Jay was separated from the original town of Willsborough January 16th, 1798, and received its name from Governor John Jay. At first it embraced, besides its present territory, parts of Keene, Wilmington, and Elizabethtown. The following is the notice of application by the inhabitants of Jay (or Mallory's Bush, as it was then called) to be set off in a town by themselves:—
"Notice is hereby given that the inhabitants of Mallory's Bush, in the Town of Willsborough, northwest district, have called a meeting and unanimously agreed to make application to the Town of Willsborough to be set off and to be incorporated into a town by themselves, and have chosen John Cochran, jr., to attend the annual meeting, Willsborough, to do said business of the application. The boundaries of said Town so to be set off are as follows: Beginning where the military line intercepts the south of Willsborough, then north to the 12 mile tree, then north 45 degrees east to the south line of Perue, then west to the southwest corner of said Perue, or west line of Clinton county, then south to the northwest corner of Crown Point, then east to the place of beginning. ELY VANE, Clerk.
"Dated at Mallory's Bush the 12th of March, 1797."
Afterwards (1822) the town was enlarged by the annexation of parts of Peru in Clinton county, and Chateaugay in Franklin county. The present town is situated in the northern part of Essex county, between Chesterfield and Lewis on the east, and Wilmington and Keene on the west. Along the western boundary extend the Ausable mountains, of which Mounts Clark, Hamlin, and Bassett, all reaching an elevation of more than two thousand feet above tide, are the highest peaks. The southern strip of territory projecting between the towns of Keene and Lewis contains a number of the Adirondack peaks. This is the wildest and most picturesque part of the town, and is surpassed in grandeur by few sections of the entire county. The east or south branch of the Ausable river, having its source in the Ausable ponds in the extreme southern part of Keene, and draining some of the most mountainous regions in Northern New York, flows north through the west of Jay, and joins the other branch at the "Forks."
The whole of this town is elevated and the surface broken by lofty and precipitous mountains. The soil is chiefly a light sandy and gravelly loam, and in the valleys vigorous and fertile. Upon the table-lands, which extend in parallel ridges through the entire town, the soil is highly productive. Veins of black lead have been discovered in quantities too small to be worked with profit. Iron exists in great abundance, and but for the difficulty of transportation, owing to the broken and uneven surface of the country, the town would unquestionably be an inexhaustible fund of wealth to the county.
There are three villages in the town, Ausable Forks, lying between the junction of the two branches of the river of that name in the north line of the county; Jay, situated on the south branch of the Ausable near the center of the town, and Upper Jay on the same stream about four miles farther south. Several considerable settlements were made in various parts of the town previous to its formation in 1798, by emigrants attracted hither by the fertility of the soil, the almost unlimited quantities of lumber, and the rich promise held out by the numerous veins of iron ore existing in various parts of the town.
The earliest settler was Nathaniel Mallory, who came to the present site of the village of Jay as early as 1796 and probably gave the village its early name of Mallory's Bush. Among the other early settlers were John W. Southmayd, an early farmer and iron manufacturer who was here prior to 1814, and who lived until about 1855 two miles south of the village of Jay; Joseph Storrs, a farmer living near Jay, who died some time before Southmayd, and John Purmort (before 1798), an iron man who, in pursuance of a scheme initiated by Joseph Storrs, virtually established the iron business afterwards carried on by J. & J. Rogers. He had a forge in Jay before 1812. Robert Otis also lived here before the beginning of the present century. Ezekiel Lockwood lived here in early days. Nathaniel Ray was connected with the building of the forge at the village of Jay. Josiah Way and Joseph Fowler attained some prominence when the country was the home of pioneers. William Mallory built the first mill erected in the town, and in company with Nathaniel Mallory (probably a brother) owned a grist-mill, saw-mill, and later a forge and carding-machine. Anson Bigelow was born in Chesterfield in 1804 and came to the site of Ausable Forks about 1819. Stephen Griswold came to the Forks about 1812. In the vicinity of Upper Jay were Elisha and Charles Prindle, Isaac Williams, James B. Wood, Daniel Williams, Samuel Cook, and Josiah W. Hewitt, a wheelwright.
These are a majority of the most prominent pioneers of the town. There were others who deserve, perhaps, as much credit as these, but it is impossible to give all, even of the early inhabitants, the words of praise which their efforts might entitle them.
Of course the industries remained in a crude and incipient State until the avenues of transportation not only on the lake but to and from the lake, over the lofty mountains and through the almost impenetrable forests, were opened and made passable.
The oldest living inhabitant takes his pipe from between his lips and tells us of the forges and saw-mills at "The Forks" and Mallory's Bush, and we are prone to erect in our imaginations an image of the solid and formidable forges and saw-mills of the present day. But these pictures are rudely blotted out by the succeeding portrait which our informant draws with vivid hand, of the aboriginal grist-mill, constructed from a stump hollowed into a convenient basin which was used as a hopper, and weight depending from the nearest sapling as a grindstone. These infant industries were all "brought up by hand."
The earliest road to Mallory's Bush was a primitive passage-way through the woods between that place and Westport, then called North-West Bay. It could not have been used earlier than the year 1796. About the same time or soon after, the road which leads along the west bank of the south branch of the Ausable river was constructed. The road on the east bank of the same stream between Lower and Upper Jay was not ready for wagon traffic in 1812.
The pioneers of this region were not, however, barbarians. considering their meager opportunities they supplied their own wants with surprising ingenuity. Between 1800 and 1812 schools and religious meetings were established in the most thickly populated districts. There was a school in Jay long before 1812, and by that time Methodist classes had been formed for religious exercitation and discipline. A Baptist Church was formed here in 1798.
Lumbering was one of the earliest industries of the town. At the beginning of the War of 1812 huge spars were cut in this town and drawn to the lake, and thence floated north to the English market at Quebec. Josiah Fisk was one of the most prominent of the pioneer lumbermen. A Mr. Sleeper at one time with seven yoke of oxen drew an enormous spar to the lake from Mallory's Bush. A short time after the period just mentioned square timbers came into great requisition, and were shipped in large quantities over the same route. In the vicinity of Upper Jay the lumber business was killed as early as 1820, by the girdling of all the trees to facilitate the clearing of land. At Ausable Forks the most enterprising lumber dealers were Burt & Vanderwarker, the firm comprising George and Justus Burt and James and Isaac Vanderwarker. Their lumber was taken to Port Kent via the Ausable river.
The iron business has received mention. The first forge was built at Mallory's Bush, now Lower Jay, in 1798. Joseph Storrs, John Purmort and G.A. Purmort & Co. were interested in it. In 1809 the works were extensively enlarged. Before 1820 Apollos A. Newell constructed and ran a two-fired forge about a mile south of Lower Jay, which was destroyed by the freshet of 1856. It had soon after its erection to compete with the forge of Jesse Tobey and Robert G. Hazard. Long before 1825 a forge was built at Ausable Forks and run by Burt, Vanderwarker & Co. Taverns, distilleries, asheries, saw-mills, and several stores abounded. William Mallory built a saw-mill near the site of Jay in about 1798. Though liquor was dispensed in many private houses, there is no remembrance of a tavern here (Jay) until about 1820, when Jesse Tobey and Elihu Bartlett opened houses which they kept until about 1830. Both buildings were, soon after that year, destroyed by fire. For some time prior to 1823 a man named Cook kept an inn on the site of Coppin's present house in Upper Jay. Elisha Wells managed a distillery and grist-mill in Upper Jay in 1823. In the same place and year Steven G. Williams and Daniel Williams conducted an ashery. Not much business of any kind excepting lumbering and the manufacture of iron was done in Ausable Forks until 1825.
The calls for volunteers during the Rebellion were promptly and heartily responded to by the inhabitants of the town. Other towns of greater population may have furnished a greater number of men and contributed more largely of their money to the cause, but they were more thickly inhabited and more affluent. Not one of them, however, could have given money more willingly or offered men of greater bravery. Further details on this subject will be found in the chapter devoted to the military history of the county.
The first town meeting was held in 1798, at which Elisha Bingham was elected supervisor and Ely Stone town clerk. The commissioners of highways were Leonard Owen, John W. Southmayd and Ezekiel Lockwood; and the assessors were Zenas Graves, David Clemmons and John Donlap.
Following is a list of supervisors from the year 1800 to the present time, with the respective years of their service: 1800, Ezekiel Lockwood; 1801-2, John Cochrane; 1803, John Douglass; 18045, Robert Otis; 1806-7, Ely Stone; 1808 to 1811 inclusive, Joseph Storrs; 1812, Jonas B. Wood; 1813 to 1815 inclusive, Joseph Storrs; 1816, William Finch; 1817-18, Reuben Sanford; 1819, Joseph Storrs; 1820, Reuben Sanford; 1821 to 1826 inclusive, Joseph Storrs; 1827, William Wells; 1828, Joseph Storrs; 1829, William Wells, 1830-1, Isaac Vanderwarker; 1832 to 1836 inclusive, Joseph Storrs; 1837, Thomas Brewster; 1838, Joseph Storrs; 1839, Josiah W. Hewitt; 1840, John Purmort; 1841, Jesse Tobey, jr.; 1842-43, Benjamin Wells; 1844, Josiah W. hewitt; 1845-46, William H. Butrick; 1847-48, Daniel Blish; 1849, Thomas D. Trumbull; 1850, Samuel West; 1851, Thomas D. Trumbull; 1852, Daniel Blish; 1853, Monroe Hall; 1854, Heman G. Powers; 1855, Jeremiah B. Briggs; 1856, Samuel West; 1857 to 1859 inclusive, Nathaniel C. Boynton; 1860, Henry D. Graves; 1861, N.C. Boynton; 1862, George S. Potter; 1863 to 1867 inclusive, Gardner Pope; 1868-69, Henry Smith; 1870 to 1872 inclusive, Henry D. Graves; 1873, Gardner Pope; 1874-75, Henry M. Prime; 1876, Richard D. McIntyre; 1877, Henry Smith; 1878, A.S. Prime; 1879-80, Amos Bosley; 1881, Spencer G. Prime; 1882, John C. De Kalb; 1883-84, Silas W. Prime; 1885, Fred E. Trumbull. The present town clerk is John A. Simpson.
This village was without doubt settled the earliest of the three which are now comprised in the township of Jay. It was near here, as has been mentioned, that the Mallorys and Purmorts wielded their iron influence in primitive times. It has always been best known for the iron manufactured in its forges and the timbers hewn upon the mighty shoulders of its hills. George Griswold, who came here in 1812, has a clear recollection of the condition of the village when he came. A small school was partly filled with a small number of small pupils, and had been in existence then a number of years. A man named Parsons brought the "daily papers" on horseback to the bustling populace of Jay, while Elihu Hall, general merchant, who had control of the post-office department here, regulated the distribution of the mail matter. Mr. Hall was postmaster for a number of years. It is not known who followed him until 1834, when Elihu H. Bartlett officiated. Since that year G.G. Tobey, the present postal dignitary, has been in office almost without intermission. He was out several years immediately preceding 1864, when A.M. Pitcher, N.C. Boynton and Byron Boynton filled the position in chronological order as named.
The hotels of the past in Jay have had troublous and precarious careers, and have been almost invariably overtaken by a tragic fate. The hotels which Jesse Tobey and Elihu Bartlett kept in the second quarter of this century, burned. About 1830 Jesse Tobey built another hotel on the corner directly opposite the site of D.K. Day's store. The ownership fell soon to G.G. Tobey, who sold it in 1856 to Mrs. Caroline Green. She owned it when it too was destroyed by fire. It has never been rebuilt. The hotel now in operation has been under the superintendence of Nelson Patterson since December, 1884.
The oldest store in the village is D.K. Day's. Mr. Day opened a store in the same building he now occupies in 1869, when he bought out Monroe Hall. Hall had been a general merchant in the place a long time. The village in population and thrift was then about what it is now.
G.A. Purmort & Co., who had formerly owned the forge at Jay, were dealing in merchandise in 1869, and had been since early in the century.
George Slyter came to Jay in December, 1884, and opened a grocery and furniture store and began the undertaking business.
J.&J. Rogers's Iron Company have a general store in connection with their iron business, which provides for the wants of their employees.
The forge now owned by the J.&J. Rogers Iron Company, whose headquarters are at Ausable Forks, was started in 1809 by John Purmort. Afterwards the title was in G.A. Purmort & Co., from whom it passed into the hands of the present owners in 1864. It has now six fires. (For account of their works, see Ausable Forks.)
The village possesses three physicians, Dr. Ezra Robinson, of about three years practice here, Dr. St. Pierre Fuller, who has been here many years, and Dr. Frank Kendall, of eight or ten years' standing. There are no lawyers here.
Churches. — The Baptist Church of Jay was organized in 1798, although at the beginning it was a part of the Peru Church, and the same pastor, Rev. Solomon Brown, officiated at both places. The records from 1799 to 1807 are lost. Licentiates who preached for these churches then were Dana Clark, Cyrus Call and Eli Stone. The last-named were ordained in 1817. In 1815-16 Abel Bingham, an Indian missionary, was one of the deacons. Eighty members were added to the church in that season. In 1818 Cyrus Call preached and was paid a salary. About this time, through some difficulty with a refractory member, the church was disbanded, but it was reorganized in 1822, with a membership of only thirty-seven. Stephen Wise, of Chazy, was ordained in 1826, and Joel Peck in 1827. The Saranac Church was separated from it in 1828. A church edifice was commenced the same year, but was not ready for dedication until 1835. Meanwhile, 1830, the church was agitated considerably by the Masonic and temperance excitements during the pastorate of Revs. Conant Sawyer and Isaac Sawyer. Notwithstanding these impediments, there were very fruitful revivals under the ministrations of both the Sawyers. In 1835-37 Rev. Bryant was pastor. There have been twenty-one pastors called to this church, and four ordained. Rev. Isaac Sawyer was succeeded by Rev. John A. Dodge. Since his time the following have officiated: Revs. Charles Berry, William Kingsley, Joseph W. Sawyer, J.J. Babcock, H. Steelman, J.J. Townsend, W.H. Pease, C.D. Fuller, A.W. Stoekiom, M.F. Negus and G.N. Harmon.
Besides the revivals during the labors of Revs. Conant and Isaac Sawyer, there were important additions under Revs. Charles Berry and J.J. Babcock. There have been in this church (in September, 1884) 416 baptisms, 152 additions, 256 dismissed by letter, sixty-nine expelled, 106 died, sixty-five dropped. Five licentiates have been sent out. The Sunday was started in 1830. The bell which swings from the cross-beams in the belfry of this old stone church is widely known as of a rich and mellow tone. The rivers that find their sources near at hand and flow in diverse directions, find their outlets as far apart as Long Island Sound and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The idea suggested by this and its situation has found expression in the following beautiful poem by Frank Daniel Blish:—
"The bell at Jay, the rivers, breeze,
To North and South send greeting;
Beneath the Adirondack trees
The Hudson's heart is beating.
O Bell sublime!
In ancient dust
Earth's archives rust;
But not thy rhyme!
Thy voice is clear;
I hear it here,
Subdued by time!
"Thy counterfeits resemble thee
As murmurs in commotion
Upon the tongue-tied midland sea
The speech of unbound ocean.
While music fills
And echoes mock
While grandeur thrills
Thy tones will last;
Thy zone was cast
Between the hills!
"My wish for fame I'll gladly spurn
As youth's companions meet me
When I to childhood's home return
If thy glad welcome greet me.
Thy slender fronts
Of brake and fern
May shake and turn;
At lips of bronze
Thy challenge fling;
Thy welcome ring
My heart responds!"
Methodist. — The Methodist Episcopal Church of Jay dates its organization about the year 1815, when it was a part of the old Plattsburg circuit. There was a class here in 1812. The first quarterly meeting was held in 1816 in Elihu Hall's barn. The first church edifice (frame) was erected in 1820, across the square from the present brick church, was built a year or two prior to 1850. One of the first pastors was the Rev. ____ Eighamy. About 1816 the Revs. Eli Barrett and Jeremiah McDaniels were here. These early preachers traveled about from one place to another in their circuit on horseback. Since 1817 the following pastors have officiated: Revs. J. Boyington and Moses Amidon; Gilbert Lyon and Harvey De Wolf; Cyrus Silliman and Phineas Doane; Harvey De Wolf and Cyrus Prindle; Darius Stephens, Ibri Cannon and Hiram Meeker; Orrin Peer and Phineas Doane; James Coville and Jacob Leonard.
In 1861 Rev. J.S. Mott was the pastor, and was succeeded by pastors as follows: Revs. W.W. Foster, Edward Turner, I. Le Barron, D.C. Ayres, A.C. Lyon, A.S. Bigelow, R.J. Davies. In 1879-82 Rev. E.J. McKernan preached here, and was followed by the present pastor, Rev. F.K. Potter, who came in the spring of 1882. The present membership of the church is two hundred and seventy-two. The church property is valued at $4,500.
The Sunday was started soon after the first church was built, and has continued to the present. The first superintendent was George Griswold. G.G. Tobey is the present superintendent.
The early industries of Upper Jay have been spoken of in the introductory matter of this chapter. The oldest inhabitant now living in the village is Henry Prime, who came here in 1823. According to his recollection the hotel which in 1823 was run by Mr. Cook went into the possession of Benjamin Wells about 1830. Shortly afterwards Alanson Hayes kept it about two years, when Henry Prime bought it. During the first two years of Prime's ownership George Kline kept it for him. The hotel was burned in 1865. An old carding-machine and dye-shop, which had been owned by Isaac Williams some time before 1820, was moved on to the site of the old hotel a few months after the fire by Charles Smith, who purchased the land of Mr. Prime. The present hotel has been kept by Charles Coppins for the past three years.
In the spring of 1867 A.S. Prime started a general store here and continued sole proprietor of the business for five years. For three years after that Silas W. Prime was his partner. Then Spencer G. Prime went in with them. This relation subsisted until 1883, when A.S. Prime went out. The business has grown to large proportions. They expend from $100,000 to $125,000 annually in the purchase of stock.
In January 1885, a grist-mill owned by Prime Brothers and John T. Heald was destroyed by fire. It was built in 1847 by Sylvanus Wells.
About a mile north of Upper Jay a saw-mill is owned and run by W. & W. Nye. There are also two wheelwright shops here, one owned by A.S. Prime and another by Charles Fish. George W. Stickney owns a carding-machine, and conducts a cloth-dressing shop and cider-mill all in the same building. Ellbridge Storrs is the undertaker for the village. Dr. A.J. Merrill has practiced medicine here a number of years. The only lawyer in the place is George Smith, who has been located here about five years.
The present postmaster is A.P. Prime, who is of about ten years' standing. For forty years or more before his entrance to the office Benjamin Wells officiated.
Ausable Forks is the largest and most thriving though not the oldest village in the town. A considerable portion, both of its population and business, is in Clinton county, on the north bank of the Ausable river. Most of the territory now occupied by the village of Ausable Forks was once owned by Zephaniah Palmer. In 1825 Burt & Vanderwarker bought the property of Palmer, and built several saw-mills on the Ausable. In 1828, in connection with Keese, Lapham & Co., they erected a four-fired forge, which was then supplied with ore from the Arnold bed and Palmer Hill. About this time a second saw-mill was put up. A stock company was organized in 1834, and entitled the Sable Iron Company, Reuben Sanford, Arder Barker, James Rogers, John Fitzgerald, Richard H. Peabody, Robert B. Hazard and Calvin Cook being trustees. In 1835 the business was conducted for the company under the management of their agent, John Woodman. Owing to business embarrassments, operations were suspended in 1836 and until 1837, when James and John Rogers purchased the entire property. In 1848 they erected a forge on the dam on the west branch of the river, consisting of four fires. The most important of the works are situated on a point of land extending into the south branch of the river from the southern bank. The rolling-mill was built in 1834.
The J.&JJ. Rogers Iron Company had its origin in a business established at Black Brook, Clinton county, in 1832, by two brothers, James and John Rogers. As above stated, they became the owners of the works at the Forks in 1837, although they held prominent interests there in 1834. In 1864 they bought out the Purmort iron interest at Lower Jay, and immediately enlarged the works at that place.
In 1870 (December 29th) a joint stock company was organized, called the J.&JJ. Rogers Iron Company, which succeeded the former partnership interests at these three villages. The first officers were: President, James Rogers; vicepresent, John Rogers; trustees, James Rogers, John Rogers, Halsey Rogers, son of James, and Thomas Rogers, son of John. In 1871 Halsey Rogers died, and in the same year Henry D. Graves, son-inlaw of James Rogers, was elected to fill the vacancy thus caused in the board of trustees. In 1872 Thomas Rogers withdrew from the company by reason of ill health. Hiram W. Stetson succeeded him as trustee. James Rogers retired in 1876, and in January following his son-in-law, George Chahoon, became a member of the board. John Rogers was then elected president, and Henry D. Graves vice-president. John Rogers retired in May, 1879 (and died in a few days), and his position was filled by the election of Benjamin E. Wells. Henry D. Graves was then elected president, Hiram W. Stetson vicepresident, and Benjamin E. Wells secretary.
The company runs four fires at Ausable Forks and six at Jay. The business here and at Jay is under the supervision of H.D. Graves and George Chahoon, while Hiram W. Stetson and Benjamin E. Wells conduct the works at Black Brook. The general superintendent at Jay is Ezra Fairbanks. In addition to their iron business at Jay, this company is largely engaged in the manufacture of brick.
The ore is taken exclusively from the Palmer bed, two miles north of the Forks, in Clinton county, and is the finest of Bessemer. The products of the company's works are charcoal blooms, and bars for conversion into cast steel, Peru horse-shoe iron, round and square iron, and Sable-cut nails.
Although the aggregate result of the industry and capable exertion of the leading spirits of this company pronounce their efforts a wonderful success, they have been many times subjected to the severest of reverses. The wellremembered freshet of 1856, and another in 1857, caused fearful devastation among the works on both branches of the river at Ausable Forks, and the Messrs. Rogers lost by each flood no less than $25,000. In 1864 they lost $90,000 by fires.
Mercantile. — In July, 1864, Henry Smith and George Featherson entered into partnership and, under the firm name of H. Smith & Co., began the sale of general merchandise in the building which they still occupy and which they then erected. They started with a stock of about $10,000 value and are now quoted as carrying from $50,000 to $70,000.
W.J. Gillespie started a drug store here in April, 1874, and removed into his present quarters in October following. In March 1880, his brother, H.E. Gillespie, purchased an interest in the business. They have two stores in Ausable Forks — one on either side of the river, and one in Bloomingdale. The total value of their stock is estimated at $24,000.
Smith & Prime have a drug store on the Clinton side.
John C. De Kalb came here in August, 1882, and established a general store on Main street, Essex side. He owns the building, which he built himself. He carries a stock valued at about $12,000.
Hotels. — The American House, Clinton side, was built by James Rogers. John Hargraves assumed control of the property and business in 1868. In 1870 his son-in-law, E.D. Fillmore, went in with him. This relation was dissolved January, 1885, by the death of Mr. Hargraves. Mr. Fillmore is now the sole proprietor.
What is now called the Ausable House was built in 1832 by George M. Burt, and was one of the earliest frame houses in the village. At the time of its erection it was the largest hotel between Whitehall and Plattsburg. It had no name until about 1854, when Justus G. Failes kept it under the name Tahawas House. It took its present name when Parker Torrance ran it. Torrance bought it in 1862 of Joseph Downey. He was followed by H.H. Sherburne, now of the Valley House in Elizabethtown. Patrick Hogen kept it about eighteen months after Sherburn left. In 1876 C.H. Kendall, now of Saranac Lake, became the proprietor and remained until February, 1883, when the present proprietor, A.E. Barrett, came into possession. H. Smith & Co. have owned the hotel property since 1875.
Tannery. — Isaac Lake now owns a tannery on the Clinton side, which was begun about 1840. Benoni Lake owned it originally.
Professional Men. — Thomas D. Trumbull was admitted at Plattsburg in 1844 as an attorney and in 1848 to general practice. He opened an office here in 1845, in the same building he now occupies. He passed his preliminary period of study with Gardner Stowe, then of Keeseville, four years, and with Lemuel Stetson, of the same place, six months. His son, Thomas D. Trumbull, jr., occupies the same office as his father, but conducts an independent practice. He was admitted in Michigan in 1875, and re-admitted to practice in this State at Albany, November 18th, 1881, after a clerkship of eighteen months in his father's office. The Messrs. Trumbull are the only attorneys in Ausable Forks.
Dr. Conant Sawyer began to practice medicine on the Essex side in 1867. He was educated for his practice in the Albany Medical University. His first office was in the Graves block.
Dr. Francis J. D'Avignon commenced practicing in Ausable Forks September 12th, 1875, after an experience of eighteen months at Clintonville. He was just before that graduated from the Louisville Medical College of Louisville, Ky.
Dr. Andrew W. Riley was graduated from the medical department of the University of New York in 1880. In March, 1880, he opened an office in Clintonville. He came here January 1st, 1882, and formed a partnership with Dr. D'Avignon, which still subsists. On the 1st of December, 1883, they were burned out, their office then being over the drug store of Smith & Prime. They removed into an office over Gillespie's drug store, where they remained until their last change, January 1st, 1885, at which time they came into their present office.
Press. — There is no newspaper in Ausable Forks at present. D.L. Hayes began the publication of a weekly paper called the Mountain Echo about 1878, but after a flickering struggle for existence of about five years it expired.
Fire Company. — The Ausable Forks Fire Department was organized June 29th, 1878, with the following officers: Chief engineer, George Chahoon; assistant chief engineer, Peter Fremyea; treasurer, H.D. Graves; Secretary, John Brenan. It comprises three companies: Graves Hose Company No. 1, Engine Company No. 2, and the Adirondack Hook and Ladder Company No. 3. The membership of the entire department is sixty.
Masonic Lodge. — Tahawas Lodge (U.D.) was established October 6th, 1884, with the following officers: W.J. Gillespie, master; George A. Everrest, senior warden; N.B. Slater, junior warden; George Chahoon, treasurer; J. G. McKinnon, secretary; J.H. Smith, senior deacon; George L. Gray, junior deacon; D.G. Cronk, tyler; Emerson Featherson, Benjamin E. Wells, H.G. Graves, trustees. The first registry shows a membership of fifty-seven.
School. — Prior to July 24th, 1883, Ausable Forks had only a district school. At that time, however, the present union system was adopted, and the following board of education chosen: James Rogers, George Featherson, Dr. A.W. Riley, William Hopkins and George L. Gray. In 1882 the old school-house had been entirely rebuilt at an expense of about $2,500. It was originally erected in 1870. There are now six departments in the school — academic, grammar, intermediate, and three primary departments — conducted by a corps of seven teachers. The first principal was C.M. Bean, of Cortland county, who remained until the close of 1883. The present principal is S. McKay Smith, of Herkimer county. There are three buildings now in use, of which the main one is on the Essex side.
Churches. — The first prayer-meeting held in Ausable Forks under the auspices of the Presbyterian denomination was started by Joseph Horr, who moved here from Keeseville in 1836. It was held in the old school-house. In 1837 the church edifice was erected. The present organization of the church was not completed until May 2d, 1839. Among the first members were Joseph Horr, Esther Horr, John T. Duncan, Fanny Duncan, Warren Bigelow, Sarah Hawkett, Mariah Burt, Minerva Whitley and Parthena White. The first elders were Joseph Horr and John T. Duncan. Joseph Horr was the first deacon.
Rev. E.B. Baxter, from Jericho, Vt., filled the pulpit for a short time. In September, 1839, Rev. Calvin B. Cady accepted a call from the church. In the summer of 1843 Rev. Thorm supplied the pulpit. From 1848 to 1851 the pastor was Rev. James Miller; in 1851, Rev. P.Q.H. Myers; 1853-53, Rev. John Scott. During the pastorate of Rev. John Scott the church building was destroyed by fire, and the present structure immediately erected, at a cost of about $3,000. In 1856-57 Rev. Amos W. Seeley was the settled pastor, and was succeeded in the latter year by Rev. John S. Stone. Although Mr. Stone labored here for several years he was not called until 1860. In 1862 he went to the war as chaplain, and was killed. From 1864 to 1867 Rev. G.T. Everest served.
The first Sunday-school in the village was organized in the spring of 1837 by Joseph Horr. James W. Flack and Charles Brewster were the first superintendents. From 1856 to 1873 the duties of that position were performed by R.C.R. Chase, since which time the pastor has been continuously elected superintendent. The present assistant is G.M. Beckwith.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Ausable Forks was organized about the year 1840. Among the first members were the Vanderwarkers, John Gibson and wife, Benjamin Kent and family, Mrs. Farrington, Joel Bull, Zimri Carpenter, and George Griswold. The name of the first pastor does not appear in the records. In 1848 Revs. Charles L. Hagar and Andrew McGilton were sent to the Wilmington circuit, which included Ausable Forks. During that and the following year the church edifice was completed, at a cost of about $3,000. In 1874 and '75, under the influence of Rev. G.H. Robbins, the church was enlarged and thoroughly repaired, and a new bell swung, at a total cost of about eighteen hundred and fifty dollars.
The Sunday was organized in 1857, under the superintendence of L.D. Gray. The second superintendent was C.D. Meigs. In 1860 E.A. Richardson followed him and held the position until May, 1884, when the present incumbent, Nathan Jones, was elected.
In 1854 North Jay, and in 1876 Palmer Hill, were attached to the Ausable Forks charge, and are now considered a part of the church. The total membership of the church is one hundred and twenty-four, and of the Sunday one hundred and twenty-five. The present pastor is Rev. E.C. Farwell. The trustees are E.A. Richardson, William Weston, G.L. Gray.