Nina Daniels



Wednesday, November 24, 1948

David Parish had many interests. He was an international banker, as well as a man with a hobby of obtaining wild lands. So in those slow days he naturally spent much time traveling both on land and water. From his fine home in Ogdensburg, he was apt to travel to Philadelphia, Washington, and New York and from thence off to Europe. Of course he could not fly, but he would spend many weeks going the rounds now covered in a few days at the most. When he reached his destination—London, Hamburg, and other points abroad, he took time beyond the imagination of modern businessmen. The journey back to Ogdensburg was also lengthy. Perhaps that was why his trusted agent and friend, or relative, G. Smissaert, was moved to write David as follows, about 1814: "It is not for me to judge what you are now going to do in Europe, but unless you have a certainty of doing something very favorable (you know enough of me to be convinced that being inquisitive does not enter into my composition), if I may be permitted to speak as a candid and sincere friend who is more attached to your interest than he has been to his own, I would advise you're not going at all, and to come and reside chiefly at your very extensive property, which, from what I hear has been increased with 30,000 acres . . . In these wilds the eye is incessantly reminded of the necessity of the ax and of constant labor only to be attained by time, perseverance and pecuniary aid."

Plainly, G. Smissaert was not only a good agent, but a scholarly and well spoken friend as well. He thought if Parish would spend more time on his estates instead of gadding about so much, the settlers would have better roads and other improvements. Probably his advice went unheeded, but from the year 1809 settlers began steadily coming to Parishville from Vermont and New Hampshire. During the War of 1812 the number increased as it was deemed safer to live farther inland from the St. Lawrence where much of the fighting occurred. On April 20, 1813, Daniel Hoard, agent at Parishville, wrote to Mr. Parish: "I will now give you a list with some notes upon them about the families now here, including number in family: Abbott, 8; Matthew Wallace, carpenter; Captain Mayhew, boarding house; Ephraim Smith, shoemaker, 3; Abner Paine, cooper, 4; Ebenezer Brownson, tavern, 6; H. J. Woolsey, merchant, 6; Daniels Ray, miller, 5; J. W. Tomkins, carpenter, 4; John oMore, carpenter, 8; Rufus Foote, nailer, 6; Daniel Forbes, tailor, 4; Reuben Roys, wheelwright, 2; T. C. Colburn, boarding house, 4; Reuben Smith, carpenter, 3; Adam Hind, nothing, both in Mr. Church's house; D. W. Church, carpenter, 3; Stephen Goodman, hatter, 3; Men in your employ, carpenters and joiners, 115."

(To be continued)



North Country