Friday, May 22, 2015

Living History Day 2015

We had a great day on Lighthouse Point this year. Click the link below to learn more... Article

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Millstone More Than 200 Years Old Unearthed in Ogdensburg

OGDENSBURG - A lost stone artifact dating from the city’s early industrial days has been unearthed at a construction site near the Oswegatchie River. A large millstone, believed to be from Northern New York’s first gristmill built by Nathan Ford in the late 1790s, was recently dug up by a backhoe operator at Hosmer’s Marina, 54 East River St. William R. Hosmer, the marina’s owner, said the two century old artifact was unearthed during construction of a new bait and tackle shop on his property. He said, as soon as he saw the millstone he knew it was a significant part of the region’s early history. “We knew immediately he had found something unusual,” Mr. Hosmer said. “As we scraped the dirt off it, we realized it was a large millstone. I knew this stretch of the Oswegatchie shoreline was home to a lot of early industries. So when we found the millstone, I knew we had found a piece of Ogdensburg’s history.” In the two weeks since his construction crews unearthed the millstone, Mr. Hosmer said he has been able to conclude through research that the artifact was found at the exact location where historians say Mr. Ford built the region’s first gristmill in 1797. The 32-year-old Ford arrived at present day Ogdensburg in August of 1796 with four other men, two women and seven children, and were considered the first American settlers to arrive in the region, according to historical archives. About 50 British soldiers had evacuated Fort Oswegatchie just two months before on June 6, 1796, turning it over to the United States. New Jersey Col. Samuel Ogden purchased the township of Oswegatchie, including what is now Ogdensburg, as part of the state’s sale of disputed lands. Historical records indicate Mr. Ogden then sent Mr. Ford to the north country to look after his interests, and that when he arrived, he found a sawmill operating on the Oswegatchie River, built by former British Captain Verne Francis Lorimier. Historians say Mr. Ford then opened a store, and built a gristmill to grind grain. At the time of its construction Mr. Ford’s mill was reported to be the only grist mill in the region, with next nearest located more than 50 miles away in Canada. Mr. Hosmer said he believes the millstone his backhoe operator unearthed at Hosmer’s Marina on East River Street in Ogdensburg is an original from Mr. Ford’s first Ogdensburg factory operation. He said historical records point to Mr. Ford having millstones shipped from Montreal to his settlement some 120 miles away, and having the heaving stones carried by boat through the treacherous rapids of the St. Lawrence River that then stretched from Lisbon to Massena. Mr. Hosmer said additional research has found that by 1868 Mr. Ford’s original gristmill would be known as the Maple City Mills, and continued to operate until being destroyed by fire in 1925. “When I read the article that reported that the mill was still using the original millstone in 1924, the year before the fire destroyed the mill, I knew that this was the same millstone,” Mr. Hosmer said. “After the big fire that destroyed the business, they must have just buried it on site because it was too heavy to take anywhere.” Mr. Hosmer said he is still considering the best way to display the artifact, and is hoping to find a way to incorporate the millstone into a larger historical display highlighting the importance of the region’s early industries along the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers. “We are still looking at how we are going to display it, but I think we may use it to help people understand how the canal system powered all these early companies.” Mr. Hosmer said. Original Article: click here Source: Ogdensburg Journal May 6, 2015