History of St. Armond, NY

THIS town was set off from Wilmington in the 23d day of April, 1844. It lies in the northwestern corner of the county, and its surface, though broken and mountainous, is not distinguished by such bold and rugged peaks as mark the townships lying south and east of it. The mountainous ridges are parallel with all the others in this part of the State, extending in a northeasterly and southwesterly direction. The principal drainage is formed by the Saranac river which flows in a northeasterly direction through the town. Its chief tributary is Moose creek which flows through Moose pond, a body of water covering an area of about two hundred acres. The soil is composed largely of gravel and sand, but is frequently diversified by alternations of loam. As the mountains are not very high or percipitious, and the valleys neither steep nor narrow, tracts of choice farming land are quite numerous.

Like many other towns in the county, its principal industry at one time was lumbering, but most of the timber having been cut by 1880, the inhabitants have turned their attention to the more stable and enduring business of farming.

French’s Gazetteer states that the name of this town is derived from the old French name of the Saranac river; but prominent citizens of Bloomingdale, notably Jomes H. Pierce, dispute this. Mr. Pierce is authority, for the statement that the town was named by Charles S. Toof, one of the leading men here at the time of the formation of the town, St. Armand, in Canada, being the place of his former residence. Mr. Tools widow, who is still living in Bloomingdale, corroborates this statement. Mr. Tool came to the town about the year 1842 and lived here until his death in January, 1874. The lumber business, before mentioned, first attained importance here about 1850, and continued to be the leading industry of the town until as late as 1880. Since that time, the timber having been largely cut, the inhabitants have turned their energies more to farming as stated. The logs cut were mostly floated down the river to Plattsburg. The prominent lumbermen were almost exclusively residents of that place, among whom C. F. Norton, 0. A. Tefft and the Baker Brothers were most conspicuous. This town was not permanently settled until as late as 1829, when Elias and Milton Goodspeed, and Daniel Crouch moved into the eastern part. Other early settlers were Thomas and Antrim Peck, George Lowrie, William Stranahan and Aaron Brimhall. Nathan S. C. Hayes moved to near what is now the village of Bloomingdale in 1837, and still resides in the old homestead, a little north of the village. According to his recollections there were in 1837 only seven or eight families living within a radius of five miles from his home. Daniel Crouch and the Goodspeed’s before named, were still living on their original settlement; the others he does not remember. He recalls the additional names of Moses Emmons and Clarke Gilmour. Mr. Hayes states that when he came here the industries of the town were either not begun or existed in a rude and incipient state.

The first school-house was built of logs about 1840, Mr. Hayes aiding in its construction. It stood on the site of the house now occupied by Philemia Flanders. The first teacher was Harriet Hayes. The first religious society was started in the shape of a Methodist Church. Rev. Samuel Smith, a circuit preacher, was the first pastor. In 1837 a forge was running near Bloomingdale where the grist-mill now stands. It was built some years previously by Uriah Sumner and in 1837 was under the management of Jeremiah Hayes, father of Nathan. Clark Gilmour succeeded Hayes in the management of the forge and conducted the business for years. Near the forge in 1837 a saw-mill was run by Nathan Hayes; his father had it before him. Sumner built this mill about the time that he erected the forge. In the eastern part of the present town nothing was done but farming, while in the vicinity of the village of Bloomingdale almost the only farming was done by Nathan Hayes, who raised considerable quantities of oats, wheat, rye and beans. It has been stated that Bloomingdale and its immediate vicinity (which really comprises the town of St. Armand), furnished a greater number of soldiers in the war of the Rebellion than any other locality of the same number of inhabitants in the county. Many volunteers entered the 77th Regiment at its organization. Among these was Martin Lennon, who joined as a private, was promoted to a captaincy and was killed at the battle of Cedar Creek, Va. Others joined the 96th Regiment, among whom was Henry J. Pierce, who entered as a private and was promoted to the majorship. In the reorganization of the 11th Regiment, Company C, commanded by Captain James H. Pierce, an ante-bellum and present resident of Bloomingdale, was mostly recruited from this town, the rest of the company being formed from recruits of Wilmington and Jay. Captain Pierce was taken prisoner at the battle of Drury’s Bluff, Va., on the 16th of May, 1864, was taken first to Libby Prison, thence to Macon, thence to Savannah, thence to Charleston, whence he was paroled for exchange on the 16th day of December1 1864, just seven months from the date of his capture.

The town of St. Armand contains territory which forms the site of an experiment the success of which will be a compliment at once to the philanthropy and business capacity of the projectors. It is in reality a Saranac lake enterprise, and is called the Sanitarium. Its design is to furnish separate resorts for those in moderate circumstances who need careful treatment and the benefit of the incomparably salubrious climate for pulmonary diseases. The hotel with its expenses and vicissitudes and the inconvenient improvised camp, are too often poor places for invalids of this description. From an excellent article in the New York Tribune we take the following description of the ground, buildings and design of this enterprise: “The site of the sanitarium is on a fine plateau on the shoulder of a hill which overhangs the valley of the Saranac river a mile and a half below the village; the grounds, comprising eight acres, were purchased at a cost of $400 and presented by the Saranac guides—an act of liberality on the part of a worthy set of men which has been highly appreciated. The buildings of the sanitarium are worthy of the site. They are marvels of cheapness and simplicity, but they are comfortable, convenient and attractive. The main structure is a quaint, irregular red cottage, with unexpected corners, delightfully original, and ample windows, a deep piazza and a range of offices and store-rooms at the rear. A few rods from the main building are two charming little cottages harmonizing with it in general style, but differing both from it and from each other in architectural details. The main building is planned to accommodate eight patients, and each of the cottages two. All will use the common dining-room and sitting-room. No one will be received except on the recommendation of the consulting physician, Dr. A. L. Loomis, of New York, whose services, as well as those of the attending physician, Dr. Trudeau, are offered gratuitously. The institution starts free of debt, and with a surplus toward the expense of the first year. The funds have been raised principally among the visitors of the Adirondacks; but little or no solicitation has been necessary, and several of the contributions have been very handsome. A fancy fair, given at one of the camps near Paul Smith’s last summer, produced for the sanitarium in a single afternoon no less than $1,000. The total amount subscribed, up to this time, is about $10,000, and the buildings and outfit have cost, about $7,000. As the money received from the patients is not expected to cover the running expenses, Dr. Trudeau must trust to the chartiy of the public for the final success of his interesting experiment, as well as for the enlargement of its scope. It is the intention to make the cottages the characteristic feature of the plan, so that the establishment will really consist of a group of pretty little detached houses disposed about the main building.”

Following is a list of supervisors of this town from its formation to the present time, with their respective years of service: Elias Goodspeed, 1844-45; David Skiff, 1846 to 1849 inclusive; Milote Baker, 1850; Samuel Smith, 1851—52; William Galusha, 1853—54; James H. Pierce, 1855 to 1861 inclusive; Ensign Miller, 1862-63; J. A. Titus, 1864 to 1872 inclusive; N. A. Arnold, 1873—74; Sewell F. Bunker, 1875—76; Eugene R. Woodruff, 1877; Robert Smith, 1878—79; James H. Pierce, 1880 to 1882 inclusive; R. S. Smith, 1883; James H. Pierce, 1884; Charles C. Town, 1885.


Bloomingdale was first given its present name in about 1852, when Nathan Hayes, James H. Pierce and Charles S. Toof were appointed a committee to name the village. Mr. Pierce came here in May of that year. He relates that up to the time he came, only one man lived on the site of what is now the village proper, viz., Elbridge Titus, who died here about 1881. Mr. Pierce brought about twenty men with him and deliberately proceeded to the erection of a village. They built the structure now used as the post-office and called the “Titus Store,” two dwelling houses, the grist-mill still running, and in the eastern part of the village a blacksmith shop and a “Yankee” gang saw-mill. One of the old dwelling houses was destroyed by fire in 1882, being then occupied by Charles Stickney; the other one burned in 1876, then occupied by Henry Hall. In 1853 John Campbell built a hotel across from where the St. Armand House now stands, on the site of the residence of Charles D. Hicock. Campbell kept this hotel until 1881, when it was torn down to make room for the dwelling house. The St. Armand House was begun in March, 1872, and completed in 1873, by James Skiff and James H. Pierce. Skiff commenced it and was bought out by Pierce who pushed the building to completion. The first proprietor was Daniel S. Huff, followed by Edwin R. Derby, and he by successive followers until 1877 when Mr. Pierce himself assumed the personal supervision of the hotel and has kept it ever since. C. J. Stickney has kept hotel here since October, 1884. He was preceded by L. J. Dudley, who has been there since 1872. M. L. Baldwin has just opened his new hotel in the eastern part of the village. The building is especially designed to accommodate summer tourists.

The other business of the village consists of the harness shop of C. A. Stickney, who bought out A. R. Lewis in 1883, the hardware store of Richard H. McIntyre, the general stores of James Ling, Isaac Chesley, and James H. Pierce. James A. Skiff years ago kept a general store in the building now occupied by James Ling. The store in the post-office building was kept before the war by James H. Pierce. After Pierce, J. A. Titus was proprietor till about 1881, when J. H. Titus succeeded him and remained until the spring of 1884. N. J. Arnold succeeded Titus but assigned in the fall of 1884 to James A. Stockwell and the goods were taken to Franklin’s Falls in Clinton county to be sold. Since July, 1884, Isaac Chesley has conducted a general store here, he being successor to Chesley & Stickney (C. J.). Mr. Chesley first started alone here in 1877; Cbesley & Stickney were burned out in October, 1883, and a new building was at once erected. The Gillespie Brothers keep a drug store here; they also have two stores in Ausable Forks. There are no attorneys in the town, James H. Pierce attending to the legal necessities of the inhabitants to their satisfaction. There are two physicians,. Drs. I. Rice and S. S. Wallian, the former of whom has been here since 1872 or 1873, and the latter for two or three years. The present postmaster here is James H. Pierce who was duly qualified for the position in December, 1884 He was preceded for number of years by L. G. Dudley. The post-office was established here about 1852 when the village was named;Byron Leavitt was the first postmaster.

The Union school of Bloomingdale was formed in the fall of 1881, and the building at once put up. The first principal was H. L. Buxton. The present board of education consists of Dr. I. Rice, Dr. S. S. Wallian, and Levi Noble. The attendance ever since the establishment of the union system has been about 120. Considerable dissatisfaction with the new system prevails because it seems to be needlessly expensive and not so thorough a system as the old one.

There are three churches in the village, the Methodist, Catholic, and Episcopal. The former has been organized for many years, but held meetings in the old school-house until Christmas, 1874, when the present edifice was completed and first occupied. The present pastor is the Rev. S. N. Cornell. Catholic services were first held here about 1875 when the first building was erected. It was torn down and the present one commenced in 1882, and finished in 1884. The pastor is Rev. Michael Charbonneau, of Black Brook. The Episcopal Church was organized in the year 1882, and the present edifice first occupied in that year. Rev. Daniel M. Bates, of Saranac Lake, is the rector.

Masonic. — The Whiteface Mountain Lodge was organized in September, 1884. The first officers were R. H. McIntyre, W. M.; W. S. Hough, S. W.; C. J. Stickney, J. W.; Dr. S. S. Wallian, secretary; C. H. Stickney, treasurer; Isaac Rice, S. D.; E. L. Patterson, J. D.; the membership is about thirty. The charter of this lodge is dated June 3d, 1885, previous to which date it worked under dispensation.

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