THE TOWN OF WILNA.
Previous to 1813 the territory now comprising Wilna formed a part of the older
towns of Le Ray and Leyden, and it also formed a part of the vast tracts, amounting almost to principalities, known,
respectively, as great lot No. 4 of the Macomb purchase and the Chassanis tract. The line separating these tracts
crosses the town east and west, south of the central portion. In the year mentioned, on April 2, the legislature
passed an act defining with accuracy the boundary lines between counties in the state, and by this act Jefferson
county acquired a considerable body of land formerly a part of Lewis county, which was created a separate civil
division of the former and named Wilna, but why so named neither record or tradition furnishes any reliable in
formation. However, it has been said that the name was derived from and applied in allusion to Wilna, in Russia.
In area Wilna includes 47,483 acres of land, well adapted to general agricultural pursuits. The surface is gently
undulating and slopes generally toward the valley of Black river, its southwestern boundary. The other principal
water courses are Black creek, which drains the central and northwest portions, and Indian river, the latter crossing
the northern part and flowing thence into Antwerp. The town has few remarkable physical features to place it in
strong contrast with other of the county's subdivisions, yet in area it ranks third, and second in population.
The story of pioneer and early settlement in the town has never been a subject of dispute among chroniclers of
local history, all accounts according to Henry Boutin the honor of having made the first improvements. He purchased
1,000 acres of land from the agent of the French company, and in or about 1798 made a clearing on the site of Carthage
village, the immediate locality then and for several years afteward being known as the "Long Falls,"
in allusion to the succession of rapids or falls in the river. The natural water power thus offered attracted Bou
tin to the place, and in the waters of the river he is said to have met an accidental death a few years afterward.
On July 17, 1815, James Le Ray was appointed administrator of the Boutin estate, and in that capacity sold the
property at auction to Vincent Le Ray, his son, from whom all land titles in the village have descended. He, too,
was a prominent factor in early history in the town, and contributed largely to its development and settlement.
He caused the village to be surveyed and laid out, opened a land office, and was otherwise a conspicuous figure
in local affairs.
Jean Baptist Bossuot, sometimes called Baptise, came to the locality about 1799, and after Boutin's death and the
other settlers had departed, he alone remained at the Long Falls. He built a ferry across the river and also kept
an inn for the accommodation of travelers; and it is said that he never denied shelter or food to the moneyless
wayfarer, or refused to carry him over the river because he could not pay. The ferry was maintained until the construction
of the bridge, 1812-1.3, but Mr. Bossuot lived in the vicinity until his death in Champion, July 26, 1847. He was
born in Troyes, France, and came to this country in company with Baron Steuben. In his family were six children,
one of whom, George Bossuot, was the first white child born in the town.
Among the other factors in early history in Wilna, a more detailed narrative of which properly belongs to village
annals, may be recalled the name of David Coffeen (died in Carthage, Jan. 30, 1828), James Barney, Francis Lloyd,
Nathan Brown, Claudius S. Quilliard, and possibly others whose names and deeds have been lost with years long passed.
However, in the meantime settlement had extended down the river valley and well back on the uplands of the town,
on both sides of the line separating great lot No. 4 from the Chassanis tract. Indeed the proprietary were by no
means idle and the year 1814 showed the new town of Wilna to contain 261 inhabitants. The second war with Great
Britain was practically ended, and with peace assured the soldiery and militia returned from the frontier and devoted
themselves to the peaceful arts of agriculture and kindred pursuits. Within the next few years where once stood
vast primal forests fine farms appeared, roads were opened, schools and churches were established, and general
prosperity prevailed on every hand. The institutions of the town were in fact founded before the separate organization
of Wilna was accomplished, and the population of 1814, indicated the presence of between fifty and sixty families
in the new jurisdiction. The readjustment of county lines necessitated the erection of another town in Jefferson
county, and Wilna was the result. The creating act directed that the first town meeting be held at the house of
Thomas Brayton, then occupied by Elihu Stewart, on March 1, 1814. On that occasion pioneer Henry Lewis was chosen
moderator, and officers were duly elected as follows:
Supervisor, Thomas Brayton; town clerk, Elihu Stewart; assessors, John B. Bossuot, Caleb Fulton, Enoch Griffin;
collector, Robert C. Hastings; overseers of the poor, Henry Lewis, Alfred Freeman; commissioners of highways, Henry
Lewis, Freedom Gates, Thomas Brayton; constable, Robert C. Hastings; fence viewers, John D. Balmat, James Hamblin,
Isaac Blanchard, Caleb Johnson, Moses Cleveland; poundmaster, Alfred Freeman, with direction to construct the pound
at the "crutch" of road, near his dwelling house: overseers of highways, Caleb Fulton, Enoch Griffin,
Lewis De Villiers, Moses Pearson.
At this meeting the electors made all necessary provision for the government of the town and the conduct of its
affairs.' The list of officers just noted suggests to the reader the names of many of the first settlers, and it
may be assumed that a majority of the taxable inhabit. ants were then present as the occasion had for them a direct
interest. Their names are produced here in part for the purposes of complete record and as well to show who were
the settlers in Wilna durihg the period of its early history. However, it is difficult to determine just when pioneership
was lost in the general growth and development of the region, or who are entitled to be mentioned among its early
settlers. In 1825 the inhabitants numbered 1,126, about four times more than in 1814, showing that settlement in
the then comparatively remote locality was rapidly accomplished. In the town clerk's office in Wilna is found an
assessment roll for the year 1825, from which has been taken a list of the taxable inhabitants, that there may
be preserved in this volume the names of as many as possible of the first settlers. In another department will
be found not only the names of settlers but also sketches of personal and family life of the pioneers and their
descendants in the several towns, wherefore in the present connection it is sufficient to simply furnish the list
of taxables, with the number of acres owned by each set opposite their respective names.
Assessment roll for 1825 made by assessors Caleb Fulton, Stephen Lewis and Hezekiah Morris: Benedict Adams, 45;
Robert Anderson, 30; Josiah Allen, 50; Lewis Allen, 50; Henry Al]en, 25; William Anderson, 84; Nathan Brown, ½;
'rhomas Brayton, jr., 77; Abel Brinham, ¼; Isaac Blanchard, 50; Caleb Blancharci, 25; Robert Blanchard,
25; Howland Blanchard, 25; Coonwood C. Becker, 46; Stephen Barnes, 100; Marmaduke Banton, 100; Asa Barnes, 50;
Nicholas Benn, ½; William Brayton, 12; Jeremiah Brayton, 50; Thomas Brayton, 265; Joseph Brown, 125; Virgil
Brooks, 51; Bania Beddle, 50; Joseph C. Budd, 1/3; John D. Bossuot, 85; Samuel Barnes, 70; George Bunt, 100; Thomas
Baker, ¼; William Bevitt, 40; Lewis Becker, 63; Coonwood J. Becker, 27; Brayton, Lanphear, Nye & Co.,
2; William Bevitt, jr., 40; James Convery, 40; John Chase, ½; Peter Castle, 50; John F. Colston, ½;
Michael Cunningham, 25; Seth L. Cutler, ½; Calvin Chapin, 40; Jacob Coss, 75; James Carret, 140; Francis
Carret, 420; Stephen Cottwell, 50; Alford Crowner, 108; Austin Cadwell, 100; Chauncey Dodge, ½; Lewis De
Villairs, 150; William Dawley, 50; Francis Devois, 100; Jennis De Ferrit, 451; Amos Darwin, 100; Amos Draper, 58;
Charles Dayan, ½; James Edgar. 75; John Fanning, 28; Daniel Fitzpatrick, 50; John Fitzpatrick, 50; Edward
Fitzpatrick, 50; Stephen Fletcher, 50; Alford Freeman, 336; Elijah Ferrington, 50; Thomas Ferris, 98; Caleb Fulton,
50; Edward Galvin, 321; Elijah Grout, 50; Edward Gates, 30; Leonard Gates, 172; Barzilla Guyot, 71; Joseph Graham,
68; Adam Grove, 40; Hubbard Goodrich, 25; Curtis Hustins, 40; Thomas Hastings, 57; Otis Hastings, 50; Robert C.
Hastings, 39; Benjamin G. Hall, 50; James Hamblin, 117; Harlow Hawley, 41; Barney Hughes, 26; Stanton Hopkins,
25; Peggy Hodgkins, 200; James P. Hodgkins, 20; Eben Hodgkins, 57; Seth Hooker (toll bridge), ½; Samuel
C. Hoyle, ¼; Timothy Hosford, 50; Samuel Fngalls, 50; Jonah Johnson, 50; Milicent Johnson, ¼; Joshua
Johnson, 85; Elihu Jones, ¼; Pane Keyes, 38; Charles R. Knight, 11; Stephen Leaker, ½; Chaumont Vincent
de Le Ray, property at Carthage; Stephen Lewis, 165; Henry Lewis, 125; Henry Lewis, jr., 104; Ephraim Lewis, 50;
Francis Le Roy, ¼; Lewis Lauphear, jr., 120; Austin Latiphear, 20; Hiram Lanphear. 150; Luther P. Matthews,
60; Francis Moon, 120; Hezekiali Morris, ¼; Samuel Marshall, 50; Augustus Moon, 20; Michael Mick, 125; John
Murray, 30; Patrick Murray, 50; Michael Murray, 50; James Murray, 50; James Morris, ¼; John Martin, 50;
Edward McConnor, 25; Joel Mix, 50; John Main, 138; Andrew A. Matthews, 20; Anderson Minor, 50; Henry Noble, 50;
Stephen Nutting, 85; Chauncey Nutting, 28; Nutting & Pierce, ½; Horatio Newell, 25; Walter Nimocks,
2-3; Warren Nye, 100; Farrell Nearey, 25; Avery Olds, 100; Jonathan Owens, jr., 71; Charles Osborn, 150; Abram
Ostrander, 61; Peter Odell, 5/8; D. C. Pellet, 20; Hiram Petty, 25; John Petty, 136; Joseph S. Pierce, ½;
John Pool, 100, Ichabod Palmer, 43; George Parish 592; John Pearson, 135; Moses Pearson, 160; Lyman Palnierston,
100; Allen Peck, M; Edmund Piggott, 30; C. S. Quilliard, 200; William Reader, ¼; Patrick Riley, 120; Nathaniel
Rice, ½; Nathan Starks, 1; Charles Strong, -; Patrick Sharon, 25; John Smith, 250; Orlo Stannard, 82; Elijah
Scott, 5; William Sarvey. 37; Ephraim H. Smith, 50; Aaron Slater, 50; Abel Shattuck, 100; P. S. Stewart, 18; Joseph
Saunders, 77; Francis Shindler, 50; Tiba Tucker, 34'; Lawrence Thorp, 50; Benajah Tubbs, 104; Lewis Thomas, 54;
Johnson Tuft, 65; Reuben Tuft, 25; Benjamin Thau, 11; John Van Antwerp, 3/4; Justus Woolcott, 25; John Weaver,
25; Taber Weaver, 25; Nathan Wilson, 30; Amos Wormwood, 42; Eli West, 3; John Welch, 70; James Welch, 70.
The foregoing list is taken from the assessment roll almost literally, and corrections are made only in cases where
an error is known to exist. The reader will of course understand that the early town officers were not educated
men, and their knowledge of grammar was generally crude, hence they spelled names much as they were commonly pronounced
rather than according to strict rules of orthography. However, the list may be regarded as reasonably accurate,
and suggests the names of pioneers in Wilna many of whose descendants are still in the county, while others are
not now known in the vicinity. All were at that time earnestly engaged in the work of improvement and building
up, and the results of their labors have been enjoyed by later generations of inhabitants. Not one of the settlers
there mentioned is still alive, and all honor is due to their memory and to their early efforts.
The assessment rolls of later years show constant increase both in number of inhabitants and local advancement,
and each succeeding year witnesses the passing of the sire and the succession of the son, until the old names are
now found only in the old records and on the gravestones of the cemetery. On the site where pioneer Boutin made
the first improvement in 1798 is now a large and growing village, second in point of population and commercial
importance among the municipalities of the county. During the period of its history, there have been built up within
the town several other trading and business centers, each established for the convenience of the people living
in localities remote from the principal village of Carthage. Natural Bridge and Woods Settlement are of some importance
in business life, the former leading, while Wilna and North Wilna are small post hamlets in the central and northern
part of the town, respectively. A few miles southwest from Wilna, and four miles from Carthage, isalocality known
as the "Checkered House," at one time called "Fargo's Hall," and here both town and other public
gatherings were held. Here, too, were held several patriotic meetings during the war of 1861-65, and here, on August
18, 1862, the taxpayers unanimously resolved to pay a bounty of $50 for each volunteer who should enlist from the
town for service at the front; and here, also, in regularly assembled town meeting held February 17, 1863, the
inhabitants ratified the previous action and otherwise demonstrated the town's loyalty during that period of fearful
To the southeast of Checkered house, and chiefly within the town of Croghan, is an extensive locality known as
the Irish settlement, the pioneers of which region made the first improvement about 1820. As their numbers increased
many families drifted over into Wilna. The early settlers here are nearly all gone but their descendants survive
and are numbered among the thrifty farmers of the town.
By reference to the preceding narrative, and particularly to the old tax roll, it will be seen that the growth
of Wilna and the development of its resources has indeed been rapid, and especially so during the first half century
of its history. However, to better illustrate its growth, reference is had to the federal and state census reports,
from which the number of inhabitants at the beginning of each half decade is found to have been as follows:
In 1814, the year in which the town was organized, 201 inhabitants; 1820, 648; 1825, 1,126; 1830, 1,602; 1835,
2,053: 1840, 2,591; 1845, 2,714; 1850, 2,993; 1855, 3,024; 1860, 3,662; 1865, 3,921; 1870, 4,060; 1875, 4,253;
1880 4.393; 1885, no enumeration; 1890, 4,552.
From this it is seen that the growth of the town at large has been constant, and during the early period of its
history quite rapid; and while recent years have witnessed a radical decline both in population and agricultural
interests in many interior towns of the state, the inhabitants in Wilna appear to have suffered comparatively little
in this respect. True, liusbandmen have been compelled to change the character of their farm productions, for now
the farmers of the east are brought into direct competition with those of the great west, to the disadvantage of
the former; and it is no longer expected that our overworked and long occupied agricultural lands will produce
equally with the new and rich areas of the west, valued at from one to five dollars an acre. In 1825 the assessors
appraised farm lands in Wilna at about $1.50 per acre, and made oath that the assessment represented fair value,
while now the same lands are worth $20 to $100 an acre, yet produce no more than half what they did three quarters
of a century ago From first to last the inhabitants have been mindful both of the educational and spiritual welfare
of the yputh, and at a special town meeting held April 16, 1814, it was voted to raise a sum of money equal to
the amount allowed the town by the state for the support of schools. At that time pioneers Henry Lewis, Daniel
W. Hall and Elihu Stewart wers elected commissioners of common schools, and Thomas Brayton, Benjamin G. Hall and
Luther P. Mather were likewise chosen inspectors of town schools. Unfortunately, however, the records give no information
as to the number and location of schools, or by whom they were taught. Previous to the creation of Wilna the school
system in operation was a part of the older jurisdiction, and the history of education in this town necessarily
dates from its separate formation. By a report filed May 26, 1814, the local commissioners divided Wilna into three
school districts and provision was made for a school in each. In 1821 commissioners John Smith, Stephen Lewis and
Eli West made a new division and formed seven districts; and in 1825 an eighth district was added to the number.
From this beginning the school system of the town has grown, increasing and enlarging as years passed and the welfare
of the youth has demanded, and all in accordance with the improved methods from time to time adopted. As now constituted
Wilna has eighteen school districts and in each, whether wholly in the town or joint with another town, a good
school is maintained and kept under the constant supervision of the district commissioner as the law provides.
Natural Bridge is of the most importance among the hamlets of Wilna, and was named in allusion to a peculiar dispensation
of nature, a bridge of rocks having been formed over the Indian river by the action of the water. The village is
distant ten miles from Carthage, almost due east, and has a population of about 600 inhabitants within the radius
of a mile. Settlement was begun in this part of the town soon after 1815, and Lewis Allen, Stephen Nutting, Charles
Knight, Zebina Chaffee, Arnold Burr and Abel Bingham were prominent heads of families three-quarters of a century
ago. The names of all of them do not appear in the roll of 1825. However1 one of the most conspicuous residents
of the place in its early history was Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, and who, in fact was, as has been
mentioned by cotemporary writers, "exking of Spain." In 1828 this royal personage built a pretentious
mansion at the settlement, lived there several years, and then took up his abode at Bordentown, N. J. Various traditions
are extant in explanation of his coming and departure, but that he was greatly respected among the pioneers is
unquestioned, and all memories of him are of pleasing import. Lake Bonaparte, in Lewis county, was so called in
honor of this distinguished settler.
For about three-quarters of a century Natural Bridge has been a fiotirishing hamlet, and the trading center for
the inhabitants of a rich agricultural region in Jefferson and Lewis counties. Abel Bignham opened a store here
in 1820, and in the next year Mr. Knight built a tavern. In later years saw mills and a large tannery were put
in operation in the village and locality, but now all save a few have been discontinued. The mercantile interests
at the present time are the general stores conducted by John Burns and John W; Lynde; the groceries owned by Edgar
Cowen, DeWitt Dawley and John Shoemaker; Dr. J. H. Copp's drug store, and Montondo Bros. hardware store; Yousey
Bros. have a good saw mill, and George Wilson a similar industry of less capacity. Robert Shields is proprietor
of a water power and William Priest of a steam power grist mill. John Farrer has a cheese box factory. The tannery
which for more than thirty years was one of the staple industries of the hamlet has been closed within the past
year In 1847 a Boston company of capitalists began extensive operations for copper mining near the village, hut
after a commendable display of experimental energy the enterprise was abandoned.
In addition to its mercantile and manufacturing interests, Natural Bridge has good hotels, a place for public
entertainments, an excellent three-room district school (district No. 8), two regularly organized church societies
(Methodist Episcopal and Universalist), and the small shops which are necessary adjuncts of village life.
The Methodist Episcopal church at Natural Bridge dates back in its history to about 1825, when a class was formed
and occasional services were held by itinerant preachers, though not until 1830 was a church home provided. From
that to the present time the society has continned in existence, drawing attendance from both Wilna and Diana.
It is now a joint charge with Harrisville, under the pastoral care of Rev. D. W. Aylesworth, the two churches having
a total membership of 198, and 167 probationers.
The Universalist church at Natural Bridge was organized and a house of worship erected in 1872; first pastor, Rev.
J. H. Stewart. The history of the society has been continuous to the present time, the attendance averaging about
150 persons. The church is now without a pastor.
Wood's Settlement, or as better known in recent years, Wood's Mills, is a small hamlet in the extreme eastern part
of Wilna, near the Antwerp line, and derived its name from the settlement and improvement begun by Jonathan Wood
in 1833. Here he built a grist and saw mill on Indian river, a great convenience to the inhabitants of the region.
Pioneer Wood was otherwise prominently connected with the town's history, and held the offices of supervisor, assessor,
and justice of the peace. He died in 1879, but his descendants still live in the vicinity. For many years a store
has been kept at the Mills, the present owner being Jason E. Merrick, who also is local postmaster. The grist mill
is now operated by Harlan Wood. In the same vicinity is the Lewisburg cheese factory, owned by Mr. Washburn, while
between North Wilna and the Mills settlement is another similar industry conducted by Luther Gibbs. The near-by
district school and the Methodist Episcopal church are the only public buildings of the locality.
Methodism in this part of Wilna, and in southern Antwerp dates back to about 1835, when the society was formed.
A union meeting house was erected in 1849. and while other denominational services were occasionally held, the
Methodists eventually succeeded in estab lishing an enduring society. The pulpit is supplied from Antwerl). This
church now makes no separate report to the conference.
The supervisors of Wilna from the organization of the town have been as follows:
1814-15, Thomas Brayton; 1816, Alfred Freeman; 1817, Francis Lloyd; 1818-19, Nathan Brown; 1820-22. Thomas Brayton;
1823-27, Eli West; 1828-29, Thomas Baker; 1830-32, Eli West; 1833, Walter Nimocks; 1834, Wm. Bones; 1835-36, Walter
Nirnocks; 1837, Wm. Bones; 1838, Oliver Child; 1839, Walter Nimocks; 1840-41. Eli West; 1842, Jonathan Wood; 1843,
Walter Nimocks; 1844, Milton H. Carter; 1845, Charles Strong; 1846, Hiram McCollom; 1847-49, Simeon Fulton; 1850-51,
Wm. Christian; 1852-53, Horace Hooker; 1854. Samuel Keyes; 1855-56, Nelson D. Ferguson; 1857, Wm. Christian; 1858,
Patrick S. Stewart; 1859, Samuel Keyes; 1860-63, Charles W. Smith; 1864-06, Wm. Christian; 1867, James H. Morrow;
1868, Lawrence J. Goodale; 1869, James H. Morrow; 1870, Wm. Christian; 1871-72, Henry M. Hammond; 1873-74, Foster
Penniman; 1875-80, James Galvin; 1881-82, Orrin S. Lewis; 1883-84, Wm. C. Becker; 1885-86, James C. Graham; 1887-90,
Win. H. Delmore; 1891-93, John Whaling; 1894-97, Cornelius Clark; 1898-99, P. J. Corcoran.
Carthage.- The Long Falls in the
channel of Black river was the direct cause of the subsequent building up of two enterprising villages, one in
the old historic town. of Champion and known as West Carthage, and the other on the east side of the river, for
more than sixty years called Carthage, but originally known as Long Falls in allusion to the splendid water course
which separates these municipalities. Between these sister villages are many things in common, and the interests
of one are beneficial to and enjoyed by the residents of the other. In many respects their history is identical
and might appropriately be treated in a single chapter, yet they are distinct corporations and according to the
proper division of subjects in this work, their growth and development must be separately traced.
As has been mentioned in the history of the town of Wilna, Henry Boutin was the pioneer in this part of the vast
Castorlanci tract, having purchased from the agent of the French company of proprietors 1,000 acres of land including
all that is now the village and extending somewhat beyond its present limits. In 1798, so near as the year can
be determined, Boutin, with a compahy of men, made an extensive clearing, erected a few rude buildings for dwelling
purposes, and soon thereafter set out to return to France that he might settle his business affairs, having determined
to make Long Falls his permanent place of abode: but by an accident the worthy pioneer was drowned (probably in
Black river), his company of workmen soon abandoned the improvement and the lands passed to Vincent Le Ray, by
purchase from James Le Ray as administrator of the Boutin estate.
In the meantime, soon after the advent of Boutin, Jean Baptiste Bossuot came to the place and after the improvement
had been abandoned by the employees of the former, he alone remained. He was a native of France, and like his predecessor
pioneer was induced to come to Castorland through the agency of the French company. All recollections of Jean B.
Bossuot denote that he was a worthy resident and enterprising pioneer. The occasional travelers through this region
sought to cross Black river, hence our pioneer constructed a rude yet sufficient ferry, charging for its use a
moderate toll, and also built on the east bank of the river a small public house. It has been said that he opened
the first store on the village site, but this assertion is not verified.
David Coffeen came to the Falls in 1806 and began the erection of a grist mill on the west bank of the river. He
also constructed a dam, extending diagonally up the stream from his mill, but not across the channel. The structure
was subsequently completed by the owners of the forge on the east side. The forge was built in 1816 by Mr. Le Ray,
and he also about the same time was chiefly instrumental in causing to be built a highway leading from the Falls
to the St. Lawrence, known as the Alexandria road. Also under the same direction Claudius S. Quilliard built a
blast furnace in 1819. The old forge burned soon after it was built, but in the course of a few years another,
having greater capacity, was erected by a company from Fort Ann, comprising Nathan Brown, Francis Lloyd and James
Barney, who manufactured mill irons, anchors and other commodities. The company also opened a store, back of the
present R., W. & O. station, and by their enterprise laid the foundation for an enterprising village previous
to 1825; but Mr. Barney's death so unsettled the business then carried on that it was soon discontinued, and the
property reverted to Mr. Le Ray. The industry was soon revived, and during the long period of its operation was
managed by various proprietors, the names or succession of whom cannot now be ascertained. Ores were obtained from
the county and region, and the old furnace and forge were almost directly the cause of the village settlement,
and its chief industry for many years.
In the meantime, through the constant arrival of other settlers, the hamlet had assumed fair proportions. In 1812
the legislature authorized the construction of a toll bridge across the river, "where the state road leading
to Oswegatchie crosses," and in pursuance of the act, in 1812-13, the structure was built, under the direction
of Ezra Church. In 1829, the old bridge being decayed, the subject of a new free bridge was much discussed, and
through the enterprise of Mr. Le Ray, Joseph C. Budd and others, a free bridge was built, from island to island,
across the river. This series of bridges lasted less than two years. The upper bridge had been repaired and made
free (1829), and toll gate keeper Seth Hooker no longer collected fares at the east approach. In 1840 a new covered
bridge was built on the site, and by an act passed April 11, 1853, the state assumed charge of the structure, rebuilt
and has ever since maintained it. The work was completed in 1854, and in the next year the state also built the
substantial dam below the bridge, at the head of the falls. The present bridge was built in 1896.
Between the years 1825 and 1830 the residents at Carthage became deeply interested in a proposition to construct
a canal connecting with the Erie canal at Rome and thence running northward to the Black river, below High (now
Lyons) Falls. In this project Vincent Le Ray, Dr. Eli West and many other business men were active factors, and
filled with confidence as to the ultimate result, they with others, formed a company and in 1832 built the steam
boat Cornelia, to ply between the village and High Falls. The canal, however, was not fully completed until more
than twenty years later, and in the meantime the Cornelia, though a staunch boat, proved unsatisfactory for her
proposed work, and in the summer of 1853 the Enterprise in a measure replaced the former boat. During this period
of expectancy, rumors and projects for other canals also occupied public attention in our village, and while the
hoped for results were not fully realized, Carthage became a central point of interest and much good was derived
therefrom. Still later, in 1872, the Utica and Black river railroad was completed to Carthage, and in the same
year another railroad was built between this village and the county seat. The now Carthage and Adirendack railroad
was projected as early as 1865, but not until 1889 was it fully completed. However, the subject of railroads is
treated at greater length in another chapter, and the brief allusion here made is only as an element of local history.
The erection of the furnace and forge and the construction of the toll bridge had the effect to stimulate the business
interests and resulted in rapid growth along the river bank. In fact for many years nearly all business was transacted
at the points mentioned and when in 1866 George and John L. Norton opened a store, on the site where the latter
is still in business, they were referred to as " up in Wilna." Hiram McCollom was one of the early merchants,
and first opened a store soon after 1820 in a frame building opposite the toll gate. He was in trade for many years,
and built the long brick and stone structure still standing between Water and Canal streets. Indeed, he was the
leading merchant of the village until about 1850.
Between the years 1830 and 1855 the greatest growth was accomplished, and some of the prominent business interests
of the period may be recalled about as follows: Charles Strong kept a tavern; Dr. Eli West was local physician
and also justice of the peace; Budd & Bones operated the furnace; Dr. Budd was a physician; Nathan Starks bought
the Levis house site in 1828 and erected a one and one-half story house which Horace Henry remodeled for hotel
purposes. Remsen R. Brown bought it in 1854 and rebuilt with brick. Seth Hooker was the first postmaster, understood
to have been appointed when the hamlet was known as Long Falls. According to Mr. Brown's recollection, the name
was changed to Carthage about 1828. Later postmasters were William Blodgett, Elijah Farrington and Eugene West.
Among the other early business men were Nathan Brown, hotel keeper; Thomas Baker, in the furnace enterprise; John
F. Coiston, printer: Chauncey Dodge, wagon maker; Charles Dayan, in Squire Lathrop's flax mill; Leonard C. Gates,
saw mill; Elihu Jones, printer; Nutting & Pierce, shoemakers; Walter Nimocks, owner of several lots on State
street; Peter Odell, blacksmith; Nathaniel Rice, liquor dealer; Charles Strong, hotel; Samuel J. Davis, saw mill.
There were also Samuel Gilbert. Morrow & Stewart, Clark Dodge, Pitt Matthews, West & Peck, Frank G. Connell,
and others whose names are now lost. Between 1820 and 1850 the purchasers of lots on the north side of State street,
between Church street and the river, were (beginning at the river) Seth Hooker, Hezekiah Morris, Charles Strong,
Nathan Brown, Nathan Starks. Walter Nimocks, Samuel Gilbert, Clark Dodge, Elijah and Walter Horr, Eben Hodgkins.
Samuel C. Hoyle (site of the First National bank), Stephen Lake, J. C. Kellogg, Andrew Doig. On the south side,
in like order, the owners were Hiram McCollom, Paul Boynton, Eli West, Alford Lathrop. Walter Nimocks, Calvin Auburn,
John Chase, Eben Hodgkins, Allen Peck (Strickland block site), Samuel C. Hoyle (site of hotel Elmhirst), Thomas
B. Lake, Linus R. Cady, James P. Hodgkins, and the Catholic church property which latter was deeded in 1821.
All these owners purchased directly from Mr. Le Ray, through his attorneys, Isaac H. Bronson, and Micah Sterling,
or, after 1835, from Patrick S. Stewart. In 1835 the land sales in Carthage were so frequent that Mr. Stewart became
resident agent for the proprietary, and an office was built on West street, next east of the priest's residence.
It was maintained until the last lands of Mr. Le Ray in this immediate locality were sold by Mr. Goodale.
While the mercantile interests of our enterprising village were thus enlarging, so was there a corresponding growth
in other directions, especially in manufactures of various kinds. Indeed, it was this element of development which
contributed more to local advancement than to the strictly mercantile branch, for the latter was chiefly dependent
on the former for support. The truth of this statement is evidenced in the history of Carthage during the last
ten years, when all branches of manufacture have been much depressed and as to its result the rnerchants of the
village have suffered serious embarrassments. However, it is not the purpose of this work to enquire into conditions
of trade or causes of depression in business.
For a period of more than fifty years Carthage has been known as a manufacturing center of much importance, and
in the prominence thus gained, the Long Falls and the numerous islands in the river, all contributing to the splendid
natural water power afforded, have been active factors; and the suggestion of one naturally calls for mention of
the other. From first to last Tannery island has been a scene of busy activity, beginning with the construction
of a tannery in 1830 by Walter Nimocks and Allen Peck. The building subsequently passed through various ownerships
and was finally burned in the fall of 1895. In the mean time a pulp mill was erected on the lower end of the islnnd,
and now, combined with an extensive paper mill, is its only industry.
Bazille Guyot came to Long Falls in 1816, and with Louis Bryant built the machinery for the forge erected in that
year. Mr. Guyot also built for Mr. Le Ray a grist mill on the island named for him, Guyot's island. Later on he
bought the site, and in 1833 erected what has ever since been known as Guyot's mill. A chair factory and the electric
lighting power house are now on the island with the mill. An old nail factory, built in 1323, was also a former
industry of this historic spot, and in the course cf its long occupation for manufacturing purposes there have
been in operation on the island a forge, rolling mill, grist mill, nail works, axe factory, broom handle works,
furniture factory, carding mill and general repair shops. In the same vicinity, though just off the island, stood
the old furnace, the pioneer industry of the village, of which mention has been made, and of which Budd & Bones
were perhaps the most prominent proprietors. About 1846 the works were closed and not revived until 1860, when
the Carthage Iron company resumed operations there and continued business several years. In 1884, then unoccupied,
the building was burned.
In 1845 Hiram McCollom began the erection of a nail factory and rolling mill in this part of the village, and in
the same year, in company with James P. Hodgkins, built a large casting foundry on what then became known as Furnace
island. Among the many persons and firms connected with this industry were Seth R. King, Ezra Hodgkins, Hodgkins
& Fuller, Hodgkins & Wood, George M. and Alexander Brown, Brown, Winch and Bliss, all previous to 1868.
In this year C. P. Ryther acquired a half interest and the business was conducted by Brown & Ryther until 1871,
when the partnership of Ryther & Pringle was formed. The firm continued until the death of Mr. Ryther, Nov.
22, 1897. These works were burned in 1884, but were at once replaced with more suitable buildings and equipments.
Referring briefly to other old and present industries of the village, but not attempting to follow all of them
through changes of ownership, mentiun may be made of the Carthage company, manufacturers of wood pulp, 1888; Spicer
and Sons' pulp mill, 1889, more recently known as the Union pulp mill, George E. Spicer, proprietor; the Empire
steam pump company, established by E. G. Shortt, now the Adirondack machine company; Balcom & Spicer's veneering
mill; M. J. Garvin's (now Matthews') custom feed mill; L. H. Mills' saw mill on Guyot's island, now replaced with
Outterson & Ball's paper mill; Guyot's grist mill, on the old mill site on the island; Hammond & Waters'
woodworking shops; Wing & Sons' machine shops; Alsesser's chair factory; Carthage lumber and wooden ware company,
closed, established 1889; Dodge's glove and mitten factory, 1889; Peck & Wrape's pressed brick works; Dr. Robinson's
andW. P. Herring's pulp mills; Fred Guyot's planing mill; Duffy & Connelley's chair works, formerly on Tannery
island but now burned; Austin's chair factory; Maxwell, Yousey & Co.'s pulp and paper mill, new; Houghton Bros.,
brick manufacturers; Shortt & Emery's air brake works, with others of perhaps less note, but all of which have
combined to make Carthage a flourishing manufacturing village. True, several of these industries, under the general
depression of the period, are not in full operation, but each has been an important element of progress in local
During the period of its history Carthage has suffered from the ravages of several serious fires, the first of
which of note occurred July 15, 1861, resulting in the destruction of twenty buildings in the mercantile portion
of the village, including the Baptist church and four dwellings; loss $60,000. On December 22 of the same year
a fire destroyed several buildings and other property situated near the eastern end of the river bridge. A disastrous
fire also occurrrd in May, 1872, resulting in the loss of several business buildings between the Lewis house and
Water street. On the night of Dec. 12, 1874, Volney Warren's livery barn was burned, but the most serious accident
of the fire was the burning to death of Levi Warren. However, the most extensive conflagration in the history of
the village was the great fire df Oct. 20, 1884, originating in West Carthage and by burning embers blown across
the river communicating with buildings in this village, in the factory district, and thence spreading and burning
with resistless force until an area of seventy acres lay in ruins. All asked for help from surrounding villages
quickly came, but no human power could stay the fury of the flames until one hundred and fifty-seven buildings
of all descriptions had been destroyed, among them the school, the Episcopal, Pres. hyterian, Baptist and Disciples
church edifices. The total losses were variously estimated at from $500,000 to $750,000. On July 24, 1892, several
manufacturing buildings were burned, at a loss of more than $50,000, and on December 16, following, another serious
fire destroyed six stores between Mechanic street and the Bones building.
While each of these losses was indeed serious they nevertheless were an riltimate benefit, for on the sites of
the generally primitive structures, were erected substantial brick buildings, especially in the business districts,
many of which stand as ornaments to the village and evidence of thrift and enterprise on the part of their owners.
Again, on State street, on sites where old frame structures formerly stood the same spirit of enterprise has impelled
owners to erect attractive buildings, and now it is doubtful if any village in the county can show a better array
of business houses than those at the intersection of State and Mechanic streets in Carthage, while between Church
street on the east, and Water street on the west, is as fine a row of mercantile buildings as can be found in this
section of the state; and within the stores can be found a large and well selected stock of goodsand wares, all
evidence of thrift and prosperity.
Incorporation - As must be seen
from what has been stated on preceding pages, the growth in all branches of village life in Carthage was both rapid
and substantial, and the natural result was a desire for at least a limited separation from the surrounding town
that necessary public improvements might be made to insure comfort, convenience and safety to the inhabitants;
improvements of a character that called for an expenditure of money, and in which the town at large could not be
asked to bear a share. Therefore the legislature, on May 26, 1841, passed an act to incorporate the village of
Carthage, defining its boundaries and making provision for its government by a board of five trustees.
The first trustees elected under the act were Virgil Brooks, Suel Gilbert, Ebenezer Hodgkins, Amos Choate and Walter
Nimocks. The first president of the board (appointed from the trustees) was Virgil Brooks. The original act was
subsequently amended, but the first radical change was made May 11, 1869, when the legislature passed an act amending
the village charter in several important particulars, from which time the office of president became elective by
the people. The number of trustees was reduced to four and their term of office was also changed. in fact, the
corporate powers of the village were materially enlarged, a detail of which is not necessary to this chapter. An
amendment to the charter, passed April 15, 1896, provided for the election of president, trustees, treasurer, collector
and assessors. The other officers were made appointive by the trustees.
The succession of village presidents has been as follows: Virgil Brooks, 1842; Hiram McCollom, 1843-44; Eli
West, 1845-46; Hiram McCollom, 1847-49; Patrick S. Stewart, 1850; Johr. B. Johnson, 1851; Eli West, 1852-53; Orlin
Holcomb, 1854; William D. Davis, 1855; Eli West, 1856; Samuel J. Davis, 1857; Joseph Crowner, 1858; Eli West, 1859;
Richard Gallagher, 1860; S. S. Hoyt, 1861; Richard Gallagher, 1862; Charles T. Hammond, 1863; Horace Hooker, 1864;
George Gilbert, 1805; Lawrence J. Goodale, 1866; Augustus Babcock, 1867; Rollin Dickerman, 1868; T. J. Morgan,
1869; S. S. Hoyt, 1870-71; Samuel Branaugh, 1872; Nicholas Wagoner. 1873; A. W. Sylvester, 1874; Charles P. Ryther,
1875-76; Charles Rugg, 1877; Charles P. Rytlier, 1878; Orin S. Lewis, 1879; Henry J. Kellogg, 1880; Orin S. Lewis,
1881; Henry J. Welch, 1882; Orin S. Lewis, 1683; Henry J. Welch, 1884; John C. Reed, 1885; Charles P. Ryther, 1886;
Henry J. Welch, 1887-88; William H. Delmore, 1889-90; Ephraim H. Myers, 1891-93; George E. Spicer, 1894-95; John
L. Norton, 1896; Henry J. Welch, 1897.
Educational.- In the early history
of the town the commissioner of common schools divided the entire territory into three districts and made some
informal provision for the maintenance of a school in each. In 1828 the same territory was redistricted, and the
hamlet called Long Falls, now Carthage, was in district No. 3. About that time a schoolhouse was built on School
street, near State, and was in all respects a novel building, perhaps modelled on plans suggested by Mr. Le Ray
after the French style, being amphitheatrical in interior arrangement. It was a substantial structure, nevertheless,
and served a good purpose for several years. Another old school of the hamlet was that opened about 1830 by Arby
Leonard in a building just above the present hotel Elmhirst, and where many of the most prominent men of the village
in later years acquired an elementary education. This, however, was a private or select school. Harrison Wilbur
succeeded Mr. Leonard and in 1842 built an academy on the present High school site, to which he gave the name,
"Carthage Academy." In 1843 Rev. Orin Wilbur came from Lowville and conducted the school about two years,
and was in turn succeeded by the Misses Hooker. Still later principals were Rev. Jacob A. Wood and B. T. Bush and
wife. During its history the old building was twice removed, and in 1852 was replaced with a more substantial structure.
On July 30, 1860, at a village meeting it was resolved to organize a union free school district, and in August
following the new hoard of education was authorized to purchase the Bush property, comprising one and one-half
acres of land and its buildings. The schoolhouse was burned in the disastrous fire of October 20, 1884, but in
the next year was replaced with the present high school building, one of the most complete and substantial structures
of its kind in this part of the state; and in its management and results no educational institution in this county
has gained a better standing.
The first board of education comprised Lawrence J. Goodale, Richard Gallagher, John B. Emmes, Horace Hooker and
Lysle Bones. Within a few years afterward Leonard G. Peck and John L. Norton were elected members of the board
and have continued in office to this time. Mr. Norton has been president since 1884, and Mr. Peck secretary also
for many years; and in a great measure the success and standing of the school has been due to their unselfish efforts.
The present board comprises John L. Norton, president, Leonard G. Peck, secretary, and John S. Edwards, L. D. Thompson
and Edward Villars.
Fire Department.- Previous to
the incorporation of the village the apparatus for extinguishing fires was indeed primitive, and the department
comprised the village population, without regular order or recognized head. However, after the corporation act
was passed the trustees set about organizing a fire department, and on July 24 formed a company, Carthage No. 1,
with Samuel A. Budd as captain. On August 12, 1842, a hand engine was purchased, and on June 9, 1843, Washington
fire company was formed. The large cistern at the corner of State and School streets was built in 1849. A hook
and ladder company was organized May 24, 1851, Levi Wood, captain, and on April 9, 1852, and again Dec. 20, 1870,
similar companies were organized, one succeeding the other. Still another of the same character was formed in May,
1870. Carthage hook and ladder company, a permanent organization, was formed June 12, 1874. Hose companies were
soon afterward organized, Nos. 1 and 2, of which Tiger and Rescue Hose companies are the outgrowth. The steam engine,
a seeond class or No. 2 Silsbee, was purchased in pursuance of a resolution of the trustees passed in February,
1875. Reservoirs were constructed at convenient points in the village, and were used until the completion of the
waterworks in 1893. The present chief engineer of the department is Cassius M. C. Weichard. The department is cornfortably
quartered on Mechanic street, in the village ball, built in 1891, at a cost of $6,000.
Water Works.- On June 7, 1892,
the qualified electors of the village voted affirmatively on a proposition to issue bonds to the amount of $50,000,
the avails of which were to be used in constructing a water supply system. The work was begun by contractors Moffett,
Hodgkins & Clark, of New York city, in the fall of 1892, and was corn pleted and accepted June 1, 1893. The
system as established consists of a pumping station on Guyot's island, from which point water is taken from the
river and thence forced to a stand pipe (75 feet high and 20 feet in diameter) erected on an elevation in the eastern
part of the village. By this system Carthage is supplied with an abundance of good water for all domestic purposes,
and an additional means of extinguishing fires is provided.
Banks and Bankers.- Hiram McCollom
was the pioneer in the history of banking in Carthage, beginning in that direction about 1845 or '50, in connection
with his varied mercantile and manufacturing enterprises. On July 17, 1852, he opened the bank of Carthage with
a nominal capital of $18,000, but after two years the concern suspended business.
The next banker was Myron Raplee, formerly of Penn Yan, N. Y., who did business on State street, near the "angle"
on the north side. After a time Raplee sold out to Nathan Whiting and Miner Guyot, who continued as a firm until
Whiting succeeded by purchase and eventually failed.
Then followed in the same line of business the firm of Holcomb & Horr, comprising Orlin Holcoinb and Elijah
Horr, who carried on a successful banking, for both were men of means and influence. E. H. Myers associated with
them in 1871, and was one of the firm until 1874, when he withdrew and with De Witt Rogers organized the firm of
Myers & Rogers, general bankers. In 1875 Holcomb & Horr retired from business, but Myers & Rogers continued
until 1880 when the firm merged in the First National Bank of Carthage.
The First National bank of Carthage was organized January 1, 1880, with $50,000 capital, Gilbert B Johnson, president,
and Ephraim H. Myers, cashier. On January 1, 1887, Mr. Myers was elected president and Allen G. Peck, cashier.
This bank has been regarded one of the safe financial institutions of the county, and in January, 1894, increased
its capital to $100,000.
The present officers are E. H. Myers, president; A. E. Kilby, vice-president; Allen G. Peck, cashier; and Martin
Rugg, Foster Penniman, Marcus P. Mason, A. E. Kilby, A. Potter, C. M. Rohr, A. L. Clark, E. A. Spencer, E. H. Myers
and Allen G. Peck, directors. The bank building was erected in 1887 and is one of the most at tractive structures
in the village.
The Carthage savings bank was organized and began business October 1, 1887, occupying rooms with the First national
The first officers were Lawrence J. Goodale, president; John L. Norton, vice-president; A. G. Peck, treasurer;
and Ambrose Collins, secretary. On January 1, 1895, Mr. Norton was elected president, vice L. J. Goodale, removed
to Watertown. The present officers are John L. Norton, president; Marcus P. Mason and C. L. Frederick, vice-presidents;
Allen G. Peck, treasurer; and Ephraim H. Myers, secretary.
The Carthage national bank was organized March 20, 1887, and began business May 1 following with $50,000 capital,and
with Gilbert B. Johnson, president; Orlin Holcomb, vice-president; and Mark S. Wilder, cashier. James Pringle succeeded
Mr. Holcomb as vice-president, other than which no change has been made in the officiary. The bank has a surplus
and undivided profit account of $40,000, and is in all respects a successful and solid institution.
The directors are Gilbert B. Johnson, James Pringle, Chester R Francis, Henry P. Flynn, Walter S Hartwell, Fred
W. Colburn, John W. Clark, Charles P. Ryther, William Boshart, John L. Coburn, Richard C. Otis, Lloyd G. Chase,
Mark S. Wilder.
Masonic.- Carthage lodge, No.
158, F. & A. M., was the outgrowth of a lodge organized in the village July 11, 1826, of which Dr. Eli West
was master, Thomas Brayton, senior, and Nathan Starks, junior warden. However, during the so called anti-masonic
period the old lodge, like many others of its kind in the state, suspended, and was not revived until June, 1849,
when lodge No. 158 was brought into existence. Dr. West was again the first master, and Joseph Crowner, senior
warden, and K, B. Parker, junior warden. From that time the history of the lodge has been a record of constant
growth, both in membership and work. The present members number 140.
The past masters have been: Leonard G. Peck, James Pringle, John L. Norton, L. G. Chase. H. Houghton, W. C. Sherwood,
H. J. Radin, L. D. Thompson, L. E. Bossuot, F. A. Dexter.
Carthage Chapter, No. 259, R. A. M., was organized February 7, 1872, with John L. Norton, high priest. The present
members nuniber 75. The succession of high priests has been as follows:
John L. Norton, 1872-81, '87, '94; James Pringle, 1882-83; L. G. Chase, 1884, 1888-90; S. D. Hunt, 1885-86; C.
H. Wing, 1891; L. E. Bossuot, 1892-93; H. j. Radin, 1895; F. M. Wing, 1896; Hiram Houghton, 1897.
Odd Fellows.- Carthage lodge,
No 365, I. O. O. F., was instituted May 28, 1888, and from that time has continued to grow until it is recognized
as one of the strongest Odd Fellow bodies in the county. Its membership is now 130.
The succession of past grands has been as follows E. R. V. Plant, May to Dec., 1888; George Reynolds, Jan-June,
1889; George Vinner, July-Dec., 1889; C. W. Bullard, Jan.-June, 1890; J. I. Locklin, July-Dec., 1890; F. A. Dexter,
Jan.-June, 1891; S. C. Rice, July-Dec., 1891; F. L. Hall, Jan.-June, 1892; E. D. Rice, July-Dec., 1892; W. S. Corlis,
Jan._June, 1893; George E. Spicer, July-Dec., 1893; John R. Coburn, Jan.-June, 1894; Melvin Pierce, July-Dec.,
1894; W. N. Wrape. Jan.-June, 1895; George Pitlock, July-Dec., 1895; W. C. Root, Jan.-June. 1896; Fred J. Kellogg,
July-Dec., 1896; J. H. B. Reed, Jan.-June, 1897; A. F. Balcom. July-Dec.. 1897.
Oriental encampment, No. 135, I. O. O. F., was organized at Sandy creek January 31, 1893, but in pursuance of permission
granted by the grand patriarch of New York, the lodge was removed to Carthage June 6, 1895. The present members
number fifty. The succession of chief patriarchs has been as follows:
F.H. Elmer, Jau.-June, 1883, and July-Dec., 1893; C. J. Robinson, Jan.-June. 1894; B. N. Bailey. July, 1894-June.
1895; George Vinier. June-Dec., 1895; W. C. Root, Jan.-June, 1896; A. F. Balcom, July-Dec., 1896; C. J. Thompson,
Jan.-June, 1891; Henry Noblet, July-Dec., 1897.
Churchs.- St. James church, Roman
Catholic, was founded in Carthage in 1819, and on July 20, 1821, the society organization was perfected. The spacious
grounds on which the edifice was built in 1821-22 were donated by Vincent Le Ray, who was also a generous contributor
to the building fund. The first trustees were Claudius S. Quilliard, Edward Galvin, John Finley, James and Vincent
Le Ray, John Daley and James Walsh. The edifice was constructed from trees growing on and near the church property,
and was the first Catholic church in this part of the state. The erection of the present edifice was begun in 1
864. Connected with the parish is St. James parochial school, built in 1885, and is under the direction of sisters
of St. Joseph. The school is large, well attended and liberally supported. In the parish are about 200 Catholic
families. The church is under the pastoral charge of Rev. Father F. J. McShane, assisted by Rev. Father Ryan.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Carthage dates back in its history to about the year 1820 when, and for a score
of years following, occasional services were held in the village by the circuit itinerary who traversed the region
both on foot and on horseback. Classes were formed in various localities but the local society organization was
not perfected until 1840, when a church home was erected. A second edifice was built in 1873, and the present structure
in 1893-94. The members now number 286; probationers, 105. Pastor, Rev. S. W. Brown. Value of property, $21,000.
The Baptist church of Carthage was formed as a separate organization at a meeting held January 20, 1833. The house
of worship was completed and dedicated in April, 1840, services previous to that time having been held in the schoolhouse
and private buildings in the village. The society has grown constantly to the present membership of about 280,
and that notwithstanding the fact that twice during the period of its history-July 15, 1861, and October 20, 1884-the
edifice was destroyed by fire. The present house of worship was erected in 1885. The pastor is Rev. Edwin F. Hard,
who came to Carthage, November 1, 1893.
The First Presbyterian church of Carthage was organized November 11, 1861, yet as early as 1835 an informal Congregational
society with twelve members had been formed, including residents of both Champion and Wilna. The early ministers
were Revs. Nathaniel Dutton and James H. Monroe. Indeed, in 1807 Mr. Dutton had an organized Congregational society
in Champion. The local society soon adopted the name of "The First Congregational church of - Carthage,"
which in November, 1851, adopted Presbyterian form of government. In 1852 the village spciety separated from that
previously existing in West Carthage. The first church edifice was erected in 1851, and the second (both frame
structures) in 1864. The latter was burned in October, 1884, and in 1886 was replaced with the present substantial
brick edifice, at a cost of $10,000. Rev. Jacob V. Shurts has been pastor of the church since May 17, 1884. The
members number about 200 persons.
Grace church, Episcopal, with its parish,, was organized in the fall of 1860, although occasional services were
held in the village for several preceding years, by clergymen from Watertown, beginning with Rev. J. Winslow in
1857. In 1867 the church edifice was completed, and was consecrated on Sept. 14; rector, Rev. L. R. Brewer, now
Episcopal bishop of Montana. The building was destroyed by fire, October 20, 1884, and in the next year was replaced
with a more modern and substantial brick edifice, having a seating capacity of 550.
Present number of communicants, 110; rector, Rev. George D. Ashley, whose connection with this church began April
18, 1897, succeeding Rev. Charles E. S. Rasey. The wardens of Grace church are Henry W. Hammond and James Pringle;
vestrynten, John L. Norton, E. H. Myers, Fred W. Coburn, Alonzo Kring, Arthur C. Root, A. F. Mills, Everett E.
Wagoner, Wilbur A. Porter.