History of Waddington, NY


Local Histories

THIS town was taken from Madrid by consent of the people (see Madrid), and authorized by an act of the Board of Supervisors of the county, November 22, 1859, being the twenty-ninth town erected. This new town embraces about half of the territory of the northwestern portion ot the original township No. 4, Madrid, lying on the St. Lawrence, and includes Ogden's Island. There are many things, such as soil, timber, etc., of the early history of Madrid (see Chapter XXIII), which will apply to this part of the territory, and which is unnecesary to repeat, only so far as certain incidents call for. The new town was fully organized in March, 1860, and the following officers elected Supervisor, Walter Wilson ; town clerk, Thomas Peacock, jr.; assessors Charles D. Bartholomew and Joseph Daizell; justices, Robert Martin, C. C. Montgomery, and Isaac Bartholomew; overseer of the poor, Robert Dezell; collector, Charles McRostie; constables, Gideon Rutherford, Charles McRostie, Richard Dalton, and Wm. H. N. Lewis; inspectors of election, George Oliver, Andrew Dalzell, and Henry W. Pratt.

The first permanent settlement in the territory of this part of the town was made by Samuel Allen in March, 1797, (see page 392), though he is said to have found a Dutch family occupying a hut on the site of the village, all dressed in skins. On the i4th of November of that year a son was born to Mr. Allen and named William L. Allen, who was the first white child born in that section. While it is probable a few others came into the town in 1797, no lands were sold until the next year.

The title of Waddington, excepting the islands (which were purchased by D. A. and G. Ogden in 1823), with the remainder of the survey township of Madrid (see land titles in an early chapter), became vested about 1798 in David A. and Thomas S. Ogden, of New York city. The principal island, "Isle au rapide plat" (now Ogden's Island), lying for three miles along the river, was fronting Waddington. The narrow part of the river flowing between Ogden's Island and the southern shore, opposite Waddington village, drops some eight feet in a distance of about fifty rods, which was called by the French " Le petit saut," meaning the little jump.

This point where the village of Waddington, formerly called " Hamilton," now stands was early an attractive one to settlers, chiefly perhaps on account of its water power, that was expected to be utilized, is evidenced by the fact that about a dozen families had settled here in 1798, as shown by records of a celebration of the Fourth of July in that year, held at the extreme end of Point Iroquois. Jacob Redington read the Declaration of Independence, made an address, and the day was made jubilant by the firing of muskets and closing with a ball.

Joseph Edsall was given the agency of the survey township of Madrid in 1798, and the only persons taking land contracts that year were Barton Edsall and John Sharp; there were, however, other residents, as has been shown. Sharp lived on the river above the village site. The lands were surveyed by Benjamin Wright and in the following year were opened for sale. Lots were laid out along the river one sixth of a mile wide and running back from a mile to a mile and three-quarteis; the first price of these was $2.50 per acre. The lots back of these were surveyed a mile square each and sold at $2 per acre. In June, 1800, the following persons contracted for land: John Tuttle, Benjamin Bartlett, Godfrey Myers, Benjamin Campbell, Elias Dimicic, Reuben Fields, Asa Freeman, Samuel Allen, Edward Lawrence, Asa and Jason Fenton, Alexander Brush, James Kilborn, Jacob Carnes, Allen Patterson, Jacob Redingtoii, Robert Sample, Caleb and Cornelius Peck, Henry Allen, William Osburne, Ira Paine, Oliver Lindsley, Joseph Orcutt, Henry and Joseph Irwin, John Montgomery. Of these five or six located south of the present town of Waddington in Madrid. In the next year the only recorded purchases were those of Isaac Bartholomew and Simon Lindsley. Among other settlers of that year, whose Purchases were doubtless not made till later, were four brothers from Scotland, Andrew, Walter, Thomas, and Richard Rutherford, who settled a little to the southwest of the village, a locality that has ever since borne the name of "Scotch Settlement." These men and some of the others mentioned became influential citizens of the town, as will be seen, and descendants of many of them are now resident in this and adjoining towns.

As the settlers began clearing their farms and making improvements at the village site, the necessity of roads became paramount, and during 1802 the commissioners laid out what they called the " Great Road," running across the town in a northeasterly direction; and the "upper and lower perpendicular roads" running at right angles to the former. In this year also came in a number of settlers from Vermont and other New England States From year to year immigration steadily increased, the larger number coming from Vermont and from Scotland. Numerous friends of the Rutherfords came from their former home and added to the population and prosperity of the Scotch settlement.

In 1803 the Ogdens, David A. and Thomas L., conveyed to Joshua Waddington an undivided one-third of their lands here, and for a number of years these three men were owners of the territory of Waddington. In the early part of this year a difficulty arose with the St. Regis Indians, who claimed what is now Ogden's island and had cut many valuable pines which abounded on the island. These Mr. Edsall forbade them from removing The Indians were angry and made ominous threats, but Nathan Ford, that energetic and diplomatic pioneer, whose operations in the northern part of the county have been traced in an early chapter, called the Indians to account and ended the difficulty. An amicable arrangement was made by which the Indians relinquished claim to the land and standing timber, while Edsall agreed to pay sixty cents for each tree that had been cut down, if it should ultimately be decided that the island belonged to the Madrid proprietors. In the latter part of 1803 Alexander Richards became agent for the proprietors in place of Judge Edsall, and in 1803-4 a small grist mill and saw mill were built on the village site, the water being turned into a race by a wing dam.

The first physician in Waddington was Dr. Allen Barber, who came in 1802, and was drowned on the 6th of January, 1806, while crossing the St. Lawrence. He was succeeded in 1812, by Dr. James A. Mott, who passed his long life here in active practice. The first attorney in the town was Gouverneur Ogden, if we except Col. Mathew Myers, who was admitted in 1809, one year before Mr. Ogden. It was in Mr. Ogden's office that William Henry Vining studied and was admitted in 1820; he began practice in Waddington and his eloquence and scholarly attainments made him at once conspicuous. Elected to the Assembly the next year, his failing health prevented him from taking his seat and he died in 1822. It was in Mr. Ogden's office, also, that George Redington studied during the period of Mr. Vining's studies, the two becoming intimate friends. Mr. Redington practiced in connection with his other extensive business interests, until about 1832, then he gave his attention more to real estate operations, the building of mills, etc. He was in every sense a leading citizen, and became prominent in politics and public office. He died March 14, 1849.

In the early years of the town of Madrid, the business of the northern part centered at the site of Waddington village, where the excellent water power was made use of in various industries, as related a little further on. The place was named "Hamilton." in honor of Alexander Hamilton, the famous statesman. The fact, however, of there being one post-office of that name in the State already, the name was changed in December, 1807, to "Madrid" with Alexander Richards as postmaster. Mr. Richards was appointed in the following year an associate judge of the Common Pleas, and was otherwise a prominent citizen.

Settlement of the old town of Madrid progressed so rapidly that in i8io there was 1,420 inhabitants, two-thirds of whom probably lived in what is now Waddington. Among the latter may be mentioned besides those already given, George Rutherford, Benjamin Raymond, Christian Carnes, Jonathan Carter, Nicholas C. Raymond, Amos Wells, Andrew Benton, Joel Woodworth. Joseph Woodworth, Josiah Wright, Amasa Pratt, Ebenezer Lyman, Philo J. Tuttle, Moses McConnel, John Seibs, Samuel Browning, James Martindale, Clement Tuttle, Luman Bartholomew, John Moffett, Charles Richards, John Baird, Abiram Hulbert. These men and their descendants have been prominent in promoting the settlement and growth of the town, and conspicuous in the officia and industrial life of the community.

In 1808 a law was passed authorizing the proprietors to build a dam across the St. Lawrence here, with a lock in it of fifty by ten feet dimensions which would permit passage of vessels with two feet draft. The builders were authorized to collect toll of fifty cents a ton for small boats and twenty-five cents on vessels of over two tons. Three years were given for the completion of the work. A stone dam with a wood lock was started, but the undermining of the lock before it was finished caused the work to be abandoned, In 1811 the time for construction was extended, but the war of 1812 caused a further postponement of the project. "Hamilton " was made a port of entry in 1810, with Col. Mathew Myers as deputy collector.

In 1811 a partial division of Madrid was made among the three proprietors (the two Ogdens and Mr. Waddington), David A. Ogden receiving, with other lands, a tract of 1,130 acres embracing the site of Waddingtori village and including the mills, dam, water privilege and the large island now bearing his name. The title to the latter, however, was not then fully settled between the United States and Canada. It was about the year last named that Mr. Ogden gave up his law practice in New York, with a view of coming to Waddington to live; but the opening of the war postponed his plan. He was appointed associate judge of the Common Pleas in 1811 and held the office four years.

According to Spafford's Gazetteer, in 1812 there were at the village 135 houses, two saw mills, a grist mill, a fulling mill, a trip hammer and several shops. The history of the war of that period is given in Chapter XI. As far as it relates to this immediate locality, it may be said that while the excitement was naturally intense, the residents of Wadddington and Madrid suffered little from it Settlement ceased for a time and a number of families left the town, some of whom did not return. A company of militia was stationed at the village several months, and at one time a skirmish took place on the island, It was in one of the raids made in this vicinity that Jacob Redington (father of George and James), who had fought in the Revolution, was wounded. With the close of the war in 1815, prosperity again reigned, as further detailed in the account of the village industries, The treaty of peace established the Canadian boundary line on the northwest side of Ogden's Island, and Mr. Ogden thereupon began the improvement of that beautiful tract. After making considerable clearing he erected the large stone dwelling, with its three foot walls, which still stands, though much improved, and now occupied by Ebenezer S. Crapser. The latter purchased the island, less 160 acres at the foot, of the estate of Isaac Ogden. The island contains 750 acres. When the boundary between Canada and the States was established by a commission in 1819, this island and several smaller ones in this vicinity were formally assigned to the United States. Mr. Ogden represented his district in Congress in 1817-21.

In 1816 in order to secure better means of communication with surrounding localities, commissioners were appointed to lay out a road from Ogdensburg through "Hamilton" to Massena, and another from "Hamilton" through Columbia Vil]age to Russell. The name" Ham ilton" being the same as that of a village in Madison county, caused much confusion, and in a town meeting held in March, 1818, it was voted to change it to Waddington; and a few years later the name of the post-office here was changed to Waddington in honor of one of the land proprietors. The name of Madrid was given to what had been called "Columbia Village."

A number of Irish settlers came in and settled about this time in the eastern part of the town, where the descendants of many still live. Churches had been organized, the first one being St. Paul's, in 1818; schools were established and the extensive manufacturing operations inaugurated at the village gave the town an era of prosperity not enjoyed by many localities in the county.

The next event of importance in which the whole town was interested was the erection of the separate town of Waddington. The inhabitants of the northern part of the old town finally became weary of traveling to "Columbia Village," a distance of nine miles, to attend town meetings and elections every alternate year, and the town was erected as stated in the commencement of its history.

Waddington Village.- We left our account of the little hamlet called Hamilton "in 1812-15, with its two saw mills, grist mill, trip hammer and fulling mill, with the several small shops found in such settlements. The various industries established in the succeeding years, and which could be successfully maintained as long as they were not forced to compete with those of localities favored with railroad connections, will show the early importance of the water power and the causes for a hopeful future for the town.

In early years Sylvanus Pratt, son of Amasa Pratt, established a shop with a trip hammer and other necessary machinery, and there made the first scythe and axe made in the country by machinery. The works were burned.

The saw mills and grist mills built in the early years continued in operation with some changes until the village entered upon its period of greatest activity, when they were superseded by larger establishments. In 1832 the lock in the dam and a portion of the dam itself were destroyed; but they were promptly repaired, and soon afterward Isaac Ogden, who had come into possession of the island, built a new bridge on stone piers, with openings for the passage of boats, the other spaces being filled in with stone. It is upon this same foundation that the present structure stands. In 1832, also, was erected a stone flouring mill which was operated as such until about 1840. Some years later H. R. James came here and purchased the property, made a large addition to the building and fitted it up with improved machinery for the manufacture of paper. He also carried on a flax mill from the time of his arrival until 1876, when the building was devoted to the paper industry. He carried on the business until his death, when the property passed to D. S. Lyndes of Canton. The mills were subsequently burned. A paper mill had been in existence previous to this one, and just before 1830, which was started by a firm from Vermont, Messrs. Whitcomb, Thayer & Wales. It was in operation about twenty years and produced wrapping and writing paper. It long since went to decay.

Judge Jason Fenton erected a stone tannery in 1827, which was operated by him and his heirs for nearly thirty years. It was purchased in 1855 by Peter Dalton, who made additions to it and operated it more than twenty years, when it was burned.

Samuel Doran, father of Edward, had a carding mill, built about 1827. It was demolished and just after the war Edward Doran established another, which he carried on a number of years and it burned.

In 1834 the Ogdens established a furnace, as noted in
Madrid history, in which bog ore from near the Grass River was smelted, and pig iron and castings made. The hard times of 1837-8 rendered it unprofitable, and in 1840 it was closed out.

A. T. Montgomery established an oat meal mill here in 1838, which he operated nine years, when it was burned. Benjamin Bentley was in charge of a small foundry after about 1840, which was burned in 1874. It was rebuilt and operated by different persons since, turning nut plows, stoves, etc.

In 1850 Capt. Nathaniel Taggert built for Howland & Aspinwall of New York, the large stone grist mill now occupied by L. J. Proctor. They leased it to J. V. C. & H. S. Northrop of Waddington. Mr. Proctor purchased the mill in i866 and has greatly improved it by putting in roller machinery. In 1860 Horace Montgomery built a saw mill of large capacity. It is now idle. About 1863-4 Richard Harrison built a saw mill which passcd to the possession of J. T. Rutherford, who, in 1873, built a flouring mill. These were on the island side and were sold to Richard Harrison, and are now owned by E. S. Crapser

Daizell & Hill carried on the manufacture of sash, doors, etc., and and a planing mill, in a mill built by them between 1840 and 1850, which was afterward operated by Joseph McDowell. It is now carried on by Amos Price. Stephen Burdick carried on the manufacture of butter tubs for some years, and is now engaged in shingle sawing in the same place. Alexander J. Lord of Ogdensburg carried on a cabinet shop a few years, but for the past five years it has been closed.

It will be seen from the foregoing that the extensive manufacturing operations of the place have been diminished by fire and the business conditions are a fraction of what they once were, leaving the spectacle of a safe and costly dam, with water power second to none and sufficient to carry a hundred wheels, comparatively idle. An effort is now being made to create a boom in Waddington. The scheme is to form a stock company with a large capital, secure lands on which to build a city, improve the water power, erect factories and generate electricity to be used throughout the country. How far this scheme will be carried remains to be seen.

Among the merchants of early times were Deacon Thomas Rutherford, S. J. Dewey, Henry Church, Silver & Gilbert and William Lighterness. There are now in the place three general stores, two drug stores, two groceries and flour and feed stores, one hardware store, one boot and shoe store, one millinery store and various shops.

One of the early hotels was kept by Martin Brydges. The first pub lic house on the site of the present Clark House was built by William Clark in 1835. It was a wooden building and was destroyed by lire, to be succeeded by the present building of brick. The Clark House is now (1893) kept by Robert Thompson, and owned by Dr. S. J. Bower. The other hotel of the village was built by Ira G. Taylor and is still conducted by him.

The incorporation of the village was effected in 1839, with the following officers:
Trustees, Walter Wilson (president), A. T. Montgomery, Lewis Stowers, Seth J. Dewey, Thomas Rutherford, jr.; assessors, Robert Tate, Nathaniel Taggert, Samuel H. Dearborn; clerk, Stiliman Foote; treasurer, John S. Chipman; constable and collector, Robert Hatch.

The succession of presidents of the village have been as follows;
Walter Wilson, 1839; Nathaniel Taggert, 1840; Richard Edsall, 1841 ; Alexander Mills, 1842; Norman Sturtevant 1843; Horace Montgomery, 1844; Seth J. Dewey, 1845; Albert Tyler, 1846; Lewis Stowers, 1847; James Redington, 1848; Walter Wilson, 1849; Francis Fenton, 1850-51; ; John Peacock, 1852; Francis Fenton, 1853; Lewis Stowers, 1854; John Peacock, 1855; John V. C. Northrup, 1856-8; John Peacock, 1859; James Redington, 1860; J. V. C. Northrup, 1861-2; Henry W. Pratt, 1863-5; Richard Harrison, 1866; Walter Wilson, 1867; John T. Rutherford, 1868; William Jardin, 1869; James Graham, 1870; Loomis S. Wright, 1871; Samuel Clark, 1872-3; Robert Dalzell, 1874; James Graham, 1875-6; Robert Thompson, 1877; Samuel Clark, 1878; P. S. Wilson, 1879; William Jardin, 1880-1; Joseph McDowell, 2d, 1882; Charles E. Clark, 1883; J. McDowell, 1884; A. L. Chamberlain, 1885-7; Duane Hooper, 1888; Robert Thompson, 1889; Samuel B. Doran, 1800; Archibald Sampson, 1891; Henry Martin, 1892.

The present (1893) officers are:
President, Robert Thompson ; clerk, F. A. Sweet; trustees, William C. Jardin, Alexander McBrien, Walter Caruthers; assessors, Irwin Jarclin, L. J. Proctor, G. C. Wilson; collector, J. W. Robinson; treasurer, L. J. Proctor.

Wallace W. Harper is postmaster in Waddington (1893). About a year previous to this date a second post-office called Sucker Brook was established,

The collectors of the port here have been as follows: Mathew Myers, Harvey Lyon, Ira Collins, Richard Edsall, Thomas Short, Lewis Stowers, Alexander Mills, William C. Pierce, Samuel 1)oran, J. T. Rutherford, C. C. Montgomery, Henry W. Pratt. Robert Martin, Samtiel B. Doran.

The village long felt the need of a town hall, and finally in 1884 the present handsome and commodious stone structure was erected at a cost of nearly $15,500.

In the fall of 1883 a stone arch bridge was built by the two towns, Waddington and Madrid, across Grass River, known as the Chamberlin crossing. on the site of the old bridge. It is similar in its construction as the Madrid stone bridge and cost about the same, to which the reader is referred on page 399.

Agricultural Society, see page 216.

The common district schools of this town have been liberally supported, and the number of districts is now 14. In the village a Union Free school was organized in 1866, with a Board of Education consisting of three members. A school graded in four departments was begun, and has since been efficiently conducted.

Following is a list of supervisors of the town from the time of its organization:
Walter Wilson, 1860-64, inclusive; Charles C. Montgomery, 1865-74 inclusive; Robert DaIzell, 1875-6; John T. Rutherford, 1877 ; Robert Daizell, 1778-9; Luther B. Wetherbee, 1880-81; ; John Morrison, 1882-84; George R. Wright, 1885-6; John A. Dalzell, 1887-80; Ehenezer S. Crapser, 1890-95.


Religious services were held in Hamilton by the Congregational missionaries as early as 1807, as also by several other denominations thereafter.

St. Paul's Episcopal society was organized in 1818. The church edifice, of stone, was begun in 1816 and finished in 1818, and was built at the expense of the Trinity church of New York and of David A. Ogden. Its walls are three feet thick, and the building stands to-day substantially as at first erected. It was consecrated by Bishop Hobart, August 22, 1818, and was the first church dedicated in the county. The society was incorporated October 19, iS iS, with David A. Ogden and Gouverneur Ogden as wardens; and Jason Fenton, Robert McDowell, Thomas Short, Thomas Archibald, John Dewey, John S. Chipman, Thomas Rutherford~ and Elisha Meigs as vestrynien. Hon. John Ogilvie, then commissioner for Great Britain, in establishing the boundary between that country and the United States, presented the new Waddington church with a bell in June, 1818. The most remarkable fact, perhaps, in the history of this church is that it has withstood the ravages of time, the promptings of pride and the natural desire for the new and the beautiful, and stands to-day as it did seventy-five years ago. The membership of the society is 120, and Rev. Angus C. McDonald is the rector in 1893.

The society commonly known as the Scotch Presbyterian church was organized in the interest of the large Scotch settlement in this town, as the "First Associate Reformed Church of Madrid," on the 17th of September, 1819, with Richard Rutherford, Mark Douglas, John Moffat, John. Rutherford, and Robert Rider as trustees. In that year a frame house of worship was erected two and a half miles southwest of Waddington village, with Rev. William Taylor as pastor; he was succeeded in three years by Rev. John Morrison, who remained with the church nearly sixty years. The present pastor is Rev. James Robertson. In 1837 the society was changed from Associate Reformed to Presbyterian and connected with the Presbytery of Canada. About 1847 a second church was erected near the Madrid line, and Mr. Morrison officiated in both. In 1864 a substantial brick church was built, which has recently been demolished and rebuilt in wood in modern style. The society is largely constituted of descendants of Scotch settlers.

The Congregational society has held services in school houses at Waddtngton from the first settlement, but did not organize a church proper until January 12, 1828, when with the assistance of Rev. Joseph Hulburt and twelve members the church was formed. In October, 1841, Rev. L. A. Weeks held revival meetings there, and thirty-nine were added to the church. A frame church was commenced in 1844, cornpleted and dedicated in 1849. In 1853, having employed a Presbyterian, Rev. J. N. Whitfield, they became spiritually weak, when they were led to believe that a change in denomination would result in financial help, at least from that quarter, voted in 1858 to connect itself with the Presbyterian body, which action was confirmed by an act of the Legislature.

The first Presbyterian church of Waddington was formed from a change of the Congregational body in 1858. The church building was remodeled in 1881, and burned July 20, 1887, and within the succeeding year the present beautiful stone edifice was erected, which has a value of $25,000. The society is now (1893) under the pastorate of Rev. Randall Pease, who came in April, 1879. The church is flourishing and has a membership of 250.

Methodist Episcopal Church -The first Methodist class organized at Waddington was, about 1826, by Rev. Mr. Sawyer. His circuit extended from Ogdensburg to Raquette River bridge In the early years of the church in this section meetings were held at various points in school houses and private dwellings. In 1849 a small brick church was begun in Waddington, and finished and dedicated in 1854. Two years later another class was formed and a small church erected in the western part of the town near the Lisbon line, while another class met at Chase's mills in Louisville. the three constituting the Waddington circuit and being supplied by the same pastor. In 1892 the church in Waddington was rebuilt, in brick, in modern style. Rev. F. L. Knapp is the pastor in 1893.

St. Mary's Catholic Church.- As early as the year 1825 the Catholics built a church about four miles from Waddington on the Norfolk road, where services were held by missionaries, and the faithful attended from a wide area of country. During the twelve years previous to 1848 Father James Mackey was in charge of the church and greatly pro. moted its interests. During the latter part of his pastorate the stone church was erected. The society also owns a pleasant brick parsonage. Rev. Edward B. Murphy is the present priest. There are 130 families in the church.

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