Herr-Story by Charles Herr: A look at local days gone by

Before there was Inlet II: James Galvin and the Fulton Chain Club…


In May 1898, James Galvin sold land to Duane Norton who built the Seventh Lake House. But 1898 would present new problems for the association and for Ephraim Myers.

In January 1898, Carthage’s First National Bank’s bank examiners found a $20,000 defalcation by President Myers.

For public relations and friendship reasons, the directors, one who was Kilby, signed a note to repay the money based on their shares in the bank.

Myers would repay them from the proceeds of a mortgage he executed on all his properties.

On April 26, Myers absconded with $6700 from the bank and never returned.

Later it was found he adjusted the books so embezzlements would be hidden until depositors claimed funds.

A year later, son Henry absconded with Fulton Chain Lumber Company books, leaving Peter Rohr with mill operations he soon wanted to sell.

Directors Kilby, Spencer and the others faced severe criticism for their earlier $20,000 note and not immediately replacing Myers. 

The First National Bank would cease to exist and lawsuits to recover losses continued for four years.

After almost ten years of selling the tract’s lands in small lots, Galvin concentrated on selling large blocks of timber land for its lumber.

In a letter dated August 31, 1899 to Allen Kilby, Galvin stated that Rohr was ready to sell the mill, but also that he was trying to interest a Mr. Munson in 5500 acres, the “balance of our tract.”

This did not occur but he did accomplish two major sales: Hinckley Fiber Company, 2911 acres for $26,201 on December 31, 1900 and Finch Pryn, 1200 acres for $11,504 on February 3, 1910.

In December 1901, papers reported that Galvin purchased Myers’ interest in the remaining unsold lands of the tract.

I could not find any mention of who belonged to the association other than Kilby and Galvin at this point.

The town of Inlet held its first meeting on January 14, 1902 and lots would continue to be sold such as for the Inlet School and to Jennie Galvin who would contribute the land for St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

Newspapers would continue to report the Galvins’ vacationing in Inlet over the years.

In Carthage, the Galvins moved from their long time home on Alexandria Street to State Street, across from St. James Church which his father Edward had helped found and which the Galvins prominently supported.

Four months after celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with Jennie and noting many years of summering at the Arrowhead Hotel, James Galvin died on April 8, 1911.

The couple had no children. Allen Kilby, perhaps the remaining partner with Mrs. Galvin, died in April 1922.

In 1932, the Utica Daily Press reported that Mrs. Jennie Galvin returned to Inlet for her 38th annual vacation.

The paper noted her recalling that “the first jaunt (1894 above) was a two-day affair and required a night’s stopover in Remsen. Now she makes the trip in two hours.”

The Watertown Daily Times would annually announce her birthday until her death at age 94 on March 10, 1947.

Among her many bequests was $20,000 for side altars, a pulpit and a communion rail at St. James Church across the street.

She also directed that a plaque be placed on the main altar: “Donated by Jennie Carroll Galvin in memory of James Galvin, Edward Villars, Carrie Carroll Villars, Thomas Carroll and Mary Murphy Carroll.”

Attending Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Inlet, if I sit in the correct pew, I can glance at the names on the stained glass window to my left: James and Jennie Galvin.

Sources: Articles from the Watertown Daily Times courtesy of David Shampine; U. S. Census reports from Ancestry.com; “A History of Recreation in the 1000 Islands” by Susan W. Smith; “Abstract of Title” Elmer Ostrander, Preparer; “Genealog-ical and Family History of the County of Jefferson New York etc” by R. A. Oakes 1905; “Galvin to Kilby” August 31, 1899; “The Carthage Bank Scandal of 1898” by David Shampine; “Fulton Chain Club Prospectus” Adirondack Museum; “Goodwin & Company” Wikipedia; “Manual for the Legislature of the State of New York 1889” by Frederick Cook’ “Snubbing Posts” by Thomas O’Donnell; “Report of the Superintendent of Public Works, State of New York” 1919; “Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Works on the Canals of the State” 1890; Jim’s Burnt Offerings website; “Growth of a Century: as illustrated in the history of Jefferson County, New York, from 1793 to 1894” by John A. Haddock; and the following newspapers on the websites of Fultonhistory.com and Northern New York Library Network: Utica Daily Observer, Jefferson County Journal, Lowville Journal & Republican, The Roman Citizen, Lewis County Democrat, Governeur Northern Tribune, Jefferson County Journal, Watertown Herald, Utica Morning Herald, Watertown Times, Clayton on the St. Lawrence, Watertown Daily Times, Utica Daily Press, and Boonville Herald. Also, articles from the Watertown Daily Times provided by David Shampine.

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