14 July 2014

Amanuensis Monday: "The Town of Ausable"

From Reminiscences and Early History of Old Peru compiled by Seward Arnold, Lecturer of the Peru Grange, and published in 1913.  No publisher is listed --
THE TOWN OF AUSABLE

When the first white settlers of Ausable came to this locality in 1786 it was not to Ausable, or to Peru, or even to Clinton county that they came, for there were no such towns or county then, but they came to Plattsburgh, in the County of Washington, and built their log cabin at the foot of what is now known as Hallock Hill, on land now owned by Percy Keese. It may be proper to say in this connection that this County of Washington to which our first settlers came was about the size of the present State of Vermont, and that Clinton County when first taken from Washington was at least six if not eight times as large as it is today, for it comprised not only the present territory but all of what is now Essex County, over half of Franklin, all of Lake Champlain that lies north of the south line of Ticonderoga, and the northwestern one-fourth of what is now the State of Vermont. Vermont had not then been admitted to the Union and its territory was claimed by both New York, and New Hampshire, but the former held possession, at least of its western part. Now I will return to our first settlers and devote a few lines to their history.

Their name was Everett and they came from the central part of New Hampshire where they had lived about seventeen years, though the parents were born at Dedham and Milton, near Boston. Edward Everett, the father, had been a member of the New Hampshire Legislature and captain of a company of New Hampshire troops in the Revolution. His brother, David Everett, was a soldier in a company that fought the British at Bunker Hill, and he died nine days after that battle, leaving a son, David, who in his day was quite famous as a poet, but is now best known as the author of the juvenile recitation :

"You'd scarce expect one of my age To speak in public on the stage."

Captain Edward Everett's first cousin, Judge Oliver Everett, was the father of the celebrated orator and statesman, Hon. Edward Everett of Boston, and grandfather of Dr. Edward Everett Hale, the famous author. Judge Oliver Everett's brother, Andrew, was the great-great grandfather of Helen Keller, whose achievements, considering her limitations, have caused her to be called "the most wonderful woman on earth." During the first six and one-half years that our first settlers lived in their new home they were in Plattsburgh, for Peru was not made a town till the last days of 1792. Captain Everett served three years as Commissioner of Highways of Plattsburgh, and as such helped to lay out the first road in what is now Ausable, the road that we call Arthur street. After 1 792 he held the office of Supervisor of Peru four terms of one year each, spent the remainder of his days as a resident of Peru, and not only he but most of his family of ten members died in Peru without knowing that there was or would be such a town as Ausable. The youngest member of that family, David Allen Everett, lived till 1861, and has two sons still living, George and Harvey Everett, aged 84 and 80 years, respectively, the latter being the father of William E. Everett, Worthy Treasurer of Peru Grange.

When Peru was first taken from Plattsburgh it was half as large as the present County of Clinton, but it was gradually reduced by taking other towns and parts of towns from it till 1808, after which year it contained 257 square miles till 1839, when it was divided into three towns containing 38, 81 and 138 square miles, respectively. Why they put 100 square miles more into Black Brook than they gave to Ausable is hard to explain, but it is a fact that one is the largest and the other one of the two smallest towns in the county, exceeding only the town of Schuyler Falls by one and one-half square miles. The little town of Ausable thus created is bounded on the north by Peru, on the east by Lake Champlain and Chesterfield, on the south by Chesterfield and Jay, and on the west by Black Brook. Its principal streams are the Great and Little Ausable rivers, both of which flow into Lake Champlain. It has no city of village wholly within its borders, but contains parts of three villages — Keeseville, Clintonville and Ausable Chasm.
Captain Edward Everett (1739-1815) was my 5xg-grandfather on my father's maternal side.

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

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