On February 8, 1836, Clayton H. (Harris) DeLano was born into one of the earliest Ticonderoga settler families; and, for several decades was a leading citizen of the town. His American family roots can be traced to Philip Delano who emigrated from Leyden, Holland and initially settled into a farm – next to John Alden – in Plymouth, MA. Philip was a Lieutenant under Captain Miles Standish. Four generations later, in 1800, we find Clayton’s grandfather, Nathan, moving from Cornwall, VT to Ticonderoga and first settling on a farm near the outlet of Lake George. In 1803 the family moved to the northern part of the town, (“Streetroad,”) where he built a saw and grist mill and a still for the manufacture of whiskey. During the War of 1812 Nathan, a Lieutenant of cavalry in Captain Alexander McKenzie’s New York State Militia Unit (manned mostly from the Ticonderoga area) fought at the Battle of Plattsburgh, September, 1814.
Benjamin, Clayton’s father, owned five farms in Ti so his early life revolved around farm life. As a young boy he was educated in the local schools and later attended the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute. He continued his education with the study of law in the offices of Hand & Hale in Elizabethtown, NY and then attended Albany Law School graduating with a law degree in 1860. Due to his concentrated committed to his education he suffered physically, especially with his eyes, therefore he never pursued that field of endeavor and returned to work on the family farms until 1872.
Clayton’s political orientation was initially with the Democratic Party; however, as the Civil War advanced he became disillusion with that Party’s principles and changed his affiliation to the Republican Party. During President Lincoln’s re-election effort in 1864 he spoke extensively throughout the county and surrounding area for his re-election. He continue to be active in politics serving eight terms as the Town of Ticonderoga’s Supervisor and was elected twice, in 1869 and 1870, to the New York State Assembly, garnishing wide support in an otherwise overly Democratic state.
Ticonderoga Pulp & Paper Mill. Lower Falls
In 1871, with Clark Ives, Clayton organized the firm of DeLano & Ives, a lumber business, and established a mill for the use of wood products in the form of finished lumber, doors, sashes and blinds. Business was brisk and this firm dissolved and re-formed in 1876 as the Lake Champlain Manufacturing Company with docks in Port Henry and mills at Ticonderoga. Clayton was its President and General Manager. The growth of the lumber industry here was rapid and this business evolved again in the form of a new venture established in 1878 as the Ticonderoga Pulp Co., with a capital of $80,000 and then re-capitalized again at $180,000. At first this company engaged in the manufacture of mechanical pulp and later, in 1882, in the manufacture of chemical pulp. Finally, in 1886, the Ticonderoga Pulp & Paper Company was formed with a capital of $500,000. This firm built new mills at the Lower Falls and began the manufacture of book and writing paper. International Paper Company took over these mills in 1925.
Later, his business interest expanded, and in 1897, he moved to Boston, MA to become the President and General Manager of the Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co., and its subsidiaries. This firm had extensive pulp and paper holdings in the State of Maine.
Similar to another native son and a “Pulp and Paper Man, Horace Moses, Clayton did not forget his native town and keep a keen interest in its affairs and activities. He had a deep interest in the local education system; and, in 1908 gave a lengthy discourse on the “Early History of the Ticonderoga Schools” to the Monday Club. At this time he spoke of attending some of the town’s earliest schools and his efforts in 1857, with Joseph Cook, in siting the Ticonderoga Academy. (Today the site of the new Ticonderoga Emergency Squad’s building. ) For many years his educational legacy continued with the awarding of DeLano Scholarship prizes to graduating students from Ticonderoga High.
Unveiled on October 4, 1910. Located on the Community Building Lawn.
Mr. DeLano’s had another interest – that of the rich historical roots of the town. Again, with Joseph Cook, in July, 1864, at the Centennial Ceremonies held at the ruined grounds of old Fort Ticonderoga, he read his authored poem – “Centennial Poem” about Ti’s early history. As a member of the Ticonderoga Historical Society in October, 1910, at the dedication and “Unveiling of a Memorial Tablet” he continued this historical interest giving an address on “The Landing on The Grand Portage.” One of his last historical endeavors was in July, 1916 when he dedicated the Civil War memorial made of granite and bronze – a “Soldier’s Monument. ” This is located at the “point” of land that once was known as “Artillery Park” in another era; and, later the location of the previously noted Ticonderoga Academy.
He returned to live at Ticonderoga and at the age of 84 years Clayton H. DeLano passed away on June 18, 1920. He is buried in the family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery, Ticonderoga, NY.