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North Carolina, and united themselves with the Iroquois confederacy, which thenceforth assumed the name of “the Six Nations." They still hold a reservation of about 5000 acres, lying in the town of Lewiston. They are about 200 in number, and are mostly in prosperous circumstances. They have a church and school, both under the direction of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
In 1725, the French erected a fort at the mouth of the Niagara river, in this county, in pursuance of their design of connecting their Canadian settlements with those on the Mississippi, by a chain of military posts.
Here their efficient emissaries, the Jesuit missionaries, won the affections of the simple hearted red men, by their ready compliance with their dress and customs; and extolling the power and grandeur of the French monarchs, incited them to deeds of aggression and bloodshed against the English. Not long after the erection of this fort, a stockade fortress, since known as old Fort Schlosser, situated about a mile above the falls, was also erected.
In 1759, Fort Niagara was captured from the French, by the British army, under the command of Sir William Johnson. It was rebuilt and garrisoned anew the same year.
During the revolution, it was held by the British, and from its time-stained walls, issued numerous bands of Indians and tories, bound on expeditions of bloody revenge, or lawless plunder, to the hapless valleys of the Schoharie and Mohawk. To this place, too, they brought the prisoners and scalps they had taken, to claim the reward which a British ministry offered for these evidences of their own inhumanity.
In 1796, this fort was surrendered to the United States. At that time there was but one white family, beside the occupants of the fort, within the present limits of the county.
During the late war with Great Britain, the American garrison, consisting of 370 men, were surprised by an unexpected attack from a force of more than 1200 British troops, who crossed the river, and after a brief but severe struggle, captured the fort. Sixty-five of the garrison were killed, and twenty-seven pieces of ordnance, with a large quantity of military stores, fell into the hands of the captors. In March, 1815, it was again surrendered to the United States. On the 14th of September, 1826, Morgan, of antimasonic notoriety, was confined in the magazine of the fort.
There can be no doubt that during its occupancy by the French, it was occasionally used as a prison for state offenders; and from that time to the close of the revolution, deeds of crime and blood were committed there, which the light of the judgment day alone will reveal.
On the 17th of September, 1763, a company of troops, numbering with the teamsters, about 175 men, were escorting a quantity of stores to Fort Schlosser, and had reached the ravine known as the Devil's Hole, on the Niagara river, when they were beset by a party of Sene :a Indians who were then in the French interest, and all but two murdered, or dashed to pieces in their fall over the precipice.
One, a drummer, was saved by the strap of his drum being caught in the branches of a tree, in his fall; the other, a man by the name of Stedman, being well mounted, forced his way through the hostile crowd and fled, at the utmost speed of his horse, to Fort Schlosser. His clothes were riddled with balls, but he was unhurt. The Indians considered his escape as miraculous, and gave him a large tract of land, embracing all that he had rode over in his flight.
In December, 1813, the British burned Lewiston, Youngstown, Manchester, (now Niagara Falls village,) and the Tuscarora Indian village, alleging the burning of Newark, in Canada West, by the Americans, as an excuse for their barbarity.
Early in December, 1837, after the failure of the attack of the “Canadian patriots,” (so called,) on Toronto, McKenzie and Sutherland, two of their leaders, who had escaped to the United States, together with some twenty-five of their adherents, took possession of Navy island, in the Niagara river, above the Falls, and remained there nearly a month, bidding defiance to the British troops, who were congregated on the Canadian shore, to the number of 3000 or 4000 men.
The ranks of the “patriots” were constantly reinforced by volunteers from the American frontier, until they numbered about 600. The British fired upon them, and killed one man; the fire was returned, and preparations made to cross into Canada, when by the interposition of General Scott, the island was evacuated, and the patriot army dispersed.
It was during the occupation of this island, that Mr. Wells, of Buffalo, the proprietor of a small steamboat, called the Caroline, formed the project of running his steamer as a ferry boat, between Navy island and old Fort Schlosser, in order to accommodate the numbers who wished to pass and repass daily.
Accordingly, on the 29th of December, the boat commenced running, and having made several trips during the day, was moored at night, beside the wharf at Schlosser. Numbers, who had been attracted by curiosity to the place, were unable to obtain lodgings at the tavern, the only dwelling in the vicinity, and sought accommodations on board the boat.
About midnight, the watch on board the steamer observed a boat approaching ; he hailed, but before he could give the
alarm, a body of armed men from Canada, rushed on board, crying “cut them down, give no quarter;" no resistance was made on board the boat; all who could do so, escaped to the shore. Five persons were known to be killed.
The boat was cut from her moorings, towed out into the stream, set on fire, and suffered to drift down the river, and over the falls. It was supposed that several persons were on board at the time she went over the cataract. This outrage produced great excitement on the frontier, and had well nigh involved our government in a war with Great Britain.
VILLAGES. LOCKPORT, the county seat, is a large and busy village in the town of the same name. It was founded in 1821, and incorporated in 1829. The Erie canal here descends, by five massive double locks, sixty feet. Before reaching these locks, in its progress eastward, the canal passes, for several miles, through a deep cutting of limestone, where the walls of rock, on either hand, rise twenty or thirty feet above the level of the canal. The descent of the canal furnishes an immense water power, which is partially improved. The village has a great variety of manufactures. Several very large flour mills are in operation. Population, 6800.
Niagara Falls Village is a beautiful and thriving place, deriving much of its importance from its proximity to the cataract. It has been proposed to devote the waters of the Niagara at this place, to manufacturing purposes, but it is to be hoped that such a project may never be carried into execution. Population, 1000.
Lewiston, in the town of the same name, has considerable trade with Oswego, and other ports on Lake Ontario. Here is also a ferry across the Niagara river, to Queenstown. It is the head of steamboat navigation on the river. Population, 900.
Youngstown is a thriving little village in the town of Porter, It has a good steamboat landing, and is connected with the village of Niagara, in Canada, by a steam ferry. Population, 700.
Middleport, in the town of Royalton, is a village of some importance.
1. Mamakating, 1798.
7. Bethel, 1809. 2. Lumberland, 1798.
8. Fallsburgh, 1826. 3. Nevisink, 1798.
9. Cochecton, 1828. 4. Rockland, 1798.
10. Forrestburgh, 1838. 5. Thompson, 1804.
11. Collikoon, 1842. 6. Liberty, 1807. Mountains. P. Shawangunk mountains. Rivers. H. Delaware river. R. Nevisink. a. Collikoon, e. Mon
gaup. g. Bashe's kill. k. Beaver kill. i. Little Beaver kill. Falls. On the Mongaup and Nevisink, Fallsburgh and Forrestburgh. Lakes. h. White Lake. l. Long Pond.
m. Round. n. Sand. Canals. Delaware and Hudson canal. Villages. MONTICELLO. Bloomingsburgh. Wurtzborough. Falls.
BOUNDARIES. North by Delaware and Ulster counties; East by Ulster and Orange; South by Orange county and the Delaware river; and West by the Delaware river.
SURFACE. Hilly and mountainous. The Shawangunk mountains occupy the eastern section of the county. The western face of these mountains is precipitous, but they descend by a gentle declivity on the east. The remainder of the county has an elevated surface, divided into numerous ridges, by the streams which intersect it
RIVERs. The Delaware forms the south-western boundary of the county ; the other principal streams are the Collikoon, Mongaup and Nevisink rivers, Bashe's, Beaver and Little Beaver kills.
LAKES. The county abounds with small lakes, among which are White Lake, Long Pond, Round Pond, and Sand Pond.
Canals. The Delaware and Hudson canal passes through the valley of Bashe's kill.
CLIMATE. Cold but healthy. Vegetation is about two weeks later than in Ulster and Orange counties. In scme parts of the county frost occurs every month.
GEOLOGY AND MINERALS. This county comprises several geological formations of interest. The western half, and a portion of the northern section, belong to the old red sandstone formation, or Catskill group; the central and southern porti uns are composed of the Chemung sandstone and shales; as we proceed eastward we encounter successively the limestones of the Hamilton group, the Helderberg limestones, the gray Sha. wangunk sandstone and grit, which forins the largest portion of the surface rock of the county; and the Hudson river slate.
The number of minerals is not large. In the vicinity of Wurtzborough, and in other parts of the county, mines of lead ore have been opened, which promise to be productive and valuable. Crystallized iron and copper pyrites, sulphuret of zinc, and quartz crystals of great beauty, have been found in connection with the
The red sandstone affords, in some places, a fine building material.
Som AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. The soil of the uplands is fertile and well adapted to the production of the grasses and more hardy grains. In the valley of the Delaware it is cold and wet. The county is well adapted to grazing. The timber consists principally of pine, hemlock, beech, maple, linden, oak and tulip tree. But little more than one tenth of the soil is under cultivation.
Pursuits. The people of this county are mostly devoted to agriculture. But little grain is raised, and that principally corn, oats and buckwheat. The products of the dairy receive considerable attention.
Manufactures. Leather and lumber are extensively manu
lead at these localities.