History of Harrisburgh, NY
FROM: History of Lewis County, New York and its people
By Franklin B. Hough
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1883


THIS town was formed from Lowville, Champion and Mexico, February 22, 1803, embracing townships 5 and 10 of the Black River tract. By an act of March 24, 1804, Number 9, or Handel, was annexed to this town from Mexico. Denmark was taken off in 1807, and Pinckney in 1808, leaving it with its present limits, comprising township No. 10, or Platina, of the tract above named. The first town meeting was appointed at the house of Jesse Blodget, and adjourned to Freedom Wright's, in Denmark village, where Lewis Graves was chosen Supervisor: Jabez Wright, Clerk: David Graves and Solomon Buck, Assessors: Andrew Mills, Francis Saunders and Jesse Blodget, Commissioners of Highways; Charles Wright and Freedom Wright, Overseers of Poor: Nathan Munger, Jr., Constable and Collector; and Charles Mosely and Andrew Mills, Fence Viewers.

Supervisors.- 1803-'07, Lewis Graves; 1808-'13, John Bush; 1814-'15, Ashbel Humphrey; 1816, George A. Stoddard; 1817-'21, A. Humphrey; 1822-'25, Simeon Stoddard; 1826, A. Humphrey; 1827, Amos Buck, Jr.; 1828, S. Stoddard; 1829-'30, A. Humphrey; 1831, S. Stoddard; 1832-'33, William C. Todd; 1834- '37, Elias Gallup; 1838-'39, Henry Humphrey; 1840, Julius A. White; 1841-'42, H. Humphrey; 1843-'47, Horatio N. Bush: 1848, Bester B. Safford; 1849-'50, John M. Paris; 1851, H. Humphrey; 1852-'54, J.M. Paris; 1855- '70, John Chickering; 1871, Marcus S. Jones, (resigned, and C. M. Prescott, appointed November 15th,); 1872-'73, Wayne Clark; 1874-'76, Peter McCartey; 1877-'78, Hiram B. Lanpher; 1879-'81, John C. Hughes; 1882. S. D. Bush.

Clerks.- 1803-'05, Charles Wright, Jr.; 1806, Andrew Mills; 1807, C. Wright, Jr.; 1808, John G. White; 1809-'15, Sanford Safford; 1816, Simeon Stoddard; 1817-'19, S. Safford; 1820, Palmer Hodge; 1821, S. Safford; 1822-'24, Amos Buck, Jr.; 1825-'26, S. Safford, (May 6th, William Allen); 1827-'30, William Allen; 1831-'33, Elias Gallup; 1834-'50, B. B. Safford; 1851, Rufus Scott; 1852-'55, E. Gallup; 1856-'61, John Young: 1862-'63, Elias Kelsey; 1864, Asa A. Goodenough: 1865-'70, Marcus S. Jones; 1871-'74, Charles D. Kilham; 1873-'76, Todd B. Baunon; 1877-'78, George A. Stoddard; 1879-'80, S. D. Bush: 1881-'82, George A. Stoddard.

From 1836 to 1846, the bounties authorized by special statute in this county were voted in this town for the killing of wolves. In 1846, '47 and '48, a $5 bounty was voted for bears.

Mr. Benjamin Wright, in surveying the boundaries of this town, in the spring of 1796, made the following memoranda:- "The north line of this town is, in general, an excellent soil, timbered with basswood. maple, elm, beech, birch, butternut. There is one small cedar swamp near the 5 mile stake on this line. The country is level in general, and very finely watered. A large creek crosses this line near the one and one-half mile stake, which makes a N. E. direction, on which there is a fine country. The east line is excellent and very, finely watered. There is some near the southeast corner which is rather indifferent, but very little; the timber is maple, bass, elm, beech, birch, butternut and hemlock. On the South line there is middling country, some considerable swamp and some beaver meadow, on which excellent hay may be cut. Along the west line there is a good country of land. Some small gulfs along it which are made by the streams and a considerable gulf where the Deer creek crosses the line. The timber, in general, is maple, beech, bass, ash, birch, elm and some butternut and hemlock. Towards the South part, the land is swampy and timber sprucy. Measures 24,992 acres."

This town was subdivided into lots by Joseph Crary, surveyor of Denmark. It was named in honor of Richard Harrison of New York, former proprietor of the town. Mr. Harrison was of Welsh origin and a prominent lawyer. In 1788- '89, he was in Assembly, and from Feb. 15, 1798 to August, 1801. Recorder of that city. He died December 6, 1829, aged 81 years. After the death of Hamilton he became counsel for Constable and Pierrepont in their landed transactions. The transfers of title in this town have been related in our account of Denmark. Settlements were mostly made under the agency of Isaac W. Bostwick, of Lowville. The first improvements were made about 1802, along the line of the West road, which crosses the northeast corner of the town, and among the first settlers on this road were Waitstill Stoddard,* John Bush, Ashbel Humphrey, Joseph Richards, Jared Knapp, Sylvanus Mead, Palmer Hodge and John Lewis.

In 1806, Silas Greene, Thomas and Ebenezer Kellogg, John Snell, Mark Petrie, John F. Snell and Jacob Wairod, with families named Lamberton and Weston, settled on what was afterwards known as the State Road from Lowville to Henderson Harbor across the south border of this town. Several of these were Germans from the Mohawk valley, and from them the settlement acquired the name of Dutch Hill, by which this region is still known. They have all since removed, and their places are held by others.

Captain Ralph Stoddard came to Lewis county in 1805. He had been an officer in the Revolution, and died December 4, 1831, at the age of 79 years.

Mr. Ephraim Allen, an uncle of Mr. Loren A. Stoddard, of this town, was born in Connecticut, came to Lewis county in 1806, and enlisted in the War of 1812, but at its close, when his company was returning home, and had nearly reached head-quarters, Mr. Allen was shot by a British ranger from mere ma!ice, and his body was buried there. This event occurred in 1813, and in 1880, his remains were taken up, when the skeleton was found in a good state of preservation, and the ball that had done its work was entirely different from what had been supposed. People had carried the idea that it must have been an ounce ball, but after handling and scraping it was found to be about the size of a marrowfat pea, and is now in the possession of Mr. Loren Stoddard. Mr. Allen's remains now lie in the cemetery at Harrisburgh, having been placed there by his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

The names of those living in this town in 1807, who enjoyed the privilege of voting, will be found in our account of Denmark.

In 1821, Jacob Hadcock, and soon after, Michael Parish, Peter Picket, Henry Cramer, Jacob Biddleman, Thomas and Gilbert Merrills, settled on the road above Copenhagen.

The following fact shows that this region must have been traversed by civilized man, long before its settlement.

Mr. Loren A. Stoddard has an ounce ball which his son, Alfred L., when ten years of age, found imbedded in the solid wood near the heart of a black-ash tree, and which is supposed from the number of grains covering it, to have been in the tree over ninety years, and must have been fired there some 130 years ago.

Schools were first legally formed. under the statute in 1814, when John Bush, John Lewis, and Micah Humphrey were chosen first school commissioners, and David Richards, Hart Humphrey, Nathan Look, Jr., Charles Loomis and Seth Hanchet, inspectors.

John Lewis was from Westfield, Massachusetts. The Bush families were also from that town, and came to Lowville in 1800. Silas Bush died January 22, 1829, aged 58 years. Other men of this family name have died in this town as follows:-Francis L. Bush, May 13, 1848, aged 32; George Bush, March 3, 1876, aged 73; Horatio N. Bush, October 1, 1861, aged 53; Sylvester Bush, January 21, 1864, aged 24; Walter A. Bush, December 5, 1852, aged 34; William H. Bush, September 22, 1880, aged 79, and Timri Bush, July 21, 1874, aged 89 years, (nearly.) Mrs. Catharine Bush, widow of John Bush, died August 18, 1870, aged 96.

Harrisburgh is an excellent dairying town, and has at the present time eight cheese factories, viz :- " South Harrisburgh," Stiles Williams; "West Harrisburgh," Wm. Wheeler; "Harrisburgh Center," J. Hodges; "Lanpher Factory," Hiram Lanpher; "Dutch Street Factory," on the north side of Deer river; one near Mr. Hughes'; A. Wider's factory (formerly Vary's); and one on the No. 3 road, owned by Sumner Reed.

This town has a town-house about 20 by 30 feet in size, costing about $300. The lease of the ground, for so long a time as it should be occupied for this use, was recorded July 29, 1876.

The town has no village, or other center of business, the trade being divided between Copenhagen and Lowville.


August 16, 1862.-Offering a bounty of $25, and authorizing a loan of money to meet the expense.

August 21, 1862.-Offering a bounty of $50.

December 17, 1863.-Offering a bounty of $300, including that which may be paid by the county. Of this, the sum of $100 was to be paid at once, $100 in three months after muster, and the remaining $100 in six months. A war committee was appointed at this meeting,consisting of John Chickering, Henry Humphrey, Elias Gallup, Abel Bickford, William R. Windecker, Addison Stoddard, Loren A. Stoddard, Stephen Snell, Riley Humphrey, Newton Stoddard, Charles D. Kilham, and Nathan Cobb. July 1, 1864.- The bounty of $300 was renewed, to be paid to volunteers, drafted men and substitutes, and provision was made for issuing town bonds. The vote was 34 to 3 on this question.

August 9, 1864.-The following resolution was passed :-
"WHEREAS, At a recent meeting of the Board of Supervisors, it was agreed that they are to pay a bounty of $500 to all enlisted men and substitutes; and
"WHEREAS, At a recent town meeting a bounty of $300 was offered; it is
"Resolved, That there be raised the sum of $100 above the $500 paid by the county."

A tax was voted of $6,000.

August 30, 1864.-Voted a bounty of $1,000, by a vote of 113 to 12, and a tax of $21,000 for meeting expenses.


A Free Communion Baptist church was formed in this town, July 16, 1822, by a council appointed from Lowville, Martinsburgh and Turin, and subsequently a regular Baptist church was formed and a church edifice erected on the West road. In 1847, this first edifice was removed, and a new one, 34 by feet, erected on its site. It was built by Philo Hadcock, at a cost of $945, and was owned in equal shares by the two Baptist organizations. It has since been removed and a new one erected on the site. It was dedicated November 5, 1879. The bell in this church was donated by Mr. William Bush, a short time before his death, and cost about $160. The edifice is owned in common by the Close Communion and Free Will Baptists.

The former were organized in this town as a church June 1, 1842, having formerly belonged with Copenhagen, Lowville and Denmark, and originally numbered twelve members. It has now seventeen.

It has been for many years a custom of these two Baptist churches, to employ alternately a clergyman from each, the whole joining in his support, and attending his services. The present clergyman is the Rev. J. O. Perkins, of Copenhagen, who holds a service here half a day every Sabbath forenoon.

The Free Will Baptist Society of the Town of Harrisburgh, was incorporated under the general law, March 10, 1862, Stephen S. Vary, Henry Humphrey, Loren A. Stoddard. George Bush and Nehemiah Austin being the first trustees.

St. Patrick's Church, (R. C.) was organized in 1850, by Timothy White, Christopher O'Brian, Christopher Duffy, Marty Corcoran and Martin Battle, and a house of worship was built in that year, in the north part of the town, at a cost of $555. It will seat 175 persons. Its first pastor was Rev. Michael Power. It is now served from Copenhagen.

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