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The Little Hamlet of Bigelow

It was a pretty little village where everyone was friendly and neighbors helped each other. As you approached from Richville by the railroad tracks on each side was a large platform where they loaded and unloaded milk and cream from the Borden Plant in Richville. The railroad station was called Richville and a horse and buggy driven by Evan Reese and his dog met the mail train each day and took any passengers who needed a ride to Richville.

On the right side of a gravel road was the general store, post office and home of the owners, Leonard and Mix. Next came the house of Joel Putman and Jim Putman and family, he ran the blacksmith shop behind, next was Cunningham’s then Clarion’s, Leonard’s and Greenhill’s.

My father built our home and I was born there (although it wasn't finished), August 14, 1913. Next came Frank Biche who had a chicken business and sold eggs. Mrs. Cole lived next and then Frank Reed, grandfather of Erie Reed, who had a small farm.

The Lime Kiln was up at the curve with pits behind and I can recall the older men keeping the fire burning and spinning tall tales. The Besaw family lived at the 4 corners.

On the left was the depot, freight office, coal sheds, and cattle yards. Then came the feed mill and lumber yard. Mr. Love ran the mill and lived next door. They had one daughter, Minetta, who married a Brown from Gouverneur who was a minister.


Photo: Bigelow Lime Kiln, circa 1960


Photo: The Streets of Bigelow
Upper: Main Street Bigelow, circa 1900
Lower: Post Office and General Store

Lew Bishop was next, he was the station agent, next was Owen Jones, his wife Rachel was always on hand if someone was ill (a caring lady). Their daughter was Anna Jones Dickerson, a teacher. Beyond them was Mr. and Mrs. Heath an elderly couple who were cared for by Rose Tripp who walked from Richville each day to care for them.


Beyond them was Grandpa William Scott (a civil war veteran). Around the curve was a two room school house. Anna Jones and Edith Gardner taught there. Bennett Jones lived at the 4 corners, also Mr. Parker and Manley Johnson.

As there was no hospital nearer than Ogdensburg or Watertown, any serious case was loaded on a cot and put in the baggage car for transport by rail. My father, who was a painter on the system, made several of these trips. Babies were delivered at home with the help of midwives, Mrs. Jones and Effie Reed helping Dr. Allen.

We had pot luck suppers, card parties, and picnics. When in high school we walked to Richville if we didn't catch a ride with a milk rig. We attended the Congregational Church, cross circle (a women's group), men's brotherhood, Sunday school, and Christian Endeavor. The Bishops were the first to have an automobile and radio. As the Mrs. was a little deaf we all could hear the news from KDKA because in nice weather she kept the set on the front porch.

The picket fences, cedar hedges, side walks, and maple trees are all gone now. The creek is filled in and years ago they dammed it up and cut ice for Borden's Ice House across the tracks. The ice was used for refrigeration in the milk cars. Bigelow is no longer the pretty, quiet place I remember.

Photo: Richville RR Station at Bigelow, circa 1895

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