The town of Bellmont was erected from Chateaugay March 25, 1833, and then included all of the territory now
comprising the town of Franklin. In 1838 its boundaries were extended by annexation of a strip a mile wide extending
across the north end of the town, which was detached from Chateaugay. The town was named for William Bell, of the
city of New York, who had been an employee of William Constable in the latter’s shipping enterprises, and afterward
was himself a merchant. At about the close of the eighteenth century Mr. Bell had acquired, with others, title
to practically all of the lands in the northern part of the town, Mr. Bell’s portion comprising about eight thousand
acres, and twenty-odd years later he was accustomed to spend his summers on the property. He must have been a man
of considerable means for that day, because by his will there were specific legacies of money amounting to nearly
twenty thousand dollars, while the residue of the estate, other than realty, was bequeathed to a relative who supposedly
would be richly remembered. Mr. Bell died in 1841.
The town was of slow development, and even yet is mostly wilderness, though largely denuded. Generally the soil
is neither rich nor deep, and its surface, rocky and mountainous, does not lend itself to profitable agriculture.
Even the lumbering and other industrial enterprises that have been prosecuted did not tend particularly to populate
the town permanently, nor to enrich it. Miles upon miles of its forest area were destroyed for conversion into
charcoal, and though, first and last, it has had many sawmills, most of them were small, and much of the timber
cut within its borders went to mills elsewhere for manufacture. Neither have its many waters been utilized extensively,
as in other localities, for summer resort business, except that Lower Chateaugay Lake has not been altogether neglected,
and except also that in the western part of the town in comparatively recent years Indian Lake and Mountain View
have had many camps built upon their shores. Mountain View (formerly known as State Dam, a dam having been built
upon the river there by the State in 1855 or 1856) was once one of the most prolific trout waters in the Adirondacks,
and Indian Lake (Round Pond) was a famous hunting resort. One of the old guides used to tell that he once counted
twenty-seven carcasses of deer piled at a single point on its shores, stripped of their hides, and the meat left
to rot. Mountain View and Indian Lake are in close proximity, and together have perhaps a hundred cottages. In
addition, there are at the former place an all-the-year-around population of forty to fifty, with a school house,
a Roman Catholic church, a Protestant church, two hotels, two stores, and a number of boarding houses. An unofficial
enumeration of the people in cottages and camps, including permanent residents, on one day in July, 1915, listed
eight hundred and ten. Lower Chateaugay Lake, a fine sheet of water, and easily reached from Chateaugay, formerly
had two small hotels, and now has one, the Banner House, formerly conducted by J. S. Kirby and now by F. H. Adams,
which attracts a considerable number of guests, and has a deserved popularity. A few cottages have been built there
recently. But Ragged Lake, Ingraham Pond and other waters in the town have only one or two summer camps each. Ragged
Lake formerly had a small hotel, kept by J. W. Pond. The Banner House was formerly the Bellows House, which originally
was a mere shack. Jonathan Bellows located in Constable more than a hundred years ago, and laid out a trapper’s
line from there to Chateaugay Lake. In place of the shack which he first occupied at the latter point he built
a comfortable house, which his son, Lewis, subsequently enlarged and conducted as a hotel for a good many years.
Guests from Montreal began to visit the place in appreciable numbers in 1837 or 1838, and after the railroad from
Rouses Point to Ogdensburg was built the business increased notably. The locality was then known colloquially as
the “Shategee Woads,” and, except for the Saranacs, was about the only Adirondack point that outsiders sought in
Franklin county. The Bellows property was sold in 1891, renovated and enlarged, and has since been known as the
Banner House. A son of Lewis Bellows (Millard F.) still lives in Bellmont, and a daughter is Mrs. N. Monroe Marshall
So far as I know, Bellmont is the only town in Franklin county for which the Legislature made special provision
to induce settlement. In 1822 an act was passed which provided for granting one lot in township number ten, Old
Military Tract (now in Franklin), to each and every person who within five years should clear and fence fifteen
acres of such lot, erect thereon a habitable dwelling, and he there settled with his family; and also three lots
to each and every person who within four years should erect and put in operation one good and sufficient grist
mill within said township, and one lot to each and every person who should erect and put in operation one good
and sufficient sawmill.
Among the early settlers in the eastern part of the town were Samuel C. Drew, Enoch and Paul Merrill, John Sanborn,
John B. and Joseph H. Jackson, Jacob and John Otis, Jonathan Bellows, John D. Miles, Joseph, Jonathan and Noah
Estabrooks and Roswell A. Weed — all locating at or near the site of the present hamlet of Chateaugay Lake. Mr.
Drew was probably the first of these, in 1816, though Mr. Sanborn claimed to have preceded him, and sought to have
the town called Sanborntown on this account. Some of Mr. Drew’s descendants are now located in New York city, where
they have made a business of moving large buildings, and have accumulated handsome fortunes. Mr. Drew came from
New Hampshire, as also did several others of those named, including the Merrills. W. H. J. Drew, who became the
close friend of Mr. Bell, was the first white male child born in the town. He was at one time school commissioner,
and his grave is on the old homestead on the west side of Chateaugay Lake. The Merrills, or their descendants,
conducted a small hotel at the foot of Lower Chateaugay Lake, and were famous fishermen with nets, and but for
their operations and the use of dynamite afterward by miners at Lyon Mountain the waters thereabout would undoubtedly
contain a more abundant supply of trout and whitefish. Of these latter, which are one of the finest of panfish,
Mr. Merrill used to bring wagon loads to Malone something over forty years ago, and mixed with them a considerable
proportion of lake trout. Mr. Merrill himself was honestly persuaded that net fishing really bettered the supply
of trout, as it removed from the lake the large fish which prey upon the small fry and eat the spawn.
Gates Hoit, of Chateaugay, representing nonresident landowners, built the first sawmill in the town in 1822 or
earlier, and it was soon afterward sold to John B. Jackson (afterward wood agent for the O. & L. C. R. R. for
many years), who, a little later, himself built a grist mill nearby, the stones for which were cut from native
boulders by John P. Miles. Mr. Miles was one of the most estimable citizens that Bellmont ever had. He acquired
an interest in the Jackson mills. A grandson still resides in the town. Mr. Weed took over the Jackson and Miles
mills and acquired other properties in considerable amounts, opening a hotel and enlarging the mills. A considerable
part of the product of the sawmill was hauled forty miles to Champlain for Meigs & Wead of Malone. Mr. Weed.
was prominent in all of the town’s affairs until 1854, when he sold the mills to a Mr. Hughes of Vergennes, Vt.,
and removed to Plattshurgh. He was the father of Hon. Smith M. Weed, of Plattsburgh, who joined with others almost
half a century afterward to establish at the place of his birth the greatest industry that the town ever possessed,
if not the largest ever operated in the county. Another son was William B. Weed, who was a cavalry captain under
Kilpatrick in the civil war, and then went to Australia, where he is supposed to have been murdered. Mr. Hughes
did an extensive business for a time, but failed, when the mill was acquired by Erastus Meade and George W. Palmer,
of Plattsburgh. Mr. Palmer withdrawing after a year or two, Samuel F. Vilas took over his interest, and in 1869
or 1870 Gilbert L. Havens leased the mill and ran it for a year or two. Joseph Clark built and operated a sawmill
in the same vicinity in 1848.
Even earlier than 1810 William Bailey, then residing at Chateaugay, dug iron ore near Chateangay Lake until the
deposit was exhausted, and manufactured it at High Falls on the Chateaugay river. In 1826 Jonathan Stearns, of
Malone, leased and worked mineral lands in the same vicinity until the supply failed, and about 1875 Lewis H. Bellows
and Edgar Keeler, of Chateaugay, located and worked an iron mine near the Bellows House, drawing the ore to Irona.
This mine was subsequently worked by other parties also, and two separators were built in the vicinity for handling
The first store at Chateaugay Lake was built by John B. Jackson and Dr. Hiram Paddock, of Chateaugay, the business
of which was managed by Elias Beman, of Chateaugay, who operated an ashery also. Other early merchants here were
Charles Backus and Nahum Whipple, the latter of Malone. In 1869 Meade & Vilas erected a large store building,
and conducted a mercantile business in connection with their lumbering operations.
Settlement at Brainardsville, a mile down the river, was later, and in a paper read by Mr. O. F. Chase before the
Historical Society a few years ago it was stated that even as late as 1843 bear, lynx, wolves and panthers were
abundant in the neighborhood. The first sawmill here was built by a man named Chamberlain, and was sold to Abel
H. Miller, then of Malone; then to Fisk & Van Allen of Albany, for whom James Coates looked after the operating;
then, in 1854, to Lawrence Brainard of St. Albans, Vt., who enlarged it, and also built a grist mill and a number
of houses. Gilbert L. Havens was his resident manager, and in 1861 bought the properties and operated them extensively
until he failed a dozen years later, when he removed to Colorado. He was a hustling, affable gentleman, and loomed
large in the politics of the town. Upon his failure Mr. Brainard came again into possession, and resumed operations.
In 1882, the mills having been destroyed, the sites and water powers were sold to John Hoy, who built and operated
a grist mill, afterward adding to it a sawmill. The latter is still operated by the Hoy family, but on a smaller
scale than of old. In 1850 Alanson Roberts of Chateaugay built an ashery, and employed a man named Cromp to run
it. The place thus came to be called Crompyule, but five years later, when the first post-office was established
and called Brainardsville, the hamlet assumed that name also. Smith Payne was the first postmaster. At about this
time Edwin Smith built and ran, a starch factory here, which was afterward run by William S. Douglas of Chateaugay,
and then by others until within a few years. There was also a sawmill on the brook, built by George Miller.
Brainardsville’s first school was located to the east of the present hamlet, on the farm of John Kenison, now owned
by Robert Arnold, a half mile from the Clinton county line. Miss Eliza Merrill, daughter of Paul, was its first
teacher, and Miss Olive Miles (afterward Mrs. Wm. P. Cantwell of Malone) the second. But the population began to
center farther west, and this school was abandoned. A new school house was built at Brainardsville in 1854. S.
F. Storrs, who was reputed to have taught school for sixty terms, was one of the first teachers there.
Early merchants were Lawrence Brainard, Matt. J. Reynolds, G. L. Havens, Oliver Young and O. F. Chase &
Co. J. S. Kirby succeeded Mr. Reynolds, and was himself succeeded by Bennett & English. Jacob Taubenheimer
and F. M. Hoy were also once in trade at this point.
Brainardsville consists at present of a small group of dwelling houses, a store or two, a sawmill, a creamery,
a wheelwright shop, owned by
W. W. Lamberton, that does considerable business, and a Methodist church. It has a gravity system of water works,
established by private enterprise in 1904, which has as takers nearly all of the inhabitants.
Other early settlers, mostly in the north central part of the town, were: John and Alva Orcutt, John Richey, James
Barry, George Winkley, Smith Bunker, Marcus, Elijah and Charles E. Heading, Earl Howe, James Smith, Joseph, John
and William Williamson. The last named was accidentally shot and killed by a child in a hotel in Malone in 1825.
Mr. Howe died in 1884, and he used to tell t.hat at the time he located, about 1830, there were only four or five
residences, hardly more than huts, between Malone and Chateaugay Lake, and that it was a twenty hours’ trip to
Malone and return. Alva Orcutt and sons, William C. and Harry P., operated a starch factory (which had been built
by Meigs & Wead of Malone) and a sawmill near their farm, five miles from Malone village, and Mr. Barry, who
remained in the town only a short time, removed to Malone, and located on the South Bangor road. He was the father
of Mrs. F. P. Kilburn and Mrs. Thomas Cantwell of Malone. Mr. Winkley became probably the most important farmer
in Bellmont. and was a pioneer breeder in this county of fineblooded cattle and Norman horses. The Headings were
extensive farmers, sturdy men, and leaders in town affairs. Sherman J. Heading, son of Elijah, still lives in Bellmont
and is one of its foremost citizens. Bunker Hifi, which one who has climbed it does not readily forget, was named
after Smith Bunker, whose farm was located on it. Descendants of Mr. Thurber, Mr. Smith and the Williamsons are
yet living in the town, and are factors in its affairs. A mile or so above the Orcutt mills on Trout river Charles
Ring and John Monk built a sawmill, which they sold in 1854 to Samuel Voorhis from Elmira, and which was run later
by Shepard & Jackson of Malone, 0. W. Moody and David F. Field, Wallace H. Jones and Henry Bassett, John Yhipps,
and finally by Buel L. Foote; and a mile still farther up the stream Daniel Buell had a mill — afterward owned
by Elisha Hare, then by Miles N. Dawson and Orville Moore of Malone, and still later by Scott G. Boyce, who moved
it a mile or two west and south, where it stifi stands. The Wayne Lumber Co. of New York city bought it a few months
ago, and is now operating it, getting out lumber for use in building aeroplanes. Gilman Goodwin, who had made a
fortune in New York city as a mover of buildings, came into the town in the sixties, and built and for several
years operated a comparatively small mill on Little Trout river, about a mile east of the town house, where at
a considerably earlier day Samuel, and then Benoni, Webb had had a mill. Mr. Goodwin rebuilt at a cost said to
have amounted to sixty thousand dollars, but the enterprise did not pay, and he returned to New York city. The
machinery in the mill sold for five thousand dollars in 1882, and was removed to Gouverneur. John B. Hart built
a mill at about the same time with Goodwin for John B. Roscoe of New York, for whom he operated it for several
years. Later the property went into the hands of Judge Henry A. Paddock of Malone and Mr. Hart, but it never paid.
An older mill, known as the Lewis Tucker mill, had been run at about the point where Mr. Hart located. The Goodwin
and Hart establishments were both steam mills, and each proprietor ran a store in connection with his lumbering
operations. Charles D. Rood also had a mill forty years ago or more on Little Trout river, near the Burke line,
which was unprofitable. John boy of Brainardsville built a sawmill north of the town house, and was fatally injured
by the bursting of a flywheel while operating it in 1887.
The frequency with which failure was written across early lumbering enterprises is striking and pitiful. The operators
had an abundance of the best timber of this region almost at the doors of their mills, they were unsparing of themselves
in respect to hours and arduousness of labor, and the wages that they had to pay were low. Nevertheless it was
only the exceptions who made money. Lumber commanded but a low price, the hauls to shipping points were long and
over poor roads, and in many cases the equipments of mills gave only a small product. Thus the forests were wasted,
and disappointment and hardship were the principal return that the owners realized.
The following have been merchants in a small way at Bellmont Center or vicinity: John Ryan, Edward Graves, Harvey
Harrington, Earl Howe, Ben. Webb, Frank W. Winkley, Abe Reynolds, Thomas Rounds, Edward White and Thomas Reynolds.
Except for possibly two or three farmers, the first settlers in the extreme western part of the town were Charles
Ring and John Monk, who came from Tompkins county about 1852 to engage in lumbering. They erected two mills on
the Ingraham stream, and operated them for a number of years. A dozen years later both were wrecks. For twenty
or thirty years Ringvifle (now known as Owls Head) had little growth, but has since become a busy and thriving
hamlet, with a railway station, shops, stores and a Methodist Episcopal church. Until within a year or two Scott
G. Boyce had a large sawmill and planing mill here for several years. The latter was burned, and the former dismantled
and removed. Mr. Boyce formerly had a sawmill east of Owls Head also, in the vicinity of Ingraham Pond, which mill
was built by Cornelius and Cass Wilson. Forty years ago, in order to vote, the residents of the section had to
drive by way of Malone to Bellmont Center, nearly eighteen miles; and it was almost impossible even in a stirring
campaign to induce more than a dozen or fifteen to undertake the trip when free transportation was furnished and
payment made for their so-called day’s work.” This part of the town has since been made into a separate election
district, and polls from a hundred to a hundred and forty votes.
Standish lies on the Clinton county border, and mostly in Clinton county. There are a furnace and coal kilns there,
some parts of which are in Bellmont To the west of Standish are the Middle Kilns, and still farther west, near
Wolf Pond (about seven miles south of Mountain View), are other kilns. Twenty-odd years ago there were at these
three points a fluctuating scattered population of perhaps two or three hundred, but, with the decrease of industrial
activity there, it has diminished considerably.
A sawmill was built a number of years ago a mile and a half south of Mountain View by Edwin B. Bryant, of Syracuse.
Its principal product seems to have been lawsuits and judgments. The mill was burned, and rebuilt by Felix Cardinal.
It was continued in operation under different ownerships until 1915, when it was dismantled and removed farther
The largest sawmills ever operated in Bellmont were those of Gilman Goodwin, John P. Hart, Gilbert L. Havens and
Scott G. Boyce, none of which is now running or in existence.
Pope, Williams & Company began operations at the hamlet of Chateaugay Lake in 1874, to erect the largest and
best catalan forge in the world. Its supply of ore was to be obtained from the Lyon Mountain mine in Clinton county,
about eleven miles distant, and its charcoal from the adjacent forests. Gardiner Pope was the resident manager
for the first few years, and was succeeded by John H. Moffitt, now of Plattsburgh, who while in Congress gave place
to Lansing Donaldson, now of Malone. Senator N. Monroe Marshall was also connected with the enterprise, in the
store, until he was elected county clerk. In 1877 the works and property were transferred to the Chateaugay Ore
and Iron Company, in which LeGrand B. Cannon, of New York, and Hon. Andrew Williams and Hon. Smith M. Weed, of
Plattsburgh, were heavily interested. The Bellmont department of the company had a sawmill at the forge, the old
Roswell Weed property rebuilt, in which the lumber for its forge buildings, shops, houses for its operatives, etc.,
and for planking six miles of highway to the railroad at Chateaugay, was sawed. The company maintained a steamboat
on the lake for towing its barges laden with ore, charcoal and wood to the forge and kilns; its store did a business
of a hundred thousand dollars or more per year; it built scores of dwellings for its employees; thirty thousand
solid cords of four-foot wood were burned annually in the kilns at the forge and at Standish; a million bushels
of charcoal were used in a year; and it had on its payrolls continuously two or three hundred men in this county,
besides the choppers and teamsters who worked under contract. In times of greatest activity it turned, out annually
five thousand tons of blooms and billets, than which there was none of higher grade in the world. Except in periods
of business depression, and until other methods were discovered and utilized by which iron suitable for conversion
into steel could be produced at a lower cost, the orders for its output outran the capacity of the forge. At one
time this iron commanded ninety dollars per ton, while now I think that not a pound is produced anywhere by the
catalan process, and the iron that answers as a substitute for it has sold as low as about thirteen dollars a ton.
The cost of production varied of cburse as wages were high or low and as improvements were instituted from time
to time, but could never be brought under thirty-eight dollars per ton. The cost of operating was over a hundred
thousand dollars a year. Two tons of ore made one ton of iron, and the former cost six dollars a ton. The business
was abandoned in 1893.
At first thought it seems strange that this vast industry apparently added little to Bellmont's population, but
it is to be remembered that as it developed the mills of Goodwin, Hart and Havens were about closing, and thus
what was gained in one direction was in part offset by losses in others.
The Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railway enters Bellmont from Malone at Chasm Falls, near the northwest corner of
the town, and, bearing southeasterly for about twelve miles, passes into Franklin near Plumadore Pond. The Chateaugay
Railway enters at Standish, on the eastern border, and runs southwestwardly seven or eight niiles to Wolf Pond,
where the two lines are almost in contact. The former has stations in Bellmont at Owls Head and Mountain View,
and the latter at Middle Kilns and Wolf Pond. The Chateaugay Railway was built through Bellmont in 1886, and the
Adirondack and St. Lawrence in
Two murders have been committed in Bellmont. In November, 1852, Ira Sherwin, of Malone, shot and killed Justin
Bell, a well-to-do farmer of Brasher, in the latter’s hunting or trapping camp near Owls Head. Sherwin himself
reported the death of Bell, admitting that he shot him, but claiming that it was an accident. He was known to have
been under the influence of liquor the night of the murder, and inconsistencies in his story and contradiction
of it in some particulars by established facts cast suspicion upon him. The evidence on the trial was almost wholly
circumstantial, but so convincing that a verdict of guilty was found. One bit of testimony was especially interesting,
and told strongly for the prosecution. A bank in Montreal formerly iudicated the denominations of its bills by
Roman numerals, and it was sought to show that a two-dollar note found in Sherwin’s possession had been. Bell’s.
An illiterate witness who had seen Bell’s money testified that one note that he had seen Bell have was “an eleven
dollar bill.” No cross-questioning could shake him on that point, and when the two (II) dollar bill taken from
Sherwin was produced he unhesitatingly identified it as at least exactly like the one that Bell had had. Sherwin
was sentenced to be hung, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
The other murder occurred in August, 1877, in the extreme northwestern part of the town, and was perpetrated by
an Italian tramp who called Himself Joe Woods, but whose real name is believed to have been Joseph Sullivan, and
his criminal record bad. The victim was Steven Barber, a respectable farmer of small means, who lived alone with
his wife. Woods had stopped at the house for dinner the day before, and had sold articles of clothing to Mr. Barber,
who in counting out the money in payment showed about thirty dollars stifi remaining in his possession. Woods gained
entrance to the house in the night, shot and killed Mr. Barber in bed, and also twice shot Mrs. Barber. He was
apprehended a day or two later in Clinton county, and brought to Malone, where, upon his arrival, a crowd quickly
gathered, and chased him to the jail, with cries of “Lynch him,” though no real attempt was made to take him from
the officers. Woods was tried and convicted in December of the same year, and was executed in the jail yard at
Malone in February, 1878. Mrs. Barber’s wounds were severe, one bullet having penetrated an eye, and yet she positively
identified Woods as the murderer, claiming to have recognized him in the moonlight. Considering the character of
her wounds, the identification was remarkable. Her evidence was certainly a marvel of clearness and certitude.
In 1855 the Legislature appropriated five thousand dollars for clearing and improving the rafting channel of Salmon
river and its tributaries and for the construction of piers, booms and dams, and in 1857 voted a further equal
amount for completing the work. Wm. King, Buel H. Man and Aaron Beman were named in the act to expend the first
appropriation, and Ebenezer Man, Hiram Horton and B. S. W. Clark to expend the second. A part of the money was
applied to the building of the dam at Mountain View, and in consequence the locality was long known as “State Dam.”
When I first visited it, in 1863, the place was desolate enough. The sole building was a tumble-down barn, and
the stream above the dam showed mainly only standing trunks of trees, half-sunken logs and a waste of roots and.
limbs. The act appropriating the money carried permission to overflow State lands, and such flooding had killed
the timber on the banks of the originally narrow channel. In 1893 a further appropriation of two thousand dollars
was obtained for the removal of this refuse, and the locality is greatly improved in appearance. The first act
of appropriation provided that the State lands adjacent to Salmon river should be sold only in parcels of six hundred
and forty acres at public auction, and for not less than thirty cents an acre! Try to buy a building or camp site
there now, and note the advance in values.
The hamlet of Chateaugay Lake, once a hive of activity and of abounding prosperity, is now almost deserted. The
great forge buildings and the sawmill have rotted down, many of the cottages built for the operatives have been
demolished or removed, while others stand in a dilapidated condition, unoccupied, and the store that once was thronged
with customers is at present the place of worship of the local organization of the Holiness Movement. There is
no industrial establishment in operation, nor any business at all except one small grocery store. The early teachers
of Chateaugay Lake’s school included Mrs. Paul Merrill, D. D. P. Dewey, Samuel and Theodore Beman, Misses Martha
Williamson, Harriet Hoit and Jane and Olive Miles, Darius Merrill and Myron T. Whitney.
The history of church organizations in Bellmont may be briefly told. Religious services were held at Chateaugay
Lake as early as 1824 by Rev. Ashbel Parmelee of Malone and Elder Ephraim Smith. Mr. Chase told in a paper contributed
to the Historical Society a few years ago that the former once officiated in Mr. Drew’s house to a congregation
of only eight, but that these included every (adult?) inhabitant of the town.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Chateaugav Lake was incorporated June 5, 1889, at a meeting held “at the accustomed
place of worship,” with Nathan Thurber, J. W. Merrill and Henry N. Cootey as trustees. For fourteen years previously,
however, Methodist services had been held regularly in the school house hail by the pastor of the church at Brainardsville,
and occasional services from a more remote time. Chateaugay Lake never had a church building until 1916, when one
was erected by the Methodist Episcopal denomination. The site, on the lake road about half way between the hamlet
and the Banner House, was given by Dr. E. E. Thurber. What the purpose was I do not know, but notwithstanding the
incorporation in 1889, a further incorporation under the same title was had October 17, 1914.
St. Agnes Church of Chateaugay Lake (Roman Catholic) was incorporated in 1875, and for several years thereafter
services were held more or less regularly in the school house hail by the priest in charge at Chateaugay. Before
such incorporation mass had been said infrequently in private houses here, while latterly Catholic services have
been at Brainardsville once a month, the priest at Chateaugay officiating. The society has no church building.
The first Congregational Society of Bellmont, at Bellmont Center, was incorporated in 1849 with John Richey, Joseph
Williamson and Thomas McKenny as trustees, but no history of the life and. activities of the organization is now
traceable. Doubtless it was only a missionary charge, served probably by clergymen from Malone and Burke, and possibly
sometimes from Chateaugay, and after a time was suffered to die. In 1868 the Presbyterian-Congregational Society
of Bellmont was incorporated, and enrolled with the presbytery of Champlain in 1871. It had completed a church
edifice in. 1870. Rev. Andrew M. Milar served as pastor from 1867 to 1896. In later years services between pastorates
were conducted by the Malone clergymen and by students from Magill College, Montreal. Prior to the erection of
the church building services had been held first in the school house and then at the town house.
The history of Methodism in Bellmont before 1853 is meagre. We have authentic information that the town was in
the Chateaugay circuit, but nothing fixing the neighborhood or neighborhoods where the early meetings were held.
Rev. James Erwin, stationed at Chateaugay, was certainly in Bellmont in 1835, and it is only a reasonable presumption
that his predecessor in the circuit had been there before him, and that his successors visited the town every year
afterward until the conference appointed a resident clergyman to the charge in 1854. This appointee apparently
preached both at Brainardsville and at Bellmont Center, and perhaps occasionally at Chateaugay Lake also. At Brainardsville
services were held in the school house until the erection of the church edifice in 1866, and for sixteen years
prior to 1870 there were pastors resident either here or at Bellmont Center. But in 1870 Brainardsville was a part
of the Chateaugay charge, and so remained until 1885. Since this latter date it has been united with Chateaugay
Lake and Bellmont Center, the three comprising one independent charge with a single pastor. Considerable improvements
in the church building were made in 1915.
At Bellmont Center a class was formed in 1853 or earlier, and until 1888 or 1889, when a church building was provided,
services were held at first in private houses or in the school house, and then in the town hail. During the period
of fifteen years when Brainardsville was joined with Chateaugay, the Bellmont Center organization was served ministerially
by Benjamin F. Brown, a local preacher, who was commonly called.” Priest” Brown, who died in 1868, and then by
pastors located at Burke. Since 1885 it has been again united, with Brainardsville. For several years no services
were held in the winter season, because the church lacked provision for heating it, but this defect has now been
corrected, and the church is open throughout the year. The church building was erected in 1888 on a site donated
by Sherman J. Heading.
A Methodist Episcopal church was built at Owls Head in 1898. The organization is a part of the Chasm Fails charge,
the clergyman of which officiates at Owls Head. Prior to the establishment of this church occasional Methodist
services had been held in homes in the vicinity.
St. Elizabeth’s at Mountain View was organized and a church building erected in 1907 through the efforts of Rev.
Father Valois of St. Helen’s at Chasm Falls, of which charge it is a mission. it is attended usually by the rector
of that church, though not infrequently supplied by priests who are guests at one of the hotels.
The first Union Protestant Church of Mountain View was incorporated May 29, 1915, with C. C. Morgan, J. W. Pond
and S. R. Payne as trustees. The church building is an attractive structure. The organization does not contemplate
employment of a regular pastor, the church being, as its title indicates, open to all Protestant denominations,
and services will probably be held in it by clergymen from vicinity parishes and by such as may spend their vacations
at Mountain View.