Biography of Charles Crossmon


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CHARLES CROSSMON, who for a period of almost forty-five years was proprietor of the famous Crossmon House at Alexandria Bay, and who by his enterprise and business sagacity was one of the chief factors in opening the beautiful Thousand Island region to the pleasure-seeking world, was a native of this county, born in Watertown, October 2, 1818, and was descended from one of the old families of the Black River country. Charles Crossmon had not the advantages of a liberal early education, but he learned from observation and contact with his fellow men, and after he had established the Crossmon as the most popular house on the St. Lawrence, he gave more of his time to the personal entertainment of guests and was known as a genial host and an interesting companion.

When a youth Mr. Crossmon learned the trade of stair building and was a skilled workman in that line. Soon after 1840 he was employed at work in Kingston on the steamer British Queen. While there he became acquainted with Esther A. Smith, whom he afterward married, and thus it was he came to Alexandria Bay, where Moses Smith then lived. Mr. Smith was one of the prominent characters then living at the Bay, and was owner of a small tavern standing on the site of the present Crossmon House. He was also engaged in other business enterprises, and being in need of help asked Charles Crosstuon to come to the village and take charge of the hotel. This was in 1848, during which year the Crossmon House under that name was opened to the public. The new proprietor and his wife did all the work about the hotel and soon attracted summer visitors to the place. Even then the St. Lawrence River in this locality was a noted fishing ground, and many persons of means and prominence fOund pleasant recreation and comfortable entertainment at the hotel. Through this means the fame of the region spread throughout the country, and to accommodate the constantly increasing number of visitors Mr. Crossmon was compelled to enlarge the capacity of his house. The material additions were made in 1803, 1872 and again in 1880, the latter resulting in the Crossinon House of the present day, concededly the most popular and exclusive summer resort in all the vast Thousand Island region.

During the later years of Mr. Crossmon’s life the house was managed by the founder himself, associated with his son, Charles W. Crossmon, the latter its present proprietor, under whom its standing has ever been maintained, while its entertaining capacity is almost annually overtaxed. Other houses on the river may be larger than The Crossmon, but none is more complete in all its appointments nor has its name and fame a rival in this celebrated region. This gratifying success and popularity was the result of personal enterprise and good judgment on the part of Charles Crossmon, and all interests in Alexandria Bay were in the same manner benefited by his endeavors. Another might have done as much and as well, but the work was his and to him in all justice must the credit be given. The details of this busy life need no recital here. It began in 1848 and closed with the death of Mr. Crossmon, February, 6, 1892. He did not assume to OCCUPY a conspicuous position in the public or political affairs of the town, yet every worthy enterprise found in him a generous supporter. In his death the village met a serious loss, hut the place thus left vacant was taken by his son and the same satisfactory results are annually realized.

The marriage of Charles Crossmon with Esther A. Smith took place August 15, 1845. Three children were born to them: William, born August 15, 1846, died September 22, 1846; Charles W., born March 22, 1849, and William, born September 22, 1856, died March 26, 1857.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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