BIOGRAPHIES AND FAMILY SKETCHES
TOWN OF CLAYTON
from The Growth of a Century
by JOHN A. HADDOCK, 1895
These biographies and family sketches are copied exactly as found. Undoubtedly there will be minor variations found in later research.
GEN. WILLIAM H. ANGEL.
When the writer prepared the notice of this distinguished citizen he was unable to procure a likeness of the General, but through the courtesy of Mrs. J. D. Johnston, of Clayton, General Angel's niece, we are able to present the picture shown above.[see PPP] Our own personal recollections of General Angel are peculiarly pleasant. His first wife, a most charitable, amiable and beautiful Christian lady, was a warm friend of my dear mother, and one of my youthful experiences was in driving them in a barouche from Watertown to Syracuse, where a woman's convention of some kind was to be held, and to which these two progressive women were delegates.
Gen. Angel was a man of fine presence, always approachable, and though a Whig in politics, was pre-eminently a Democrat in deportment. He was a very amiable man, kind to every one. He was a pioneer of Clayton, but after a long residence there and at Sackets Harbor he finally located in Watertown, his residence being the fine stone dwelling now occupied by Mr. Herring, corner of Washington and Clinton streets. His acquaintance with the farmers was extensive, for he had been in his early life a clerk for that Jesse Smith who founded Smithville, and there purchased whatever the pioneer farmers had to sell. Gen. Angel, Jesse Smith and Joseph Sheldon were the originators of the old Bank of Sackets Harbor, so long in operation.
MR. H. E. MORSE. .
The great-grandfather of H. E. Morse, moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. His fourth son, Joseph, was H. E. Morse's grandfather, and he was born June 8, 1770. This grandfather married Betsey Elizabeth Finley. She was born February 13, 1776. He was a school-teacher by profession, but his children were reared on a farm about seven miles east of South Charlestown, N. H. Of this marriage six children were raised to maturity, three boys and three girls. Hiram Morse, father of H. E., was the oldest child of this family. He was born December 26, 1800. When he arrived at the age of 21 he removed to New York State, worked by the month at farming and other occupations until he and his next younger brother, Samuel D. Morse, bought a farm on Dry Hill, in the town of Watertown.
About the time of this purchase, he married, September 23, 1830, Adaline Rogers, the third daughter of Eli and Hannah Rogers, of Watertown. Their family consisted of five children, three boys and two girls. H.E. Morse was the first born. His maternal grandfather, Eli Rogers, was born in the town of Watertown, Mass., May 26, 1774. He married Hannah Whitney, July 17, 1798, in Natick, Mass., where she then lived and where she was born. She was born August 6, 1778. In 1851 her younger brother resided on the homestead farm, the fifth generation of Whitneys who had lived thereon since the settlement of that town.
Samuel D. Morse died September 15, 1884 at the age of 82 years. His widow, now living at No. 20 Baker street, Watertown, N. Y. is 85 years of age. Only two children of this marriage are now living, Charles D. Morse, residing at No. 20 Baker street, and Mrs. Mary Burdick, wife of D. W. Burdick, of Ithaca, N. Y.
H. E. Morse's grandfather Rogers and his wife removed to Watertown, and bought the farm, a part of which is now the southerly side of Brookside Cemetery. He was accidentally killed, October 26, 1818, by the rolling of saw-logs down the river's bank near his saw-mill--the second person dying from accident within what is now the city of Watertown. He left six children; five girls, the oldest girl 19 years of age, the youngest, the boy, two years old. All these children were brought up to maturity on this farm after the death of their father, under the sole care of their devoted mother. The only surviving one of this family is Eli Rogers, a farmer, residing in the town of Alexandria.
Lois W., the oldest, married Jonathan Demming, who formerly owned the farm on which Hon. Willard Ives now resides, in Watertown.
Sally W. married Gen. Archibald Fisher, of Theresa.
Chloe L. married Josiah Strong, a merchant now residing near Windsor, Canada.
Esther B. married George Walton, a merchant of Sterlingville, son of Azariah Walton, of Alexandria Bay. For a second husband she married Andrew Seaman, another Sterlingville merchant.
H. E. Morse, the subject of this sketch, .[see PPP] was born August 24, 1831, on Dry Hill, a well known locality in the south part of Watertown. When quite young, his father sold his interest in the Dry Hill farm to his brother Samuel D., and purchased a farm one and a half miles north of the city of Watertown, where he lived until his death in 1864. H. E. Morse's mother died July 25, 1859. His father's farm was one of the nearest to the school-house, and he was kept steadily at school from the time he was six years old until old enough to assist at farm work in the summer season. He then attended the winter terms of school, two terms of "select school," one term with Josiah Miles, and one term at the Jefferson County Institute when he was 16. Before closing this term of school he was licensed to teach in what was called the Miles district, in the town of Watertown. Thereafter, except while assisting on the farm during the haying and harvesting, for two or three years, he attended the Jefferson County Institute, and taught school four and six months each year. At 19 he commenced to study law in the office of Clark & Calvin, at Watertown. He remained in that law office until admitted to practice law, April 23, 1854. He removed to Clayton the following October, where he has ever since resided, except a temporary residence of four years at Cape Vincent.
He received from Henry S. Randall, Superintendent of Common Schools, a certificate, dated May 12, 1852, authorizing him to teach any district school within the State of New York. He felt proud of this mark of his ability as an instructor of youth--a profession in importance not exceeded by any, and in which the highest moral and intellectual qualifications may be fully and advantageously employed.
In February, 1855, Mr. Morse was elected school superintendent of the town of Clayton, which he held until that office was abolished. In the fall of 1869 he was elected school commissioner of the third district of Jefferson county, for the term of three years. He was supervisor of Clayton for the years 1884 and 1885. In February, 1887, he was appointed by President Cleveland collector of customs for the district of Cape Vincent, and continued in that office until the appointment of his successor, in March, 1881.
Of his brothers and sisters, the two youngest are living: George W. Morse, a farmer, resides at Rices, this county, and Mrs. Imogene Rector, wife of Delos D. Rector, resides in San Francisco, California. His brother, Willard Hiram Morse, photographer, was born July 24, 1833, and died at Bradford, Ill., May 5, 1891, and his sister, Mrs. Mary Jane Folts, died in Stockton, Cal., November 27, 1869.
He was married April 8, 1858, to Mrs. Helen Eddy Estes, the daughter of Aaron Eddy, of Clayton.
Mr. Aaron Eddy came from the State of Vermont with his father, to the town of Potsdam, St. Lawrence county. He married Miss Catherine Smith, of that town, and in 1837 he moved to Clayton village, where he engaged in mercantile and other pursuits, which he carried on successfully with his brother, Luther Eddy, for several years. He died September 7, 1887, in the 80th year of his age. Mrs. Catherine Eddy now resides at her home, in the village of Clayton, and is over 80 years of age. Helen was the second of four children. The oldest, George N., died in 1855, and the third child, Mary, died in 1858. The youngest, Mrs. Amy Baars, resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Helen was born February 1, 1835.
Of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Morse, four are now living: George E., 33 years of age, is in business with his father at Clayton; Horace W., 31 years old, is cashier of the First National Bank, at Clayton; Florence Alice, 18 years of age, and Claude Henry, 16 years old, are attending the Clayton Union Free School, taught by Professor Shaver. Their oldest daughter, Kittie, died December 13, 1879, at the age of 20 years. She came home from the Adams school for a short vacation, was taken sick with typhoid fever, and never recovered. In physical form she was the perfection of health-energetic, bright, conscientious, and an agreeable companion for young or old. She had a large circle of acquaintances, and left many sincere friends to mourn her loss. To her parents and to her two younger brothers, then 18 and 16 respectively, her loss was indeed irreparable.
Since preparing the above extended sketch of the writer's old-time friend, Mr. H. E. Morse, of Clayton, death has again come into that once happy family, and taken away their idol boy, Claude H., who had but lately graduated from Prof. Shaver's school with such high promise of usefulness and honor. He was a young man of superior ability and grace of manner, and had begun to read law in his father's office. But the dread disease that had destroyed the life of his sister, who was universally beloved, fastened itself upon his active body, and he, too, died on Saturday, November 24, 1894. He was born in 1877, so that he was but 17 years of age. His parents and relatives have the sympathy of the whole community, for he was a youth of most winning manners, and had become the favorite of the town.
This important family, so well and favorably known at Clayton and upon the river, were the descendents of Richard M. Esselstyn and Charity VanHoosen, who came into Jefferson county in 1800, among the very first settlers of the town of Cape Vincent. Their children were: Delia, (who married R. P. Lee, and they are both deceased), Justus, John M., Mary, James, Henry, Christiana, (who married Dr. W. H. Webb, and they are both deceased), and Richard M.
Richard M. Esselstyn, of Clayton, is now the only survivor of this large family. He, as well as all the others, was born in Cape Vincent. He received his early education in the common schools, completing it in the Black River Literary and Religious Institute at Watertown, and in other academies. His first labor toward supporting himself was in a tannery at Cape Vincent, and his first business venture was in purchasing a tannery at Clayton, which did not prove a success, but that move brought him into the town which has ever since been his home. He then entered the employ of Merick, Fowler & Esselstyn, the younger member of which important firm was his brother. His business was to look after the books and accounts of the vessel building department of the firm, and to do the business which required journeys, looking after timber supplies, banking, etc. In this labor he continued for 12 years, and until the firm removed to Detroit. He was appointed Deputy Collector of Customs under Lincoln, and continued through the various Republican administrations, and under Andrew Johnson until 1876. Since that year he has held various offices, among the rest that of Deputy Sheriff. He was, for a short time, an amateur farmer, and has had several other experiences of a business nature. Mr. Esselstyn is a remarkably well-preserved man, bearing his weight of 72 years more like a man of 55 or 60 than like one who has passed the Biblical allotment of time.
In 1846 he married Miss Margaret Reed, daughter of Thos. M. Reed, a merchant of Clayton; they have had five children, three sons and two daughters, the daughters dying early. One of his sons is in the west, making this home in Duluth. His eldest son is Thomas M., manager of the Izaak Walton House, a most popular hotel at Clayton. Charles, another son, is a sailor, having his home in a western city.
CHARLES A. SHAVER.
Was born in the village of Perch River, N. Y., April 6, 1861. His parents being poor, he commenced work as a farm hand at 12 years of age, working during the summer and attending the district school during winter. When 16 years of age he taught his first term of school, in what is known as the Star District, in the town of Brownville. He managed to save sufficient money from his summer's work and winter's teaching to attend the Potsdam Normal School the following spring term. The fall and winter term of this year he taught his home school in the village of Perch River. In 1882 he attended the spring and fall terms of school at Ives Seminary, Antwerp, N. Y. In the winter of 1882 he secured the principalship of the Antwerp village public school, which he held for five successive terms. In 1884 he entered the competitive examination for scholarships to Cornell University from Jefferson county, and gained first place against nine competitors.
About this time his father's failing health threw upon him the entire support of his parents, and made it necessary for him to abandon his cherished idea of obtaining a college education. He has, however, endeavored, by diligent study and application to his chosen work, to supply in a measure what fate has denied him, and to gain rank and position as a teacher.
At the age of 23 he entered the examination for State certificates, and although the youngest applicant in a class of 19, secured the highest record and passed the entire number of subjects-22-at this one session. In March, 1885, he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of school commissioner in the Second Commissioner District of Jefferson county. He resigned his position as principal of the Antwerp graded school and accepted the office. He was elected to the same office in the following November by over 600 majority. In August, 1885, he was married to Hattie Moore, of Antwerp, N. Y.
In September, 1887, before the expiration of his office as school commissioner, he was elected principal of the Clayton graded school, which he has since held, the present year being the eighth of continuous service in the school. The grade of work in the school at the commencement of his term of service was scarcely in advance of that done in the rural districts. To-day the standard of graduation and of its scholarship is not excelled by any school in the county.
Mr. Shaver impresses you at once as a man of thought and erudition. He is most thorough in all he undertakes, and his capacity as a teacher is strikingly demonstrated by his success in every school he has managed. His executive qualities are superior, his learning adequate, his industry predominant--three qualities that command success.
STEPHEN DECATUR JOHNSTON.
Was the fourth son of that William Johnston who was probably the best known man on the St. Lawrence for many years. He was a former resident of Watertown, where about 1815-16 he kept a store, and his wife had a millinery shop in connection. The following anecdote is told, illustrative of the courage of the man. On one occasion a band of Indians had encamped near his place, and were engaged in selling brooms, baskets, and other articles. During their stay a young Indian became intoxicated, and reeled along the streets, brandishing a big knife, and daring every one to fight him, threatening and gesticulating fiercely. Johnston observed him for a few moments, when he suddenly, and without the appearance of fear, approached the Indian, struck him a heavy blow in the face, threw him down, and would have given him a severe chastisement, had not the savage begged for mercy. Johnston took his knife, threw it away, and allowed the Indian to go, which he speedily did, completely curing him of his braggadocio.
Stephen D. Johnston [see PPP] was born in Sackets Harbor in 1820. He came to Clayton with his parents from Cape Vincent, after remaining on Grindstone Island for a short time. He married Miss Maria Angel in 1846, and they have raised one daughter, Miss Ida E. Mr. Johnston began to keep a hotel in 1849, in the stone bulding now a part of the well-known and justly celebrated Izaak Walton house. He was one of the first to keep a hotel designed particularly for summer boarders and transient sportsmen, being contemporaneous with Charles Crossmon, Sr., at Alexandria Bay, who was probably the earliest pioneer in that business. Mr. Johnston was zealously determined that his house should be select, and one to which heads of families could bring their children. The corner where the Walton House stands had been a country tavern for many years, and this old country hotel he raised to the front rank of excellence and importance. In the midst of his usefulness and honor he was stricken with paralysis, and died within a few hours, February 1st, 1893. His death was a loss to Clayton, for he was a useful and much respected citizen. His beloved wife survives him.
THE JOHNSTON FAMILY..
The progenitor of this family, so well-known in Clayton and throughout the northwestern part of Jefferson county, was that William Johnston, born in 1782, a native of Canada, who came to Jefferson county in 1812, at the beginning of the war with Great Britain. His wife was Miss Ann Randolph, who was born in 1784. He became an employe of the United States government, and rendered valuable service upon this frontier during the continuance of hostilities. Wm. Johnston, Sr., had these children: James J., Maria (now Mrs. Reed, of Detroit, Mich.), Napoleon B., John, Katherine (who married Chas. L. Hawes, Jr., both of whom are now deceased), Stephen D., and William, Jr.
It is with John Johnston we have more particularly to deal. He was born in Watertown in 1816, receiving his earliest education at Sackets Harbor. He came to Clayton for a residence in 1834. He was a poor boy, glad to row a boat at one dollar a day, or to do anything in the way of honest labor to earn his bread. Gradually he grew into the confidence of the public. On reaching his majority he began to keep a store at the foot of James street, and in the rear of his store was the steamship wharf, over which crossed the passengers and freight traffic of the town. He was elected Deputy Collector of the port during the administrations of Polk, Pierce and Buchanan. He was for many years Supervisor for Clayton, and has held many other town offices. He has now just passed his 78th birthday, is every day upon the streets, a well-preserved man, able to attend to business, and taking a keen interest in all that is transpiring. An unfortunate accident to one of his limbs embarrasses his locomotion, but in all other respects he is like the average man at 60 years of age. Mr. Johnston, through all these years, has been an unterrified Democrat, upholding that party through all its peculiar history and tergiversation, for it has sometimes supported what at other times it has opposed; but it has ever been the party with which a poor man could affiliate, having been always and largely a "people's party." Mr. Johnston was married in 1845 to Miss Emily Jane Hawes, who was born in 1817. She has been an exemplary, devoted wife.
MELZAR FOWLER, .
now only dimly remembered by the older people of Jefferson county, N. Y., was born in Edinburgh, Saratoga county, N. Y., in 1803, and came to Depauville in the early twenties with his parents, Anson Fowler and Maria Esselstyn Fowler. His sister Jane (who afterwards married Eldridge G. Merick) also accompanied him, and his brother John. The father commenced a mercantile business in Depauville, a new settlement which had just begun to develop its lumbering interest. This settlement was on the rapids of Catfish creek, which at that time was a stream of fair size, with sufficient water to float timber down to its mouth at Lake Ontario--not at all resembling the greatly diminished stream it now appears, after having its banks, along its whole course, denuded of timber. The care of this business early fell upon Melzar, the eldest son, and when he was about twenty years of age he bore the responsibility of his father's mercantile affairs.
After some years, wishing to extend his operations, Melzar established a store at Brownville, and went there to live, still maintaining the supervision of the store at Depauville. His younger brother, John, also came to Brownville as a clerk, and was given an interest in the business.
At that time one branch of Mr. Fowler's mercantile business was the manufacture of pearl ash from wood ashes. The forests of Jefferson county furnished the only fuel in those days, and the people of the country saved their ashes and sold them to him, and, in a building for the purpose, he converted these ashes into pearl ash, which was an important article of commerce, and found steady market in New York.
Shortly after establishing himself at Brownville, Melzar married Miss Clarissa Spicer, a sister of Mr. Silas Spicer, of Perch River, and during their residence there their two children, Eldridge, and Nettie, were born. During these years Melzar enlarged his field of operation at Depauville by engaging with Mr. Merick in the business of getting out oak timber and rafting it to the Quebec market. In the spring of 1835 he moved his family to Depauville, giving up the business in Brownville in order that he might give his entire attention to the Depauville operations, and be with his aged parents, while John went to Clayton in the interest of Smith & Merick.
At that early day, Watertown was, as it is now, the business centre for the surrounding country, the only method of travel being by private conveyance. It was while going there on business in August, 1835, soon after the family moved to Depauville, that Mr. Fowler had the great misfortune to have a pair of horses, one of which was vicious and unreliable.
He stopped at a hotel, and when it came time to feed the animal, the hostler was afraid to enter the stall, and called Mr. Fowler from the hotel, who at once took the feed-measure in his hand and entered the stall. The vicious horse, not recognizing his master, dealt him a blow, with one of his fore feet, which proved fatal in three days. Every thing was done for Mr. Fowler that could be known but the blow had produced an internal rupture.
Thus died, in the flower of his youth, and in the midst of his usefulness, one who had the warm regard of all his business associates, and whose morning of life was full of promise. So high did he stand in the regard of his neighbors that parents would come to Mr. Fowler, while a merchant, and earnestly ask him to receive their sons into his store to teach them the business, because of his good training on every side of a boy's character.
His death, so sudden, so tragical, elicited universal regret and sympathy. His wife and her two children remained at Depauville, but the faithful mother never was herself again. A woman of superior mental ability and personal beauty, and with a natural refinement much beyond most of those by whom she was surrounded, her loss wore upon her energies, and she survived her husband only seven years.
The two children, Eldridge and Nettie, thus left orphans at the age of nine and seven years, respectively, were tenderly cared for by their grandmother Fowler and their uncle, Hon. E. G. Merick.
Eldridge went later to live in the family of Mr. Hugh Smith, of Perch River, and afterwards with his Uncle John Fowler until coming of age, when he went West, where he has since lived, and become identified with large lumber and land interests in Michigan, Minnesota and Canada.
The daughter grew to womanhood in the home of her grandparents, and her uncle and aunt Merick, receiving at their hand the best educational advantages. She married Cyrus H. McCormick, of reaper fame. Both as the right hand helper of her husband during his life time, and later in the administration of his estate (with her son, Cyrus), she has been called to bear some of the heavier responsibilities of life.
COLONEL ERASTUS WRIGHT.
An interesting character in the town of Clayton is Colonel Erastus Wright, of Depauville. He was born in Russia, Herkimer county, N. Y., December 21, 1809. His father, Daniel Wright, came into Herkimer county from Vermont, though his native State was Rhode Island. He was descended from Capt. Peter Wright, who served in the Revolutionary army. Daniel Wright, father of our subject, was also Colonel of a regiment in Herkimer county. This regiment was called out for service, and made the march from Herkimer county through a road which for many miles (over certain portions) was almost a wilderness.
Colonel Erastus Wright had been bred a carpenter and mill-wright, and came into Jefferson county to better his condition. He settled in Depauville, and that has been his home for over 60 years. He has always been an active man, diligent in business, prompt and honorable. He has been an extensive builder, having the contract for the First Baptist Church at Lafargeville, in 1837, and the Baptist Church at Perch River, and many dwellings and other buildings throughout the towns of Orleans and Clayton.
He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for 40 years, a steward for 10 years.
In 1831, Colonel Wright was married to Clarissa Prindle, by whom he had four children. She died in 1839. In 1840 he married Miss Elizabeth Nash, and they have had one son. Colonel Wright's eldest son enlisted in 1863, in the 18th N. Y. Cavalry, belonging to Capt. Joseph Simpson's company. He died in hospital in St. Louis in 1864. The martial spirit in this interesting family would have perhaps been unheralded had not death claimed for it the dread tribute which the exigencies of the War of the Rebellion exacted from so many families in the free North.
Colonel Wright was drafted by the government during the so-called "Patriot" war upon the northern frontier, in 1837, serving 21 days. For this service each drafted man received a warrant for 160 acres of land.
As an enlightened Christian citizen, as an excellent mechanic, and as a patriot who gave his son to the Union army, Colonel Wright stands among the highest in his town, and is enjoying the affectionate regard of all his neighbors and associates. He and his beloved partner are now passing down the decline of life, calmly awaiting the summons which must come to all; but they are ready for the journey, expecting to meet in the other land the loved ones who were the companions of their earlier days, who have already entered upon their possessions there.
THE REES FAMILY..
THOMAS REES, of Clayton, was born in 1819 in South Wales. He was the son of Thomas Rees, who came to this country from South Wales, England, in 1832. After remaining a year in New York city he came to what was then known as French Creek, consuming 14 days in the journey, by way of canal from Albany to Oswego, thence by schooner to Clayton. Thomas Rees, Sr., died in 1841, much respected. His monument is a feature in the Clayton cemetery.
Thomas, the junior, came with his father to Clayton, being then in his 13th year. His first experience was upon a piece of land near Clayton, but his father soon purchased another farm, and upon that land was built the family residence. It is still owned by heirs of the original Thomas Rees. Remaining upon the farm for a few years, he finally entered the employ of Mr. E. G. Merick, the firm afterward changing to E. G. Merick & Co. He remained in that firm until he became a partner, having purchased a one-fourth interest. His relation with the firm continued until 1865, when Mr. Rees purchased the whole business, Mr. Merick having in the meantime removed to Detroit. One-half of this business was sold to Calvin and Breck, of Garden Island. This lumbering business continued for 15 years, until the scarcity of timber, combined with foolish tariff laws, gave a death-blow to that industry upon the St. Lawrence.
Mr. Rees has been permanently retired from active pursuits for nearly 13 years, but is yet active and visible every day upon the streets. His erect figure and stalwart frame promise many years of life and usefulness. He has been twice married. In 1845 he married Miss Alzada Hudson, who died in 1867. In 1870 he married Miss Alicia S. Radcliffe, widow of Captain Thomas Radcliffe.
Mr. Rees was prominently connected with building the large steamers which made the Clayton ship-yard so celebrated upon the river. Those boats were the honest pride of all these inland waters, and reflected great credit upon all concerned in their construction. Their memory is still cherished. The last sight the writer had of one of these fine boats, was that of the New York chartered by the government as a transport boat. She was lying in the Potomac river, above Belle Isle, in the winter of 1863.
In connection with this family we may state that Mr. Merick, when in Clayton, was noted for discovering and bringing forward able men to aid him in his large enterprises. He made no mistake in receiving Thomas Rees into his firm, as was evidence by the success which followed in their construction of the finest fleet upon the great river.
CHARLES E. REES,.
son of Thomas, married Mary, daughter of Richard M. and Margaret (Reed) Esselstyn, by whom he had three children: Alzada,
Sherman and Galen. He is a grocer and ship chandler in Clayton village. William H. Rees, son of Thomas, was born in Clayton, where he married Charlotte C., daughter of Perry and Harriet Caswell, by whom he had the following children: Edna A., Thomas P. and Carl R., who survive; and Ethel, Zelica and Ruby, deceased. Mr. Rees read law with H. E. Morse, of Clayton, for three years, and in 1878 was admitted to the bar, and has since practiced in this town. He has been president of the village, supervisor, justice of the peace and notary public.
GEORGE H. STROUGH.
is one of the most active and energetic of the business men of Clayton. He is of German and English descent. He is the fifth son and tenth child of Daniel and Anna (Wiswell) Strough, who came to this county from Herkimer in 1820. He married Bersina M. Ballard and they have three children: Arthur B., bookkeeper for Strough & Brook; Anna B. (Mrs. W. W. Gillett, of Spokane, Washington), and Metta V., a student in her graduating year, at the Potsdam Normal School.
Naturally anxious to secure data concerning such a man as Mr. Stough, we called on him for a statement of facts concerning his life, and received the following brief answer, which we print without change, remarking, however, that Mr. S. was one of the young men whom we knew when in business at Theresa, and that his prominence and ability were predicted by us in his youth, for his studious disposition and persistency in whatever he undertook clearly shadowed forth his future character. He certainly "justifies the honors he has gained."
Mr. Strough has been a welcome writer for the press, displaying considerable of the editorial ability that has characterized so many Theresa men.
MAJOR JOHN A. HADDOCK,
Watertown, N. Y.
Dear Sir-My life presents few silent points. I farmed it for 40 years; taught school 30 years; was school commissioner in the 3d Assembly District six years; supervisor of Clayton one year; railroad commissioner in Orleans one term, and helped make the Orleans bonds; am railroad commissioner in Clayton at the present time, and have helped to pay the old Clayton seven per cent bonds; sold meats and provisions in Watertown one year, and have sold lumber and other builders' supplies in Clayton for 14 years. My father and mother were healthy people and both lived to 82. I do not use tobacco or get drunk, am 58 and healthy, and,
unless something happens, I do not expect to offer up my checks under 20 years. I disapprove of biographical sketches that nobody cares to read, and if you utilize this letter or any part of it in your History, I ask as a special favor that my most humble apology be permitted to accompany it to the public.
GEO. H. STROUGH.
CLAYTON, October 8, 1894.
ALDEN FARNSWORTH BARKER.
was born October 21, 1822, in the town of Walden, Caledonia county, Vermont. He was the eldest of nine children. His parents were descended from English stock, and were as rugged and hardy as the hills that witnessed the birth of their children. In Walden young Alden passed his early boyhood, doing chores on the homestead and going to the district school at odd intervals, until 1833, when 11 years of age, he went to the village of Pierrepont, St. Lawrence county, this State, to work on his father's farm of 60 acres, and the following year he went to the town of Potsdam, to live with Aaron Eddy, and in May, 1837, moved with Mr. Eddy to Clayton and was clerk in the grocery store of A. & L. Eddy, of that place, until 1842, when, with his savings, aggregating the modest sum of $100, and the credit obtained through strict honesty and sober and industrious habits, he purchased the stock of that firm, and thus may be said to have got his first start in business. In August, 1844, he married Laura D. Smith, who was then
teaching a district school in the town of Clayton, a daughter of the Hon. Benjamin Smith, of Russell, St. Lawrence county, N. Y. Three sons and one daughter have been the issue of this marriage, all of whom reside in Clayton.
Henry S. Barker, the eldest son, is engaged in merchandise in Clayton. Seymour B. Barker, next youngest, is general manager of the Thousand Island Electric Light Co., and is engaged also in the vessel business. Frank D. Barker, the youngest son, is an alumnus of the Syracuse University and the Albany Law School, and occupied the position of deputy collector of customs at Clayton, to which office he was appointed in October, 1885, under President Cleveland's administration. Celinda, the daughter and youngest child, is married to Solon H. Johnson, only son of the Hon. James Johnson, of Clayton.
Mr. Barker continued in the grocery trade at the old stand, known as the "Cataract House," on Water street, until 1845, when he, together with A. & L. Eddy, put up the building now known as the "Hayes House," and conducted the business with them until 1847, when he built a store of his own and carried on a general merchandise business in this building until it was destroyed by the great fire of August, 1853, but this was replaced by a brick structure the following year, and which is still standing. In 1856 he formed a partnership with Simon D. Forbes, then a clerk in the store, and continued this relationship up to the year 1860, when the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Barker continuing the business, together with other and larger interests, up to the year 1873, when he
was succeeded by his sons, H. S. and S. B. Barker.
In 1856 Mr. Barker purchased his first interest in vessels, engaging in the grain trade on the chain of lakes between Chicago and Ogdensburg. During the years 1863, 1867, and 1868, respectively, and while having an interest in other vessels, he built at Clayton the schooners Portland, Frank D. Barker, and Hoboken, and continued in the business up to the year 1887.
But the enterprise with which Mr. Barker's name is most prominently associated, was the building of the Clayton and Theresa Railroad. The bonding of the several towns along the line for this project was commenced in 1871, but on account of the strong opposition made by many of the taxpayers it was only accomplished after a hard-fought and closely contested struggle. But the organization of the Clayton & Theresa Railroad Co. was effected that year, with Mr. Barker as president, and Russell B. Biddlecom, of the town of Orleans, as secretary and treasurer, which respective offices these gentlemen held until the road was merged into that of the Utica & Black River Railroad, in 1885. The building of the road was commenced soon after the towns were bonded, was pushed forward with great vigor, and was completed in October, 1873, but only after many obstacles had been overcome. An appeal had been taken from the decision of Judge Sawyer (then county judge), that the several towns along the line had taken all the necessary steps to qualify them to issue bonds in aid of the construction of this road, and while this appeal was pending, the bonds, which nevertheless had been issued, had no market value. As it was necessary to realize on these bonds to buy the iron and carry forward the project, Mr. Barker bought $25,000 of them with his own means, and thus enabled the company to carry on the work to a successful termination. It is not too much to say that while this road, which has been a great source of the prosperity of the towns of Clayton and Orleans for the past 24 years, would have ultimately been built in the then distant future, its building would have undoubtedly been many years postponed had it not been for the indomitable pluck and preseverance, the untiring labors and generous support of Alden F. Barker and his able coadjutor, Russell B. Biddlecom.
In 1884 Mr. Barker associated himself with the Folger Bros., of Kingston, Canada, in building the magnificent steamer St. Lawrence, to take the place of the Island Belle, and an organization was effected under the name of the "Thousand Island Steamboat Company," which still owns this steamer with several others, controlling as it does most of the steamboat traffic on the river. Mr. Barker is at present vice-president of this company. Prior to 1876 Clayton had no bank, but that year Mr. Barker formed a partnership with R. P. Grant and conducted a private bank, styled the Bank of Clayton, Mr. Barker being the president and Mr. Grant cashier, and continuing the same until January, 1883, when it was organized into a State bank, and with the same officers. In July of the following year, Mr. Barker sold his interest in the bank, and in December following organized a private bank known as the "Citizen's Bank," and conducted the same to October, 1887, when he organized the "First National Bank of Clayton, with over 70 stockholders and a capital of $50,000, and with himself as president; William Reese, vice president; W. H. Morse, cashier, and A. A. Warner, assistant cashier, who are the present officers of the bank. It is doing a large and profitable business, and is now counted one of the leading financial institutions of the county. Mr. Barker is also a trustee of the Jefferson County Savings Bank. Any account of Mr. Barker's successful business career is largely the history of the village of Clayton.
THE FRAME FAMILY.
LUKE E. FRAME, M. D., son of Dr. William Frame, was born in Russia, Herkimer county, N. Y., and began the study of medicine in 1840 with his father. He attended lectures at Geneva Medical College, and graduated from there in 1844. He located in Depauville, N. Y., where he died March 20, 1883, aged 71 years. Dr. Frame practiced there 37 years. He was supervisor of the town, postmaster at Depauville, and during the Patriot War in 1838 was adjutant of the 225th Regiment State Militia. He became a member of the Jefferson County Medical Society, June 8, 1869; was its vice-president in 1870, and its president in 1878. He has two sons, Silas Wright Frame, of Belleville, and Solomon V. Frame, of Clayton, both of whom are physicians. Dr. Frame was an unterrified Democrat, affiliating with the Free-soil branch of that party, from which at last sprang the Republican organization. He was supervisor of the town of Clayton for five consecutive years, and was president of the board of supervisors one session.
The father of Luke E. Frame was born in Vermont, and graduated from Fairfield College, Herkimer county. Practiced in Russia, Herkimer county, until 1822, in which year he removed to Depauville. He took the place of old Dr. Page, the first physician in Depauville. His ride extended from Brownville, Pt. Peninsula, and as far north and west as Gananoque, in Canada. He died in 1848, at Omar, away from home, being taken suddenly ill while upon a tour among his patients.
Dr. Solomon V. Frame, now a resident of Clayton, son of Dr. Luke E., was assistant surgeon in the 14th New York Heavy Artillery, and was afterwards transferred to the 16th Heavy, having been mustered out with that organization.
SOLON H. JOHNSON .
was born at Depauville, Jefferson county, N. Y., September 8, 1855. Is son of Hon. James Johnson. Was married December 31st, 1882, to Celinda Barker, only daughter of Alden F. Barker, President of the First National Bank, Clayton, N. Y. Two daughters bless their happy home: Kittie, aged 10, and Beulah, aged 8 years. He lived in Depauville until he was 11 years old, at which time his father was elected sheriff of Jefferson county and moved to Watertown, N. Y., where he remained three years, and returned to Clayton, attending the public school and finishing his studies at Hungerford Collegiate Institute, at Adams, N. Y. Afterward he engaged in business with his father until 1881, when he entered the employ of A. P. Tuller & Co., Rome, N. Y. Remained in their employ five years, returning to his former home in Clayton to engage in business with his father.
Was appointed postmaster of Clayton by President Harrison in September, 1890, serving in that capacity until 1895. His efficiency and business methods have placed the postoffice at Clayton upon a par with any office of its size in the country, and for which he has been repeatedly complimented by officers of the postoffice department, and received the encomiums of the press and citizens of Clayton, regardless of politics. He is a staunch Republican. Mrs. Elsie McCarn is his reliable and capable assistant in the postoffice. He is a very prominent member of the Independent Order of Foresters. While acting in the capacity of Representative of his Court to the original formation of the High Court of New York, held at Rochester February 27th, 1890, he was unanimously chosen its first Past High Chief Ranger, in which capacity he served continuously until 1893, when he was succeeded by the Hon. Jacob Stern, Judge of the Surrogate's Court, of Buffalo, N. Y. Owing to the unavoidable absence of his superior officer, Hon. Jacob Stern, he acted as High Chief Ranger at three sessions of the High Court, and reflected great credit upon himself for his efficiency as a presiding officer. At the annual session of the High Court, held in Utica in 1893, he not only secured through his own efforts the holding of the next session of the High Court at the place of his residence, but was honored by his brethren, who elected him by a complimentary ballot as Representative to the Supreme Court, held in Chicago, Ill., September 1st, 1893, and, at the High Court meeting held in Clayton, September 4th and 5th, 1894, was again elected Representative to the Supreme Court to be held in London, England, July, 1895. He occupies the position of Noble Grand of Clayton Lodge, 539, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a hard worker in his own lodge.
JOHN NORTON, JR., was born in Herkimer county in 1798, and came to Clayton with his father, from Brownville, in 1816, their only guide being "blazed" trees. His wife, Susan Smith, of Norway, N. Y., daughter of David and Susannah (Hathaway) Smith, was born in 1800. They were married in 1823, and their children were Maryette, David 1st, David 2d, Isaac S., Lucena, Eliza, Irene, and George A., born July 25, 1841. Lucena, Eliza, and George A. still reside in Clayton, on the farm settled by their grandfather.
ANTHONY ATWOOD, a native of Vermont, was one of the early settlers of Clayton. He came here in 1817, and located at Depauville, where he resided until the time of his death. At the time of his settlement here there were no houses where the village of Clayton now is. His wife, Polly, bore him six children. Isaac Atwood was born in Vermont, and came to Clayton with his father. He married Luthera Stetson, and their children are Jeanette, Charles, James L. and Montreville W. The latter, who was born in Clayton, married Emma, daughter of Isaac and Adaline (Hudson) Cleveland, of this town, and they have a daughter, Adaline. James L. Atwood married Arvilla, daughter of Francis Dodge, and their children are Celia and Isaac. He is a hardware merchant, in company with his brother, Montreville W., and has been in business since 1879.
ELKANAH CORBIN, a native of Russia, N. Y., came to Clayton in 1818, and died here in 1864, aged 75 years. He married Lucy A. Clark, and their children were Simon J., Ira H., Melzar, Irving and Alanson C. The latter was born in the town of Russia, and when 7 years of age came to Clayton with his parents. He married Eliza, daughter of Elijah and Betsey (Howe) Bowe, of Troy, N. Y., who bore him 10 children, viz: Elizabeth, Lucy A., Caroline, Harriet, Ellen, Flora, Emily, Salomia, Sherman and James H. The latter, who was born in Clayton, married Caroline A., daughter of Calvin and Zaire A. (Romain) Guiteau, of Cape Vincent.
AMOS T. PUTNAM was born in Clayton and married, first, Eliza H., daughter of Potter and Nancy (Hart) Sheldon, by whom he had a daughter, Georgianna, and second, Harriet, adopted daughter of Isaac and Mary (Babcock) Carter. He is a farmer on road 51, where he has resided 36 years. Albert H. was born in Clayton, where he married Susan, daughter of John and Magdalene (Consaul) Lingenfelter, July 29, 1883, and they have three children. He resides in Clayton on the homestead farm on road 53.
PAGE ACKERT was born in Clayton, October 8, 1824. He married Martha E., daughter of Benjamin and Florenza (Ellsworth) Pierce, of Cape Vincent. He occupies the homestead farm of his father on road 27. Benjamin Pierce was a native of Connecticut, and served in the Revolutionary War. His son, Benjamin served at Sackets Harbor in the War of 1812, and drew a pension.
PHILANDER A. SPENCER was born in Clayton in 1833. He married Sophia D., daughter of Lewis Grace, of Madison county. Mr. Spencer served in Co. G, 186th N. Y. Vols., and was honorably discharged in June, 1865, and is now drawing a pension.
WILLIAM BASS was born on Grindstone Island in May, 1824. He married Sarah M., daughter of Daniel and Arvilla (Marsh) Whitney, of Brownville. Mr. and Mrs. Bass reside in Clayton. They occupy a farm on road 48, where they have resided 42 years.
ARCHIBALD MARSHALL removed from Galloe Island to Clayton in 1820, and died here in 1886, aged 80 years. Mr. Marshall was a captain and riverpilot. When he removed to Clayton there was but one log house in the village, located where Strough & Brooks' sash and blind factory now is. He married Julia A., daughter of William and Ann (Whitney) Hawes, of Cleveland, Ohio, by whom he had three children--Emma J., Charles M. and Willard R. His widow survives.
DANIEL HILL, JR., was born in Saratoga, N. Y., located in Watertown in 1815, and in 1822 removed to Clayton, where he died in 1866, aged 79 years. He married Margaret Stevenson, of Saratoga City, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Stevenson, and they had six children. Margaret Hill married Alanson P., son of Gideon and Lucy (Congdon) Rogers, and their children are Winfield and Ella.
OREN W. SMITH was postmaster at Clayton for 20 years, and served as coroner several years. He served in the Patriot War in 1838, and was taken prisoner at Prescott, in what was known as the "Wind-Mill Fight," and with 100 others was sentenced to death. His sentence, with 80 others, was commuted to banishment for life, and he was transported to Van Diemen's Land. After living five years at Van Diemen's Land, he was pardoned by Queen Victoria, through the intercession of friends in Canada, and returned to Clayton, where he now resides.
FRANK D. LOWE, who was born in Clayton, married Gertrude, daughter of Sanford and Betsy (Rice) Plumb, of this town, and they have a son, Ross B. Mr. Lowe now occupies the homestead farm upon which he was born.
IRA SYLVESTER was born in Pittsfield, Vt., in 1826, and came to Clayton with his father. He married Achsa, daughter of Hannibal and Lois (Greenleaf) Dixon, of Orleans, and their children are William, Nettie M., Charles E., and Dr. George E. Mr. Sylvester occupies the homestead farm on road 18. Charles E. Sylvester married Alice, daughter of James and Lucretia (Evans) Babcock, of Clayton, and they have a son, Elwin J. He is a farmer in this town.
STEPHEN HALE removed from Brownville to Clayton in 1835, and was engaged in mercantile business until 1873, when he retired. He married Betsey D., daughter of Seabury and Hannah Allen, of Galaway, N. Y., and their children are Carrie, Lucy, John and George. The latter is a clerk in the Michigan Central Railroad office at Detroit.
HENRY ELLIOTT was born in Brockville in 1814, and in 1836 located in Clayton. He married Catherine Carkey, of Potsdam, N. Y., daughter of Joseph and Catherine (Dubois) Carkey, who were natives of France. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott reside in this town, aged respectively 75 and 73 years. William Elliott was born in Clayton, and married Helen, daughter of James and Sally (Lamphear) Carey, of Port Huron, Mich., and is now a captain on the lakes, where he has been sailing for 34 years. He resides in Clayton village. The Elliott family is of English origin. Henry J. Elliott married Ella, daughter of Jacob and Jane Hubbard, of Clayton, who bore him three children. He has been a sailor on the lakes since 1868. He resides in Clayton village.
WILLIAM H. LINGENFELTER was born in Montgomery county, and in 1837 located in Clayton and engaged in blacksmithing. He occupies a farm on road 35, in this town, where he has resided 30 years. He served as supervisor two years, and has been assessor nine years. His son, Merritt E., married Frankie A., daughter of Almond and Jane (Saulsbury) Barney, of Clayton, January 10th, 1877, by whom he had a son, A. Lee. He is also a farmer.
HON. ELI SEEBER was born January 24, 1838. In 1860 he married Amanda Lewis, daughter of John and Mary, and settled at Depauville, where he now resides. He followed the business of milling until 10 years ago, when he engaged in farming. He was supervisor of the town in 1878, '81, '82, and '83, and represented the Second Assembly district in the Legislature in 1884 and '85. He has a family of three children, Mary (Mrs. Clarence Whittier), and Clarence and Willis E., who live at home.
JOSEPH THIBAULT was born in Sorel, and in May, 1840 located in Clayton, where he now resides. He married Harriet, daughter of John and Ellen (Dufault) Bertrand, of this town, and their children are Joseph, Anthony, George, Louise, John, Philemon, Anna and Bruno. Mr. Thibault has been a blacksmith in Clayton village for the past 38 years.
ELIJAH MCCARN was born in Montgomery county, and came to Clayton in 1842. He was the first permanent settler on the farm on road 22, now known as the McCarn farm. He married Susan, daughter of Adolph and Sally (Yates) Seeber, of Canajoharie, N. Y. Mr. McCarn has retired from business and resides in Clayton village. Nelson E. McCarn has been editor of the interesting weekly newspaper On-the-St. Lawrence, published in Clayton village.
MARTIN W. WRIGHT was born in Oswego county, and in 1846 located in Clayton, where he married Mary, daughter of Amasa and Clarissa (Hubbard) Smith, by whom he had five children, viz: Mary E., Sarah L., Martin W., Anna V. and Beeri E. Mr. Wright is a farmer on road 56, where he has resided since 1870.
WILLIAM O'TOOLE was born in Constableville, N. Y. He married Mary, daughter of Alexander and Eliza (Delany) Manson, of Macomb, N. Y., by whom he had three children-Edward W., Anna and Sara E. Mr. O'Toole was captain of the schooner Hartford, which foundered in October, 1894, with all on board.
ALEXANDER MANSON was born in Halkirk, Scotland, emigrated to Quebec in 1840, and in 1848 located in Clayton, where he married Elizabeth, daughter of Michael and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Delaney. Their children are John W., Mary H., Ann, Ellen, James A., Elizabeth, Michael D., William P., Margaret J. and Janette J. Mr. Manson has resided in Clayton village since 1860. Previous to residing in Clayton, Mr. Manson resided in Theresa 10 years. He has been a sailor and farmer, and is now a merchant tailor.
An unusually afflictive calamity overtook the family of Mr. Manson in the month of October, 1894. His daughter had married William O'Toole, captain of the schooner Hartford, and he was making a voyage from the upper end of Lake Ontario to Clayton; his home. His wife and infant daughter were with him on the trip. A very severe gale had been blowing for several days, when it came out that the Hartford had foundered, with all on board, off Sandy Point, near the mouth of Little Sandy Creek. The Hartford was observed at the life-saving station to be acting strangely, and was apparently unmanageable, and showing signals of distress. When about two miles off the shore she went down with all on board, causing a loss of eight lives. Only the little infant's body has ever been recovered. The O'Toole's left a family of five small children.
DANIEL GARLOCK was born in Danube, N. Y., and came to Clayton in 1851. He married Almira Zoller, of Pamelia, daughter of Jacob and Nancy (Rider) Zoller, and their children are Lucinda, Hattie, Rhoda, Nancy, Ella, Emma and Alvin. The latter was born in Danube, N. Y., and came to Clayton with his father. He married Addie, daughter of Ephraim and Alvira (Osborn) Halliday, of Clayton, and his children are Lester, Hattie, Charles, George, Jay and Addie. His wife died in February, 1885, aged 37 years. He is a farmer on road 6, in this town. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Garlock still occupy the farm on road 8, where they have resided 35 years.
HENRY HEYL was born in Germany, and when 28 years of age located in Orleans, subsequently removing to Clayton, where he died in 1879, aged 74 years. He married Catharine Heldt, of Orleans, and their children were Philip, George, Wendle, Catherine, Henrietta, Maria and Henry. The latter was born in Orleans, and now occupies the homestead farm on road 77, in this town. He has served the town as justice of the peace and highway commissioner.
SYLVESTER WALRATH was born in St. Johnsville, and in 1855 located in Clayton. He married, first, Laney Gray; second, Grace Perry, and third, Eliza Osborn, and his children were George H., Maryette, Lutheria, Ella, Rose, Merrett S., Fred, Ambrose and Grace. He resides in the village of Depauville. Mr. George H. Waltrath served in the late war, attained the rank of second lieutenant, and died of typhoid fever at Fortress Monroe. Rose Walrath married Frank C. Fox, who died in Idaho in 1887, aged 35
years. She had two children, Hattie and Winfield H., and resides in Watertown.
JOHN SWART was born in the town of Florida, and came to Clayton in 1856, where he now resides. He married Emily, daughter of Benjamin and Emily (Stephens) Kent, of Clayton, by whom he has two daughters, Gertrude and Mamie. Gertrude married Edgar A. Burlingame, who is one of the merchants of Clayton village.
JOHN C. SHIRE was born in Sheffield, Canada, and in 1857 located in Clayton, where he now resides. He married Almira, daughter of Alonzo and Caroline (Neely) Wheeler, of Kingston, Canada, by whom he has a daughter, Ida M., who married Horace G. Gould, of Clayton.
JOHN J. ALLEN was born in Stephentown, and in 1859 came to Clayton. He married Alma J. Wheeler, Clinton, N. Y., daughter of Arnold and Hannah (Dilley) Wheeler, and their children are Sara J. Smith, of LeRaysville, Ida May and John J., Jr. John J. Allen served in the late war, in the Christian and Sanitary commission, is a Freewill Baptist clergyman, and resides in Depauville, where he has preached several years. He was located in Philadelphia four years; Byron, N. Y., two years; Three Mile Bay, four years; Scriba, N. Y., four years; Addison, N. Y., two years; German Flats, N. Y., three years; Middleville, N. Y., one year, and Newville, two years.
JOHN GRAY was born in Clyde, N. Y., and in 1866 came to Clayton. He married Nancy, daughter of Lodowick and Julia (Suits) Dillon, of Alexandria, and their children are Frederick, Nettie, George, Richard, Edith and Burton. Mr. Gray is a farmer, on road 39, in Clayton, where he has resided 18 years. He served in the Civil War in Co. K., 10th N. Y. H. A., three years, and was honorably discharged.
JAMES R. BABCOCK married Lucretia, daughter of Columbus and Friendley (Fisher) Evans, of Alexandria, and their children are De Alton E., Allis S., Julia M., Sarah P. and Jennie M. Mr. Babcock is a farmer on road 39. In 1875 he built the Clayton cheese factory, near the village, which he still owns and conducts. Ebenezer Fisher served in the Revolutionary War. Daniel Babcock served in the War of 1812, and drew a pension.
ROBERT P. GRANT, son of William, of Scotch parentage, was born in Stonington, Conn. He was a cousin of General Grant's father, and was a captain of militia. He died in Liberty, N. Y. His wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Major General Crumb, bore him three children-Lucy, Benjamin and Isaac. The latter was born in Liberty, and died in Neversink, N. Y., in 1865, aged 43 years. He was a general merchant, and a prominent man in the town. He married Hannah, daughter of Peter Leroy, of Neversink, and they had eight children. Robert P. Grant, eldest son of Isaac, married Lettie C., daughter of Daniel and Isabelle (Love) Hayes, of Boonville, and they have a son, Robert D. In 1874 Mr. Grant went to Fort Madison, Iowa, and engaged in the banking business with Senator W. G. Kent, and in 1876 he located in Clayton, where he now resides, and is now cashier of the Exchange Bank.
DR. GEORGE M. MCCOMBS married Annette, daughter of Danford and Lucy J. (Rogers) Weaver, of Clayton, and their children are Ray G., Ross, Carl E. and Alice C. Dr. McCombs studied medicine with Dr. H. G. P. Spencer, of Watertown, and graduated from the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1877. In 1880 he located in Clayton, where he has since practiced with marked success. William J. McCombs married first, Martha, daughter of Robert Ellsworth, of Canada, who bore him two children, Esther and George; and second, Alzada, daughter of Thomas and Alzada (Hudson) Rees, of Clayton. He has been engaged in the drug business in Clayton village for the past eight years, and has served the town as clerk.
BENJAMIN W. DEWEY was born in Hartford, and came to Clayton in 1882, where he now resides. He married Ellen D., daughter of Frederick and Rebecca Hallett, of Smithville, and their children are Alwin H., Holland B., Hartley F. and Clinton M. His son, Holland B., is an undertaker and dealer in furniture in Clayton village, and is a graduate of the United States College of Embalming, New York City. Benjamin Cole, grandfather of B. W. Dewey on the mother's side, served in the Revolutionary War, and was one of General Washington's staff.
PERRY CASWELL, long a resident of Clayton, was born in Westmoreland, Oneida county, April 6, 1864. His father was Gurdon Caswell, the first paper-maker in Watertown, who lies in the Clayton cemetery, he having died in 1862. He had the benefit of the common schools of Watertown, having been a pupil of Sewel Brintnall, a school teacher of the early days of Watertown. Gurdon Caswell kept an hotel on the corner where the American Hotel stood for so many years. He also built three separate paper-mills in Watertown, including one which stood upon the spot where is a part of the present Bagley & Sewall works.
Perry remained in Watertown until his father emigrated to Pembroke, where his father rebuilt another paper-mill. After three years the family again returned to Watertown, when Perry began work in his father's paper-mill to learn the trade of paper-making. In 1835 he came to Clayton, going into business as a boot and shoe dealer, in which he continued until 1879, when he gave up active business, his advancing years rendering him partially unfit for close business pursuits. He has been postmaster at Clayton, justice of the peace and coroner--besides many less important positions. Mr. Caswell is a highly respected member of the M. E. Church, having been one of its first organizers. In his 86th year he is an able, conscientious citizen.
G. E. THIBAULT was born in 1852 in Clayton, and has always resided in that village. He was educated in the common schools of Clayton. He was clerk for W. W. Angel for 18 years, at last associating with his brother in 1889, and forming the firm of G. E. & J. O. Thibault, who are the successors of Mr. Angel.
J. O. THIBAULT was born in Clayton in 1857, and had the benefit of the same schools as his brother. His business was that of house carpenter, but he entered trade with his brother in 1889, and is the junior member of the firm of G. E. & J. O. Thibault. They are both good business men, and enjoy the confidence of the business community.
DR. AMOS ELLIS, who died at Clayton in 1879, in his 69th year, was an able and most popular physician. His ancestors came originally from New England, settling at first in Adams. The Doctor was born in Brownville, January 9, 1810, but his parents removed later to the village of Clayton, and there the Doctor became the leading physician. His medical education was received at Fairfield Medical College, Herkimer county, and subsequently studied with Dr. Walter Webb, of Adams. He began to practice in 1833. But few men in the profession left behind them memories more enduring than Dr. Ellis. He was a kind man by nature, and
that made him popular with his patients. His son, Charles A. Ellis, conducts a drug business at Clayton, and is a successful and popular business man. In addition to drugs, he keeps on hand, as do many of the stores in Clayton, a more or less extensive stock of camp supplies, fishing tackle, confectionery, etc., to supply the requirements of the great army of summer residents who annually invade Clayton and the other towns from Cape Vincent to Alexandria Bay.
HON. JAMES JOHNSON was born in Frankfort, Herkimer county, N. Y., May 3, 1824; moved with his father, March, 1836, to Depauville, Jefferson county. He received a common-school education, worked at the carpenter and joiner trade until he was 28 years of age, when he commenced buying produce for the New York and Boston markets. He opened a general store at Depauville in 1854, where he continued in trade until 1867. He commenced mercantile business in Clayton in 1870, and continued in same
until the present date. He served as town clerk of the town of Clayton in 1855, and continued as such for four successive years; was elected justice of the peace in 1859, and has served as such 18 years; elected supervisor of the town of Clayton in 1865, and served as such two terms; was elected sheriff of Jefferson county in November, 1866, and served the full term of three years. He was elected Member of Assembly from the Second District of Jefferson county in 1870. Served as a member of the Board of Education of Clayton Union Free School 18 consecutive years, and was president of the board during that whole term of office. Was appointed one of the commissioners for dredging Chaumont Bay, by Gov. Fenton, in 1868. He married Deborah Fry, January 1, 1843, and they have three children: two daughters, Mrs. S. V. Frame, of Clayton, and Mrs. H. W. Streeter , of Rochester, N. Y., and Solon H. Johnson, the obliging postmaster at Clayton.
Mr. Johnson has fully rounded out his life thus far, and received all the honors his neighbors and friends could confer upon him. A wholesome man to know.@@
W. H. THORPE, the intelligent jewelry dealer at Clayton, has been in business there nine years. His store is a model of neatness, and his assortment unusually fine for a country town. He came to Clayton in 1885, from Pottstown, Pa. He was a native of Havana, N. Y., and had a natural inclination towards mechanism, resulting in his becoming an expert watchmaker. His square dealing and industry are the best guaranty of his success.
ALFRED FOX was born January 30, 1807, at Pompey Hill, Onondaga county, N. Y. He received his education at a common school; came to Jefferson county in 1832; was for years town school commissioner, or "inspector," as it was then called; was supervisor of the town for several years; was in the Legislature from the old third district of Jefferson county in 1850; was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Baltimore in 1852; was appointed custom house officer at Cape Vincent, and held the office from 1863 to 1857. He was twice married; for his first wife he married Miss Lucy Hawes, of Fabius, Onondaga county, N. Y., by whom he had six children, three of whom are now living. She died in May, 1841. For his second wife he married Miss Olive C. Bent, of Watertown, by whom he had five children, four of whom are now living. Mr. Fox died March 13, 1880, of pneumonia, and was followed two weeks later by his wife, she dying of the same disease.
WILLIAM ROSS was born in Ireland, and married Eliza Bennett, both of Scotch descent. They came to America in 1860, and began farming near Heuvelton, St. Lawrence county. They brought four sons, John 1st, William James 2d, Thomas B. 3d, and Hugh, who died in infancy. Another child was born whom they also named Hugh, now a resident of Chicago, and soon to be admitted to the bar. In 1862 the father, with his sons, John, William and James, enlisted in the Union army and did valiant service. The father and John were in Company G, 142d N. Y. Vol. Infantry, under command of General Curtis. The father was in all the engagements of that regiment, until disbanded at Ogdensburg, in June, 1865. He is now a pensioner, residing at Potsdam, N. Y. John lost an arm at the battle of Chapin's Farm, and was discharged in 1865. He was in the battles of Petersburg, Cold Harbor, Bermuda Hundred and Chapin's Farm. James was sergeant in the 13th New York Cavalry. John is now a business man in the village of Clayton. He married Mary T. Washburn, daughter of Rev. George Washburn of the M. E. Church. She died in the
spring of 1870, aged 19 years. In 1871 he was again married to Martha Ann Todd, of De Peyster, St. Lawrence county, and they have a family of five girls and two boys. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, and has been appointed lay reader by Bishop Huntington.
GEORGE WILLOX, a citizen of Clayton, came into that town in 1892, but has been a resident of Jefferson county, except when he was in the army. He was born in 1820, in the town of Pamelia. He married Miss Louise Hunter, in 1840, and they have raised seven children. He learned to be a carpenter in Watertown with Mr. Charles E. Hubbard, working upon the O'Dougherty property in Jewettville, and other buildings. In 1862 he enlisted in Capt. Gould's company (L,) New York Heavy Artillery, and was discharged for disability, incurred in the line of his duty. He is now a pensioner.
Mr. Willox is best known in Clayton as a carriage-builder, his shop being on James street, west of State. He is a good citizen, and
bears his 74 years with wonderful vigor and force, showing him to be temperate and abstemious.
His first wife died in 1891. In 1894 he married Mrs. Mary E. Schell, of Clayton, who is sharing his earthly pilgrimage.
JOHN HENRY GRAVES came to Clayton from Ulster county, about 1843. He had married Miss Margaret R. Gibbons before he came to Clayton, and there his numerous family were born-eight boys and one daughter. The children were: William T., Samuel G., Hannah M., Peter H., Abram J., John H., Jr., Charles E., Alfred P., Joseph F. All of these children, who are now living, reside within three miles of Clayton. Mr. Graves, Sr., erected the first grist-mill in Clayton, just below the bridge at the mouth of French Creek. Previous to that, those who desired grinding of grain were obliged to visit Omar or Depauville. Mr. Graves died March 20, 1855. His wife died in 1893, aged 65 years. Joseph F. Graves, son of John H., has pursued the calling of his father, and has
continued the retail store, where he resides, near the grist-mill. In 1880 he married Miss Mary Marshall, who died in 1881. He married Miss Margaret E. Baird in 1871, by whom he had one child. Mr. Graves is a useful, respected citizen, continuing along upon the same line followed by his father. He is a member of the Odd Fellows, and has passed through all the chairs in that popular and meritorious organization.
JAMES A. TAYLOR, born in Gananoque, Ontario, in 1824, is commander of Albert Dennis Post, G. A. R., at Clayton. He served in the 186th N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, and was afterwards 1st lieutenant in the 10th New York Heavy Artillery. He came to the town of Orleans in 1836, and removed to Clayton in 1887. He has been commander of several vessels upon the river, and is a well-known and highly respected citizen. In 1850 he married Miss Julia A. Cornwall, and they have raised two daughters, one of whom is dead; the other is wife of Mr. Pierce, a real estate operator in Watertown. Capt. Taylor is a wholesome man to know,
standing deservedly high among his acquaintances, but highest among those who know him best.
Among the men who are hard to interview in preparing the business records of a town, we will name W. A. Webster, who conducts, through Mr. W. A. Dygert, next to the largest lumbering and manufacturing business in Clayton. Mr. Webster hails from South Hammond, St. Lawrence county, but Mr. Dygert resides in Clayton. The concern employs some 25 men, many of them skilled mechanics, and the work turned out is of an excellent character. The success of such an establishment is traceable directly to the changed conditions now prevailing compared with days past, in the erection of dwellings, especially frame buildings. These
shops make up the doors, sash, blinds, the paneling, the wainscoting, even the cornices, turn the newel posts and the ornaments for the balustrades; and about all the old-time "house carpenter" has to do is to put these various belongings together, joining them on to the frame and the studding, nail on the clap-boards and the shingles, and the result is a home fit to hold a king, if he chances to come that way and call. The Strough & Brooks works are conspicuous in this outfitting, as well as Mr. Webster and Mr. Dygert. Both are good concerns.
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