Chateaugay was erected as a town in Clinton county from Plattsburgh and Champlain March 15, 1799, and at first
included only four townships of the old Military Tract. The name was spelled "Chateuaga" in the act of
incorporation. Tn 1801 the boundaries were extended by act of the Legislature to include all of the territory now
comprising Constable, Fort Covington and Bombay and the northern parts of Malone, Bangor and Moira. In 1802 another
change was made, by which the town came to include all of what now comprises Franklin county with the exception
of the small tract annexed from St. Lawrence in 1913, and including also the town of St. Armand in Essex county.
In 1805 the erection of Hanson (now Malone) left Chateaugay to include only what is now itself, two townships in
Clinton county, and Burke, Bellmont, Franklin and St. Armand. In 1808 the townships in Clinton county were detached;
in 1822 St. Armand was set off from Franklin county and annexed to Essex; and by the erection of Bellmont, Burke
and Franklin, Chateaugay has been reduced to barely more than half a township, so that in area it is one of the
smallest towns in the county.
The etymology of the name used to be stated in all soberness as "chateau" and "gay," said to
signify "gay castle." There would seem at first thought to be the same sense, or lack of sense, in this
as in the jocular derivation of the word horseradish from the Latin "mare" and "radix," since
in each there is a combination of an English word with a foreign. But if we assume the Canadian statutory spelling
of the word, viz., Chateaugai, as that which obtained in France. the alleged signification may he justified. Even
then, however, it were far better to make the translation "hospitable house" or "cheerful house"
than "gay castle." Concerning the local origin of the name the truth was brought out a few years ago
by Miss Annie Jack, of Chateaugav Basin, Que., in a letter to the Franklin County Historical Society. More than
a century and a quarter before any white person is known to have set foot in our town of Chateaugay Charles LeMoyne,
the founder of the most eminent family in Canada, received a royal grant of land fronting two leagues on the St.
Lawrence and extending back three leagues from the river, and he named this seignory Chateaugay from a place in
France. Lying at the mouth of the river which now bears the same iiame, the name apparently attached to the stream,
and, following it southward, came to be applied to the town when it was settled, and then to the lakes also. As
to the proper spelling of the name, Miss Jack notes that DeSalaberry, who was said to be an excellent French scholar,
wrote it "Chateaugua," while in the statutes of Canada it appears as "Chateaugai." The popular
spelling in Canada would seem now to be "Chateauguay," though Miss Jack says that until half a century
ago it was as we write it here. Formerly the town was sometimes called Seventh Town, because it was township number
seven of the Old Military Tract.
As the geographies used to phrase it, the surface of Chateaugay is diversified. There are hills, ravines and streams,
with broad reaches of almost level lands. The Chateaugay river enters the town at a point midway between its southeastern
and southwestern corners, and, trending westwardly, traverses almost the entire length of the town, affording many
good water powers along its course. For a good. part of the way it flows between walls of rock, rent apart by some
convulsion of nature or cut through by the ceaseless wear of water, towering in some places two hundred feet above
the river's bed. A couple of miles above the village the waters fall almost perpendicularly over a cliff something
like fifty feet in height, and a couple of miles below the village, until dammed for a power development, it flowed
through a chasm almost rivaling that at Ausable in depth and grandeur. At one time thirty-odd years ago walks and
stairways were built there, and a summer hotel erected, which attracted many visitors and had many guests until
the death of R. A. Jackson, who had been the life of the enterprise, left it without a manager, and it also died
as a resort. Other streams are: The Marble river, flowing northwestwardly through the town to a junction with the
Chateaugay, a couple of miles south of the Canadian border; the Boardman brook, having a large spring in the town
as its source, and emptying into the Marble river; the Alder brook, the Bailey brook, the Collins brook and other
smaller brooks in various districts.
There is an intermittent spring a short distance east of the village, just north of the railroad. When in flow
the discharge is considerable, but, regardless either of the time of ear or of the conditions of drouth or flood,
it has gone dry at intervals from time immemorial, stopping abruptly and completely. Then, perhaps after a few
months or perhaps after a year or twc, it resumes its flow, usually requiring some days to regain its natural volume.
The Rutland Railroad traverses the central part of the town from east to west. The construction of the line at
this point presented a difficult and expensive problem - a fill having to be made at the Chateaugay river which
required the handling of half a million cubic yards of earth and the building of a tunnel three hundred feet long
and twenty-five feet wide to carry the river. This tunnel extends through solid rock, and has an arched roof of
masonry. The two pieces of work consunieci five months in time and a hundred and thirty thousand dollars in money.
One of the first roads into Franklin county was the old military turnpike from Plattsburgh, which became the stage
route to Ogdensburg, and which has now been transformed into a State highway. At first it led northerly from a
point in the present village to Brayton Hollow, and later from near the old Roberts tavern stand (now in the town
of Clinton) past the Bennett place and across the river at High Falls, and so on to a junction with the present
road about two miles west of the village. It was some years later that the bridge was built at Douglass Hollow,
and still later that the old covered bridge was erected. Besides the main State highway, another is booked for
building from the village north to the international boundary, where it is to connect with the Canadian system
of improved roads, and a county highway runs from the village south to Chateaugav lake.
Though Chateaugay has but little deep, rich soil, its average fertility is high, and the town is one of the very
best agriculturally in the county. It is our largest and best potato market, the potato crop alone bringing the
farmers a hundred thousand dollars in a good year, and it ranks well in dairying and cattle shipping also. Because
of these and other conditions, including dairy returns, Chateaugay is, I think, as well circumstanced a town as
we have; and, if the county clerk's records were examined analytically, I believe that they would show as few judgments
and mortgages proportioned to the population as any town in the county.
Chateaugay is not only our oldest town as regards date of erection, Lnt in actual settlement as well. Township
number seven ofthe Old Military Tract was surveyed in part in 1795, and Benjamin Roberts, from Yermont, and Nathan
Beman, of Plattshurgh, having been favorably impressed by the country while assisting in the survey, determined
to locate the next year. A mere path had been cut through the woods from Beekmantown, and following this Mr. Roberts
returned with one employee in February, 1796, to make sugar preparatory to bringing in his family later. While
on the survey he had erected a rude hut, at a ppint between the present village and Marble river, to house the
family upon its arrival. Returning to Plattsburgh in April, he started with his wife and children and Levi Trumbull,
Joshua and Kincaid. Chamberlain, Ethan Roberts and Jared Munson, as employees for his new wilderness home. A yoke
of oxen drawing a sled and a pair of steers were to serve them for transportation, but one of the oxen gave out
at Beekmantown, and as much as possible of the party's outfit was then loaded upon the odd ox and the steers, while
each of the men "backed" what he could, and, the father toting a child and the mother carrying a babe
in her arms, the journey was resumed on foot. The distance remaining to be covered was twenty odd miles, and five
and a half days were spent in making it. At the destination only an unroofed hut offered a shelter and a home.
All of the furniture, even to the forks aild plates, had to be wrought out of wood by hand, and food itself, which
was principally pork and flour, could be had only from Plattsburgh except for the game that could be taken from
the streams and forest. There was neither money nor means of transportation for bringing large supplies from Plattsburgh
at any one time, and thus the one remaining ox was kept on the road almost constantly through the summer, an entire
week being necessary for a round trip. Nathan Beman came on and returned to Plattsburgh a number of times during
the summer, but did not bring his family until autumn. Mr. Roberts moved in 1806 or before over into what is now
the town of Clinton, where he kept a tavern for a number of years. Mr. Beman had as a youth guided Ethan Allen
in 1775 into Fort Ticonderoga; and in a letter to the Palladium in 1835 he confirmed the popular version of the
phrasing (sometimes discredited) of Allen's demand of surrender "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the
Continental Congress." Mr. Beman was sold out under foreclosure in 1811, and died in Chateaugay in 1850.
Within the three or four years following 1796 Lewis Ransom. Jacob Smith, Silas Pomeroy, Peleg Douglas, Thomas Smith,
Jonathan and Ralph Shepard, Jabex Willev, Obed Rust, Justin Day, Amasa and Sebius Fairman, David Mallory, Aaron
Beman, Elisha Howard, Gates Hoit, Samuel Stoughton, William Bailey and others arrived, so that in 1799 the population
had become large enough, considering the distance to the seat of town government in Champlain, to warrant the erection
of the locality into a separate town. In 1800 the inhabitants numbered 443, with an increase in 1810 to 625 notwithstanding
Malone, Constable and Dickinson, with an aggregate population of 2,094, had been detached either directly or indirectly
between the two periods. rf he fluctuations in the town's population have been remarkable - losses in five years
having run as high as thirty-five per cent., and gains in an equal length of time having been ninety-one and once
even one hundred and three per cent. The greatest percentage of loss was between 1810 and 1814, and is explicable
only by removals on account of the war. In 1820 the fugitives must have returned with reinforcements, as there
was a gain for this period from 407 to 828 inhabitants. The population at some other periods has been: 2,016 in
1830; 2,824 in 1840; 1,952 in 1845, when Burke with 1,285 inhabitants had been set off; 3,728 in 1850, when men
at work on the then new railroad must have been counted; 3,183 in 1860, followed by a loss of 310 during the civil
war. In 1865 and in 1910 the population stood at exactly the same figure, viz., 2,840, though it had fluctuated
between times a hundred or two either way. By the enumeration of 1915 the population was 2,903, of whom 112 were
The earliest settlements had been almost altogether along what was afterward the stage route, extending through
the central part of the town from its eastern border through Burke (then West Chateaugay) to what is now the Malone
The town records for 1810 show a hundred and fifty dollars of the poor moneys was appropriated for the purchase
of a merino ram for the use of the town, but if anything else of notable interest outside of the licensing of taverns
and of individual effort occurred from the date of the town's first settlement down to the time of the war of 1812
I have been unable to learn the fact. Its citizenry in this period was of the same type that we have met in the
sketches of other towns, and possibly averaging a hit hetter in native force and shrewdness. Nearly all were Vermonters.
to whom a Considerable body of French Canadians were added at about the time of the Papinean rebellion, in 18:37
to 1840, while after the completion of the railroad in 1850 large nuinhers of Irish who had been employed on the
work took up lands and made their homes here. If the quality of citizenship which had obtained at the original
settlement deteriorated, the less said about it the better, except that the deterioration which I have in mind
was not due either to the French or the Irish admixture. The early Irish in particular were undoubtedly rough,
and dearly loved their dram and a "shindy," so that it was an unusual holiday when a dozen to a score
of fights did not occur. But education and the sobriety that the church and property ownership induce have changed
all this, and the Irish element has become really one of the best in the place. Not only residents of Chateaugay,
but people in other places where the records of some of Chateaugay's former residents are known, will readily understand
the loss in character to which I refer, and will comprehend without explanation why particular mention of a number
of men of prominence can not well be made.
In not a few cases whole families have become extinct locally, either by death or removal. Obed Rust was the grandfather
of Dr. Elisha A. Rust of Moira, and the greatgrandfather of Dr. Aloney Rust of Malone, while others of his descendants
are still living in Chateaugay and Burke. Thomas Smith was the son of Jacob, who had been a revolutionary soldier,
as he himself served in the war of 1812, with the rank of colonel. He was the father of Henry B., Eli B. and Elisha
B., all of whom became men of affairs, and were leaders in pretty much everything in the town for a good many years.
Gates Hoit was a soldier in the war of 1812, county clerk in 1809 to 1811 and again in 1813 to 1815, represented
Clinton and Franklin counties in the Assembly in 1810, 1811, 1812 and 1818, was the right arm of Governor Tompkins
here during the war of 1812, and was among the foremost in preparing Franklin county for defense in that conflict.
He was also in the confidential service of the federal government, or, in other words, a spy; and because of such
service he claimed to have suffered financially in expenses and losses to the amount of $1,397, for which he petitioned
Congress to reimburse him. Twenty years later that body did vote him three hundred dollars, but though he persisted
in demanding more it was never granted - the charge having been preferred against him that he had been engaged
during the war, in connection with Augustus Douglas and Samuel Percy, in smuggling cattle across the border to
the enemy. Mr. Hoit's answer was that this action had been employed merely as a cover for his operations as a spy,
enabling him to get into Canada and ascertain conditions there without incurring suspicion. One lot of cattle that
he had started for Canada was seized south of the border by United States customs officials, but before they could
be driven to safety were wrested from the officers by a British raid. it is told as an incident of this affair
that an American soldier leveled his musket at Mr. Douglas and would have taken his life had not John Day struck
the gun aside at the instant of its discharge, thus sending the bullet wild. Mr. Hoit acted for a long time as
the selling and collecting agent for owners of Chateaugay lands who lived in Albany, New York and elsewhere. He
was the grandfather of Mrs. G. G. Gurley of Malone. William Bailey, also a conspicuous personage, an extensive
land owner, and engaged in many activities, came from Dutchess county in 1796 or 1797. The house in which he lived
was on Depot street and still stands. He was the father of Admiral Theodorus Bailey, the hero of the taking of
New Orleans in 1863, who was born in Chateaugay in 1805. Mr. Bailey was elected by Clinton and Essex counties to
the Assembly in 1801 and by Clinton alone in 1805, was first judge of the court of common pleas in 1806, and was
an unsuccessful candidate for Congress the same year. About 1803 or 1804 he opened the Bellows ore mine in Bellmont,
and built a forge near the High Falls in Chateaugay. He is said to have built a paper mill also at about the same
time near the same point, but accounts are at variance as to whether this mill was ever operated, and possibly
it never existed. He built, too, a saw mill and the Douglass grist mill in 1806 or earlier. He removed to Plattshurgh
in 1811, and died there in 1840. While in Chateaugay he owned one or two slaves. Justin Day located near what is
now the Burke line, and had four sons, to each of whom he gave a farm. John, one of the sons, was the father of
Henry S., recently deceased at ninety years of age, and the last survivor of the family. Aaron Beman became sheriff
in 1833, and after the expiration of his term made his home in Malone. Isaac Sebring, though never an actual resident,
his home and business having been in New York city, one of whose districts sent him to the Assembly in 1809, 1810
and 1811, was intimately associated with the affairs of the town, and passed a good deal of time there. He and
Theodorus Van Wvek, also of New York, were joint owners of several thousand acres of land in the town as early
as 1806, and still earlier made many mortgage loans to settlers who were in need. Mr. Sebring evinced a zealous
interest in the organization of the Congregational church, and besides giving liberally himself to erect a church
building secured considerable subscriptions for it from his city friends. He was the grandfather of Dr. John S.
Van Vechten and Mrs. Nellie Munger.
It is impracticable of course to follow the history of all of the pioneers and their families, but mention must
be made of a few of the second generation who became especially prominent. Chief of these was Henry B. Smith, the
son of Thomas, who began business life as a merchant, branched out into lumbering and real estate investment. became
first judge of the court of common pleas in 1843, and was State Senator in 1852 and 1853, deputy collector of customs
at Chateaugay for a long period, and collector of the district of Champlain from about 1853 to 1861. He was a keen,
farsighted business man, a capable and controlling politician, and remarkably successful in all of his undertakings.
His fortune at the time of his death was probably the largest that any one in the county had accumulated up to
that time. Gideon Collins, who came in 1803, was first judge of the court of common pleas, and his son, George
C., a man of the highest character and of excellent abilities, was school commissioner from 1869 to 1871. The latter
was the father of William L. of Chateaugay and of Grant G. of Malone. Though of a still later generation, Daniel
F. Soper and George G. Gurley left their impress upon the place, and afterward became prominent in Malone. The
former was elected sheriff in 1860, and the latter in 1863. Others of worth and prominence include Daniel S. Coonley,
Dr. Hial S. Farnsworth, Major John A. Sabin, John Hughes, James Mitchell, Dr. William Mott, John McCoy, Levi N.
Stevens (whose son. Henry. has become one of the leading attorneys of Los Angeles, Cal.), and of course others
too numerous to mention, though it must not be omitted to name Dr. A. M. Phelps, who, though located here for only
a short time, was yet an appreciable factor in the town, and afterward, as a practitioner in New York city, became
one of the most brilliant and skilful surgeons in the State.
The Roberts, Douglas, Douglass (there were two distinct lines), Smith and Beman families were prolific, and some
of them addicted to the perpetuation of favorite Christian names to the degree that there were John first, second,
third and fourth, and Samuel first, second and third. There was a good deal of intermarrying, and relationships
became ('hose and then involved. The survivors today are pathetically few.
Chateaugay was am important )rta point on the northern frontier in the war of 1812. At the very beginning of the
conflict a detachment of regulars under Colonel John E. Wool (afterward a general in the war with Mexico and in
the civil war) and Colonel Snelling was stationed in the northern part of the town for a short time. In the winter
of 1813 a smaller body of troops under Captain Braddurn York was there, and at this time a petition, signed by
Gates Hoit and others, and approved by Captain York, was presented to the Governor, praying for the completion
of a block house, already partly built, and with timber and other material for it assembled on the ground. The
Governor subsequently sent Mr. Hoit one hundred dollars for the project, which had been consummated by the people
themselves before the receipt of the money. This block house was situate on the west side of the road, about three-quarters
of a mile north of the Four Corners, and not far from Marble river. Captain David Erwin's company was stationed
at it for a time. Afterward another block house, called Fort Hickory, was built in the northeastern part of the
town, and in it Samuel Hollenbeek alone stood off a party of Canadians who attempted its capture. In the late summer
of 1813 General Hampton arrived with an army of several thousand men, who camped on the ground now bounded by the
railroad on the south and by Depot street on the east; at a point on the Johnston farm, about forty rods north
of the Catholic church; and in the vicinities of the two block houses. During this period there was a skirmish
with British invaders or raiders on the Coonley farm, now almost in the heart of the village, in which the enemy
was driven off. Six Americans are said to have been killed, while the British loss is unknown. Local tradition
attributes the attack to a purpose to draw the Americans into an ambush in Canada. It was from Chateaugay that
General Hampton invaded Canada, only to be humiliatingly defeated by a greatly inferior force, and shamefully driven
back to his encampments. After his criminal withdrawal of his army from Chateaugay to Plattsburgh in the autumn
of 1813, in practical desertion of General Wilkinson, with whom it had been planned that he should operate against
Montreal, other smaller bodies of troops occupied Chateaugay from time to time (a detachment from General Wilkinson's
army under Colonel Bissell ccmprising one of them) until evacuation in February, 1814, when the British poured
in for a day or two - proceeding east as far as Marble river, and seizing a good deal of private property as well
as military stores that had been abandoned by the Americans. Not a little of the private belongings so taken was
rum. Sickness had prevailed to an alarming degree in General Hampton's army, arid something like fifty soldiers
were buried near the lot on which Thomas Eaton now lives on Depot street, and perhaps an equal or a larger number
on the Johnston farm. The gruesome work of burial was performed by John Day. The block house near Marble river
was burned at about the close of the war, supposedly set on fire by a Canadian.
The next diversion after the war was scheming for bounties on noxious animals. In 1817 the town voted bounties
additional to those offered by the State and county for wolyes. "painters," bears, foxes and even crows,
blackbirds and squirrels. The amount voted for a wolf was fifteen dollars, for a panther thirty dollars, for a
fox four dollars. and for a crow one dollar. The amount to be paid by the town for a wolf was later increased to
twenty dollars, making with the State and county bounty sixty dollars for each wolf killed. But the hunters were
not satisfied to receive simply what they might honestly claim under the system, and, operating with collusive
officials, would collect a number of bounties on a single pate, or even palm off dogs' heads for those of wolves.
rro reconcile resident taxpayers, to these fraudulent practices, the hunters paid the taxes of these, and thus
the State at large and non-resident land owners were the only ones who suffered in money, though it must be assumed
that others must have lost in selfrespect. The story of these frauds is told more fully in another chapter.
Chateaugay has not been without its calamities and tragedies. On July 4, 1841, while firing a national salute on
Depot street, the man whose part was to thumb the vent of the cannon became careless, with the result that when.
the next charge was rammed home fire caught it prematurely, and Cornelius Hugaboom (father of Samuel G. of Malone)
was so horribly burned that he died, and a man named Mason had his arm torn off - the inj ury proving fatal. The
ramrod that was torn out of the hands of these two struck a girl at the hotel on the corner below, and injured
her severely. The girl was one of a group of twenty-six assembled on the hotel balcon to represent the different
At Brayton Hollow about 1850 two Young men and three young ladies - James Ayers, Garret Percy, Maria Crippen, Eunice
Dailey and Sophronia Percy - were enjoying a boat ride on a mill pond, when the boat struck a submerged limb and
overturned. All were drowned. Hundreds gathered to join in the search for the bodies, two of which were recovered
where the water was less than four feet deep. Mrs. Matilda Foster, the fortune teller of Burke, was called to direct
the search, and is said to have pointed out the place where some of the bodies would be found. . The event occasioned
widespread horror and sorrow, and the funeral services for all of the victims held in a grove in the vicinity,
were attended by practically ever person in town.
In October. 1851, Willie, son of John Kane, aged four years wandered from his home in the southern part of the
town. The father and neighbors searched vainly for him through the night and the two succeeding days, when some
wretch, callous to the fathers grief and anxiety, gave a further tragic phase to the case by insinuating that,
the ground having been covered foot by foot for a considerable distance without finding the child, the father must
have killed him in a paroxysm of rage, and secreted the body. Philander Deming told the story graphically in one
of his Adirondack tales some twenty years later - how Mr. Kane instantly called a meeting at the school house,
and with amazing calmness and yet righteously indignant confronted those assembled, denying with dignity the aspersion,
and characterizing it as a lie. The search was resumed after a few days. when "Logan" (Elijah Heading
of Bellmont), while on his way to join the searchers, stumbled upon the body on the bank of Little Trout river,
three miles from Mr. Kane's home. The child was the brother of Mrs. John R. Bush and of Harvey Kane of Malone.
In 1856 a tornado swept through the central part of Chateaugay. An account published at the time stated that
in the village there was "complete desolation; not a building escaped injury, and many were completely destroyed,"
while farther east in the town sixty to seventy structures were destroyed or seriously damaged, and to the west
like devastation was wrought. In the village alone one hundred and twenty-eight dwelling houses, four stores and
the Catholic church were wrecked, and the Methodist and Presbyterian churches and three school houses were injured.
Many were made destitute, and relief was provided by contributions from Malone and other places. In August, 1885,
a wind and hail storm broke large quantities of window glass and severely damaged the crops of more than sixty
farmers and many gardens. The estimated loss was thirty thousand dollars.
In 1858, when a new Baptist church was in course of erection, the roof timbers fell, and injured a dozen workers
- some of them very severely.
During the 1868 campaigli the Grant and Colfax Tanners' Club of Malone attended a political rally at Chateaugay,
wearing their uniforms and carrying banners and torches. Party spirit ran high everywhere, and in few places was
partisanship more virulent than in ( Chateaugay. After paradinf i through the principal streets of the village
the procession was entering the hall where the speaking was to occur when a gang of toughs directed a shower of
brickbats and stones upon the members. A number of persons were badly cut and bruised, one of whom (Millard Greeno
of Malone) so severely that he never recovered.
A fire in the business section of the village in 1867 wiped out property of the estimated value of twenty-five
thousand dollars. In 1891 the Douglas tannery, employing a hundred and fifty men, was burned, with a claimed loss
to the owners of sixty-five thousand dollars and the loss to the village of an industry whose pay-roll was five
hundred dollars per day, and that had contributed largely to its prosperity. In January, 1893, with the wind blowing
a gale and the temperature at twentyfive degrees below zero, a fire swept eastward from River street, destroying
the entire business quarter on the north side of Main street, with first figures of loss placed at a hundred and
fifty thousand dollars, though this was probably an overestimate. Yet a fourth fire in 1915, west from River street,
involved a loss of about twenty-five thousand dollars.
The village of Ohateaugay was incorporated in 1868. Its present (1915) population is 1,196, which is a gain of
151 since 1910. The place has about everything needed to make it attractive and residence in it comfortable. It
has a strong bank quartered in a fine building, one of the best school houses and the very best town house in the
county, good church buildings, a gravity system of water works, established in 1880 by a private corporation with
a capital of ten thousand dollars, which takes its supply from springs that are the source of Boardman brook, and
which affords a good pressure for fire purposes. The village is electrically lighted, its main street is brick
paved, and since 1895 it has had a public sewer system. Its store buildings are principally two and three story
brick structures of a substantial character, and the mercantile establishments are enterprising and well stocked.
The town house is the outgrowth of a benefaction of William Johnston, Jr., who bequeathed six thousand dollars
to build it. But the town determined that if it were to have anything of the kind it would have nothing less than
a structure that should he adequate and entirely satisfactory. It therefore voted three separate appropriations,
aggregating thirty-four thousand dollars, to add to the bequest, and proceeded in 1910 to erect an edifice in which
the two polling places are accommodated, and containing an office for the town clerk and a large assembly hail
for town meetings, with rooms to rent for a post-office and other business uses, and a cosy and neat theatre with
a seating capacity of more than six hundred, for entertainments.
In a historical sermon in 1876 the pastor of the Presbyterian church stated that the first religious service in
Chateaugay was held in 1801 or 1802 by a Presbyterian clergyman named Huntington, and that the organization of
the Congregational church, in 1816, was effected by Rev. Ashbel Parmelee of Malone and Rev. James Jordan of Potsda.m.
All local records of the society of date earlier than 1830 having disappeared, only fragmentary particulars are
obtainable concerning the movement during the fifteen years following its inception. The three clergymen named
are understood each to have visited the place occasionally during this interval as missionary preachers, and the
minutes of the Presbytery of Champlain show that Rev. Jacob Hart was ordained there in 1822. Mr. Hart is known
to have been pastor for several years subsequently, and since his time the church has had resident pastors continuously
except as a vacancy may have existed now and then for a few weeks or possibly a few months. Prior to 1822 the school
house had been used in common with the Baptists for a place of worship, but the latter claimed right of occupancy
for three-quarters of the time, which meant contention between the denominations or that other accommodations must
be had. The difficulty was surmounted through the generosity of Isaac Sebring, who provided a meeting place for
a time at his own expense. Then, in 1825, steps were taken looking to the erection of a church edifice, Mr. Sebring
securing subscriptions to the amount of $228 and two hundred and forty-five acres of land from his city friends,
and himself giving the sum of $469.42. The frame was raised in 1828, Mr. Sebring taking pains in his report of
the affair to state that the work proceeded “in great harmony, without accident, dispute or intoxication.’ The
building was not completed until 1842. In. the same year the form of organization was changed from Congregational
to Presbyterian. The society had included Burke until 1845, when twenty-five of its members were given letters
of dismission to form a church of their own in the then new town. The church building was wrenched and unroofed
by the tornado of 1856, and was repaired and inclosed with brick at a cost of three thousand dollars. Further improvements
were made in 1866, and ten years later new furnishings and a new organ were procured. The old edifice having come
to be regarded as not commensurate with the wealth and necessities of the society, it was razed in 1902, and the
present building erected on the same site at a cost of nearly ten thousand doliars. The society is clear of debt,
and has a membership of about one hundred and twenty.
Methodism had a beginning in Chateaugay at about the same time with Congregationalism, as Rev. Henry Ryan, a circuit
rider, visited the town in 1802, and three years afterward a class of six members was formed, with Benjamin Emmons
as leader. It is supposed that from 1805 Methodist services were held more or less irregularly, but by whom until
1831 I have no knowledge except that Rev. James Erwin says that “Barzillia Willey, James Covel, Jonathan Newman,
William Chase, Isaac Puffer and, others carried the gospel through the valleys of St. Lawrence and Franklin counties
from the year 1800.” The first regular appointment by conference to Chateaugay was that of Rev. Lyndon King in
1831. Mr. King had been a Bangor man, a brother of John, Rev. Rufus and Harry King, and was the father of the late
Alden King, of Malone, and of former Congressman William King, deceased, of Minnesota, and an uncle of Wiffiam
A. King and a great uncle of Floyd P. King, of Malone. At the time of his Chateaugay appointment he had just been
ordained, having previously been a local preacher. He is said to have been a good sermonizer, and especially strong
in exhortation; but after a time he became discontented, and went over to the Wesleyan Methodist denomination;
then denounced all church organization; became a spiritualist; and by his own arrangement his funeral sermon was
preached by a Universalist. In 1835 Mr. Erwin was sent to Chateaugay in charge, with Harris Kingsley, a local preacher,
and John E. Stoddard as co-workers According to Mr. Erwin, the latter had been in the district at that time for
several years, which suggests that Chateaugay must have had Methodist ministration for some time preceding the
location there of Mr. King. Chateaugay circuit at this period had a circumference of four hundred miles — extending
south into Bellmont, west to the Malone line, north over to Covey Hill and down to Lachine in Canada; it included
Ellensburgh also. It required six weeks for a rider to cover the territory, and thus, with three men working, each
appointment averaged to be given a service once in two weeks. Mr. Erwin portrays then conditions vividly. A circuit
rider’s outfit included a horse, saddle, saddle-bags, and a book or two; and his dress was a white or drab fur
hat, a cape and clothes made as plain as possible, forming a sort of uniform, so that “you could tell a Methodist
preacher anywhere by his dress.” His pay was a hundred dollars a year if he were single, with a hundred dollars
additional if married, together with an allowance of sixteen dollars for each child under seven years of age, and
of twenty-four dollars for each child between the ages of seven and fourteen years, and also of from twenty-five
to fifty dollars for “table and feed.” For his own first year in the ministry as a circuit rider Mr. Erwin .received
only fifty dollars, and even divided that amount with his associate rider, who was a man of family. A rider customarily
traveled from fifteen to thirty miles on a Sunday, always on horseback, and spent from six to eight hours in meetings.
At the first service which Mr. Erwin held in Chateaugav, in a stone school house in the northern part of the town,
people came from points fifty miles distant, and, residents in the locality entertained them all — some single
households caring for as many as twenty or thirty each, and even on this scale a part of the visitors had to be
lodged three miles away and others in barns, so scant was the population. The occasion was a quarterly meeting;
and for lovefeast on Sunday morning, the school house proving insufficient to hold the crowd, the barn of Amaziah
Smith was used. The temperature was below zero, a carpenter’s bench served for a pulpit, and seats were arranged
in the stable, on the barn floor and in the haymow and even on the hayloft. Rev. Silas Comfort, the presiding elder,
was present, accompanied by another nonresident preacher. Judge of the character of the country at this time from
Mr. Erwin’s statement that on his journeys in Canada he had to sleep in a straw bunk or in a trundlebed with the
children, shivering from cold; fowls roosting overhead, and pigs and calves at his feet; and breakfasting with
henumbed. hands and wearing his overcoat and muffler. Mr. Erwin says, further, that in Canada wolves then traveled
in large packs, while panthers and bears abounded, so that when moving to an appointment at night he had to be
accompanied by a guard, carrying firebrands and rifles. Even under such conditions it was customary to proceed
shouting hymns, and to stop now and then to hold a prayer meeting in the snow. The first church building erected
by the Methodists in Chateaugay was not provided until 1854. The tornado two years later damaged it badly, but
it was soon repaired, and answered the needs of the society until 1880, when it was demolished, and the present
commodious and substantial brick building erected on the same site at a cost of about twelve thousand dollars.
The church is free from debt, and has two hundred and thirty members. A Methodist Episcopal church was built at
Earleville in 1891.
A Baptist church was formed under the leadership of Elder Isaac Sawyer in 1817, with eleven members, and there
were never enough accessions to make the organization really strong. The erection of a church building was begun
in 1820 on Depot street. two or three doors south of the Chateau, and it was eighteen years later when it was finished.
The parish had originally included West Chateaugay, where, when Burke was erected in 1844, two-thirds of the members
resided, and organized a new church — leaving the mother body weaker than ever. Nevertheless the Depot street church
was deemed unsatisfactory and insafficient, and in 1858 construction of a new one was begun on Franklin street
services being held while the work was in progress in the Presbyterian church. The society, becoming gradually
more and more feeble, finally went out of existence, and about 1899 its church building on Franklin street was
demolished to make place for dwelling houses.
Though resident Catholics preferred formal request to Bishop Hughes as early as 1840 for assignment of a resident
missionary priest to the place, Chateaugay continued to remain a part of the Hogansburgh parish until 1849, and
then of Malone until 1863. In. 1844, however, Rev. James Keveney of Hoganshurgh procured a church building to be
erected, but so far as is known no priest held service in it, or even visited the town except in response to occasional
sick calls, until Rev. Father McCabe of Malone assumed charge in 1849, and said mass at such infrequent times as
he could make opportunity. The church building was destroyed by the tornado of 1856, and rebuilding was begun under
the direction of Rev. Father Thaves of Malone. It remained, however, for Rev. Father Edmond De Pauw, who in 1863
was transferred from the pos± of assistant at Malone to be pastor of the newly formed St. Patrick’s church
of Chateaugay, to finish the work. The charge then embraced Burke, Ellenburgh and, Cherubusco, and included nearly
six hundred Irish and French families. During the first year of Father De Pauw’s ministration here one hundred
and fifty persons were confirmed at one time, and during the year 1868 five hundred. As to conditions prevalent
when Father De Pauw assumed charge and as to the results wrought under him I condense from a Catholic writer, the
Rev. J. Talbot Smith, who apparently felt privileged to say what a Protestant might hesitate to write: The people
had been. practically without restraint for forty years, “and their moral conduct found no guide or corrective
except those which innumerable whiskey shops and unlimited dancing were able to supply. * * * The church itself
was little better than a barn, with no pews, badly heated, and so unfinished that the snow found entrance, and
the sacred wine froze in the chalice. When the priest made preparations to introduce pews into the church, the
twelve trustees protested, and, finding their protest vain, resigned. A collection was announced for the second
Sunday to raise funds for purchasing wine, breads, altar furniture and other necessaries. Twenty five coppers were
collected. * * * A people with little faith and low morals, spending their substance on drink, and their virtue
and health in riotous living and drunkenness, spurred to attend church only by a kind of feeble self-respect which
was more a tradition than a reality;” but Father De Pauw corrected disobedience and rebellion, organized temperance
societies, and fought whiskey selling and whiskey drinking in the confessional and at the polls. His influence
everywhere was for good, and he won the esteem and affection not only of his own people, but of the entire community.
In 1885 three thousand confessions were made, and “whiskey law,” the dances, the youthful immorality and the public
scandals had disappeared. No equal work has ever been done by any priest in Northern New York, so far as I am aware,
with the exception of that accomplished during a part of the same period by Rev. Father LeGrand and Rev. Father
Blanchard in Malone. Since the completion of St. Patrick’s church there have been expended in each of three or
four years from five hundred to twenty-five hundred dollars (something like seven thousand dollars in all) for
improvements — vestments, a bell, etc.— and also in 1890 the sum of seven. thousand dollars for a parsonage. There
are now about three hundred families in the parish, Burke, Ellenburgh and Cherubusco having been set off from it
since Rev. Father De Pauw assumed charge half a century ago.
There have been three distinct attempts to establish and maintain an Episcopal church in Chateaugay. The first
had its inception in 1833, and had a feeble existence until 1839, during which time such services as were held
were conducted by the rector of St. Mark’s in Malone. In 1849 Henry B. and Elisha Smith, Oel Sunderlin, Theodore
T. S. Beman and others organized St. Peter’s church, which also had a languishing existence for three or four years,
and was visited once by Bishop Huntington. The services of this organization were held in the Presbyterian church.
St. John’s Church in the Village of Chateaugay was founded in 1869, and continued as an organization, though without
much activity for most of the time, until 1891, when it was declared extinct. Until it erected a house of worship
of its own, it occupied the Baptist church; but services were irregular and infrequent except during one brief
period when it had a resident missionary. The mortgage on its own building was eventually foreclosed, and the structure
made over into a dwelling house by William L. Collins. It is now the property of theW. B. Ryan estate.
Chateaugay had a Masonic Lodge (Rainbow) as early as 1809, which, however, went out of existence in anti-Masonic
times, something like twenty years later. A memorandum among Gates Hoit’s papers states that when a British force
was in Chateaugay in 1814 some of the men. broke into the hail of Thomas Smith’s tavern, which was the old Franklin
House. burned in 1857, and which stood on the site of the present Beman Block, and stole a carpet and the lodge
jewels. Mr. Hoit and Samuel Sanborn followed the British to Cornwall in the hope of regaining the stolen property,
but were denied an interview with the commandant, and were ordered to leave the place forthwith; but before departing
notified the officer in writing of the purpose of their visit. Though they were given no reply, the commandant
must have communicated the facts to Montreal Masons, as the latter afterward wrote that the missing articles had
been taken into Upper Canada, and were not recoverable. However, the Montreal Masons sent in their place new jewels
which were more valuable than. those that had been stolen. A successor to Rainbow Lodge was chartered as Frontier
Lodge, No. 517, June 6, 1862. which now has one hundred and thirty-five members.
Chateaugay Grange, No. 964, was organized in January, 1903, and has a present membership of one hundred and ninety.
Wadhams Council, No. 469, Knights of Columbus, was organized January 14, 1900, with fifty-three charter members,
who have now increased to two hundred and thirty.
The Bank of Chateaugay was chartered as a State institution October 16, 1887. George Hawkins of Malone headed the
movement to give the town banking facilities, and until his death was the bank’s president. It prospered from the
outset, and has been of great benefit to the place. Its charter having expired, expediency seemingly counseled
liquidation, with the formatibn of a new bank under the national system, which began business October 16, 1907,
with the late Bruce C. Bort as president. It has a capital of $75,500, surplus and undivided profits in September,
1917, aggregating $73,608.36, and deposits amounting to $429,435.48. It is the fourth largest bank in the county,
and, as the figures show, it is strong and thoroughly sound, and its management is excellent. B. F. Roberts Post
No. 576, G. A. R. was organized in August, 1885 — the name supposedly having been taken in honor of the town’s
first settler, who was, however, B. S. instead of B. F. The name was changed to Admiral Bailey Post in 1890. Admiral
Bailey was born in Chateaugay in 1805. The post had a hundred and twenty-five members at one time, and now has
An agricultural society for the eastern towns of Franklin county and the western of Clinton county was organized
in 1871, hut no exhibitions were held. In. October, 1906, the Chateaugay Agricultural Society for Bellmont, Chateaugay,
Clinton, Ellenburgh and the surrounding country was incorporated with a capital of $10,000. Grounds south of the
railroad station were bought and fitted up with buildings and a race track, and annual exhibitions were held for
four years, when a too ambitious offer of purses for trotting races (one of which was $10,000) brought the society
to grief and bankruptcy. Its grounds were sold under mortgage foreclosure. James A. Farley, the strike breaker
and owner of a number of fast horses, confident that he himself would win the race, guaranteed the purse, but when
the horse of another came first under the wire he weiched, and the society collapsed.
The first newspaper published in Chateaugay was the Journal, established June 4, 1867, by I. VanBuskirk and A.
N. Merchant, with C. H. Boynton associated with it later. Its life was short, and after three or four years it
was displaced by the Star, with Mr. Merchant as publisher. T. K. Milne eventually bought the Star, and, failing
to make a success of it, discontinued publication in 1877. The same year A. H. Merritt and Chas. H. Huntington
of Malone started the Record, independent in politics, and sold in 1884 to Julius D. Beckwith. In 1892 Ferrell
& Neher published the Franklin County Democrat as a campaign paper, and in the autumn of the same year bought
the Record, consolidating the two. The Record is still published, with Frank W. Ferrell as editor and manager.
Hon. Warren T. Thayer, now the county’s representative in the Assembly, founded a new Chateaugay Journal in 1896,
and after a few years sold it to A. W. Roberts, who continued its publication until his death, when Walter Murray
bought the property. The office was destroyed by fire in 1906, and thus the paper died.
The Chateaugay Electric Light and Power Company, incorporated in 1894, with a capital of $6,000 and with Ernest
A. Douglass owning nearly all of the stock, installed a plant at the Douglass grist mill, and for a few years lighted
the streets, residences and business places. In 1902 the Chasm Power Company (present capitalization $35,000) was
incorporated, with Charles L. Bentley president, and developed superb power at the chasm. The clam is nearly fifty
feet in height and the actual head ninety-odd feet, with an estimated potential developinent of twenty-five hundred
horse power. After a few years the new company acquired the Douglass plant.. which has since been dismantled.
The Chasm Power Company's transmission lines extend into some of the farming districts of the town, to Brainardsville
in Bellmont, and through Burke into Constable and Malone. Dr. John S. Van Vechten is the present president, B.
B. Humphrey secretary, and E. S. Duffy treasurer. Dr. Van Vechten and Hon. Warren T. Thayer hold a majority of
The first creamery in Chateaugay, and the second in the county, was built by Adam M. Bennett south of the village
in 1871, and was afterward owned by B. O. Roulston. It was discontinued about 1909. Two or three others were built
in 1872, and from that date onward ten or a dozen more. The builders were: Watson Sunderlin, Naple Grove Creamery,
operated for only two or three years; Porter W. Douglas, Big Spring Creamery (once rented by C. C. Douglas), which
went out of existence about 1900; William L. Collins, Maple Street Creamery, once burned, then rebuilt by C. C.
Douglas, and afterward owned by Wills Bros., but closed within the past year or two; W. S. Douglas, east of the
village, and run only four or five years; Don E. Seabury, Boardman Spring Creamery, built about 1878, and owned
later by George Green, who discontinued it about 1888; Tim. Costello, in the Quaker settlement, about 1878, and
operated afterward by A. W. Miller until about 1906, when it burned; Sam. Cook and Harrison Hill, near the confluence
of the Marble and Chateaugay rivers, about 1818. and operated for three or four years, when it burned; Selden Phelps,
Crystal Spring Creamery, prior to 1876, in the southern part of the town, and afterward owned by W. B. Ryan, and
then by O. F. Chase; Charles L. Bentley, on River street, about 1893, but operated for only two or three years,
and also the Electric Creamery. near the railroad, which has become a part of the Speilman produce store; Ira Poud,
in the Jericho district in 1885, which was burned after five or six years: a stock company, in the Jericho district,
now known as the Alder Spring Creamery and owned by J. E. Leach; and a stock company in the village in 1909. The
only creameries now in operation are the Alder Spring and the stock company's in the village. Ralph Swinburne built
a cheese factory in the northern part of the town in 1812, and operated it for several years.
The establishment of a milk shipping station by the Sheffield Farms Slawson Decker Company about 1910 has doubtless
been a contributory cause to the closing of some of the creameries, and it would not be surprising if it should
eventually shut up the two that have managed to survive, for it pays more for milk than a creamery can earn for
its patrons in making fifty-cent butter. This concern in the season of flush production in 1916 distributed to
the farmers $25,000 a month, and is now of such volume even in the winter that its milk purchases are a third more
in dollars, with expectation that they will at times mount to $75,000 or more per month. The prices paid by it
in 1917 for three and eight-tenths per cent. milk ranged from $1.80 to $3.60 per hundred pounds, and for milk richer
in butter fat it paid as much as $3.95. In 1917 it acquired additional land, and began a work of alteration and
enlargement which will involve an expenditure of about a quarter of a million dollars. It is to make condensed
milk, and has a contract with the government for its entire product. This line of business is said to be very profitable,
and will enable the company to pay high prices for milk.
The story of the many mills which at various times have lined the streams in Chateaugay runs to a period too remote
and is too involved to make present recital of it in detail possible. Of the grist mills the first was built by
Elisha Howard in Platt's Hollow in 1797 for Nathaniel Platt of Plattsburgh, though Hough tells that even before
this David Mallory had hollowed the top of a stump, bowl shaped, and, suspending a pestle above it from the limb
of a tree, undertook with so rude a contrivance to crush the scant crop of corn raised in the locality. What became
of the Platt mill no one appears to know, though the premises would seem to have been owned thirty-odd years later
by Benjamin Blackmore. Doubtless the next real grist mill was built by William Bailey, earlier than 1806, which
he sold in 1817 to George W. Douglass and Simeon Bellows. It was situate on the west bank of Chateaugay river,
a mile west of the village, and in 1835 was replaced by the present mill, on the east bank. Bellows sold his interest
in 1823 to John Scriver, and he to Douglass in 1839. The property has remained ever since in the Douglass family,
but has been idle for a number of years. Next came the mill in the northern part of the town, at Earlville, which
was built by Reuben Church at an unknown date, and sold by him in 1852 to David and John Craik. It passed out of
existence about twenty years later. In 1859 John A. Sabin and John B. Bort built a grist mill on the Boardman Brook,
in the village, which was bought by Willard S. Alvord and W. W. Scriver in 1868 - Scriver selling in 1872 to Alvord,
who continued to operate it until it was burned, a number of years later. Still another mill was built by Mr. Bort
in 1868, on the Chateaugay river, just above the Douglass property. It passed to the ownership of Eli B. Smith,
who sold it in 1874 to William W. Scriver and John W. Roberts, who operated it for several years. It was dismantled
eight or ten years ago.
The sawmills have been numerous, but none of them large. The first was erected in 1797 or 1798 for Mr. Platt, near
the grist mill in Platt's Hollow. William Bailey is understood to have built one early, but at what point is unknown.
Simeon Bellows had one near the Douglass grist mill, and leased it in 1822 to George W. Douglass. It was burned.
Of the many others only the following are traceable, and even as to these dates and chains of ownership can not
be followed with certainty: William Hilliker, John Vernal very early, George Hilliker, Rufus Copps, Alfred Copps,
Alexander Lewis, John H. Keese in 1833, Thomas Bennett, James Brown and Hiram Palmer (afterward leased to Henry
B. Smith, and then to John P. Badger), Eli B. Smith and Willard S. Alvord - eleven mills in all on the Marble river,
some of them more than three-quarters of a century ago; Ephraim Percy and Comfort Brayton at Brayton Hollow, the
Percy mill having been owned later by Garret Percy, William Wood, and John P. Badger and John A. Johnston, and
that of Brayton having been built by George Beach before 1834; Samuel Cook, a short distance below Brayfon and
Percy; Frank Atwater, above Brayton. and owned subsequently by Samuel Stewart, and then by Ezra Sweet; Edward Lancto,
about 1850, near High Falls; Reuben S. Church, in the northern part of the town, at an unknown date, but sold to
the Craiks in 1851, and by them to William Philp; Selden Phelps, near the Bellmont line - the property going later
to Oscar F. Chase; and Harrison Hill in the northern part of the town. It was from this mill that Mr. Hill, then
an ardent Democrat, drew a load of slabs to the village for a bonfire in celebration of the election of President
Cleveland, and in his enthusiasm burned the wagon as well as the slabs. The Alvord mill was erected as a steam
mill because the flow of water in the Boardman brook had been diminished by taking the spring as a source of supply
for the village, and its surplus power was used in operating the grist mill. The only sawmill now in operation
is one in the village, owned by Harrison Hill, and operated by steam power.
A planing mill which did a large business and employed a dozen or fifteen men was built by George T. Hall near
the railroad station in 1873, but was torn down after a few years.
There used to he six starch factories in the town, which were under many changes of ownership during their existence.
One was built near High Falls by Clark A. Patterson; one in the extreme southern part of the town by George T.
Hall, who had as partners later Wm. S. Douglas and Christopher Briggs, and which was owned also by Douglas &
Chase; one on Marble river, built by Thomas Bennett, and then owned by Adams & Jenkins, and finally by Jenkins
alone; one on the same stream, near its junction with the Chateaugay, which numbered among its owners George B.
Greene, John P. Badger, Andrew J. Day, George T. Hall, and John B. Hayes; one by Patterson and Douglass, on Marble
river; and one at or near the site of the Craik grist mill, built in 1873 by W. W. & H. E. King, of Malone.
Destruction of starch mills by fire was not infrequent, and the Greene factory was burned twice in as many years.
The first tannery was built by Jacob Smith on his farm in the northeastern part of the town, and the second probably
by his son, Colonel Thomas Smith, on the Boardman brook. At least it was sold by him in 1829 to Wiffiam V. Derby,
remaining in the Derby family until 1876, though leased during the Civil War to Enoch Miller of Malone. and in
1872 to Clark Brothers. In 1876 William S. Douglas bought it, and in association with his son, Hiram A., enlarged
it to a mammoth establishment, in which over a hundred men were employed. Market conditions for leather were then
unfavorable, and the concern lost money. It was burned in. 1891. Had this misfortune been averted and business
continued a few years longer, the tannery would have earned a fortune, as prices became higher almost at once after
the fire. Calvin S. Douglass had a small tannery near his grist mill about 1885. Harvey Higgins operated it for
Edgar A. Keeler erected a foundry on the Boardman brook, near the tannery, in 1861, and operated it until 1865,
when he sold to P. L. Lyman and Samuel M. Moore, but came into ownership again five years later. During the Lyman-Moore
control they added and ran a carding mill. The building was destroyed by fire in 1871.
In 1892 Alexander Johnston and Bruce C. Bort, operating under the name Chateaugay Pulp Company, built a pulp mill
a half a mile above the High Falls. Afterward William Johnston came into sole ownership, and the property is still
operated and owned by his estate.
In 1895 Charles E. Martin and J. Ovette Smith of Plattsburgh and Bruce C. Bort, John S. Van Vechten, Daniel S.
Coonley and Adam M. Bennett of Chateaugay organized the High Falls Pulp Company, capitalized at fifty thousand
dollars, and built a pulp mill at the High Falls. Some of the original stockholders dropped out, and B. S. W. Clark
bought an interest. The capital was increased to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and a paper mill was added.
The business is still continued, and is prosperous. New York World interests are the present owners.*
* This mill was burned April 28, 1918, with an estimated, loss of $300,000; insurance, $250,000. It is to be rebuilt,
larger than before.
The Chateaugay Excelsior Company was incorporated by W. T. Thayer, A. M. Bennett, R. R. Humphrey and C. L. Bentley
in 1902, and the Star Excelsior Company by W. T. Thayer, F. W. Beman and Dr. J. W. Campbell in 1907. The Globe
Excelsior Company was incorporated in 1907 by C. L. Bentley, Adam M. Bennett and Floyd Sianfelt. Each of these
companies built and operated a mill. That of the Globe was bought by the Chateaugay in 1910, and the Star was burned
in 1911. The present stockholders in the Chateaugay Company are W. T. Thayer, A. M. Bennett and D. E. Seabury.
There are few lines of manufacturing which experience a wider range of activity and depression, and when. prosperity
prevails the returns are exceptionally good. In one year one of these companies paid dividends of two hundred per
If public inns offered less luxurious accommodations in the olden time than those of to-day, the wayfarer had at
least a wider choice then, for a tavern was to be found every two or three miles throughout this section. Most
of them were at first merely the rude farm residences of the landlords, with a spare room or two for guests, and
some were only log cabins. Their customers were altogether either residents who patronized the bar or immigrants
from New England requiring a night's lodging and a meal or two on their way to the locations which they had in
mind for homes farther to the west. A little later the taverns became a bit more pretentious, but fewer in number,
and the distance between them greater. These were usually relay points for a change of the stage coach horses,
such changes being made once in every eight or ten miles. The Chateaugay town records show no less than nine licenses
granted to taverns in 1806, and I am told that the fee at that time and for a number of years subsequently was
three dollars each. Two of the nine were located in what is now Burke, and one in Clinton. The other six of the
licenses were to Chauncey Mooers at a point two and a half miles east of the present village; Abner Pomeroy, in
the eastern part of the town, or possibly just across the Clinton county line, which was designated in a military
order in 1813 as the place where one detachment of American troops should be stationed; and James Ormsbee, Aaron
Beman, Nathan Beman and Jesse Ketcham, all of whom except perhaps Ketcham lived within the present village limits.
Ketcham's location I have been unable to fix, but incline to the opinion that it was near the Burke line. In 1810
these same town records show licenses granted to Barnabas Hatch (the father of James in Burke), whose inn was located
about two miles west of Chateaugay village; to John Vernal, who was then at the Chauncey Mooers stand; to Samuel
Person, two miles south of the Corners; and to Ralph Shepard and Amos Eldridge, in the village. In 1811 Colonel
Thomas Smith was licensed. According to the best information. that I am able to obtain, Colonel Smith had then
built the Franklin House, which stood on the northeast of the Four Corners, and which was continued as a hotel
under different landlords until it. burned in 1857. It was kept at one time by Harry Hilliker, and later by Fred
Vaughn. and _____ Cartwright. Other pioneer landlords were Buckley Johnson, Ashbel and John Sanborn, and William
G. and Samuel Roberts. Nicholas HaIl had a hotel a number of years later in the now seemingly unsuitable locality
about a mile west of the village, Garret Percy one in Brayton Hollow, and Deacon Roberts one on the Boardman brook.
The Vernal hotel was sold in 1831 to William Hilliker, who conducted it then, for a short time, and again for many
years. A part of the original house is still standing, and is occupied by Melvin Hilliker. L. E. Risley was landlord
here for two years, as lessee from Hilliker, when he built a new house near by, on the county line. It was burned
twice within two years. Risley continued to keep it until 1852. The Roberts House, now the Chateau, was originally
a log structure, built in 1837 by John and Alonzo Roberts, who were landlords there for a considerable time, and
who replaced the log with a frame building. Among their successors have been Chauncey Smith, Samuel Roberts, Timothy
Ladd, George Ladd & William Mansfield, Julius D. Roberts, George Howe, Luke Brooks & Jefferson Roberts,
Cyrel Hutchins, W. H. Finn, Dwyer & Jenkins, and now Thomas Dwyer. Jenkins & Dwyer practically rebuilt
and modernized the house a few years ago. The Union House was originally the residence of Theodorus Roberts, and
fronted on Main street. When the Mitchell and Jackson block was erected it was moved a little to the south and
made to face on Depot street. Included among its proprietors have been T. P. Roberts, Alanson Roberts, M. A. Knappin,
Hoel S. Farnsworth & Son, Silas W. Hatch, Jacob Morgan, John Duffin, Robert Simpson, and now Mrs. Duffin. The
proceedings of the board of supervisors for 1857 show that Mr. Knappin presented a curious petition. It recited
that be had paid forty dollars for a license, and demanded a return of the money because the license had failed
to give him a monopoly of the liquor traffic - grocers and others having engaged in the business without licenses.
Of course Mr. Knappin's petition was ignored.
General Winfield S. Scott was once a visitor to Chateaugay on a military tour of inspection - probably at about
the time of the Canadian rebellion, when United States troops were stationed along the border for enforcement of
the neutrality law. The story is told that his gigantic size (he is said to have weighed three hundred and thirty
pounds) occasioned a good deal of comment, whereupon one resident declared that there was a still bigger man living
in the vicinity, viz., Matthew Reynolds at Brainardsville. Dispute arising over the claim, a yoke of oxen was sent
to Brainardsville for Mr. Reynolds, upon whose arrival it was shown that he weighed thirty pounds more than General
Among some of the older residents the tradition is prevalent that Chateaugay might have been the shire town of
the county had its supervisor not accepted a bribe to absent himself when the matter was decided. The originator
of the story, as well as those who have accepted it as true, must have overlooked the facts that at the time Chateaugay
was a part of Clinton county, that Franklin county was not then in existence and of course had no board of supervisors,
and that Ma]one was named as the county seat by act of the Legislature upon. a citizens' petition, because, as
explained in the legislative committee's report, the town was nearly central as regards the then and probable future