History of Warren County, H. P. Smith
Chapter XXXI: History of the Town of Hague
This transcription was produced through the use of Readiris Pro 11 OCR software. Contributed by Tim Varney.
Hague Page 558 is situated in the northeast corner of the county, along the northern shore of Lake George. The surface is mountainous in the extreme, so that not more than one-fourth of it is capable of cultivation. Along the shore Page 559 of the lake the mountains generally descend much more abruptly to the edge of the water than in Bolton. They are parts of the ridge and spurs of the Kayaderosseras Mountains, and are separated from each other by the narrow valleys of Trout and Northwest Bay Brooks. In the northwest part of the town lie the Trumbull Mountains, and a little to the south therefrom is Ash Grove Hill rising to an elevation of 2,000 or 2,500 feet above the level of the sea. On the lake shore in the extreme northeast corner of the town and county is Rogers's Slide, a mountain nearly a thousand feet in height, with smooth summit and steep sides. It is said to be singularly rich in minerals, beautiful specimens of garnet having been discovered on its top, and graphite abounding in its bosom. The name is derived from the following historical circumstance: Robert Rogers was sent in the winter of 1757-58, with a small party of followers, to make observations at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, where he met a party of the enemy, and after a sharp skirmish, was defeated. Rogers, pursued by the savages, directed his eager footsteps to the summit of this mountain.
"Arrived at the brow of the precipice he threw his 'luggage' down the steep walls, and, reversing himself on his snow-shoes, made his way down through a ravine, at the southwest, to the lake; thence around to the foot of the slide. The savages, following to the edge of the mountain, where the track of the snow-shoes seemed lost in the path made by a falling body, expecting, of course, that whoever had attempted it could not have reached the bottom alive, must have been considerably surprised to see the brave major making off on the ice toward the head of the lake." (1) They desisted from further pursuit.
1. Stoddard's Lake George, pp. 119, 120.
Sabbath Day Point is a headland projecting into the lake near the southern border. The soil is a light, sandy loam, and where the surface admits of cultivation produces average crops of oats, corn, potatoes, and buckwheat. Iron ore has been found in some parts of the town, but in quantities too slight to encourage the opening of mines. Black lead exists near the center of the town.
The town of Hague was formed from Bolton, February 28th, 1807, and was at first known as Rochester. Its name was changed to Hague on April 6th, 1808. A part of Horicon was taken off in 1818. Settlement was begun here in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Among the first settlers in town were Abel Rising, Abner Briggs, Elijah Bailey, Samuel Cook, Ellis Denton, Samuel Patchin, John Holman, Isaac and Uriah Balcom, and Uri Waiste. Probably the most influential family, as a whole, in town, is the Rising family, although their progenitor, Abel Rising, jr., did not come to Hague until 1811. Abel Rising, sr., lived and died in Suffield, Connecticut. He was twice married, and had five children by his first wife, and one by his second. His second son was Abel Rising, jr., who removed to Hague in March, 1811, and died here in 1822. His wife, formerly Lucinda Kent, of Suffield, died in Hague, in October, 1832. They had seven children. One of these seven was Zeno, born in Page 560 Suffield, in 1802, and came here with his parents when he was nine years of age. He first married Roxie Balcom, of Hague, who died in 1846. He afterward married Cynthia Balcom, who died in 1862. They had nine children, of whom probably the best known here is Joel W. Rising, now proprietor of Rising's Hotel, at Chestertown. The present supervisor from Hague is nephew to Abel Rising, jr., and son to Rufus Rising. Another well-known family are the Balcoms. Isaac Balcom was born in Massachusetts in 1777. He married Sally Green, of his native place, and removed, a little before the beginning of the present century, to a place about one and a half miles from the lake, in what is now Hague, now being the farm occupied by Mr. Moss. Two of his brothers, Uriah and Caleb, came with him and settled on farms almost adjoining. Mrs. Hosea Remington, the writer's informant, was the youngest of the thirteen children of Isaac Balcom, all but four of whom are now dead. She was born on the 9th of September, 1823. Of the other early settlers named, the following brief statements have been ascertained as true: Elijah Bailey lived until about 1840 or later, at Sabbath Day Point, with Captain Sam Patchin (of whom more will be said). Uriah Balcom lived about two miles south of Hague post-office, where Miles E. Morehouse now lives. Uri Waiste lived about a mile south of the village on Law's Patent, on property now owned by L. Burgess. Rufus Rising lived in the west part of the town, where his son, Rufus Rising, now lives.
A lead mine has been worked for the past ten years about five miles west of Hague village. It is said that the mine was discovered by Samuel Ackerman while he was skidding logs. The mine is owned by New York parties, and superintended by George Hooper, of Ticonderoga.
The richest portion of the town in historic incident is Sabbath Day Point. On this sandy point, in 1756, a party of Provincials, under Generals Putnam and Rogers, defeated a superior force of French and Indians. Here, on the 5th of July, 1758, Abercrombie employed the successful ruse of landing with his army of fifteen thousand men, resting until near midnight, and then moving north - leaving behind a hundred blazing piles to delude the enemy into the belief that they were still there. In September, 1759, General Amherst landed with a force of twelve thousand men and passed the Sabbath with saintly punctilio. (1)
1. Although it is generally believed that this event gave the Point its name, there is really little ground for the belief, as the point is mentioned by that name in Roger's Journal June 28th, 1758, the preceding season.
One of the most important personages who inhabited Sabbath Day Point in early times was Captain Sam Patchin. An anecdote related of him in Mr. S. R. Stoddard's excellent descriptive guide book of Lake George, and verified as thoroughly as may be by ourselves, can be told no better than in Mr. Stoddard's own language (p. 106 et Seq.) : -
"Vicar's Island is just north of the Harbor Islands. Here on its northern Page 561 border an affecting incident transpired once, of which Captain Sam Patchin, who lived at Sabbath Day Point at the time, was the hero. One winter's day he conceived the idea of sailing his grist to Bolton mill on the ice. So, piling the bags of grain into the old cutter, with a pitchfork held firmly in his hands for a rudder, he hoisted sail and sped away before a strong north wind.
"The ice was 'glare' and the cutter sailed well, remarkably well; but there was not so much certainty about the satisfactory behavior of the steering apparatus. The old man, it is said, was given to spiritual things occasionally, and had, on this occasion, evidently hoisted in rather too much rye in the liquid form to conduce to the safe transportation of that in the bags. The craft insisted on heading directly for the island, and could not be diverted from its course - it was of the kind called 'jumper' - a mettlesome old jumper at that, and the captain had a great deal of confidence in its ability to do whatever it undertook. So he decided to jump the island - he tried it; it was not, strictly speaking, a success. The cutter reached the shore and hesitated - a part of it. Sam was anxious to get along, and continued on; then he got discouraged, and paused - in a snow-drift.
"Captain Sam was always dignified, and on this occasion it is said his manner of resting on that snow-drift was remarkably impressive. Even the snow felt moved, and the island itself was touched. He felt persuaded that he had made a mistake in leaving his cutter, and attempting the underground route for Bolton, so he came out and set his radiant face homeward - not a Sam of joy or a Sam of thanksgiving exactly, but a Sam abounding in such language as would set a mule-driver up in business, or even do credit to the boss canvasser of any circus traveling."
The present owner of the house which the hero of the above narration kept is now, and for years past has been, Samuel Westurn.
There is a tradition, supported by more or less equivocal evidence of the nature of records, to the effect that one Samuel Adams lived here as early as 1765. The most authentic evidence is the undeniable fact that, in 1767, a patent of five hundred acres called the Sabbath Day Point Patent, was granted to Samuel Adams. It is said that the road from Bolton to Sabbath Day Point was built by him, in consideration of which he received the patent of five hundred acres of land.
Among other patents granted was the Ellice Patent granted to James Caldwell, Robert McClelland and Robert Cochrane. Its date was probably but little later than the one to Adams. It included an extensive tract lying north, west, and south of the site of Hague village, and extended into Essex county. Another parcel, comprising the site of Hague village and about one and a half miles south thereof, eight hundred and fifty acres, was granted to James Caldwell and entitled the J. Caldwell or Law's Patent. The George Trimble Patent included one thousand four hundred and forty acres in the northern part of the town and projected a little into Essex county.Page 562
A patent was granted also to George Robinson and others, seven hundred and fifty acres, and to Thomas Ford and others, two hundred and seven and one-half acres, comprising the strip along the valley of the south branch of Beaver Creek. The Hague tract was the most extensive piece, including more than six thousand two hundred and forty-five acres of the western part of the territory forming the town.
The town records of Hague up to 1822 have unhappily been lost, and the writer must therefore content himself with a list of officers elected in that year, and a survey of the history of the community from that time to the present. The officers elected in the spring of 1822 were as follows: -
Supervisor, William Cook; town clerk, Thomas Gaige; assessors, Elijah Bailey, jr., Archibald McMurphy, Noah Woodard; constable and collector, Calvin Barnard; overseers of the poor, Amisa Burt, John Holman; commissioners of highways, Nathan Taylor, Titus French, Isaac Balcom; poundmaster, Nathan Taylor; school commissioners, Nathan Taylor, Nathaniel Garfield, jr., Leonard Holman; inspectors of schools, William Cook, Joseph Glazier, Thomas Gaige. The following officers were chosen by the uplifted hand: Overseers of highways: 1, John Patchin; 2, John Holman; 3, Dillon Stevens; 4, Isaac Balcom; 5, Seth Johnson; 6, William Woodard : 7, William R. Cleaveland; 8, Phineas W. Reed; 9, Uriah Balcom; 10, Nathan Taylor; 11, Noah Woodard : 12, Ira Griggs; 13, James Olna.
These names undoubtedly represent the best families extending throughout the township at the date of the election. Many of them had lived here since the opening of the century, and many others lived here almost until the breaking out of the Civil War. There has been, indeed, but little change, either of growth or decline, in the population or business interests since 1820 or 1830. In 1835 there was at Hague village one grist-mill, one saw-mill, one store, one tavern and six or eight dwellings. In 1860 there was probably as much business here as there ever has been. Rufus Rising, sr., then owned a grist-mill up Quaker Brook, about eighty rods west of the store now owned by L. Burgess; H. H. Harris ran the mill for Mr. Rising. Just above it was a sawmill run by Charles F. Bevins, and above that, another, run by Newton Wilcox. The grist-mill and upper saw-mill are now gone, the latter going down in 1862, and the former being torn down about four years ago by Lyman Bruce. The other saw-mill was rebuilt about 1870, and is now owned by Edwin C. Rand and Oliver Yaw. (1)
1. The town of Hague is more rich in history than her neighbor Bolton, and less rich than her northern friend Ty. In addition to the "feats of broil and battle" performed at Sabbath Day Point in colonial days, may be related the burning of the steamer John Jay off Friends' Point, just north of Hague village, on July 29th, 1856. The captain at the time of the fire was J. Gale, and the pilot, Captain E. S. Harris. Six lives were lost.
Although the population of the entire town of Hague did not reach the sum of seven hundred at the breaking out of the Rebellion, she furnished one Page 563 hundred and six volunteers, and but one man was drafted. The town records do not contain any account of the public action taken, but the people must have been nearly unanimous in order to furnish so proud a contingent. The men enlisted chiefly in the 118th Regiment, the 5th N. Y. Cavalry, and the 23d Independent Battery.
In 1860 the lumber business was "booming," no fewer than 10,000 logs being floated on the lake to "Ty," and there sawn. Among the residents of Hague most largely interested were Samuel Ackerman and Stephen Hoyt. Nearly all the farmers were engaged during the winter in chopping logs. Such unremitting industry, while it added to the wealth of the laborers then, could not fail in speedily clearing the surface of the country of all the valuable timber. In the last few years scarcely any lumbering has been done, excepting the cutting and hauling of poplar to Ticonderoga and Mechanicsville, for the pulp-mills.
There has probably been no potash made here since 1820, though as late as 186o the remains of an old ashery could be seen in the south part of the town, about three miles from Hague village. There has never been any tannery in town that pretended to the dignity of the name.
There was a Union church here in 1860, which had probably been erected about 1835, or soon after. In 1860 the pastor was a Wesleyan clergyman named Leard. The building remained the only church in the village until 1879, when a division took place, and the Wesleyan Methodists erected a separate building. The pastor of the new church is the Rev. John Quay. The old church is without a pastor, the last one being a Free Will Baptist, named Lister.
The earliest record found of a post-office at Hague is in 1855, when Alvah Bevins was postmaster. In the following year John B. Jenkins was appointed. Henry H. Harrison succeeded him in 1858. In 1860 the office had been discontinued, but within a few months was re-established with Lewis Burgess in almost supreme control. At that time forty per cent. of the stipend allowed to the office went to the mail carrier and the residue to the postmaster.
In order to accommodate the people of the town by affording the mail carrier reward enough to induce his bringing the mail twice a week instead of once, Mr. Burgess yielded to him the sixty per cent. which was the postmaster's due, and worked for nothing himself. He has been postmaster ever since his first appointment. He has run a store in connection with the office since 1865, when he bought out the business of Henry Newton. About ten years before Lewis Burgess began to sell goods, Henry Newton purchased the stock and good-will of Alvah Bevins, who had kept a store here for years. Calvin Barnard was Bevins's predecessor, and one of the first store keepers (if not the first) in town.
There is but one regular hotel in town besides the one kept by Samuel Page 564 Westurn, at Sabbath Day Point, namely, the Phoenix Hotel, under the management of Mr. Gilligan. The site has been covered by a hotel for many years, and, indeed, it is said that some sort of inn has stood there ever since Hague has had a local habitation and a name. Nathaniel Garfield kept an inn there in the thirties, and probably earlier. He built a more pretentious tavern about 1840, and remained there for years, acquiring in the mean time an enviable reputation as "mine host." In a magazine article published in 1853, T. Addison Richards spoke of him in the following language: "Three miles onward [from Sabbath Day Point] we make the little village of Hague, if village it can be styled. The visitor will remember the locality as Garfield's - one of the oldest and most esteemed summer camps. Judge Garfield would seem to have an intimate acquaintance with every deer on the hill-side, and with every trout in the waters, so habitually are these gentry found at his luxurious table. An excellent landing facilitates the approach to Garfield's, and the steamboat touches daily up and down," His son, Hiland Garfield, was associated with him during the latter part of his reign. In the spring of 1861 they sold out to William A. G. Arthur. While he was the owner, in 1863, it was destroyed by fire. William Miller then secured title to the property and at once erected the present house. He kept the house for a time, and then leased it to various persons, notably Edwin Norton and Alonzo Russell. He died in October, 1873. The hotel was then in the hands of Joel W. Rising, now proprietor of Rising's Hotel at Chestertown, who remained until 1883. Mrs. Marilla Miller, widow of the deceased proprietor of former days, and present owner of the house, then leased it to Alvah E. Grimes. The new landlord remained about eighteen months and then left, and Mr. Gilligan, in the fall of 1884, took an assignment of the lease, and now conducts the business. He has had considerable hotel experience at Fort Ticonderoga, and knows how to keep, what in fact he does keep, an excellent hotel. The rooms are neatly furnished and ventilated, and the table cannot be surpassed. The house has a capacity for fifty guests.
In the past few years other boarding houses have been opened for summer guests, and are making Hague a well known and much liked resort. Just north of the Phoenix Hotel a few rods is the Hillside House, having a capacity for thirty-five guests, and owned and supervised by John McClanathan. Farther north still is the Trout House, kept by C. H. Wheeler, and providing for twenty-five. Next is the Island Harbor House, which will accommodate twenty-five guests. The proprietor is A. C. Clifton.
Below is printed the names of the supervisors from Hague, as far as they could be obtained from the records: 1813-16, William Cook; 1817-19, Thomas Gaige; 1820-24, William Cook; 1825, Nathaniel Garfield; 1826, Thomas Gaige; 1827, Stephen Pratt; 1828, Warner Cook; 1829, Stephen Pratt; 1830, Nathaniel Garfield; 1831-1833, William Cook; 1834, '35, Calvin Barnard; 1836, Nathaniel Garfield; 1837-39, William Cook; 1840, '41, Alvah Page 565 Bevins; 1842-44, William Ward; 1845, Luma Wing; 1846, Thomas C. Brown; 1847, John J. Patten; 1848, Alonzo Morris; 1849, Martin Ward; 1850, Alonzo Morris; 1851, John McClanathan; 1852, '53, Alvah Bevins; 1854, Josiah C. House; 1855, Ephraim Ward; 1856, '57, Samuel Westurn; 1858, Curtis Allen; 1859-61, H. H. Harrison; 1862, Lewis Burgess; 1863, W. A. G. Arthur; 1864, H. H. Harrison; 1865, William M. Marshall; 1866, Lewis Burgess; 1867, John McClanathan, jr.; 1868, C. F. Bevins; 1869, John McClanathan, jr.; 1870-72, H. H. Harrison; 1873, John McClanathan; 1874, W. P. Gannon; 1875, John McClanathan; 1876, Lewis Burgess; 1877, '78, John McClanathan; 1879, James A. Balcom; 1880, '81, John McClanathan; 1882-84, James A. Balcom; 1885, Rufus Rising.
At an annual town meeting held on the 7th of April, 1885, at Phoenix Hotel, the following were elected officers for the ensuing year: -
Supervisor, Rufus Rising; town clerk, William M. Marshall; (1) justice of the peace, Rufus Rising; justice of the peace to fill a contingent vacancy, A. C. Clifton; assessor, E. T. Ackerman; commissioner of highways, William Baldwin; constable and collector, Nathan E. Yaw; constables, Nathan E. Yaw, William Sexton, Wilson Ward, Eugene Doolittle, James Leach; game constable, William H. Garfield; inspectors of election, H. G. Phillips, Joseph Leavitt, Albert C. Clifton (appointed); sealer of weights and measures, William C. Evins; commissioners of excise, Nathan Holman, --- ---, Hollis Spaulding; overseer of the poor, Silas B. Ackman.
1. To whom we are grateful for valuable assistance.
Population since 1850 has been as follows: 1850, 717; 1855, 615; 1860, 708; 1865, 685; 1870, 637; 1875, 678; 1880, 807.