Some years ago, the Lewis County Historical Society instituted a “Hall of Fame” program to honor and record the backgrounds of individuals and families who have made noteworthy contributions at the county, state, national or international level and who have some type of association with Lewis County.
Honorees, whether deceased or living, must fit two or more of the following criteria:
- The honoree is or was a resident of Lewis County or its historical boundaries at some point during his or her lifetime;
- The honoree made a direct and noteworthy impact on the history of Lewis County or its historical boundaries;
- The honoree made an historic or noteworthy contribution at the state, national or international level;
- The honoree made a significant contribution to keeping the history of our area alive through his or her support of the Lewis County Historical Society.
The Lewis County Historical Society has instituted this program to record the backgrounds of individuals that have played significant roles within our Northern New York community as a way to preserve the past history of our residents for present and future generations.
Morgan Lewis was the son of Francis Lewis, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. A graduate of Princeton University in 1773, he entered the law practice of John Jay, a prominent lawyer and statesman. Morgan joined the Army as a volunteer in a rifle company and advanced by 1776 to the status of Major. He accompanied General Horatio Gates into Canada as Chief of Staff and as Quartermaster General with the rank of Colonel and participated in Borgoyne’s surrendering of command of the British troops at the Battle of Saratoga on October 17, 1777. Colonel Lewis also escorted General George Washington to his first inauguration as President in April of 1791. He signed on March 28, 1805 a bill passed by the Legislature on March 4th, 1805 for the fabrication of Jefferson and Lewis Counties from Oneida County. Lewis County is named after him.
Franklin B. Hough
Franklin B. Hough was best known as the Father of American Forestry. A graduate of Union College in 1843, Hough became the first Forestry Agent of the U.S. Government and the first Chief of the Division of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture created in 1880. He later would provide the framework for the creation of the first Forestry Commission and the Forest Act of 1885 out of which the Great Adirondack and Catskill Forest preserves were created. Hough held a medical degree from Western Reserve College, and also held a full-time position as Superintendent of the State Census. He was a prolific writer publishing between the years 1863 and 1880 histories of the counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. Hough became a surgeon during the Civil War with the 97th Regiment and was at the Battle of Bull Run. He later became a statistician reviewing Census materials.
Patricia Hough was a direct descendant of Franklin Benjamin Hough. She resided in Pauling, NY, and has greatly augmented the Hough collection at the Lewis County Historical Society. The donation of 16 unpublished diaries of Dr. Franklin B. Hough, along with genealogies, unpublished manuscripts and family records dramatically enhanced the Society’s collection. Patricia became a great colleague of now deceased Federal Forester Harry Dengler who alerted Miss Hough of the Society’s financial woes. Miss Hough became a benefactor of the Society before her death in 1985, leaving a substantial financial bequest that assists the Lewis County Historical Society in covering its operating costs.
A graduate of Lowville Academy in 1939, Dorothy continued her education receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from SUNY Cortland and a Master of Education from St. Lawrence University in 1952. Miss Arthur taught in numerous school systems in Northern New York, finally retiring from the Carthage School system in 1977 as a guidance counselor. Dorothy had a passion for Girl Scouts and was a member of the Golden Eagles Girl Scouts in 1939. She remained active in our community throughout her lifetime and held memberships with numerous organizations not the least of which included the Zenith-Copenhagen Chapter #346 Order of the Eastern Star, the Alumni and Friends of Lowville Academy, Lowville Civic Club and the Lewis County Humane Society. Dorothy served on the Board of the Lowville Rural Cemetery Association, was a life member of the Lewis County Historical Society, and also served as a member of the Board for many years. Throughout her life, Dorothy donated numerous objects and documents to the collection of the Society and most recently through her will, her collection of Girl Scout memorabilia and numerous local history books and scrapbooks. Upon her death on March 18, 2003, the Society was notified that an endowment to the Society had been made by Dorothy that will be administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation.
Francis Foy consistently resided in the North Country. A member of the United States Army Air Force, he was taken as a prisoner of war in November of 1944 as a result of being shot down over Munich Germany. Francis returned to Northern New York and founded with his wife Rosemary the Foy Insurance Agency in Deer River. His community involvement involved: serving as Master of the Denmark Grange where he belonged for 70 years; he was named Legionnaire of the Year as a 50-year member of the Floyd Lyng American Legion Post; he served as a literacy volunteer; delivered meals on wheels; was named senior citizen of the year in 1988 and was commander of the Central New York Chapter of Ex-POWs. He was a life member of the Lewis County Historical Society, where he served as President of the Board of Directors for many years and facilitated numerous NYSCA grants that benefited our organization. A little known fact is that years ago, when the Society was struggling financially, it was Francis Foy who personally carried and covered the insurance costs for our organization.
Lewis S. Van Arnam
Lewis Van Arnam studied art at Syracuse University and graduated from the Detroit School of Lettering. He was employed as a graphic artist by Beaverite Products in 1945 and retired in 1972. His work included sophisticated design layouts, renderings and other artistry for the paper products industry. Lew authored two books: Beaver Falls Cavalcade, 1794-1979, and extremely well illustrated work with more than 150 photographs depicting the early pulp and paper business at Beaver Falls and the people of the area; as well as a second book, A Beaver Falls Album…A Photo-biography of a Small Industrial Village, a compilation of 271 black and white photographs recording additional local color from 1794 to 1982. In addition to writing, he also produced a video on the history of Beaver Falls, and was associated with the old North Country Life magazine as an art editor.
Mrs. Julia Karcher
Julia Karcher was a valuable resource to the history of Lewis County, primarily through her work with family records. In addition to being a secretary and bookkeeper at Lowville Academy, Julia’s most significant contribution to Lewis County and the surrounding area occurred after her retirement in 1984. Her principle project became researching and updating the Farney-Virkler-Zehr Family Genealogy in 1969 and again in 1989, originally compiled by Laura Virkler Farney in 1933. This comprehensive resource documents ancestral lineage of these specific families back to their emigration to the United States from Alsace, France in the late 1700s. She died April 20th, 2003 after an extraordinary and influential life.
Marjorie Hubbard Johnson
Marion Hubbard Johnson taught fourth grade at the Castorland Elementary School. She was most noted for long hours of research and commitment to her most ambitious project, which resulted in the publishing of Castorland Through the Years, a comprehensive account chronicling the history of the Castorland community and surrounding area. Her contribution has provided us with a valuable resource that will be used for years to come.
Harry and Molly Lewis, and Grace Cornwall
Harry Lewis, his wife Molly, and his sister Grace Cornwall have contributed much to the community of Beaver Falls and Lewis County, both individually and as a group. The Lewis’s built and donated the Lewis County Health Camp, as well as the Beaver Falls fire department in 1932. Molly was also instrumental in the funding and building of the Lewis County General Hospital. However, their most important collective contribution was the purchase of Constable Hall in 1948 for $10,000. They then equipped the Hall and restored the edifice to its original beauty. After this was completed, the Constable Hall Association, Inc. was formed and turned over to the county as a museum. Through their philanthropy, they have left a legacy for the public and a treasure in Lewis County to be enjoyed by both present and future generations.
Hon. George R. Davis
Judge Davis was one of Lowville and Lewis County’s most prolific citizens and the long-time Lowville Town Historian. George graduated from Lowville Academy in 1935, and attended Middlebury College and later Syracuse University Law School. He ended his service in the military, leaving the ranks as Captain in 1945. Judge Davis was a member of the Lewis County Bar for over 50 years, and had an impressive public service record to show for it. After serving as Asst. NYS Attorney General from 1950 – 1952 and the District Attorney from 1959 – 1962, he served for 20 years as Lewis County’s three-hat Judge (County, Family, and Surrogate Court Judge) from 1963 – 1982. Even in retirement, he stayed vibrant in his pursuit of keeping history alive within our community, researching issues of current and historic significance. George realized that today’s events are tomorrow’s history, and one could not help but leave a conversation with him with this same appreciation.
Joseph R. Stinebrickner, Sr.
Joseph R. Stinebrickner Sr.’s contributions to Lewis County were wide-ranging and diverse. He was extremely active in his community, as reflected in his nickname, the “mayor” of West Leyden. He was a founding member of their fire department and ambulance service, served as one of the community’s first EMTs, as a member of its Board of Directors and as Chief and Asst. Chief. In the town of Lewis, he was Justice of the Peace, Tax Assessor, Councilman, Tax Collector, Town Planning Board member, Zoning Officer, and Notary Public. He was also a member of the Fire Police and served on the Traffic Safety Board on the Tug Hill Commission.
He also had a sincere concern for the preservation of local history, running a blacksmith exhibit, as well a practicing and teaching the “lost art.” Joe was a founding member of the Flywheels and Pulleys Steam Engine Show and the Papa’s Old Time Gas Engine Club. Finally, Joseph was never at a loss for answering questions or providing entertaining anecdotes about the “good ol’ times.”
Dr. Robert O. Becker
Robert Becker graduated from Gettysburg College and later from New York University’s College of Medicine in 1948. A certified orthopedic surgeon, he spent thirty years as the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the Veterans Hospital in Syracuse where he conducted research, as well as holding full Professorships at SUNY Upstate Medical Center and Louisiana State University Medical Center. During those decades, Dr. Becker pioneered laboratory research in the field of regeneration of bone and muscle after injuries using weak electrical currents. In his 1985 groundbreaking book, The Body Electric, Dr. Becker described the exciting progress in his regeneration research while simultaneously warning the public about the growing electromagnetic pollution in the environment. In Dr. Becker’s 1990 book, Cross Currents, The Perils of Electropollution, Becker showed how our human bodies and immune systems are being adversely affected by man-made electromagnetic fields from power lines, radar, microwaves, satellites, ham radios, video display terminals, and even electric appliances. In his book, Dr. Becker pointed out that “radiation once considered safe, is now correlated with increases in cancer, birth defects, depression, learning disabilities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” Becker is an international authority on these issues twice having been nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Becker has been a property owner in Lewis County since the 1960s and a full-time resident since the late 1970s where he continues his research.
Gen. Walter Martin
Son of Captain Adam Martin of Revolutionary War fame and Abigal Cheney Martin, General Walter Martin explored the Black River country on horseback in 1801 and later moved there with his wife Sarah Turner Martin. He purchased 8,000 acres of land from James Constable and sold this land in plots to farmers. Martin served as assistant justice of the Oneida court, loan commissioner, state road commissioner, and was state senator and first postmaster at Martinsburg. General Martin and his wife had nine children, three daughters and six sons, who also accomplished great things in the Black River area. In 1803, General Martin began the erection of the stone General Walter Martin House, often referred to as Greystone.
Arthur C. Moore
Born in the town of Martinsburg, Arthur C. Moore had many connections to Martinsburg’s early settlers. He was a descendant of several early settlers of Lewis County and was the great grandson of Orin Moore and Polly Wheeler Moore and Reuben Pitcher, a Revolutionary War soldier. He attended Lowville Academy and later moved to Colorado and attended a mechanical engineering school. Following his education there, he moved to Michigan, where he worked for Henry Ford. Due to the illness of his father, Arthur return to New York and started his own trucking business in the Watertown, NY called Moore Northern Haulers. He later purchased a farm in the Houseville, NY and operated that until his retirement in 1970, when he returned to Martinsburg. He served on the Lewis County Board of Supervisors for the Town of Turin and served as their Chairman in 1953. He was also on the History Committee, a town Historian for Martinsburg, a member of the Lowville Masonic Lodge, a member of the Zenith–Copenhagen Chapter #346 Order of the Eastern Star, and a member of the Martinsburg Historical Society and the Lewis County Historical Society, to name a few.
Elizabeth Ann Moore
Born in Gouverneur, NY, Elizabeth Ann Moore attended school in Gouverneur, NY and later graduated from the Watertown School of Commerce. After marrying Arthur C. Moore, she became an officer of Moore Northern Haulers, Inc. She spent summer months at their lodge in the Town of Montague from 1939 until 1942, when they moved to Houseville, NY. She retired with her husband in Martinsburg, NY and resided there until 1990, when she went to New Hartford, NY to be near her youngest daughter. Mrs. Moore’s great, great grandfather was a Revolutionary war soldier and many of her ancestors had settled in the town of Watson. She was also a member of the Eastern Star, President of the Turin Civic Club, President of the Lewis County Women’s Republican Club, and served as Historian for the town of Martinsburg. She was a member of the Lewis County Historical Society, Martinsburg Historical Society, and the Constable Hall Association.
James L. Leonard
James L. Leonard was the fifth and youngest son of James Harvey Leonard, born in Lowville, NY. He received his education at Lowville Academy and went on to hold various occupational positions throughout the area. Leonard began working at the bank of Lowville on April 11, 1840, where he was promoted from Bookkeeper to President over a 14 year period. By 1856, Leonard owned most of the bank, having bought his interests gradually. He also covered the stockholders through tough times, namely the financial crisis of 1857. He later purchased The Valley Bank and the Bank of the People of Lowville and consolidated them into the Bank of Lowville, the chief financial institution of Lewis County. Leonard made contributions to Lowville Academy, the Presbyterian Church, and other institutions of Lewis County to help enlarge and rebuild the buildings. He also assisted Dr. F.B. Hough in the publications of his History of Lewis County by securing a subscription sufficient to justify the expenses of the undertaking. The installation of telegraph lines in the Village of Lowville and the development of the Rural Cemetery were also made possible by Leonard. He was married on January 25, 1858 to Miss Mary M. Willard, however she soon passed away in August of the same year. On his death, Leonard left endowments for many in the community, providing long-lasting support to the organizations to which he had connections.
Nelson J. Beach was born on September 21, 1800 in Hebron, Connecticut, but Nelson’s family moved to Watson when he was still a child. Beach eventually became a land surveyor, a job he held for many years, and married Emily Porter at the age of 29. In 1846, Beach represented Lewis County in the New York State Assembly, and was elected the following year to the New York State Senate. That same year he was appointed to the position of Canal Commissioner for the Erie Canal, a position he held until 1849. Following his position as Canal Commissioner, Beach became a canal appraiser for about three years, followed by a stint as an engineer in the department of the Hudson River Railroad, and later, Beach was appointed to a trust that coordinated the closing of the Rome railroad. After living in Rome for the greater part of his career, Beach return to live along the banks of the Black River in Watson before dying February 22, 1876, at the age of 76.
Harvey Farrington of Lowville, New York was a prominent Lewis County farmer, cheese maker, and Holstein breeder during the first half of the 20th century. He was an official in the Holstein-Friesian Association, acting as the Association’s first export manager. Farrington’s efforts in the foreign relations aspects of the Holstein-Friesian Association yielded large returns and great relationships for the U.S. Holstein breeders. He was also well known in the community for producing some world record size cheeses, which were displayed at various state, national, and international exhibits.
Throughout her life, Mary Teal showed unquestioned dedication to Lewis County. With her husband, she founded a successful trucking company, Teal’s Express, which still thrives today with the 3rd generation of Teals still actively involved. Mary was the Lyons Falls historian for over 34 years. In her pursuit of Lewis County history, Mary traveled extensively, investigating various aspects of past families of this area, even twice going to the Civil War POW camp in Andersonville GA to document Lewis County soldiers buried there. She traveled to most every cemetery in Lewis County, and catalogued every war veteran buried there for future generations. She was a great resource for information, keeping troves of photographs and scrapbooks to document local people and events. As a testament to Mary’s dedication to her community, the village and its citizens honored her by creating “Teal Day” in Lyons Falls on November 25, 2000, her 90th birthday.
Louis L. Mihalyi
Mr. Mihalyi, a native of Glenfield, NY, was a public school teacher and a longtime member of the Lewis County Historical Society. He served as a trustee from 1976-78, Vice President in 1978, and President from 1981-1985. He was a member of the editorial board of the Society’s Journal for five years. He authored Nature, Nurture and Nostalgia, published in 1985. This book is a series of natural history and wildlife essays and observations, which were published weekly by the Watertown Daily Times.
Together with his brother C. Richard Mihalyi, Louis Mihalyi was instrumental in turning over to the Society a large collection of documents and artifacts from their late father, Charles Z. Mihalyi. Papers and proceedings of the Hungarian American Citizen Legion, a significant cultural institution and vehicle for the obtaining of citizenship for many immigrants during the period between World War I and II, were donated. Louis Mihalyi and his wife Bernice, resided on a 95-acre plantation of reforested land that is part of Deer Lick Rock.
Arthur Einhorn was an educator, anthropologist, and scholar of Native peoples in Northern New York. For many years Arthur taught history at Lowville Academy where he was the first to teach New York State-approved courses in anthropology for high school students. He also served as an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Jefferson Community College and as an Associate Director of the Institute for Indians in Higher Education at St. Lawrence University. While his main scholarly interest was native groups of North America and the Caribbean region, much of his professional work has been with the Iroquois tribes in New York and Canada.
Arthur served for many years as the Lewis County historian and Executive Director of the Lewis County Historical Society. In the 1960s, Arthur and his wife Shirley initiated the Lewis County Historical Society Journal.
His many professional contacts were often guests in his Lowville home, including notables such as Edmund Wilson, Vine Deloria, Wm. N. Fenton, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Harold Conklin from Yale University, and many leading figures from the Iroquois Community. After retiring from teaching at Lowville Academy, he was busy writing manuscripts for publication.