EARLY DEPAUVILLE RESIDENTS appeared in The Thousand Islands Sun Vacationer, 14 Sep 1994 supplement to the weekly newspaper, The Thousand Islands Sun, published at Alexandria Bay, Jefferson County NY. Permission to present this article was given by Jeanne Snow, editor.Early store keepers were named Johnson and Beadle. This store was sold to Richard Terry about 1887. He sold it to Frank Walton about 1901, who later took in a partner, his brother, William Walton. William Walton or his brother built the Ernest Eckert house. Other storekeepers were a Mr. Clark and Charles Fox.
The store, now McFarlanes, was owned by John Gonseth who operated it until 1906 when it was rented to Horace G. Jones until 1920. Mr. Jones moved his store to the lower part of the Masonic Hall which he occupied until 1927. Mr. Jones had the first public library in a corner of this store.
The present Town Hall was built by hand and dedicated in 1923. The cement was mixed and made into individual blocks in a crude wooden mold on the bank of the creek behind Wilkie's Barber and Beauty shop. The blocks were dried and slid down a narrow two-railed track on a platform that reached across the "flume" to the site in the creek bed where the building was being erected. While the blocks dried the children were allowed to play train by riding the platform down the slide and returning for more fun, crawling across the rocks under the bridge.
The site of Wilkie's business was originally A. D. Lowe's general store and post office. Horace Jones was hired to work there, but when he arrived from Canada the building had been burned down. It was later rebuilt but not used as a post office or general store after Mr. Lowe was elected to State Assembly in the early 1900s. Frank Herkimer operated a harness shop there. Behind this building was a small shop operated by Joseph Scroxton, a tinsmith. After a fire burned the first tavern (near the bridge across from the present P.O.) Mr. Scroxton operated a tinsmith business in a building on that site and lodged at the new hotel built at the corner of the Under-the-Bluff Road. This hotel was operated by Anthony Grabber but was destroyed by another fire that burned the first town hall and most of that street to the east.
After the death of Mr. Grabber, Mrs. Grabber and her daughters Arminda (Mrs. Harry Fox) and Fanny (Mrs. Don Fuller) lived upstairs over what is said to be the first building in Depauville. It was stone and the street floor housed a store and a jail. This was torn down and a new building erected for a store by Robert Matthews. It was built and operated by Solomon Smith.
The first residence in the village was the old Methodist parsonage, now occupied by the Foster family. A carding mill was operated on this property. Reuben Holiday bought the red brick house when Mr. Enos abandoned the plan to extend the house to three stories. He had previously lived on Caroline Street opposite the old Grange hall (not then built.) This house had been built and owned by Mr. Johnson. Mr. Holiday sold it to John Patch who moved there with his wife and three daughters, Edna, Minnie, and Adelaide, in March 1887. Horace Jones bought it from Mr. Patch when he married Adelaide in 1906. The Ferguson home was built from lumber (cherry woodwork) from the Smith Farm.
A. D. Lowe had lived in a small house next to the Patch home toward Chaumont. This was moved down to the last lot on the street on the left. It is now owned by Mr. Wells and is across from the school that was built to replace the stone school next to the Stone Church. The first school was across the road (behind Vera Gross's home) and was a one story wooden building. School was held for a time in the first tavern. The Smith farm is now owned by Frank Crandall. It belonged to Mrs. A.D. Lowe's family.
At one time the house owned now by Rodney Johnson extended across to the store owned by Rolla McFarlane. Mr. and Mrs. Finn and four children lived upstairs. Later, this was torn down and the home now lived in by Rolla McFarlane was retained. George Schnauber and his daughter Clara lived there in the early 1920s. He was stricken with what was probably the first case of polio known here. He had been a farmer on the Winslow farm later bought and enlarged by Carl Frink. Mr. Schnauber always sat in his wheel chair outside in good weather. This was a meeting place for many residents to discuss the news of the fillage. The children were always welcome to stop and visit and ride on his wheel chair.
Glenn Easton built a garage on the Scroxton lot next to the bridge. He built the first radio in town. People gathered there in the evening to hear broadcasts from KDKA, Pittsburgh and WGY, Schenectady on irregular schedules. Later, H.G. Jones and Fred Sternberg had sets. Neighbors would gather in their homes to hear the programs. Glen built the first enclosed car with an exhaust heater and glass windows.
The hotel next to the Masonic Hall was operated by Hugh Bloom, the uncle of Clara Wetterhahn. Livingston Nims owned this hotel in the '20s. Depauville was one of trhe last places in the county to "go dry" after the Volstead Act was passed. Therefore, this hotel was rather famous for a short time and enjoyed a rushing business.
Across from this hotel lived Henry LaPatra whose business was well-drilling. Dr. Cheeseman practiced medicine and lived in what has recently been known as the Schmitte home, previously owned by Perl Lingenfelter.
Dr Frame lived in the home later owned by William and Agnes Wetterhahn on Caroline Street. He delivered Adelaide (Patch) Jones at the Patch farm home on Feb. 9, 1883. This was his last professional case as he died soon after.
Dr. Burton come from Canada and married Sara Mount whose parents lived in the home across from Vera Gross, destroyed by fire a few years ago. The were married in the Methodist Church. The children of the village gathered leaves from the mount lawn whech were arranged on umbrellas for wedding decorations. Dr. Burton practiced medicine from a office in that house until the mid 1920s.
Dr. Dale came to Depauville from LaFargeville, married Grace Fox, daughter of Alfred and Sarah (Gloyd) Fox. They lived and he had his offfice in the house now occupied by the Daly family. Next to this house was the Nelson Easton property. Behind it was a blacksmith shop.
Phineas Osborne lived in the house recently owned by Arnold and Myrtle Northrop. It was a small structure until purchased by Charles Norton who moved there with his wife Edna Patch, son Howard and step-daughter Harriette. She only visited there occasionally when home from school in Brownville and Ruddy's Nurses Training school in Watertown (later Mercy Hospital.) She spent her childhood with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John Patch. Mr. Norton built on the rear wing of the house about the time the highway to Chaumont was built. A sluice-way required by the state to an underground drain bordered the property. Prior to the improvement of this road through the village, men who owned property facing the road were allowed to "work out" their road taxes by filling ruts, making smoother travel for horse-drawn vehicles.
George Babcock lived and operated a blacksmith shop where Gladys Dorr now lives.
Flander and Fedilia Spencer lived in the Joseph Mexdorf home. They had a son Eugene who had two sons, Perl and Claude, and a daughter, Mabel.
Elsworth Swartout lived where Raricks now live. Before that, Jerome McIntyre owned the property. Where Alice Huchzermeier lives, Adam Dorr and a McCarn family were earlier owners. Where Mrs. Charlebois lives was the Uhl home. They had a son Charles.
In part of the stone store, formerly the Post Office and Eckert's store, where the garage stands, was a home where Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rose lived. Mrs. Rose operated a millinery shop and made hats for the women of the vicinity. On the second floor of the store was an apartment where Mrs. Sternberg lived. She was a seamstress and made clothing for both men and women.
Erastus Wright, one of the Wright brothers who operated a sawmill on the bank of the Chaumont rever behind the school now closed, lived at the top of the hill next to the Philip Eckert home (now Hazel Sheley's). This home was later owned by Prescot Patch who installed the first bathroom in the village. Water was plentiful from the natural drainage from nearby springs. It was piped down the hill to a watering trough in the triangle where the road divides at the foot of the hill. Farmers or other visitors to the village would tie their horses there while they attended to their errands. Peddlers and itinerant tintype photographers, etc. often used this area for their business.
Silent moves were shown by a gas lantern projector on a screen in the ballroom upstairs in the Grabber Hotel. They were shown usually on Saturday evenings if the operator could get to the village from Clayton. He was in a very bad accident on the "cut" of Depauville hill coming to show his pictures. Lina Whittier played the piano accompaniment for the show. Matt Whittier, her husband, lived on the corner opposite the Post Office. He was the village barber, shoe repair man and made and repaired side curtains for the early open cars of the area. They had three daughters, Blanche Lawrence, a trained soprano who sang in many musical affairs, Grace, who married Leroy Priest, and Lottie, who married Burt Hart and lived on a farm where the Kirklands now live.
Gustave Wetterhahn moved from his farm on Three Mile Creek to a house on Caroline Street. Augustus Schnauber, brother of George, the polio victim, moved from his farm near Clayton Center to the house between Mitchell's and Pete's near the cemetery entrance. He later moved to the Alfred Fox house now owned by Rodney Johnson.
Florence Leiterman and her mother moved to the Dintleman house across the street from the cemetery entrance from the family farm that was in the civinity of the famed mineral spa operated by Dr. Carlisle in the mid-1800s. Near this place was the farm of the Sternberg family. Major Sternberg was a veteran of the Civil War and, while on duty at a camp near military installations around Washington, returned to the farm after the war and brought with him what was thought to be the first "slave" in the area. He was found hiding near the camp and although only about 10 years old, had run away from the owner of the slaves who were his parents. He was befriended by the soldiers and later returned with Major Sternberg and worked on the farm. He married a woman from Watertown when he grew up.
It was reported that a "station" of the underground railroad was operating in the Perch River section and another such "station" near St Lawrence Corners where runaway slaves could easily cross to freedom in Canada.
The street by the Masonic Hall up the hill to the corner used to extend all the way up the next hill by the school and into the country meeting the Brownville road at the Hutcheon Farm. There is a spring on this property which may have attributed to the fact that early Indian encampments and a stockade were built there. The Indians portaged across the creek to avoid Catfish Falls. Their presence also has been proved by the discovery of an Indian cemetery and relics on the hill opposite the falls.
Early teachers in the village school: Addie Haas, with of Ben Haas; Fred Haas, brother of Carl and Celia; Lena Valley; Howard Sturdevant of Theresa; Hattie Thomas who lived with the Rev. Blaisdell family; Philip Slate of Grindstone Island; John T. Delaney; Don Fuller; Dr. B.B. Davis; Alice Huchzermeier; Gladys Gillette Dorr; Winifred Snell; Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Sullivan; Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Northrop; Delbert Northrop; Arminda Grabber Fox; Lorinda Walroth Eckert; Kenneth Pound; Genevieve Pound; Alma Green; Adelaide Patch Jones; Flora Lee; Gertrude Lance.
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