Jonathan Bellows: Trail Blazer and Early Adirondack Settler
Jonathan Benjamin Bellows was born August 25, 1778, at Charleston, NH, the son of Peter and Mary (Chase) Bellows, of Bellows Falls, Vt. He was the third generation of John Benjamin Bellows, a boy immigrant from Scotland, who came to this country in 1635 and later founded Bellows Falls, which was named in his honor.
Jonathan was married August 26, 1802, at Rockingham, Vermont, to Anna Severance, the daughter of John and Mary Severance, of Chaseville, Vt., and they went to live with his parents at Bellows Falls. Here two of his eight children were born, Mary Ann and Francis.
When Francis was four years old, Jonathan with six of his friends, Hiram Chase, John Brush, Edward Buell, James Bishop, Orlando Dudley and Joe Kilburn headed North with their families and belongings on ox carts. Records show there were three yokes of oxen and two horses in the band. It is also recorded that Mrs. Bellows rode a horse the entire trip and carried her young son in front of her. This was a very dangerous trip through the woods as the Indians were on the war path at this time, but they arrived safely at the little settlement of Constable, six weeks after leaving Bellows Falls, a very tired but a hopeful band, and went to work building houses for themselves, some of which are still standing.
Here their other children were born: Lewis, Irpha, James, Soomlon, Hiram and Susan.
In Constable he worked at his trade of cabinet making which he had learned when young. Later he moved with his family to Belmont and built a large log house at the foot of Lower Chateaugay Lake. This he used as a hotel Here many notable people spent their summers. Among them was the noted artist AF Tate, who produced some of his best paintings here, among them being “Arguing the Point” which showed Mr. Bellows and his two sons, Francis and Lewis, and a friend, Anthony Sprague, and Lewis’ oldest daughter, Georgiana, who afterwards became Mrs. James Mead, of Plattsburgh. This painting was a masterpiece and sold for a large sum. Mr. Tate spent a number of summers at the Lake painting the grandeurs of the dense forest and beautiful mountains and lakes.
Jonathan died in the house he built and his son Lewis cared for him in his last days. After his death, Lewis inherited the hotel property and remodeled and enlarged it to its present size. Lewis ran the hotel a number of years until his death on July 8, 1886, when his son the late Millard S. Bellows, became proprietor of the place. He ran it for a number of years and sold out to J. Smith Kirby, of Brainardsville, when the name was changed from Bellows House to Banner House. Mr. Kirby’s granddaughter, Mrs. A. M. Chase owns and operates it today.
I will try to give the reader a brief history of the families, which accompanied the Bellows to Constable. Hiram Chase moved to Chateaugay, Joe Kilburn to Malone; and John Brush, Edward Buell, James Bishop and Orlando Dudley stayed in Constable. The histories of their families are pretty much unknown to the writer.
Mrs. Jonathan Bellows was born in 1784 at Charlestown, N. H., and died September 30, 1843, at Chateaugay Lake and was buried in the Bunker Hill Cemetery.
Jonathan died June 2, 1862, and his body was laid to rest beside that of his wife. Thus closed a chapter in the history of one of the oldest pioneer settlers of the most beautiful lakes in the Adirondacks–the Chateaugay Lakes.