Henry Walton and John Clarke .


" First Officer of the Watch . - 'But know you them? Are they good men and true?'

" Second Officer of the Watch . - 'Marry, sir, as well as my old Grandmother. I do certify that they be good men and true.' "

- Old Play , 1670.


HENRY WALTON, the father of William Walton and of the late Cruger Walton, was descended from one of the oldest, most influential and distinguished families in the colonial history of New York State; and it is not a little singular that near the spot where Great Britain's power over her American colonies was broken, there should have settled a nephew of one to whom more than to any other individual was due the severing of those colonies from the mother country. Yet such is the fact.

William Walton, the granduncle of Henry Walton, built in 1754 what is now known in New York City as the "Old Walton House," on Franklin Square (opposite the publishing house of Harper & Brothers), then the continuation of Queen Street. It was the most costly private residence which at that time had been attempted. It was English in design, and, as far as practicable, an improvement upon all previous architecture. Its bricks, brown-stone water-tables, lintels, jambs, and decorations were imported. Its broad portico was upheld by fluted columns, surmounted with armorial bearings. The heads of lions (as they do to this day), cut from the free-stone, looked down the street from between the windows. The furniture was in keeping with the style of the structure. William Walton was genial, full of brilliancy, and master of the arts of politeness. Dinners were his hobby, and he gathered around his table such of the famous men of the Old World as officially, or in pursuit of pleasure, visited the New. Nor was his person less strongly marked. Dress then (and should be now , despite our democratic notions) was one of the signs and symbols of a gentleman. William Walton walked the streets in black satin small-clothes, white silk stockings, shoes fastened with glittering silver buckles, and over a vest of embroidered satin, with ruffled shirt peeping forth, he wore a velvet coat of any color of the rainbow which best pleased his fancy. A powdered wig and a cocked hat completed his toilet. {For this account of the "Old Walton House," I am indebted to Miss Martha J. Lamb, in Appleton's Journal , October 10, 1874.}

When the house came into possession of William Walton {His wife was Marie, daughter of Lieutenant Governor De Lancy (father of the late Bishop De Lancy), a land whose fortune was equal to his own.} - there was no less princely style of life within its walls. His lavish entertainments, the dazzling display of massive silver upon his table, the forest of decanters which graced his sideboard, and the costly wines that flowed free and fast, were prolific subjects for criticism in England. They were carried into Parliament, and at the king's table, and became a pet argument in favor of calling upon the colonists to help pay the debt of England, since they were wasting their substance in mad extravagance. Hence taxation and its long train of circumstances.

Henry Walton, the nephew of the preceding, and the subject of the present sketch, was born in the city of New York, on the 8 th of October, 1768. At the age of twelve years he was sent to England, under the especial guardianship of Peter Van Schaick (the intimate friend of Sir Wm. Johnson), to be educated. In his twentieth year he returned to the city of New York, and began the study of law under the direction of Aaron Burr. After the conclusion of his legal studies, in 1790, he removed to the town of Ballston, where he purchased a tract of land and built a house. This place is now known as the "Delavan Farm." While residing at Ballston he was surrogate of the county during the years 1794-1808, and was succeeded in that office by Hon. Beriah Palmer. Here he remained until 1816, when he came to the village of Saratoga Springs, and took possession of the real estate which he inherited from his father and Uncle Gerard, who had died without issue. During his residence in Albany, in 1815, he built "Pine Grove," and occupied it for a few years, when he returned to New York. After an absence of five years, he returned to Saratoga Springs, and became one of the largest landholders of the place. Immediately on his arrival, be built a beautiful country seat on that part of his real estate lying north of the village, to which he gave the name of "Wood Lawn." His possessions in this place were bounded by what is now Congress Street on the south, John Denton's on the north, and lands of Jacob Barhydt and others on the east, including all of the present village of Saratoga Springs, except that portion which lies south of Congress Street and the mineral fountains. He also inherited many other tracts of land in different parts of the county. During the early years of his residence at Saratoga he was the law partner of Mr. Leavitt.

In person, Henry Walton was a tall, fine-looking man. Like his ancestor, William Walton, he was truly gentlemanlike in his manners and feelings, and possessed the faculty of binding to himself in close social ties the educated and the refined. Though warmly attached to the Church of England, and one of the principal men whose early efforts were brought to bear in behalf of the Episcopalians at the Springs, he was singularly free from bigotry. To him belongs the honor of presenting the site for the first Presbyterian church edifice built in this place, and also the site occupied for several years by the Universalist church on Church Street. The grounds formerly occupied by the "Broadway Hotel" were also presented by him to the Methodists. Nor was this the extent of his public spirit. He excavated and tubed the old "Flat Rock Spring," and built over it a chaste little Chinese pagoda, which remained over that spring many years after his death, and must still be remembered by many of the citizens of Saratoga. He likewise excavated and tubed the "President," called, since 1845, respectively the "Iodine" and the "Saratoga Star Spring." Mr. Walton also inherited the architectural tastes of his uncle; his skill in this branch of art being illustrated in his several residences at Ballston, Saratoga, Greenfield, "Wood Lawn," and in the Pavilion Hotel, built by Mr. Nathan Lewis in the years 1818-1819.

Mr. Walton, or, as he was usually called, Judge Walton, was a man of high culture and polished manners. Especially was he skilled in the elegant arts and adornments of life, which, by travel and observation, had in him been wrought up to a marvellous degree of perfection. His chief characteristics were high bred courtesy, peculiarly refined tastes, and a general public spirit. He interested himself greatly in the general and material well-being of the place, and his death was a public misfortune. He died in the city of New York, on the 15 th of September, 1844, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, and was buried in the family vault in Trinity church-yard, by the side of a long line of illustrious ancestry.


Doctor John Clarke .


In 1826, John Clarke (called Doctor Clarke by courtesy), a native of Yorkshire, England, purchased from the Livingstons the farm on which the Congress Spring is situated. Mr. Clarke was well calculated, by education and experience, to take charge of the Spring, being acquainted with the properties of acidulated drinks, and having, in 1819, opened the first soda-fountain in the city of New York. Soon after his purchase of the Spring he began bottling the water for exportation, and so well did he do this that he very soon realized a handsome income from this source alone. Mr. Clarke extended his purchases of real estate from time to time, so that at the period of his decease he owned, in lands contiguous to the Spring, about one thousand acres. His improvements were always of the best kind, as illustrated by the beautiful Crescent lawn, which he reclaimed from the deep mud swamp which lay south and east of the Spring. The classic Doric structure, as it originally stood in its simple beauty on Congress Spring, and the pretty Grecian temple on the "Columbian," are but incidental specimens of the many improvements which his large means, generous spirit, and good taste bestowed upon the village.

I have grouped Judge Walton and Doctor Clarke together, for the reason that to these two contemporaneous citizens the village owes a deep debt of gratitude. Yet no two men could have been more dissimilar. Though both were of English descent, yet their habits and pursuits had been widely different. Mr. Walton was more the "English gentleman," Dr. Clarke the "English squire" (see Irving). In one point, however, they both were alike. Dr. Clarke, like Judge Walton, was remarkably public-spirited and liberal in his views. He took great pride in the village and its prosperity, and where any really good project was on hand, he spared neither time, pains, nor labor in forwarding it. He was far-seeing and clever (in the English sense), and laid early the plans which have been of most practical importance to the physical prosperity of the town. An instance of this far-sightedness is found in the fact that he early secured the enactment of the by-law which remits a certain portion of the road-tax to any landholder for every tree which he causes to be set out in front of his premises. The result of this is seen in the beautiful shade-trees which adorn the dwellings, and are the constant admiration of the strangers who sojourn at Saratoga.

He was liberal, too, in the best and most sensible way. Few men were at so much pains to keep laborers in employment during the dull months of the year; and many devices, which were of no profit to him - often, indeed, a positive pecuniary loss - he had recourse to, that the families of the poor might be supported without the feeling of dependence which eats out the self-respect and self-reliance that lie at the foundation of all sound and healthy character. We need scarcely add the uniform testimony of his employées - "Prompt, steady, regular pay when you work for the Doctor, but you must do it well ."

Dr. Clarke had an odd habit of attending all kinds of auctions, and bidding off all sorts of things that were of any possible use. These purchases were regularly deposited in one of his empty houses, much to the wonder of the many; but those poor bodies who chanced to be burned out during the winter, or the poor woman whose husband was hurt or killed, or those who had had a hard time with sickness and lost their household goods for rent, none of these came to Dr. Clarke in vain; for out of this heterogeneous and constantly replenished collection they were always helped to something comfortable.

Dr. Clarke had two very important and very decided theories or ideas concerning the mineral waters. One was, that whatever spring a person drank of most freely, that he liked the best, was sure he needed most, and recommended most earnestly. Hence his own interest and the general beauty of the place were equally enhanced by making the surroundings of his springs peculiarly agreeable and attractive, with as free access to them as possible. Acting on this idea, he engaged, at an early day, Johnson's band, which he employed for many seasons to discourse music, morning and evening, {The first music furnished at the hotels was in 1822. The band, composed of colored men and led by Frank Johnson, first played at "Congress Hall," until the completion of the "United States," when they played at each hotel on alternate evenings.} in the Congress Spring grounds. This, like every other liberal policy, in the long run proved most successful. The other idea which he held concerning the mineral waters in their reference to the well-being of the town, was that the water should never be taken from the village except regularly in bottles. He was utterly opposed to its being sent away in barrels, because, as he said, the seaboard had its own attractions, and he was not disposed to add to them the peculiar advantages of this place - " Spring water on draught ."

It was Dr. Clarke's often expressed opinion, even when there was scarcely a house built or a street laid out there, that the village would increase most rapidly to the south-east. Acting on this belief, he offered to the Episcopal society, as a gift, the beautiful building-lot on the brow of the hill at the south-east corner of Circular and East Congress Street - now Union Avenue. The gift was at first accepted, the foundations were laid, and several clergymen from abroad, together with a general attendance of citizens, participated in and witnessed the religious services of laying the corner-stone. But a difference of opinion soon after arose, and other counsels prevailed, all of which resulted in building the Bethesda church, in Washington Street. This was a matter of regret to many citizens both within and outside of the Episcopal Church, who would have rejoiced greatly to see a fine church edifice crowning the hill on that most appropriate site. It has been called since, and for this reason, "Temple Grove."

Dr. Clarke, also, had much to do in laying out the streets in the south part of the village; and it was he who planned and named Circular Street - carrying out in part his idea of having a wide street surrounding the town. The original design was a true semicircle - but some owners of land opposing the project, the complete carrying out of the plan was prevented. We shall also always feel grateful that Dr. Clarke loved trees , and knew the value of the beautiful pines which he saved, but which have since his death been most shamefully and ruthlessly slaughtered in and around the town.

Dr. Clarke at one time resided in Washington Street in the house afterward occupied by the family of Dr. Oliver Davidson, the father of the talented young poets, Lucretia and Margaret - and more recently by George H. Fish. The Methodist Church now occupies the ground. Afterward, he built and resided in the elegant mansion now owned by Mr. Cornelius Sheehan, whose wife is the only daughter of Dr. Clarke.

Dr. Clarke married Mrs. Eliza Bryer, widow of the late Charles White, of the firm of Emmett & CO., Attorneys and Counsellors-at-law, New York City. He died on the 6 th of May, 1846, aged seventy-three years.



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