Waverly was erected from Dickinson in 1880, and then comprised six townships, or 146,466 assessed acres. By
the forming of Altamont in 1890 its area was reduced by almost exactly one-half, or to 77,254 acres as assessed
- which, quality considered, is quite sufficient, as the land generally has little value after the removal of the
timber. It is uneven, rocky, almost sterile in parts, and even where the soil is seemingly fairly good it is often
cold, repaying cultivation but poorly, though affording reasonably good grazing. The entire south third of the
town is included in the William Rockefeller private park or preserve; most of the middle third and a part of the
north third are in the condition that extensive lumbering operations would naturally leave a wilderness tract.;
while two-thirds of the north third, or less than a quarter of the whole, is nearly all cleared and in cultivation,
with a number of good farms, though mostly rough and rolling, so that it is not feasible to use machinery advantageously,
and a good deal of hand work is required in planting, cultivating and harvesting the crops. Thin and acid in some
localities, the land nevertheless produces good hay and most kinds of grain, as well as potatoes as fine as are
grown anywhere in the world - two prizes having been awarded to Waverly growers at the Cornell potato show in 1916.
Though the seasons are sometimes too short for potatoes to ripen fully, that disadvantage is more than compensated
if the product be marketed for seed, as the unripe potato sprouts quickest, and enables southern growers to produce
earlier, when prices are highest. In the hope of affording suggestion for safeguarding the future, after the disappearance
of the forest, H. E. O'Neil has given local agricultural problems no little study, and from personal actual demonstration
believes that the growing of potatoes for seed, which always commands a better price than for consumption, and
stock raising along given lines can be made to yield handsome returns. Calves bought in midsummer, grazed on cheap
lands until winter, then fed economically, grazed again the following summer, and finally grairied for a few weeks
have paid a hundred per cent. and more on the original investment - the intermediate care and cost having been
trivial. Dairying on a large scale can not be expected to be prosecuted profitably, though affording promise of
fair success in certain inclosed areas. With climatic and soil conditions such that lands are rarely too wet for
working in the spring, and never crust or bake, while underlying moisture minimizes drouth effects, it is believed
that with due enterprise and employment of intelligent methods farming in the northern part of the town could be
brought to realize quite as much as is at present paid out for wages by the mills in the village. But even this
could not be counted upon to preserve the village itself in its present size, for with the exhaustion of the timber
the mills must close, and there would remain no sufficient employment for the common labor which constitutes so
large a part of the municipal population.
NATURAL RESOURCES AND REFORESTATION
Apart from the soil the natural resources of Waverly consist almost altogether in its forests, of which the industries
upon which the business activities in the village of St. Regis Falls depend are destructive. The cooperage company
is denuding large tracts of hard timber at a rapid rate, and the pulp mill consumes great quantities of the soft
woods. Manifestly this can not continue forever unless there be replacement other than that which Nature can supply,
and with the forests gone, and three-quarters of the town's area practically worthless for agricultural purposes,
the conclusion is inescapable that Waverly's then future would he precarious in the extreme. Consequently unless
there be instituted and determinedly prosecuted a policy of reforestation, the mills must become idle in the course
of a few years, and St. Regis Falls lose its prosperity and a large percentage of its population, regardless of
how agriculture he developed. The alternative to such decay is of course a stupendous proposition, but men who
are experienced and skilled in forestry insist that it is not only altogether feasible, but that it promises actual
profit. A thousand young pine or spruce per acre are required to reforest a tract, and forty to forty-five years
will be required for them to attain a growth which would fit them for merchantable uses. But foresters tell us
that at the end of such period the harvest would have a nioney value which, reckoning every item of cost, including
land and compounding the interest on the investment, would give a return of five per cent to the operator. A generation
or more is undeniably a long wait, but it is certainly preferable to hopeless barrenness and utter loss of lands,
which, treated as suggested, might make an industry perpetual instead of short lived, with the tract worth incalculably
niore than it was even as virgin forest, because with the steadily decreasing timber area stumpage can not fail
to gain in value. Besides all that, one needs but to visit the neighborhood of Wawbeek in Harrietstown, where there
is a replanted forest fifteen to eighteen years old, to be delightedly impressed by the attractiveness of lands
thus treated as compared with those that have been stripped and practically abandoned. The Brooklyn Cooperage Company
is already putting out half a million young trees on lands owned by it in St. Lawrence county, and like action
must be had in Waverly if there is to remain anything of consequence in the town besides a memory and its name.
Everybody in the town who has its welfare at heart and possesses any denuded land unfit for cultivation should
practice the policy here suggested in some degree at least, and those who can not themselves so operate ought not
to neglect opportunity to urge action upon others. If neglected the town will be a waste within a measurable period,
and must lose most of its population. The same proposition is applicable equally to Altamont, Brandon, Duane, Franklin
and Santa Clara, the truth of which is exemplified by Waverly's own experience. Comparing conditions there in 1895
with those which had obtained earlier, the late Hon. William T. O'Neil wrote that where there had been two mills
at Shanley there were then none and the houses for the operatives were deserted and empty; that a planing mill
and box factory at St. Regis Falls which had employed thirty hands had gone into disuse; that a saw mill which
formerly worked a hundred men was employing only eleven; that the railroad shops, with sixty workmen, had removed
elsewhere; and that lumbering operations that had had camps containing five hundred workers had ceased altogether.
The tannery was then running, but closed later, and has not been replaced, and more recently the rossing mill has
closed because the preparation of pulp wood by that process has been found to be too wasteful. All of these changes
except the loss of the railroad shops were due solely to the fact that the pine and large spruce in the vicinity
had all been cut, and most of the hemlock stripped of its bark. The outlook for the time seemed black enough and
hopeless and only that industries using hard woods and cutting the smaller spruce for pulp wood came into existence
there could not have been much more of a future for St. Regis Falls than for Everton, Santa Clara, Shanley and
Branclon. But within a dozen or fifteen years the supply of hard wood and pulp stock will have been exhausted,
compelling abandonment of the mills and leaving no field of employment open to labor. Can such conditions mean
anything except one more practically deserted village in the event that reforestation is not undertaken soon?
True, a summer resort business might be rebuilt up to some extent if capital and enterprise for it could he enlisted,
but vacationists and pleasure seekers will not favor a locality that lacks woods and water.
It appears from the supervisors' records that Waverly twice escaped by a narrow margin a different christening.
In 1861 the proposition was put before the supervisors to set off six townships from Dickinson, and to call the
proposed new town Hammond's Falls - Charles F. and John U. Hammond of Crown Point having purchased large tracts
of wilderness lands in the vicinity a short time previously, and erected a saw mill at what is now St. Regis Falls.
The supervisors voted adversely, however, and no further suggestion for the partition of Dickinson was presented
until 1880. The proposed act as then offered gave to the new town the name Greenville, in compliment to Ira C.
Green, a pettifogger, a justice of the peace, and an active worker in local politics, but busy rather than strong.
The measure failed of passage by one vote. A few days later Hon. William T. O'Neil, who became the first supervisor,
and who was for more than a quarter of a century the leading citizen of the place, appeared before the supervisors
in advocacy of the proposition except that he suggested substituting Waverly for Greenville as the name which the
town should bear. His arguments and personal influence induced one supervisor to change his vote, and the measure
Yet another incident of name designation attaches to the locality which it is worth while to chronicle. During
the civil war, when practically. everybody in all that section was an ardent Unionist and admirer of the President,
it was desired to have a post-office established, to be called Lincolnson. A Democrat of a neighboring town was
engaged to draw the petition, and in the narrowness and bitterness of partisanship then so prevalent he wrote the
name "Linkinson," and, rather remarkably, it slipped through the post-office department with approval.
In consequence the place was known for years as Linkinson," but with change eventually to St. Regis Falls.
BEGINNING AND GROWTH OF ST. REGIS FALLS
The year when activity began at St. Regis Falls can not be fixed with certainty, but probably was 1858 or 1859.
Beginning in 1855 and continuing yearly to 1859, the Hammonds made extensive purchases of timber lands in the vicinity,
and certainly not later than 1860 had a mill in operation, which had been built for them by Amos Harvey, with Hiram
Cook, Julius Rising and Kirby and Josephus Titus comprising a part of his working force. Until then the present
town of Waverly had had no inhabitants at all except perhaps two or three hunters and trappers. There were no roads
other than trails and the Northwest Bay road leading into it, and forests shut it in for miles on every side. The
first schoolwas taught in 1860 by Miss Amy Saunders (afterward Mrs. Philip Shufelt) at a compensation of one dollar
a week and board! The rear of a log house, in the front part of which a family had living quarters, was the school
room, and the only frame structure in the place, with the exception of the saw mill, was the dwelling house of
Benjamin Babcock, who was the mill superintendent. Other than these there was nothing except a few log cabins on
Main street and the lumber camps back in the forests. Mr. Babcock remained as superintendent until 1865, when he
was succeeded by his brother John, who was the father of Dr. L. W. and Brigham W. John died in 1867, and Oren Grimes,
who came from Crown Point, afterward engaged in lumbering in Duane with his son-in-law, Fred O'Neil, and now resides
in Malone, then took charge, and so continued until the Hammonds sold to Orson Richards of Sandy Hill in 1820.
Mr. Richards associated Thomas O'Neil with him as resident manager and partner in the business, but without proprietary
interest in any of the lands. They expected to cut eight million feet of lumber per year. Mr. Richards was interested
in large enterprises elsewhere, and some of these going wrong he failed in 1829 for two and. a half million dollars.
In consequence the property here passed to the ownership of S. F. Vilas of Plattsburgh, and Vilas & O'Neil
ran the mill until 1882, when it was sold to Hurd, Hotchkiss & Macfarlane - the latter a Michigan lumberman
of large experience, and the other members of the firm being capitalists from Connecticut, who had been associated
in a similar business with Mr. Macfarlane in the West, and who had. become convinced that the field here offered
opportunity for profitable investment and operation.
Their original purchase comprehended a tract of some sixty square miles, to which they added soon afterward half
as much more. Their plans were large and their action so energetic that most people in the locality received them
with amazement and incredulity, unable to comprehend that lumbering could justify the building of a railroad through
a difficult arid sparsely settled country. Nevertheless by the autumn of 1883 they had completed a railroad from
Moira to St. Regis Falls, greatly enlarged the old Hammond mill, opened a store, and established logging camps
which were to turn out vast cuts of timber. Their expenditure within half a year of the tinie that work was begun,
including land purchases, was said to have reached a million and a half of dollars; and this proved to be little
more than the beginning. Besides enlarging the old mill, they added steam for power, installed machinery for making
clapboards, lath and. broomsticks, built a machine shop and box factory, and conducted a general store which had
a trade of seventy-five thousand dollars a year. The effect upon St. Regis Falls was marked. Real estate values
quadrupled, and the population was multiplied by five or six, with more money circulating than at any other place
in the county. in the course of the next two or three years the railroad was extended southerly through Waverly
into Santa Clara. The pace having become apparently too swift for Mr. Macfarlane, he withdrew from the concern
in 1885, and Mr. Hotchkiss dropped out a little later. Mr. Hurd, having become absorbed in the work of extending
the railroad and in the operation of mills which he had built elsewhere, sold the St. Regis Falls plant to Dodge,
Meigs & Co. of New York, or the Santa Clara Lumber Co., which sold later to the St. Regis Paper Co., the present
Following the history of the Hammond mill, Watson Page and B. W. Babcock leased it from the St. Regis Paper Co.
in 1896 and operated it for a shore time in the manufacture of hard wood lumber, after whieh the Watson Page Lumber
Company was incorporated by Mr. Page, William T. O'Neil and H. E. O'Neil, and continued the business successfully
until 1904, when the Brooklyn Cooperage Company, seeking oppertunity to do business here, was permitted to take
over the mill under lease-the gentlemen composing the Watson Page Lumber Company consenting to the arrangement
out of pure public spirit, so that the hamlet might tenefit through the establishment of a larger industry. The
cooperage company is still in possession, operating the plant as a stave and heading factory. Though it owns no
lands in the immediate vicinity, it buys big lots of stnmpage or immense quantities of logs from others. It has
a railroad running half way across Waverly into and through Santa Clara, and half way over into Brandon for hauling
stock. It has on its payrolls in connection with the St. Regis Falls business about three hundred men.
In 1865 the Hammonds sold a parcel of land at and adjacent to St. Regis Falls to Solomon R, Edward and Francis
Spaulding of Boston, Mass., and James H. Young (the father of Mrs. W. T. O'Neil and Frank R. Young of St. Regis
Falls and of Charles H. of Malone) proceeded at once to bouid a sole-leather tannery for them, and then to operate
it as superintendent. The firm became Spaulding & Bumstead a little later, and did business until 1878, when
it failed. The tannery was then operated under lease for a year or two by Perley D. Moore & Co. Shaw Brothers
of Boston bought it about 1880, converted it into an upper-leather works, and, including bark peelers and teamsters,
gave employment to a hundred and fifty hands. Mr. Young retired from the superintendency in 1882 after seventeen
years of practically continuous service. Shaw Brothers had other large tanneries in Hamilton county and in Pennsylvania,
and had so overextended themselves that they failed in 1884 for five million dollars. The establishment was sold
to Arey, Maddock & Locke of Boston, and was run by them, first in the firm name, and then under the title of
St. Regis Leather Company, with Samuel Smith as superintendent, until they also failed in 1901. The building was
bought soon afterward by William T. and H. E. O'Neil, who converted it into a chair factory, which had a capacity
of six hundred chairs per day, and later transferred to it the electric lighting plant which had been established
originally in the Page lumber mill. Both chair factory and the electric works were run successfully until 1909,
when fire wiped them out. The name was changed to the Cascade Wood Products Company, and Alexander Macdonald and
Dr. L. M. Wardner became interested in it. A dam and pulp mill were erected on the tannery site, and an electric
railroad five or six miles in length constructed out into timber lands for hauling logs. While the concern's supply
of timber lasted it sold the hard wood to the cooperage company, and itself worked up the soft wood. The railroad
is no longer - in existence, the rails having been taken up and sold for old iron; and the pulp mill is temporarily
idle. H. E. O'Neil is the president and general manager. Acceptance of the office of deputy conservation commissioner
compelled Mr. Macdonald to part with his interest in the property. The company owns also a small saw mill down
the stream from its principal works, which it operates for custom business.
To the progressiveness of H. E. O'Neil St. Regis Falls owns installation of an. electric lighting system at
a comparatively early date. While yet hardly more than a boy, in the face of discouragement and scoffing by many
of his elders, he installed a small dynamo in 1898 in .the planing mill of the Watson Page Lumber Co., and organized
the St. Regis Light and Power Company. Enlargement becoming necessary because of increase of business, the plant
was removed to the chair factory, and after the fire there an excellent power was developed at Ploof's Falls, about
two miles down the river, in the town of Dickinson, and as complete works were constructed as are to be found anywhere.
Both dam and power house are of concrete, thorough and modern in construction, and adequate to all demands that
are likely to be made upon it. A tub factory is operated in connection with it. All of the stock having been acquired
by members of the family, the corporation has been dissolved, and the business is now conducted under the name
O'Neil & Co.
About 1868 Benoni G. Webb, from Bellmont, built a saw mill threequarters of a mile below the village. It was operated
by Webb & Stevers until the firm failed, when it was acquired and run by Hubbard & Lowell. It burned in
1873. Charles H. Young rebuilt it in 1883, and in the course of two or three years sold it to J. W. Webb. R. P.
Lindsay and then H. E. O'Neil followed in ownership. Hugh Raymo next had it, and now it is owned by the Cascade
Wood Products Co.
Other mills in Waverly have been a shingle mill, near Guide Board, built by W. T. ONeil about 1876, but long out
of existence, two mills at Shanley, and a large rossing mill, built a few years ago by the St. Regis Paper Co.
a half a mile above the village, which shut down permanently two or three years ago. It had a capacity of fifty
thousand cords of pulp wood annually. Following the murder of Orrando P. Dexter in 1903, the Brown Tract Lumber
Co. of Lewis county acquired the lands composing Mr. Dexter's private park, and built a mill at Goose Pond (now
Gile) to work up the merchantable timber. That having been. accomplished, the mill was dismantled and removed.
St. Regis Falls has a mica factory, established a few years since by Canadian capitalists, which employs twenty
to thirty hands - mostly women and girls. The raw material is brought from Canada, and worked up here because the
duty on. the crude mica is less than on. the finished product. Only the inferior grades of mica are handled. When
manufactured, mica is used for coating the cheaper kinds of wall paper, for giving toys and stage scenery the effect
of having been frosted, as a lubricant in axle grease, etc., as an absorbent of glycerine in the manufacture of
explosives, in making buttons, and in flake form for electrical insulation. The product of the St. Regis Falls
factory is utilized mainly for insulation purposes.
Upon the withdrawal of Peter C. Macfarlane from the firm of liurd, Hotchkiss & Macfarlane, he and W. J. Ross
formed a partnership, to which H. W. Stearns of Bombay was admitted a few months later, and built mills at Everton,
as told in the sketch of Santa Clara. Reference to the undertaking is pertinent here only because the concern's
railroad to Everton began at St. Regis Falls and extended half way across the town of Waverly.
The most casual consideration of the class of establishments which put St. Regis Falls on the map at all, and to
which for a third of a century or more the activities of the place were almost wholly confined; can not fail to
suggest plainly the character and conditions of the body of the people. There were of course a few men of intelligence,
enterprise and force. but the great majority were only common laborers, unlettered, many of foreign extraction
and not naturalized, rough in garb and conduct, a proportion of them roystering if not lawless, and, not reckoning
upon permanency of residence, had no particular interest for community welfare, and lacked individual enterprise
and civic pride. Wages were squandered, and the liquor traffic grew and prospered. B-ut marked and wholesome changes
have occurred in recent years. While employment in the mills still affords the means of livelihood to most, the
second generation of mill hands and lumberjacks, having had educational advantages, and grown to realize that the
village is more than a temporary camp, and that even the poorest inhabitant has a stake in the general welfare,
is a much more substantial type than the pioneers had been; the class of buildings has greatly improved; public
order is far better enforced; the average of decency and morality is higher; and an interest in the schools and
generous support for them are gratifyingly and commendably evident. In place of the single original schoolroom
in the rear of a hovel the village now has a building which cost about nine thousand dollars, accommodates more
than four hundred pupils, and employs eleven teachers. The higher branches are taught. J. L. Blood has been the
school's efficient principal for eleven years. Individual enterprise has provided an excellent system of water-works,
established an electric plant for lighting the streets, houses, stores and offices, a newspaper, a bank, fairly
good hotels and satisfactory stores. The saloons and bars have been proscribed, and, all in all, the hamlet compares
favorably with even larger places in respect to the requisites for comfortable and enjoyable living and home advantages.
It incorporated a few years ago as a village, but subsequently rescinded such action. It has a population of probably
between twelve and fifteen hundred. Besides the industrial works, it has three churches, public and parochial schools,
fifteen or eighteen stores, a bank building and four hotels - only two of which, however, are open for business.
The first hotel was built by Henry Bickford (the father of the murderer of Secor) from Dickinson, and is now known
as the Frontier House. It has had many landlords since Bickford's time, among whom have been D. I. McNeil; Kenneth
W. Kinnear, W. J. Alfred and Alexander Johnson. It is now owned by Evariste LeBoeuf, but is closed as a hotel because
not permitted to have a bar. The Waverlv House was built by William T. O'Neil in 1S84, and kept by him for a. year
or two. He sold to Watson Page, and the latter to L. C. Goodrich, who sold to W. J. Alfred, and he to George Prespare.
George Bishop runs it as lessee. J. W. McNeil built over a store in which O'Neil & Young had traded, and sold
it later to Simon McCloud, who keeps it. The St. Regis House also was formerly a store building, erected by O'Neil
& Parks, and remodeled by George Bishop,. the present owner. It is closed because the town is "dry."
The first store was a Hammond concern, run by their mill superintendent, Mr. Babcock; the second, Samuel W. Gillett's;
and the third, Wm. T. O'Neil's. Richards & O'Neil and then Vilas & O'Neil continued the Hammond store,
and then followed George W. Orton and Ira C. Green, Harrison - G. Baker, Silas P. Fleming, and Charles H. Young
- the latter as the partner of Mr. O'Neil The Fleming store, which was a continuation of the first mercantile venture
of Wm. T. O'Neil, was bought later and. run by the Shaws in connection with their tannery.
The St. Regis Falls National Bank was chartered, and opened its doors for business in May, 1905, with W. T. and
H. E. O'Neil, Alexander Macdonald, Frank S. Young, E. P. Tryon and B. H. Burns constituting the board of directors.
H. E. O'Neil was the first president, and continued in. that capacity until 1916, when, other interests claiming
most of his time, he was succeeded by A. S. O'Neil, a brother. A. May, the first cashier, is now with the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, and H. L. Ketcham, assistant cashier, is treasurer of the St. Lawrence Trust Co. at Ogdensburg.
T. H. Delaire, a St. Regis Falls boy, is the present cashier; and. A. S. O'Neil, Dr. W. A. Wardner, O. L. Wilson
and E. L. Hulett have taken the places of Messrs. W. T. O'nei;, Macdonald, Tryon and Burns in the directorate.
The bank is capitalized at $25,000, has an earned surplus of upwards of $12,000, and its deposits total over $100,000.
That the management means that it shall be helpful first to local interests is indicated, by the fact that all
of its available resources are in loans and discounts, next to nothing being locked up in bonds except such as
are required to be owned to secure circulation. Its banking house and fixtures are carried in assets at a valuation
An unexpiated murder was committed September 9, 1903, at Dexter Lake, which lies four or five miles east of south
from St. Regis Falls, and at which Orrando P. Dexter from New York city had established a private park and built
a costly cottage a dozen years or more previously. In accordance with his daily custom, Mr. Dexter had started
this morning to drive to Santa Clara for his mail, but had proceeded hardly more than an eighth of a mile when
he was shot. The bullet, evidently fired from a high-power gun, penetrated the buggy back, struck Mr. Dexter near
the shoulder blade, passed completely through his body, just above the heart, and imbedded itself in the horse's
rump. A few rods farther on Mr. Dexter fell from the buggy, and was found almost at once by one of his employees
who had heard the report of the gun. He was then breathing, but died without having spoken. The generally accepted
theory at the time was that the murderer, aware of Mr. Dexter's custom, had laid in ambush at one side of the drive
awaiting him, and after he had passed stepped into the road and fired. Certainly he could not have shot from his
place of concealment, for the course of the bullet proved that it came from straight behind, and not at a tangent.
No evidence could be found pointing to the murderer. Mr. Dexter's father, who was the head of 'the American News
Company, offered a reward of five thousand dollars for evidence that would justify an arrest and secure conviction,
but though the best' detective ability in the locality and from outside as well gave effort to unravel - the mystery
not the faintest definite clue was ever developed - which, however, is not to say that the identity of the murderer
was not strongly suspected in some quarters.
Mr. Dexter had been in continuous contention with many people almost from the day of his coming to Waverlv, and
had had litigation with some of them. At one time he lodged charges with the Governor against the county's district
attorney, and pressed them through a trial the costs of which mounted into thousands of dollars, and the finding
in which exonerated the accused. He brought civil and criminal proceedings against other well known residents also
for alleged conspiracy, and sued at least one newspaper publisher for libel because of publication of an item in
town correspondence which two of the attorneys whom he sought to retain advised him was not libelous at all. He
transferred his legal residence from New York to Connecticut in order, as was believed, that he might bring his
actions in United States instead of in State tribunals. He had other troubles also, arising from lumbermen attempting
to cross his preserve. It was thought that some enemy he had made by his contentious disposition must have committed
the crime, though it is not, and was not at the time, conceivable that any one of those with whom his quarrels
had been the most bitter, and which loomed largest in the public mind, could have been capable even of contemplating
such a crime - much less of having committed it.
Mr. Dexter was forty-eight years of age at the time of his death, was an admitted attorney at law, and in Grdinary
personal intercourse easily made himself agreeable and interesting; but when in antagonism with any one over real
or imagined affronts or grievances seemed to be unrelentingly pugnacious and implacably vindictive.
SOME OF THE LEADING MEN OF THE TOWN
While but few Waverly men have held county or district offices, it must be recognized that those who won distinction
in that field chose discriminatingly, so that they enjoyed 'the best that was to be had, and in generous measure.
William T. O'Neil was elected to the Assembly in 1881, and also in each of the three immediately following years.
His service was excellent, and in one of his terms he was prominent as a candidate for the Speakership. He and
Theodore Roosevelt became hearty co-workers in the Assembly, and were warm personal friends. The latter was of
course the more dramatic figure and the more aggressively combative, but he himself, as well as others generally,
recognized that Mr. O'Neil possessed the calmer and safer judgment, and thus acted often as a counterpoise to Mr.
Roosevelt's sometimes too great impetuosity. The friendship formed between them in this period continued unbroken
to the time of Mr. O'Neil's death in 1909, and both when Mr. Roosevelt was Governor and when President Mr. O'Neil
was his guest by invitation at the executive mansion. Mr. O'Neil was elected to the State Senate in 1906 and again
in 1908, but died during his second term. While in the Senate his exceptional abilities commanded for him 'the
most respectful consideration, and his committee assignments were among the very best and most responsible of those
not requiring a legal training. William H. Flack was county clerk from 1898 to 1904, and served one full term and
a part of another in Congress from the Essex-Clinton-Franklin-St. Lawrence district. He died in office. Alexander.
Macdonald came to St. Regis Falls from Nova Scotia after graduation from Middlebury College to become principal
of the high school. Almost as soon as he had been naturalized he was elected school commissioner for the second
commissioner district, and held the office continuously for nine years. In 1910 he was elected to the Assembly,
in which he served with distinction for six terms. In 1914 he was a leading candidate for the Speakership, his
prominence in the contest joined to recognition of his excellent abilities and long experience gaining for him
the chairmanship of the committee on ways and means - a position which he held again in 1815. In 1916 he was appointed
deputy State conservation commissioner at a salary of six thousand dollars per annum. Mr. Macdonald is a son-in-law
of the late William T. O'Keil.
CHURCHES AND SOCITIES
So far as known, the Roman Catholic services at St. Regis Falls were of only - occasion.al occurrence in early
times, and were held by priests from Brushton in private houses; and in 1883 Father Normandeau of Brushton brought
about th.e incorporation of St. Regis Church of St. Regis Falls, N. Y., with J. Quesnel and J. S. Bushey as the
lay trustees. A short time afterward Rev. Father F. J. Ouellet located, in the village, and effected a new incorporation
on August 22, 1883, under the title Saint Ann's Church, St. Regis Falls, with Joseph Bushey and E. St. Hilaire
as the lay trustees. Services were held for a time in one of the hotels, but the erection of a church edifice was
quickly undertaken, and completed in 1884. Father Ouellet carried his ministrations also to Everton Santa Clara,
Spring Cove. and Brandon, and often to the logging camps at remote points in the forests. His rectorship at Regis
Falls has continued uninterruptedly for thirty-odd years, and for the past few years he has had an assistant. The
present membership of the church is about nine hundred, having fallen off a little from the high point through
the removal of mill operatives on account of dissatisfaction with the scale of wages in the mills. The present
lay trustees are J. B. St. Onge and Frank Henry.
While it is presumable that Methodist services were held from time to time at an early day by clergymen located
at Nicholville or Dickinson Center, the first recognition of St. Regis Falls by conference as a station or parish
was in 1882, when it was joined with Dickinson Center, and since which date one pastor has served both places.
Services were held at first in the lumber company's hall, and in 1887 the erection of a church edifice was begun,
which was finished the next year at a cost of $3,100. The present membership of the church is about one hundred
and fifty The society has provided a comfortable parsonage, and the pastor makes his home at the Falls. At the
first election in 1886 William F. King, Mrs. Esther Macfarlane and Daniel W. Flack were chosen trustees. The present
trustees are M. A. Rowell, A. A. Southworth, B. E. Ames, E. F. Bondry, J. A. Ketcham and Leslie M. Saunders.
The First Free Will Baptist Church of St. Regis Falls owes its organization and even its continued existence to
Rev. Nelson Ramsdell, now eighty-four years of age, who came from Dickinson Center to make his home in old age
with one of his sons. The church was organized March 23, 1893, and for a year or more worshiped in J. W. Webb's
hall. The church edifice, begun in 1894, was not finished until six years later, though it was occupied from 1895.
Mr., Ramsdell has been the pastor for two periods besides having officiated at other times when there was a vacancy.
In 1913 the society voted to close the church doors because the attendance had become small and because also so
many of the members refused to contribute to the support of a pastor; but interest revived the next year, and the
church has since remained open. The records give one hundred and eight as the maximum membership at any one time,
and now the number- is just under fifty. The society entered into fellowship with the St. Lawrence Baptist Association
At Guide Board, a very small hamlet four miles south of St. Regis FaIls, is a mission church, erected in 1896 through
the generosity of wealthy people then residing in the vicinity or accustomed to spend their summers in the locality.
The church is Presbyterian, and under charge of the Adirondack mission, whose headquarters are at Keese's Mills
in Brighton. Services are conducted regularly throughout the summer seasons, usually by divinity students, while
in winter neighboring clergy officiate at intervals.
The St. Regis Falls Universalist Church was formed in June, 1916, since when services have been held every alternate
Sunday in I4emieux's hail by clergymen or divinity students from St. Lawrence University at Canton. The movement
has developed a considerable interest, and the attendance at the meetings is in respectable numbers.
Durkee Post, G. A. R., No. 504, was organized a number of years ago. The same pathetic condition obtains here that
prevails in this order everywhere - the membership decreasing steadily, and the organization doomed to die, as
infirmity and dissolution are fast summoning the veterans of the civil war for the final roll call. The post had
sixty members at one time, and now has hut fourteen.
St. Regis Falls Lodge No. 100, I. O. O. F., was organized in December, 1886, with Hon. William H. Flack noble grand,
and S. R. Gile vice grand. It soon erected a building for a home, which fire destroyed, and something like ten
years ago it built a larger and better structure at a cost of about eight thousand dollars, the upper floor of
which it occupies as its own lodge room, and rents to the Masons and other organizations. The ground floor is finished
for two business places, one of which is occupied for a post-office. The lodge has about one hundred and twenty-five
Blue Mountain Lodge No. 874, F. and A. M., was organized June 29, 1909, with Jerry LaPoint worshipful master and
J. L. Blood senior warden. It has sixty-eight members.
A sanatorium for treatment of the liquor and opium habits, which was located originally at Tupper Lake, was transferred
to St. Regis Falls in 1893, and for two or three years had a considerable number of patients. It accomplished cures
which actually "stuck" in a number of cases, some of which had been decidedly tough. It also treated
patients for other ailments, but business failing to continue in paying volume the establishment was closed.
The population of Waverly at the date of erection is unknown, there having been no census between 1880 and 1890.
In the latter year it had 2,270 inhabitants, who had decreased in 1892 to 1,750, mainly by reason of the partition
of the town to erecy Altamont; and in 1900 the number had fallen further to 1,615 because of mills having closed
and lumbering operations having been discontinued. Recovery came to a considerable extent as the hard woods began
to be used and pulp mills were started, so that in 1905 the population had jumped to 2,160. It has since continued
practically unchanged - the figures for 1915 having been 2,133, of whom 147 were aliens.