This space is dedicated to John Haddock, author of "Growth of a Century," a centennial history of Jefferson county, printed in 1893. His goal was to convey to the reader not just dry facts and figures, but to offer a sense of the personality of the region and inhabitants he loved; therefore, much of the book was written in the first person and contains the author's impressions of people he met, not just their vital statistics.
        Haddock would be happy to know that his work remains indispensible to the curious more than 100 years later. As a second century of progress closes behind, may Haddock's efforts inspire us to record and to reflect upon the history that we have made and that which is yet to come. . . .


Family Background . . .

        Samuel and Sabrina Haddock were born in Herkimer county, N.Y., in 1804, married early, and in 1822 came to Watertown to found a home. Samuel’s father had been sheriff of Herkimer county, and had fair opportunities for education in the public schools of those days. Sabrina was a daughter of Rev. Asahel Barnes, an old-time preacher-without-pay Methodist minister, and it is somewhat singular that for over a hundred years continuously, there has been some one of this family in the Methodist itinerancy. [Sabrina's brother was Rev. Enoch Barnes of Sulpher Springs].

        To Samuel and Sabrina were born six children, four boys and two girls. Their father educated them at the Black River Literary and Religious Institute, when his pay as a journeyman blacksmith was only from $1.75 to $2.25 per day. He was Wm. Smith’s blacksmith foreman for nearly twenty years. His youngest son, George Channing, was that Dr. Haddock who was murdered by the whisky and brothel gang in Sioux City in 1886. [See his biography on page 15 of this History]. William, the oldest son, was major of an Iowa Cavalry regiment, who served with Sherman on the historic march from Chattanooga to the sea. John A. is the author and publisher of this History. Orison was accidentally drowned from the U. S. frigate Congress, in 1844. One of the daughters was the wife of Dr. W. W. Allport, the distinguished Chicago dentist, and Elizabeth is the wife of Henry Wilkins, of Anamosa, Iowa. This is a family who were early instilled into all the economy and hard work of the era in which they lived, and have made useful members of society. “

Of Boyhood in Hounsfield . . .

        “This town was one of the first to be settled (1800), and is certainly one of the most historic and interesting, and is worthy of more extended space than we shall be able to give it ---- for we have already considerably exceeded the number of pages originally fixed for this volume. Yet this is our native town, the place (Sulpher Springs) where our earliest and later childhood was spent, for we were not quite 10 years of age when we left home to be a printer. The journey of life since then has been a somewhat long and generally weary one --- we are now past 71, but this spot of our earliest knowledge has never lost its charm for us. The land there is sandy, near-by was the Sulpher Spring, and the solemn hemlock forest and the yet more solemn grave yard were within stone’s-throw of where my parents lived. The district school-house, where Mr. Morseman held sway, was also quite near. “

        “ My father owned a small sandy farm, located in about the center of the township, and there his six children were born. When not quite nine years of age I dug the holes for the cedar posts that hold up the board fence around the Sulphur Springs burying-ground. The holes were to be three feet deep, and my “stent” was 25 each day. The sand was easy to dig until hard-pan was reached, about half-way down ---which was a different matter altogether; but I finished by daily task, all the same, and my father set the posts and built the fence at such times as he could get away from his blacksmith’s forge in Watertown. Most of these cedar posts were yet standing and in good order when I visited that locality 12 years ago, having now been in service over 60 years.”

        “ Some of the boys of our neighborhood had told me of Sacket’s Harbor --- a place I had never visited, though distant barely six miles by a straight road. To add to my natural desire to see that town, the boys had told me that on certain days a boat which went by steam was to be seen there. Waiting impatiently for the fixed day, I started off on a keen run for the Harbor, bare footed, without asking my mother’s consent. I ran on until out of breath, then walked fast, and so ran on again until the desired locality was reached. At Colonel Camp’s wharf I saw the steamer United States. The escaping steam, the bustle upon the wharf, the rows of houses, the rattle and noise of the village, filled me with a boy’s delight and wonder; but my return home was not a joyful event by any means. My dear mother had worried all day over my unaccountable absence, and on my appearance dutifully administered to me a certain “strap exercise”---- said strap having at its end a buckle, which aided wonderfully in fully developing the fact that “there’s nothing like leather.” Counting out the punishment, I considered it the best day I had up to that time enjoyed.”

More to come . . . .

Haddock Families in the Census of 1850
Watertown, page 296, dwelling 375, family 430
Samuel Haddock, age 46 Blacksmith
Sabrina Haddock, age 45
Geo C., age 19
Elizabetha, age 18

Watertown, page 311, dwelling 539, family 645
Jns. A. Haddock, age 27 Printer
Mary F. Haddock, age 27
Orison Haddock, age 7
Mary F. Haddock, age 5
Edwin Haddock, age 2mo

Generously contributed by Mary Martin <>.
© Design by Mark A. Wentling, 2000.

Haddock, Jonathan A. The Growth of a Century: History of Jefferson County, New York, from 1793-1894. Philadelphia: Sherman & Co., 1894. pp 280, 583.