north and south center of the town, but only about a mile from the Malone town line. The Rutland railroad runs through Bangor from east to west about a half a mile north of this village, which it has doubtless been as helpful in building up as any other one factor. When the road was built all of the immediate country lying to the north of the line was a dense forest, and George H. Stevens sold from it a thousand cords of wood, delivered at the station, at five shillings (63½c.) per cord. It cost him a quarter of a dollar per cord for the chopping, and the same price for hauling, so that his return for stumpage was barely a shilling per cord, though something should be added to his meagre profit account by reason of the fact that the chopping and hauling were paid for in merchandise from his store.

Nearly sixty years ago, when Baker Stevens was postmaster and North Bergen mail used to come to North Bangor and vice versa, Mr. Stevens suggested a change in the name of the office in the hope of curing such confusion. Having only recently returned from California, where there is a town called Amador, he proposed that name for the North Bangor office, and the department approved. But when Elijah A. Hyde became postmaster a few years later the name North Bangor was resumed.

North Bangor's only manufacturing industries are the condensary and creamery combined and Fred M. Johnson's feed mill, which was built by Wm. H. Plumb for a shingle mill, and changed by George Taylor into a feed mill.

The place merits particular mention as the center from which fruit raising throughout the county was largely developed by the enthusiasm and efforts of Elijah A. Hyde, who demonstrated that certain varieties of choice apples, pears and grapes could be grown here successfully, and who induced the planting of thousands of trees and vines. William H. Plumb now has an orchard here of three thousand five hundred thrifty apple and pear trees, the largest in the county, and producing fine fruit.

Particulars of early life at North Bangor are even more difficult to gather at this day than similar data for Bangor and West Bangor. Benjamin Seeley, locating a mile east of the "Corners," evidently remained for only a short time, inasmuch as in 1814 he had become a resident of Malone, and in that year deeded to the supervisors of the county the land on which the county buildings are now established. While in Bangor he is said to have opened his house for the accommodation of settlers and of those journeying to points farther west. Joseph Plumb passed the remaining days of his life there; dying in 1837. He also carried on a sort of hotel business upon much the same lines as Mr. Seeley had done, and built and operated both a distillery and a tannery. He became the agent for the sale of the Bangor lands of McCormick, O. A. Brodie and Bacon, and was succeeded in this capacity by his son William. The latter and one of the Barnums became mighty hunters, and add:ed appreciably to their usual earnings by killing wolves and panthers for the bounties. The Plumb farm aggregated eight hundred or a thousand acres, and what remains of it is now divided between Wffliam H. and Howard Plumb.

The stage route from Plattsburgh to Ogdensburg had been at first through Bangor and West Bangor, which fact led to a development in these places before North Bangor began to find itself. But when the route was changed to the north road, business other than farming began to be prosecuted.

The first person professing to keep a real hotel at N1orth Bangor was Timothy Barnes, and the house, small and insignificant, stood on the north side of the highway on the first lot west of the Corners. George H. Stevens kept it after the death of Mr. Barnes. The next landlord was Abel Harvey, who in 1842 or 1843 built the hotel which stood for ftfty-odd years on the corner where Hotel Eldred now is, and ran it for a good many years. Later landlords at this stand have been many, and include Thomas Barney, Jonas and Wffliam H. Barney, Daniel Guernsey, George Doty, Silas 'Cornish, S. C. Horrigan, Orson Carpenter, 0. L. Razen, Orrin Harris, Clark Coifrin, William B. Steenberge, Hiram Doty, E. B. Baxter, Billy Orr, Wash. Smith, Judson Geer, F. D. Rich, B. McGiveny and Steve Fosburg. During the latter's tenancy in 1896 or 1897 the building burned, after which the site was bought by Charles T. Eldred, and in 1899 a three-story structure erec.ted, the landlords in which have been Mr. Eldred, Fred Eldred, E. A. Rich, Ernest Macomber, Alfred F. Brockway and Cecil I. Whitcomb. Mr. Whitcomb is the present proprietor.

Stores at North Bangor appear not to have been many, nor to date to very early times. The earliest merchant so far as now ascertainable was George H. Stevens, whose store was next east of the Corners. J. D. (" Den.") Fisk was there at about the same time, and these were followed by Baker, Henry and Clinton Stevens and. Solon Reynolds. The Stevens brothers, except Henry, afterward became residents of ME&lone, George H. coming here as sheriff. Mr. Fisk removed eventually to New York, and prospered there. The Stevens experience proved that though Bangor lacked in large manufactories it was an exceptionally good trading point, because of the general excellence of its lands and the superior quality of its citizenry. Baker Stevens, who was a merchant here from 1855 to 1865, doing a óredit business, told me that in the entire ten years he lost less than two hundred dollars in bad accounts. Other merchants have been John L. Rowley, Mathias Stanley, P. J. Stickle, William H. Hyde in partnership with Mr. Reynolds, Elijah A. Hyde and ____ Ransom, Harrison Lee, James S. Lytle and Sons, W. H. Plumb, William B. Steenberge, Charles T. Eldred, Leon Chapin and Herbert Burr. The Patrons of Industry also had a store for four or five years prior to 1903. The present merchants are Fred W. McKenzie and Alfred Brockway, Orville S. Rhoades, L. E. Farrington and. Robert Todd, and. Fred M. Johnson, dealer in flour, feed and agricultural implements. There are also a meat market, kept by Fred Murphy, John B. Mallette's blacksmith shop, Herbert Griffin's marble works, and W. A. McLemian's undertaking rooms. The Masons have a hail of their own here, the lower floor of which is rented to the town for a town hail. A dry saw mill (so called because the brook was small and the power insufficient) was built a mile and a half west of the Corners on the main road, by Benjamin Walker, probably eighty or ninety years ago. It was a small affair and disappeared in the early forties.

Cooks Corners, partly in Fort Covington, lies along the northern border. In the part which is in Bangor there are perhaps a dozen dwelling houses and one store, kept by Joseph Taillon. Earlier proprietors were George Washburne, Samuel Southworth, Samuel Vidger and Joe Labarge.

In this .neighborhood during the night of October 15, 1881, when there was a fierce wind, a house owned by James Riley and occupied by him and John McCarthy and family, caught fire, and before the inmates, numbering twelve persons, were awakened they were hemmed in by the flames. Mr. Riley and his brother, Mr. and. Mrs. McCarthy, Mr. McCarthy's father and. three of the children managed to fight their way out, though not without serious hurts, but four of the McCarthy boys in one of the chambers were burned to death.

Another Cooks Corners incident of a different character created a good deal of excitement and speculation in 1887. Michael McCaffrey, a resident of good character and of generally accepted veracity, claimed to have had repeated. dreams, in which a British officer appeared to him, stating that he had been killed by the Indians, and directing McCaffrey to dig at a pine stump on the premises for treasure buried by the officer between flat stones. McCaffrey represented that after a time he obeyed, and that, precisely as had been predicted, he found the stones, and between them a certificate of indebtedness for four thousand pounds, which purported to have been issued. by the Bank of England, and to be payable by it on demand with interest. Rev. Frank N. Jewett, a native of the vicinity and at the time a. professor in the State normal school at Fredonia, examined into the matter as thoroughly as possible, and satisfied himself that the find had. been made as McCaffrey stated and that the certificate was valid and genuine. Mr. Jewett placed the matter for McCaffrey in the hands of New York city attorneys for collection, but nothing has ever been realized on it. Faith in the truthfulness of McCaffrey's story still prevails among his neighbors. Mr. Jewett himself visited London, and had an interview with the bank officials, who gave as excuse for not honoring the certificate that time had made the writing so faint as to make identification impossible.

Including the condensary at North Bangor, there are two creameries in the town, and formerly there were five others, besides the one on the north road, which was really a Bangor enterprise, though located just across the town line in Malone. It was built in 1870 by Lytle Bros., and was the first in the county.

A creamery in the southeastern part of the town, originally a co-operative concern, but owned later by Isaac 'Carpenter, then by Gains A. Lane, and finally by Fred Lawrence, was torn down a few years ago. Stifi another, built by Joe Labarge at Cooks Corners in 1888, was afterward run by O. Harrington and used as a skimming station for the condensary. It was torn down six or eight years ago. The creamery at Bangor, owned by Frank L. Allen of Springfield, Mass., and closed down at least temporarily in 1917, was originally a cheese factory, built and operated for a few years on the co-operative plan. It burned, and in 1877 was rebuilt by Alexander S. Knapp, and operated by him, and then by W. B. Burr. Besides making butter when it was operated by Mr. Allen it turned out a large product of cottage cheese in a crude form, which was shipped to New England cities to be seasoned and finished for market. It is now operated by another party as a cheese factory. The creamery at West Bangor, formerly owned by G. L. Donaldson, and then by Barber & Fish, passed to the control of non-resident interests, and made fancy Italian cheese in 1917. The operators failed with several thousand dollars owing to farmers, and the plant is now idle. When it was run by Barber & Fish as a creamery it made caseine as a by-product. Caseine is used as a "binder" for cheap paints, as a "filler" for wood and heavy fabrics, for buttons and bffliard balls, and for sizing paper, to which it gives a smooth finish. There are two creameries between North Bangor and Brushton; one owned by George and Charles Walker, and the other by Frank Aldrich. The Walker creamery closed in 1917.

How the present product of butter in Bangor, and indeed in the county as a whole, compares with the output of a few years ago is not deterniinable accurately except by a comprehensive investigation which I have not found it feasible to undertake; but the general consensus of what must be regarded as authoritative opinion is that it is very much smaller. Twenty-five years ago there were nearly thirty thousand much cows in the county, and to-day the number is only about a thousand larger. But in almost every town the number of creameries has diminished, and the receipts of milk at most of those which are still in operation have fallen off generally. In addition, the business of shipping milk and cream to New York and other cities is altogether new within the past eight or ten years, and the quantity so withdrawn from butter making is very great. The butter product of Bangor in creameries in 1904 was reported to the State department of agriculture as having been 711,000 pounds, which was nearly fifty per cent, more than Malone's, and double the quantity made in any other of the towns of the county. With only a single creamery now in operation, it is doubted if the butter product of the town can be more than an eighth of what it once was. However, the average butter-fat yield of the cows now kept is probably at least a quarter more than it was a few years ago, due to the process that is systematically going on of weeding out from the herds the poorer animals. Cow-testing associations are doing a great work in this regard, and, more and more farmers ought to join them. Along that line lies the way to make dairying more profitable, and. progressiveness should characterize farming operations as well as other enterprises. Just how much this may mean to a farmer is seen in the result reported from one series of tests, wherein the ten best cows showed four times the production of the ten poorest, all in herds from which the poorest cows had already been eliminated. The farmer who hopes to realize results will not remain blind to the importance of having such tests made, nor hesitate in acting upon them.

The condensary at North Bangor was built in 1904, and is owned by O. Harrington of that place and Tait Brothers of Springfield, Mass. Three gallons of milk are required to make one of condensed. The full milk is used in a part of the product, while in making other brands, used principally in confectionery, a part of the cream is first taken out. Both the sweetened and the unsweetened are made. The former is shipped in barrels, and the latter, which is used in making ice-cream, goes to- market in forty-gallon cans. The condensary also ships plain cream at times, and occasionally makes butter. All shipped cream is pasteurized, which not only removes the impurities, but gives it better keeping qualities.

Perhaps the most notable distinction that attaches to Bangor is that the invention of one of its citizens, Benjamin F. Jewett, revolutionized the business of dairying. Until 1870 each farm had made its own butter, the milk being set in small pans, the care of which entailed unspeakable drudgery, with results not at all satisfactory. Mr. Jewett had pondered speculatively and theoretically from boyhood the general idea underlying his new pan, and after he began actual experiment was four years in perfecting his invention. His principal aim was to produce a pan which would prevent the premature souring and thickening of the milk in hot weather, and keep the milk sweet long enough for the cream to rise. This was to be accomplished by having cold water constantly under the milk. The pan as put upon the market had a double bottom, the outer skin divided into compartments or channels which opened into each other at alternate ends, in order to assure thorough circulation of the water. There were incidental features to make it easy to draw off the milk after skimming, for rinsing, etc. The first of these pans used in a co-operative creamery was installed in a factory by Lytle Brothers in Malone, near North Bangor, and soon afterward Lucius R. Townsend and William H. Hyde began their manufacture in large quantities at Malone. The results of their use were to lighten. labor on the farm, to increase largely the average quantity of butter realized from a given quantity of milk, to make a better product, and to command a better price for it. In the ensuing five years more than twenty creameries were built in Franklin county, and the Jewett pan installed in them. In the period from 1870 to 1900 the number of dairy cows in the county increased from about seventeen thousand to nearly thirty thousand. Improved pans having come into use and separators having followed, the Jewett pan is no longer made, but it accomplished a magnificent work, and every dairyman and dairyman's wife and daughters owe much to it for the labor that they have been saved, and for the larger earnings that their cows have made.

The story of Bangor's town houses is obscure and curious. A town meeting in 1830 voted to build, appropriated the poor moneys in the hands of the overseers for the purpose, and created a committee composed of residents of other towns to select a site. Such committee recommended that the house be located on a lot near the Powell Wilson place, but the people on the north and south roads were disposed then as now, each to magnify their own claims and to gain advantage over the other. Consequently the town repudiated the committee's finding, and after holding three other town meetings for consideration of the question decided to have two houses - one on the north and one on the south road, with the use thereof to he free to all religious societies in proportion to the amount that each should contribute to the building funds. Individuals contributed their labor to the work of erection, and thus each felt that he had an individual share in ownership of them. The house on the south road, at West Bangor, is of stone, and in its face is set a tablet with the inscription, "Town House, erected in 1835." The other is now the so-called union church at North Bangor, which was remodeled in 1873 at a cost of $5,000. Strangely enough, there is no record in the County Clerk's office vesting title to the latter lot in the town, nor any showing relinquishment of rights by the town in either lot to the churches now in possession with actual or assumed ownership. There is, however, record of the conveyance of the town house site at West Bangor by Asahel Bacon in 1829 for twelve dollars and a half, and also by C. C. Whittelsey to the Union Church Society in 1860, and. a quitclaim of same by William L. Taylor and Henry Storm in 1887, but none showing title to the town house at North Bangor in any church. Few of the younger generation have been aware until recently that the town had ever had any town house at all, though older men are able to recall uncertainly that forty or fifty years ago the taxpayers concluded that the upkeep of the halls was greater than the cost of renting would be, and so voted to relinquish their interest in them. It would be proper business for both town and churches to straighten out the matter of record if practicable.

North Bangor Lodge No. 556, F. and A. M., dates from 1865, and has over one hundred members. It owns its lodge building, which is at North Bangor, and a part of which the town occupies for its records and for a polling place.

Bangor organized a Grand Army Post in 1883, with over a hundred. members. It was named in honor of William Dutton, one of the colonels of the 98th regiment. The number of. veterans in the town having become small, the organization was permitted to lapse in 1891.

Bangor Grange, No. 967, was organized in 1898, has about two hundred and fifty members, and owns the building in which its hail is located - renting the ground floor for commercial uses.

Rev. James Erwin, born in Fort Covington in 1813, and a preacher at the age of sixteen years, says in his "Reminiscences of a Circuit Rider," that "Barzilia Willey, James Covel, Jonathan Newman, Wil11am Case, Isaac Puffer and others carried the gospel through the valleys of St. Lawrence and Franklin counties from the year 1800,". and, therefore, unless there are actual records, it would be presumptuous to assert positively that any known religious meeting in any Franklin county town was the first held therein, for the Methodists especially, and the Presbyterians only in less degree, were given to invasion of every locality as soon as it had inhabitants in any appreciable number. It is probable that the latter were first in the field in Bangor. The early records of the church of this denomination were lost by fire a few years ago, but William M. Hinman, the then clerk, remembers distinctly that they recited that the church was organized in a barn in 1809, which other authority says was owned by Constant Southworth, near Cooks Corners, and that preaching had been had the year before by Rev. Alexander Proudfoot of Salem, Washington county, who was active in that period in establishing United Presbyterian churches in Northern New York, though the actual organization in Bangor was by Rev. Jacob Hart of Constable and Rev. Ashbel Parmelee of Malone. Actual incorporation was effected February 9, 1833, as the "First Congregational Church of Bangor," though the society's own records give the date of organization as June 8, 1826. The seeming contradiction in dates is explained by some members of the society by attributing to 1826 the action which changed the church from Presbyterian to Congregational instead of its having reference to the original organization. A church edifice was erected at South Bangor in 1842, meetings in that part of the town having been held previously in barns or in the school house. At North Bangor and at West Bangor the society has had the use of one or the other of the two town houses since about 1835, and of late years practically the exclusive use of the one at the former place. The church enrolled in 1827 with the Presbytery of Champlain as a Presbyterian church, but for a long time now has been incorporated as Congregational with the St. Lawrence and Black River Association. It has a parsonage at Bangor, built in 1883, and services are held every Sunday at that place and at North Bangor, and on every alternate Sunday in. the union church at West Bangor - a single pastor serving all three stations.

The Christian sect is said by Rough to have been organized in 1818 by Elder Uriah Smith and James Spooner. For a long time it was the strongest religious body in that section, if not in the town as a whole. At West Bangor it included until sixty years ago nearly every inhabitant. February 10, 1860, the Christians joined with the Methodists, Universalists, Presbyterians and Baptists in forming the "Union Society of West Bangor," each denomination having one trustee, and each to "have the privilege of occupying the meeting house in proportion as they have paid in building or shall pay in repairing the same." Though there appear to have been individuals of both the Universalist and Baptist faiths in the vicinity of West Bangor, neither of these denominations ever had a distinctive organization there except as perhaps they may have effected informal associations incidental to joining in the Union Church movement. Nor, I think, did either ever have a settled pastor, but were served irregularly and infrequently by clergy of their respective denominations from Malone. The members of the Christian organization have died out very largely, or have been absorbed by the Adventists - the society holding no services now and having had no settled pastor since about 1868.

While the first Methodist Episcopal church in Bangor was not incorporated until 1851, and the South Bangor church of that denomination not until 1860, they nevertheless date considerably earlier, for the conference records show that a regular ministerial appointment to the town was made by that body as early as 1835, and that such appointments have continued unbrokenly every year since; and undoubtedly Methodist services were held here long before by circuit riders, as in 1837 the charge was reported to the conference as having one hundred and sixtyfive members. rrhe society has two church edifices besides its share in the one at West Bangor. Its house of worship at North Bangor was built in 1903, and a curiously misleading inscription appears on its cornerstone, the implication of which is that the entire edifice was a gift by the persons whose names are graven on the stone, whereas they gave the stone only. Prior to the erection of this church the old town hail had been used alternately with the Congregationalists. The church at Bangor was built in. 1856, meetings there having been held previously in the school house. Services are held each Sunday both at North Bangor and at Bangor, and on alternate Sundays at West Bangor. There is one pastor for the three places. The membership at West Bangor is eighteen, at Bangor forty-four, and at North Bangor one hundred and fifty-nine. The parsonage is at North Bangor. An unfortunate and acrimonious schism in the church occurred thirty years ago, growing out of the adherence of a part of the members to Rev. C. N. Capron, who was tried by the conference in 1883 while he was pastor here, the charges against him having been falsehood, fraud. and drinking, and the judgment by conference having been that he be suspended. Nevertheless he and his friends continued to hold possession of at least one of the church edifices and the parsonage until an order was issued out of the supreme court restraining Mr. Capron from further occupancy. The suit was settled later by the Capron faction surrendering the property, and the. breach was long ago healed.

The French Presbyterian church did not long endure. In 1859 Henry Morrell of Ogdensburg, but previously of Bangor, where he had served as the church's minister, deeded a lot and the meeting house thereon, situate on the Taylor road, to Jacob Jefferson Johnson (a negro), Peter Labell and Francis Gravell as trustees of the society in question. The premises were sold to the late Judge Paddock in 1864, and by him in the same year to the First Seventh Day Adventist Church, of which Horace W. Lawrence was the leader. This latter sect had had followers, in the town for twenty years or more, Millerism having had a considerable vogue there when the second coming of Christ was so implicitly expected. in 1843. The Adventist church organization is still maintained.

According to the county clerk's records Joshua Dickinson deeded. a plot of ground in. 1851 to Anderson Wilson, Richard King and Thomson Graves as trustees of the First Episcopal Church of Bangor, but as no such organization is remembered by old residents as ever having had an existence, and. as at the time stated the gentlemen named were trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bangor, it is altogether probable that the record is erroneous, the word. "Methodist" having been inadvertently omitted either in the original or in its transcription. Moreover, the lot deeded. was occupied for a time by the Methodists for a parsonage.

St. Mark's Church at West Bangor was a mission of St. Mark's of Malone, and was the outgrowth of a feeble movement by the few Episcopalians of the place for an organized existence. These had held services occasionally in the stone town house or union church until crowded out of its use by the stronger denominations, and then in a hall over Dr. Darling's store. A church edifice was built in 1876, and for several years the Episcopalian rectors at Malone officiated in it irregularly. The organization no longer exists.

Saint Augustine's Church, Bangor (Roman Catholic), was incorporated in 1887, and has a church building at North Bangor, erected in 1890 on the cross road, south of the corners, and afterward moved to its present location on the highway leading to Malone. It has a membership of over one hundred families.

The St. Mark's church building was sold in 1902 by the heirs of Dr. Darling to St. Edward's Church (Roman Catholic), which continues to occupy it. It includes ninety-two families, and is served by the rector of Saint Augustine's Church at North Bangor.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church of the Bangor and Burke circuit (now named the First Wesleyan Church and Society) is at Cook's Corners, and was organized in 1850 through the efforts of Rev. Joseph Grinnefl. The circuit originally included not only the towns named, but also Sand Street in. Westville, Fort Covington Center, South Bombay, Wolf Swamp, Keach's school house in Moira, Egypt, Canaan, the Riley district in Bangor and Coal Hill in Westville; and a single pastor served them all until about 1871. The church building at Cook's Corners was erected in 1871, and is just over the town line in Fort Covington. Before the church was built services were held in the school house. The Cook's Corners Society is almost, or quite, the only surviving Wesleyan organization of the considerable number that at one time existed in the county.

Spiritualism gained a considerable hold fifty-odd years ago in the North Bangor section, and at least two persons there obsessed by it became insane.

George Mott, an upright and respected farmer, had the distinction of being the last Democrat to represent Franklin county in the Assembly, having been elected by 258 plurality in a triangular contest in 1856 over Rev. Andrew M. Millar (Rep.) of Ohateaugay and 'Charles Russell (Knownothing) of Bombay. A son of Mr. Mott (D. Warren) was a student at Franklin Academy forty-odd years ago, studied medicine, was admitted a practitioner, and removed to California, where he has had a large measure of success, both professionally and politically. Dr. Mott represents his district in the California Senate.

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]


NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates


All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy