Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Matter of History: Town of Lyonsdale

By Ramona Salmon

     Most towns beginnings were successful due to the dogged determination of the first settlers. It was not so, however, for the Town of Lyonsdale. The town was officially formed (from the southern part of Greig) in 1873 by the board of Supervisors. Eventually the power of the Moose River resulted in the leather, lumber and wood-pulp manufacturing. The State also provided for the construction of reservoirs for equalizing the water supply to the town. However, it was earlier in 1794 that the actual first settlers came from France to the area in Lyonsdale, known now as Lyons Falls, but at that time was called High Falls. Their hopes were to form a flourishing establishment within the wild wooded country. To get to High Falls they blazed their own trail using pruning hooks. Later the trail would be called the French Road. Most of their money went for provisions that were expensive to obtain out in the wilds. the 'would be' French settlers found the deficiency and inadequacy of northern New York's wilderness beyond their capacity of endurance. Most of them packed up and left the area some to New York City and others, back to France.

The Castorland Company of France

      The reason the French came here in 1794 was their association with the Castorland Company, also known as the French Company. The company paid for the construction of the first official road opened in Lewis County in 1798 from Rome, NY to High Falls. If not for the browsing of the bookstalls in Paris by an American, the story of the Castorland Company, published in 1801 many have been lost. It was translated, brought to America and resides in the NYS Museum in Albany. In describing Lyonsdale, it refers to the rivers that abound with fish, the beauty along the riverbanks and the abundance of fowl. Unfortunately ,m it also gives an accounting of the company's destruction of almost all of the beaver dams, as well as their intent to make the wolves and elk disappear. sadly , the account reads, 'Our hunters will soon make (wolves and elk) disappear, for you know, that wherever man establishes himself, this tyrant must reign alone.'

Early Tidbits

     The first crime recorded in Lewis County was by a man named Crocker who worked for the French. In 1796, he stole a watch and other small articles. Once found out, he escaped and the items were never recovered. in 1799, a white man came to High Falls stating that his black companion died on the Beaver River Road. The white man was believed to have murdered his companion. However, the deceased remains were so decayed that no evidence could be found to prove the white man guilty, so he was released. In the late 1800s, the yellowish brick ruins of the French house at High Falls were discovered.

Caleb Lyon

     In 1819, before Lyonsdale was officially a town, the first settlement began under the agency of Caleb Lyon who was of Scottish ancestry. In 1823, Caleb himself settled in Lyonsdale where in 1829 he built a bridge, and in 1830-31 a gristmill. In 1835, he was found dead in the woods near the Davis Bridge. He was believed to have died from what people then called apoplexy. Apoplexy was a cover-all worked for any sudden loss of consciousness that was followed by death, such as heart attack, aneurysm or a cerebral hemorrhage. The photo accompanying this story is that of a plaque in memory of Caleb Lyon. Its location in the intersection of the River and Davis Bridge roads in Lyonsdale, and was placed there in 1951 by his great grandson Clarence Lyon Fisher.

Ramona Salmon lives in the Town of Watson (in Lewis County) and enjoys writing about North Country people and places that piques the interest and brings back fond memories fro the readers.

Boonville Herald, 
October 26,2011 - November 1, 2011,
Page 10

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Matter of History Bits and Pieces

By Ramona Salmon

     I was visiting with someone the other day that is also a history buff. We talked about many topics, eventually geting around to my story last week about the Indians and Lewis County. What I discovered first had from this person, from a book put out by the 3-G Fire Department years ago, and additional research on my part, enlightened me to many more interesting facts about the Indians in Lewis County.
     This week's title of 'Bits and Pieces' I thought was quite apropos. You can research until the cows come home, but it isn't until you just happen to be at the right place, at the right time, talking to the right person, that you obtain the most important bits and pieces  of information relevant to your story.
     In the Hamlet of Glenfield, one of the streets is named Oliver Place, after the Oliver family who owned all of that area. One of the OPliver family's daughters was the grandmother to the person I was visiting with, and she passed down the following story to her grandson. The exact dates these events took place are unknown, but using the 3-G Fire Departments book as a guide, the timeframe would be approximatley the late 1800s.
     Every summer the Indians, including women and childrem traveleld to Lewis County. Upon arriving they would knock on the Oliver family door and ask to camp on their land. The men would head up to the Brantingham area to hunt and fish, and the women and children would plant and harvest vegetables such as corn and swuash. At summer;s end, the men would return adn, taling the game and harvest, the Indians would leave Glenfield and travel south to Oneida. One year as a thank you to the Oliver family,m the Indians left a large woven basket on the porch, which is still in the family today.
     The Fire Department book is the history of Glenfield, Glendale, Greig and Brantingham. The contributors were Deforest Burdick, Maude Burke, Clarence Johnson, Roland Reed and Lloyd E. Tiffany. The book verifies the firsthand account of the Indians coming to Lewis County for the summer, going even further to say additional gropiups of Indians camped along the Independance River, as well as along the Black River near what was then called the Villiage of Greig.
     Additional pieces of important information connecting the Indians to Lewis County that I've happened upon come from old maps drawn prior to 1795. On the maps, the northern part of New York is named Irocoisia, which means 'The Land of the Iroquois.' The maps do not show the existance of the Black River, but rather notes the area as 'Deer hunting grounds of the Five NAtions.' The Oneida Indians were , in fact, the sole owners of Greig and Brantingham. However, by formal treaty signed at Fort Stanwix in 1788, they ceded most of this land to the state, excepting certain reservations, including a tract 1/2-mile wide on each side of Fish Creek. The early 1800's  history states that IUndians reported that a big fire had swept over Brantingham and ruined most of the first growth timber. The names that the indians face to our lakes, rivers and creeks are: Ga-na-ga-to-da for Deer River, Ne-ha-sa-ne for Beaver River, Da-Ween-Net for Otter Creek, Te-ca-hun-di-an-do for Moose River, Ta-ga-so-ke for Salmon River, and O-je-quack for Indian River.
     A good historical story is more than just facts from books,. It is enhanced ten fold when it includes the knowlege of local people. I would be grateful for any informatuion, memoris and stories you have about our southern Lewis County towns.

Ramona Salmon lives in the Town of Watson (in Lewis County) and enjoys writing about North Country people and places that peaks the interest and brings back foind memoris for the readers.

From the Boonville Herald October 19, 2011
Page 12

Friday, February 17, 2006

new blog

there is a new blog for me. i moved everything over to u can now go there to see all of them.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Banned Xbox 360 Ad: Best Ad Ever!

This Xbox 360 ad was banned. Watch the clip, and you will most likely know why It is banned.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

FOX says you can get shows from friends

go to this page and click on number 8, it says Our recommendation is to ask co-workers, friends, family and neighbors for anyone who may have taped off-the-air the show you are looking for. This could mean that bit torrent is all right!

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Illustration of New York - What's Underground

A well mapped out illustration showing exactly what is beneath you and how far down it is in the city of New York (including the subway).

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

A cool easter egg in the new Star Wars DVD - the "YoDance"?

The Revenge of the Sith DVD will be released on November 1, and is said to contain a little easter egg for the fans - Yoda dancing to a hip hop tune with some stormtroopers bopping their heads in the background!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

CMU students create 4 new games per week

Carnegie Mellon University students will create a total of 50 new minigames this semester�all of them playable�as part of their class assignments towards their Masters of Entertainment Technology degrees.

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FCC: Christian network a "better use" of a school's radio frequency

Maynard High School's radio frequency, 91.7 FM, is being seized by a network of Christian broadcasting stations that the Federal Communications Commission has ruled is a better use of the public airwaves.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


I just have one quick comment about fatherhood. There is no greater sound in the entire universe than when your child is laughing.