The Travels of Abiathar M. Harris: South into Vermont

Abiathar was working at the Montreal Herald in late summer 1822. His final entries for the year are these:

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Thomas A. Turner was a Scot from Aberdeenshire. In addition to publishing a newspaper, he was at one time the vice-president of the Bank of Montreal and, later, president of the Bank of Canada. He owned the Gazette for only a brief period, from 1822-1827.

Abiathar’s diary picks up again 8 months later. In company with a fellow by the name of Brown, Abiathar left Montreal, traveling by steamboat southward on the Richelieu River.

1824 Richelieu River steamboat“1823  On the 27th I left this place for Burlington, Vermont, in company with Mr. Brown – we arrived in St. John’s on the 28th – put up at E. Mott’s – I staid in this place a number of days. The village is very small and very muddy, but considerable business is done in the transportation line, it being the first Port of entry after crossing the lines.”

The place Abiathar refers to as St Johns is the site of the historic Fort Saint-Jean, first built in 1666. In looking for something about Mott’s Inn, I came across this excerpt from a traveler who took the same route about 20 years later:

Biog of W H Merritt

Google Books: Biography of the Hon. W. H. Merritt, M. P. 1875

Abiathar and companion Mr. Brown, continued their journey along the waterways of the Canada-U.S. border in early summer 1823:

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Major Josephus Vaughan (b. 1766) was a Loyalist who took his family from Connecticut to settle in the town of Noyan, Quebec. In 1804, he established the first ferry across the Richelieu River.

Capt. Sydney Smith had distinguished himself (in an unfavorable way) as a lieutenant of the American Navy in the War of 1812  at the Battle of Plattsburgh. His poor judgement resulted in two American sails being captured. Purportedly, the men did fight bravely for over 4 hours before surrendering to the British.

Maj. Wilson may have served in the Revolutionary War. I’ve spent a few hours trying to identify him but haven’t come up with anything definite.

When Abiathar arrived in Chazy, he may have encountered my 4th great grandfather, Asa Stearns, who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Asa had settled in Chazy after the War.

More of Abiathar’s adventures in the towns surrounding Lake Champlain and beyond next time!

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