Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Malone Railroad: A Few Oddities

Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain Railroad Station
Just as Malone craves the "Rooftop Highway" to free it from its economic isolation, in the nineteenth century, the county wanted a railroad. It became the single greatest force for economic growth and prosperity in Malone.

The Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain Railroads began construction in 1848 and 1850 saw the first passenger trains which ran in an east-west direction. This railroad ran through the twin, brick turrets of Community Bank on Elm Street. This made Malone an economic hub. Previously, commerce centered in Fort Covington (formerly French Mills) because of the St. Lawrence River.

In 1892 we got the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroads which ran north-south. It's station is now Dr. Weisman's office near Raymond Street.

The farmers prospered because these railroads opened up markets around the state. Because of them, dairying became popular.

Some interesting facts about our railroads--according to Fredrick Seaver, pg. 50:

  1. Conductors did not need to collect fees from extremely poor or disabled people.
  2. Baggage that weighed over eighty pounds was charged a fee.
  3. No work was done in any of the stations on the sabbath.
  4. As late as 1885, when other railroad lines offered excursions to the Thousand Islands or Lake Champlain on Sunday, the Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain lines refused.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Malone & Chateaugay: The War of 1812, Part 2

Fort Covington, Franklin County, New York, USA
Fort Covington, Franklin County, New York, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everyone in the Malone and Chateaugay area has used the Old Military Turnpike. Did you know it got its start in the War of 1812?

After the capture of General Tilden in the French Mills (Fort Covington area--seen to the left), the next "significant" battle took place in Chateaugay.

Chateaugay River
Chateaugay River (Photo credit: NapaneeGal)
Late in the summer of 1813, the United States thought it would be a good idea to capture Montreal. According to Fredrick Seaver, it could have been accomplished had the United States had some competent generals.

From September 26-October 4, 1813, General Hampton's men worked improving the road from Plattsburgh to Chateaugay--our old military turnpike. Ostensibly, we could get goods, but some people believed it would be needed for a hasty retreat. The latter proved more likely.

On October 21, Hampton, whose troops had been camping on the Chateaugay river NW of the village, followed the river north for twenty miles.

Here he came into contact with the enemy which numbered only about nine hundred.

The Canadian army, under the command of deSalaberry, ran away when the American forces came into view. DeSalaberry grabbed his bugler by his collar and wouldn't let him flee. He then made every buglar space himself in the woods. Together they sounded the alarm. The Indians fighting with the Canadians let out war whoops.

Hamilton's troops, who far outnumbered the Canadians, descended into chaos. One troop got lost. Others fired at each other. Eventually they retreated to their camp in Chateaugay.

Hamilton's officers figured, had their boos been competent and sober, they would have won Montreal and possible all of Canada.

Good thing we didn't succeed. How else would we have gotten our poutine, eh?
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Pound: Malone's Early Years

Poor Pig in Malone's Pound
Do you know anything about Malone's first pounds?

Malone's first pound had nothing to do with stray dogs or cats, rather it confined stray cows, pigs and sheep. Certain barnyards were designated as pounds. The first official pound was established at the northeast corner of Academy Green, and the final one was built on the corner of Rockland and Main Streets. The latter pound closed somewhere around 1866.

If citizens found a barnyard animal roaming the streets or eating a garden, they could drive it to the pound, and according to Fredrick Seaver, the owners had to  pay a quarter to retrieve it. In our early years, a quarter would have been a substantial sum.

The pound keeper had to be elected--and he became the butt of jokes. In the fifties, the editors of Malone's two papers, The Palladium and The Gazette were named as opponents for the office of "hog reeve" (pg. 413 Historical Sketches).

Sounds like a cartoon Thomas Nast would have loved. What do you know of Malone's early history?