History of Lawrence, NY


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THIS was the twenty-third town organized by an act of the Legis lature, passed April 21, 1828. This town is situated in the northeastern part, with Brasher on the north, Franklin county on the east, Hopkinton on the south and Stockholm on the west. The territory was formerly under the jurisdiction of Hopkinton and Brasher. It comprises an area of 28,479 acres. The title to the town passed from the original proprietors to Harrison, January 1, 1801, and from him to William Lawrence, from whom the town is named, on February 17, 1820. Mr. Lawrence was a merchant from New York, and passed a part of his time, two or three years previous to his death, on his purchase. He died in New York in 1824, his son, D. Lynch Lawrence, inheriting the lands, and from him the settlers secured their titles through agents.

The first town meeting was held on the first Monday in March, 1829, at the house of Canton McEuen, when the following officers were chosen: Canton McEuen, supervisor; Myers G. Peck, town clerk; James Trussel, Nathaniel Smith, N. H. Lampson, assessors; Enos Burt, collector; James Trussel, Myron G. Peck, overseers of the poor; Giles Hart, David S. Murray, John Ferris, commissioners ofhighways; Enos Burt, Warren Day, constables; George P. Farrar, Samuel Bent, James Ferris, commissioners of schools; Dwight N. Higgins, David S. Murray, Levi H. Powers, inspector of schools.

The surface of the town is level in the northern part, but more rolling in the east and south. The ridges were first to be settled, as they were more lightly timbered and easier cleared. The soil is sandy loam mixed with clay, and in the lower localities is rich alluvium. It is generally well adapted to grazing, and dairying and stock raising are the chief industries. The town is well watered by many small streams, while the Deer River flows through the eastern part and the east branch of the St. Regis bounds it on the south for several miles, affording good water power.

The town of Lawrence was first settled by a man named Brewer, who came in for the proprietor and located on the farm now owned by Carlton McEuen, where he built a shanty in the summer of 1801. In the next summer he sold his interest and agency to Samuel Tyler. In the fall of 1806 Joseph and Samuel Tyler, from New Hampshire, Joseph St. Clair and Avery Sanders, from Middlesex, Vt., Ephraim Martin, of Bradford. Vt., and Abijah Chandler, from Lebanon, N. H., came in and selected farms, and in the following spring brought in their families. They purchased their lands through Judge Bailey of Chateaugay, then agent. and began the work of making homes for their families. Mrs. Chandler was the first white woman who came to the town. Most of the families named settled in the central and northern parts of the town, and came first to Hopkinton in sleighs and thence to their destination after the snow was gone. Mr. Chandler settled a short distance from the site of Nicholville. In May, 1807, the families of Ira Allen, James and Jonathan Pierce and Sidney Dunton were added to the inhabitants, and in June came Jonathan Stevens, Ambrose Lewis and their families, and Jonathan Hartwell, without his family, who came in the following spring. James, Jonathan and Green Saunders and D. C. Bastin came in July, 1807, and during the same year John Howard, Asa Griffin and John Prouty came. In 1808 - 9 the settlement was largely increased and its progress continued without much interruption until the breaking out of the War of 1812, when, according to Dr. Hough, every family but five left the town, and most of them never returned.

This was a hard blow to the growth of the town, and recovery was slow. The level character of much of the land, portions of it being low and wet previous to the clearing away of the forest, was very discouraging to the pioneers, though such lands are now the most valuable part of the town in an agricultural sense. The first frame house was built in 1808 by Samuel Harris, who came the previous year from Middlesex, Vt. It was covered with basswood "shakes" and was on the farm recently occupied by David Harris. The first school was taught in 1810 by Miss S. Tyler.

Succeeding the cold season of 1816, which caused so much suffering throughout the county, settlements in various parts of the town were encouraging and the work of public improvement has steadily continued ever since. The cause of education has received its merited attention in the town, which is now divided into thirteen school districts, with excellent schools in all, and a graded school in North Lawrence. Dairying has to a large extent taken the place of grain raising in this town, as it has throughout this section, butter-making being the principal occupation of the farmers. There are now five successful butter factories in operation. The manufacturing operations are noticed in the succeeding village history.

A few early roads had been opened previous to the formation of the town, and a State road from Port Kent, on Lake Champlain, through the southern part of the town, was laid out in the spring of 1827, and was kept up by the State until the various towns were ready to care for it, when the toll gates previously maintained were removed. Over this highway a line of stages ran in 1833 and later. The sum of $250 was appropriated at the first town meeting for the improvement of roads, and the town was divided into seven road districts; these have, of course, been greatly increased in number since. A substantial iron bridgewas erected over the Deer River at Lawrenceville, and another at North Lawrence in 1876. The O. & L. C. Railroad was built through the town in 1850, and has been a source of great benefit to the inhabitan ts.

In the War of the Rebellion this town followed the same line of action that governed other towns in the county. Liberal bounties were authorized, and a committee consisting of O. F. Shepard, Sumner L. Hazen and T. H. Ferris superintended the issue of certificates for that purpose. Under the energetic and generous action of the electors in special town meetings the number of volunteers demanded from the town was secured

Following is a list of the supervisors of the town from its formation to 1894, with years of their service:
1829-32, Carlton McEuen; 1833-34, George P. Farrar; 1836, Carlton McEuen; 1836; Myron G. Peck; 1837, Luther Whitney; 1838-39, Walter Smead; 1840, no choice; J. F. Saunders and C. McEueu each having received 140 votes, the justice appointed the latter, who declined to serve; and a special meeting was held March 30, when J. F. Saunders was chosen; 1841, J. F. Saunders; 1842-43, Lucius Hulburd; 1844, J. F. Saunders; 1845, Jude Clark; 1846-48. Carlton McEuen; 1849-50, Milo L. Burnha; 1851, Peabody Newland; 1852, Noah D. Lawrence; 1853-54. Lyman Day; 1855-56, Carlton McEuen; 1857-58, John Ferris; 1859-6O, William Romaine; 1861-62, William Fortune; 1863-64, Henry Stickney; 1865-66, George A. Burt; 1867-70, Tiras H. Ferris; 1871-74, Rufus S. Palmer; 1875-76. A. E. McEuen; 1877, Sumner Sweet; 1878-85, George A. Burt; 1886-68, Jerome Trussell; 1889, C. H. Babcock; 1890-91, Silas W. Merrill; 1892-94, Augustus E. McEuen.

North Lawrence.- The first actual settlement at the site of this village was made by John W. Bean, from Orange county, Vt., in 1827. The locality was then a thick forest standing in swampy land. He built the first frame house. Chauncey Bristol built a small shanty in 1826 and began the erection of a saw mill, which was carried away before it was finished. He rebuilt and finished the mill in 1831, and operated it for a number of years; it is not now in existence. Mr. Bristol died in the town in 1870, aged ninety-three years. Zebulon Moore, A. H. Barnes, John C. Williams and Simon Austin settled here about 1832. Mr. Barnes owned the land on which the village stands, and it was only a small mill settlement until the building of the railroad in 1850, after which it grew rapidly. Situated on both sides of the Deer River, manu- facturing became of some importance and there were five dams built across the stream within a mile. A gang saw mill with thirty saws was built in 1849 by T. P. Chandler; it was afterwards changed to a circular mill, passed through several hands and is now operated by M. D. Quenell. A pail and tub factory was established in 1862 with a capacity of 20,000 tubs and 10,000 pails a year. It was operated in 1876 by Garfield & McHollister, and is now conducted by Townsend & Burnham. The first grist mill was built by Amasa Townsend & Co. with three run of stones; it was burned in 1875 and rebuilt in the same year. It was afterwards operated by E. S. Crapser, and is now in the hands of I. A. Sergeant, who also carries on a starch factory which was established in 1892. A starch factory was built in 1877 by E. S. Crapser and operated a number of years; it was demolished about 1888. A stave factory and a tub factory were in operation from about 1860, but were discontinued about 1875. A store was kept below the village about 1847, and in the following year R. Barnard opened the first store in the village. Andrew Monirait opened a store soon afterward and continued to 1860. General stores are now conducted by Trussell & Connolly and H. E. Merrell. Drug stores are kept by John L. Brown and J D. Hakins; groceries by H. J. Dewey, J. Kallaher, M. Malakia, and E. T. Dustin. A. E. Chaffee has a clothing store and barber shop; W. C. Williams a tin shop, and I. A. Galusha a shoe shop. Edson Crawford opened the first hotel here in 1850, when he built a part of the Union House; there James Brownell acted as host for twenty-five years. The house is now kept by A. 0. Nichols, and the Commercial House by Stephen Dunn. The post-office was established in December, 1850, with John H. Conant postmaster; it was made a money order office in 1871. The present postmaster is C. H. Barnes. Miss S. Mix taught the first school here in 1834. In 1869 a commodious two story brick school house was erected.

Lawrenceville.- This pleasant village is situated on both sides of the Deer River near the center of the town, where early improvements were made, the first being a saw mill built by Ephraim Martin in 1809. A freshet carried away the darn and nothing further was done in that line until 1821 ; but Asa and Joseph Tyler had settled here in 1807, between which year and 1830 the following persons located here: George Everett, Morda Lavery, James Ferris, David C. Bastin, Luther Ferris, Jacob and Josiah F. Saunders came soon after; Beriah M. Newland, Arnasa Harrington. Heman Shepard, Nathan Mallory, Ezra Terrell, William Hulburd, Luther Whitney, J. C. Rockwell, George Wilber, James Johnston, A. Reid, Canton McEuen, George McEuen, Asa Ballard, Eben Mix, James Bentley, Enos Burt, P. Newland, John Shepard, David Bush, and many others.

The early settlers in this locality were forced to go six miles to the mill, but after 1820 the trying conditions of the pioneers were rapidly ameliorated. In 1821 Charles Kellogg built a saw mill on the site of the present mill, the latter being the third one erected there. A tan. nery was built by William Taylor, which was operated by various perSOflS, hut is now discontinued. A starch factory was built in. 1847 by L. Hulburd who was the pioneer in this kind of business in the eastern part of the county. Three times he was burned out, and built the present factory in 1873 and still operates it and a planing mill ; he also conducts another factory in the town. The saw mill and grist mill are operated by W. D. Wilder. A store was opened in 1822 by Josiah F. Saunders, who continued many years. In 1848 a union store was opened by thirty members, and 0. F. Shepard, James Harris and Peabody Newland, directors. R. McEuen closed up the business in 1863, paying a dividend. In 1871 a stock company was formed to carry on a union store with twenty-one members. 0. F. Shepard and Lucius Hulburd were made directors There are now three general stores kept here by Dana & Ross, Roberts & Ross, and Reynolds Brothers. E. F. Hall has a furniture store. John Shepard kept a tavern in a log building about 1820 and later in a frame building. A hotel was opened in 1842 in a building which was used for the purpose for forty years, and was kept by M. & M. V. B. Barney from 1855 until later, when it passed to the latter, who still conducts it.

The post office was established in April, 1829, with Josiah F. Saunders postmaster. The present official is S. H. Roberts. The Lawrenceville Academy was established in March, 1860, as a stock concern, the capital to be not less than $3,000, in $25 shares. Among the prominent promoters of the project were P. Newland, William T. Hall, O. F. Shepârd, W. C. Bush, L. Hulburd and S. B. Goff. The first trustees were Miller Heath, P. Newland, W. C. Bush, O. F. Shepard, L. Hutburd, G. B. Wilbur, J. W. Newland, Joel Hitchcock, Enos Burt, William Romaine, N R. Miller and H. J. Thomas. A three-story brick building was erected in 1860 at a cost of $4,500. An academic charter was granted the institution in 1861, in the spring of which year the school was opened with John B. Young principal and Mrs. Young preceptress. For a few years the academy was fairly prosperous, but competition with more pretentious institutions elsewhere rendered it advisable to close the institution. The building is now used for district school purposes

Nicholville - This enterprising village is situated on the east branch of the St. Regis river in the southern part of the town, where the stream is crossed by the old turnpike, and part of the village is on the Hopkinton side, where the first settlement was made. Samuel Wilson built a saw mill here in 1817, and for many years that and a small collection of houses were known only as "Sodom." As the settlement grew it extended across the river and was named Nicholville, in honor of E. S. Nichols, the executor of the estate of William Lawrence. Eli Bush, Chester Armstrong, Calvin Converse and Horace Higgins settled here about 1820. Others who came early to this vicinity were: Thomas Day and his sons, Lyman, Joel, Warren, Russell aud Hosea; Joseph Stearns, Jude Clark, Beriah Sweet, Elihu Ayers, Dennis Stacy, Lyman Page, Abijah Chandler with six sons and six daughters, Otis Farrar, John Thomas, James Trussel, Myron G. Peck, Royal Smith, Andrew Squier, Elisha Spencer, Asa Miller, Hiram Blanchard, James Sherer and John W. Witters.

The St. Regis affords good water power at this point, which led to the establishment of several manufacturing plants. A grist mill was built in 1822 by Samuel Wilson and was carried away by a flood in 1830. William Lawrence caused the erection of a stone grist mill in 1826, which was used until 1863, when the upper part was removed and. the building reconstructed into its present condition by A. N. and H. N. Woodard. The mill was afterwards in the hands of B. D. Babcock is now operated by S. E. Babcock. Below this mill were a saw mill, shingle mill and sash factory, which are not now in operation. A carding and fulling mill was built early, but was abandoned long ago. Saw mills and shingle mills here are now operated by J. H. Knowlton, A. L. Blake and Morris Day. There are the usual number of shops and stores.

The first store was kept by Zephaniah Platt in 1828, and Lyman Day began trade soon afterward. James Sherer opened his store in 1846 and continued to 1874. Sumner, Sweet & Co. began in 1857 and continued many years. The New England Protective Union store was opened in 1846 and closed out in 1867. In 1868 seventy persons formed another Union Store Company, with Jonah Sanford, president, and G. A. Burt, secretary. The business was successful for a number of years, but was closed out about 1880. The present merchants in the place are C. S. Olmstead, Henry Sweet, J. A. Martindale and J. H. Knowlton. The first hotel was built in 1830 by James Trussell; this was burned in i866 and the present house erected on the site. The Commercial house is now kept by Henry Chandler. J. A. Martindale is postmaster.

The Nicholville Baptist church was formed September 11, 1808, by Elder Samuel Rowley, with six members. Among the pioneer members were Abijah Chandler, Asa Moon, Seth Abbott, Samuel Eastman, Seth Putnam arid Thomas Remington. A society was formed a little later with A. Chandler, Jonah Sanford. S. C. Kelsey and Samuel Eastman, trustees. This society united with the Congregationalists in 1815 in building the union house of worship in Hopkinton. in 1831 a small church was built at Nicholville, which was used until 1852, when the present church was built. On the 5th of August, 1843, the Hopkinton interest was abandoned and the church permanently located in Nicholville. About $400 have been spent on the church in recent years, and the property is valued at $3,000. The membership is eightytwo. The present pastor is Rev. F. L. Foster.

The Baptist Church of Lawrenceville was formcd in 1827, with seven members. Services were held in school houses until 184!, when a plain church was built, the organization taking the name of" The First Baptist Evangelical Society," in 1840, and reorganizing May 14, 1842. The first trustees were Peabody Newland, Walter Smead and Stephen Hammond. The present church was built in 1868, at a cost of between $3,000 and $4,000. The present pastor is Elder Harmon.

The Free Will Baptist church was organized in July, 1838, by Elder Benjamin Bundy and David Colby, with five members. Meetingswere held in school houses until 1867, when an interest was secured in a church with the Congregationalists. The society was reorganized in 1867, with H. J. Perry, Ira Butler and Leman Bristol, trustees. The membership has been small for many years. At present Rev. Mr. Ramdell is pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Nicholville was organized about 1840 with forty-two members, and Rev. Justin Allen as pastor. For many years services were held in the union church, but in 1876 the present edifice was erected at a cost of $5,000. This church and the one at Fort Jackson are in one charge. The membership is 128, and Rev. Henry H. Esselgrave is pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal church of Lawrenceville was incorporated April 6, 1842, with David Bush, John Shepard, Charles Kellogg, Samuel Meacham, Charles S. Wise, John F. Carpenter and Thomas Hale, trustees. A frame church was built soon after, which was considerably improved later. The present church was erected in 1887-8. The membership is at present about fifty and the pastor is Rev. H. L. Campbell.

The congregational church of Lawrenceville was incorporated August 3, 1840. with Heman Shepard, Avery Collins and John W. Bean, trustees. The church was built not long after the organization and was thoroughly repaired and refitted in 1877, at a cost of $2,000. There is no paster at present, and the society is small.

The First congregational church of North Lawrence was organized August 17, 1852. with about twenty members. Rev. George B. Rowley was the first pastor. The church society was formed in September, 1852, with Jacob Williams, S H. Barnes and Nelson Williams, trustees. A frame church was built in 1853, and about five years ago it was largely rebuilt and relurnished by the Baptists, who had an interest in it, as above stated The Congregationalists do not have regular services.

The Universalist Society of Nicholville was organized about 1840, and reorganized in 1872. The society has never been a strong one, and from 1872 to 1876 was under the spiritual guidance of Prof. J. S. Lee of St. Lawrence University. An interest was held in the old union church, and services were held as occasion offered.

St. Thomas Episcopal church was formed as a mission in 1870 and the church erected in that year at a cost of $4,200; the building committee being Rev. Mr. Randall, William Kingston and James Whiteside. The present pastor is Rev. A. L. Fortin.

The St. Lawrence Roman catholic church was formed in 1875 by Father John O'Haire. A handsome brick church was erected in 1876, at a cost of $6,000. The society has always been a strong and prosperous One. Rev. Father Butler is at present in charge.

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