Excerpts from Tuesday, March 10, 1896

Adams and Vicinity

Three Score Years Ago or More

It seems almost incredible that less than a century ago Jefferson county (as well as the adjoining counties) was a dense wilderness, its only inhabitants being Indians and wild beasts of the forest, and as appears from the census of 1800 there were only 262 inhabitants in all the towns embraced in this county.  But it is not of the first quarter of a century of the settlement of the county that it is the design of this paper or perchance series of papers to treat, but more especially of reminiscences and incidents of the more immediate succeeding decades or or Adams and vicinity 60 years ago or more.

In 1830 the population the the entire town of Adams was 2,995, and that of the immediate adjoining towns as follows:  Hounsfield: 3,415  Watertown: 4,768  Rodman: 1,901  Lorraine (embracing the present town of Worth) 1,727  Ellisburg, 5,202  and Henderson 2,428.  These figures include the population of the villages in several towns.  The village of Adams at this time had outgrown the names of "Smith Mills" and "Slab City," which in the earlier years of the century had sometimes been given it, and was the centre of business extending more than half way to Watertown and Sackets harbor northwardly, and a longer distance eastward, southward and westward.  Adams Centre was known as "The Five Corners," while the little hamlets in Rodman were sometimes known respectively by the scriptural names of "Sodom" Gomorrah" and "Zoar."  Ellisburg had its "No-God" and westerly from what is known as Green Settlement in Adams were crossing of roads which received the appellation of "Hells Four Corners."  Smithville, located on the boundary line between Adams and Henderson, during the first quarter of the century through the remarkable tact and energy of a single individual, Jesse Smith, became the centre of an almost incredible amount of business, especially when we consider the sparseness of the population at that time.  A gentlemen who was employed as a clerk by mr. Smith told the writer of this article that the cash sales of his various business enterprises amounted to over $1,200 per day, exceeding largely that of any other individual in the entire county.  The sources of this phenomenal amount were derived largely from the manufacturing of potash, which was sent to Montreal, where if found market at from $200 to $300 per barrel.  This with the manufacturing of whiskey or high-wines in which he was also quite extensively engaged was supplemented with general merchandising, milling, and intrade commerce on the lakes.  Asheries and distilleries furnished in these days about everything that come under the head of exports, and from these two sources the money in circulation was largely obtained.  Four distilleries in the town of Adams, some of them, if not all, running night and day to meet the local and export demand.  At this time liquor was regarded as a necessity as much as the pork barrel in every family, and very rarely would there fail to be found a short supply.  Whenever a neighbor called is was a matter of common courtesy to bring in the decanter and glasses before the guests departed, and so universal was the custom that altho' the call was merely to do some errand or to borrow or return some article, the friendly glass was seldom missing.  When the minister made his pastoral visits it would have been deemed as almost an unpardonable breach of politeness not to have given the past, or elder, as ministers were frequently styled, a drink of liquor, either hot or cold as they might prefer, before leaving.  If on such an occasion it should happen that the supply was regarded insufficient or the quality on hand was not regarded as sufficiently good for so honored a guest, one of the smaller children would be quietly sent out by the back door to the store for the requisite supply or quality of liquor desired.  Merchants not only sold it to their customers but were in the habit of treating, those especially who came in from outside the village.  During haying and harvesting the jug of liquor in the field was regarded as indispensable.  When a building was to be raised invitations would be extensively given, as at that day very heavy timbers were used and the bents were raised entirely by hand power, only using pikepoles, the keg of liquor was never forgotten.  Usually after these raisings there would follow what would no be termed athletic exercises, (although at that day the appellation was unknown or unheard of) consisting of, wrestling, throwing the sledge-hammer, jumping, and ball-playing.  There was indeed hardly even an occasion when men met socially in those days but the decanter was not regarded as necessary to good cheer and fellowship.  the public conscience had not been awakened to the evils and sin of intemperance; deacons in good and regular standing in churches run distilleries and nothing was thought of it being inconsistent.

It was not until about 1828 when Dr. Lyman Beecher, father of Henry Ward Beecher, preached and published six very strong and emphatic sermons on the evils of intemperance that there was any wide spread or general awakening on the part of the public to the danger threatening not only individuals but society itself.

A little later perhaps and imaginary dream entitled "Deacon Giles' " Distillery: was published, in-which stan and his imps formed the principal characters in the dialogue and which summed up by the declaration by him of the cloven  foot that "the deacon was the deacon for him" and which proved a powerful factor in arousing attention to the evils and dangers arising from the manufacture and use of intoxicating liquors.

Contrasting this period with the present who can say that the world does not move and its proves is onward and upward and not downward.


Burt Sterling is now father of a nearly 9 pound boy.

Mrs. C. L. Beebe is quite ill under the care of Dr. Minar.

Hiram Remington is getting around with a cane in the house.

Capt. and Mrs. Fish, of the Landing, were guests of Mr. and Mrs. C. Webb last Saturday.

Miss VanEpps has bee thought dangerously ill with hard cold and threatened pneumonia, but Dr. Severance, attending physician, informs me that she is doing nicely.

Mr. and Mrs. D. Filmore of North Dakota, spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Webb.  Mr. F. owns a 300 acre farm in Dakota, and came on in January and married Miss Jenkins, of the Laning.

The death of Mrs. Rose Hoxie, March 3 was very sad and an unexpected event, doubly sad for the fact the deceased seemingly had no warning of her approaching dissolution and was able to walk to and from the couch almost to to the hour of her final departure from, to her, a land of tears.  Rose was the daughter of William and Lucinda Plummer Hoxie, born in Ellisburg, and would have been 28 years old next 14th day of August.  She was loved by every one for whom she went out to service for her sweetness of disposition, energy, love of order, neatness, and valuable domestic requirements.  The funeral was at the home of the 5th inst. conducted by Rev Frank Forsyth, at the Congregational church of this village.  Many kind friend sent beautiful flowers, couspicous for her effort was Miss Marietta Helley, the noted authoress.  The interment was in Ellisburg.  The family wish to thank the friends for the many courtesies, constant kindness during the two weeks illness of deceased, and burial. 

Mrs. B. B. Lord, of St. Clairsville, Chautauqua county, N. Y., state grange lecturer, gave a very interesting talk before this grand last Friday at 2 P. M.  She is a women of good physique, rather stout, with a find head, dark brown eyes, loving and expressive, with a sprinkling of gray in her abundant dark hair, a fine representative of the upper middling class dames of the American homes.  She touched upon a number of live themes which we will arrange in more regular consecution perhaps than she did herself.  She spoke of the social and educational benefits of the order and by way of illustrating the latter made the truthful assertion that when a large part of the membership joined the grange very few could stand upon their feet and make an intelligent motion in a public meeting, wheras how large numbers could not only perform this simple service but could preside with dignity over assemblies of this character.  To get in a fling at the lawyers, popular in the plays of the back ages, but now obsolete, she instanced the case of a lawyer of her village who for years was chairman of school meetings, and who on motion made failed to give opportunity for remarks, omitting to state the nature of the motion, some of which are not debatable, and as a further back stroke at that great and greatly loved profession spoke of the lawyers on the stump only when they were running for office.  A more unjust and inaccurate statement could not have been uttered by a public speaker.  Of the men on the stump at gubernatorial and presidential elections eight-tenths are lawyers in both the great parties and not more than one-tenth at a venture are at the time running for office.  On the great question of citizenship, after disclaiming woman's rights advocacy, she spoke strongly and grandly.  Asking both men and women how many of them attended their school meetings, this earnest woman delivered and exhortation on the great duty the owed their families of children, the community, and state, in giving their best thought and attention to the schools and severely arraigned for negligence of the duty.  Widening her field she said she would like to be a law-abiding  citizen,  and for that reason would like to become a citizen full fledged and equal with man.  She alluded to the cruel injustice of centuries imposed by the old common law obliterating the personality of the wife, merging herself and estate in the husband upon marriage, the being one and he the one.  The next and most important point to the present and rising generation perhaps, was her pathetic appeal to parents and boys to shun cigarette smoking.   The dreadful physical and moral degeneracy of the pernicious habit she pictured in drastic and pathetic terms as she recalled instances of pale, emaciated, scrofulous youth inhaling this nicotine narcotic poison into their lungs, pulling rings of a chin that will land them like the folds of a python.  Recurring at the close to the social and educational benefits of the grange and recounting the sweet amenities she had enjoyed, she eloquently exhorted to faithful observance of the cardinal doctrines of the fraternity in spirit if not in name.  Mr. and Mrs. Heman Clark, Mrs. Lewis and Harwick, Mrs. C. at the organ, furnished appropriate music.  Mr. clark is Worthy Master, and introduced Mrs. Lord in a very flattering speech.  We were introduced to Mrs. Lord and promised to send her a paper.  Miss Ella Fulton, of Watertown, came with Mrs. Lord from Watertown grange, and they were guests of Postmaster Wm. Fox and wife, the latter as stately and fine looking a blonde as can be found in the country.  Mrs. Lord dined with Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Martin.

Delta P????
Mannsville lodge, No. 175, I. O. O. F meets Friday evening, March 13, 7 P. M., work on first degree.

Rural Hill
Frank Stevens and family are moving up in the Mixer district.

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Matthews have moved on to the Merrick place at Scott's Corners.

Two Lives Saved

Mrs. Phoebe Thomas, of Junction City, Ill., was told by her doctors she had consumption and that there was no hops for her, but two bottles Dr. King's New Discovery completely cured her and she says it saved her life.  Mr. Thos. Eggers, 139 Florida St. San Francisco, suffered from a dreadful cold, approaching consumption, tried without result everything else the bought one bottle of Dr. King's New Discovery and in two weeks was cured.  He is naturally thankful.  It is such results that prove the wonderful ?????? of this medicine in coughs and colds.  Free trial bottles at Henry E. Fox's drug store.  Regular size 50c, and $1.00.


Dr. W. G. Baker left for the west lately.

W. Sitts is home from Herkimer for a few days.

Mr. and Mrs. John Daunt have returned from a visit in the west.

W. P. Sanford has returned from New York, where he has been for a long time in the interest of the plate factory.

Excursion to Washington

The Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company y will run its tenth annual grand excursion to Washington, on Tuesday, March 31, 1896.

The fare to Washington and return is only Ten Dollars ($10.00) from any station on the line of the R. W. & O. R. R. at which excursion tickets are on sale.

Tickets are good until April 10, inclusive, and allow a sojourn of ten days in Washington.  Tickets will permit stop-over in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York on the return trip, enabling patrons of the excursion to spend Easter Sunday (April 5) in the metropolis.

The route is via Rome, Watertown & Odgensburg R. R., West Shore and Pennsylvania Railroad.  Three fast special trains leave R. W. & O. stations March 31, and arrive at Washington 2:30 PM April 1, a 20 hour schedule.

Special tourist agents will accompany the excursionists to Washington and give personal attention to the wants of passengers on the trains and during the stay in Washington.

Reduced rates have been arranged at twenty-two hotels in Washington, $1.59 to $5.00 per day.

Side-trip excursions from Washington may be made at the following round-trip rates:  To Mt. Vernon, 75 cents;  Richmond, Va., $4.00: Petersburg, Va., $5.00; Old Point Comfort, Va., $6.00; Norfolk, Va., $6.00: Lurray Caverus, $5.35; Natural Bridge, $9.99.

Excursion tickets, sleeping car tickets, time-tables and illustrated descriptive programmes, giving full and detailed information can be obtained from any R. W. & O.R. R. ticket agent, of from Theo. Hatterfield, General Passenger Agent, Syracuse, N. Y.


George A. Finn is again seen on our streets.

Mrs. W. D. Laird is spending a few days with Mr. and Mrs. Bullis, of Oswego.

The King's Daughter will hold a social on Thursday evening next at Schoolhouse hall.  The will make it a very pleasant event.  All are invited to be present.

A Farmers' Institute will be held in this village on Friday next, March 13th. with the Following program at 10:30 A. M.:

Address of Welcome
Response by a member of the force.
Corn as a Factor in Profitable Dairying in the State of New York . . .J. Gould

2:00 P. M.
Question Box
The Commonplace . . . Prof. C. J. Galpin
Fertility of the Soil . . .F. E. Dawley

This will be the last institute of the season in the south part of the county.  No up to date farmer can afford to miss the address of John Gould, of Ohio.  His many years of experience pre-eminently qualify him to instruct the farmers.


N. Wood & Sons,

have greatly improved the appearance of their store, by giving it aa new coat of paint inside and laying a new floor through the center.

Mrs. Dr. Sargent has gone to stay a few days with her sister, Mrs. Jennings, while Mr. Jennings is from home, as reporter at the farmers' institutes held in different sections of the state.

Our genial and gentlemanly young friend Henry Hubbard has returned from the west, and we now see his smiling face behind the counters and at the postoffice of N. Wood & Sons.

The Woman's Home Missionary society of the Congregational church, held it's annual meeting on the 5th inst. at the residence of Mrs. J. F. Converse, at which time the following officers for the ensuing year were elected:  Mrs. J. W. Sargent, president,;  Mrs. H. L. Hoyt, vice-president;  Mrs. Emma E. Gates, secretary;  Mrs. J. F. Convers, treasurer;  executive committee, Mrs. J. F. Converse, Mrs. J. R. Welch, Mrs. Franklin Nutting.