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Alonzo Willoughby Morgan                                             

(January 7, 1799 to May 29, 1889)

Alonzo W. Morgan was born January 7, 1799 in St. Albans, VT.  He lived in many places with different relatives until he came to this area in the summer of 1813 to live with his stepfather, Judge Henry Spencer.  He learned his stepfather’s trade of saddle and harness making and lived with him until he became "of age."

The following text is from part of the information given by his descendent, Mary L. Platt

About this time (around 1813), I entered into partnership with my stepfather - he soon after failed and lost his home.  He owned about 40 acres of land in the heart of the Village of Glens Falls - he lost all, and the business fell wholly in my hands.  Our shop we occupied then, stood on the corner where Daniel Peck's store now is.  

In 1822, I purchased of Wm. Smith and Stephen Warren of Troy, eleven acres of land now owned by Duncan McGregor and others, and extending northerly to the lot now occupied by Dr. Holden and on which land stood the wing part of the General Ferriss house near the brow of the hill, the main part of the house having been burned; and a house standing on the bank at top of the hill at Glen Street in which Asahol Clark then lived, and an office close by occupied by him; Clark died soon after I made this purchase.  I then opened Park St. to the centre of the ravine - at the same time I opened Elm St. to the Luzerne road, now South St.  

In the meantime, I had built a house on the corner of what is now Glen and Park streets, in which I lived until 1840 when I moved into a house I had built on Maple St.  As soon as I opened Park and Elm Streets, I commenced selling lots on both sides of these streets 60 ft front, at $200 per lot.  On the lot sold to the Glens Falls Hotel, there was to be no buildings put on Elm St. in rear of the Hotel lot.  

In opening Elm St. to the Luzerne Road, I supposed that I had secured the main travel from that section to my comer on Park and Elm Streets - but there were older heads than mine in those days.  Uncle John Folsom as he was then called, owned the old brick store on the comer of what is now Exchange St.  He owned a large lot on the main street on which this store stood.  He came to me and wanted to buy my lots on Elm St. in rear of his lot - he wanted a little more room in rear of his lot.  I was very glad to sell to him and the first I knew he had opened Exchange St. - and as the saying is "my cake was all dough” - that street being more direct to the centre of the village than Park St.  

It was thought by most people at that time that the main street was all that would ever be needed for the village, it would be all folly to open new streets outside that would never be needed or occupied.  I think that idea was principally entertained by those who owned the land on the main street but it turned out differently.  The new streets were soon taken up, built upon, and extended.  In 1828, I, in company with Sheldon Benedict, bought of Harry Rockwell of Luzeme 42 1/2 acres of land fronting on Sandy Hill St., now Warren St. uptending me from the west side of Centre St. to the west line of what is now Walnut St. and bounded on the north by Daniel Pecks, now owned by L. and B. Dix and by the old red house lot, then owned by Alfted Ferriss.  Benedict and I divided the land on a line running through the centre of Cherry Street - he taking the east half and I taking the west half.  

I sold the lots on the front of my half and farmed the balance of the land in the rear, for several years.  Not being quite convinced that the village had all the room it needed for its growth and extension, and thinking I could make a good thing out of it, I conceived the idea of opening a street from Ridge St. across my land and the land of several others to intersect the Sandy Hill St. near the residence of Wm. McDonald.  But, in the first place, I must open Centre St. from the front to the high ground where I had already determined to build the house where Emmet Johnson now lives, then, in the middle of a cornfield.  I had reserved land in front for the street.  The land on the west side of Centre St. was owned by Abraham Wing, Lewis L. Pilsley and Nehemiah Sheldon. I offered Pilsley who had most of the land to come to the road if he would give me $25.00 to be expended in working the road. He denounced the project - called me a fool for thinking of such a thing.  I ran the street line two feet from his line - his heirs paid me handsomely and the came to the road years afterwards.  I built the house as I intended and moved into it in the Spring of 1840.  

 I then went to work to get Maple St. opened as I had intended.  The owners of the land through which the street was to pass were willing and there was no difficulty in the way.  The street was opened three rods wide.  John A. Ferriss afterwards opened the street from Ridge to Bay St. only 2 1/2 rods wide, not having any more to spare for the street.  

In a few years after, I had moved into my new house on Maple St.  I, in company with Lewis Newman, opened a street, now Lawrence St. from Ridge to Cherry St. which was afterwards opened to Walnut St.  In 1842, I, in company with Walters Gur and Hiram Barber bought of Ira A. Paddock, twenty acres of land which we laid out in village lots and sold to different parties.  Maple St. running through the centre of this twenty acres, we opened what is now Oak St., running from Maple to Sandy Hill St., now Warren St.  Since then streets have been opened by others in every direction, and the village extended and built up beyond the anticipation of any one at that time.  

Having sold off all the lots on the front street, except the lot where the Academy now stands, which with the land in the rear of it, I gave for the purpose of the Academy.  I then commenced selling the lots on Centre St. and the other streets coming through my land.  North of Lawrence St.  I farmed it for several years until I was forced to give it up for the further extension of the village.  

In 1873, at the age of 74 years, having lost my wife, I sold my dwelling on Maple St., together with the last vestige of real estate that I owned in the village of Glens Falls and moved on the farm where I now live, retaining in an uncommon degree my mental and bodily condition, and in my 89h year, I have lived to see Glens Falls Village grow up from a struggling village of a few unpainted houses along the main street to its present flourishing condition.

 

Letter found in the desk drawer of  Warren Morgan Platt (9/10/1898 ‑ 12/27/89)  son of Alonzo Willoughby Platt (6/22//1868 Glens Falls, NY ‑ 12/14/1920 Phila., PA), son of Harvey Platt (2/23/1838 Glen Falls, NY ‑ died in Phila, PA) and Anne W. Morgan 

Transcribed by Mary L. Platt during summer of 2001.

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