Saturday, November 18, 2006

TOWER Family


1829 - 1899

The deceased was born at the Tower homestead in this village on June 17th, 1829, being the youngest of seven sons born to Reuben Tower and Deborah Taylor Pearce, who settled in this village in 1808.

Built Masonic Temple bldg. in 1896
103’ tower
9 bells; eight by Meneely of Troy

Reuben Tower, father of the subject of this sketch, was born at Rutland, Mass., February 15, 1787. He married Deborah Taylor Pearce, of Little Compton, Rhode Island, February 15, 1808, at Paris, Oneida, county, N. Y., and settled in Sangerfield, Oneida county, N. Y. He died at St. Augustine, Florida, March 14, 1832.

His business was that of a general merchant, and his life was marked by an interest in all concerns of public welfare and the development of his adopted State, especially in the projection and completion of the Chenango Canal. He was an honorable and able member of the New York Legislature.

His family embraced eight children, of whom the eldest was Charlemagne, a graduate of Harvard College in the Class of 1830, and a distinguished lawyer and capitalist of Philadelphia.

CHARLEMAGNE TOWER – The Iron Millionaire

began test pitting in June 1882 on land owned by Charlemagne Tower who purchased 17,000 acres of valuable mining land at around $40,000. Progress was slow because the miners had only hand drills to use, and they had plenty of lumber for building but there were no nails. Supplies were often delayed because the Vermilion Trail could not accommodate large horse teams and supplies were carried on foot in packsacks. Supplies were also difficult to come by because Tower was reluctant to pay expenses and he needed the constant prodding of George C. Stone.

In December 1882 the Minnesota Iron Mining Company was formed and Tower became President, with George C. Stone as general manager; Edward Breitung was Vice President; Charlemagne Tower, Jr. as Treasurer; and Thomas L. Blood as Secretary (Stone's son-in-law). Jack Armstrong was hired as the mine manager, and Captain Sandy McMaster? became his assistant.

During the months that followed the forming of the company, Charlemagne Tower and George Stone manipulated events to build a railroad from the Soudan mine to Lake Superior. Ultimately, Tower managed to obtain the charter to the defunct Duluth and Iron Range Railroad Company and 600,000 acres of free land. The construction of the railroad began in the summer of 1883. The mining engineer, Franklin Prince, arrived in Soudan in the fall of 1883.

East Wing – Federal Period – c. 1800
Central portion – Greek Revival – built in 1830 by Reuben Tower
West Wing – Federal – added by Charlemagne II in 1910.

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