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The Beginning, the Settlement of Ticonderoga

Dear Brother,

I must inform you of the melancholy death of my Brother John.  He was crossing from Fort George (Fort William Henry) the 25th of November with Hall.  They set out from Fort George at 12 o’clock and encountered a fierce wind until they got above the narrows (Lake George) when they perceived a squall arising.  My brother ordered Hall to down sail which he did and then turned for an island which was at a short distance but before they could reach it the boat filled with water and perceiving that they were sinking they endeavored to make their escape but my Brother was entangled with a rope about his body with the sheep, as we suppose and was drowned.  Hall made his escape to the island.  We set out after them Saturday night and found them on Sunday and Monday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  Hall had been upon the island three days and four nights.  One horse, six cows and five sheep were saved. He had three wagon loads of goods on board which he had brought from Albany which are most of them lost as far as we can find out.  He had 15 bushels of corn and 30 bushels of turnips which were all lost.  (This was the fatal ending of John Stoughton, Ticonderoga’s first settler.)

Elizabeth Stoughton Wolcott (1766-1805) Daughter of John and Ruth Stoughton

For background:  The French and Indian War was fought in North American during the mid-1700s.  the principals were England, France and Spain, who at that time were also engaged in wars in other areas of the world.  In North America their interest was primary an economic one, to protect their established Colonial colonies.

Like must conflicts this War was costly.  The conflict was scarcely underway when the English king, in order to enlarge the ranks of his army, promised grants of land to each discharged soldier that had faithfully served his enlistment.  As the “War” was formally ended by the Treaty of Peace in Paris in 1763 this land grant contract between king and soldier was widely utilized.  (Terms:  Field Officer – 5,000 acres, a Captain – 3,000, Lieutenant 2,000, a non-commissioned officer 200 and a private 50 acres with additional stipulations that included – restrictions for “Gold and Silver Mines, large diameter trees suitable for nautical use, settlement of other families, rents, etc.)  Up and down the Lakes Champlain and George valleys ‘reduced” soldiers made application for their land grant entitlement.  Many former military men were successful in being award land here.  However, most who were awarded these land grants had no intention to settle down on their grants quickly sold their claims to land dealers for some “quick cash.”

Their were several British soldiers that made application, and was awarded land grants, here in the town.  The first three awardees were:  John Stoughton, Roger Kellet and John Kennedy Roger Kellett, a Lieutenant with the 44th Regiment, granted 2,000 acres on August 7th, 1764.  Also, on that same day, John Kennedy, another Lieutenant with the 60th Regiment was also granted 2,000 acres.  On the death of John Kennedy, the patent passed to Henry Kennedy, who sold the 2,000 acres to Abraham P. Lott and Peter T. Curtenius, both New York City merchants and friend of Samuel Deall.  On December 16th, 1767, these two men sold the patent to  Deall for 180 pounds sterling.  On July 25th, 1764, Lt. John Stoughton, Independent Company,  was granted 2,000 acres.  John came to Ticonderoga and began his settlement at the old French Landing place near the rapids. In 1765 he brought his wife, Ruth, his brother Joseph and his wife, Martha (Wolcott) and their two children and his unmarried brother, Nathaniel.

44th Regt. of Foot British

The Stoughton tract was roughly in the form of a trapezoid that today we can identify by starting along the northern boundary of the old downtown business district (excluding approximately 15 acres at the Lower Falls, reserved by the Crown)  south to the top of Mount Defiance and then westerly across the Lake George outlet to Rogers Rock and back in a northerly direction taking in the easterly edge of the Trout Brook valley.

Later after the death of John Stoughton his lands were purchased by Edward Ellice of England, which for nearly a century restricted a more rapid growth upon his lands.  He, and his heirs,  were not the visionary as Samuel Deall.  Subsequently, Deall built both a saw (1771) and grist mill (1772) on his land north of the Lower Falls. To assist with his enterprises here in Ticonderoga, Mr. Deall, engaged his nephew,  John Arthur,  to be his local agent.

(John was brought over from England in 1763 as an indentured servant, but made to feel part of Samuel’s family.  John’s indentured expired in late 1770s and he was paid a wage for his work.  Deall, was a great benefactor to John and he mentored  him in all aspects of merchant and other business enterprises.  In 1769 John travelled with Samuel to Ticonderoga to give him first hand knowledge of water base transportation, employing men, and the operation of mills.)

Proposed 18th French Sawmill to be located at the Lower Falls

Shortly after the war’s end, the British built a sawmill on the site of the old French sawmill, known as the “King’s saw mill,  on the reserved land south of the Lower Falls.  At this point there was also built a broad military road, cut  through the heavy forest, to the head of Lake George known as the Landing place.   This military road later became an important benefit to the early settlers.

During the period from the end of French and Indian War, 1763 to beginning of the American Revolution in 1776, , the fort was garrison by the British, but was let to deteriorate.   At the fall of the British Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775 by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, Samuel Deall’s Ticonderoga enterprises ended.  In 1777, with the Burgoyne invasion and the take over again by the British, the mills were burned and his New York City operations reduced. He died in March, 1778.  After the war, Deall’s lands in Ticonderoga were restored and the development of farm and timber land were continued by his son, Samuel Deall, Jr. and John Arthur, remained acting  agent until his death in 1816.

Early Settlers and Town Development

James Mackintosh lived here from 1766 to 1777.  He ran the tavern, 1766, near the Fort on the Kennedy tract.

John Kirby lived in the area north of Fort Ticonderoga on Kirby’s Point. (International Paper Co.’s Mill) before the Revolution.  During the Revolution he was stationed at Fort George, on an occasion of returning  home he was captured by Indians, later rescued by Capt. Fraser and sent St. Johns. (Rev. Cook)  His family was taken to Canada in 1778 by Sir Guy Carleton, with others, as he retreated from Crown Point.  Mr. Kirby, wife and son returned to Ticonderoga in 1792 being compensated for their loss during the war.   Later in life he had a large business here and was a Justice of the Peace for over thirty years.  He died in 1830.

Charles  Hay before the Revolution was a wealthy merchant in Montreal.  The British asked him to take up arms against the colonists, but refused to do so. His property was confiscated, and he was sent to prison were he served for three years.  He brought suit against the British for false imprisonment.  At the close of the War he removed to Poughkeepsie for three years, later moving to Fort George.  It was at this time that he engaged one Mr. Nesbit to keep his interest in the Old King’s Store near the steamboat landing at Fort Ticonderoga.  Mr. Hay, who had an interest in starting a farm here, sent up cattle, implements, and grain for the farm in addition of merchandise for the store to Mr. Nesbit.  He  was one of the first tradesmen, but a most dishonest person.  He sold the goods and moved to Vermont where he “lived in defiance of the law.”  Mr. Hay moved his family to the empty Store and opened a hotel.   Soon after his move  he was made a Judge and held that position until his death.