THE TOWN OF DE KALB - ORGANIZED IN 1806.
DE KALB, the eighth town erected by an act of the Legislature, passed February 21, 1806. It was one of the original
ten townships, No. 7, of ten miles square, and formerly under the jurisdiction of Oswegatchie.
The act creating this town designated "the Cooper Hotel in said town" as the place for holding the first
town meeting, and there the following officers were elected on the 18th day Of March. 1806: supervisor, Isaac Stacy;
town clerk, Amos Comly; assessors, James Burnett, John Seeley, Thomas Benedict; commissioners of highways, Potter
Goff, Timothy Utley, Elias Alexander; overseers of the poor, Eseck Whipple, Timothy Utley; constable and collector,
Elijah Farr. These officers were sworn in before James Cooper, justice of the peace.
The limits of the town have twice been curtailed: first, in 1825, when part of De Peyster was taken from it, and
again in 1830, when a strip one mile wide and six long, in the southeastern corner, was annexed to what is now
the town of Hermon. The town now lies toward the central part of the county, with De Peyster on the north, Canton
on the east, Hermon on the south, and Macomb and Gouverneur on the west. The town was named from the celebrated
Baron De Kalb, a native of Alsace, Germany, formerly a province ceded to France. He came out with Lafayette in
1777, and performed important service under General Washington in our Revolutionary War. He was killed in a battle
near Camden in 1780, where a monument has been raised to his memory. The town contains 49,657 acres; its surface,
while not hilly, is much broken by ridges of gneiss and white limestone. The soil is fertile and generally under
good cultivation, and the dairying interests of later years are large and prosperous. The Oswegatchie River flows
in a diagonal course nearly through the center of the town; Beaver Creek forms the boundary between De Kalb and
De Peyster; Harrison's Creek flows across the southeastern corner, and there are other small streams. Lead ore
exists in the town and some mining has been prosecuted in the southeastern part in past years. Pyrites and barytes
are found which possess value as a product, and near Richville are now extensive lime manufactories.
The territory of De Kalb was originally owned by Samuel Ogden, and by him was sold to Judge William Cooper, father
of James Fenimore Cooper, the distinguished author, of Cooperstown, N. Y. In May, 1803, Judge Cooper, accompanied
by thirty-four persons, mostly from the towns of Cooperstown and Richfield, in Otsego county, started to form a
settlement on his purchase. A number of the party, with two wagons and spans of horses and a cart drawn by two
yoke of oxen, proceeded by way of the Black River country and the old State road to the clearing of Abram Vrooman,
near the site of the little village of Oxbow, There they found the roads in such a condition that it was necessary
to build boats for a part of their loads, and two canoes were constructed from logs, under direction of Jehiel
Dimick; these were lashed together and loaded with part of the freight. This party consisted of the following:
William Cooper, the proprietor, Salmon Rich, Isaac Stacy, Eseck Whipple, Richard Merrill, Elisha Cook, William
Brown, Gardner Brown, William Stone, Asa Ransom, Timothy and Elijah Utley, Abner Wright, Andrew McCollorn, Asa
Ransom, jr., James and Elijah Farr, and the wife and sister-in law of the latter, Joseph and William Woodhouse,
Dr. Robert Campbell, Ralph R. Bell, wife, sister and daughter, Elijah Stockwell, Jehiel Dimick, John Hewlett, and
William Sloan. Of these, Dimick, Rich, Bell and Hewlett came down the Oswegatchie River with the load, while the
others came along the road towards Ogdensburg. Their first night was passed in a deserted shanty five miles from
Oxbow, where they narrowly escaped being crushed by a falling tree which they had fired to keep off mosquitos.
On the second night they reached Bristol's tavern, half a mile north of the Corners, in the present town of De
Peyster. There the women were left while the men cleared a road and bridged Beaver Creek in order to reach their
future homes. Tills was accomplished in eight days, the distance being seven or eight miles, and the settlement
was made on the banks of the Oswegatchie, just above Cooper's Falls. Alexander McCollom, Peter Goff and Stephen
Cook, of the original party, went in boats up the Mohawk River with goods which Judge Cooper had purchased in Albany
with which to open a store, and they reached their destination by way of Oneida Lake, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence
and the Oswegatchie, arriving with others of the party on the site of De Kalb village June 12, 1803. The usual
custom of putting up log houses was begun, and the first night was passed within the waIls of one without a roof.
On the second day another house was built, and on the third a building for the store, all roofed with bark or boughs.
Goff, Campbell and Andrew McCollom were surveyors, and soon laid out several farms. Salmon Rich took up 11,850
acres in the southern corner of the town; Mr. Farr a large tract in the eastern part, and Stacy another tract in
the northern part. A large part of these lands afterwards reverted to the heirs of Mr. Cooper. Among the names
in the foregoing list of pioneers will be found many of persons and their descendants who in after years and even
to the present day have been prominent in the county in various ways.
While some of the settlers proceeded with their clearings, others, in the employment o. Mr. Cooper, made preparations
by getting out timber, digging and blasting a canal, etc., for building a mill at the falls, This place has ever
since been known as "Cooper's Fails." William Brown sowed two acres of winter wheat, and in the year
1803 the first saw mill was built. The entire town was afterwards surveyed into lots, furnishing a basis for all
Three of the families mentioned and most of the men of the first party remained in the settlement during the first
winter, and in the spring the families of Salmon Rich, Isaac Stacy, James Farr, Jonathan Hasl<ins, James and
Richard Merrill, Timothy Utley, and Sackett Dodge came in, and also Dr. J. Seeley, Barton Carver, Seth Alexander
(the man that was drafted in the summer of 1812, see anecdote, page 140) and Elias Alexander, Elijah Pooler, James
Burnett, Nathaniel Holt, James Cooper (a brother of the proprietor), Elisha Griffin, and others. The year 1805
saw the arrival of Philo Lord, Thomas B. Benedict, Horatio Johnson, Obadiah Johnson, Jacob Preston, William Cleghorn,
Daniel Smith and his six Sons (Harvey, John, Nathaniel, Daniel, Phineas and Richard), the latter family from Canada,
and Solomon Pratt, and probably others.
The following list of jurors of the town in 1806 adds a few to the foregoing names of residents, and is of interest
in this connection Joseph Anderson, Elias Alexander, Seth Alexander, Ichabod Arnold, Isaac Burnham, Thomas S. Benedict
(then a merchant), James Burnett, Amos Comly, James Farr, James Farr, jr., Elisha Griffin, Potter Goff, Nathaniel
Holt (a shoemaker), Levi Holt, Jonathan Haskins, Horatio G. Johnson, Obadiah Johnson, Israel Porter, Solomon Pratt
(a blacksmith), Solomon Rich, Isaac Stacy, Henry Smith, Nathaniel Smith, Timothy Utley, Abner Wright, Joseph Woodhouse
(a carpenter), William Woodhouse and Joshua Sweet.
One more list comprising fifty-four names is worthy of preservation here, consisting of the electors of the
town (though it then embraced a part of De Peyster) in December, 1807, all of whom were heads of families excepting
Nathaniel Holt; they are as follows: Joseph Anderson, Ichabod Arnold, Elias Alexander, Seth Alexander, Daniel Barker,
Ralph R. Bell, Mansfield Bristol, Truman Bristol, James Burnett, Isaac Burnham, Barton Carver, Abraham Cole, Elisha
Cook, James Cooper, William Cleghorn, Abel Cook, David Day, James Farr, Elisha Farr, Joseph Fisk, Ephraim Fisk,
Matthew Grover, Elisha Griffin, Potter Goff, Russell Goff, Nathaniel Holt, Levi Holt, Philo Hurlbut, John Jackson,
David Judson, Philo Lord, Abial Lyon (chairmaker), Richard Merrill, James Merrill, Solomon Pratt, Jacob Preston,
Samuel Phelps, Solomon Rich, Salmon Rich, Joseph Rounds, William Sloan, Nathaniel Smith, Joshua Sweet, John Seeley,
M.D., Isaac Stacy, Elijah Stockwell, Marvel Thair, Josiah Thornton, Samuel Thatcher, Timothy Utley, William Van
Booscirk, William Woodhouse, Abner Wright, Eseck Whipple.
In the spring of 1804 Mr. Cooper began the erection of that great necessity to the pioneer, a grist mill, under
direction of three brothers named Jackson- Cyrus, Asahel and Asa. The latter was severely injured during the work
by falling on his head, and it is said that Dr. John Seeley performed on him the operation of trephining with no
other instrument than a steel thimble, which he fashioned into an annular saw and fitted to a handle. Further notice
of the hamlet at the Falls is given a little further on.
Aside from Mr. Cooper, probably Thomas B. Benedict was the first merchant in the town, as he was granted a license
for that purpose in 1806, and William Cleghorn received a license to keep a tavern in the same year. To these were
added licenses to Solomon Pratt and Elijah Utley in the year 1807. In 1808 John Ross began working as a cooper
in the town, and Peter Thatcher started a chair shop at De Kalb village, and Abner Wright a wagon shop. These were
the first in the town. In the next year tavern licenses were granted to Jonathan Haskins and Solomon Rich. A tannery
was in operation in 1814 by Gideon Townsley, who was then agent for the lands of the Daubeny and Waddell estates.
He wrote in a memoranda that he was operating a tannery and "was accumulating money fast." The late E.
P. Townsley, who died about two years ago, succeeded his father as agent for the lands mentioned, and they were
not sold out until about thirty years later. A mill lot of two and a half acres was sold by Salmon Rich in June,
1808, near the site of Richville, to Ralph R. Thrall, for "a ton of potash and fifty dollars worth of sawing
after the mill was completed." The mill was built and operated until 1814, when it was burned; but a new one
was erected in the following spring through aid of many of the settlers. Russell Goff, who bought a farm of his
brother, Potter Goff, in 1806, built a saw mill on his, place (lot 503) as early as 1814. He was a mason by trade
and noted for his great strength. Elijah Farr, son of James, built a dam on Farr's Creek and started a carding
machine before 1814. It had to be abandoned after some years on account of scarcity of water in the creek.
The first death in the town of De Kalb was that of George Cowdry, one of the first party of settlers, who was drowned
by going over the falls in the Oswegatchie, September 13, 1804. The first birth was in the family of Jehiel Dimick,
in 1804, and the second that of Mary Ann Rich, daughter of Salmon Rich, born May 16, 1804. The first marriage was
that of Elisha Cook and Letta Willey, May 27, 1804; they were married by Stiliman Foote, then of Canton, and the
nearest magistrate. The first road that is on record as being laid out in this town was on the 28th of June, 1806,
"Beginning at the State road on Mr. John Jackson's southwest line, near Mud lake," and thence easterly
Beaver Creek Bridge. "A second one, under date of July 7, 1806, ran "from Captain Farr's place to the
town line towards the Ballybeen road." From the village to Captain Farr's was laid out in 1805 by Salmon Rich
and Kelsey Thurber. Of course the first road in the town was that already mentioned as having been cut through
by the first party of settlers in 1803, from the State road to the site of De Kalb village.
The settlement of De Kalb progressed with encouraging prospects and by a class of people who were competent to
build up the community in both its material and moral aspects. The War of 1812 was scarcely felt here, except in
the effect it had upon the general interests and the anxiety and unsettled condition of mind everywhere prevalent.
Although many enlisted, as well as being drafted (see Chapter on the War of 1812), by the year 1818 the population
of the town was 725, and the principal land owners at that time were James Cooper, Luther Bradish, Lloyd Daubeny,
Henry Waddell, and Frederick De Peyster.
In relation to the educational question in De Kalb, we quote as follows from Dr. Hough's work: In this, as in some
other towns, a large amount of poor money had accumulated, by taxes levied ostensibly for the support of the poor,
for which there was no use after the adoption of the poor-house system. By an act of February 22, 1830, the overseers
of the poor in this town were directed to pay a thousand dollars to the trustees of the public lots, to be invested
for the support of schools. From this source and the sale of the school lot this town acquired a very large fund,
The location of the two reserved lots was at first not known, and they were sold by Mr. Cooper. This afterwards
became a subject of differences, and Simeon Dewitt, the surveyor-general, was empowered by an act passed April
3, 1811, to settle with the legal representatives of William Cooper, on such terms as he might deem just and reasonable,
for any differences which might have arisen between the State and the said Cooper, in consequence of any mistakes
corninitted in locating the public lots in De Kalb In the general law relating to the gospel and school lots of
these towns, De Kalb was excepted.
During the early years the settlers depended principally on the lumber sent down the river to Ogdensburg market,
and the "black salts" they made in clearing up their farms, to raise money. With the passing of the years
in such industry the lands of De Kalb became largely cleared, and the agricultural interests developed in ratio
with those of other localities. Dairying interests have in recent years greatly advanced, and the manufacture of
butter and cheese has become an important branch. The cheese factory formerly operated at De Kalb was burned in
the winter of 1882 and was rebuilt in the following spring, and has since been operated as a creamery for the making
of choice butter, which finds a market in Boston. The factory is owned by Gardner Murphy & Co., of that city,
and is conducted by William Keyes. Aside from this factory, cheese is the principal product. The first factory,
near Richville, was built in 1863, which was the first north of Black River. There are several prosperous factories
now in operation, and the town ranks third in the county in the quantity of cheese made.
In educational affairs this town has always shown a proper degree of interest. There are twenty-two districts in
the town, and all have well conducted schools. The village of Richville has a union free school, for which a commodious
house was built in 1874, and three teachers are employed. At De Kalb Junction also is a graded school with three
departments, in which J. C. Holland acts as principal.
The opening of the railroad and the establishment of the junction with the line leading to Ogdensburg had a permanent
effect upon the business interests of the town, drawing trade largely to the Junction and to Richville, and away
from the interior of the town, as recounted further on.
During the war period De Kalb put forth patriotic efforts in support of the government, and sent her quota of men
to the front, providing liberally for the payment to them of bounties. A special town meeting was held December
15, 1863, at which a resolution was adopted pledging the payment of $300 to each volunteer enlisting after the
17th of October of that year, until the quota was filled under the call for 300,000 men. Similar action was taken
on the 27th of February, 1864, to fill the quota under the call of February 1 of that year. At a special meeting,
August 17, 1864, after the call for 500,000 men, the town board was authorized to issue certificates of indebtedness
to the amount of $600 to each volunteer or substitute, but owing to some alleged illegality in these proceedings
and the fact that the Board of Supervisors authorized the payment of a county bounty of $400 each, this action
was annulled. On the 30th of August the town board was authorized to issue bonds to the amount of $500 for each
volunteer in addition to the county bounty of $400 each, and the quota was thus filled. There were some unappropriated
moneys in the hands of the committee which were by resolution appropriated to the payment of the taxes of persons
who enlisted in the years 1861 and 1862. The total amount of bonds issued by the town was $29,231.
Following are the names of the supervisors of the town from its formation to the present time, with years of service:
1807-15, Isaac Burnham; 1816-18, Gideon Townsley; 1819-20, Elisha Griffin; 1821-28, Asa Sprague, jr.; 1829-30,
Jonathan Round; 1831, Nathaniel Martin; upon his failing to qualify, Roswell White was appointed to fill vacancy
; 1832-35, Asa Sprague; 1836-39, Seth Alexander; 1840-42, Harlow Godard; 1843-45, Asa Sprague; 1846, Dwight Spencer;
1847-49, Orin M. Fisk; 1850, Edward H. Hopkins; in September, Orin M. Fisk appointed to fill vacancy; 1851-50,
Orin M. Fisk; 1857-00, Elias P. Townsley; 1861-63, George D. Hastings; 1864 Henry Thompson; 1865, Abel Godard;
1866, Henry Thompson; 1867-75. Darius A. Moore; 1876-78, Thomas M. Wells; 1879-81 Abel Godard; 1882-4, Geo. E.
Gibbons; 1885-6, Ara J. Moore; 1887-8, G. E. Gibbons; 1889-91, Chas. R. Walker; 1892, John W. Morrison; 1893-94,
A. J. Moore.
De Kalb Village.- The first settlement of this place (then called Cooper's Village) and the building of
a public house by Judge Cooper in 1805, has been alluded to. Around that house, which was a large structure, sixty
feet square and three stories high, the stores and shops of the place sprang up. After being kept by various persons,
among them Isaac Stacy and Wm. Cleghorn, the building fell into decay and was taken down. Mr. Holt built a hotel
about this time, which was favorably known throughout the country. The first school in the town was opened here
in 1807, by Bela Willis, a Methodist exhorter. The post-office was established in 1820, the mails being carried
through from the Black River country on horseback. Thomas B. Benedict was probably the first postmaster. Among
those who have held the office since then may be mentioned Gideon Townsley, his son, Elias P., Nathaniel Holt,
Asa Sprague, Stephen Slosson, John Kingsbury, L. D. Townsley, John Whipple, and the present incumbent, A. J. Moore.
Among the former merchants of this place were Asa Sprague, jr., Hiram McCollom, John Rounds, Stephen Slosson and
D. A. Moore. Stores are now kept by D. A. Moore & Son, and Joseph Thraves. The only hotel in the place is the
Seymour House, kept by Edward Seym our.
At Cooper's Falls was formerly concentrated a little settlement and some business interests. The falls are about
six feet high, and are about a mile below De Kalb village. There Judge Cooper erected a saw mill and a grist mill
in 1804-5. Subsequently a stock company built a furnace there, the ore being obtained in the town of Hermon. The
mine was abandoned, the grist mill went to decay, and the water power now is not in use.
Richville.- The first settlement made on the site of Richville was by Salmon Rich and Jonathan Haskins in
1804. It is said that they reached this point from Cooper's village in the winter, drawing a sled, with the help
of two or three others, up the winding river on the ice, a distance of about ten miles. They formed a camp opposite
the village site and began a clearing. In April of the next year Haskins built a log house near the river, and
in June, P. Rich began clearing on the site of the village. The first school taught here was by Joseph Kneeland,
who was killed in a skirmish at the taking of Ogdensburg by the British in 1813. About 1807 the first tavern was
opened by Solomon Pratt. About the year 1810 Charles Boreland built a grist mill on the stream that bore his name,
about a mile and a half above Richville, where Salmon Rich built a saw mill in the previous year; this grist mill
was the second one in town. Jonathan Haskins was granted a license in 1809 and opened the second public house here.
About the year 1819 John C. Rich erected a building for hotel purposes. This was burned in 1870, and on the site,
what is now the Lynde House (formerly the Godard House) was erected; it is now kept by F. W. Foster. The first
store at this point was established by James Phelps On the road leading to the station; he was a shoemaker and
combined work at his trade with his store. Among the merchants of the past at this point are W. E. Carpenter, Charles
Higbee, E. P. Griffith, Spooner & Wiser, J. C. Wiser, and Charles R. Walker. The present merchants are J. F.
Wiser, William Walker, A. D. Gardner, F. P. Beaman, Alexander McCoy. The present postmaster is Willis P. Hendrick,
the office having been in existence since 1824, when John C. Rich took the office and held it about twenty-five
years. He was a son of Salmon Rich, the first master of Northern Light Lodge, No. 11 (see page 225), and long a
prominent citizen of the town. The village was known for many years as " Rich's Settlement." The grist
mill here and the saw mill connected were burned in 1877, when they were the property of James O'Connor. They were
rebuilt a few years afterward and again burned in 1881, while owned by Abel Godard, who rebuilt them and sold the
property to A. D. Lawyer, the present owner. The mill is on the site of the one built in 1815, and described a
few pages back.
With the opening of the railroad a considerable settlement grew up at what has been named Richville Station, near
Richville village, in the southwestern part of the town. A post-office is located there now under the name of "Bigelow,"
and H, N. Williams is postmaster and general merchant. An extensive lime kiln has been in operation at the station,
and quite recently quarrying of lime stone and sand stone near the station has been entered upon extensively by
Williams & Johnson and the Clarksons, of Potsdam. This industry is probably destined to become an important
one. S. W. Phelps has a mercantile business here, and a saw mill, built in 1884 by S. A. Martin, is now owned and
operated by H. M. Townsley.
De Kalb Junction.- At this point the opening of the railroads has built up a thriving community. The Ogdensburg
extension of the railroad was opened in September, 1862, and from the then only building of the place, a log house,
the present village has grown. The first store was opened in the fall of that year by T. M. Craig, and about three
years later Patrick Green built what was called the "Union Hotel." Later on two other hotels were built,
one by Israel Smith and the other by Patrick Green, and they, with two steam mills owned by Joseph Ray, were burned
with other buildings. The post-office here was established in January, 1864, with Israel D. Smith as postmaster.
The present postmaster is W. E. Vandelinder. A. C. Hine built a grist mill in 1877, which he conducted a number
of years. A saw and a planing mill was built in 1880 and burned January 31, 1892; it was then rebuilt, and is now
doing a thriving business in the hands of John D. Smith. The flour and feed mill is now operated by Fairbanks &
Lewis. The merchants of the place are W. E. Vandelinder, George A. Sheldon & Co., Dr. E. M. Cole, D. McGruer,
Frank Green, I. G. Haven, W. L. Thomas, M. D Alverson, L. M. Wainwright, and G. E. Gibbons. A. Stiles sells flour
and feed, and S. T. Walker has the meat business. A pump and oar factory was started in 1878 by S. Smithers, who
continues the business. A sash and blind factory was established by Lemuel Clark in the spring of 1893, and is
now operated by Gibbons & Clark. The Union Hotel was burned in 1888 and has not been rebuilt The Goulding House
is kept by Hurley Brothers, and the Tilomas House by N. G. Thomas.
There was formerly a post-office and a small settlement at East De Kalb, the post-office of that name having been
opened in 1853, with Harvey Bartlett as postmaster. The office is not now in existence. The locality was settled
by Elijah Pooler and Chester Dewey. Thomas and Isaac Tanner, John Williams, Freeman Stewart, and a Mr. Adams settled
here in the winter of 1810-11. Harvey Bartlett built a hotel here at an early day, and kept it for some years;
it was afterwards conducted by others and finally closed.
The former record of these societies has been somewhat mixed. De Kalb was one of the towns visited by the missionaries
sent out by the Massachusetts Society in 1806, when meetings were held in private houses. In this way a circle
of friends would congregate as a society without a formal organization. During a series of meetings held in the
town of Russell by Rev. James Johnson, in the summer of 1817, Mr. Seth Pomeroy, of De Kalb, invited him to come
and preach to his people. Arrangements were made, and his preaching awakened a deep interest in the minds of a
few, and warmed up several backsliders, which resulted in the formation of a Congregational church at Old De Kalb,
with ten members, on August 30, 1817. Rev. Mr. Johnson was their first pastor, and continued to supply them, in
connection with the Russell church, for some two years. The society was incorporated December 18, 1818, with Seth
Pomeroy, Joshua Dewey, Isaac Burnham (see page 126; he was also S. W. of F. and A. M.), Elisha Griffin, Isaac Stacy,
Jr., and Jonathan Haskins, trustees. A revival soon followed, when the church was greatly strengthened. Rev. Mr.
Johnson soon returned to Vermont, when the Rev. Thomas Kennon was engaged to supply them a part of the time. A
small church was built by the united efforts of the people, including other denominations, about 1818. A few years
later a stone church was built by the Congregationalists at East De Kalb, where regular services were held until
about 1853, when, a number of the more prominent members having died and others moved West, services were discontinued,
the members, however, going either to Richville or to Old De Kalb church. The Presbyterian minister serving a small
church at Old De Kalb commenced to hold services at the stone church, but the spiritual life of the people in that
neighborhood was on the wane, and after a short time the meetings were discontinued and the stone house left to
The Congregational Church located at Richville was formed by a few of the waning society at East De Kalb then living
in the place. The organization was effected in 1828, with Marshall Allen, Darius Wiser, Jonathan Baker, Josiah
Walker, Orson White and A. V. Chandler, trustees. Rev. Thomas Kennon supplied thrm in connection with the church
at East De Kalb Rev. Gorham Cross came into the place in the summer of 1839 took charge of the church, and brought
his family on the following spring, and served the church in connection with others near by for fifty years. and
who is now (1894; aged eighty-four) living in the place enjoying the fruits of his labors. In 1840 the society,
with the Methodists, built a small wooden church, and each held meetings on alternate Sabbaths. In 1859 a new church
was built on a lot donated by A. B. Lynd. In the spring of 1877 Rev. Mr. Dixon came to minister to the Methodist
portion of the congregation, when a desire on their part led to a separation. The Congregational society paid them
for their interest in the church and became full owners of the property the following year. A parsonage was built
on the lot, and in 1890 the church was thoroughly repaired and refurnished at an expense of $1,500. Rev. T. T.
Davis served this church, with the Welsh society, for a number of years, and resigned December, 1893.
The Congregational church located at De Kalb village was reorganizedin December, 1829, with Stephen Thompson and
two other trustees. The society has continued to maintain services most of the time since with varied success.
In 1878 a new church building was built, in modern style, at a cost of $4,500, which was erected principally through
the influence and means of A. D. Moore. The membership is not large and is now coupled with South Hermon church,
and served by Rev. W V. Roberts.
Welsh Congregational Society, located at Richville. The settlement at an early period of a large number of Welsh
people led to the formation in 1856 of the Welsh Congregational church, by Rev. Thomas D. Rees. Meetings were first
held in the stone dwelling of James Jones, near the village, but in the summer of 1859 a frame church was erected.
The church prospered and at one time had a membership of more than 125; it is now about forty, and Rev. T. T. Davis
ministered to the church a number of years up to December, 1893.
The Methodist Episcopal Society- This body of believers was among the first to commence their labors in town, but
they did not form a legal organization until February 25, 1829, when a society was formed at Old De Kalb, with
Seth Alexander (see war incident, page 140), Dwight Spencer, Obadiah R. Rundell, Orin C. Spencer, Elijah Pooler,
Thomas Spafford and John D. Smith, trustees. They had a part interest in the union church where they had previously
met for worship. The society built a church at East De Kalb in 1839, and have continued since to hold forth in
A Methodist Episcopal society was formed at Richville about 1835. They united in building a church with the Congregationalists
in 1840, also in 1859. In 1877 the Rev. Mr. Dixon had charge of the society, when it was thought best by that body
to withdraw from the Congregational or union house and build for themselves. Consent was given, and they received
the value agreed upon from the other body. A lot was purchased a short distance north of the other church and a
contract made with Albon F. Deen to erect a wooden church, which was conipleted and dedicated about December 1,
1878. The entire cost, including lot, furnishings, etc., was $2,500. The membership is now about eighty. F. W.
Thompson is the present pastor, who also supplies a small church of about forty members just over the line in North
The M. E. Church located at De Kalb Junction was formed when that place, on account of the two railroad lines passing
that point, attracted the people to locate there. A neat wooden church was erected in i88o. It is now in a flourishing
condition, having about 135 mem bers, with the Rev. J. P. Dunham, pastor.
What has been known as the Kendrew Methodist church (the first class having been formed by Thomas Kendrew, sr.),
was located a few miles below De Kalb village on the west side of the river. The frame church was erected in 1859
at a cost of $1,000. The first pastor was Rev. W. C. Lent. In recent years the church has commonly been supplied
by the pastor at Rensselaer Falls (see history of Canton).
Presbyterian Societies.- This body of believers was early on the ground, and assisted in the erection of
a small union church at Old De Kalb in 1818, and organized a church soon after. The names of the officers and members
were not preserved. Services have been continued most of the time since, and meetings were also held at East De
Kalb for a time. When the Congregational society built a church in 1879, the Presbyterians and Methodists overhauled
the union church and refurnished it, which has served the two bodies since.
A second Presbyterian church was organized at De Kalb Junction in 1879, and erected a convenient edifice in 1880,
at a cost of about $2,000. The membership is now about forty-eight, and the pastor is Rev. George F. Walker.
Baptist Church -The Baptist society of Richville was formed March 13, 1836, with Nathan Barker, Harlow Godard,
John Chase, James Phelps, Danford Johnson, Russell Johnson and several others. A small building was erected for
worship the summer following, and on the 2d of October, 1837, the society was incorporated, with Eleazer Dewey,
Jacob C. Temple, Jabez Bosworth, John C. Rich, Harlow Godard and Simeon Millen, trustees. Some years later the
first building was demolished and the present frame edifice erected. In 1876 about $2,500 were expended in improving
the church. The membership is now about eighty, and the pastor is Rev. George Barnes.
St. Henry's Catholic church was formed at De Kalb Junction, and labor commenced August 15, 1893. The organization
was effected under the guidance of Father Conroy, of Ogdensburg. James Cunningham and Timothy Sullivan were elected
trustees, and Mr. Vandalind and Daniel Hurley, building committee. A brick church 30x40 feet was erected at a cost
of $3,500, exclusive of the lot, which was donated by D. Tupper, non-catholic. The people in that vicinity, irrespective
of sect or creeds, assisted in the enterprise, and are proud of the beautiful structure. The church was formally
opened for services January 16, 1894.