From Child’s Gazetteer of Jefferson County, N. Y.

pp. 609 - 629

PHILADELPHIA was erected from Le Ray, April 3, 1821, with its present limits, the territory originally forming a part of Brownville, from which Le Ray was erected in 1806. The name of Elizabethtown* had been chosen, but there being one already in the state, the present name was selected by citizens who had lived in or near the city of Philadelphia. Some proposed to name the town Benezet, after the benevolent Quaker of that name. The town is rectangular in form, its length, lying nearly northwest and southeast, being about one-quarter greater than its breadth. It is bounded on the northwest by Theresa, on the northeast by Antwerp, on the southeast by Wilna, and on the southwest by Le Ray. It comprehends 54 “great lots” of tract No. 4 of the Macomb purchase, being six ranges of nine lots each. In the southern and western portions of the town the surface is rolling, and in the opposite parts, towards Antwerp and Theresa, it becomes rough and hilly. Its water are the Indian River, entering from Antwerp and flowing nearly west across the town into Le Ray; Black Creek, entering near the southern corner from Wilna, flowing in a general northern course, and joining the river above the village of Philadelphia; several small streams which fall into these from the east; and Otter Creek, which passes westwardly through the northern corner of the town into Theresa.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Harvey Hamblin, in Philadelphia village, March 5, 1822, at which the following officers were chosen: Alden Bucklin, supervisor; John Strickland, Jr., clerk; Thomas Bones, Alden Bucklin, and Abial Shurtleff, assessors; William Bones, collector; Cadwallader Child, John Townsend, and Abial Shurtleff, commissioners of highways; John Strickland, Jr., David Mosher, and James Bones, commissioners of schools; James Bones, Cadwallader Child, and J. R. Taylor, inspectors of schools; and William Bones, constable.

At the first general election held “November 4, 1822, and the two succeeding days inclusive,” Joseph C. Yates, for governor, received 48 votes, Erastus Root, for lieutenant-governor, 31, and Henry Huntington, for same office, 16.

Since the organization of the town the supervisors have been Alden Bucklin, 1822; Harvey Hamblin,


*In the early survey bills of roads surveyed in the town of Le Ray, when the location of the present village was mentioned, it was called Elizabethtown, until, in survey bill No. 35, under date of February 20, 1810, for the first time, it is spoken of as Friends Settlement, by which name, and as corrupted, Quaker Settlement, the village was for many years very commonly designated, and by old citizens of the county is even now sometimes called by those names, or, for short. The Settlement.


1823-26; John R. Taylor, 1827; Benjamin Jackman, 1829-31; Hiram Hinman, 1832; Henry W. Marshall, 1833; Jesse Smith, 1834-36, and 1841; Miles Strickland, 1837, 1839, and 1842; William Skinner, 1838 and 1851; George Walton, 1840; John F. Letimer, 1843; Azel W. Danforth, 1844-46; Lyman Wilson, 1847; Smith Bockus, 1848-49; George Frazier, 1850; Alden Adams, 1852-53; Seth Strickland, 1854-58, and 1866; John Allis, 1859-61; Lansing Becker, 1862-63; John S. Peck, 1864-65; Loren Fuller, 1867-72; George E. Tucker, 1873-79; A. C. Comstock, 1880; Silas Monroe, 1881; G. E. Comstock, 1882; Charles O. Roberts, 1883-89; Albert W. Oatman, 1890.

Spafford’s Gazetteer of 1813, says: --

“In 1811-12, at ‘The Settlement,' there was a grain and a saw-mill, and a Quaker meeting-house.”

The same author in 1824 says of Philadelphia in 1821: --

“The Indian River and its branches supply mill sites, only two of which are yet occupied, with one grist-mill and one saw-mill. The population is included in that of Le Ray in the last census, and is computed at 55 families. There is a small society of Friends, or Quakers, who have a meeting-house for worship, the only one in this town.”

After the erection of the town in 1822 the school moneys, of which one-half was collected by the town collector and one-half paid by the county treasurer, were apportioned among the three school districts as follows: District No. 1 had 40 children and received $10.20; district No. 2 had 25 children and received $7.42; and district No. 3 had 41 children and received $9.50. In 1830 eight school districts reported, from which it appears there were 367 children and taught that year, for which there was paid of the public moneys $99.48, and from local taxes $385.75. Cadwallader Child, Amos Eames, and George Morgan were commissioners.

In 1880 Philadelphia had a population of 1,750. The town is located in the second school district of Jefferson County, and in 1888 had 10 school district, in which 13 teachers were employed 28 weeks more. (sic) There were 360 scholars attending school, and the aggregate days attendance during the year was 35,356. The total value of school building and sites was $6,850, while the assessed valuation of all the districts was $814,537. The whole amount raised for school purposes was $3,533.57, of which $2,122.16 was received by local tax. Truman C. Gray was school commissioner.

PHILADELPHIA (p. o.) village was incorporated in 1872, the boundaries being described as follows: “Beginning at a point in line between great lots Nos. 610 and 644, 15 chains from corner of great lots Nos. 609, 610, 643, and 644; thence N. 39° E., along said great lot line, 80 chains, to a point one chain beyond corner of great lots Nos. 611, 612, 645, and 646; thence N. 51° W., parallel with great lot line, 80 chains; thence S. 39° W., 80 chains, to stake near bank of Indian River; thence S. 51° E., 80 chains, to place of beginning; containing 640 acres of land. Surveyed by Martin E. Aldrich, Dec. 4, 1871.” The first meeting was held at the office of Bennett F. Brown on the evening of March 4, 1872, for the purpose of completing the organization of the incorporation. D. H. Scofield was the first president; Seth Strickland, Orrin A. Cross, and George E. Tucker, trustees; Asa E. Macomber, clerk; and James Barr, street commissioner. At the second meeting, March 22, 1872, the by-laws were adopted and approved. The village is situated on Indian River, and is a station on the R., W. & O. and Utica & Black River railroads, 18 miles from Watertown, 182 from Albany, and 224 from New York. It has telephone, telegraph, and American Express offices, a state bank, a weekly newspaper, three churches (Baptist, Congregational, and Methodist), a graded school, two hotels, two general stores, one music store, a drug store, dry goods and clothing store, variety store, jewelry store, two boot and shoe stores, hardware store, a general and drug store, two furniture stores, three stove and tinware stores, two grist-mills, one tannery, two groceries, a drug and grocery store, a bakery and restaurant, two blacksmith shops, a sash, door, and blind factory, a meat market, marble dealer, livery stable, harnessmaker, two millinery shops, two barber shops, two shoemakers, and about 1,000 inhabitants. The postoffice was established at Philadelphia in 1822, with Edmund Tucker as postmaster, under whom the office was located in his brick house at the north end of the settlement, the present residence of George E. Tucker.

STERLINGVILLE is a post village and station on the R., W. & O. Railroad, in the southern part of the town, on Black Creek. It is 22 miles from Watertown, 179 from Albany, and 321 from New York. It contains an American Express office, two stores, one grocery, two blacksmith shops, one saw-mill, one hotel, two churches (Roman Catholic and union), and about 40 dwellings. The postoffice at Sterlingville was established in 1839, George Walton being the first postmaster.

In 1850 a postoffice was established at WHITNEY’S CORNERS, on the Evans Mills and Ox Bow plank road, in the west part of the town. The first postmaster was Carey Z. Eddy, who served one year, when he was succeeded by W. M. Whitney. This office was discontinued soon after the opening of the railroad.

POGELAND, on the Antwerp and Sterlingville plank road, was established as a postoffice in 1852, with Daniel Smith, postmaster. Mr. Smith soon after died, and the office was discontinued for short time, when it was reestablished, with Theodore Cane as postmaster. The office was finally abolished about 1855.

The Bank of Philadelphia was organized under the general banking law, March 12, 1888, with a capital of $25,000. The present officers of the bank are Daniel H. Scofield, president; William Roberts, vice-president; H. O. Gardner, cashier; W. A. Markwick, assistant cashier and book-keeper.

William Robert’s lumber mills, at Philadelphia village, were established by the present proprietor in 1882. They consist of two saw-mills, a planing and shingle-mill, and lath-mill. They are run by water-power and two 60-horse power steam engines, give employment to 70 men, and manufacture about 10,000,000 feet of lumber annually.

Joseph Essington’s saw-mill, at Sterlingville, was bought by the present proprietor in 1880. It is operated by water-power furnished by Black Creek, and has the capacity of cutting about 800,000 feet of lumber annually.

The Philadelphia cheese factory, on road 19, corner of Sand street, near the bridge at Black River, is owned by William S. Keyes. It has a patronage of about 450 cows.

The lands composing the present town of Philadelphia were included in Le Ray’s purchase of January 4, 1800. On February 16, 1804, Le Ray “entered into an agreement with a company composed of Abraham Stockton and Charles Ellis, of Burlington, N. J. (then Le Ray’s place of residence), and Mordecai Taylor, Thomas Townsend, John Townsend, Robert Comfort, Cadwallader Child, Moses Comfrot, Israel Knight, Benjamin Rowland, David Evans, John Jones, and Jason Merrick, of the counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks, in Pennsylvania---all of whom, save the last named, were Quakers, ---to sell them 16 lots (7,040 acres) at the rate of $3 per acre, payable in five installments, with six per cent. annual interest, and 10 per cent, was to be discounted for cash. In consideration of the sale they were also to receive, as a gift from Le Ray, a central lot (440 acres) ‘for the promotion of religion and learning; that is to say, for the purpose of erecting thereon and supporting a meeting-house for the society of people called Quakers, and a school or schools for the education of children in useful learning, to be under the care and direction of said society, and of a monthly meeting of said people, when such meeting shall be there established.’ It was stipulated that these lands should be of a quality equal to the four lots Mos. 629, 630, 631, and 632, near Le Raysville, which had been purchased the previous year by Joseph Child, Sr., and Moses Comfort, whose favorable accounts of the advantages of the section in soil and climate had brought about the present purchase. In case these lands should not, in the opinion of Richard Coxe, Jacob Brown, and Jonas Smith, prove equal to those named an additional quantity should be given to make good the deficiency. The seller also agreed to make a wagon road from the St. Lawrence River, running through the conveyed tract to the post-road at Champion, before the first of the following December. The purchasers were required to agree on a division of the lots among themselves before the 25th of the next April. This being done the lands were conveyed to them by deed from Le Ray in May, 1804.

“The central lot, donated for religious and educational purposes, was No. 611, embracing the present village of Philadelphia, and all the water-power of the river at that point. The lots were Nos. 539, 540, 542, 543, 575, 576, 578, 579, 643, 644, 646, 647, 674, 675, 677, and 678. Eight lots were reserved by the proprietor, viz.: Nos. 541, 577, 609, 610, 612, 613, 645, and 676. All the above named lots, 25 in number, together formed a rectangular tract five lots in length, and the same number in width, of which tract lot 611 was the exact territorial center; the conveyed lots lying in four blocks of four lots each, one in each of the four corners of the tract, while the reserved lots lay between these in the form of a cross.

“All that is now the town of Philadelphia was at that time a wilderness, in which no blow of white man’s axe had been struck, except by the surveying parties of Brodhead; and it was to explore this and to examine their purchase that Cadwallader Child and Mordecai Taylor started northward in May, 1804. In their company came Samuel Evans, who had visited Le Raysville and vicinity in 1803. On leaving Albany they traveled on horseback to Brownville for a conference with Jacob Brown, in reference to projected roads, after which, early in June, Mr. Child, with Michael Coffeen, Solomon Parker, Robert Sixbury, the hunter, and another assistant, but without Mr. Taylor and Mr. Evans, who remained in Brownville, set out for Le Raysville to follow Brodhead’s marked lot lines towards his objective point, lot 611. He struck it at the south corner, then followed down Black Creek to its junction with Indian River, and down the latter to the falls, where his party made a halt and built a rude cabin as a base of operations, near the spot where the Philadelphia flour-mill now stands. From here he soon proceeded to explore and survey a route for a road to the St. Lawrence, which he reached at a point above Alexandria Bay, and passing down the river, noted the advantages of that place as an eligible site for a settlement, and for the river terminus of the proposed road.” Returning to lot 611 he proceeded thence to continue his road survey to the great bend of Black River, after which he began a clearing on his lot No. 644, described in his biographical sketch further on.

Towards the end of the same year John Petty, who had settled in 1802 or 1803, in the present town of Le Ray, removed thence with his family to lot 672 in Philadelphia, he thus being the first actual settler in the town, and the only one who remained through the winter of 1804-05. The land had been purchased by him in 1803, and was afterwards embraced in the farm of John T. Strickland, at Strickland’s Corners, near Sterlingville. Daniel Coffeen commenced improvements on a tract of adjoining or near Petty’s during the same fall, removing upon it early the following year.

“On the first of February, 1805, a meeting of the persons who had been named as trustees of the central lot was held at the house of Israel Knight, in Pennsylvania, at which meeting it was agreed and directed ‘that a part of the said tract be laid out in lots of 10 acres each, and that any person, or persons, on condition of settling or clearing the same, and building a log or frame house of 18 feet square on each of the lots within the term of four years, shall be entitled to the said lot for the term of 10 years as a compensation for their improvements; and it is likewise agreed that the whole transaction of the business relative to the aforementioned tract be intrusted with Robert Comfort, Cadwallader Child, Thomas Townsend, John Townsend, and Jason Merrick, who are to act for and on behalf of the whole’ And it was especially agreed that Thomas and John Townsend should have the use for 20 years, rent free, of a tract of 15 or 20 acres, sufficient to cover the falls of Indian River, and for the erection of the necessary buildings, upon the condition that they should erect thereon a mill for the general benefit of the prospective village and surrounding country.

“In the spring of 1805 the Townsends arrived upon the lot, prepared to commence operations. With them came Robert Comfort, Josiah Walton, Thomas Coxe, Benjamin Gilbert, Thomas Gilbert, and Daniel Roberts. Walton and the two Gilberts were in the employ of the Townsends, as were also Warren Foster and his brother Andrew, who had arrived about the same time. With this force they set to work, made a clearing, commenced work on the dam, and built a bridge across the river, some 20 rods below where it is now spanned by the iron bridges. During the summer and fall they completed the saw-mill and grist-mill, ---both being under the same roof, ---and also built a log house for John Townsend, nearly where the Eagle Hotel now stands. The millwright employed in the construction of the mills was James Parker. The grist-mill had one run of stones, manufactured from stones quarried in the vicinity.

Robert Comfort built a log house on the ban of Indian River near the easterly end of Townsend’s bridge, and this he opened as a house of entertainment, ---the first public house in the town, ---which he kept until 1807. Josiah Walton purchased on the reserved lot No. 645, upon which he employed John Hover (sic) and John Coffeen, of Le Ray, to make a clearing at a point near the north corner of the Curtis farm, and upon this clearing Cadwallader Child sowed wheat the same fall (1805). Another piece of wheat was put in by John Townsend, and it is not known which of these two were first sown, but Mr. Child’s was the first harvested in town (July, 1806). Mr. Child, in addition to his 440, took eight acres in the center lot, upon the rise of ground embracing the spot where the postoffice now stands. Upon this he caused a clearing to be made and a house of hewed logs to be erected in the spring and summer of 1805, intending to make this his residence; but his plans were soon after changed, and he sold the improvement to Silas Walton. The block-house which he (Child) had built was sold to Thomas Townsend, who removed and re-erected it upon a spot now directly in front of the residence of George E. Tucker. To this he moved his family early in the following year. Upon the improvement purchased from Mr. Child by Silas Walton the latter erected a small building from lumber cut by the Townsend mill. It was the first frame building in town, and stood near the spot now occupied by the store of Martin E. Aldrich & Son. John Townsend moved his family in the same autumn, and these, with the family of Robert Comfort, Walton, Roberts, and the men in the employ of the Townsend brothers, were the only inhabitants of the center lot during the winter of 1805-06.

Jason Merrick came in 1806, and located on his lot No. 675, at the westerly end, directly opposite the place to which Cadwallder Child removed, upon the easterly end of 644; this removal from his first clearing being on account of the laying out of the road running on lot lines northeast from Strickland’s Corners into Antwerp. The families of Benjamin Gilbert and Stephen Roberts also came in the spring of 1806. John Strickland, Jr., came in 1807, but did not bring his family until the next year. Robert Comfort removed from his inn on the center lot to his farm in 1807, and in the summer of that year lost two young daughters by death from a prevailing fever. John, a son of Jason Merrick, died from the same cause, and these were the first deaths which occurred among the settlers of this town.

“The first births were those of John, son of John and Asenath Townsend, February 14, 1807, and on the 16th of the same month Oliver, a son of Cadwallader and Elizabeth Child.

Joseph Bolton came with his family in the fall of 1807, took the house which had been built by Robert Comfort, and continued it as a place of public entertainment. In the spring of 1809 Ezra Comley settled on reserved lot 645, his farm being that afterwards owned by Seth Strickland. John Strickland, Sr., one of the wealthiest of the settlers, arrived and purchased the property of the Townsends at the Settlement, John Townsend removing thence to his farm, and Thomas purchasing lands a short distance south of the village, now the farm of Joshua Roberts. Mr. Strickland took possession of the mills, and made his residence in the block-house built by Thomas Townsend, to which, however, he was soon obliged to build an addition larger than the original house. This was the first frame dwelling house in the settlement and town, though there were other buildings of that construction built earlier. Mr. Strickland had a family of 11 children, 10 of whom reached maturity. He was early a very large land-owner, first exchanging with Le Ray his farm of 300 acres in Bucks County, Pa., for a much larger tract here, to which he added by purchase until he became the possessor of fully 5,000 acres, most of which he lost, owing to the great depreciation of business values at the close of the War of 1812.

“The settlements on the center lot were not rapid under the system of leasing in sub-divisions, and during the first 10 years an average of less than 10 acres per year were taken up. The trustees became weary and disheartened, and on the formation of the Le Ray monthly meeting, in 1815, they requested that body to relieve them of their trust, which could not, however, be effected without an act of incorporation, and for this the meeting would not petition. On April 11, 1816, a committee, consisting of Daniel Child, Richard Hallock, William Barber, Joseph Child, Jr., John Strickland, Jr., and Joseph Hayworth, were appointed by the meeting to confer with and assist the trustees in the management of the lot, which was, in reality, an assumption of the direction of its affairs by the meeting. Four trustees were reappointed, and the fifth, Jason Merrick, who was not a member of the Friends Society, continued to exercise the functions without reappointment. Energetic efforts were made to lease the remaining portions of the central lot, and the system of leases in perpetuity was adopted; but, notwithstanding this, very little was accomplished, and it was fully 30 years from the adoption of the short lease system before the last of these sub-divisions was disposed of. The lands outside the central lot, however, being open to absolute purchase, were settled with reasonable rapidity, and generally with a very excellent class of immigrants, who, at the end of 17 years from the time of the first arrivals, had become ready, and sufficiently numerous, to assume the responsibilities of separate township organization.”*

Sometimes abstracts of accounts furnish historical data, and so, from the books of Cadwallader Child, the following is given:

In 1805 Mr. Child had opened accounts** with Thomas Townsend and John Petrie, who paid principally in work. In 1807 he first charged Robert Comfort, and February 1, 1810, to a discount on a Vermont bank bill, 25 cents, and credited him by one dozen pigeons, 25 cents. Under date of February 10, 1809, he charges Thomas Mosher “to 7 meals, victuals and 3 nights’ lodging, 84 cent,” and in December of the same year,

“To 9 days’ board while cutting the road....................... $1.93
“ use of horse going to mill, &c, 3 days...............................75”

He credits the same man, “June 27, 1822, by about three days’ work with horse at 25 cts., 75 cts.”

In 1809 he had opened accounts with Benjamin Kirkbride, John Strickland, Sr., and Samuel Tucker, and to the latter he charged, among other things, under date of April 16, 1810, “to a Vermont State Bank bill returned, $2.00,” and Henry Tucker, to whom he charged

“4th Month 30, 1810. To 1½ day with both yoke of cattle, moving, at 56 cts. for each
yoke per day, being found keeping.........................$1.68”

With Daniel Hunter, Henry Cooper, Joshua Winner, Nathan Goodale, Jonas Allen, Gardner Hall, and John Bowdry he also opened accounts in 1809; in 1810 with Stephen Roberts, Solomon Parker, Thomas Wards, John Jenison, Asher Seamen, Henry Cooper, and Sela Cooper; and in 1812 with Warren Foster, Ebenezer Page, and Nathan Dyke; and against nearly all accounts were one or more items charged for surveying.

Only a few items appear in this book as charged against Mr. Le Ray. Among them, in 1809, are: ---


* History of Jefferson County, 1878.

** Probably Mr. Child had other books not known to the writer, for in the book referred to the earliest charge against Mr. LeRay is in 1809, while it is well known his services began in 1804.


7th mo. 30. To 2 days inspecting and measuring Crooks & Durky’s job of crossway on
the Montreal road, at $2.50,........................................................................................................... $5.00

10 mo. 4th. To 4 days going to, inspecting of, and returning from the jobs next
the St. Lawrence,..................................................................................................................................... 8.00

“ 6th. To making returns of these jobs, and running a line from Le Ray’s house
down to the bridge across a creek below saw-mill, 1½ days,.................................................. 2.50

“ 21. To 6 days maping (sic) my last survey, ascertaining the contents of every
separate division---being 40---and making a survey bill for 32 divisions,..................... 12.00

1810, June 9. To 2½ days marking out the places for causways on the Alexandria
road from Theresa Mill to Alexandria,........................................................................................... 5.00

To 1 day going to Le Raysville, paying off my hands,................................................................ 2.00


In 1813, second month, 24th, is the following entry: --

Richard Hallock and I bought a barrel of salt marked 300 lbs. and weight 266 lbs.
We paid for the same,........................................................................................................................... 5.33 "



The following are quotations of prices current from Mr. Child’s books: ---

1808. Beef, 5c; ½ paper pins, 10c.; potatoes, 45c.; day’s work, 62½
1809. P’d hired man, Nathan Hudrix, for one month’s labor, $12.50.
1813. Wheat, $2.00; shingle nails, 18c.
1818. Wheat, $1.50; potatoes, 3 shillings; load hemlock bark, 50c.
1820. Barley, 72c; tallow, 12½c.; corn, 37½c.

The assessments for road tax in 1811, in district No. 13, of Le Ray (now Philadelphia), were as follows:  --

John Strickland (overseers),.......25 days   |   Reuben Pownell,..............2 days
Benjamin Gilbert................... 2  "     |   Daniel Hunter,...............2  "
Stephen Roberts,................... 1  "     |   Thomas Townsend,............12  "
Daniel Roberts,.................... 2  "     |

In district No. 14 the assessments were:  --
Jason Merrick (overseer).......... 10 days   |   Warren Foster............... 2 days
Cad. Child,....................... 10  "     |   Andrew Foster............... 5   "
John Strickland, Jr............... 10  "     |   James Chase,................ 8   "
Robert Comfort,...................  4  "     |   John Wilkinson,............. 2   "
Richard Hallock,..................  8  "


Among the earlier officers of the town the folowing appear for the first time: --

Jeremiah Cooper, as commissioner of schools, 1823; Jonathan Mosher and David Mosher, as pathmasters and fence viewers, 1823; Gardner Clark, a commissioner of highways, Richard Hallock, commissioner of schools, Samuel Rogers, school inspector, Elias Roberts and Mahlon Strickland, overseers of highways, 1824; Benjamin Jackman, commisioner of schools, 1825; Edmund Tucker, town clerk, Jason Merrick and Samuel D. Whiting, assessors, John Whiting, commissioner of highways, Henry York, poundmaster, 1826; Weden Mosher, inspector of elections, 1828; Charles Coolidge and David Merrick, postmasters, 1829; Alfred Coolidge, assessor, Alvah Murdock and Robert Townsend, inspectors of schools, Henry Baxter and James Cooper, pathmasters, 1830; John Cross and William Allen, justices of the peace, Henry Danforth and Theodore Cross, constables, 1831; Asel W. Danforth, justice of the peace, Lyman Wilson, assessor, William Chadwick, pathmaster, 1832; Smith Bockus, justice of the peace, 1833; Jesse Smith, supervisor, William K. Butterfield; justice of the peace, David Isdell, commissioner of highways, Cyrus Mosher, pathmaster, 1834; Seth Strickland, Allen Cooper, Seth Aldrich, and Joseph A. Child, pathmasters, 1835; Miles Strickland, town clerk, John F. Latimer, justice of the peace, Daniel Rogers, collector and constable, 1836.


It was voted at the town meeting of that year, “That there shouldl be $10 raised to purchase a book-case to keep the town books and papers in.” William Strong was town clerk in 1838.

All of the foregoing were officers of the town more than a half century ago, but many of them have lived within the remembrance of the young men of to day, and several of them continued to hold office for many years.

Early roads. ---

“Survey of a road from that leading by Jonathan Mosher’s, viz.: Beginning in the center of said road on the division line of lots No. 640 and 641, on a course N. 54° E. 84½ rods on the division line of lots No. 640 and 641, to the corner of lots No. 640, 671, 672, and continuing on the line between 671, 672, to the center of the Bend road. Surveyed 3 mo. 31, 1823, by Cad. Child, surveyor.

                                                                                                                   ALDEN BUCKLIN, }
                                                                                                                                                        Com’s of Highways.”
                                                                                                                “JAMES CROFOOT, }


The second road was also surveyed by Cadwallader Child. The following seven roads were surveyed by Aaron Child in the years 1824 and 1825. The first road surveyed by Edmund Tucker was in 1825, May 18th, “from the most westerly corner of lot No. 710 * * * to the most westerly corner of lot No. 709.” Following this, in 1825, two other roads were “laid” by the commissioners, Samuel C. Frey and Samuel D. Whiting. The first road to be surveyed by Oliver Child in this town was on November 10, 1826, and running as follows: ---

“Beginning at the most S. E’ly corner of lot No. 673, thence No. 36° E., on the line between lots No. 674, 705, 675, 706, 707, one mile 247 rods.”


From 1827 to 1840 the roads were surveyed by Edmund Tucker, Cadwallader Child, Oliver Child, Daniel Child, Miles Strickland (the first by him on December 18, 1830), Nathan Ingerson (the first by him February 18, 1831), Aaron Child, Levi Miller (the first by him June 1, 1833), David Miller (the first by him September 27, 1834), Joel Hayworth (the first by him February 16, 1835), Gorham Cross (the first by him April 5, 1838), and William Howland (the first by him September 5, 1840). Many of the surveys were for changes, and in many cases the roads were “laid by us the commissioners.”

Ear marks. ---After the election of the town the following were some of the ear-marks for stock recorded in 1822: ---

John Strickland’s mark is a hole in each ear. John Strickland, Jr.’s, mark is a crop off the right ear. Alden Bucklin, a crop off the right eear and two slits in the same. Jonathan Mosher’s, a crop off the right ear and a half crop off the underside of the left ear. David Mosher’s, a crop off the left ear and slit in the right ear. Caldwallader Child’s (1823), a crop off the left ear and a slit in the same. William Allen’s (1823), a half crop in the foreside of the right ear and a slit in the end of the left ear. Stephen Mosher’s (1825), a double swallow fork in the right eear. Samuel Rogers’s (1826), a half-crop in the upper side of the left ear.


The last ear-mark appearing upon the road is that of George W. Townsend, November 19, 1852, and was “a slit in the under side of the right ear.”

At the town meeting in 1840 it was voted “to raise $75, by tax, for the purpose of levelling, fencing, etc., the burying-ground, deeded to the inhabitants of the town for that purpose, by the Society of Friends, and that said society should be exempt from said tax.”





William Allen, 114 $ 330.00 $  1 98

Stephen Baker,




Alfred Coolidge,*




James Cooper,




Allen Cooper,




Cadwallader Child,




Aaron Child,



1 58

Gardner Clark,



2 00

John Edwards,




Harvey Hamblin,


114 00


Nehemiah Howland,


153 00


David Holden,


56 00


Jonathan Mosher,


239 00

1 43

Samuel Rogers,


597 00

3 58

Stephen Roberts.


341 00

2 05

Mahlon Strickland


670 00

4 02

John Strickland, Jr.,


720 00

4 32

John Strickland,


204 00

12 14

Ai Shattuck,


162 00


Abial Shurtleff,


573 00

3 44

John Townsend,


1,058 00

6 35

Edmund Tucker,


300 00

1 80

     ditto (a center lot),


616 00

3 69

  ”   ditto & Jno. Strickland, Jr. (saw-mill)


110 00


John Whiting,


104 00


Erastus Whitney,


221 00

1 33

William York,


129 00


The resident valuation was,............................



$30,609 00

The non-resident valuation was,............................



 17,519 00




$48,128 00

Resident tax,...........................



$183 62

Non-resident tax,............................



 105 11




$288 73

*The assessment rolls previous to 1827 appear to have been mislaid; they could not be found in November, 1889.

**Of the 156 tax-payers in that year the only one now living is believed to be Alfred Coolidge, whose erect but venerable form is yet an object of interest to his many friends in Watertown. He lives in easy and quiet retirement with his daughter, and it is hoped he may be spared for many more years.

A writer in a number of the Northern New York Journal, in 1863, speaking of 1827, of which time he well remembers Philadelphia, says in substance: Over two-thirds of the area of the town was than a wilderness. There were but six frame farm houses, none of them painted, and but two houses were painted in the village. The same writer, speaking of some of the early hard laborers and jobbers who felled the forests, --without date, --mentions Andrew Warren, Benjamin Foster, Benjamin Gilbert, Samuel and Harvey Copley, and Thomas Mosher; and later came Alfred Coolidge, Duty G. Mosher, and Gardner Clark.

The population at Quaker Settlement, as Philadelphia village was then known, increased very slowly, and in 1828 the heads of families located there were Edmund Tucker and Miles Strickland, proprietors of the flouring-mill; Platt Homan, their miller; Samuel C. Frey and Cyrus C. Dodge, both inn-keepers; Harvey Hamblin, John Cross, W. Mosher, shoemakers; James Cromwell, cabinetmaker; Stephen Roberts, Orrin Cloyse, Elijah Comstock, John Roat, Justin Gibbs, Edmund Hall, Robert Gray, merchant, and successor of Samuel Case who opened the first store in Philadelphia, corner of Main and Antwerp streets, Seth Otis, also a store-keeper, Dr. Almon Pitcher, and Horace Ball. The latter built the first fulling-mill and clothiery, afterwards successively owned by William Comstock, Miles Shattuck, and Hollis S. Houghton. Robert Gray built the first and only distillery in Philadelphia, on the west side of the river, at the Settlement.

In 1828 a number of Quakers in this town, headed by Edmund Tucker and the Stricklands, became converts to the Hicksite doctrine; but the Orthodox wing, supported by the meeting, retained control of the center lot until the final settlement by quit-claim.

About 1835 symptoms of rebellion against the payment of rents began to be manifest, caused by complications arising from the system of sub-leasing. In 1838 a public meeting was called at the village for the consideration of measures tending to the abolishment of the system of leases. But little was accomplished at this time; the interest in the project continuing, however, other meetings of similar character following, nearly every tenant participating, they being represented by a committee composed of John F. Latimer, Samuel Rogers, and Jesse Smith. They having boldly declared their intention to pay no more rents, suits were brought against several of them; but these were afterwards withdrawn, probably on account of the firmness of the defendants, and the prevailing sentiment among the friends in favor of the anti-renters and against litigation. In March, 1844, the society petitioned for a law authorizing the trustees to sell the center lot, which was referred by the Senate to the attorney-general for an opinion, who decided “that it is not competent for any court, or even the legislature itself, to add to or diminish from the estate thereby created, or to change the nature of the trust, or to confer authority upon the trustees to convey the legal estate discharged of this trust thus annexed to it.” In consequence of this opinion the legislature declined acting, and so informed the petitioners. This, however, did not prevent a settlement of the difficulty. The lessees were willing to pay certain amounts, which were agreed on, and to accept quit-claim from the meeting, which that body, on January 9, 1845, directed the trustees to execute. About 25 of these deeds were given, the tenants receiving them, paying all arrears of rent up to April 1, 1844. Two or three, who were members of the meeting, declined to receive the quit-claims, preferring rather to hold their perpetuity leases at the extremely low figure of $1 per acre, or less, annual rent. And thus ended this long and vexatious controversy.

About the time of the opening of the Sterling mines in Antwerp, in 1836, iron ore was discovered in this town, in the northern part, on the line of Theresa, in lots 343 and 344. It was worked to some extent in the furnaces at Sterlingville, Carthage, Antwerp, and Redwood, a royalty of 50 cents per ton being paid to Almon Fuller and Abial Shurtleff, who owned the land from which the ore was taken. It was a lean ore, and was used mostly as a flux in the reduction of the Sterling and other rich ores. The requirements for this purpose were comparatively small, and for many years the beds were not extensively worked; but upon reaching greater depth the quality of the ore was found to be improving, until it was ranked among the best ores of the region. In 1867 the mines were purchased by the Sterling Iron Ore Company, of Syracuse, to which place, as well as to other points west, the ore was shipped for reduction. The mine is not now in operation.

In 1836 James Sterling commenced the erection of a furnace on Black Creek, in this town, for the purpose of working the ores from the mines in Antwerp. This furnace was completed in 1837, and put in blast in June of that year, the production for the first three months being 155 tons. In the fall of that year Mr. Sterling associated with him Messrs. Orville Hungerford, George Walton, Caleb Essington, and George C. Sherman, and with them organized the “Sterling Iron Company,” which continued until 1840, when it went out of existence, and the “Philadelphia Iron Company” was formed, composed of Ephraim Taylor, Fred Van Ostrand, George Dickerson, William Skinner, and John Gates. The date of their incorporation under the general law was May 19, 1840. The company rebuilt the furnace, and, having operated it for some time without much success, ceased to exist, when Samuel G. Sterling, a brother of James Sterling, became interested in the business until 1859. From 1859 to 1869 it was carried on by A. P. Sterling, of Antwerp, assisted by his brother, James, Jr., and then sold to the Jefferson Iron Company, of Antwerp village, but until his death, in 1863, James Sterling was the master spirit and prime mover to the iron manufacture here, and at Antwerp and vicinity. All that now remains of this once important enterprise is the picturesque ruin of the old furnace.

Caleb Essington erected a forge at Sterlingville in 1839, where for a number of years he manufactured refined iron. The forge long since went into disuse.

About 1815 Samuel Case opened a tavern in the Friends settlement upon the site of the present Eagle Hotel. Mr. Case was the first landlord, and was succeeded by Harvey Hamblin, and he by Samuel C. Frey. Among other proprietors have been W. K. Butterfield, James Kirkbride, and Russell Washburn and his sons George and Henry. The building was destroyed by fire a number of years ago, when C. W. Hall erected the present elegant Eagle Hotel, at a cost of about $20,000. The present proprietor is Earl L. Comstock.

About 1825, a Mr. Crofoot opened a hotel on Main street, near the canal bridge, in Philadelphia village. One of its first proprietors was Cyrus Dodge, who was instantly killed by the bursting of a cannon, July 4, 1829. John Cross, Charles G. Bunnell, and William Mosher were successively proprietors until 1834, when Daniel Rogers took possession. The latter continued as landlord until after the civil war. The building has not been used as a hotel for several years. At the station of the R., W. & O. Railroad is the Comstock House, erected about 10 years ago, and now owned and conducted by Wilson & Brown.

Rufus Hatch opened a hotel at Sterlingville previous to 1840, and there kept a public house for many years. In 1841 Frederick Van Ostrand opened the Sterlingville House, now kept by Henry Ritter. Hotels were formerly kept at Barber’s Corners, two and one-half miles east of Philadelphia village, and at Pogeland, near Antwerp line.

The first school in town was taught by Anna Comstock. It was opened in 1810, in a frame building which John Strickland had added to the blockhouse purchased by him from Thomas Townsend. The Quaker meeting-house, built in 1810, was also used as a school-house. Miss Comstock opened the first school in this building.

In 1831 the “Philadelphia library” was formed, the first trustees being Edmund Tucker, Alvah Murdock, Henry W. Marshall, Joel Hayworth, John F. Latimer, Samuel Rogers, Azel Danforth, Weden Mosher, and John R. Taylor. It is not now in existence as an organization.


The Friends organized meetings here soon after their settlement, and in 1809 built on the center lot a small frame house, which, in 1827, was set apart for a school and a second house erected, 30 by 50 feet, at a cost of $800, under the direction of Edmund Tucker, J. Strickland, Jr., J. Townsend, and C. Child. In 1828 there occurred a division in the Friends Society, a part becoming converted to the Hicksite doctrine, and after that the orthodox and the Hicksite members usually held meetings at different stated periods, the orthodox wing controlling the affairs of the center lot until their final settlement by quit-claim. The meeting-house was sold to the village for a public school in 1869

Philadelphia Congregational Church was organized as a Christian union church in 1859, with James Gregg as pastor. In 1868 it was reorganized as a Congregational Church, with Josiah Newton as pastor. Their church building, a wooden structure, was built in 1859, and cost $2,000. In 1841 they united with the Baptists in the erection of a church, in which each society owned an equal share. In cost $1,600, and is now occupied by the Baptists. A Congregational society was formed in 1841, with 13 members, by Rev. N. Dutton, the first pastor, who continued as their minister for several years. The trustees were Nelson Ackert, Milo Shattuck, Abijah Ford, Peter Bethel, and Alvah Murdock. Before 1860 the church was changed to Presbyterian, and so remained until 1868, when it was merged in the Congregational Church. In 1889 their house of worship was extensively repaired at a cost of $2,000. It will seat about 150 persons. Rev. W. T. Stokes is the present pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Philadelphia was formed March 9, 1839, with William Powell, George Sim, Theodore Cross, Charles R. Sweet, and Stephen Post, trustees. Soon after the society was formed, they built a church at Pogeland, owned by William Powell. The organization continued until 1867, when it was merged in the society at Philadelphia village. This latter society was organized in 1843, with Sterling Graves, Richard Crabb, Benjamin Allen, and Nelson Chadwick, trustees. Their house of worship was erected the same year, at the southerly end of the village, on land purchased of Elizabeth Mosher. In 1858 a larger lot was purchased of Jesse Roberts, on the opposite side of the street, to which the church was removed, and afterwards enlarged and greatly improved. It will seat 250 persons, and is valued, including parsonage (erected in 1859) and other church property, at $4,000.

The Baptist Church of Philadelphia was formed by 10 members, November 5, 1840. The organization was approved by a council from the churches of Watertown, Le Ray, Antwerp, and Fowler. E. D. Woodward, Elias Roberts, Walter Colton, Jesse Smith, and Henry York were trustees of the society, which was incorporated December 14, 1840. They first met for worship in a barn, then for a few months in the school-house, and in 1841 joined with the Congregationalists in the erection of a union house, before mentioned, located on Main street, which they became sole owners of by purchase, about 1868, and now occupy. The first pastor of this church was Rev. Ashbel Stevens. Rev. Hugh Hughs, who served as pastor during the years 1888 and 1889, has recently resigned and removed to Great Bend, Pa. The present membership of the church is about 70.

A Freewill Baptist society was organized at Whitney’s Corners, July 25, 1852, by a council of which Elder Samuel Hart, their first pastor, was moderator, and Elder M. H. Abbey, clerk. For many years their meetings were held in the Whitney school-house, but they subsequently purchased a half interest in the building owned by the Baptists. Since Elder Samuel Hart their pastors have been William Whitfield, J. W. Hills, William Johnson, J. J. Allen, B. F. Jefferson, William G. Willis, J. B. Collins, Henry Ward, Joel Baker, and Mr. Dearing.

A union church edifice was built at Sterlingville in 1856, by an association of citizens under the management of George Clark, Caleb Essington, and Thomas Delancy, trustees. It has been occupied by the Episcopalians, Universalists, Baptists, Methodists, Disciples, and others. The original cost of the building was $1,800. At the present time the Episcopal Methodists and Protestant Methodists hold services on alternate Sabbaths.

The Disciples Church inaugurated meetings in this town soon after 1850, their first preachers being Revs. Benedict, Oliphant, Bush, and others. In 1864 the church was organized with 22 members, under charge of Rev. Mr. Parker, who remained in their service one year. Succeeding Mr. Parker were Rev. Mr. Olin, Rev. John Hamilton, Rev. Mr. Goodrich, and Rev. John Bogg, the latter taking charge in 1877. Their meetings were held in Sterlingville. The Disciples still retain their organization, but they have no pastor.

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at Sterlingville was organized in 1838, under charge of Rev. Michael Gilbride. A house of worship was erected at a cost of $500, on a lot donated by James Sterling, and was occupied for about 10 years, when it was burned. In 1854, when Rev. Michael Clark was in charge, a new building was erected on the old site, and in 1885 it was removed to the present site, Rev. Father O’Niel (sic) then being in charge. It will seat 150 persons, and cost $1,000. Rev. F. M. Ambrose is the present priest in charge.

St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Mission, at Philadelphia village, has been recently organized, and from the summer of 1889 until January, 1890, Rev. William Bours Clarke, of Antwerp, held weekly meetings in Scofield hall. The communicants numbers about a dozen, and the interest in the services by the people warrant the belief that the mission will grow in influence and number of church members.

From the Appendix, submitted too late to be inserted:

The graded school. -- The school grounds, consisting of several acres, and upon which the Friends meeting-house was located, were purchased in December, 1869, of the Friends Society, and fitted up for school purposes. The building soon proved inadequate for the use to which it was put, and in 1880 the present handsome and commodious building was erected at a cost of over $4,000. S. B. Scofield was the builder. It is two stories high, with a mansard roof and tower. There are four teachers and a registration of about 170 pupils.


Oliver Child, who was born February 16, 1807, (the second birth in that part of Le Ray which later became the town of Philadelphia,) died February 28, 1878, at his home on a portion of the old farm whereon he was born. His paternal ancestor, who immigrated from England to America in 1681, bringing with him his young son Cephas, was Henry Child, a member of the Society of Friends who settled under William Penn. As a copy of the deed executed by William Penn to Henry Child is extant, the words of the text in that old conveyance may not be uninteresting. It is as follows: --

“KNOW all men by these presents, that I, William Penn, of Worminghurst, in the county of Sussox, Eg’d,

have had and received of and from Henry Child, of Coleshill, of the parish of Rindisham, in the county of Hertford, yoeman, ‘a’ the sum of tenn pounds of lawfull money of England, being for the purchase of five hundred acres of land in Pensylvania, and the consideration money mentioned to be paid in and by one paire of of Indentures of Release and Confirmation bearing even date herewith, and made between me, the said William Penn, of the purport of the said Indentures. Of and from which said sume of tenn pounds, ‘ §’ according to the purport of the said Indentures. Of and from which said sume of ten pounds, ‘§’ I, the said William Penn, doe’ hereby, for my self, my heirs, Executors; and Assignes, release, quitclaime and forever discharge the said Henry Child, his heires, Executors, Administrators, and Assignes, and every of them by these presents.

“WITNESS my hand and seale this five and twentieth day of January, Anno Dumini 1681, Annog., RRs Cad sediunnc Anglice zt.


“Sealed and delivered
      in presentes of

Ben. Griffith,
Harbt. Springett.”


In 1715 Henry Child, who was at that time “of the provinice of Maryland,” conveyed by deed of gift, “for the Love and affection he beareth to his son, Cephas Child,” all the land originally conveyed to him by William Penn, in Pennsylvania, “and also 16 acres of Liberty land and two Lotts lying in Philadelphia which he, the said Henry Child, purchased of the said William Penn.”

Cephas Child2 was a member of the Society of Friends, and in 1747-49 a member of the House of Representatives (provincial). He removed from Philadelphia to Plumstead, Bucks County, Pa., in March, 1715, and was married, in February, 1716, to Mary Atkinson. About 1723 they had the great misfortune to lose their first four children, who were burned in an accidental conflagration of the homstead. They subsequently had five other children, of whom Cephas Child, Jr.,3 was born in 1727. He married, first, about February 16, 1751, Priscilla Naylor, and had eight children, of whom Joseph Child4 was born in Plumstead, Pa., October 29, 1753, and married, in 1780 Hannah Burgess, of Bucks County. He came to Jefferson County in 1803, purchased about 1,200 acres of land, and in 1804 settled on “Child’s Hill,” in Le Ray (road 79), where he died in 1829. From Joseph Child and his wife, Hannah, sprang all the branches of the family who for many years made their home in Le Ray, and some are there now. For his second wife Cephas, Jr., married Mary Cadwallader, and their only son and child was Cadwallader,4 the head of the families of that name in Philadelphia, this county.

Cadwallader Child4 was born August 18, 1776, in Plumstead, Bucks County, Pa., and died in Philadelphia, N. Y., in 1851. He received a good education for the time, and became a teacher, which vocation he followed several years, in the meantime mastering the principles of land surveying, in which he became expert. In 1800 he was married to Elizabeth Rea, daughter of John and Jane (Forman) Rea, of Philadelphia, Pa., She died at the homestead in 1862, in the 90th year of her age. John Rea was the son of an Irish gentleman, a member of the old Irish Parliament. He had been educated at the University of Oxford, and upon his father’s losing, through unfortunate speculations, the bulk of his property John emigrated to America and became a teacher. After marriage he became a soldier in the Revolution and fought in the battle of Brandywine, and later, during the war, engaged as a privateersman, his vessel going to sea and was never heard of more.

Cadwallader Child came to Brownville in 1804, by directions of James Le Ray de Chaumont, to confer with his agent, Jacob Brown, relative to projected roads Mr. Child was to survey. He spent the summer months in surveying roads from lot 611 (Philadelphia) to the St. Lawrence at Alexandria, and selected the site of Alexandria Bay for a port; and by his recommendation a mile square was set apart by Mr. Le Ray for that purpose. On his way down he had passed to the southwest of High Falls of Indian River, but on his return he passed these falls, crossing the river where is now the lower bridge in Theresa village. Here he examined the immense water-power, marked it as a favorable site for the establishment of mills and the building of a village, and so reported to Le Ray. He then proceeded to survey a road from lot 611 (Philadelphia) to the great bend of Black River. When this was completed the season was far advanced, and he entered upon lot 644, which had been drawn by him in the assignment of tracts,* and here, with the assistance of Samuel Child (his nephew) and Thomas Ward, he made the first clearing and erected the first dwelling within the bounds of Philadelphia. It was a log cabin, and the clearing was about four acres on the small creek now in the southern part of the farm of his grandson, Lewis John Child. Mr. Child returned to Pennsylvania, and came again with his family (wife and sons Aaron and Joseph) the next season (1805) to settle for life, and in July, 1806, he harvested the first crop of wheat grown in the town.

Cadwallader Child held, frequently, the offices of highway and school commissioner, and for many years was a chief surveyor for Mr. Le Ray. His children were Aaron5, born in 1801, who died at the age of 85 years, in Philadelphia; Joseph A.5, born in 1803, who died at the age of 78, in Manchester, Iowa, at the home of his son Wattson, a prosperous farmer there; Oliver5; Mary5, born in 1809, who became the wife of Amos Evans, and died at the age of 76 in Le Ray; Gainor5, born in 1812, who never married and died in 1847, in Philadelphia; and Naylor5, who was born December 25, 1815, lived with his father on the farm until nearly 30 years of age, when he went to Morley, St. Lawrence County, and for several years was engaged in trade, and in rafting timber to Quebec, in company with his brother Oliver. About 1848


*Mr. Child, in company with 12 others, had purchased of Mr. Le Ray 16 lots of 440 acres each, which were divided by the persons themselves, by ballots drawn at random from a hat.


he returned to Philadelphia, where he was married, in 1864, to Julia R., daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Strickland) Rogers. He now resides on a fine farm at Masonville, Iowa, where he has lived for nearly a quarter of a century, and is the only child of Cadwallader now living. Naylor’s children are William Stanley, now of Syracuse, N. Y., Frank Henry, Mary Annella (deceased), and Irving Howard.

Oliver Child5, third son of Cadwallader and Elizabeth (Rea) Child, was born in Philadelphia, N. Y., February 16, 1807. In early life he was not robust, and gave his attention to his studies more than to the hard work of a pioneer’s life. He taught school, and soon after attaining his majority entered the employ of Mr. Le Ray. He was for a time English tutor of James Le Ray de Chaumont, Marquis de St. Paul, the son of Vincent Le Ray, and later became a well-known surveyor for Mr. Le Ray, doing duty for many years in all portions of lands, in this county and in Lewis County, belonging to that extensive land-holder. He also purchased a tract of Le Ray and Orleans, which he sold, in parcels, on his own account.

Mr. Child married, July 27, 1830, Edith, daughter of John and Elizabeth Shaw, then of Bucks County, Pa., but a native of Philadelphia city, and their children were Elizabeth and Lewis John, both of whom died in childhood, about 1837; Hamilton6, born in Le Raysville, March 17, 1836, now a publisher, of Syracuse, N. Y.; Mary Jane6 (Mrs. Edward J. Stannard), born at Carthage, August 6, 1838, now living near Philadelphia city; and Lewis John6, born (where he now lives) August 12, 1840, who enlisted in Co. C., 10th N. Y. H. A., in 1862, and served until his regiment was discharged, several months after the close of the war, in 1865. He married, in 1867, Lydia M., daughter of John Wait, of Philadelphia, and now owns and occupies the homestead farm, being apart of that purchased by his grandfather, Cadwallader, in 1804, and on which the first clearing in town was made.

After his marriage Oliver Child settled in Le Raysville, where he remained until the land office was removed to Carthage, whither he went and lived till about 1841, when he removed to his farm in Philadelphia, where his son Lewis John now resides. His wife, Edith, died while on a visit to her friends in Pennsylvania in 1842, and was buried in Doylestown. About this time Mr. Child was engaged by William H. Harrison, of New York city, to take the agency of his lands in St. Lawrence County, a position which he occupied, with his headquarters and home at Morley. He married for his second wife Eliza Shepard, of Norfolk, N. Y., a native of Vermont, September 12, 1844. There was no issue from this marriage. Mr. Child resigned the agency for Mr. Harrison and removed from Morely to Oswego, in 1850, to engage in the forwarding business in company with his brother-in-law, Charles Shepard, who was located at Ogdensburg; but the business venture not proving profitable, it was abandoned, and the same year he removed again to his farm in Philadelphia, where he ever after resided, until his death, as before mentioned. His widow survived till July 2, 1888, when she died, aged nearly 90 years.

Oliver Child was never a seeker after office---for the term only (1838) being supervisor of Wilna. In politics a Whig, and later a Republican, he was content to aid with his vote the success of his party. In religious faith he was, until middle life, a member of the Society of Friends. He later became an Episcopalian, his children also being members of the Church. Always kind and gentle in his family, he had a pleasant word for everybody, and though in latter life delicate health prevented his taking an active part in affairs he died possessed of the respect and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances.



Few men in Jefferson County have acquired a reputation for pluck and business energy, that led to remarkable success, beyond that accorded to James Sterling in the days when he was known as “the iron king of Northern New York.” He was born in Norwich, Conn., January 25, 1800. His father, Daniel Sterling, married Mary Bradford, a lineal descendant of Governor William Bradford, of puritanic stock, and in 1802 he moved with his family to the town of Antwerp, then a part of Brownville. The first, or one of the earliest, deeds recorded in Antwerp was to Mary Bradford, and is a part of the John R. Sterling property, situated north of Antwerp. Without the advantages even of a good common school education his mind expanded and demanded a larger field of operations. In 1836 he purchased the Hopestil Foster land, which contained the afterwards, and now, famous Sterling iron ore mines, from which very many thousand tons of ore have been mined. In 1840 he organized the Philadelphia Iron Company, and located a blast furnace at Sterlingville, which place was named after him. Here the famous cold blast charcoal pig-iron was made, which for years was known in the markets as the “Sterling iron.” In 1844 Mr. Sterling established the second blast furnace at Sterling Burg, about one mile easterly from Antwerp Village, and he soon after purchased the furnace property at Wegatchie, in St. Lawrence County. In 1852 he purchased of Isaac K. Lippencott the entire village, and 4,500 acres of land in Lewis County, early 11 miles north of Carthage, known as Sterling Buch. His business had grown to be very extensive, his pay roll at his different works embracing the names of as many as 1,000 men.

Mr. Sterling’s physical stature was in proportion to his great intellect. Standing six feet three inches in ehight, his weight was, at his best, 396 pounds. Of his 11 children seven are still living, namely: Mary B. (Sterling) Clark, so well known in this county as a zealous Christian woman, whose efforts have, among other things, resulted in the establishment of Trinity Chapel at Great Bend, and of the Mission Chapel of the Redeemer at Watertown; A. P. Sterling, James Sterling, Julia Sterling, Mills, Antonette (Sterling) McKinly, who with her husband and children are living happily at their home in London, England; Rochester H. Sterling, and Joseph Sterling. After many years of active life in this county, where the money he had paid out for labor had helped hundreds of farmers to pay for their lands, James Sterling, died, at his residence in Sterlingville, July 23, 1863, at the age of 63 years. As a fit ending of this brief sketch of Mr. Sterling’s life we quote from a writer in the New York Reformer, January 22, 1857, who discourses of the prominent business men of the county: --

“He is truly one of the most useful great men of the Empire State, and one of whom the Empire State may well be proud. It is such men as Mr. Sterling that raises the state to its proud position among the sovereign states of the Union. He takes from the earth that which is worthless in its primitive state, and converts it into the most useful of metalic substances.”

The engraving we present of Mr. Sterling will be recognized by those who knew him as a very faithful likeness. It was copied from an India ink portrait.

Note: The family sketches followed. Those are presented on Nan Dixon's NYGenWeb site for Jefferson County, N. Y.

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