Scots Come to Hammond
Jun 12, 2018 — Drive around Hammond - a small town on the St. Lawrence River in northwestern St. Lawrence County - and you might notice a one of the beautifully built, old stone houses scattered around town, most of which are nearly 200 years old.
Donna Demick, the Hammond Museum Director, has been researching them for years, and says at one point there were over forty stone homes plus a large stone commercial block at Hammond Corners, all built by one particular group of people: Scottish settlers.
They built with stone not because it was particularly easy or convenient (wood was the natural and wide-spread choice all over the North Country, being cheap, fast, and killing two birds with one stone by clearing forest for farmland), but because it's what they knew - Hammond's stone houses look an awful lot like traditional Scottish crofter's cottages, the kind built by poor tenant farmers a few hundred years back.
Hammond saw a huge influx of those poor farmers starting in 1818, when the first Scottish settlers arrived and bought land from a Mr. Parish, a land speculator who bought 29,000 acres along the St. Lawrence River in 1814. He was looking to sell it off in parcels and start clearing the land for farming and logging, and sent land agents to Montreal to entice newly arrived immigrants south to the Hammond and Rossie areas........
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The residents of Hammond will be paying homage to the Scottish immigrants who settled the area 200 years ago, with a series of special events throughout the summer!
Full Article in Watertown Daily Times | MAY 2018
HAMMOND — The residents of Hammond will be paying homage to the Scottish immigrants who settled the area 200 years ago, with a series of special events throughout the summer.
Although the town wasn’t officially incorporated until 1827, the community of Hammond has existed much longer, according to historian Donna Demick.
She said this year’s planned bicentennial of Scottish immigration honors those who settled the community beginning in 1818, nearly a decade before the township was formed by splitting off from the nearby towns of Morristown and Rossie.
She said one of the most common stories is that David Parish, who owned vast tracts of land across the region, lured Scottish immigrants to what is now Hammond with a promise of free farmland and other amenities of the day.
“Mr. Parish sent an agent up in Canada where they were and lured them with the promise of 10 acres of land, a log cabin, provisions for the first year, a cow and a pair of oxen to share between every two settlers,” Ms. Demick said. “I mean, he made it look really good.”
She said the historical accounts point to those first Scottish settlers putting down stakes along what is now the Chippewa Bay Road in Hammond. In many cases they did not find the open spaces and easily tillable bottom land that Mr. Parish’s agent had promised.
“They had to forge their way through the forest to get to land and then clear the land,” she said. “It turns out he was just putting a cookie out there.”
Ms. Demick said she is not sure whether the settlers received the free land and other perks they had been told awaited them. But what the immigrants did find, Ms. Demick said, was a beautiful landscape near the St. Lawrence River, one very similar to what they had left in Scotland.
“They found a lot of stone,” she said. “They started with log cabins and eventually, when things got settled, they started using the sandstone, which was right in their back yard and easy to get. That’s why we still have 40 stone houses in the town.”
Following is a tentative list of events beginning this month. For more information contact Ms. Demick at 315-528-4742.
■ May 19: The public is welcome to join students to place Scottish flags next to the immigrants’ gravestones. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in all five Hammond cemeteries. The Pleasant Valley Cemetery houses approximately 100 of the 200 recorded Scottish immigrants.
■ May 28: Memorial Day parade will honor Scots who served in the military.
■ June 25 to July 13: Three mystery sightings of Kelpie, the St. Lawrence River beast, will occur.
■ July 14: A Celtic music party from 7 to 9 p.m.
■ July 15: Legendary Celtic harpist Kim Robertson will perform at the Iva Smith Art Gallery at 4 p.m.
■ July 16: “Three Weeks in the Highlands.” Mark and Louise Scarlett, Susie Wood and David Duff will present a photo talk at the Hammond Historical Museum at 7:30 p.m.
■ July 18: Hammond Historical Museum will be open from 10 to 6 p.m. with Scottish-themed displays and merchandise for sale.
■ July 18: Hammond farmers and artisans market from 3 to 6 p.m. with some Scottish-themed items.
■ July 18: Tartan weaving with Harriet Burris
■ July 20: Scottish stone house bus tours beginning at 9 a.m.
■ July 21: Main celebration at the Hammond Historical Museum. Events planned throughout town all day, to include Highland Games competitions and blacksmithing, sales and music.
Check Out a Recent Article in Thousand Islands Life Magazine: http://www.thousandislandslife.com/BackIssues/Archive/tabid/393/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2002/The-St-Lawrence-River-Heritage-Trail-A-Tour-through-Time.aspx
This is a small selection of photos and stories from Hammond, from both the museum and community contributors. Stay tuned for more in-depth, individual stories to come!
Full Article on North Country Public Radio | CLICK HERE
North Country At Work is a photo archive and storytelling project that explores the work history of the Adirondack North Country (learn more about the project here, and see more photo highlights in Backward Glances: North Country Historical Photos). We’re collecting photos around our region at photo scanning events; our first was in Hammond.
From the moment we set up in The Hammond Museum on a sunny August morning to our packing the car back up nine hours later, we were busy. Busy sifting through photos, listening to stories and memories of the town and its more colorful characters as seen through the eyes of its residents, and trying to record it all.
Our guide was Donna Demick of The Hammond Museum, who supplied us with museum photos and mountains of undisplayed photo donations from Hammond families. She also dug up family-specific materials for some of the people who came in to speak with us. In a few cases, they had the memories but no photos, and Donna came to the rescue with a folder, saying “I knew we had something about his mother being a school-teacher…”
We heard the same names and places again and again, the town’s collective memory and identity inextricably tied to its work. After just one day exploring Hammond’s work history, we felt as though we knew the town. We knew the famous and beloved Soper Brothers, who ran the mill and several other businesses in town. We heard about dairy farming – its heyday and its collapse (an archetypal story integral to North Country work in the last thirty years). We learned the town’s largest families, their surnames plastered across old photos and documents. We saw pictures of the old Inn at Oak Point, where local teenagers could find summer work, back when summer camp was a family activity.
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HAMMOND - Take a step back in time on Saturday with the Hammond Historical Museum, located on state Highway 37, just outside the village, and see what life was life for the community's Scottish settlers who arrived in the 1820s.
Opened in the fall of 1998 and sponsored by the R.T. Elethorp Historical Society, the museum was constructed mainly by volunteer labor from the Hammond area. The 2000 square-foot structure, faced with native pink sandstone, is embedded with a War of 1812 cannonball found on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
"We have a lot of artifacts, a lot of photos," said Mrs. Joan V. Hadlock. The focal point of the museum's collection is an exhibit of large wooden models of local buildings crafted in the early 1900's by former life-long Hammond resident, Robert T. Elethorp. The museum displays replicas of two churches, a barn, a farmhouse, a milk plant, horses and wagons and a farmer's maple syrup operation.
But Mrs. Hadlock says the visitors should visit the stone house built by the museum as a tribute to the 40 stone houses built in the 1820s by Scottish settlers.
The stone house is now furnished with a variety of items, including dining room chairs, a cookstove, an iron bed, two spinning wheels, an organ, a hired man's bed, quilts and other items, Mrs. Hadlock said. "One of the spinning wheels is a pendulum spinning wheel, which was built after the Civil War, for people who were injured and couldn't stand up."
The museum will open on Saturday and June 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning in July, the museum will be open Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Other times can be arranged by calling museum President Edwin C. Hadlock at 324-5517.
Wednesday night concerts will be back, according to Mrs. Hadlock, with all events to be held at the museum barn, except the first, Dan Hammond and the Steel Drums, which will be held at the Hammond Fire Hall on July 14 at 7 p.m.
"They're nice evenings to be outside with the performers up on the front of the barn," Mrs. Hadlock said, noting that Mr. Hammond's group drew so much attention last year that the museum had to move the event this year to the fire hall.
Other concerts and events include:
* July 21 at 2 p.m. - Rick West and his Birds of Prey
* July 28 at 7 p.m. - Goldenaires Barbershop Chorus
* Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. - Magician Ron Cain
* Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. - McAdams Musical Group
* Aug. 18 - Lighthouse Band (contemporary Christian music)
* Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. - David Shephard (inspirational music)
All events will be held rain or shine, either inside the barn or outside on the lawn. Please bring your own lawn chairs. Refreshments will be on sale from the fireman's auxiliary, and everyone is invited to attend.
In August, the weekly children's programs will be held, which traditionally involve hands-on activities.
The annual Fiddlers' Fling will be held Sept. 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the fire hall. Black River Valley Fiddlers will provide music for round and square dancing, and refreshments and a food sale will also be available.
Museum calendars for 2010 are currently on sale at the Hammond Town Hall and the museum for $7 each. Copies of the Richard Dietrich book, "A Geological History of Hammond Township," are also for sale at the museum ($14). Mr. Dietrich, according to Mrs. Hadlock, is a Hammond native and a retired geology professor from the University of Michigan.
Historical Society meetings are held at 2 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month in the museum community room. Everyone is invited to attend these meetings, as the group is always looking for ideas for programs and exhibits, and for any photos that could be used for next year's calendar. Historical Society membership blanks have recently been sent out. If anyone is looking to become a member of the group, call Mr. Hadlock at 324-5517 for more information.