Westville was formed from Constable in 1829, and was so called from the fact that it was the west half of what
remained of the parent town after Fort Covington had been set off therefrom. For many years the northern of the
two hamlets in Westville was known as West Constable, but is now generally called Westville Corners. The other
is Westville Center.
The town had a population of just about six hundred when erected, but having always lacked transportation facilities,
and its industries having dwindled with the collapse of the iron works and with the disappearance of its forests,
its growth was slow even during the period in which there was growth at all, while from 1875 to 1900 the trend
was steadily in the contrary direction. It was one of the half dozen towns in the county which made a gain in the
number of its inhabitants during the period of the civil war, and in 1875 the maximum was reached, the census of
that year having given it a population of 1,721, which fell exactly six hundred in the then ensuing twenty five
years, five sixths of which loss occurred between 1875 and 1890. The population has remained practically stationary
since 1900, and by the enumeration of 1915 stands at 1,128.
Westville's surface is generally level. In the northern part the soil is clayey, and in the central southern sandy.
Elsewhere it is generally a light loam, with interval lands here and there which are rich and very productive.
Formerly a considerable section of the southern part was thought to be almost worthless for farming purposes, but
much of these lands have since been developed wonderfully, and have become Malone's garden patch, producing the
earliest and finest vegetables and berries.
The town is watered by the Salmon river, which traverses it from southeast to northwest; by Deer river, which cuts
through its southwest corner; and by a number of brooks, the largest of which are the Plumb and Briggs brooks.
In the northeastern part there is a sulphur spring, the properties of the water being similar to the more famous
spring at Massena. Forty or fifty years ago it was frequented by considerable numbers of people, who found accommodations
during their sojourn at a neighboring farm house, and used the water for its real or supposed beneficial qualities,
and larger numbers were accustomed to drive to the spring and take the water home with them. It is less visited
Another spring of a remarkable character lies in the southwestern part of the town, its water as clear as crystal,
pure and cold. Over a space of perhaps twenty to thirty feet in diameter the water boils up visibly through the
sand, spreading out to a diameter of forty or fifty feet, and at some points is three or four feet deep.
Amos Welch, from Grand Isle, Vt., was the first settler in the present limits of the town, having occupied in 1800
the site of the present burying ground at Westville Corners, and built and operated the first saw mill; probably
in the immediate vicinity. Even the oldest inhabitant, aged ninety six years, does not remember ever to have heard
of it. But the explanation is, I think, that Welch owned the property for only a short time, and that the life
of the mill was brief. James Constable visited this northern section in 1804 and 1805 to look after the Constable
landed interests here, and noted in the diary that he kept on the first trip that John Livingston then hand a saw
mill near Westville Corners, and on the second tour that the mill had been burned a few weeks previously "by
a fire intended to drive away mosquitoes, possibly owing to carelessness." Mr. Constable's diary adds that
Livingston himself had no contract with the Constable estate for his lands, but that he held "under that of
Amos Welch." Moreover, he refers in 1804 to a saw mill at Welch's, four miles east of Man's, as nearly finished,
so that it would seem that after having sold to Livingston Welch had moved to Constable.
In 1801 Albon and Alric Man, brothers, of Vergennes, Vt., came to "spy out the land" and estimate its
opportunities and advantages. The Man family had been lumbermen and iron manufacturers in Connecticut and Vermont
for two generations, and the timber and water powers which Albon and Alrie found here naturally appealed strongly
to them. In 1802 they accordiivly returned with their families, and were accompanied by a considerable colony of
friends and kinsmen, including the Berrys, some of whom settled in Malone; the Barnums, who located in Chateaugay,
Burke and Bangor: the Hitch cocks, who established themselves in Constable, Malone and Fort Covington; and John
T. Phillips, who was the father of Dr. James S. Phillips, of Malone, and of Edwin, of Westville. Henry Briggs,
Oliver Bell. Ezekiel Paine and others followed soon afterward, and the locality began to show activity and growth.
Among others who located at an early day were Alexander McMillan, Robert Creighton, Alexander and David Erwin,
Elisha and Henry G. Button, Silas Cushman, and Joseph and Thomas Wright. Many of these are still familiar names
in several of the towns of the county, and a number of the men named or their descendants became prominent and
filled large places in. the affairs of Westville and of Franklin county. Twenty to thirty years later Jacob Wead,
Guy Meigs, Goodrich Hawn, Ebenezer Leonard, Philemon Berry and Jacob P. Hadley (father of Joseph P.) had become
residents, and were among the most active and influential men in the community.
The Wrights built a saw mill at least as early as 1804 on the west side of the river and a grist mill on the east
side, near Westville Corners. The saw mill was afterward owned, either in whole or in part, by William Creighton,
of Fort Covington, then by Ebenezer Man and Guy Meigs, and from 1824 to 1829 by Meigs & Wead, of Malone In
the later year it was sold to Goodrich Hazen, who ran a store and potash works also. Afterward it was run in turn
by Samuel Coggin, Henry B. Longley, Amos Cushman and Alexander McMillan. The grist mill, a quaint structure with
odd equipment, was sold under foreclosure, and afterwards passed through many hands. The original mill was burned,
the site and power privileges being acquired by Deacon Joel Lyman and William L. Streeter, of Fort Covington, by
whom a new mill was erected and operated. They sold in 1862 to George W. Newell, and he to James McGregor. The
mill was again burned and again rebuilt, about 1872. Then it was acquired by Henry A. Paddock and Samuel McElwain,
and in 1877 was once more burned. It has not been replaced. The site is now owned by John C. Wright.
A letter written by Major Albon P. Man in 1903 recites that his grandfather told him when he came to Westville
the plains lying between Westville Center and Malone were densely forested with pine of giant size, straight as
an arrow. The brothers Albon and Albonc, engaged at once in lumbering, erecting a mill at the Center in 1803, and
also cutting the best of the pine for ship masts. The lumber and masts were floated down the Salmon river to Fort
Covington, where they were made into rafts and navigated to Montreal or Quebec. In 1866 Major Man visited the latter
city, and in an interview with the successor in business of the house with which the Mans had dealt was informed,
after an inspection of the books, that some of the mast timbers had measured one hundred and sixty live feet in
length, and had brought from three to four thousand dollars apiece! They went into three decker frigates or men
of war of Great Britain. The business continued as a partnership until 1819, whe1810, Man withdrew because of misgivings
as to its safety if war should occur with Great Britain. General Man continued operations on his own account until
1812, when war did break out, and a seizure and condemnation of some of his rafts by the British caused his bankruptcy.
The Man saw mill went to Seth Hastings of Albany, and from him to Harry V. Man, was sold under foreclosure to Myron
Hitchcock, of Fort Covington, in 1829, and then in turn to Samuel Man, Charles A. Powell, Joel Lyman, Robert Dunlop
and Robert Clark. The latter tore it down in. 1876.
The Man Brothers also built a forge at the point now known as Westville Center, and operated it for a few years
with the help of their relatives, nearly all of whom had been trained in the business while yet living in Vermont.
Bog ore, dug a mile or two to the west, and later brought from Brasher, was used. Subsequently the forge was sold
to and run by Captain David Erwin (complimentary called "general") and Moses Erwin; and later by Edwin
Phillips, a son of John T. It continued to be worked, though not uninterruptedly, until about 1850, turning out
such varieties of wrought iron as were in local demand. The shafting in the grist mill at the Center was hammered
out in this forge, and is still in use. Nails were one of its products, the process of making them consisting in
drawing out the iron under the hammer into bars or plates of the width of a nail's length and of about the proper
thickness; and from these cutting and heading the nails by hand. In view of the labor requirements under this process
it does not seem strange that the usual price for the nails was thirty cents per pound. The forge made bar iron
also for whatever uses blacksmiths found for it - horseshoes, sled shoes, etc. The final operators of the works
were Peter Taro and three or four of his brothers. They had no capital, but possessed experience and skill, and
turned out a superior quality of iron. Peter Taro became a noted character in Malone as a renovator of hats by
blacking them. He was seldom, or never, sober, and upon one occasion in a saloon he essayed the role of William
Tell's son, permitting another character, for the consideration of one drink, to attempt to shoot an object from
his head. Both men were drunk, and the bullet ploughed a furrow across Taro's scalp. "Up she goes, poor Peter!"
The Mans also built a grist mill at the Center in 1811. The chain of ownership of this property is identical with
that of the saw mill, heretofore stated, except that it is now owned by J. J. Stewart; it is still in operation.
Mr. Stewart bought it from Robert Clark in 1904.
Albon Man was a physician, and made his home east of Westville Center, at the place where Guy Man now lives. Though
not enlisted, he gave a good deal of attendance to the sick of General Wilkinson's army at Fort Covington in 1813
and 1814, caring for some of them at his home. He was killed in 1835 by a fall from his horse while returning at
night from a professional call, but whether he fell from the saddle when asleep or was thrown could not be determined.
His sons were Ebenezer, also a physician, whose old age was lived in Malone; Buel H., a surveyor and lumberman;
and Albon Platt, who became eminent in the law in New York city. A daughter married Hugh McCulloch, of Indiana,
who was controller of the currency fifty years ago, and subsequently secretary of the treasury under two different
administrations. A grand daughter married General George W. Wingate of New York city. Albon P. Man, a son of Ebenezer,
was a surveyor, a lawyer, served as district attorney of Franklin county, and was major of the 98th regiment of
New York volunteers in the civil war. Afterward he located in New York, where he was for a long time in charge
of the business of the Lorillard estate. In his later years he gave a good deal of time to the study of electricity
and electrical experimenting, and disputed with Edison priority of invention of the incandescent lamp. He died
in Brooklyn in 1905. Alric Man had military inclinations, and served actively in the State militia for many years.
His first rank was that of ensign in 1804. In 1808 and 1809 he was a major in command of four companies in Franklin
county, a lieutenant colonel in 1811, and during the war of 1812 a brigadier general. He resided near Westville
Corners, on the place now owned by Gibson Cunningham. The original buildings were burned. Samuel and Harry V. were
Alrie's sons. The latter moved to Michigan and then to Chicago, where he was a prominent lawyer.
If farming be excepted, lumbering continued for many years after the settlement of the town to be its principal
industry. The Welch, Livingston, Man and Wright mills have already been referred to, and in addition there have
been the Andrew L. Hovey and Sewall Gleason, the Joseph P. Hadley, the Marshall Hoadley, the Peter Denesha, the
Harvey Hyde or Talmadge Spencer and the Chapin mills. The firm of Meigs & Wead, once owners of the Wright mill,
was composed of Guy Meigs of Constable and Samuel Clark Wead of Malone, who operated in the town as merchants,
lumbermen and makers of potash and pearlash from 1824 to 1829, when they sold to Henry G. Button. The Hovey and
Gleason mill contained also a wool carding mill. It was owned by a number of parties from the date of its erection
about 1831 until in 1870 it was acquired and operated for a long time by Warren L. Danforth. The Hadley mill was
built about 1839 by Mr. Hadley, and was on Plumb brook, near his residence. The Hoadley mill was built about 1845
on Deer river in the southwestern part of the town, and was operated by Mr. Roadley until it burned. The Denesha
mill was in the southern part of them town, an Salmon river, and was built by Charles Waterman in 1856, who sold
toe Charles W. Learned; Haney M. Learned, Franklin N. Graves, and Denesha were subsequent owners. The Hyde or Spencer
mill, built by Hyde, was next south of **Dejiesha, and rotted down perhaps thirty years ago. The site and power,
which is said to be a particularly good one now belongs to John P. and L. M. Kellas, of Malone. When it was proposed
a few years ago to build a trolley line from Malone to Fort Covington, via Westville, it was planned to develop
this power for generating the electric current to run the road. The Chapin mill was at the Center, and was built
by Solon B. Chapin after the war. It was burned, and was rebuilt. Buel A. Man, of Westville, and George W. Hale,
of Malone; became associated with Mr. Chapin as partners, and the mill was changed from an English gate to a circular.
During this partnership a considerable cut of lumber was made annually. In 1868 the mill was sold to John L. Rowley,
who operated it until his death. It is now owned and ran by his son, George P. All of these except the Chapin mills
have disappeared, either burned or rotted down, most of them many years ago. When one inspects the present flow
of water in the smaller streams which used to furnish power for them, it seems incredible that they could ever
have had sufficient volume to turn a wheel even for an English gate mill.
The manufacture of starch was a big business in the town for forty or fifty years from about 1850, the first factory
having been built by Samuel Coggin above the Corners. Mr. Coggin used to claim that it was the first of the kind
in the county, which, however, was probably not the fact, though it was the first in Westville. Frank Waggoner,
now of Malone, but for many years a farmer in Westville, tells me that in one year he received from Mr. Coggin
forty cents a bushel for potatoes at this factory, which I think is a record price. The factory was burned in 1875
when John Lightbody was operating it. George W. Hale had two factories in the town, one at the Center, and the
other near the. Corners. In the upper mill, which was built by Charles A. Powell, before the civil war, and of
which Mr. Hale became part owner in 1859 or 1860, was machinery for making shingles and staves and headings for
the barrels in which the starch was packed. The mill burned in 1862, was at once rebuilt, and was sold and demolished
about 1901 for the lumber in it. The lower mills was built in 1859 by James A. and William W. Stockwell, who sold
it in 1865 to William Comstock, of Plattsburgh. He sold in 1867 to Mr. Hale. It is now used as a feed mill by Milo
Dustin. The two mills ground as many as a hundred thousand bushels of potatoes in a good year, which meant a product
of almost a million pounds of starch There was also a starch factory near the Denesha mill, built by James S. Dudley
and Harvey Hastings, of Constable. It was burned, but was rebuilt by the same parties and Rice Barrington, of Bangor,
who was a partner with them for a year or two. The building has been moved to the vicinity of the railroad at Constable,
and is used as a storehouse.
In 1849 and later Benjamin Chamberlain had a turning shop on the west side of the river, just below the Hollister
wheelwright shop, and Henry B. Longley had a pail factory there, which burned in 1857, supposedly a ease of arson
Westville has had at least three creameries or cheese factories. The earliest, a creamery, was built at the Center
by John L. and Edward F. Rowley, who a year or two liter erected a cheese factory north of the Corners. MacPherson
& MacFarlane, Canadians, who had something like forty creameries and cheese factorises in this State and Canada,
built a cheese factory at Briggs street. The Briggs street factory was burned and was rebuilt as a creamery by
Arthur D. Sperry, who at one time owned all three establishments. Not one is now making either butter or cheese
- one of them having gone out of existence, and the others being operated as skimming stations for the condensers
at Fort Covington.
Lime was formerly burned in considerable quantities in Westville, east of the Center. Masonry laid with it was
not attractive in appearance, having a dingy look, but was strong and almost indestructible, the lime becoming
as it aged almost as hard as stone itself. Michael Bronson, George P. Poor, Thomas Rogers and Myron Barber each
owned and operated a quarry and kilns, but lime has not been made there in quantity in a good many years
Dr. Iauriston M. Berry and William Ackerman (perhaps better known as Payne) engaged in the manufacture of brick
near the Corners in 1872, and continue in the business for three years. The output was good in quality, but the
home demand was so small, other markets so distant, and transportation facilities so utterly lacking, that the
business was discontinued.
Early merchants at the Corners were Samuel Fletcher, Meigs & Wead, Ebenezer Man, Henry G. Button, Edwin Phillips
and John Doty, Charles and Horace Johnson, Abner Doty, Goodrich Hazen, William Smith and Amos Cushman. Mr. Button
was one of the largest property owners in the town, active to a degree, shrewd and enterprising, widely known,
and possessed of a good deal of influence locally. Goodrich Hazen, also an important factor, was sold out under
foreclosure in 1846. Later merchants at this point include John O'Reilly, Leslie Freeman, Dr. L. M. Berry, John
C. Wright, Alonzo A. Rhoades and W S Ordway. Ed. Cleveland had a tinshop in 1855 or 1856.
Joseph Holbrook, who lived just below Trout River, in Canada, built a store at the point known as the Beaver, on
the international line, and Joseph Walker managed it for him for a time. It was then sold to John Tolmie, who conducted
business there in considerable volume for years. Mr. Tolmie removed to Saratoga. There is no store at the Beaver
at present. During Mr. Tolmie's time there was a great deal more of smuggling than now, and, his store being partly
in Canada and partly in the State, his trade was from both countries, and out of it went into Canada or came into
New York without much risk the goods that were the cheaper on one side of the line or the other.
Stores at the Center have been kept by Solon B. Chapin, Wells & Parker, John S. Parker, Willard E. Hyde, Elnathan
Fairchild, Buel A. Man, Guy Hollister, Oreille S. Rhoades, Simeon Wiley and W. A. Ordway & Sons.
The oldest hotel in Westville dates back to 1828 or earlier, and used to be known as "the plastered tavern
house." It was at the Corners and was demolished in 1856, its last use having been by Moses Abbott as a wheelwright
shop. The earliest mention of it that I find in deeds recorded in the county clerk's office makes Abner Doty the
owner in 1836, and then John S. Hogaboom in 1837. Henry G. Button bought it in 1839. The names of its landlords
I am almost wholly unable to ascertain. Harrison Freeman, now ninety six years old, came to Westville as a lad
of six years in 1828, and a memorandum of his reminiscences made by his daughter, Mrs. A. N. Tower, states that
he stayed the first night with his parents at this hotel, and that it was then kept by a Mr. Hyde. Mr. Freeman's
recollection, though not positive, is that later landlords in it were Abner Doty and Philemon Berry. Dr. L. M.
Berry, a nephew of Philemon, confirms Mr. Freeman as to the latter, saying that he was landlord there before 1840,
and continued for a good many years. Moreover, the Franklin Telegraph in 1829 contained an advertisement by a Malone
attorney offering the hotel for sale, and referring to it as then kept by Mr. Berry.
Another hotel stood at the intersection of the Trout River road with the highway leading from Fort Covington to
Malone, at about the point where Mr. Ordway's store and Grange Hall is now located, and was kept for many years
by Ebenezer Leonard. A man named Davis kept it about 1850, and Moses and "Sandy" Cowan were there for
a time, and Henry B. Hawkins and C. C. Stoughton afterward. The property was sold by the Leonard heirs in 1871
to Thomas McCullough, who continued to run it for a few years. The building was eventually torn down and the timber
and lumber in it used to build the creamery of Arthur D. Sperry at Briggs street.
A third hotel, owned by Henry G. Button, was kept by his son in law, Joel Leonard (who committed suicide in
1863), and from 1845 to 1851 by Philo Berry. It was almost across the road from the "old plastered tavern
house," and hardly a stone's throw from the Ebenezer Leonard hotel. It was bought in 1851 by Captain Nelson
Wiley, and kept by him until about 1868. After that, while making no pretension to being a hotel, it did nevertheless
accommodate guests occasionally for a number of years. Most of the hotel buildings and the sheds have been torn
down, though a section of the former still stands, and is occupied by Mrs. Wiley as a residence.
Westville was not a dry town in early days, and for a part of the time that the above recital covers the Corners
was on the branch stage line that Jonathan Thompson operated from Chateaugay to Fort Covington in connection with
his through line from Plattsburgh to Ogdensburg. Thus business was livelier there then than now, and there was
also more disorder.
While the recollection of old residents is that there never was a hotel at the Center, nevertheless descriptions
in deeds given sixty years ago refer to Elisha Hollister's tavern there, thus seeming to warrant the inference
that Mr. Hollister did at least accommodate occasional guests. He had a liquor license in 1864 and 1865.
Sixty years ago or more Curtis Downer had a hotel on the "Whiskey Hollow Road," near Guy Man's present
Yet another tavern, almost forgotten and now out of existence for half a century or more, was built by Jacob P.
Hadley (father of Buswell and Joseph P.) about 1820 in that strangest of localities for an inn, near George Downer's,
on the road leading from Malone to Fort Covington, about six miles north of Malone. This road was not a stage route,
and there has never been anything like a hamlet in the vicinity. The business that a tavern there could have enjoyed
must have been extremely light.
In June, 1857, forest fires extended in a number of towns to cleared lands, and were particularly severe and destructive
in Westville, where farms were ravaged over a territory two miles wide by four long. Darius Hardy lost his crops,
buildings and tools in the barn, and H. H. Everest and Marshall and Theron Headley also were heavy losers. The
former, as the fire approached, buried his books as justice of the pace and one hundred dollars in money, and fled
for his life. After the fire both books and money were found to have been all destroyed with the exception of a
twenty dollar gold piece. Corn just up was burned to the ground in one field of over nine acres. More than twenty
five buildings in a mile square were destroyed.
July 29, 1886, a severe wind ands hail storm swept across the town from northwest to southeast, leveling fences,
smashing window glass, and ruining crops. The wind continued for only about twenty minutes, and the fall of hail
hardly half as long. On some farms not a rod of fence remained, and one farmer whose fields had given fine premise
of an abundant yield offered to sell all that was left for five Sollars.
Franklin Lodge, F. & A. M., was organized in Westville in 1851 with Dr. Ebenezer Man master, James C. Spencer
senior warden, and John Barr junior warden. It had twenty charter members, and throve until 1870, when its membership
began to decrease, and in 1899 had fallen to eight. In 1859 it voted to hold ifs communications alternately at
Trout River and Westville Center. Parties in New York City who desired to organize a lodge with as low a number
as could be had hit upon this condition, and arranged toe halve Franklin Lodge transferred from Westville to New
York. One of the conditions was that the eight members should be continued as such for life, without payment of
dues by them.
The town has never had any other fraternal or civic organization with the exception of the local grange, which
was organized in 1906 with 126 members, but has not flourished. Its present membership is 79. Its meetings are
held in the hall over Ordway's stored at the Corners.
Religious services were held irregularly from a very early but not definitely ascertainable date by Rev. Ashbel
Parmelee and Rev. Alexander Proudfoot; and not improbably the latter's ministrations in our county may have been
due to the fact, as stated by Hough, that formerly some of Westville's first settlers had been his parishioners.
The next authentic information that we have of religious work here is derived from Rev. James Erwin's "Reminiscences
of a Circuit Rider," in which he tells that in 1831 and 1832, at the age of eighteen years, and while still
a student at Fort Covington Academy, he officiated every Sabbath for nearly a year in a private house at Coal Hill,
in the southwestern part of Westville, where he formed a class of more than sixty members. Mr. Erwin reported conditions
to the preacher in charge, who must have been the pastor at Malone, "and they [the class] were taken into
the circuit and regularly supplied with preaching." Yet the first record of a church organization in the town
was the incorporation of the Westville Free Church Society May 1, 1885, at a meeting held at the school house,
and by which it was voted to locate the then proposed church building at Westville Corners. In 1840 Dr. Ebenezer
Man deeded the land for a site to James Walker, Latham Hyde, Bud H. Man, Grafton Downer, David Freeman and Henry
G. Button, trustees. The consideration was one cent, but the premises were to revert to the grantor if ever converted
to other than church uses or if the church were abandoned. A thousand dollars was contributed to the building fund
by Edward Ellice, of England, who had succeeded Gilliam Constable in the ownership of a large part of the lands
in the town. Upon at least one Sabbath the church was used by the three denominations, Presbyterians, Methodists
and Universalists. But ordinarily occupation of it was by the Presbyterians or Universalists. Though the former
enrolled with the Presbytery of Champlain in 1842, they had no statutory incorporation until 1885, and in many
periods, both before and since such incorporation, have had no settled pastor. Rev. Reed served them for a time
a good while ago, and latterly they have been dependent upon the Presbyterian pastor at Fort Covington to officiate
at their services. The Universalises, never incorporated, and removing from the town, dying or allying themselves
with other denominations, their movement expired in Westville. I think that they never had a resident pastor, but
were supplied now and then by a preacher from Malone. About 1885 the church building had come to be sorely in need
of repair, and considerable feeling developed over the question of renovating it or erecting a new edifice. It
was finally decided to take the latter course, a new house of worship was built upon another site, and the old
structure was torn down - the land reverting to the Man estate. This new building is distinctively Presbyterian.
Though the county clerk's records show no certificate of its incorporation, it appears that there was at one time
a Wesleyan. Methodist Church of the Bangor and Burke circuit, of which Harvey M. Learned and Allen Hutchins were
two of the trustees for the Westville parish - the organization included Westville as well as Bangor and Burke,
as is manifest from the fact that Mr. Learned and Mr. Hutchins as trustees conveyed lands here in 1870 and 1875
to Francis O. Jarvis and Horace N. Bassford, which lands comprised nearly fourteen acres adjacent to Mr. Learned's
farm six or seven miles north of Malone village, and are understood to have been a parsonage lot. Services used
to be held at the school house. A Mr. Sisco was an early Wesleyan pastor, and under him the movement had its greatest
activity and strength, and he planned at one time to erect a church building in the neighborhood. A Mr. Gaskill
preceded Mr. Sisco, and in subsequent years Wallace Learned, a resident of the locality, and not ordained, officiated
Fifty five years ago, or thereabout, at a time when there was no clergyman of any denomination stationed in the
town, Elder J. N. Webb, a Baptist, long stationed at Fort Covington, officiated often in the union church at the
Westville first appears in the records of the Black River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1837,
apparently as an independent charge, though no clergyman was assigned to it in that year - the minutes showing
that it was "to be supplied." From 1838 to 1842 the conference records carry no mention of Westville,
but in the latter year Matthew Bennett was assigned to it, and thereafter appointments continued to be made to
it until 1858, from which year it does not again show in the records until 1897, when it is coupled. with Constable.
Nevertheless, as a matter of fact, and as the local church records show, it was associated with Constable throughout
the entire period indicated, except for a short time when it was joined with Fort Covington, the two being served
by one pastor. The local records begin only with 1861. The church edifice, which is at the Center, was erected
in 1869, but incorporation was not effected until 1874. It is interesting to note that the conference records give
the membership of the church in 1837 as one hundred, but as only fifty in 1849. The figures for 1837 prove that
Rev. Mr. Erwin's work and that of Malone circuit riders had not been without fruit. There was also a "class"
at Briggs street in very early times. Barnabas Berry was its leader. During a good many years Charles Johnson,
who made his home in Westville and had the status of a local preacher, officiated at Methodist services both at
the Center and at the Corners when the Methodists had lacked a regular pastor or the regular pastor was absent
or ill, and hardly a death occurred in the town in his later years that he was not called upon to preach the funeral
sermon. His ministrations included also the work of a circuit rider, and his field extended from Malone well down