Patriot Clement Stebbins Miner’s descendants criss-cross the land between Chazy and the Midwest for generations.
The Northfield, Mass., born farmer settled in 1818 Chazy.
During the War of 1812, he served as a fife major under the command of Capt. B.S. Egerton.
Clement Stebbins stood 5 feet, 8 ¾ inches tall and had blue eyes and brown hair. His complexion was light. His occupation was joiner, and he served for five years, according to the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments 1798-1914.
On Jan. 16, 1821, he married Lydia Dominy, the daughter of Capt. John Dominy and Phebe (Leek) Dominy.
Clement Stebbins and Lydia’s brood included Augustus Wellington Miner, whom Lowell Ludford descends from.
CLINTON COUNTY ROOTS
The Minneapolis native was the most recent arrival in these parts on an ancestral quest.
“I came to Chazy because I’m into genealogy, and my maternal great-grandmother was Ida Miner,” Lowell said.
“She was an older cousin of William H. Miner (Jr.). That makes me a first cousin, three times removed.”
Lowell’s great-great-grandfather Augustus Wellington Miner was brother to William Henry Miner Sr., the father of William H. Miner, Clinton County’s greatest philanthropist.
William H. and his wife, Alice Trainer Miner, founded Chazy Central Rural School, Physicians Hospital, Kent-Delord House Museum and the Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
“In doing genealogy, you kind of like to get back to see where some of the people lived because it brings your genealogy more to life,” Lowell said.
“I’ve been planning with my wife to come to Chazy for the last few years. This year in April, we decided this was going to be the year.”
The synchronicity of the Ludfords’ visit was magical.
They arrived in town the night of filmmaker Paul Frederick’s premiere of “Heart’s Delight: The Story of William H. Miner” at the Strand Theatre.
“It was providence or faith or something,” Lowell said.
The next day, the Ludfords visited the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, where they met board trustees including chair Dr. Joseph C. Burke, author of “William H. Miner, the Man and the Myth.”
A CHAZY HORATIO ALGER
The orphan who became a multimillionaire arrived in Chazy after his father and namesake's death Jan. 14, 1873, in Maumee, Lucas County, Ohio.
His mother, Martha Clapp, had perished six years earlier from consumption.
The 10-year-old boy lived with his married sister, Emma Josephine “Jottie," and her husband, John B. Mitchell, in Lafayette, Ind., for six months before returning to his ancestral roots to live with his Uncle John and Aunt Hulda Miner in Chazy.
Over the next eight years, William H. was educated in a one-room district school and learned how to farm under his uncle’s tutelage.
At 18, he returned to Lafayette, where he advanced his education through night school and engineering studies at the University of Minnesota.
He scaled the railroad-industry ranks from machine-shop apprentice to railway-apparatus inventor to founder of W.H. Miner, Inc. in Chicago, Ill.
His Uncle John died in 1893 and bequeathed him his 144-acre farm.
William H. and Alice T. relocated to Chazy to establish Heart’s Delight Farm and seal their philanthropic legacy for posterity.
Lowell retired after serving 30 years in 3M’s corporate public-relations department.
Like many retirees with time on their hands, his pursuit of the ones who came before began.
He started with his Norwegian mother, Olga Amundsen, whose parents immigrated to Minneapolis.
“I got to the Miners and doing my father’s family," Lowell said. "I was interested in both Ida and Francis (Beebe, Ida's husband) and just one thing led to another. I need to get to New York and see where Ida grew up. By the way, Francis is from New York state as well. He grew up in Delaware County, a little north of the Catskills.”
Lowell’s recent visit echoes 19th-century foot traffic between Minnesota and the North Country.
“Ida Miner and her father and her family moved from Chazy to Glenwood, Minnesota,” Lowell said.
“They moved around 1869 or '70. I have an idea why they moved. Ida’s father, Augustus Miner, was a brother of William H. Miner’s father. He was a farmer. He also was a brother of Amos Luther Miner. Amos Luther Miner moved from Chazy to Wisconsin to Minneapolis.”
Amos Luther first moved to Wisconsin with his brother, William Henry Miner Sr.
“He was there a little while,” Lowell said.
“That was around 1860, but then the Civil War broke out and Amos Luther Miner went into the Civil War. Just before he went into the war, he married a woman from Wisconsin whose name was Sarah Beebe. After the Civil War, Amos Luther Miner became a millwright and came to work in Minneapolis.”
Post Civil War, the “City of Lakes” was a flour-mill hub.
“Amos Luther Miner worked in Minneapolis for the O.A. Prey Milling company,” Lowell said.
“It made the equipment for the flour mills. While here in Minneapolis, he went to a city north of Minneapolis called St. Cloud apparently where there was some milling business he attended to.”
Amos Luther was in St. Cloud around 1868-69 and traveled by foot or ox cart from St. Cloud to present day Glenwood, Minn.
“There, he decided to make a homestead,” Lowell said.
“He had 160 acres there, prime farm land. His wife, Sarah, persuaded her brother Francis to come. He homesteaded the next piece of land. Since Amos was working in Minneapolis and had this farm in Glenwood, he needed someone to work the farm, so he thought who would be better than my brother Augustus in Chazy who doesn’t own a farm but was working a farm, the Miner farmstead or something else."
Augustus relocated his family to Glenwood, Minn.
“As fate would have it, Ida Miner and Sarah Beebe’s brother Francis fell in love and they got married at Glenwood in about 1873,” Lowell said.
About a year after their nuptials, Francis and Ida Beebe moved to Cylon, a boom-town in western Wisconsin and ground zero for the Beebe clan.
“Ida lived there the rest of her life and died there in 1904,” Lowell said.
FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLYING
Francis and Ida produced two daughters and a son.
“Her daughter, Jesse Beebe, was my grandmother,” Lowell said.
“After she graduated from high school, she took the train to Minneapolis, which was an hour away. In the big city, she bumped into a guy named Frederick Ludford. He was my grandfather. Frederick worked on the Soo Line Railroad as a conductor and luggage handler."
Frederick and Jess Ludford’s son Norman met Olga the Norwegian.
Their son, Lowell, married the former Donna Shier.
During their back-East trek, the Ludfords visited Lake Placid, Ticonderoga and Saratoga, where they watched the horse races.
Donna, a quilter, enjoyed viewing the quilts exhibited at the North Star Underground Railroad Museum at Ausable Chasm.
“I would have to say Clinton County was more like Minnesota except for the Adirondacks,” Lowell said.
“When people moved West back in the 1800s and 1900s, they had to move to an area that was similar to where they lived because they were farmers. They had to have a farming environment that was similar so they would know how to farm. You couldn’t move from Chazy to Alabama and expect to have profitable crops. This is why it was a good idea for Augustus Miner and his family to move to Minnesota because the crops would be similar.”
The Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection director/curator Ellen Adams apprised Lowell that he was the first Miner that came looking for information on his family.
“'That can’t be right,’” he said to her. “'I’m pretty sure you’re the first one,’ she said. That was just hard to believe.”
Adams' sentiment was repeated the next day at the Miner Institute, where they were given a grand tour by public-relations/marketing coordinator Rachel Dutil and librarian Amy Bedard.
“They thought I was the first Miner that had come back at least in recent memory,” Lowell said.
The Ludfords’ stay at the Point Au Roche Lodge was another serendipitous decision.
“Augustus Miner is buried in Point Au Roche Cemetery,” Lowell said.
“When Ida got married and left, then he and his wife moved to Lawrence, Mass., for a number of years. He moved around 1874-75. He lived in Lawrence for 10 or 12 years, and then he moved back to Beekmantown. He lived there until he died. The funeral was in Plattsburgh. His wife Phebe Cox is buried there. She was his second wife. His first wife was a woman by the name of Theresa Hubbard. Theresa was Ida’s mother.”
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