History of Parishville, NY


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THIS was the fourteenth town erected by an act of the Legislature passed March 18, 1814. It was formerly under the jurisdiction of Hopkinton, and embraced all of its present area and all that is now included in the town of Colton. It was reduced to its present area by the formation of Colton in 1843 and by annexing three sections to the latter town in 1851. The northern part of the town is rolling and adapted to grazing, and the southern is hilly and sandy. It is watered by both the Raquette and St. Regis Rivers, and contains several small lakes.

The first town meeting was directed to be held at the house of Thomas C. Colburn, April 5, 1814, when the followiug officers were elected Daniel W. Church, supervisor; Abijah Abbott, town clerk; Stephen Goodman, Ira Ransom, Daniel Rockwell, assessors; Ephraim Smith, collector; Jonathan M. Derby, Stephen Paddock, poormasters; Abel Brown, Peter Mayhew, Elisha Brooks, commissioners of highways; Ephrairn Smith, Mathew Wallace, constables; Peter Mayhew, Abel Brown, overseers of highways; Russell Foot, pound-keeper. The town was named in honor of David Parish, who purchased the territory of J. D. Le Ray de Chauznont, December 2, 1808.

The settlement of the town was begun under the direction of Daniel Hoard, who, with his brother Silvius, natives of Springfield, Vt., were employed as agents for David Parish. The town was surveyed by Joseph Crary in 1809, and in the fall of that year Mr. Hoard surveyed and cut out a road from the Potsdam line to the site of Parishville village. Mr. Hoard returned to Vermont for that winter and in the spring came back with Luke Brown, Isaac Towner, Hartwell Shattuck and Levi Sawyer. The former three were from Vermont and the latter was from Massachusetts. They were engaged in making clearings on the site of Parishville village. Mr. Whitmore and his wife came into town the same summer to cook for the men clearing land. During that year a saw mill was built by two brothers named Barnes, and put in operation in the winter of 1810. The first permanent family settlement was that of Luke Brown, whose family came the last of March, 1811. Others who came in that year were Richard Newton, George A. Flower, Joel Hawkins, Reuhm Thomas, Abijah Abbott, Otis Daggett, Foster Brownell, Elisha Brooks, Nathan Whittemore, Chester Rockwell and Simeon lupper. During the summer of 1811 the turnpike from Plattsburg to the Black River was cut through the town and a large number of settlers came in during that and the following year, many of whom had fled from the river towns below on account of the war. Among them were Abel Brown. Rufus De Land, Peter Mayhew, Joseph Thomas, Stephen Paddock, Ira and Oliver Raymond, Jonathan M. Derby and Oliver Forbes. In 1814 came Joel Barnes, Joel Button, Moses Sellick, Silas and Francis Tupper and Peter B. Gilbert. In 1818 - 16 Frank Priest, William Miller, Isaac Russell and Jacob Rosevelt came. Others who soon followed were, Salmon Frost, Daniel R Rose, James Scott, Jr., John Hoit, Gustavus A. Wakefield, Seymour Flower, Nathan Christy, and others, who with their descendants developed the town and made it what it is.

Parishville village was surveyed in 1812 by Sewell Raymond, and is situated in the eastei-n part of the town on the west branch of the St. Regis River, where there is an excellent water power on a fall of 125 feet in the space of a mile. Here the first grist mill was built by Mr. D. W. Church, in 1811, for Mr. Parish, and a distillery was started the same season by Mr. Hoard, and operated by him for many years thereafter. In 1812-13 the place received large accessions from the inhabitants living on the frontier, on account of the danger they apprehended from the war, and this gave business and life to the settlement.

A lamentable affair occurred in town in the fall of 1812. A fiend in human form, by the name of B____ , living on the edge of Stockholm, committed a crime and was sent to jail in Ogdensburg. While undergoing his trial at the June session, he threatened vengeance against the neighborhood where the crime was committed, and especially against Mrs. Miller, one of the principal witnesses against him. Shortly after he broke jail and was not seen until the morning on Monday, October 23, following, crossing a bridge near the line of Pierrepont. On the following Wednesday morning Mr. Miller went to a neighbor's to get fire to start his own. On his return he found that Mrs. Miller was gone, but her shoes and stockings and part of her clothing were lying on the floor. A search was instituted but proved fruitless. On Friday night of the same week several houses and barns, including the culprit's own house in the vicinity were burned, and on Saturday morning the jail bird was seen crossing the bridge and was followed up and arrested at Carthage, having in his possession a stolen rifle. He was sent to State's prison and died there. In the following spring Mrs. Miller's body was found in the woods about three miles above Parishville, her head having been severed from the body and lying some distance away.

In the summer of 1812 a large three story building was erected by Daniel W. Church for the proprietor, for a tavern, at a cost of $12,000; it was burned in 1875. A forge was built and put in operation for a time in early years. In 1813 progress in the village was marked, among other buildings erected being one intended for an academy, which was used for a town hall, school purposes, for religious meetings and public purposes until 1854, when it was burned. The first school was taught in 1813 by Harriet Bronson in Daniel Hoard's barn; a school house was soon after erected. Dr. Francis Parker, a native of Vermont, was the first practicing physician in town. In January, 1820, J. & J. Hoit paid $25 for water privilege for a clothier's factory. Considerable manufacturing, especially in lumber and its products, has been cartied on at this point. The Parishville Lumber Company and S. L. Clark & Son now operate large saw mills, and the latter also a butter factory; and A. M. Randall a planing mill. The present grist mill is on the site of the original mill and is operated by C. J. Newell, jr. E. Whittaker has a saw mill outside of the village. The merchants of the place are Newton & Gilmore, H. L. Daggett, Adams Brothers, H. J. Sanford, J. J. Campbell and W. W. Baker. Two hotels are conducted here, the Eagle House by Myron G. Hastings, and the Commercial House by A. F. Cole. Fred D. Gilmore is postmaster.

Parishville Center.-This is a small hamlet four miles west of the village. There has been very little business done here. G. W. Boodey is now the postmaster and carries on a store.

At Allen's Falls, in the northern part of the town, a post-office has been established recently, and W. N. Crouch is the present postmaster, and operates a grist mill and a small machine shop.

The post-office at West Parishville is in charge of Charles B. Willis.

Religious Societies.- The Congregational missionaries held services in the settlement as early as 1811, but no regular church was organized until August 7, 1823, which was by a council consisting of the Rev. Mr. Parmelee of Stockholm, Rev. Oliver Eastman, pastor, Rev. Mr Constant Southworth of Canton, Rev. R. Pettibone of Hopkinton, Mr. Henry Winchester from Madrid and Deacon Samuel P. Reynolds of Potsdam, with eleven members. The society was incorporated April 23, 1827, with Noran Rockwell, James Hardy and George A. Flower, trustees. A stone church was built in 1834, at a cost of $3,000. It was burned in 1854, and a new church building erected. The services are now held (1893) with the Methodists. W. F. York is the present paster.

A Baptist society was formed at the Lower Falls in October, 1823, with thirteen members. On the 5th of April, 1831, a society was organized at the village, with Graton Brand, Seymour Flower and David Burdit, trustees. They built a church, which was also burned in the great fire of 1854. A new edifice was erected and in 1870 a parsonage was purchased. In 1874 the church and house were repaired, at a cost of '$500. The property was then worth about $4,000 Rev. B. E. Brown is the present pastor.

The first Methodist class was formed in 1818, though meetings had been held previous to that date, and a society was organized March 10, 1828. During that year the first church was built near the Center. A reorganization took place in August, 1833, and again in October, 1846, soon after which the church was removed to the village, repaired and refitted. The organization took the title of "The Parishville Village Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church." In 1832 a Protestant society of Methodists was formed from the Methodist Episcopal society, and retained its organization until 1843, when it was absorbed by the Wesleyan Methodist organization and took the latter name. In 1859- 60 the parsonage was built, and the present house of worship was dedicated in 1867. The present pastor is W. F. York; membership about sixty.

A Free-will Baptist society was formed in the southwest part of the town in September, 1859, and a church built in the same year at a cost of $2,000. There has been no regular pastor in recent years.

The usual bounties were offered for wolves and other obnoxious animals during the early period of the settlement.

Following is a list of the supervisors of the town from its formation, with years of service:
Daniel W. Church, 1814 Abijah Abbott, 1815; Daniel Hoard, 1816-21; William Allen, 1822; Daniel Hoard, 1823; William Allen, 1824-31; John Brownell, 1832-34; William Allen, 1835-37; John Hoyt, 1838, 1839; John Brownell, 1840, 1841 ; Ethan H. Pease, 1842-44; Sylvauns B. Merrill, 1845-47; Erasmus D. Brooks, 1848, 1849; Nathan Christy, 1850, 1851; William F. Gurley, 1852, 1853; E. D. Brooks, 1854, 1855; Parker W. Rose, 1856-58; Austin Willis, 1859, 1860 ; Elam Marsh, 1861 -63; Allen Whipple, 1864-69; P. W. Rose, 1870-74; Edward H. Abram, 1875-87; Fred. D. Gilmore. 1888-92: Royal Newton. 1893-94.

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