« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
The village charter, granted March 30th, 1811, was amended in 1827, and the corporation authorized to open streets, which had been dedicated to public use, as laid down on a map made by the proprietor, in 1811. The power given was exerted in the first instance, by opening Albany, Garden and Second streets, at the expense of the owners of the adjoining lots. This touched the proprietor's purse, and he consented to sell in fee the lots on those streets. This, however, did not reach the water power, which was not improved, neither would the proprietors on either side of the river consent to sell lots and water rights, but the alien owner adopted the plan of making short leases, by which he anticipated a rich harvest on the falling in of the revisions. The people of the village were not slow to perceive the fatal effects of this policy, and applied to the legislature for the passage of an act to prohibit the alien proprietor from making any grants or leases, except in fee. These were the conditions on which he was authorized to take, hold and convey lands in this state. The act passed the senate at the session of 1831, and was sent to the assembly for concurrence. The agents offered to sell the whole proprietary interest in the village for $50,000, and active negotiations were set on foot by several parties to make the purchase. The act made slow progress in the assembly. The leading citizens of the village were appealed to, and advised to form a company, and make the purchase. The bill was finally acted upon in the house, and rejected. Almost simultaneous with that rejection, the sale was effected to several members of that body and other parties, and the purchasers in a short time realized a net $50,000 on their purchase, or very nearly that sum. Whether there was any connection between the defeat of the bill, which I had some agency in carrying through the senate, and the sale, I never sought to know. The sale accomplished all that we of the village desired, because we believed the purchasers had bought with the intention of elling out, as fast as they could; but the proprietor, Mr. Ellice, had a large interest at stake; he was the owner of other considerable tracts of land, not only in this county, but in different parts of the state; it was important to him, therefore, to get rid of the restrictive provisions of the bill, in respect to his other lands. His agents in this country were well satisfied that the applicants for coercive but just measures would not rest quietly under one defeat, and that his interests would be damaged in proportion to the duration of the controversy.
The new proprietors made immediate arrangements to bring the property into market, and effected large sales by auction and private sale, in the year 1831, and in the course of a few years, what remained of the original purchase, with other lands of Mr. Ellice on the north side of the river, came into the hands of Richard R. Ward and James Munroe Esquires, of the city of New York, not however as joint owners. No sale of the water power, in separate lots or privileges, were made before Mr. Ward became the sole owner of all that portion of the original purchase from Mr. Ellice. When these were brought into market, Gen. Bellinger, the principal owner of the water power, on the south side of the river, supposing a prior appropriation might not tally with his private interests, also came into market, and mills, factories, foundries and other machinery, were soon in operation, giving life, vigor and animation, to this circumscribed spot.
After the opening of the canal in 1825, the little patch of habitable earth in its vicinity, was soon improved, and what had hitherto been a wild, broken cedar thicket, was converted into a habitable spot and active business place, by the art of man. In 1830, the whole population of the town was, 2,539, and about 1,700 of that number, were within the village limits.
It appears by the recent census that the population of the town on the 1st day of June, 1855, was 4,930, and that within the corporation limits, which embraces a small portion of Manheim, the whole population was, 3,972. The progress
of the village in population and industrial pursuits has been slow, but quite as rapid as any of its sister villages in the valley between Utica and Schenectady. It now ranks the first in population and commercial and manufacturing importance.
This village contains two large and commodious brick schoolhouses, with a capacity of seating 600 pupils, which cost about $10,000; two stone, one brick, and two wood framed churches. These structures have all been erected within the last 25 years, and evince a commendable feeling of public spirit and liberality in the population of the village.
It is a singular, and perhaps a remarkable fact, that although the inhabitants of the village have increased 2272, in the last quarter of a century, there are not now over 300 residents, who were such in 1830; and not over 30 of the inhabitants who were here in 1815, can now be found within the corporation limits. This place, and the country around it, is as healthful, and the climate is as solubrious, as any in the state. It would now be difficult to visit any considerable town or place of business at the west, even in Missouri and Iowa, without meeting some one who had formerly lived at Little Falls.
The Presbyterian Church. This society had its ecclesiastical organization on the 29th of June, 1812. I think this society had not, for many years a statute or lay organization separate from the Concord society, and until the erection of the brick church at the junction of Ann and Albany streets, in 1831, or about that time.
"The First Presbyterian society of the village of Little Falls in the town of Little Falls in the county of Herkimer," was incorporated April 16, 1831, under the statute passed April 5, 1813, and Robert Stewart, David Petrie, Charles Smith, Daniel Mcintosh, Hozea Hamilton, John Scullen and William Hammell were elected the first lay trustees, and at the first meting of the trustees after their election, Elisha S. Capron was appointed clerk, William J. Pardee, treasurer, and John Dygert, collector.
This organization has been regularly continued to the present time, the church regularly supplied with a settled clergyman, and is and ever has been one of the most flourishing Protestant denominations in the town in respect to numbers, and the respectability and wealth of its members.
Mr. Daniel Talcott, an aged member of this church, who died several years ago, made a pecuniary bequest by his will which enures to the benefit of this society.
This corporation own a handsome brick parsonage, situate on Ann street, purchased by the generous liberality of its