This brief memoir was written and presented to me by Mary A. Dominy, maiden, to commemorate the passing of a former generation to install in the minds of the future, the priva­tions and suffering our ancestors had to endure to we could enjoy the blessings this great country of ours had in store for us. As I knew her, in her declining years of life, at the ripe age of 98 years young, her mind and body was free and clear, and she had a steady hand with her pen.


Dated: March 29, 1931.





There is nothing remarkable about the DOMINY’S that tempts me to pass on the scant knowledge of them that I have obtained from one source or another. There is a mystery about their early history. From what country did they come? Who were their forebearers? One claims they were Dutch from Holland, another that they were English, and another that they were Irish. Not until 1910, or about that time, was the question settled by the proof-readers for “Wilson’s History of Noted Men of Northern New York,” who seemed to know them all, and spoke of them as men of noted integrity and skill in mechanical work and inventions, and later by one from the Long Island branch, whose sister and neice had found them in their early home while visiting England.


History tells us that in 1630 “No less than seventeen ships sailed from England, with more than fourteen hundred Puritan emigrants landing at Salem, Massachusetts,” John Winthrop at the head, who were founders of Colonial Massachusetts.


It is possible that our ancestors came over at that time, for we find that many of them went to other parts of New England. Rhode Island was settled by them and we believe that others may have drifted to Long Island, the east end being in possession of the English since 1620. Evidently they were of the middle class of people in their English homes. But there are indications that they were well-to-do, yet as a race, scarcely worth preserving.


Hedges, in his “History of Long Island,” mentions eight generations, the name preserved by one son only in each family. This brings us to NATHANIEL DOMINY, who married ANNIE COREY, November 28, 1706. He was born July 14, 1684. They settled in East Hampton, Long Island, New York. Evidently they were the beginning of the family in America. Four daughters and two sons were given them. One son died at the age of thirty-five, unmarried. NATHANIEL, born December 3, 1714, married ELIZABETH EYERS. With this generation the family began to branch out.


There were three sons in this family. The oldest, NATHANIEL, kept the home. HENRY lived at DOMINY’S POINT at the THREE MILE HARBOR on Gardner’s Bay. He married ELIZA­BETH DAYTON, November 4, 1773. JOHN, his brother, married REBECCA LEEK.


All of them had large families. The children were growing up and the outlook for them was becoming a serious problem. How were they to provide for the growing needs of the children? HENRY and JOHN sold their interest in a sloop, named “Betsy,” John was the master (or cap­tain), they sometimes took cargoes of horses, cattle and sheep out to the Bermudas and returned with sugar, molasses and other merchandise for the stores at Three Mile Harbor. HENRY was a surveyor and taught navigation.


HENRY and JOHN were the first to break away from the Long Island home. NATHANIEL, of the fourth generation, was born October 23, 1770, married TEMPERENCE MILLER, and re­mained in the home of his father.


His brother FELIX, settled on Fire Island, and John, born October 23, 1775, went to the SANDWICH ISLANDS. His son JOHN was governor of Hawaii and married Queen Lill. So near is the name connected with royalty.


On the twenty-seventh day of March, 1796, a grant of 30,000 acres of land in Clinton County, New York, was given to William Beckman, of New York, who located Beekmantown. Nathaniel Treadwell was his agent. He had settled on one of the fertile Champlain valley farms in Plattsburgh, now Beekmantown.


In some way the news of this grant came to far away East Hampton. They were told that this land would be sold cheap, William, the oldest son, was eighteen, the age of adventure. His father was fifty, and the mother, in her prime and of a hardy race, was ready to do her part in what they hoped would be best for all. So the adventure was settled and 600 acres of this land was purchased and in the spring of 1796 found HENRY and his son William on their way to locate a new home and make a dwelling place for the family when they returned the next spring..


They arrived, after a four-week journey, to find the place a dense wilderness with neigh­bors few and far between, and the soil in which there would “not be found a scone to throw at the birds.” This was true of the farm where Mr. Treadwell located, but untrue of the upland farms bordering on the foothills of the Adirondacks.


The southern boundary of their purchase was about a half-mile from Beekmanrown corners on both sides of the road that leads north from Plattsburgh. The place selected for the house was a rise of ground near the road, with a rippling brook running near in which, at that time, were found an abundance of brook trout and other small fish. This was near Beaver’s meadow, at the north of them. Here they built their home of logs from the virgin forest, covering the roof from the bark of the trees.


The summer quickly passed in the endeavor to make a comfortable home for the family and clear the land for needful support. They were soon taking the long journey to the Long Island home and friends. While this work was being done in the north country, we may imagine the mother and children were not idle in the Long Island Home. The care of the home must go on as usual. There must be no lack of clothing and linens for the household. All these were manufac­tured by hand in those days. Woolens from the sheep’s back to the cloth or yarn; linen from straw even to a pocket handkerchief, (as I find in an old account book of that date) or men’s trousers. The wool, after careful picking, was made into batts or rolls for spinning, the finest combed for the fine work, for dresses or knitting. There was no machinery for this work —the cards, spinning wheel and hand loom were all.


There were professional weavers in those days. Often they were men. JOHN DOMINY was a weaver, but we find that Isaac Payn was the weaver for this family. There were linens of different widths for blankets and other necessities.


The busy winter soon passed and on April 30, we find that all accounts were closed up, some of them marked “closed to the end of the world.” Final preparation for the four week’s journey was made and their stuff loaded on wagons to be taken to Sag Harbor. There it was transferred to boats that would take them through Long Island Sound to New York City, through Hell Gate up the Hudson River through Lake George. From the Lake to White Hall on wagon, through Lake Champlain to Plattsburgh and, again with the wagon, to the new home seven miles distant.


While passing through Hell Gate, ELIZABETH and some of the other young folks, climbed into the long boat so they could say that they sailed through Hell Gate in an open boat, which was, at that rime, a dangerous trip, but the sport of the Larks. This, no doubt, helped to relieve the tediousness of their wearisome journey. As all journeys have an end, so does this one, and its end was a new home. Of the farewells to relatives and friends in East Hampton, Long. Island, we must leave to the imagination. There could be small chance that they would meet again in this world.


The change from the restless shores of Gardner’s Bay, with its comforts and pleasant association, to the log cabin in the wilderness and its privations, only the pioneer can realize.


They made the venture and here would build their home. New associations would soon be formed and with health and perseverance, in the work before them, there will be little space for repining


A school has been established and a comfortable house built near the Corner, about a half mile distance from the home, where the younger children could go on with their education. The older ones taking advantage of the winter term.


There was plenty of work for those who could wield an axe. There was much land to be cleared. Often the trees were cut down and laid in large piles and burned for the ashes. These were gathered and taken to the ashery, where they were leached and converted into potash and barreled for the market. This was necessary to clear the land to provide sustenance for the inhabitants.


How long they lived in the cabin, along with many other happenings of interest, is long buried with the past. In 1798, we find where boards, shingles and nails were bought, but for what purpose is not given.


We know very little of their life in those days. One incident given by George Anderson, a grandson, tells how they brought the cows home at night. The cows were let out in the morning to roam at will in the woods. At night, two boys were sent to bring them in, and if they didn’t return at a given hour, another boy or girl was went to the roof top of the house with a sea shell, used as a horn, to give alarm. The sound of which would give them the direction of the house.


One very crying circumstance was the loss of money received from the sale of their posses­sions on Long Island. They were paid in Continental money, which very soon was of no value. 1400 pounds ($4,000) became a dead loss, causing a great setback to their hopes, but they did not give up in despair, but kept on bravely at cleaning their land and making improvements on their home, though the work went on slowly.


As settlers came, there was work enough for the surveyor. So he, (HENRY) was often called away sometimes to distant parts of the country. At one time, while surveying in Essex County, his compass would not work properly. He said to Mr. Treadwell, who was working with him, “There is mineral here.” Mr. Treadwell laughed at him and told him it was his threncher box chat caused it. He had made a box for his compass, for convenience in carrying. Time has proved he was correct. Essex county is noted for its output of iron ore largest in this empire state.


Sometime, very early in the history of Plattsburgh, while it was sparsely settled, he made a complete survey of the township, including Cumberland Head, which seems to have been taken up entirely, according to his pen and ink map of the survey. This map shows the boundary of each separate lot, and the name, of the owner of the lots. Many of them were men of note in the early history of the town.


Time passed on and a change was inevitable. WILLIAM, the oldest, married Catherine Stafford, took his fifty acres and built a house on the hill. EZRA married Rhoda Smith and sett­led near the homestead on the south. JEREMIAH married young, to ABIGAIL NORTON, and went to Ohio with her family. He returned for a short visit in the fall of 1840. PHOEBE married John Gale and had her fifty acres between William and the homestead. MARY married Joshua Bosworth, of Moors, and died at the birth of a daughter, whom HENRY adopted and kept till she married. ELIZABETH married Doctor Sharp McFadden of Argyle, who settled in Lisbon, St. Lawrence County, New York, where she remained a very efficient helper to her husband until her death in 1864. She visited her old home but once. She had a large family.


One of her sons tells how she left her family to care for themselves, while she voluntarily isolated herself to care for a family which had Small Pox.


One by one we see the children go out of the old home into new ones. Few events, that were not common to the early settlers, came to relieve the monotony of their lives. There may have been many, but they are with the forgotten past. One, however, is remembered still. At one time, having dressed a sheep for their own use, they thought to share it with a neighbor not far away. To go across lots was the shortest way, but a part of the way was through a dense piece of woods. When about middle way of the lot, he encountered a pack of hungry wolves. He managed to climb a tree out of their reach. A loud halloo and the howl of the wolves was heard a half-mile away, the men came with lanterns and the light soon frightened the wolves away. So he went on his way with the meat and returned in safety from his thrilling experience.


Everything seemed to be going on smoothly until September 1814, when the inhabitants, on the route to Plattsburgh, were notified that an army of 7000 British soldiers were on their way to Plattsburgh and would pass over the road the next day. To safeguard the people, they were to notify headquarters immediately of any misdemeanors of the soldiers on the march. The grandmother was much alarmed at first, but she soon found there was no cause for alarm. The main part of the army encamped about a half of a mile back, but the officers chose a higher ground on the opposite side of the brook from the house, within hearing distance, so that the orders for the next day were distinctly heard.


The Essex Militia were stationed at the bend of the road and had been discovered by the commanding officer. A mounted guard was stationed at the house for the night to make sure no one would leave it to give the militia any information they might have gained. The next morning, some of the officers with Mollie, who followed the army, came to the house. Mollie cooked break­fast for them over the big fireplace in the kitchen. She was still there while the army marched on their way to carnage. Grandmother remarked that it was the largest body of men she had ever seen. “Why, bless you,” said Mollie, “I have seen more dead men than you ever saw alive. I came from the battle of Waterloo.”


What became of Mollie is a mystery. History has never mentioned her. I think she was killed at Halsey’s Corners, where 1,000 men were surprised by our militia and many British were killed. After the battle, Grandfather Henry, Junior, took his seven year old son to see the scene of the battle. There, he saw, half-buried men, and other scenes of war, in the last bloody conflict between the United States and Great Britain.


Three years have passed since the invasion of the British, and peace and happiness is restored, but the past is not forgotten. In many a home, as the families gather around the open fire in the evening, the thrilling scenes of the conflict lives over again and again in after years, but, there still remains a vacant chair.


It is the evening of January 23, 1817 — the family of HENRY DOMINY is gathered together for evening worship. The aging father takes his Bible from its accustomed place, reads a por­tion from its sacred pages, kneels in prayer — commanding his family and himself to his heavenly Father’s care, and retires for the night.


In the early morning a scream, from his faithful wife, brought his son to their bedside to find him stiff and cold in death.


In the silent watches of the night

His weary soul had taken flight

To the haven of rest o’er the shining shore

Line and compass to need no more

His duty done, at set of sun

And heaven at last.


Sixteen uneventful years have passed. The grandmother has seen her children grow up and go out to homes of their own, and another generation on its way. She, too, passed on to join the loved ones gone before to the home of the blessed.


Before the passing of the grandmother, the cherished pieces of furniture (relics from the English home) had been parceled out to the daughters for their homes. To Elizabeth, wife of Dr. Sharp McFadden, was given the famous Brass Clock, which is now (1928) the property of Mrs. Medill of Ogdensburg, New York. Ticking the present time away as it did when made, a century ago. To Phoebe Gail, the high post bedstead, with its blue linen curtains, the chest of drawers, a few pieces of old silver teaspoons, and the wedding dress and slippers. The bookcase and desk was sold out of the family. It is a rare piece of furniture, built of rosewood, that does not grow on this part of the globe, and was trimmed with mahogany and bright brass. Grandfather, unwilling to have it go out of the family, paid the price and took it to his own home. Later, my father, HARRY DOMINY, purchased it from his mother. It is still in the family. This furniture was given to HENRY, (the first) by will, in 1771.


Grandfather Henry, (Junior) married Charity Hubbard, daughter of Ezekiel Hubbard, who came from Huntington, Long Island, New York, three years before the Dominys. There is no record of the date of their marriage, but it must have been about 1804. They remained in the home to relieve and care for the aging father and mother in their declining years. The old home­stead had become dear to them, and now that the father had been taken away, it was necessary that they should remain to relieve and comfort the aged mother in her sorrow and loneliness.


September 15, 1834, only fours years since the father was taken away, the grim reaper again entered the home. “True, tis Death loves a shining mark” for then he set his seal on Henry Dominy, Jr., it was on no ordinary man. Tall and well proportioned, he stood well above his fellow men. His commanding personality and genial and friendly spirit had endeared him to all who knew him. By an act of friendliness, he became the victim of a fatal disease. One week of intense suffering brought his life to a close at the age of 51 years, leaving his family desolate. The mother is left with three younger sons, the oldest twelve years.


The elder son, Henry L. or (Harry) and a daughter are married and in their homes. Harry is working for a Mr. Leek on Point Au Roche. He was called home and made administrator of the estate and came to his mother’s, with his family, to live.


After a time Ezekiel went to Plattsburgh to learn the blacksmith trade. Harry helped the boys about the farming, and taught the district school during the winter. His two boys were among his scholars. After about three years, the business of settling the estate was finished. The farm was sold, and what was left, divided and given to the heirs.


Ezekiel had served his apprenticeship and was opening a shop in West Chazy, New York. From the home home no more. Harry took his family and mother and followed his brother, to work with him and acquire the trade.


Thus ends the first home of the Dominy’s in Beekmantown, Clinton County, New York.


Dated:      March 19, 1928.

MARY A. DOMINY.   Historian