452 NIAGARA COUNTY.
This co. was a portion of the domain of the Seneca Nation, though none of its principal villages
were located within its limits. The first European visitant of whom there is any record was La
Salle, a French adventurer, who, accompanied by Tonti and Father Hennepin, conducted an expe¬
dition up the lakes for the double purpose of traffic with the Indians and of extending the French
influence among the native tribes. In the fall of 1678 he established a trading post on the present
site of Fort Niagara, at the mouth of Niagara River, and soon after laid the keel of a small vessel
of 60 tons, at the mouth of Cayuga Creek, above the falls. This vessel was launched in the com¬
mencement of the following summer, and christened the Griffin; and on the 7th of Aug. the party
set sail upon Lake Erie.1 The first work at Fort Niagara was a simple palisade; but in 1687 De
Nonville, the French commander, constructed there a fort with four bastions. This was soon after
besieged by the Senecas ; and, a fatal sickness having destroyed most of the garrison, it was soon
after abandoned. Joncaire, another French adventurer, built a house on the present site of Lewis¬
ton in 1721; and about 4 years after another defensive work was erected on the old site of the
palisade of La Salle. This fortress was afterward enlarged, and became one of the most important
French posts w. of Montreal. In the summer of 1759, Gen. Prideaux, at the head of a large force
of regulars and provincial troops, was sent to reduce the place. The fort was besieged about the
1st of July; and on the 25th it was surrendered to Sir Wm. Johnson, upon whom the command
of the expedition had devolved upon the death of Gen. Prideaux.2
The fortress was repaired and garrisoned by the English; and during the Revolution it became
the headquarters of the marauding parties of tories and Indians that desolated the frontier settle¬
ments along the Mohawk, Susquehanna, and Delaware.3 Fort Niagara continued in possession of
the British until 1796.4 The portion of the Tuscarora Indians who were allies of the English during
the Revolution removed to the neighborhood of Fort Niagara after the destructive campaign of Sulli¬
van, in 1779, to obtain means of preventing absolute starvation. The Senecas donated them a square
mi. of land, and subsequently the Holland Land Co. 2 sq. mi. In 1804 they purchased an addi¬
tional tract of 4329' acres, for $13,722. On the 19th of Dec. 1813, Fort Niagara, then in possession
of an American garrison, was surprised and taken by the British; and it continued in their pos¬
session until the close of the war. The villages at Lewiston and Niagara Falls were burnt about
the same time. In 1826, Fort Niagara was the scene of Morgan’s imprisonment previous to his final
disappearance.5 The land in this co. was all included in the Holland Purchase, except the small
reservations of the Tonawanda and Tuscarora Indians, and a strip of a mile in width along Niagara
River, reserved by the State for the purposes of a portage road around Niagara Falls. The first
settlements were commenced about the beginning of the present century, and the growth of the
co., in common with the whole territory of the Holland Purchase, was rapid. The great impetus
to growth, however, was given by the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the subsequent
construction of railroads. In 1837 the co. became the seat of great excitement connected with the
so-called Patriot War. Most of the Patriot forces that rendezvoused upon Navy Island—within
British territory, and just above the rapids of the falls—were transported from Schlosser, upon the
The Intelligencer, both of which are now issued by
Richardson & Freeman.
Priestcraft Exposed was published from 1828 to 1830 at Lock¬
port by L. A. Spaulding.
The Lockport Journal was started in July, 1851, by M. C. Rich¬
ardson; and in 1852
The Lockport Daily Journal was commenced, and both editions
were continued until 1859, when they were united with
the daily and weekly Courier, as already noticed.
The Frontier Sentinel was published at Lockport in 1837, during
the “ Patriot War” excitement, by T. P. Scoville.
The Hockport Chronicle was started at Lockport
April 9,1859, by S. S. Pomroy & Co.
The Lewiston Telegraph was started at Lewiston in 1836 by John
A. Harrison & C!p., and was continued about 3 years.
The Niagara Falls Journal was published a short time in 1837
by Francis & Ward.
The Niagara Chronicle was published at Niagara Falls in 1838 by
The Niagara Cataract was started in 1846 at Lockport by
Stephens & Humphrey, and continued a short' time.
The Iris was commenced at Niagara Falls in 1846 by George H.
Hackstaff, and was continued until 1854.
The Niagara Times was published at Niagara Falls from Oct.
1855 to Oct. 1857, by W. E. Tunis.
The Niagara Falls Gazette was started May 17', 1854,
by Pool & Sleeper, by whom it is still issued.
The Niagara City Herald was started at Suspension
Bridge in Oct. 1855, by G. H. Hackstaff; and in tlie fol¬
lowing year it passed into the hands of N. T. Hackstaff,
by whom it is now published.
» The vessel sailed through Lakes Erie and Huron to Green
Bay, where it cast anchor and remained some time. After being
freighted with a rich cargo of furs, it started on its return voy¬
age ; but from that time no tidings ever came of the vessel or
crew. La Salle and Father Hennepin left the vessel on its up¬
ward voyage at Detroit, and afterward penetrated the western
wilderness to the Mississippi River.
2 While Sir Wm. Johnson remained at this place he made a
contract with Wm. Stedman to construct a road for a portage
from Lewiston to Schlosser above the Falls. This road was
finished in 1763; and on the 20th of June of that year the con¬
tractor started with 25 loaded wagons from Lewiston, under the
convoy of 50 soldiers. As the party were passing a deep gulf
upon the very edge of the cliff known as the Devil’s Hole, they
were assailed by a large force of Senecas who ■were lying in
wait for them, and the whole party except one were driven off
the precipice, which here has a perpendicular height of 180 ft.
Wm. Stedman escaped by forcing his horse through the ranks
of the Indians; and one soldier—a drummer—was saved by his
belt catching in the top of a tree below and so breaking the
force of his fall.
8 The prisoners taken upon the war-paths were generally con¬
ducted to this place, where they were often obliged to submit
to the terrible ordeal of the gauntlet. A premium was also here
given for scalps, stimulating the Indians to murder. The tories
who rendezvoused here were usually more inhuman than the
4 Col. Smith, who commanded this post at the time of its sur¬
render, was the commanding officer of the British at the battle
of Lexington. As Niagara was one of the very last posts sur¬
rendered, Col. Smith may with propriety be said to have par¬
ticipated in both the opening and closing acts of the American
Revolution. 6 See page 323.