History of New Bremen, 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 Watson and Croghan, March 31, 1848, with its present boundaries. The first town meeting was held at the house of Charles G. Loomis. Its name was probably applied to render it attractive to European emigrants.

Supervisors.- 1848-'50, Bornt Nellis; 1851, David Cleveland; 1852-'54, Bornt Nellis; Roswell Bingham; 1856- '57, B. Nellis; 1858, R. Bingham; 1859- '60, Jerome Kilts; 1861-'63, James H. Morrow; 1864-'65, Jerome Kilts; 1866- '69, John Herrick; 1870, Jerome Kilts; 1871-'75, John Herrick; 1876-'77, John Turk; 1878, Jerome Kilts; 1879-'80, John Herrick; 1881-'82, Michael Henry.

Clerks.- 1849- '50, Squire H. Snell; 1851-'58, Jerome Kilts; 1859-'60, Nicholas Gaudel; 1861, Peter Van Patten; 1862, J. Kilts; 1863-'64, John Herrick; 1865, Martin Corcoran; 1866-'67, Edward Thomas; 1868, Joseph Renaux; 1869, Firman Conover; 1870, Firmaii C. Nellis; 1871-'72, Joseph H. Virkier; 1873-'75, Melas E. Wilder; 1876, James B. Phillips; 1877, Byron Van Patten; 1878, James Boyd; 1879, Edward Thomas; 1880, B. Van Patten; 1881, Charles Higby; 1882, John A. Segovis.

Panther and wolf bounties of $5 were voted in 1848. The population of this town when erected, was 1,345, of whom 1,030 were from Watson, and 315 from Croghan. Of the whole number 753 were Europeans.

Settlement began under title derived from the old French or "New York Company," by Jacob Oboussier, clerk to Tillier, resident agent of the French proprietors. His improvement was made about a third of a mile below the present Illingworth bridge, on the banks of Black river. Oboussier went off about the beginning of this century, leaving some of his property in the hands of Samuel Illingworth, and was never again heard from. He is supposed to have been drowned in the Ohio river, on a journey to the French settlements in Louisiana. The title to his tract was contested by Le Ray, as representative of the French proprietors, upon the ground that Tillier had exceeded his powers in selling more than fifty acres in one tract, and the courts sustained the prosecution by setting aside the claims of Gilchrist, who had acquired the title.

Illingworth remained many years the only inhabitant within the town. His location on the river bank rendered this a convenient crossing place by persons on hunting and fishing expeditions into the forest, and a point familiar to all who passed up or down the river, as was more frequently done when the country was new, and the roads in wet seasons nearly impassable. No serious effort was made to bring these lands into market for settlement until 1821, when Charles Dayan, of Lowville, was appointed agent by James D. and Vincent Le Ray, for the sale and settlement of some twelve thousand acres, east of the "Cardinal line," so-called, of the Castor. land survey, and afterwards of other lands, to the west of that line.

The village of "Dayanville" was so named by Le Ray, in compliment to this agent. It was surveyed in the fall of 1824, by Jason Clark, of Plessis, who, in commencing, found it necessary to trace one of the lines from the river. The party had reached Crystal creek just at sunset, and were preparing to cross the stream and encamp on the opposite bank for the night, when they were startled by the howl of a pack of wolves in their rear. There is something peculiarly dismal in the cry of this animal, especially when heard by night, and the idea of sleeping in this lonely place was especially unpleasant to some of the younger members of the party, who could not be prevailed upon by any argument to remain. They accordingly returned to the settlements on the safe side of the river, and resumed their labors the next morning. Mr. Dayan, from whom we derive the anecdote, which he knew from personal observation to be true, did not inform us as to who the timid ones were.

This village, which since the establishment of the town and postoffice of New Bremen, is gradually losing its old name, is situated on Crystal creek, about one and a half miles from Black river, in the midst of a very level region of light loaming soil, which extends south into Watson and with but moderate undulations, north-eastward to the Beaver river. Improvements began about 1826, and one of the first erections was a saw-mill. A rake factory was built about 1840 and run several years, and a grist-mill in 1847. The first merchant in the village was Samuel Stevens. About 1853 a building, 40 by ioo feet, was erected for a machine shop, in anticipation of the completion of the "Sackett's Harbor and Saratoga Railroad," the route of which was to pass near, and the work on which had been commenced. The premises remained idle until 1859, when an addition of 40 by 150 feet was made to it for the purpose of a tannery. The firm conducting this business was at first S. Branaugh & Co. It passed into the hands of David A. Stewart, in the fall of 1868, and it was sold under foreclosure of a mortgage to John Watson, of New York, March 25, 1875. On the 15th of April, of the same year, it was bought by Hiram Gowdy, of Lowville, by whom it has since been run. It is known in the trade as "Crystal Creek Tannery," has 150 vats, and can manufacture 35,000 sides of sole leather a year. It uses about 3,500 cords of bark annually, and employs twenty men.

About half a mile below, on the same stream, is a sash and blind factory, run by S. S. Kling. A small grain-mill is run in connection with this factory, by A. B. Virkier. There is also a saw-mill, planing-mill, grist-mill, and cheese box factory upon this stream.

The village of New Bremen (or Dayanville) has a Methodist church, a twostory school house, and a small amount of local business in the way of stores, blacksmith shops, etc., and some thirty dwellings, but its nearness to Lowville has prevented it from becoming much of a place for business or trade. The name of the postoffice was changed to New Bremen, in May, 1848.

An instance of longevity occurred in the case of George Shultz, of this town, who died January 9, 1873, aged 96 years.

Mr. John F. Mann, who traded here some years, represented the county in Assembly in 1868. He died May 12, 1878, aged 54 years. The Polish nobleman mentioned in our account of Diana had his residence in Dayanville at one time.

A small part of the village of Croghan, or "French Settlement" is in this town.

A part of the village of Beaver Falls, (further noticed in our account of Croghan) is in this town, viz: Two gang saw-mills,, with lath mill, planers, etc., an inn, (William H. Fredenburg's,) and a few dwelling houses.

Near Naumburg, in Croghan, but in this town, is the Limburg cheese factory of A. Burringtori, Philip Beyer and Watson M. Van Amber.

About three miles below New Bremen village, on the river bank, B. Van Amber has a steam saw-mill and planer.

The "Illingworth" Bridge," on the road between New Bremen and Lowville, was first built by Thomas Puffer, about 1833, taking the place of a ferry formerly kept there. It was kept up at the joint expense of the towns which it connected for several years, but has for some years past been assumed and maintained by the State-as crossing a navigable river that forms a part of the canal system of the State. The approaches to this bridge on the Lowville side are liable to overflow in spring and fall, there being perhaps two weeks in a year on the general average, during which there can be no crossing except in boats Some funds have been expended by Lowville towards the construction of a dyke, but the work is incomplete, and therefore useless, because so long as any part remains unfinished, it cannot be used in high water.


December 22, 1863. -The town authorized the Supervisor and Town Clerk to give their official bonds for the payment of bounties of $200, and appointed a committee, consisting of John Herrick, Peter Back, and Patrick Sweetman, to obtain certificates as to those who enlist.

August 15, 1864.-A town bounty of $100 was offered for volunteers, and to be paid also to drafted men and substitutes. The Supervisor and James H. Morrow were to borrow $3,000 on the credit of the town. Alexander Y. Stewart and Peter Back were appointed to procure enlistments.

September 5, 1864.-In addition to the bounty last offered, the sum of $400 was offered and town bonds were directed to be issued payable in equal installments on the 10th of February, 1865 '66, '67 and '68.


The Methodists held meetings in this town several years before a church was erected. The large school house in Dayanville had been built with reference to use as a house of worship, but difficulties were interposed by a claim of rent, and on the 19th of February, 1849, a legal society was formed as the First Methodist Episcopal church of New Bremen, David A. Stewart, Griffith Meredith,* Peter Van Atter, William Holmes, Egbert Arthur, John Wakefield, Frederick Ford, Simeon Dinslow, and Alexander V. Stewart were chosen first trustees, and a church edifice was completed and dedicated September 20, 1849, at a cost of $1,206. A camp meeting held in August, 1848, near the village, by appointment of the Black River Conference, contributed to strengthen this society.

A Lutheran and a Catholic church (St. Peter's) were built about 1850, the former on the road to the French Settlement, and the latter on a road leading east from Day an yule.

The Lutheran church has apparently been abandoned. The Catholic church is attended from Croghan.

The Reformed church of New Bremen was formed August 6, 1873, the Rev. John Boehrer, pastor; Wm. Wolseman, George Fahed, Elders; Charles Springfield, Christian Miller, Deacons, and also trustees.

The Evangelist Baptist Society of New Bremen was incorporated August 5, 1867, Christian Virkler, John S. Farney, and Christian Hershey, being the first trustees.

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