Letters give glimpse into Moriah’s past

Moriah Reflections

At the time of Grandfather Weatherby’s death, his daughter Jane and I think his son John, with their families, were living with them. Jane had married William Treadway and John to Charlotte Spencer. Grandfather died on August 10, 1850, and a few hours later his daughter Mary Relief had passed away. Within a few days thereafter, John’s little daughter Jennie and Jane’s little son Albert had also passed away. Besides John and Jane, who were married, this left grandmother with five children: Marietta Susan, 21; Ellen Delilah, 19; Betsy Ann Adelaide, 14; Emily Francis Ann, 12, and Thomas Francis, not quite 7.

Jonathan Gilman had come to Port Henry with no means, about 1845, but, after engaging in various inferior occupations, he finally found himself in sight of the fortune to seek which he had left home at an early age. With him uncle, Silas Hemingway Witherbee and George Riley Sherman, he formed the company of Witherbee, Sherman & Company, which developed some of the iron mines in Mineville and was also engaged in many other enterprises which brought them great wealth. He was very active in the civic affairs of the village and was the first President of the Village corporation; he was President of the First National Bank of Port Henry; he installed the first water system and gave the land for and laid out the Moriah Union Cemetery.

He was very public-spirited and did a great deal for the village and his fellow-townsmen. He was considered the best business-man in Northern New York.

In 1847, he had married Charlotte Spencer. He built a house for himself near the foot of North Main Street, afterward called the old Dr. Warner house, subsequently acquired and occupied by the Butterfield family. It still stands but obscured from view by several houses built on what had been the front lawn. It was quite a pretentious house for these days, having its own water-supply from a reservoir built into the hill behind it. And, wonder of wonders, it had a bathroom, which to say the least, was most unusual in those days and in that part of the country.”

Joan Daby is town of Moriah historian.

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