North Hudson, NY History
HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY
EDITED BY: H. P. SMITH
PUBLISHED BY D. MASON & CO. PUBLISHERS, SYRACUSE, NY 1885




THIS town was formed from Moriah on the 12th of April, 1848. It lies in the interior of the county, a little south of the center and is bounded on the north by Keene and Elizabethtown; on the east by Crown Point and Moriah; on the south by Schroon, and on the west by Newcomb and Minerva. It is extremely mountainous and rugged in its surface, and only about one-eighth is adapted to cultivation; there are, however, a few excellent farms in the town; the soil is a light, sandy loam. The Schroon mountains traverse the east border of the town, and the Boquet mountains occupy the central and western portions. The principal peaks are Dix Peak and Nipple Top in the extreme northern part, two of the more noted mountains of this region and both over 4,000 feet in height. Other peaks are Moose, Camel’s Hump, Barr, McComb’s and Mount Allen. There are numerous small lakes and ponds in the town, the principal of which are Elk lake (Mud pond), Boreas pond, Clear pond, Deadwater pond, Johnson’s pond, and Wolf pond; a small portion of the Upper Ausable pond enters the northern part.

The two branches of the Schroon river find their rise in this town, the west branch flowing south from Elk lake partly across the central portion and then turning eastward joins the east branch in the northeastern part; the east branch rises in the eastern and northeastern parts where it is fed by numberless clear streams and ponds and flows southwesterly until it joins the west branch, which course the river then continues across the town line.

The Moriah iron district extends into the eastern part of the town, and several attempts have been made to successfully develop the industry within the town, but with quite unsatisfactory results.

The town was not settled at so early date as many others of the county owing to its interior position and rugged character. The first settlements of a permanent character were made about 1800, and among the pioneers was Benjamin Pond, the first permanent settler; he was followed within the next few years by Randall Farr, who kept the first tavern, William Pond, Samuel Norton, William Everett, Benjamin Cummings, Russell Walker, William Mallory, Timothy Chellis, Hezekiah Keep, and Titus Walker. The first death was that of a Mrs. Holloway. Janet Post taught the first school.

Most of these settlers located in the eastern and southeastern parts and along the branches of the Schroon river, where they found an unbroken wilderness to welcome them. Benjamin Pond, the first permanent settler in the town, came in about the year 1800 from Ponitney, Vt, and his brother William came in not far from the same year. They located a little west of what is now known as the Deadwater district, on the old State road, where Charles Walker now liyes. Benjamin Pond was a man of note in the community; was judge, member of the State Legislature and member of Congress at the time the War of 1812 was declared. He died October 6th, 1814. Samuel Norton came into the town soon after the Ponds and settled near them. William Everest settled on the place now occupied by Dennis Arthur, a little north of the Burhans tannery site, where the road to Moriah begins. Benjamin Cummings located about a mile easterly of the Burhans tannery. Russell Walker came in early, but afterwards went to Bridport, Vt., and died there. William Mallory was one of the early immigrants, but went west. Timothy Chellis settled two miles from the Burhans tannery site, on the road to Moriah Center. His daughter became the wife of Amos Drake, of Schroon Lake. Titus Walker was one of the early pioneers and located north of the tannery site, on the place now owned by Jacob Deyo. He was grandfather of Charles Walker, now living in the town. All of the foregoing came in before 1810. Elihu Phelps came to the town about 1811-12 and settled north of the hamlet of North Hudson, where Charles Wood now lives. He had a large family of children. On his farm was one of the first grist-mills in this vicinity and a saw-mill. Previous to the erection of this mill, the inhabitants hereabouts were compelled to carry their grain to Chestertown, in Warren county. The mills subsequently came into possession of Nelson Little, who rebuilt the saw-mill. Nahum Wyman afterwards owned them, and they were carried away by a flood about twenty-five years ago. Russell Root came into the town with his father, Selah Root, in about 1812, and located on the farm which he in after years made famous as the site of his popular hostelry. This farm and the settlement which has grown up about the hotel is now known as Schroon Rivet. Here is located a post-office, store, shops, etc. Mr. Root built a log-house, which served its time as a resort for the public. Its location en the old State road, over which passed the stages from Albany through to Canada, and in the midst of a region famous for its attractions to Sportsmen, gave it a large patronage and wide celebrity. In the year 1858 Mr. Root erected a commodious framed structure, which has since been enlarged and improved to accommodate forty guests. He died in 1873, and the house and property, embracing store, blacksmith-shop, farm-house, etc., was left in possession of his son, A. F. Root, and the estate was purchased by the present proprietor, Lyman Hall, who continues the popularity of the house. John Wyman located about a mile south of Root’s, where Dr. Robinson lives, and raised a large family. A mile still farther south a Mr. Johnson located at an early day and kept a tavern. He died there, and Robert D. Lindsay, who married his daughter, put up a new house and kept it successfully for a number of years, until it was burned. A little farther southward, John Potter, son of the first John, who came into the town early and kept a tavern near the tannery site, also kept a tavern. It finally passed into the possession of his son, E. B. Potter, who put up a good house, kept it for some years, and died there. Next south of the Potter place, Nahum Wyman settled, lived and died. All these early residents lived along the State road. William Miller was an early settler in the town, and Daniel Weatherhead became well known in early years by his popular tavern about three miles above the Burhans tannery site on the State road. This was widely known, and is yet, as the Weatherhead Place. Saw-mills were located there.

The numerous taverns mentioned are accounted for largely by the fact that this was a great stage route, but more especially from the vast amount of travel of one kind and another arising from the lumber business. An old resident says it was not a strange occurrence to see forty teams, with wagons heavily loaded with the finest white pine lumber, stop at Weatherhead’s inn to dinner. And there were the numerous men engaged in other branches of the vast business—choppers, river-drivers, sawyers, etc., who looked more or less to the country inns for their accommodation. Whisky was then sold everywhere and almost universally drank, which formed a source of considerable income to the taverns. From about the year 1830 down to comparatively recent times the town has presented a scene of great activity.

The principal industry in the past has been lumbering, while the tanning of leather was at one time a prominent occupation. Most of the acreage of the town, was formerly covered by valuable pine and hemlock timber. There was extensive water-power on the many small streams and saw- mills sprang into existence in every direction, while hundreds of thousands of logs were cut and driven down the streams to larger markets. This industry depended, of course, upon the supply of timber, and at this time almost all the pine has disappeared, and the labors of the few lumbermen are devoted to cutting the spruce and hemlock which is still standing in the back districts. The sawmills have disappeared with the timber, there being now but two or three in the town. The large supply of bark, and the ease with which it could be secured, led to the establishment of tanneries in the town. E. B. Potter established a tannery at the hamlet now known as North Hudson, and in the year 1859 it was purchased by Edgar W. Burhans, who enlarged and successfully conducted it till 1879, when the business was abandoned. Mr. Burhans also kept a store in connection with the tannery. Another tannery was built by Sawyer & Mead about three miles west of the hamlet of North Hudson, on the branch of the Scbroon, which was purchased in 1880 and is now operated by Emerson & Mead. But with the rapid diminution of the bark supply, with the advance in cost of transporting hides to the interior and leather to market, this industry is declining. In early days, and particularly during the period when the lumber interest was active and stage travel was much heavier than now, the country taverns, to which we have alluded, were numerous on all public highways and received generous support. The first one of these inns was kept by Randall Farr. It was about four miles north of the site of Root’s, on the State road. A tavern was kept near the tannery site. Robert D. Lindsay, already mentioned, kept his tavern two miles below the tannery, and a little farther down was the public house kept by E. B. Potter. Indeed, these country inns were thickly scattered throughout this region in early days. Nearly all of them have disappeared; those that are now remaining, or have been established in recent years, depending largely upon the. annual influx of sportsmen for support. There is excellent sporting in and around the town, and thousands pass through it, or halt within its borders, every summer to enjoy the fishing and hunting and recuperate in the bracing atmosphere of the woods. Besides Lyman Hall’s house, Henry P. Jones keeps a public house at Elk lake, and Alonzo Palmer has a house on the Branch four miles from Schroon river.

The attempts at working iron in this town comprise the forge built on the Branch about a mile from the hamlet of North Hudson by Jacob Parmerter, and afterwards owned by Phelps, Walker and Parmerter, and it passed into possession of Mr. Parmertcr, who operated it four or five years. It was transferred to John Roth in 1861 and later to Powell Smith. He kept it two years and sold out to Clark & True. The forge was burned in 1880. It had three fires and ore was brought from Paradox lake and the Moriah beds. During the late war, while the price of iron was very high, this forge, as well as others in this vicinity, were operated at a profit, but the great decline in prices, combined with the cost of hauling ore seven or eight miles, has made it impossible to manufacture iron in the town with success. There was another forge near the barn-. let of North Hudson, and one at Deadwater, built by Tabor C. Imus. Ore for these forges was brought in from the Moriah district. James S. Whallon became the owner of these forges, but all these industries were abandoned many years ago for the reasons above stated.

The church history of North Hudson is very meagre. Meetings have, of course, been held at irregular intervals from an early date, and previous to about 1870 in the school-houses. Finally, with the help of the towns adjoining on the east, a small church was built by the Methodists near the hamlet of North Hudson. A school is kept in a part of the building and services are held, but not with regularity..

MUNICIPAL HISTORY

The town of North Hudson can boasr of very little that can properly be classed inder the title of municipal history, There is no center of settlement in the town entitled to the name of a village, and there are at the present time but two post-offices. One of these is at Lyman Hall's (Root's) place and was established bere forty years ago or more. Russell Root was the postmaster and occupied the position until his death. The property here being left in control of his son, A. F. Root, he took the post-office and kept it until the sale of the estate to Mr. Hall. The name of the post-office is Schroon River. The settlement at this point comprises a few houses, blacksmith shop, the hotel, a small grist- mill. All of these buildings have come into the possession of Lyman Hall.

The other post-office of the town is called North Hudson and is situated on the State road about four miles north of Schroon River, at the site of the Burhans tannery. The post-office and tannery were established nearly contemporaneously. Frank Burhans was postmaster here for about twelve years and was succeeded by B. W. Ingalls for four years, when in March, 1883, the present incumbent, William Sturtevant, was given the office. There is no mercantile or other business at this point at the present time.

There was formerly a post-office at the Deadwater locality called “Deadwater Iron Works,” but this was abandoned with the decline of the miners’ industries at that point.

Following is a list of the supervisors of the town of North Hudson from the date of its formation to the present time: 1848, Harry Farr; 1849, Tabor C. Imus; 1850 to 1852 inclusive, Jacob Parmerter; 1853, Harry Farr; 1854, Cephas Olcott; 1855, Jacob Parmerter; 1856, Benajah Pond; 1857 and 1858, Cephas Olcott; 1859 and 1860, Benajah Pond; 1861, Roswell Fenton; 1862 to 1864 inclusive, Orrin Phelps; 1865, Jacob Parmerter; 1866 to 1874 inclusive, Edgar W. Burhans; 1875 and 1876, Adelbert F. Root; 1877 to 1881 inclusive, Frank W. Burhans; 1882 to 1885 inclusive, Charles Talbot, jr.

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