THE TOWN OF ORLEANS.
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A treaty was held at Fort Schuyler (formerly Fort Stanwix) Sept. 22, 1788, between the Oneida Indians and certain
commissioners representing the state of New York, at which time the natives ceded to the state all their domain,
but with the express understanding that the state should, "as a benevolence from the Oneidas to Peter Penet,
and in return for services rendered by him to their nation, grant to the same Peter Penet, of the said ceded lands,
lying to the northward of the Oneida lake, a tract of land ten miles square, wherever he shall elect the same."
A person acquainted with the general topographical character of the lands included within the vast Oneida domain
would naturally suppose that John Duncan, the agent of Penet, would have selected his hundred square mile tract
in some location farther south than the St. Lawrence region. Duncan could not have traversed the territory and
made the selection after personal examination, but must have contented himself with "due diligence and inquiry"
among the Indians, for the ten miles square proved to be the most level and heavily timbered of all the Oneida
territory; and when cleared of its forest growth by the whites it developed into the finest farming country in
northern New York. Indeed, there can be no reasonable doubt that the Indians informed the agent as to the location
of their choicest lands, and directed the selection. It must have been a warm affection the Oneidas had for Penet,
and great indeed must have been the debt of gratitude they felt they owed to him; but how he ever succeeded in
ingratiating himself so completely in the savage affection has ever been regarded as something of a mystery, for
among the whites he was looked upon as an unscrupulous adventurer. He was engaged in many schemes and was constantly
besieging the federal and state governments for recognition or aid in his enterprises. He never lived upon or even
saw, so far as any record shows, his lands in this county.
Penet's square, as it has ever been called, was wholly within the town of Orleans as originally constituted, but
now two-fifths of the tract is in the town of Clayton. On January 23, 1789, Penet had made John Duncan his attorney
to locate the land and receive the letters patent therefor. This instrument was dated Nov. 18, 1789. On Aug. 8
of that year the commissioners of the land office directed the surveyorgeneral to survey the tract for and at the
expense of Penet. The subsequent history of the tract was both interesting and complicated, and by almost every
process of law and man's ingenuity have the land titles in Orleans (on the square) been established. On July 13,
1790, Penet, through Duncan, sold the square for five shillings to James Watson and James Greenleaf, and Watson,
on Feb. 26, 1795, sold his interest to Greenleaf for £1,000, Sept. 4, 1797, Greenleaf sold to Simeon Desjardines
for £19,400. By various other subsequent conveyances and releases, all of which a e more particularly set
forth in the chapter relating to land titles in the county, the square eventually passed into the ownership of
John La Farge, by deeds between the years 1817 and 1823. Still, the titles were not considered perfectly good,
whereupon La Farge allowed the land to be sold for taxes, he purchasing and receiving the deed to himself from
the comptroller of the state.
While these events were taking place in regular channels another element of complication arose in the proclaimed
ownership of the square by Hippolyte Penet, brother to Peter, who quit-claimed the land to John S. Le Tonelier,
of Schenectady, for the mere consideration of one dollar. A suit in chancery followed and the deed was set aside
by the decree of chancellor Samuel Jones, Aug. 2, 1828. These things had the effect to excite distrust among settlers,
many of whom had taken contracts from assumed proprietors and were holding under doubtful title. They therefore
joined in a petition to the legislature in 1821 praying for a direct grant of the lands from the state. The matter
was referred to a select committee, who reported the title as shown by the records in the office of the secretary
of state, also the conveyance by Duncan as Penet's agent, but at the same time expressed a doubt as to whether
the proprietor had ever divested himself of the title, the conveyances nowhere appearing of record. For more accurate
information and report, the question was referred to the attorney-general, who found that the tract, except 21,000
acres, was conveyed by Penet to Duncan, but as to subsequent conveyances he had not the means of ascertaining.
This gave no relief to the disturbed settlers, but about 1824 Mr. La Farge came to the square to assert his title.
Still, the inhabitants doubted his ability to do so. A public meeting was held at Stone Mills in 1824, at which
time a Committee was appointed to investigate and report on the La Farge titles, but before anything had been done
the proprietor had occasion to bring a suit in ejectment, and there proved his title to the lands. However, in
1820, claimants under the Hippolyte Penet deeds came to the vicinity and asserted their titles, but without more
serious effect than a suit for damages at the complaint of La Farge, and the departure of the claimants from the
field. On May 12, 1827, La Farge agreed to sell all his lands, contracts, leases and certificates to Vinal Luce
and Philip Schuyler, in consideration of $75,000, and subject to all arrears of taxes, as well as other provisos
and conditions. The new proprietary took possession, but soon afterward new complications arose regarding the title,
suits were brought and William Smith, of Watertown, was appointed receiver to take and hold moneys paid for land
until the question should be determined; but in June, 1830, a compromise was effected with Luce and Schuyler by
which La Farge again took possession of the land, which he soon allowed to be sold for taxes, purchasing the same
for himself and establishing a new and undisputed title. About 1840 the proprietor appointed Dr. John Binsee, of
Watertown, as his agent, and then removed to New York.
So far as can be determined the first proprietor to visit the square was John Wilkes, the owner of 12,000 acres
by purchase from Nicholas Olive, the latter the grantee of Simon Desjardines. Wilkes came to the tract in 1807
and made an examination of the character of the land, with a view to becoming resident proprietor, but unaccustomed
to such a life, with all its vicissitudes and privations, he became disgusted and soon abandoned the region. After
this none of the several owners visited the land nor was any attempt made to develop it under lawful authority
until John La Farge came to assert his title in 1824.
Settlement and improvement on Penet's square was begun as early as 1806 by persons who took and held possession
without color or claim of title, for they regarded the region as ungranted land and subject to the rule of "first
come, first served." Indeed much of the square was tenanted with settlers of this class, who established a
law of possession among themselves. Many of them were earnest workers, but poor in purse. They knew the land was
not their own, but toiled on and hazarded the result. In many cases excellent farms were developed by this squatter
community, and when the town was set off from Brownyule they were specially enfranchised by the creating act. However,
they were not recognized as owners by the authorities of Brownville, were not assessed for the land they occupied,
nor was any provision made for their protection.
John La Farge dealt somewhat summarily with many of the squatters, for they were disposed to dispute his ownership;
therefore when his title was established, he had little compassion for their condition, and insisted on payment
for his lands. The first white occupant of the tract was Roderick Frazier who in 1806 established himself in a
log hut about two miles north of the settlement afterward called Stone Mills. In the next year Peter Pratt, a pioneer
of the Perch river country, came out and made a clearing south of the Stone Mills. In the years following the squatter
community increased rapidly, for the news of "free lands" had been spread throughout the Mohawk valley,
from whence came many of these settlers. However, no record of any kind was kept of their arrival and settlement,
and while many of them developed good farms they refused to answer the demands of La Farge and left the region.
On the site of La Fargeville Dr. Reuben Andrus and Benjamin Page, both Vermonters, made a settlement in 1810, each
building a log house, and in the fall of that year Ancirus built a saw mill near the place, the pioneer industry
of its kind in the town. Other early settlers in this vicinity were Moses Darby, Eli Bergen, Peter Cook and his
sons Horace, Hiram, Hial and Harvey, Major Earl and his son Lyman, Charles Cummins and Dr. Cushman, all during
the year 1817. Major Earl served with credit during the war of 1812, and in the service earned his title. All these
settlers were afterward identified with the history of the town. Under the proprietary as it stood in 181?, A.
M. Prevost was the owner of a large body of land in the south part of the square. In that year he made contracts
of sale to many persons who were then or soon afterward actual settlers, among them Asa Hall, Richard Taylor, Frederick
Avery, Benjamin and John Taylor, Solomon Stowell, Samuel Linnel, Roderick C. Fraser, Lester White, William Collins,
jr., Leonard and Blake Baldwin, John B. Collins, Isaac Mitchell, Ebenezer Eddy, John Smith, Thomas and Shepard
Lee, Thomas Lee, jr., Wm. Guile, Wm. Larrabee, Ebenezer Scoville, Henry Arnold, Warren Hall, John Page and Ambrose
These settlers acquired title from Prevost through Elisha Camp, of Sackets Harbor, who acted as agent. The lands
were rated at $5 per acre, and were located on lots 66, 75, 86, 87 and 95, all in that part of the town commonly
known as Stone Mills. But these were not all the settlers of the period, for in other localities, and on the square
generally, there came about the same time and began improvements
Jonas and Brainard Everett, father and son, Isaac Niles, James Gloyd, Ebenezer Eddy, Leonard Baldwin, all during
the year 1817, so near as is now known. Peter Rhines, who was the first town clerk of Orleans and afterward held
various other offices, came in 1819, and in the same year also came Stephen and Hamilton Scovil. In 1820 there
came Joel L. Buskirk and family, Henry and Josiah Nash, John W. and James C. McNett, and perhaps others whose names
are forgotten. John W. McNett was La Farge's agent, and his brother James C. was the first Presbyterian elder in
the town. They settled at the place afterward called Rixford's corners. The Nash families lived near La Forgeville.
Other prominent names in the early history of the town were those of Henry Heyl, R. T. Jerome, Ashley Tanner. John
Tallman, William Whaley, Lyman Britton, Peter Folts, George S. and Otis N. Britton, Thomas and Abner Evans, Merchant
Carter, David Gregg, Nathan Halloway, Joseph Rhoades, John Monk, Moses Lyman, Adoiphus Pickard, Nicholas Smith,
Sabin Rixford, Caleb Willis, Mr. Barrett, M. Contreman, and William Collins, the ten last mentioned having been
soldiers in the war of the revolution.
Thus is presented to the reader the names of many of the first settlers in what is now Orleans, but at best the
list is imperfect, for in no town in the county was there so much uncertainty in possession and occupancy as on
Penet's square, on account both of the character of the settlement and the question concerning the validity of
the titles. That this settlement was very rapid is shown in the fact that in 1825 the town had 3,541 inhabitants,
the territory then including the town now so called and the part of the square which was set off to Clayton in
Organization.- On April 3, 1821,
an act of the legislature divided Brownville and Le Ray, and out of their territory created three new towns, Alexandria,
Philadelphia and Orleans, the latter the only one which was erected wholly from Brownville. The effective portion
of the act was as follows:
Be it enacted, etc., that all that part of the town of Brownville, "beginning at the southwest corner of
Penet's square (so-called), thence northerly along the west line of said square to the center of the river St.
Lawrence; thence northeasterly along the center of said river to the above new town of Alexandria: thence south
along the west line of said town of Alexandria to the north line of Penet's square aforesaid to the northeast corner
thereof; thence south along the east line of said square to the southeast corner thereof; thence west along the
south line of said square to the place of beginning, shall be and the same is hereby erected into a separate town
by the name of Orleans; and that the first town meeting shall be held at the house occupied by Hervey Boutwell."
A subsequent section of the act declared "that all free male inhabitants in the town of Orleans aforesaid,
of the age of 21 years and upwards, shall be good and sufficient jurors in all courts to be holden before any justice
of the peace in and for the said county of Jefferson, and shall be eligible to hold any town office in the town
of Orleans, in the same manner as if they were freeholders in said town." Another section of the act provided
"that so much of the oaths directed by law to be taken by town officers, as respects their being freeholders,
may be omitted in the oaths to be taken by the town officers hereafter to be chosen in the said town of Orleans."
The object of these sections of the act was plain. At that time by far the majority of inhabitants on the square
were squatters, holding possession without title, hence were ineligible to office in the territory. The proposed
jurisdiction was not sufficiently populous to warrant town organization without them, and with them on the territory
in such large numbers the exercise of some authority was necessary, hence the act and its somewhat unusual provision.
Another element which was an important factor in the town's creation was the difficulty which had existed for several
years in choosing officers for Brownville. It will be remembered that in 1820, at the annual town meeting held
at Perch river, the inhabitants of the square came out in superior numbers and outvoted the residents of the south
part, choosing a town clerk from their locality, which would have resulted in the removal of the office to the
north part of the town, thereby causing much inconvenience except to inhabitants of the square. They were voters,
but not freeholders, therefore not eligible to office. However, at the adjourned meeting on the occasion referred
to the Brownville voters rallied in force, reconsidered the vote for clerk, and elected an incumbent from the south
part of the town. Then the sentiment of the people became divided, and the charge of "stealing a town meeting"
resulted in the division of Brownyule, as has been narrated.
Within its original boundaries Orleans included the entire 64,000 acres of Penet's square, together with all the
territory of Brownville north of the square and west of a line drawn north from the northwest corner of lot number
6. This florthern portion extended to the county line, therefore to the line between Canada and the United States,
and included such part of the islands, great and small, as lay north of the triangular territory mentioned. Some
modifications of these lines were made in later years, and when Clayton was set off in 1833, the territory of Orleans
north of Penet's square was reduced to a narrow strip of land, two miles in width, extending from the tract direct
to and across Wells island, the west boundary of the strip, however, diverging to the west so as to bring all of
the western part of the island within the town, This was done purely for convenience, but the ultimate result has
been to include within this town the famous Thousand island park, together with several other prominent resorts,
all to the great benefit and increase of the assessable property of the town. In 1829, all that part of the town
which lay east of Perch lake was annexed to Pamelia. Clayton was created from Orleans and Lyme in 1833, and took
from the former four tiers of lots, or two-fifths of the square, from the west side, and as well all the lands
of the town lying north of that part of the square set off. The division line between Clayton and Orleans was changed
by an act passed February 6, 1840. The boundary between this town and Alexandria has been twice changed, both times
for the convenience of owners and occupants of islands, but otherwise not of great importance.
The first town meeting was held as the act provided at the house occupied by Hervey Boutwell, but as to what was
done on that occasion we have not the means to determine, as the records were burned in an unfortunate fire which
destroyed Moulton's store in 1825. It is known, however, that all town officers were elected, but the special provisions
for local government made in this squatter comm unity might be especially interesting to the reader of this chapter.
All the previous events of history in the town had been unusual and unlike those of other towns. However it cannot
be inferred from this that Orleans has not been a progressive town, as history proves to the contrary. Many of
the first settlers came for temporary purposes, erected rude habitations, and apparently sought to strip the land
of its forest growth for immediate profit rather than for permanent occupancy and the development of its resources
for later generations. Those of the settlers who remained and took title from Le Farge made their beginning in
a different way and in the usual manner of clearing the land and opening farms; and after the temporary occupants
had gone their places were soon filled by a more desirable class of settlers, to whom the quality of the land had
become known through reports previously spread. In the meantime, in 1824, Mr. La Farge came and opened an office
and set about the sale and development of his lands, One of his first steps was to erect a school house, followed
by the La Farge mansion, one of the most pretentious buildings in this part of the county, also a stone house opposite
the mansion, and all near the settlement then called "Log Mills," but afterward La Fargeville.
The history of growth and development in the town was uneventful after the question of titles was settled. This
was purely an agricultural region, equally productive with any in the county, which standing the town has maintained
to the present time.
The population was greatest in 1825 but the evictions of the next five years reduced it by more than 400, the number
of inhabitants in 1830 being only 3,101, and 2,044 in 1835; but in the meantime Clayton had been set off and took
from Orleans more than 1,000 of her population. Since that time the changes as shown by the census reports have
been as follows: 1840, 3,001; 1845, 3,047; 1850, 3,465; 1855, 2,806; 1860, 2,934; 1865, 2,791; 1870, 2,445; 1875,
2,305; 1880, 2,318; 1890, 2,196; 1892, 2,259.
One of the most notable events in connection with the early history of Orleans was the plundering and burning of
the British steamer Sir Robert Peel, on the night of May 29-30, 1838, during the progress of the so-called patriot
war. On that occasion the Peel was on her way up the river on a regular trip from Prescott to Toronto, having on
board nineteen passengers and a cargo of freight. At midnight the boat reached McDonald's wharf, on the south side
of Wells island, and tied up for the purpose of taking on wood. The crew were thus engaged when a company of twenty-two
men, all disguised as Indians, rushed on board and took possession of the boat, drove off the hands and compelled
the passengers to go ashore, many of them not half clad, and without their baggage. The vessel was robbed of whatever
was of value to the captors, who then cut the lines and let her drift out into the river where she was set on fire
and burned. The hull floated down the river and sunk in about 70 feet of water abreast of the islands now owned
by Margaret Parker. This dastardly act was committed by a party of alleged patriots commanded by the notorious
"Bill" Johnson, one of the so called heroes of the war, but who in later years was appointed keeper of
the Rock island light, not far from the scene of his former exploits. The patriot cause found many sympathizers
in Orleans, who gave expression to their sentiments at a public meeting held at La Fargeville, Dec. 31, 1838, just
after the trial by British court martial of the captured and condemned patriots. The story of the period is so
fully told in one of the early chapters of this work, that not more than a passing mention is necessary in this
One of the most interesting localities within the limits of the town is Wells island (sometimes called Wellesley
island), where public enterprise has built up one of the most noted resorts in all the famous Thousand island region.
In the extreme southwest corner of the island is a point of land which was designated on Capt. Owen's British chart
of 1818 as "Talavera head," but it was not until about 1873 that the locality began to attract attention
other than being known to possess beautiful surroundings and excellent grazing and agricultural lands. The island,
with all others in the vicinity, was patented to Elisha Camp, February 15, 1823, and contained 8,068 acres of land.
In 1845 it was sold by Yates & McIntyre, Camp's grantees, to Azariah Walton and Chesteraeld Pearson, the latter
interest, however, soon afterward passing to Walton; and in 1853 the title to the island was vested in Walton and
Andrew Cornwall, It was then covered with an extensive forest growth of the finest quality of timber, much of which
was hard wood. These proprietors cut, sold and shipped vast quantities of this wood and timber, and after being
stripped the land was sold for almost nominal price to whoever would purchase and build a cottage or make some
other substantial improvement.
The Thousand island camp meeting association, to whom chiefly belongs the credit for having developed and brought
into prominence the southwestern part of the island, was incorporated in December, 1874. The idea of forming an
association for camp meeting purposes on the island was first suggested by Rev. J. F. Dayan, a prominent clergyman
of the Methodist Episcopal church. His ideas were carried out to a great extent, and through them was established
one of the most noted institutions of its special kind in the whole country, although after about ten years of
successful operation the association host its original character as a denominational body. As surveyed in 1875
the grounds proper comprised about 800 acres of land, on which the association caused to be erected from time to
time large and attractive buildings both for meeting and dwelling purposes. The tract is conveniently laid out
into lots, which which are disposed of by lease for 99 years, but not in any case since the formation of the successor
company has the title in fee simple been passed to purchasers or lessees.
The Thousand island park association was virtually the older body, but changed in name under authority of the legislature
by an act passed Jan. 18, 1879 The business, affairs and property of the association was thereafter controlled
in much the same manner as before until about 1885, when the capital was increased from $15,000 to $50,000, and
the stock was sold to many persons who were not connected with the Methodist church. Then the association began
to lose its denominational character, but its usefulness and standing have not been in any manner impaired by the
change. The new management wrought many and wonderful changes in the park and its surroundings, and have indeed
built up a summer village with a population approximating 5,000. In all about 600 lots are under lease, with a
like number of cottages. The splendid large hotel with a capacity for 300 guests was built in 1891, and cost $50,000.
Many subsequent buildings have been erected, notably the tabernacle and the chapel, the store, market, milk depot,
drug store, association office, the New England dining hail, together with various other structures, all involving
the association in the expenditure of vast sums of money. In 1897 was built the school house for the state department
of public instruction, which is to be used each year as a teachers' training school under state control. The village,
for such it is in fact, has a perfect system of sewers and sanitary regulations, water supply, electric lighting,
a fire department, and as well every adjunct of a completely appointed municipality, and far better than the majority
of them in this state.
The trustees for the present year are George P. Folts, Forest G. Weeks, Warren R. Fitch, Dr. A. W. Goodale, James
P. Lewis, Walter Brown, George C. Sawyer, Martin Lefever and Byron M. Britton. The officers are George P. Folts,
president; George C. Sawyer, first vice-president; J. B. Lewis, second vice-president; Dr. A. W. Goodale, secretary;
W. R. Fitch, treasurer. Rev. William Searles is the manager of the tabernacle.
Grand View park was surveyed and laid out in 1885, and is situated at the northwestern extremity of Wells island,
on the point of land called on the Owen chart as "Oporto Head." The development of this place as a resort
began with the cottage built by Hamilton Child in 1886; but the cottage then erected changed into a hotel, while
numerous other improvements were soon afterward made. In the same manner, though through widely different influences
and conditions, there have been established in the town on the mainland several villages and hamlets, each with
reference to the convenience of the inhabitants rather than for purposes of pleasure during the summer season.
La Fargeville, the principal village, is situate in the central part of Orleans,
on the site where Reuben Andrus settled in 1816 and built a log saw mill. From this the place became known as Log
Mills and retained that name until about 1823, when it was changed to La Fargeyule, on the occasion of the Fourth
of July celebration. Dr. Andrus' log dwelling stood on the site of the Orleans house of later years. However, the
business and trading center of the inhabitants during these early years was less than two miles south of the mills,
at the place called Rixford's Corners in allusion to Sabin Rixford who settled there in 1817. In the next year
Mr. Moulton opened a store at the corners, but the building was burned in 1825, and the town records were also
destroyed in the fire. A distillery and an ashery were in operation here previous to 1820. In that year a store
and tavern were opened at the mills village, and in the course of the next five years business began to center
here. Frederick Tyler and Woodbridge C. George were about the first merchants, and Alvah Goodwin the first tavern
keeper. Moses Darby, Peter Cook, Dr. Darwin Cushman and Charles Cummins were also early residents (the last mentioned
building the hotel so long known as the Cushman house). A school house was built and a church society organized
Thus was the village founded previous to the arrival of John La Farge in 1823. He at once took an active interest
in the welfare of the settlement and was perhaps its most important personage during the period of his residence
in the county. In many respects he was unpopular with the settlers who did not take kindly to the enforced payment
for the lands they occupied, and were quite inclined to rebel against his authority. Mr. La Farge caused a land
office to be erected soon after his arrival, and a substantial grist mill in 1825; the latter proving one of the
most enduring landmarks of the village, while the old land office became the Orleans house of more recent years.
The proprietor built the ever-known La Farge mansion, also a large stone house on the opposite side of the highway,
and as well other buildings which were conspicuous structures in the early history of the town. The first church
edifice was built in 1837.
From this time the growth of the village was constant but not rapid. In 1850 it contained about 50 dwellings, 61
families and a little more than 300 inhabitants; also two mills, a like number of stores, and the customary shops
found in all country villages. At this time the people of the vicinity, following an almost established custom
of the period, began discussing the advisability of an academic school for a more advanced education than was offered
under the district system. Public meetings were held and an informal academy was opened and taught by Burton M.
Townsend with such gratifying results that during the summer of 1851 a two-story frame building, 50 x 70 feet in
size, was begun and partially completed, when the structure was blown to the ground by a fierce gale on July 15.
It was rebuilt, however, during the year and after serving its period of usefulness as an academy was occupied
by the Methodist society for religious worship. On February 3, 1851, the Orleans Academy, as the institution was
known, was chartered, and it could have been entitled to share in the public literature fund had the incorporators
freed the school°from its indebtedness; but as the trustees were unable to raise the necessary amount, they
never reported, and did not so share. The academy was maintained with varying success for a few years, but with
no profit whatever to its founders, and the property was sold on execution, The M. E. society subse quently purchased
the property, overhauled and repaired it, and converted it into a church and parsonage, and it is now used and
occupied by them. The persons most prominently interested in this laudable, though unprofitable enterprise, were
Rev. Lewis T. Ford, Loren Bushnell, John N. Rollins, Rev. Elisha Sawyer, John Tailman, Hiram Dewey, Brainard Everett,
John Foot, Hiram Mitchell, Eldridge G, Merrick, Luther Lamson, Edgar W, Bedell, Daniel Richardson, David J. Dewey,
Hiram P. Dillenback, John Hill, Henry Irvin, Russell B. Biddlecom, Nathan Elmer, Ashley Tanner, James Green, Rufus
Smith, Rev. P. Brown and David Joy. The school was discontinued in 1853.
In 1838 the La Farge mansion and farm was purchased by Bishop Dubois, for a Roman Catholic Seminary, and a school
opened under the name of St. Vincent de Paul. It was opened under the care of Rev. Francis Gooth, and was devoted
mainly to instructing candidates for the priethood. The institution was too remote from the commercial centers
for the best result, and after running about two and a half years it was removed to Fordham, near New York, and
afterwards became the noted St. John's College. The mansion and farm subsequently became the property of Archbishop
Hughes, whose brother conducted it solely as a farm.
Among the old substantial merchants of the village may be recalled the names of Horace Biddlecom,Luther Lam son,
Edgar W. Bedell, Loren Bushnell and D. J. Dewey. Russell B. Biddlecom, Samuel W. Strough and Horace Dewey were
also prominently connected with local village enterprises, and were among the foremost business men of the town.
Any history of La Fargeville without at least a passing mention of their names would indeed be imperfect.
Beyond the condition indicated in preceding paragraphs, La Farge. yule progressed but little during the quarter
of a century following 1850, except as one business interest succeeded another. However, in 1873 the Clayton and
Theresa railroad was constructed through the village, and across the north part of the town, and almost at once
the whole region was benefited by increasing interests. The village stands in a favorable position in the center
of one of the most fertile agricultural districts of the county, and is one of the best and largest shipping points
in all northern New York. The firm of Strough Bros. (B. J. & L. S. Strough), are perhaps the most extensive
dealers and shippers in the whole region, purchasing for cash everything the farmers can produce, thus guaranteeing
a safe and ready market at home without the uncertainities of business associations with unknown commission merchants.
B. J. Taliman is also an extensive dealer in agricultural produce. The other principal business interests of the
village are the stores of A. B. Beardsley, who has been a general merchant here for more than thirty years; Dan
Delaney, about twenty years, and also the firms of Wright & Snell and W. J. Heyl & Co., all proprietors
of well stocked general stores. W. H. Wairath has a good grocery and hardware stock; B. W. Dickinson, groceries;
Charles B. Hill, groceries and meats; H. W. Gabler, boots and shoes and jewelry; Gillett & Miller, grocers;
F. N, Hoyt, furniture and undertaking; J. Lebovsky, cloth. ing; Walter Loucks, coal and lumber; A. M. Putnam, coal
dealer, together with the other shops and adjuncts of country village life. The village also has two good hotels,
the Orleans house, the building originally erected by John La Farge, and now under landlord R. W. Gates; and the
Victhor, a more recent enterprise by Hans Waldemar Hanson, and managed by George Hubbard & Son, proprietors.
Stone Mills lodge, No. 171, F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation from the grand master, dated January
23, 1850, and with J. C. Young, master. The lodge was granted a charter June 21, 1850, and Mr. Young as master,
James Green, senior warden, and Allen Dean, junior warden, The lodge was an institution of and met regularly at
Stone Mills until 1867, when on March 18th it was removed to La Fargeville. On May 27 of that year the name was
changed to La Fargeville lodge, the old number being retained. The present membership is 75. The succession of
masters has been as follows:
J. C. Young, 1850-51; Thomas Lee, 1852-53; Daniel Smith, 1854; David Van Camp, 1855; l)aniel Smith, 1856-57; Frederick
Lawyer, 1858; Archibald Sternberg, 1859; Daniel Smith. 1860; Fred'k Lawyer, 1861; J. Johnston, 1862; A. Sternberg,
1863-65; Wm. Rogers. 1866; Nelson Goodrich, 1867; Byron J. Strough, 1868-74; Timothy D. Flansburgh, 1875; Byron
J. Strough, 1876-89; Walter Loucks, 1890-92; Charles H. Ford, 1893-97.
The First Baptist church of La Fargeville (the present organization) is the outgrowth of the society formed
Sept. 9, 1821, by Elders Sardis, Brewster and Osgood. The original members were 18, of whom the male portion were
Thos. Evans, Warren Wilson, Benj. Ward, Thos. Barrett, Reuben Hungerford, Benj. Farmer, Phineas Osborn, Nathan
Elmer and Daniel C. Hawley. On June 11, 1836, the church body was organized, and in 1840 a house of worship was
built. It still stands, though frequently repaired during its existence. The society has experienced many vicissitudes,
at times being without a pastor. The pulpit is now supplied from Clayton by Rev. H. J. Baldwin.
A Presbyterian society was formed in Feb., 1823, by Rev. Wm. Bliss, and on April 29, 1839, the organization was
made complete. A church ediface was erected in 1840, but the, next ten years witnessed many changes in the history
of. the society. In 1854 a Union society superseded the Presbyterian and took from it many of its members. The
Union society also ceased to exist about 1861.
Methodism in Orleans dates back in its history to about the time the town was formed, when a class was organized
and informal services were held in private dwellings. About ten years later a society organization was effected
but no regular place of worship was provided until about 1855, when the academy building was leased (subsequently
purchased) and was thereafter occupied as a house of worship. The building was substantially remodeled in 1873.
The church has ever been progressive, and now numbers 78 members, and 31 probationers. The pastor is Rev. J. P.
St. Paul's church, Protestant Episcopal, of La Fargeville, was organized in January, 1868, by the Rev. H. R. Lockwood,
then having ten communicants. The early services were held, previous to the erection of the church edifice, in
the Methodist Protestant meeting house. The church now has 53 communicating members, and is under the rectorship
of Rev. Earl H. Kenyon, of Clayton. The wardens are W. F. Ford and B. C. Cummins.
The First Methodist Protestant church of La Fargeville was organized in May, 1869, with 22 members, chiefly from
the M. E. society, but who believed in church government independent of the bishop's control. The society occupied
the old Presbyterian church edifice under the pastoral care of Rev. Philip Swift, and acquired title to the property
by purchase in 1872. The parsonage was erected in 1875. The present pastor is Rev. Mr. Becker.
St. John's church, Roman Catholic, at La Fargeville, was founded in 1846, soon after the Catholic school at that
place was opened. The edifice is a neat frame structure in the south part of the village. The parish is an out-mission
from Evans' Mills.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church, which stands about one and one half miles west of Rixford's corners, on
lot number 45, was organized by Henry Haas, V. Baltuff and N. Lehr, in 1841. The house of worship was built the
same year, and cost $1,500. The present members number about fifty persons. Until within five years this society
has supported a resident pastor. It is now supplied from Redwood.
Stone Mills is a small hamlet in the southern central part of Penet's square, and in the locality where the first
squatters settled, beginning in 1806 and continuing until the lands were fairly well occupied. Roderick Frasier
appears to have been the pioneer in this direction, followed soon afterward by Peter Pratt, and still later by
Merchant and Benajah Carter, Robert Bruner, Samuel and David Ellis and others of still later date. This was about
the only locality on the square in which the settlers felt the effects of the war of 1812; and here it was in 1813
that a young deserter from the army at Sackets Harbor was mortally shot, though at the time he was under suspicion
as a British spy from Canada.
The original name of the settlement was Collins' Mills, from the fact that J. B. Collins was one of the builders
(Peter Pratt being the other) of a grist mill in 1820. The building was of stone, and the name Stone Mills was
soon afterward applied and continued. At a little later period one De Rham, a settler, laid out an acre tract of
land on which in 1837 a commodious meeting house was erected, followed in 1838 by a stone school house. Therefore
the name Stone Mills was appropriately given. However, beyond the condition of hamlet life thus early established
there has been little growth, except as one generation has succeeded another. The place is conveniently located
about three miles west of Perch lake, and is surrounded by an excellent agricultural region. One or two stores
have been in continuous operation, which, with a good patrons' cheese factory, a few small shops, a post.office,
district school, two churches and about 50 inhabitants, comprise the village at the present time. The merchants
now in business here are W. B. Erwin & Son and Willard F. Baxter.
The Evangelical Lutheran church at Stone Mills is a part of the church system of that denomination which has had
an existence in this part of the county for more than half a century. In 1838 the synod of the church sent a missionary
worker, Henry L. Dox, into this locality, he selecting Perch River as a point of operation. He was an earnest,
ardent worker and organizer, and within four years had formed churches at Perch River, Stone Mills and Orleans
Four Corners. In 1840 the societies first mentioned were united, and constituted one church at Stone Mills. The
house of worship was built in 1841. In 1852 the Perch River members withdrew and separately organized, leaving
the local society only 66 members, from which number there has been little material change during later years,
but in usefulness and good work the society has ever grown.
The Methodist Protestant church at Stone Mills, which usually forms a joint charge with La Fargeville, the latter
being in fact an off-shoot from the former, was organized on Christmas day, 1866, by Rev. Philip Swift. The house
of worship was built in 1870. Each society maintains a large and successful Sunday school.
Omar was originally known as Mudge's Mills, and so called from the saw and grist mills which Wm. and Treat Mudge
built on Mullet creek in 1821 However, the place attracted no attention, other than from the convenience of the
mills to the settlers, until about 1840, when a post-office was established here under the name of Omar. The first
postmaster was Timothy R. Stackhouse. In 1841 Truesdell & Stackhouse opened a store, and also had an ashery
in operation, and about this time Samuel N. Stackhouse and Samuel P. Newton replaced the old Mudge saw mill with
one more substantial. Indeed, saw mills were plenty in the locality about this time, but lost much of their usefulness
with the disappearance of the forests; yet there is still some good standing timber in this part of the town. From
the time indicated, Omar has been a hamlet of some note in Orleans, and a store, post-office and good school have
been the interests of that place. The M. E. church was also built in 1841, by Truesdell & Stackhouse, the merchants,
and Samuel Newton and Samuel N. Stackhouse. Indeed the names of William Tanner, an early settler, William and Treat
Mudge, Ralph Gurnee, Timothy R. and Samuel N. Stackhouse, Otis N. Britton, John W. Collins and Samuel P. Newton
have been closely associated with the history of the origin, growth and development of this hamlet and its vicinity.
The present merchants are W. N. Gould and B. J. Gardner & Co. The Methodist church referred to was built in
1841, and has since been one of the institutions of the locality. It does not support a resident pastor but is
supplied from La Fargeville.
Orleans Four Corners, formerly called Shantyville, is a post.office and station in the east part of the town, on
the line of the Clayton and Theresa railroad. The hamlet contains about fifty inhabitants, an Evangelical Lutheran
church (built in 1852, of which mention has been made), a district school, cheese factory, and a store, the latter
now kept by B. T. Sargent. In the history of the town the place is of small importance, yet is a convenient trading
center and shipping point for a prosperous agricultural region.
Fisher's Landing, De La Farge's Corners, Port Orleans and Collins' Landing are the names of places in the north
part of Orleans, one of which (Fisher's Landing) has a post.office. All except De La Farge Corners derive whatever
importance they possess from their proximity to the St. Lawrence river.
Supervisors.- Amos Reed, 1822-23;
William H. Angel, 1824-26; Woodbridge C. George, 1827; Jesse S. Woodward, 1828; records lost, 1829-32; Chesterfield
Persons, 1833; William Martin, 1884; Peter Dillenback, 1835; Chesterfield Persons, 1836; Daniel C. Rouse, 1837;
John B. Collins, 1838-39; C. Parsons, 1840; Peter P. Folts, 1841; James Green, 1842; Edmund W. Eldridge, 1843;
Abram J. Smith, 1844; Loren Bushnell, 1845; A. J. Smith, 1846; D. C. Rouse, 1847; John N. Rottiers, 1848-49; Hiram
Dewey, 1850-55; Luther Lanison, 1856-58; John Tailman, 1859-60; Hiram Dewey. 1861; Jerome Bushnell, 1862-63; Pliny
Newton, 1864; Russell B. Biddlecom, 1865; Jerome Bushnell, 1860, and R. P. Biddlecom after Sept. 24, by appointment;
R. P. Biddlecom, 1867-69; Pliny Newton, 1870; Wayland F. Ford, 1871; Pliny Newton, 1872; Timothy D. Flansburgh,
1873; Pliny Newton, 1874-76; Brainerd Everett, 1877-78; Isaac Mitchell, 1879-84; Pliny Newton, 1885; Byron J. Strough,