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And the long tin horn used by master Case, to summon the playful and unruly school children to their daily tasks; and on more grave occasions, when God's word was to be dispensed at the village school house, by some itinerant missionary of the cross, then were its notes heard through the confined valley, and echo after echo, in the still sabbath morning, notified the hour of meeting, on the day of rest, for prayer and praise: that, too, has been nearly forgotten, and few now remain to repeat from memory, the amusing story of the tin horn, which schoolmaster Case used to blow with great dexterity and varied note. This horn or trumpet
William Alexander, was a native of the city of Schenectady, and came to the village with or soon after Mr. Porteous, with whom he was several years connected in business. He was an active, intelligent merchant, and exerted himself to promote the prosperity of the place. He died January 3d, 1813, aged 37 years, of an epidemic fever, which prevailed pretty extensively in the county, and carried off a great many of the adult inhabitants. His loss was long regretted by the people of the village, who survived him.
Eren and Washington Britton were brothers, and natives of Westmoreland, New Hampshire. Eben settled in the village in 1792, carried on the tanning business many years, and died August 28th, 1832, aged sixty years. He survived his brother more than twenty years.
While strolling through the cemetery, north of the village, taking notes from the memorials of the dead, my attention was arrested by a broad headstone of white marble, tall and erect, and I transcribed the affectionate testimonial of the wife, who had consigned to the grave the loved and cherished companion of her long and varied life. These are the words spoken by the widowed and stricken heart.
"Died, on the 29th of October, 1842, in the 83d year of his age,
was about four feet long, and there were but few who could blow it.
The old Octagon church was always regarded as one of the curiosities of the place, and was noticed by the Rev. John Taylor, when on a missionary tour through the Mohawk and Black river countries, in 1802. He made a rough sketch of it, which is preserved in the Documentary History of the state. He says, "this parish (Little Falls) contains six or seven hundred inhabitants," and " in this place may be found men of various religious sects. They have a new and beautiful meeting house, standing about forty rods
Yes, venerable and afflicted matron, I will aid thee to keep in remembrance the final resting place of one who served his country with unyielding fidelity, and remarkable bravery, through the whole eventful struggle of the revolution. He entered the army when only seventeen years old, in one of the New England continental regiments of the line, after some desultory service in detached corps of militia, and remained till the close of the war. He was present when Washington assumed the command of the American forces, at Cambridge, and witnessed his departure from New York in December, 1783. He was in nearly all the battles on the seaboard, from Bunker's Hill to Yorktown. He was active when in the prime of life, and well formed. His constitution was vigorous, and until nearly the close of life, he enjoyed excellent health. Let me perform my promise. He was interred in one of the west tiers of burial lots, in the cemetery at the Little Falls—on ground consecrated by the valor of himself and his compeers to the repose of freemen.
William Fester.—Col. Feeter was a native of the territory now embraced in Fulton county. His name, before it became Anglicized, was written Veeder or Vedder; and in 1786, when he was commissioned an ensign in the militia, it was written Father. In 1791, he was appointed a justice of the peace in this county, under the name of William Veeder. Although the name he bore at an early day indicated a low Dutch origin, this was not the fact. His father was a native of Wittenberg, Germany, and at the commencement of the revolution, the family was settled in the neighborhood of Johnstown, and was so much under the influence of the Johnsons, that all of them, except William, then quite a young man, followed the fortunes of Sir John, and went with him to Canada.
The colonel, in his youthful ardor, felt more inclined to give young America a trial, than to follow the cross of St. George into the wilds of Canada; and on all occasions when the invaders came into the Mohawk valley, for the purposes of plunder and slaughter, he was ever among the first and foremost to volunteer his services to drive them away. On one occasion, in 1781, back on the hill, built in the form of an octagon." His observations, however, convinced him it was not improved. But I will go back a few years. One of the two lots 12 and 13 Burnetsfield, embracing all the water power on the north side of the river, was owned, before the revolution, by one of the Petrie family, who erected the first grist mill on Furnace creek, and was engaged in the carrying business. The following are the names of some of the persons who settled at this place between 1790 and 1800, and who remained here permanently until death: John Porteous, William Alexander, Richard Philips, Thomas Smith, Joel Lankton, Richard Winsor, William Carr, William Moralee, Washington Britton, Alpheus Parkhurst, John Drummond, Eben Britton, Josiah Skinner.
The construction of the old canal and locks, by the Western inland lock navigation company, gave an impetus
when a party of Indians and tones made a descent upon a settlement in the Palatine district, for the purpose of plunder and murder, the subject of this notice took an active part in punishing the lawless intruders. It appeared that the object of the enemy was to plunder and murder a family related to one of the tory invaders, which was not quite agreeable to him; he therefore gave himself up, and disclosed the nefarious intentions of the enemy, who, finding themselves betrayed, made a rapid flight to the woods. Col. Willett did not feel disposed to let them off without a severe chastisement; he therefore ordered Lieutenant Sammons, with twenty-five volunteers, among whom was William Feeter, to go in pursuit, and they moved so rapidly, that they came upon the enemy's burning camp fires early the next morning. Feeter and six other men were directed to keep the trail, and after a rapid pursuit of two miles in the woods, a party of Indians was discovered lying flat on the ground. The latter, when they saw Feeter approach, instantly arose and fired; but one of the enemy being grievously wounded by the return fire of the Americans, the whole gang of Indians and tories fled precipitately, leaving their knapsacks, provisions and some of their arms. The result of this affair was, that three of the enemy were wounded in the running fight kept up by Feeter and his party, and died on their way to Canada; one surrendered himself a prisoner, and the wounded Indian was summarily dispatched by his former tory comrade, who had joined in the pursuit.
Colonel Feeter seated himself upon Glen's purchase, within the present limits of Little Falls, soon after the close of the revolution, and opened a large
to the growth and prosperity of the place, which brought it into notice at an early period; but the paralyzing policy of the proprietor, who was an alien, in limiting his alienations to leases in fee rendering an annual rent, and refusing to make only a few grants of that description, to which he affixed the most stringent conditions and restrictions in the exercise of trade and the improvement of the water power, kept the place nearly stationary, until 1831, excepting that part of the present village on the south side of the river, not subject to the dead weight of nonalienation. Upon the opening of the Erie canal, in 1825, the only erections in that part of the village were a bridge and toll house, at the south end of the bridge; the Bellinger grist mill and a small dwelling, for the miller's residence, and the Vrooman house.
In 1816, there were only two streets, or thoroughfares, in the village. The turnpike, now known as Main street, and
farm, which he cultivated with success more than fifty years. He raised a family of five sons and seven daughters, some of whom still survive, and others have gone with him to their final rest. All of his children, with two exceptions, I believe, settled in this county. Colonel Feeter adhered through life to doctrine and mode of worship of the German Lutheran church, which must lead one to believe he had been early and thoroughly educated in the tenets of the great reformer. He died at Little Falls, May 5, 1844, aged 88 years.
His father, Lucus Feeter, stood high in the confidence of Sir William Johnson and the whole family, and because his rebellious boy would not consent to abandon his native country and follow the fortunes of Sir John, he was driven from the paternal roof, and compelled to seek a shelter and a home where he could. The surrounding neighbors being mostly adherents of the Johnson family, and friendly to the royal cause, the task of finding a kind and sympathizing friend, and one who would advise and counsel him for the best, may have been a difficult matter for young Feeter to surmount. He succeeded, however, in securing a temporary home in the family of Mr. Yauney, a near neighbor of his father. At a proper time, Mr. Yauney presented a musket to his young protege, and told him he would have to rely upon that for defense and protection, until his country's freedom was acknowledged by the British king. The colonel used that musket through the whole war, and it is now preserved as an heir-loom in the family of his youngest son. Col. Feeter was born at Stone Arabia, February 2d, 1756.
the Eastern and Western avenues, which thenextended on the present line no farther than to cross Furnace creek, where it turned down east of the yellow house, thence over the old canal, and along between the old canal and river, to the head of the falls. The Western avenue was not then opened. The other road was what is now called German, Bridge, Ann and Church streets, crossing the river from the south, and leading to Eatonville and Top-notch. There were not over forty dwelling houses in the place at that time. Before Main street was extended west from Ann, the traveled road was down Ann street, across the old canal, and thence along Mill street. At this time, there was one church, the octagon, not finished, the stone school house, two taverns, two blacksmith shops, five or six stores and groceries, and one grist and one saw mill on the north side of the river. This was nearly the state of things until 1828, except the few erections and improvements that had been made on Main and Ann streets, and two or three dwelling houses on Garden street. Ann street, north of Garden, was a pasture. All that part of the village east of Second and south of the lots fronting on Main street, extending to the river, as well as that portion east of the old Salisbury road, was a drear wilderness, thickly covered with white cedar undergrowth.
I nowrelate the followingincident, which shows thecool courage and resolute determination of the man, or I should say, perhaps, of him and his companion. On one occasion, he and Mr. Gray, the father of the Hon. Charles Gray, of Herkimer, had, during the war, been on an expedition up the river, and were returning in a small canoe; when they reached the Little Falls, instead of taking their light craft over the carrying place, or sending it over the falls empty, they pushed into the stream, and safely navigated their frail vessel amid boiling, surging waters, over the rapids. He performed a like feat at another time during the war, when a comrade in another canoe was stranded on the rocks, and barely escaped drowning.
The reader, who knows the locality as it now appears, may think this rather an improbable story. The fact is not only well attested, but we must reflect, that the stream was not then hedged in and confined by dams, arches and artificial structures, and that the flow of water, at an ordinary flood, WW much greater than it is at present.