Antwerp was incorporated a village, by order of the court of sessions, under the general act, in the year 1851 and the incorporation was ratified, by a vote of fifty-three to three, at a special meeting, held at Stowell & Taylor hotel, on the 30th of July in that year. The boundary are recorded as embracing a rectangular tract of 660 acre being 80 chains in width from north to south, and 82 chains and 50 links in length from east to west; but a re-survey, made by Henry L. Scott in 1875, gives an area of 661.15 acres.
The first meeting for the election of officers was held August 27, 1853, and resulted in the election of Publius D. Foster as clerk, and Jonas S. Conkey, Solomon J. Childs, and Edward L. Proctor trustees; and at a special meeting, held on the 4th of October following, two additional trustees were elected to fill the board, viz., William D. Carpenter and George W. Brown. Jonas S. Conkey was chosen president of the board.
In 1871, Antwerp was re-incorporated, under the act of 1870, by which its municipal powers and privileges were increased. The officers for 1877 are: Trustees, Edward L. Proctor (president), William N. Johnson, De Witt Cofley, George P. Coolidge; Clerk, John C. Trolan.
It is now a village of about 1000 inhabitants, and contains 5 churches, 1 public school-house, 1 seminary, the Antwerp post-office, a weekly newspaper, the station buildings of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburgh railroad, 2 hotels, the office of the Jefferson Iron company, a Masonic lodge, 4 physicians, 3 lawyers, 5 general stores, 4 groceries, 2 hardware and agricultural implement stores, 3 boot and shoe stores, 2 drug-stores, 1 jewelry, and 2 millinery-stores, 2 furniture-stores, 1 harness and saddlery store, 1 flour and feed store, 3 blacksmith-shops, 4 wagon-shops, 1 foundry and machine-shop, 1 tannery, 1 grist-mill, 1 saw-mill, 2 planing-mills, and 1 cheese-box factory.
The grist-mill of Martin Augsbury was built by Isaiah Bailey in 1841-42, upon the site of the old mill built by Ezra Church in 1810. Mr. Bailey had purchased this old mill from Messrs. Pratt & Taylor in 1839, but received the title direct from Parrish. It was destroyed by fire in 1841, and the present one built in its place, as above mentioned. Its cost was $8000. Bailey & Sons sold it about 1850 to Stebbins & Tomlinson, since which it has passed through other hands to the present owner.
The sawmill of A. H. Monroe is the successor of that built for Morris, by Silas Ward, in 1806. The old mill was demolished and the present one built in 1816-17, by Ezra Church. Mr. Henry Welch, who is still living in the village, was one of the workmen employed in its erection. Some years afterwards it was run for a long period by Asher Seymour.
Bethel’s planing-mill and Hogan Brothers’ foundry stand on the site of the fulling- and carding-mill built by Ezra Church fifty-five years ago. After that business was discontinued by Church Brothers, in 1856, the property was sold to Joseph Newton and B. R. Bemis, and from them, through various changes, to the present proprietorship.
The tannery of G. N. Crosby & Co. was built about 1834 by Josiah Drake and David McAllaster, who afterwards sold to Lewis and James Hamblin. Several changes of ownership have followed, among which were those of Fuller & Martin, James White, — Snell, and others.
Metcalf ‘s planing-mill stands upon a dam thrown across the river below Augsbury‘s mill. It is of comparatively recent date. Owned and operated by Edward Metcalf. Upon the same dam is the cheese-box factory of Isaac Westcott & Son, a recent establishment.
The Jefferson Iron Company, Edwin B. Bulkley, president. Office on Main street, Antwerp village. This company owns the iron-works at Sterlingville and at Louisburg; also the Sterling, White, Ward, and Dixon ore-beds.
The Bank of Antwerp is a private banking-house, established in 1872 by C. M. Coolidge, Esq., now of Rochester, New York. It is now owned by John D. Ellis. The cashier is Albert Hoyt. Banking-rooms on Main street.
The Antwerp post-office is located on the west side of Main street. A. M. King, postmaster.
The Antwerp Gazette, a weekly newspaper, was first issued September 1, 1873, by J. M. Beaman, Esq., and continued under his proprietorship until February 1, 1875, when it was purchased by J. W. Van Slyke, the present editor and publisher. The office is on Main street.
In the summer of 1870, a journal called the Antwerp News was started in the village, by Miss M. M. Smith. It was discontinued about January 1, 1873.
“Antwerp Lodge,” No. 226, F. and A. M., meets on second and fourth Tuesdays, at the Masonic Hall, Main street. Number of members eighty-five. The present officers are: J. A. Aldrich, W. M.; Harlow Hathaway, S.W.; Daniel Sprague, J. W.; Thomas Ryder, S. D.; James Thompson, J. D.; Andrew Woodward, Secretary; Eugene Copley, Treasurer; Eli Mack, Tyler. The lodge was instituted in 1847.
The “Queen of Sheba Lodge,” Major John Howe, Master, was organized in Antwerp probably before 1825, and went out of existence during the period of the anti-Masonic excitement.
“Tuscarora Lodge,” No. 250, I. O. O. F., was formed here about the year 1846, but is now defunct.
Town-meetings are held at the Proctor House in Antwerp, no town hall having ever been erected. In earlier days, they were for many years held alternately at Antwerp and at Ox Bow.
The railway station of the R., W. and O. Railroad is on the northeast side of the village, the track crossing Main street by the old Congregationalist church, and passing near the Ives Seminary. The railroad was first opened into the town of Antwerp on the 4th of July, 1855, the train running as far north as the unfinished Holden bridge over Indian river. It was opened to Antwerp village in the fall of the same year. The company’s agent here is Mr. B. G. Taylor. The distance of this station from Watertown is twenty-three miles; from Gouverneur thirteen miles.
Source: Durant, Samuel W. and Henry B. Peirce. History of Jefferson County, New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1878. p 278-279.