Town of Burke–Chateaugay’s Child

The following was handed up for publication and it includes considerable of the past history of our sister town, we thought it would be of interest to the citizens of Burke.

Burke was erected from Chateaugay April 26, 1844, and comprises most of the western half of township No. 7 of the OMT. It was proposed to name the town Birney, from the candidate of the liberty party for the presidency in that election, but this was changed by the legislation. It lies on the north border of Franklin County, east of the center. Its northern boundary as well as that of the State is the Province of Quebec, and its southern, the Town of Bellmont, on the east by its mother town, Chateaugay, and on the west by Constable and Malone. The superficial area of the town is 26,154 and its population about 3,000.

Settlements were made here about the same time as at Chateaugay. No sooner had the old military turnpike come in use that the adventurous pioneers of Vermont began to come in with their meager supply of worldly goods and large families to select and purchase lands, make improvements and arrange for a permanent settlement. The first of these was Jehial Barnum of Morkton, VT. He came between the years of 1796 and 1798 and located on the northern road leading to Malone on land lately occupied by Levi J. Looker. He raised a large family, of whom a daughter married Joseph Goodspeed, also an early and influential settler in the town.

Among the names of early settler settlers we find the following: Asa Hawks, Gilbert Reynolds, Israel Thayer, Dr. Stehen F. Morse, Justin Day, Erastus Farming, Ira Smith, Simon Pond, Timothy Beman, Rufus Jones, P. B. Davenport, Warner Botsford. Peter Bush was one of the first settlers in the north part of the town, near the lines. His son, Leonard, who is engaged in trade at the line and Hiram, resided in the town and John in Chateaugay. Peter Bush died in March 1870. [or 1890; the copy reads “18790”]

The Jordan family located in the town at an early date and around them a settlement was formed which became known as Jordans Corners. The sons, George and Henry became large farmers, owning large tracts of land and doing and immense annual business.

A post office was established at this place some 15 years ago, called “Sun.” We presume this bright name was given it on account of its brightness as a farming and business section, this being the best part of the town as a farming section.

In 1838, James W. Mastin became a resident of the town with his brother, Isaac. At this time the country was very wild. We have selected but few of the names of the earlier settlers for the reason that to give an extended list would occupy more space than we could devote to that branch of the history.

Natural Features

The surface of the town is undulating and inclines slightly to the north. The sod is clay, sand and loam and possesses excellent produce qualities. Along the northern border there is considerable swampy land. There are no elevations worthy of mention. Trout River enters the south east corner of the town, and flows in a north-westerly course through the town, furnishing several excellent water privileges which were early utilized. Little Trout River also flows through the town. Besides these streams a number of small brooks exist. Chateaugay River passes through the extreme north eastern corner of the town.

Town Meetings

The first town meeting was held May 14, 1844, at the school house in district No. 2 and the following officers were chosen: supervisor, Loren Botsford; town clerk, Arthur Smith; assessors, Winthrop Newton, Willlis Webb, Alanson Green; commissioner, of Highways, G. V. Spencer, P. Dinneen, O. J. Clark; collector, John Newton, overseer of poor, R. B. Crippen.

We give a list of supervisors from 1844 to 1899; 1844-47, Loren Botsford; 1848-49, Reuben Pike; 1855, Willis Webb; 1856, Timothy Beman; 1857-58, Loren Botsford; 1859-64, Orson Beeman; 1865, E. S. Goodspeed; 1866, George B. Green; 1869, E. S. Goodspeed; 1870, John P. Badger; 1871, John McKenzie; 1872, John P. Badger; 1873, Leonard Bush; 1874-75, Andrew J. Day; 1876, Geo. Jordon; 1877-78, Alfred C. Thayer; 1879-86, Wm. McKenzie; 1886, Orville M. Everett; A. C. Morse; H. H. Jones.

March 2, 1854, the sum of $500 was voted to be raised to purchase a site for and building of a town house. The house was erected in Burke Center, nearly opposite the Presbyterian /Church and is still in use.

Statistical

The census of 1875 gives the number of dwelling houses in the town, 410, but since that time there have been many new dwellings erected, so that the number has been largely increased. The value affixed to this property at that time was $187,616; number of acres of improved land 18,180, unimproved 7,974, cash vale of farms $940,120, farm buildings $94,485.

Villages

Burke Depot is the principal village in the town and is located south of the center of the town. its growth first began with the building of the O&LCRR. For many years its growth was hardly perceptible and its life seemed to hve taken its departure but during the past few years all these things have changed; a large number of new and tasty dwellings have been erected, a fine church erected, elegant stores and in fact its whole appearance bears the evidence of great thrift and industry. We know of no village on the line of the O&LCRR that has improved as rapidly.

The post office at this place was created Nov. 4, 1844 with Hiram Miller as postmaster. Some of the succeeding postmasters have been Eastman Day, Orrin Beman, A. C. Morse, E. A. Day, O. M. Everett, Geo. B. Greene, E. P Deming.

The Center is a hamlet located as the name implies, is supposed to be the geographical center of town. Here are a Presbyterian and Catholic churches and quit a considerable number of dwellings. The post office was established at this part Feb. 25, 1829, with Ezra Styles postmaster. The office was then known was West Chateaugay. The post office has recently been removed and is now known as Sun, N.Y.

Thayers Corners is two miles easy of the center, and in the past has been more prosperous than the center and at the present is quit and and acive, prosperous village. A post office was created in 1873, of which L. K. Thayer was postmaster. North Burke is a growing settlement with several stores.

A Baptist and Wesleyan M.R. church exists in the locale. This part of the town has a stirring population and is growing quite rapidly.

Schools

Schools were early established within the limits of the town. One of the pioneer schools was kept in a log house near the residence of Ansil Pond. Sally Cadwell was one of the first teachers.

District schools were started at an early day in its history. A graded school has been established at Burke proper and an elegant and commodious school building erected.

Religious History

The Presbyterian Church was originally organized as a Congregational Church June 6, 1845. The present edifice was erected in 1851. May 23, 1875, the church formally united with the Presbyterian Church.

The stated pastoral supplies of the church have been as follows: 1845-48 Rev. A. M. Millar; 1849-50 Rev. E. R. Baxter; 1851-56 Rev. Rufus R. Deming; 1857-61 Rev. A. Millar; 1862-63 Rev. H. Beckwith; 1864-86 Rev. A. M. Millar

The Baptist Church

Is an outgrowth of the Chateaugay, about two thirds of the Chateaugay Church formed themselves in the new church and organized a new society. In 1852 the erection of a church edifice was commenced, but after a short time it was destroyed by fire and then rebuilt and was subsequently sold to St. George’s Catholic Society, and is now occupied by that society. The first pastor was Elder Smith. At the present time services are not regularly held.

Methodist Episcopal

Was first organized at what was then known as Andrusville, now Burke, Aug. 16, 1869, by an election of trustees who were Andrew J. Day, L. H. Brown, George Pond, J. P. Badger and Lathrop Main. A lot was purchased and a fine church edifice erected.

Free Will Baptist Church

Was organized in the north part of the town in 1870 and a church edifice erected.

Wesleyan Methodist

Was organized in the north part of the town in 1871 and a church edifice erected in 1875-76.

Catholic

The Catholics also have a church edifice at Burke Center, known as St. George’s Church.

Military

The military record of the town is excellent. During the War of 182-15, a large number of citizens took part in the defense of their country’s right and performed active service in the Army.

The town actively co-operated in the suppression of the rebellion furnished her quota of men for the Army cheerfully and promptly and many of her brave sons laid down their lives upon the battlefield, and many a household was saddened by the loss of dear ones, but that feeling of patriotism that filled that nation’s heart in these stirring times, found a lodgment in the hearts of the citizens of Burke, as in the whole land.

The foregoing history is very limited in extent and incomplete, but it will serve as a reminiscence to our enterprising neighbors of something of their early history.

Chateaugay Record, April 4, 1990

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