Bellmont, New York

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Bellmont is a town in Franklin County, New York, United States. The town is on the east border of the county and is southeast of the village of Malone. The population was 1,423 at the 2000 census. The town is named after William Bell, a major landowner in the early history of the town.



Due to the slow development of northern New York State, a homestead act was passed by the legislature in 1822 to grant plots of land to settlers. The town had few settlers before that date.

The town of Bellmont was organized in 1833 from the town of Chateaugay. Additional land was attached to Bellmont from Chateaugay in 1838.

Early attempts to extract lumber from the forests met little success due to the high cost of transportation. Mining and smelting iron became a more successful activity until the deposits diminished.

William Bell, who came to Chateaugay Lake around 1783, sold 50 acres (200,000 m2) to Samuel C. Drew, of Gilmanton, New Hampshire, who came to the area about 1816 and settled on the west shore of the Lower Lake. Although there were no regular settlers at that time there was a hunter's shanty near the site of the present Banner House and Drew lived in the shanty while clearing the land and building on the west shore.

The first child born to parents of the Chateaugay Lake region was William Henry Drew born in 1819.

Soon a large number of people followed the Drews from Gilmantown and took up land around the Lower Lake. Smith Bunker located on Bunker Hill about 1820 and gave it his name. Elias Beman, whose brother was a Revolutionary soldier in the army of General Washington, and Enoch Merrill settled on the east side of Bunker Hill and Paul, his brother, on the west side of the Lake.

Jonathan Bellows, from South Charleston, N. H., settled here about 1820 being a direct descendent of John Bellows who was registered on the good ship "Hopewell" from London in 1635.

At the close of the Papineau Rebellion in 1837, a group of English officers summered with Mr. Bellows on the Lower Lake and this was probably the beginning of the "summer resort" phase of this region. Mr. Bellows had a hotel called the Lake House, which by that time had grown to substantial proportions. Among those who came here for recreation purposes were A. F. Tait and Chester Harding, the artists. Here Mr. Tait had a studio and painted such famous pictures, as "Arguing the Point" in which there is an excellent portrait of Jonathan Bellows. Many of these pictures were lithographed by Currier and Ives. Among other famous guests were Dr. Bethums, a cousin of James Russell Lowell and Mr. Ashman, chairman of the convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln.

In 1892 "The Lake House" was purchased by J. S. Kirby who changed the name to "Banner House." Following his death the place was operated by F. W. Adams.

The first saw mill was built by Gates Hoit in 1828 at the outlet of the lower lake near the present dam. The mill was soon purchased by John B. Jackson who later erected a larger mill on the west shore.

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