History of Alexandria, NY


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Nearly every town in the county bordering on the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario had at least one important event in connection with the war of 1812-15, and Alexandria was not an exception to this rule. As the story is told in another chapter, on July 14, 1813, a privateering expedition was fitted out at Sackets Harbor for a cruise among the islands with the hope of cutting off and capturing a detachment of bateaux laden with provisions and supplies which was expected up the river bound for Kingston under convoy of the British gunboat Spitfire. This was about the only adventure of its kind on the river or lake during the war, and had the full approval and material aid of the commandant at the harbor. M. W. Gilbert was the prime spirit of the enterprise, and the results would have been profitable to him and his associates had not the prizes been sunk in the waters of the bay on the return of the privateersmen.

In this expedition were engaged the American schooners Neptune and Fox, the former a private boat commanded by Captain Samuel Dixon, armed with one six-pounder, a swivel gun and manned with 24 determined Yankee volunteers. The Fox was commanded by Capt. Dimock, was likewise armed, and manned with 21 men from the 21st infantry under Lieutenants Perry and Burbank. The privateers left the harbor on July 14, made landings at Cape Vincent and French creek (Clayton), at the latter indulging in a brief review and drill, but soon sailed out among the islands and finally put in at the mouth of Cranberry creek, in Goose bay. Here a strong and guarded position was selected and two small boats were sent out to watch for the British. Thus three days passed, when on the morning of the 18th, at daylight, the bateaux was discovered at Simonds landing making ready to beat up the river, under guard of the Spitfire, but before they got under sail, our daring privateersmen made a hasty landing, attacked them without being discovered and captured fifteen bateaux and several gunboats without firing a single shot or losing a man.

The prizes were taken to Cranberry creek and landed, and at eleven o'clock that morning 69 prisoners were sent off to Sackets Harbor under a guard of fifteen men. With the Spitfire there fell into the hands of the captors a twelve pound carronade and a large quantity of military stores. With the bateaux were taken 270 barrels of pork and 270 bags of pilot bread. To remove all this booty before it was spoiled the Americans sent a call to the settlers of the region, but the only response was from the few mlitiamen in the vicinity, for the country was almost wholly unsettled at that time. Early on the morning of the 20th a strong British force with four gunboats, several transports and 250 men appeared in the mouth of the creek, determined to recover the prizes recently captured by the Americans; but this new attacking party was so fiercely opposed by the thirty soldiers who met them at the landing, and twenty others who had taken a strong concealed position, that they were glad to retreat with the loss of two of their boats and several men. At about six o'clock the British sent a flag of truce with a demand of surrender, which was of course refused, and firing was renewed. This, however, was only an expedient of the enemy to gain time to make their retreat and get out of range without more serious loss. After the British had. retired, the victorious Americans repaired the damaged boats and made preparations to return to the harbor. In the meantime reinforcements had arrived, and on the 23d the voyage up the river was begun. In passing Tibbet's Point the Earl of Moira gave chase and caused some damage, but did not succeed in recapturing any of the boats or provisions.

Thus was fought the first and indeed the only real conflict at arms known to the history of this town (then of course a part of Brownville). In earlier days the proprietary- had frequent occasion to use forcible measures to drive off the lumber thieves who infested the region; and still later, during the patriot war, the authorities kept a careful watch over the movements of the hordes of sympathizers who flocked to the border and the islands in the ridiculous attempt to overthrow the British dominion in Canada.

James D. Le Ray, who owned the lands in this part of Brownville and Le Ray, was more careful in looking to his own interests than many of the large proprietors, hence the depredations on his lumber tracts were not so extensive as in some other localities. As early as 1804 this worthy developer had caused a survey of the lands to be made, and Cadwallader Child, who did the work, suggested to Le Ray that the vicinity of Alexandria Bay was an admirable site for a port and settlement, consequently a reservation of a mile square of land was made for that purpose, although not until 1818 was it regularly laid out in village lots. The first improvements in the town were made in 1811 by clearing the land and causing grain to be sown for the maintenance of the settlers who might come to the locality. Indeed Mr. Le Ray even sent in settlers to do the work, paid twelve dollars an acre for clearing the land, gave them half the first crop, and also built a log barn for "the job," as it was called. In the same manner he caused a road to be built from the red tavern, in Theresa, as afterward known, to Hammond (at the place first mentioned intersecting another road from Black river to Philadelphia and thence to Theresa). The Hammond and red tavern road was afterward closed, and was not reopened until the construction of the military road, of which it formed a part. These clearings were made and roads built previous to the war of 1812-15, but that period of three years had the effect to delay actual settlement until peace was restored. In 1816 sales of land were begun, the contracts requiring payments to be completed in seven years, the settlers also to build a log house equal to eighteen feet square in size and to clear one twenty-fifth part of the land contracted within one year. The prevailing price peracre was three dollars.

Under the conditions thus imposed, settlement in this town was begun in 1816 and increased rapidly during the next ten years; so rapidly, indeed, that in five years it became necessary to divide the mother towns of Brownville and Le Ray, and create three new jurisdictions from its northern territory. However, during the period mentioned, there came to the, region John Norton, Samuel Young, James Carnagie, William Martin, Moses George, Elijah Root, Leicester Hoadley, Jerry Carrier, John Fuller and perhaps others, all Of whom made improvements and are therefore entitled to he mentioned among the pioneers. In connection with the settlement of John Norton was an interesting history. He was a native of England where he studied for the Episcopal ministry. He enlisted in the British army and was sent to Canada on duty, from whence he came to the states to purchase supplies. He decided to remain, and settled first in Oppenheim, Montgomery (now Fulton) county, where he lived for a time, and about 1816 came to Brownville, settling about three miles below Redwood. He cleared a farm, the same being now owned by his grandson, John L. Norton. On this farm the pioneer and his wife died, he aged 102 and she 104 years. Their oldest son, John, attained the age of 103 years.

In 1817 Charles Rundlet came from Vermont and settled in the eastern part of the town, near Clear lake, but later on removed to the vicinity of Plessis, where he died.' John Spaisbury, the pioneer head of a prominent family in the town in later years, came from Sandy Creek in 1819.' Abraham Newman, an old patriot of the revolution, came from Connecticut in 1820, and died in the town in 1841. There were several other survivors of the revolution among the early settlers here, of whom may be recalled the names of Daniel Wherry, William Carter, Peter Lutz, Ephraim Hogert, Mr. Patton and George Rappole, all earnest, industrious developers who were drawn to the new region from the east with the hope that their condition in life might be improved, and that their children and descendants might also build up comfortable homes for themselves and their families in this northern part of the state.

In the same manner also may be recalled the names of Austin Martin, George Patterson, Nathaniel Goodell, Martin T. Morseman, Alexander McAllister, Reuben Hinman, Horatio Hubbard, Charles, John and Jahez Beardsley (or Birdsley), Jabez Peoples, Ephraim Marvel, William Merrill, Samuel and Silas Morse, Thomas Stickney, Joseph Huntington, Clark and David Briggs, Solomon Makepeace, Elder Stowe, John D. Davidson, Jason Clark, Azariah Walton, Jarius Rich (the famous hunter of the region), all about the time or soon after the town was set off. Still later settlers, perhaps not pioneers but nevertheless identified with the town during the period of its early history, were Andrew Cornwall, Jacob Springer, Abel Bigelow, Joseph Houghton, Moses C. Jewett, John Rhodes, Erastus Hardy, Allen Cole and Peter Loucks. There were still others added to this community of settlers in this interesting jurisdiction in later years, many of whom came from the southern towns of the county, some from the east, and others in fair numbers from Canada, for the report had gone abroad that Alexandria contained unoccupied lands desirable in quality for general agricultural pursuits, which were being sold at reasonable prices to thrifty settlers. Many of those who came after 1820 were of foreign birth, as a glance at the census reports of that period will show; but they came to build up homes and if possible establish a comfortable condition for their families in later years. True, the year 1828 was called the "sickly season," but such a visitation was not repeated and there was nothing in the character of the soil or climate to unduly retard settlement. At that time Mr. Le Ray was engaged in developing lands in this town, in the portion afterward set off to Theresa, which locality had something of an advantage tinder the personal direction of the proprietor. However, it was not until 1841 that Theresa was created and took from Alexandria nearly 2,000 of its inhabitants, and more than sixty square miles of its territory.

Organizalion.- Alexandria was one of three towns in Jefferson county created April 3, 1821, two of which, Orleans and this town, were in part at least the result of a conflict of sentiment in Brownville growing out of the election of local officers and the place of holding town meetings in that jurisdiction. The story of this period is told in the history of Brownville, hence need not be repeated here. Whatever may have been the occasion or necessity, two new towns were formed from the territory on the date mentioned,' the effective portion of the act relating to Alexandria being as follows:

"That from and after the passing of this act, all that part of the towns of Brownville and Le Ray lying within the following bounds: Beginning at the northeast corner of Penet's square, so-called, and running from thence along the north line thereof west four miles to the east line of lot number six; thence north to the center of the river St. Lawrence; thence northeasterly down the center of said river to the county line of St. Lawrence county; thence southeasterly along the said county line to the northwesterly line of the town of Antwerp; thence along said line to the most westerly corner thereof; thence along the southwesterly line of said town to the easterly corner of lot number 164; thence southwesterly to the most southerly corner of lot number 223; thence northwesterly to the east line of Penet's square a foresaid; thence north along said line to the place of beginning, shall be and the same is hereby erected into a separate town by the name of Alexandria; and that the first town meeting shall be held at the house now occupid by William Merrill."

From this description it may be seen that Alexandria was formed chiefly from Le Ray, and by reference to the history of that town it will also be seen that Le Ray, as originally constituted, included all the county north of Black river and east of Penet's square, and the east boundary thereof extended north to the St. Lawrence and south to Black river. Therefore, a comparatively small part of the town in fact came directly from Brownville.

Within its original territory Alexandria formed one of the most interesting civil divisions of the county; perhaps not specially prominent from a historic standpoint, but one which during the last half century has been the temporary abiding place of more men of distinguished prominence and wealth than any town in the county. As the neighboring town of Clayton enjoys the prominence of being the point of entrance to the Thousand Island region, so Alexandria is the objective point sought by visitors, for within its limits are the chief attractions of this famous locality. But far back of this period of special prominence, even to the creation of the town, the region was famed for its many attractions. The eastern part of Wells island, together with the numerous small isles in the St. Lawrence, were within the jurisdiction of the town, and in addition to them was the system of lakes on the eastern boundary, nearly all of which were set off to Theresa in 1841. It is undoubtedly true that Alexandria has a greater diversity of nature's unusual dispensations than any town in all the region, many of which are marvels of beauty and grandeur. Small wonder, therefore, that the wealth and culture of the nation has chosen this the one place above all others as the favorite resort of America, while hundreds of titled foreigners have likewise admired and praised the wondrous beauty of' the Thousand islands.

Within its present boundaries the town is without remarkable physical features other than its island possessions. The land surface is diversified with hill and dale, and is underlaid with gneiss rock and sandstone. The soil in many places is thin, and rocks and stones abound throughout the river region. Back from the St. Lawrence, however, the land becomes level, and the four eastern tiers of lots contain some of the best agricultural lands north of the Black river. Many years ago, in the vicinity of Redwood a vein of lead was found, and was examined to a depth of forty feet, but no considerable development of its quality or extent was made. Iron ores were also found to abound in the same locality, the presence of which led to the starting of a considerable industry at Redwood more than half a century ago. A good quality of glass sand was also discovered, leading to the erection and operation of a large glass factory, one of the best industries in the town, and connected with which were some of the strongest men of the region; but with no respectable means of transportation to market at that time, and the constantly increasing competition of other and more favored localities, these industries could not be permanently successful.

However, among the towns of the county Alexandria has always held a prominent position, and during the period of its history has produced and developed some of the best men of this part of the state. The chief occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture and kindred pursuits, but the never failing annual slimmer visitors have made demands for the production of vegetables, poultry, eggs, butter, milk, lambs, and other seasonable staples, thus establishing practically a new industry, and one which has brought gratifying results to the farming classes. It is a somewhat surprising fact, yet absolutely true, that during the outing season the population of this town is nearly doubled, and all products of the farm, of whatever kind, find ready market with the temporary residents.

When set off in 1821 the town, then of course including Theresa, contained about 1,400 inhabitants. In 1825 the number had increased to 1,543, but during the next five years there was no increase on account of the unfortunate "sick season" of 1828, which caused many deaths in the region and also greatly retarded settlement for several years. However, in 1835 the population was 2,701, and in 1840 had further increased to 3,476. In the next year Theresa was set off from this town, since which time there has not been any change in the territory of the town, and the subsequent census reports fairly indicate its growth and condition. In 1845 the population was 2,711; 1850, 3,162; 1855, 3,353; 1860, 3,808; 1865, 3,614; 1870, 3,087; 1875, 3,472; 1880, 3,135; 1890, 3,601.

The greatest population in the history of the town was attained in 1860, the number of inhabitants then being 3,808. The subsequent decrease may be readily accounted for, but in Alexandria it has been so exceedingly small that it appears to be no more than a mere fluctuation, and without any significance in local history. Indeed, the population here has been remarkably fixed and stable, indicating a healthful condition of affairs both in the villages and country. Moreover, within the last twenty-five years Wells island has acquired a considerable number of inhabitants, has developed some superior farming lands, and contains some of the most noted resorts of the region. The same may also be said of the smaller islands, but all have contributed to the prosperous condition of things which now prevails in the town. The progress thus indicated has been gradual and constant from the early history of the locality. The proprietor, Mr. Le Ray, had in course of development at the same time four or five towns and perhaps twice that number of villages. In this town alone he was developing and building tip Theresa, Plessis, Redwood and Alexandria Bay, and in the same manner in other towns. With the exception of Penet's square, he was the virtual owner of the territory north of Black river, and as well a large quantity of land in other localities. Three of these hamlets remained in Alexandria after the division of the town in 1841, and are therefore worthy of special mention in this chapter.

Alexandria Bay.- ln 1804, Cadwallader Child, as before remarked, while surveying a road from the Friends' settlement to the St. Lawrence river, suggested to the proprietor that the site whereon now stands this village was both desirable and eligible for the purpose of a port, whereupon, at the direction of Mr. Le Ray, a mile square of land was reserved from the salable territory of the town that a village might be established at some future time. No further improvement was made until 1818, when Edmund Tucker regularly laid out a village plat, and at the same time the proprietor erected a tavern and a store building, both of which he placed in charge of his employees. Even then lumbering was the great business of the locality and the tavern and store drew all the trade of the operators and their employees. All the timber and lumber were made into rafts and floated down the river to market, and nearly all the rafts were put together at this point. Thus was the beginning made, and of course the business drew other persons to the village. An occasional sailing vessel stopped at the landing on trips up and down the river, and to facilitate the work of discharging and taking on cargo a small wharf was built, but was succeeded by a large one in 1832, built by John W. Fuller and Azariah Walton, lumbermen and merchants. The upper wharf was built by Walton and Hamblin in 1840. When steamboats began to appear on the river the settlement at the bay was an important landing place, where wood for use on the boats was loaded in large quantities. This business was carried on till the supply was exhausted and coal superseded it as fuel. In the meantime the lands were rapidly cleared, the mainland first and afterward the islands.

Among the early residents in the vicinity of the village were Dr. Jere. Carrier, John W. Fuller, David Hunter and Samuel Bingham, all of whom were here previous to 1820, and who were pioneers in their various pursuits in the town. Henry and Chauncey Westcott, Ira Beckwith and Mr. Tiflotson (who does not appear to be definitely recalled by lresent old residents) were here soon afterward and prior to 1825. Azariah Walton, who was one of the most prominent early merchants and lumbermen of the region, and also the owner of large tracts of land (both mainland and islands), began operations here in 1828. John W. Fuller built the first log house on the village site in 1818, and Dr. Carrier the first frame house two years later. These buildings, with the old Le Ray tavern, were prominent landmarks for many years, to which later generations have pointed with pardonable pride. Mr. Fuller and Dr. Carrier also built a large storehouse, while a school building was added to the institutions of the place as early as 1821. Still, the little bay hamlet did not increase beyond this condition of prosperity for a period of nearly twenty years, and of the various interests of the place only those owned by Azariah Walton and John W. Fuller survived the changes of intervening years. In 1828 John B. Esseistyn, collector of customs at Cape Vincent, established a branch office at the bay, for even then much merchandise was brought from Canada into the state, and some of it was subject to import duty. From that time a customs office has been maintained at this place.

In 1846, when Andrew Cornwall came to the bay, Azariah Walton and his son Lyman A. were doing an extensive business in general trade at the upper wharf, while John W. Fuller kept a large store and stock of goods at the lower wharf. Indeed, these were the only localities then known, and an inquiry for anything local was answered with direction to either the upper or lower wharf. In 1846 Mr. Cornwall succeeded the senior Walton in business and became partner with the son, under the firm name of L. A. Walton & Co. Five years later Lyman A. Walton died, and his interest went to John F. Walton, the firm then changing to Cornwall & Walton, and so continued until 1877, when it was dissolved. Mr. Cornwall then took his sons into business and established the firm of Cornwall Brothers, one of the largest and best known houses in northern Jefferson county. Their store is a large stone building standing conspicuously on the upper wharf, and is still the common trading centerof the vicinity although during the last quarter of a century mercantile interests have extended back from the river front, while the old part of the settlement is now occupied by the long established Cornwall and Thompson stores, the custom house, and the two magnificent hotels which have brought thousands of summer visitors to Alexandria Bay, and at the same time have been the means of clitributing goodly sums of money among local institutions which make up this noted village.

Alexandria Bay began to attract attention as a resort about 1850, although not until about 1867 or '68 did the place gain any prominence in that respect. Dr. Hough, in his account published in 1854, says: "This village has within ten years become a fashionable resort for fishing parties, and the romantic scenery of the islands presents attractions for those who take pleasure in observing the quiet and beautiful in nature, which has scarcely a parallel. Nor is the geology and natural history of this section without its romance, and the observer can scarcely advance a step without having his attention arrested by some interesting feature which affords subject for thought and admiration." Half a century, however, has witnessed many changes in the condition of things about Alexandria Bay and its adjacent islands. Then they were covered with a splendid growth of forest trees, and little had been done to develop the locality other than as nature had ordained. Now the forests have disappeared and every island, great or small, has its beautiful cottage, upon which many thousand dollars have been expended in adorning and beautifying, while its wealthy owner annually spends other thousands in occupying his property and entertaining friends.

Much of the popularity and fame of Alexandria Bay as a summer resort can be traced to the individual efforts of less than half a dozen men, conspicuous among whom have been the Waltons, Jdhn W. Fuller, Andrew Cornwall, Charles Crossrnon and Col. O. G. Staples. Mr. Crossmon came to the bay in 1846 and two years later succeeded to the hotel business formerly carried on by his father in law, Moses Smith. In the course of the next ten years he began holding out inducements to summer visitors, and even thus early the village had its regular annual summer patrons, who "put up" at his hotel. In this way the fame of the locality was spread throughout the land, but in the meantime Andrew Cornwall and John F. Walton had become owners of the islands, which were covered with timber. They were soon cleared of their growth, which was converted into lumber and wood, and thus stripped were sold to whoever would purchase for nominal consideration and build and maintain a summer cottage. For example: Hart's island, which sold for $20,000, was deeded to Mr. Hart for $300; Pullman's island was sold to George M. Pullman for $25, but he undoubtedly expended more than $250,000 in building beautiful "Castle Rest," and otherwise adorning the island. These original owners, the Waltons and Mr. Cornwall, certainly possessed excellent business sagacity when they thus disposed of their island possessions. However this may have been, the results have been apparent, and to-day Alexandria Bay stands at the head of the famous summer resorts of the Thousand islands.

The prominence of the region became fully established about 1872, in which year was thrown open to the public the celebrated Crossmon house, the property of Charles Crossmon, and under his immediate management, and within its walls have been entertained many of the most eminent men of the nation, and distinguished foreign visitors in almost equal number. In that year General Grant and family were the guests of Mr. Pullman, the Crossmon at the same time furnishing a banquet for 300 members of the state editorial association. These events alone brought thousands of visitors to the bay, every one of whom afterward proclaimed the beauties of the Thousand islands, and particularly of Alexandria Bay. Thus the region became famous. In 1872-73 the magnificent Thousand Island house was built with a capacity for 300 guests. The Crossmon is one of the largest houses on the river, and is also, perhaps, the most popular. The Thousand Island house has a greater capacity, and occupies a commanding site above the "upper wharf," as known half a century ago.

These hotels, with a united capacity for the accommodation of more than 500 guests, have been the means of building up the village to its present population and business importance. In 1850 there were 27 dwellings, 30 families and about 165 inhabitants. Twenty. five years later the interests comprised thç Crossmon and Thousand Island Houses,three general stores, a saw and plaster mill, several small shops, and about 500 inhabitants. At the present time the fixed resident population is about 1,500, with more than double that number during the summer season. There are seven hotels, viz: The Crossmon, C. W. Crossmon, proprietor; the Thousand Island house, Col. 0. G. Staples, proprietor; the Marsden, a good commercial hotel, P. K. Hayes, proprietor; the Jefferson, Z. Bigness, proprietor; the St. James, R. H. Service, proprietor; the Bay View, Sanford McCue, proprietor, and the Columbia, Weston Fall, proprietor.

This peculiar prominence has been the cause of enlarging the business interests of the village in every direction, and now, instead of a small hamlet of 500 inhabitants and a few general stores, there is the prosperous and progressive village of three times that number of people, at least twenty good stores of all kinds, a good hail for public entertainments, a superior school, several well established church societies, and in fact all the adjuncts of any thrifty, enterprising municipality. Briefly, let us recall these various interests. The merchants are Cornwall Bros., general store; Wm. H. Thompson & Son, hardware; Tilt & Fall, furniture; Willard Davis flour and feed; George Manning,liquors; Isaac Freedman, general store; J. C. Groub & Co., clothing; E. Houghton, grocery; Wm. M. Thomson, dry goods; C. H. Potter, dry goods; W. T. Bascom, drugs; J. D. Everson, grocer; Walter Fox, general store; Geo. Beebe, grocer; S. B. Miller and Byron Pierce, meat markets; Henry Hartman, hardware; John Kepler, bottler.

Incorporation.- In 1878 the people determined to incorporate the village, and accordingly Isaac I. Everson took the census and found the proposed district to contain 638 inhabitants. George Rockwell made the necessary surveys, and included within the limits about 930 acres of land, being about 390 acres of mainland, about 50 acres of Pullman's, Welcome, Nobby, Friendly, Rye, Maude, Florence, Hart's, Gussie and Steamboat islands, the Isle Imperial and the Manhattan group, and also about 90 acres "under the water of St. Lawrence river."

On October 22, 1878, a special election was held to determine the question, and by a vote of 29 for, and one against, the measure was carried.

The first officers elected were Charles Walton, president; James Clime, Elisha W. Visger and Wm. H. Thompson, trustees, and Harvey A. Cornwall, clerk. The succession of village presidents has been as follows: Charles Walton, 1878-79; Andrew Cornwall, 1880-83; Ira Bascom, 1884; Frank W. Barker, 1885-86; H. H. George, 1887; Andrew C. Cornwall, 1888-89; William T. Bascom, 1890-91; Samuel B. Miller, 1892-93; Harvey A. Cornwall, 1894; Arthur J. Thompson, 1895; Harvey A. Cornwall, 1896-97.

As a matter of historic interest the statement may be made that John I. Everson has been village collector since incorporation, and still holds the office. John Fox was treasurer from 1878 to 1895, and was then succeeded by his brother, Walter Fox, the present incumbent.

The first school house on the village site was built in 1821, but was soon replaced with a more substantial frame building when the lands in the vicinity had become settled. Previous to 1892 the village school was maintained under the district system of the town, but nevertheless was one of the largest and best institutions of its class in the county. The present large school building was erected in 1884, and was opened the next year. It was the graded school of district No. 5, having five departments, under the principalship of John O'Leary. On April 4, iS 92, the union free school district was established, thus still further elevating the standard of the institution. The number of pupils enrolled is 427; principal, Angelo O. Tucker. The present board of education comprises John Kepler, F. W. Barker and Joseph Northrup.

Convention hall is one of the important institutions of the village, and was built not only for local occupancy but as well for conventions and public assemblages from other counties. The first public building on the site was the old skating rink, followed by the Alexandria Bay opera house, the latter built by an incorporated company with a capital of $1,300. The officers of the company were Walter Fox, president; John F. Walton, vice-president. H. A. Cornwall, secretary and treasurer, and A. H. Houghton, F. W. Barker and Calvin Wilson, directors. The opera house was burned in January, 1805, and in the same year was replaced with convention hall, built at the expense of the village, at a total cost of $8,100. The hail is admirably arranged for all public assemblages. Its stage is large; is furnished with all modern conveniences and fine scenery. The seating capacity of the hail is sufficient for 1,000 persons.

Previous to about 1888 the village had no regularly organized fire department, but in that year the village hall and fire department building was erected at a ccst of about $1,550, by J. M. Ellis, contractor. The department, which comprises Singer steamer and its company (No. 1), Hume hook and ladder company, and also two efficient hose companies, was incorporated Sept. 8, 1897, under the name of "Fire department of Alexandria Bay, N. Y."

Alexandria lodge No. 297, F. & A. M., was instituted at Plessis in the summer of 1853, having about twenty charter members, and Jason Clark, master; Martin J. Hutchins, S. W.; and Daniel Roof, J. W. The lodge subsequently removed its seat of operations to Alexandria Bay, and has been for many years one of the substantial institutions of the village and town, drawing its membership from both. It is also one of the strongest lodges in the county outside the county seat, and numbers about 150 members.

The past masters have been as follows: Jason Clark, 1853; Daniel Roof, 1854; Martin J. Hutchins, 1855; Daniel Roof, 1856-60; Martin J. Hutchins, 1861-68; Moses C. Jewett. 1869-72; Andrew Cornwall, 1873-74; Moses C. Jewett. 1875; Harrison H. George, 1876-77; Walter Fox, 1878-79; William M. Thompson, 1880-88; Almon H. Houghton, 1889-90; Wm. T. Bascom, 1891-92; Almon H. Houghton, 1893; Wni. T. Bascom, 1894; A. H. Houghton, 1895; George B. Dobbins, 1896-97.

The Alexandria Bay steamboat company was organized in 1887 and incorporated in 1888: capital, $30,000. The first directors were O. P. Haddock, R. H. Hall, H. F. Inglehart, Geo. L. Doane, E. W. Visger, A. C. Cornwall, J. F. Walton, W.W. Butterfield, Anson Harder, Hiram Copley, C. E. Britton, O. G. Staples and B. B. Taggart. The purpose of the company was to build and maintain a line of steamers on the St. Lawrence, operating from Alexandria Bay. Two boats were put on the river and were run with a moderate degree of success for several years, but the company at last concluded to discontinue business, therefore sold their boats and in effect ceased to exist after the spring of 1897.

A brief allusion to the ecclesiastical history of the village will be found of interest. As early as 1823 a Congregational society was organized here, with Dr. Jerre Carrier, N. Goodale, A. Goddard, William Merrill and James Carnagie trustees. However, it soon ceased to exist, and not until December 22, 1835, was another formed, when the Methodists of this part of the town organized a society which has been permanent, although accompanied with many vicissitudes. The first chapel was built in 1839 at Alexandria Centre, that region being then quite thickly settled, while about the bay was hardly more than a handful of residents. The church and society at the bay is now the leading religious body of the village, numbering 110 full members and 50 probationers. The church edifice is a substantial structure, estimated to be worth $3,400, and the parsonage, $2,100. This church is under the pastorate of Rev. F. E. Arthur. The society was incorporated July 16, 1878, as "The First Methodist Episcopal society of Alexandria Bay." The first trustees were Friend S. Truman, Daniel Springer, Wm. Norton, John Burdick and Samuel Miller. The house of worship was built about that time.

The Reformed church of 1000 isles, as at present organized, was incorporated February 2, 1881, but in its history the society dates back to the summer of 1840, when Rev. George W. Bethune, a noted divine of Brooklyn, N. Y., visited the bay and found its people without a religious body of any kind. Through his efforts and influence the Rev. Jerome A. Davenport came to the locality in the capacity of missionary, and also to assume charge of the Sunday school which had been formed as the result of Dr. Bethune's suggestions. In 1850 the board of missions of the Reformed Protestant Dutch church assumed charge over the local mission, and in May of the next year the stone meeting house was opened for services, having been built on lands donated by the heirs of the Depau estate. Rev. Anson Dubois then took charge of the society as pastor. On August 1, 1851, a church organization was perfected with thirteen constituent members, and at that time the name "The church of the Thousand islands" was adopted. No further change in the character of the society was made until 1881, but all through the period of its history this has been one of the strongest religious organizations of the town, both in members and influence. The present membership is 100; pastor, Rev. Isaac J. Van Hee, successor to Rev. George Z. Collier.

The Church of St. Lawrence (Protestant Episcopal) of Alexandria Bay, was established as a mission in 1880, and is still maintained as such, although in the year mentioned a substantial church ediflce was built, at a cost of about $10,000. The parish contains 10 resident families, and is now without a rector. W. C. Browning is president of the board of trustees.

St. Joseph's church (Roman Catholic) of Alexandria Bay, was organized as a mission in February, 1886. The church, known as St. Cyril's, was built in 1892-93, and was dedicated during the year last mentioned. It is still a mission, supplied from Redwood by Rev. Father McDermott.

Redwood.- In the eastern part of the town of Alexandria, on the small but never failing stream which connects Edmunds (formerly Mud) lake with Butterfield lake, is the village called Redwood, but which, had the original intention of surveyor Clark been carried out, would have been known as Jamesville. The subject of incorporation has frequently been suggested to the people but that consummation has never been attained, although both population and business interests warrant such action. The village owes its existence, at least so far as foundingwas concerned, and much of its later prosperity, to the starting of the somewhat historic glass company.

In the spring of 1833 John S. Foster visited this part of the town, where, according to reports previously made to him, there existed an excellent water power, and also a superior quality of sand suitable for the manufacture of glass. The conditions and location were aceeptable to Mr. Foster; the stream connecting the lakes offered abundant water power, as was proved by the previous erection and operation of both saw and grist mills by David Smith. Foster purchased from the Depau proprietary a thousand acres of land in this vicinity, and also received from them substantial assistance in his proposed enterprise, thus being able to build (in 1833) the glass factory which led to founding the village. Pioneer Foster had come from Redford, Clinton county, in allusion to which place he named this hamlet Redwood, though the previous intention had been as above stated to name it Jamesville. The first glass was made Sept. 30, 1833, and thereafter an important industry was built up, but on Jan. 2, 1834, the founder died, after which operations ceased for a time, and the property reverted to the Depau proprietary.

The business, however, soon revived, and was conducted by Schmauss & Co., Gerlach & Son, Forbes & Co. and H. S. White, all with varying success. The next proprietors were De Zeng & Co., practical glass men from the works at Clyde. N. Y., the individual members of the firm being Lawrence W. De Zeng, Abner Burlingame and Theodore Hinman. Soon afterward Alexander Salisbury succeeded to the Hinman industry, and the firm thus constituted continued the business until July 1, 1853, when the Redwood glass manufacturing company assumed control. The capital of the company was $16,000, and the trustees were David Slack, Abner Burlingame, Robert N. Hoffman, Lawrence W. De Zeng, Alexander Salisbury, Hiram Gordon and Henry Campbell. In 1859 W. W. Butterfield (who, by the way, is one of the most enterprising men of the village) became interested in the company and was elected its president. He soon afterward acquired all the stock by purchase, therefore owned the plant, which he operated from 1803 to 1874, when it was leased to a new concern for three years. It was poorly managed, hence unsuccessful, and at the end of the term came back to Mr. Butterfield, and by him was continued until business competition made this factory unprofitable.

Thus it was that the starting of the glass factory in 1833 led to the building of this village. In the meantime, however, the place had grown to a position of some importance, could boast of two or three good stores, two hotels, a grist mill, saw mill, carding machine and cloth factory, and about 350 inhabitants. Even then the question of incorporation was suggested, but not further progressed. The population comprised Germans, Yankees and French, the former leading in point of numbers. The old Redwood iron company, incorporated in 1855, also contributed to local growth, though not an industry directly of the village. The grist mill previously mentioned was built in 1844, by Joseph Butterfield and W. W. White. The wool carding and cloth works were started in 1846. The present proprietor of the grist mill is A. A. Holmes, but the cloth and carding mills are now things of the past. Among the more prominent early merchants of the place were W. W. Butterfield, J. Buckbee and Norton & McCollister, the latter firm from 1857 to 1866.

Redwood is one of the most pleasantly situated hamlets in the north part of the county, where the inhabitants are thrifty, progressive and forehanded. It is the trading point for all the region, and the established route of travel from the railroad to Alexandria Bay during the winter season. The road was built through the village in 1873, and the whole townspeople owe a debt of gratitude therefor to Mr. Butterfield, although the town generously bonded to the extent of $60,000 to secure its construction. Henry S. White was another factor in this enterprise.

A union school was established in 1859, and from that time the village has maintained and generously supported one of the best nonacademic institutions in this part of the county. The records of the district prior to 1872 were burned in an unfortunate fire, hence the names of the officiary previous to that time cannot be learned. However, in September, 1897, the school advanced still another degree by forming Redwood union free (school) district from old town district No. 15 of Alexandria. The board of education comprises Dr. E. E. Eddy, William E. Courtney and Fred Rebscher. The present mercantile and other business interests may be summarized about as follows: Nelson R. Cook, saw mill; A. A. Holmes, grist mill and coal dealer; Cook & Smith, sash, door and blind factory and planing mill; Holmes Bros. (F. T. & W. W. Holmes), general store; Christian Ahies, general store; Geo. Pilger & Son, groceries and boots and shoes; C. A. Catlin, general store; Geo. C. Tanner, drugs and groceries; Fred Carman, grocer; Elizabeth Nichols, grocer; Ellis J. White, general hardware; Peter Bert and Jacob Quencer, undertakers and cabinet makers; Wm. Courtney, general store; Jere Rexford, jeweler; Geo. Hartnian, tailor; Geo. A. Roy, meat market; T. H. Donald, insurance; Geo. Cable, Geo. Hyle, Wm. Kimball and Lewis Bruso, blacksmiths; George Bailey, harness shop; Cosgrove & Rebscher, dealers in all farmers' produce; Anson Harder and Don A. Watson, attorneys and counsellors at law; Robert Clink, Martin J. Hutchins, Charles A. Catlin, James E. Ryan and Elmer E. Eddy, physicians and surgeons.

The Baptist church of Redwood, originally known as the second Baptist church of Alexandria, was organized June 7, 1832, and was the second church of that denomination in the town, the first having been formed in the southwest part during the early years (the date being unknown) of the century, but soon dissolved. The constituent members of the Redwood society were Jarius Chaffin, Lind Pierce, Isaac and Daniel Leonard, Alvin Maxin, Nancy Cranch, Hannah Spearbeck, Mary Ann Lake, Drusilla Murray, Cynthia Leonard and Anna George. Meetings were held in private dwellings and schools houses until 1856, when a house of worship was built at Redwood village. The first pastor was Elder C. Havens. The early life of this society was one of vicissitudes and struggles, but in later years it acquired a permanent growth and strength. The present members number about 60, with 100 attendants in the Sunday school. The pastoris Rev. V. G. Shaffer.

St. Francis Xavier's church (Roman Catholic), of Redwood, had its origin in the masses said by missionary priests during the early forties, particularly by Father Capp. The parish was soon afterward formed, and included nearly all the Catholic families north of Theresa in the county. In 1848 the church edifice was erected, the material therefor being contributed by the liberal people of the locality. Father McFarland first officiated in the new structure. The present priest in charge is Rev. Father McDermott.

St. James church, Episcopal, of Redwood, was organized Aug. 12, 1850, and in August of the next year the church edifice was completed and dedicated, Bishop Delancey officiating at that ceremony. The first wardens were Daniel Slack and A. M. Harrison; vestrymen, Richard Gray, Lawrence De Zeng, Charles Clark, James Wright and Josiah Buckbee. The number of present communicants is 43. The rector is Rev. John Smiley. Wardens, W. A. Failing and C. W. Dollinger.

The Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's church of Redwood was informally established in 1850, and was the outgrowth of the missionary services of that faith held in the vicinity many years previously. The church was regularly organized in 1860, and in 1881 a house of worship was built. This society includes in its congregations nearly the entire German element of this part of the town, and is therefore strong in its influence and membership, numbering about 200 persons. The pastor, Rev. Francis Rudolph Hoffman, has served in that capacity since 1884.

The First Methodist Episcopal church of Redwood was formed July 8, 1889, with ten constituent members, through the efforts of Rev. C. Phelps, and under the same efficient worker a house of worship was built in the two years following. Since that time the society has grown in members and influence though not yet in possession of sufficient strength to support a separate pastor. The pulpit is supplied from Plessis by Rev. J. W. Higbey.

Plessis.- The first improvement at this place was made in 1817 when Mr. Le Ray caused a grist mill to be built on the creek for the accommod ation of the scattered settlers of the vicinity. To the creek and the hamlet were given the name of Plessis, in allusion to a place of that name in France; but to the settlers the locality was more commonly known as Flat Rock, from the abundance of surface sandstone found in this, part of the town. In 1818 William Merrill came and built a log house, which was afterward used as a tavern. In 1826 landlord Merrill was killed by John Powell, and upon conviction of the offense Powell was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. William Tanner built the first framed house in the settlement, the same being afterward occupied as a store and dwelling. The first store was opened in 1820 by Lull & Walton; Jason Clark and William Shurtleff became owners of Le Ray grist mill, and rebuilt it in 1830. James Carter started a tannery on the village site in 1821. In the same year a Presbyterian society was organized. In 1826 a school house was built, and in 1833 the first meeting house was erected.

Thus was Plessis established, and while almost three quarters of a century have passed since that time there has been but little growth in local interests and the only changes have been those of one generation succeeding another. The village is pleasantly situated in the southeastern part of the town, in a good agricultural region. The total population does not exceed 100 inhabitants, and the business interests are those needed to supply local demand. John H. C]ine is proprietor of the grist and saw mills, both of which were the old so-called Jason Clark mills, of which mention has been made. The merchants are Augsbury & Wilcox, Makepeace & Son, and F. M. Waits, all doing business in a remote country village, but in these stores can be purchased almost any commodity needed in any family of the town. There are also the customary shops and interests found in all such hamlets. The hotel is called the Central house, and is kept by Patrick Bailey. The village also has a good district school, and two churches. The Presbyterian church, was one of the pioneer institutions of the town, and was organized August 11, 1821, by Rev. Nathaniel Dutton, the old missionany worker and pioneer of Champion. The original members were Aaron Goddard, James Carnegie, Lydia and Elizabeth Carnegie, Cynthia Merrill, Polly Young and Sally Hoadley. The first elders were David J. Weeks and Aaron Goddard. The first pastor was Rev. William B. Stowe. The early meetings were held in private dwellings until the union meeting house was completed in 1833, and in the latter until 1861, when an attractive church edifice was erected by the society. It was dedicated in 1862, and was regarded as one of the finest country churches in the county. The organization has ever been maintained although the membership in more recent years has so materially declined that a resident pastor is not regularly supported. The Methodist Episcopal church at the village is of more recent formation, although a class has been in existence in this part of the town for at least twenty-five years. From this the society has grown, drawing a part of its membership from the other church. Plessis forms a joint charge with Redwood, both churches having 140 full members and 8 probationers. The pastor is Rev. J. W. Higbey.

Wells' Island is in many respects one of the most interesting districts within the jurisdiction of the town, and around it cluster many historic memories. Although the lands of the island were not patented until 1823 settlement there was begun in 1807 by Claudius Duclon, a Frenchman, and of course a squatter, and about the same time, and thereafter continuing several years the splendid timber tracts suffered from the depredations of the lumber thieves who infested the region. There was some other straggling settlement on the island previous to the issue of the patents but the greatest acquisition in the way of population was between the years 1835 and 1850. The island contains 8,068 acres of land, and as good land for general agricultural purposes as can be found in the county, but nearly two-thirds of the territory is in the adjoining town of Orleans. In 1850 the inhabitants numbered 334, of whom 233 were in Orleans and 101 in this town. This population comprised Germans, French and Yankees, all of whom were devoted to the peaceful arts of agriculture until the region became famous as a summer resort, when the special production of sheep, lambs, poultry, eggs, butter, milk and vegetables became a staple industry and a source of profit to all engaged in it. This indeed has been a profitable employment for the farmers on the island, and with the products of their labor more than six hundred summer visitors are fed throughout the season. On the upper extremity of the island is the splendid Thousand Island park and its appurtenances, while at the lower end is Westminster park, less perhaps in extent but nevertheless of great importance during the outing season.

The Westminster Park association of the Thousand islands was informally organized in 1875, and articles of association filed on January 3, 1876. The incorporators were Andrew Cornwall, Rosell C. Collis, George Gilbert, John D. Ellis and Norris Winslow. The capital was $50,000, and the purpose of the association was to purchase, lay out, divide and improve lands on Wells' island; to erect buildings thereon and to sell and lease lots. The trustees for the first year were the incorporators above named, and also Seth G. Pope, Wm. H. Kimball, Timothy Hough and Win. S. Taylor. However, the association soon afterward deemed it prudent to reincorporate, and accordingly on Aug. 29, 1887, filed new articles, showing a capital of $30,000, and Andrew Cornwall, Rosell C. Collis, George Gilbert, John D. Huntington, Solon D. Hungerford and Patrick H. Agan as incorporators. The trustees named in the articles were the incorporators and S. B. Van Duzee, Lewis Lawrence and Philemon H. Fowler.

The association then purchased 512 acres of land on the island, including Picnic island adjoining, from Andrew Cornwall, but afterward sold to Cornwall Brothers 300 acres of the tract. Here in 1878 and 1879, the noted Westminister park was laid out and improved in the erection of a large hotel and other necessary buildings. The hotel was leased and the sale of lots was begun. As is well understood, the association is a Presbyterian organization, and has maintained that character since its formation. In 1888, having a desire to enlarge the corporate powers of the association, ahd to avail themselves of the amended laws then recently passed by the legislature, another reincorporation was decided upon, which was carried into effect January 22d of that year. The first trustees were Andrew Cornwall, Rosell C. Collins, George Gilbert, John D. Huntington, Solon D. Hungerford, S. B. Van Duzee, Patrick H. Agan, Lewis Lawrence and Philernon H. Fowler. Under this reorganization still greater improvements were made to the park property, and from that time to the present the association has enjoyed a healthful existence. Island Mary, commonly called Picnic Island, is association property and has been laid out in a delightful park for small parties of pleasure seekers. In 1897 the association sold to the state twelve and one-half acres for the purposes of the recently authorized international park. H. F. Inglehart & Son have been lessees of the hotel at the park for the last thirteen years.

Central Park association was incorporated March 28, 1881, with $25, 000 capital, by R. H. Hall, Pardon C. Williams, William G. Williams, J. F. Moffett and C. A. Holden. The association purchased from Mr. Grinnell 55 acres of mainland on the shores of the St. Lawrence, in the town of Alexandria. The tract is beautifully situated, and in many respects resembles an island, being almost surrounded with water. The improvements made by the association were the survey and general laying out of the park tract and the erection of the large hotel- the Central Park House. The tract has an abundant supply of good water. About a dozen cottages have been built, all of them handsome buildings. Lots are leased for 99 years. The present officers of the association are Sidney Cooper, president; O. G. Staples, vice-president; Joseph Atwell, secretary; Smith T. Woolworth, treasurer, The officers above mentioned, with Richard Marcy and Byron B. Taggart, comprise the board of trustees. Edgewood Park association was incorporated Aug. 27, 1886, for the purpose of erecting and managing a "summer home" at Edgewooci Park, in the town of Alexandria. The capital was $50,000, and the incorporaters were J. M. Curtiss, J. S. Hartzell, William M. Thomson, John I. Cornwall and Elisha W. Visger. The life of the association was short; its affairs were closed, and the property was sold to I. P Lamson of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Thousand Island club is the most recent venture in this vast summer pleasure field, and was formed in 1897. A beautiful club house was built on Welcome island, just above Alexandria Bay, and was opened to the public in June of the year mentioned.

Supervisors.1 - John D. Davidson, 1829-32; Jason Clark, 1833-35; John D. Davidson, 1836; Jason Clark, 1837; John W. Fuller, 1838; Michael Lewis, 1839-40; Alex. Salisbury, 1841; Jason Clark, at a special meeting, May, 1841; Jason Clark, 1842; Harvey D. Parker, 1843-49; George W. Clark, 1850; Moses C. Jewett, 1851; Harvey D. Parker, 1852; Andrew Cornwall, 1853-54; Jason Clark, 1855-57; W. W. Butterfield, 1858; Jason Clark, 1859; Andrew Cornwall, 1860; W. W. Butterfield, 1861; Andrew Cornwall. 1862-65; W.W. Butterfield, 1866; Ebenezer Campbell, 1867; Joseph E. McAllister, 1868; Ebenezer Campbell, 1869; William M. Thompson, 1870-72; Newton Rand, 1873-74; Alfred A. Holmes, 1875-77; R. Gurnee, 1878-80; A. C. Cornwall, 1881-83; T. B. Marshall, 1884; A. Bicklehaupt, 1885-87; A. C. Cornwall, 1888; Fred. T. Holmes, 1889-93; William H. Thomson, 1894-97; Adam Bicklehaupt, 1898-99.

1 The town records, previous to 1829, are lost.

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