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


First Military Organisation after the formation of Lewis County.

The minutes of the Council of Appointment contain the following, [April 11, 1805]

"His Excellency, the Commander-inChief, having thought proper to form the Militia of the counties of Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence into a Brigade

"Resolved, That Walter Martin be, and he is, hereby appointed Brigadier-General thereof, and that in the said Brigade the following officers be, and are, hereby appointed, to-wit
Jonathan Collins, Lieutenant-Colonel;
V. W. Martin, promoted.
Jonathan Edwards, Captain.
Thomas Wolcott, Lieutenant.
Ethe Witmore, Ensign.
Nathan Coe, Lieutenant.
Gideon Sprague, Ensign.
Levi Hough, Ensign.
Morris S. Miller, Captain.
Zeboan Carter, Lieutenant-Colonel.
Daniel Gould, Ensign.
Solomon Buck, Captain.
Nathan Munger, Lieutenant.
Jeremy Chapin, Ensign.
Jabez Wright, Captain.
William Clark, Lieutenant.
Francis Saunders, Ensign.
Oliver Bush, Captain.
Winthrop Shepard, Lieutenant.
Edward Bush, Ensign.
Ephraim Luce, Captain.
Ehud Stephens, Lieutenant.
John McCollister, Ensign.
Enos Scott, Captain.
Jesse Wilcox, Lieutenant.
Benjamin Davenport, Ensign.

Of Light Infantry
Richard Coxe, Captain.
Asahel Hoof, Lieutenant.
Levi Collins, Ensign.
Stephen Butler, Adjutant.
Leonard Sage, Paymaster.
William H olada, Quartermaster.
William Darrow, Surgeon.

The 101st Regiment was formed June 15, 1808, comprising the towns of Lowville, Denmark, Harrisburgh, and Pinckney, its first officers being Luke Winchell, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding; Solomon Buck, 1st Major; Zeboam Carter, 2d Major; William Card, Adjutant; Andrew Mills, Quartermaster; and William Darrow, Surgeon. Its first Captains were John Bush, Nathan Cook, David Cobb, William Clark, Robert Clafton, Jesse Wilcox, and Ezra King. Zeboam Carter was Colonel of this regiment when war was declared, and these two regiments comprised the whole county through that period.

The first Troop of Horse was formed in this county in 1809, having Levi Collins, Captain; Abner Clapp, 1st Lieutenant; Adoniram Foot, 2d Lieutenant; Johnson Talcott, Cornet; and Leonard House, Levi Hart, and David Waters, Sergeants.

Services of the Militia in the War of 1812-'15. The troubles with England occasioned an act of Congress passed March 30, 1808, detaching 100,000 men from the militia and placing them under the orders of the general government. Of these, 14,389 were drawn from this State, and 350 from Martin's Brigade. None of the militia of this region were called out under this act. On the 10th of April, 1812, in anticipation of a war, the President was authorized to require the several States to organize, arm and equip their proportions of 100,000 men to be officered from the militia then existing, or others at the option of the States and to receive the same pay, rations and emoluments as in the regular army when in actual service. The whole or a part of this draft might be called out as occasion required, and the levies were to be drawn for a term of six months. Under this authority, 13,500 men were detached in this State, and 230 from the 26th Brigade. A company was drafted for three months, under Captain Lyman Deming, of Denmark, in the regiment of Colonel Christopher P. Bellinger, of German Flats. They served at Sackett's Harbor from May 12th to August 21, 1812, when they were discharged.

War was declared June 12th, while these men were in service, and upon the receipt of the news the Governor by general orders, dated June 23d, authorized Gen. Brown to call upon the militia of Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, and equip them at the State arsenals at Watertown and Russell. Under this authority one company of 72 men, besides officers, was called into service from this county for a term of six months, under Capt. Nathan Cook of Lowville, and placed under Colonel Thomas B. Benedict of De Kalb. This company drew their arms at Watertown, escorted two heavy loads of arms to the arsenal at Russell, and repaired to Ogdensburgh, where they remained in the presence of the enemy through the season, and assisted in repelling the attack in October. Rowland Nimocks, of Turin, was Lieutenant, and Ebenezer Newton, of Pinckney, Ensign of this company. Major Oliver Bush, of Turin, was on duty in this draft.

During the winter following some arms and ammunition were deposited at Martinsburgh in the care of General Martin, and 200 muskets and some ammunition in Turin, Leyden and Lowville, upon the bond of Richard Coxe, Daniel Kelley, James H. Leonard, Jesse Wilcox, Levi Hart and Levi Collins. An alarm for the safety of Sackett's Harbor, occasioned by the arrival of Sir George Prevost in Kingston, and a threatened attack by crossing on the ice, led General Dearborn to call out the militia en masse in this and other counties on the 1st of March, 1813, and they remained at the Harbor and at Brownville till the 20th, under Brigadier-General Oliver Collins, of Oneida county. The fear of an attack ceased with the melting of the ice, and a project for an aggressive movement was postponed until the fleet could co-operate. A third draft for three months was made in September, 1813, consisting of 60 men under Capt. Winthrop Shepard, of Turin, and a company under Capt. Wm. Root, of Denmark. They served under General Collins in the regiment of Col. Geo. H. Nellis, from Sept. 14th to Nov. 4, 1813, at Sackett's Harbor and Brownville, during the costly preparations for the miserable failure of Wilkinson in his boasted descent upon Montreal. An inspection return dated September, 1813, showed that the 26th Brigade contained in the 46th and 101st regiments (Coxe's and Carter's), seven companies each, and a total of 301 and 367 rank and file.

A call en masse was made, and the militia of the county served in one regiment, under Colonel Carter, from July 30th to Aug. 22, 1814, at Sackett's Harbor. General Martin was on duty upon this occasion. The last call en masse was made Oct. 7, 1814, and the militia of Lewis county were comprised in four consolidated companies under Colonel Carter. They served at Sackett's Harbor till Nov. 11, 1814. Two companies of cavalry under Captain Sanford Safford, Abner Clapp and Calvin McKnight, served at Brownville in Major Levi Collins' regiment, and a company of Silver Greys under Capt. Jonathan Collins, volunteered for the service and were on duty from October 28th to November 9, 1814, in LieutenantColonel Calvin Britain's regiment.

The above comprises the military service of the citizens of Lewis county during the war. The settlements were frequently alarmed by rumors of Indian invasions from Canada. The route through the county became a thoroughfare of armies, and every resource of the valley was called into use to supply the troops passing through, or the garrison on the frontier. The first body of regulars that passed was Forsyth's rifle company. Armies under Generals Dearborn, Izard, Covington and Dodge besides many small parties of regulars, marines, militia and sailors, trains of artillery and arms under escort, went through at various times.

In the winter of 1813-'14, some ten or fifteen teamsters were hired from the north part of this county, and many more from Jefferson, to remove flour from Sackett's Harbor to French Mills, [Fort Covington] and from thence to Plattsburgh. They had returned as far as Chateaugay, where thirty-two teamsters had stopped at an inn for the night, and were carousing to wear away the tedious hours, as sleep in such a crowd was Out of the question. Their gaiety was suddenly arrested by the entrance of a British officer, who informed them that the house was surrounded by his men, and that they were all prisoners. Their sleighs were loaded with plunder and they set out for Cornwall, where, after four days' detention, they were paid and dismissed. Mr. Ichabod Parsons, of Denmark, was one of the party, and from him the circumstances were received in these details many years ago.


From 1860 to 1864, there were two militia companies in the county; a company of artillery at Lowville, and one of infantry at Copenhagen. In 1863, the 87th Regiment of State militia was formed by Governor Seymour and included Lewis county with other territory.

The Lowville Greys, were mustered into the State militia service, February 15, 1871, in pursuance of a resolution of the Board of Supervisors, and they were mustered out February 15, 1882. They were known in the record as the " "19th Separate Company of Infantry N. G.," and were commanded by Captain and Brevet-Colonel Henry E. Turner from organization till October 1880, when he resigned, and Captain Louis A. Scott, succeeded him. Its last officers were L. A. Scott, Captain; A. A. Pelton, 1st Lieutenant; and J. H. Locklin, 2d Lieutenant.


The old frame building first erected for Trinity church was removed to Shady Avenue by Moses M. Smith, and in November, 1864, was boughtfora county armory for $1,800, and this sum was applied upon a judgment held by the county against Smith and others, in a matter growing out of a settlement of his accounts as County Treasurer. The building was held by the county until afterwards sold, upon the general discontinuance of county armories under a general law.

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy