Dewey's Tavern

The Owners of Dewey’s Tavern
    There have been only a handful of owners of Dewey’s Tavern in its 209 year existence.  Elias Dewey built the house in 1800 and lived there until his death in 1854 (Lovisa had died in 1846).  His son Silas Hamilton Dewey inherited the house and fields and lived here with his sister Drusilla, his wife Caroline and their daughter Elizabeth until his death in 1884.  When he died, he bequeathed his property to his daughter Elizabeth Rebekah Barber who lived in Plattsburgh.  

    The Dewey farm (sometimes called the ‘Home Farm’ or the ‘Silas Dewey Farm’ years later in deeds and consisting of several different lots) was likely sold by (George) Edward Barber and others to George A. Cronkite on March 20, 1890.  Some or all of this land (it is very confusing to understand how the lots were parceled) was then purchased by Joseph Laware Jr. who later sold some parcels to Peter Mero on April 2, 1894 (in 1938, the Laware estate still owned some land near the farm including lots 75 & 76; land was sold by Mary E. Barber (daughter of Elizabeth) to Laware as late as 1912).  On March 28, 1901, Peter Mero sold two parcels of land (61¾ acres of land that included the house) for $2,300 to Frank Castine Jr. (1857-1943).  Frank would live on the farm for the next 36 years.  Although Frank and his wife Magdeline had five children, only a daughter was living in 1943 at the time of his death.  Frank’s nephew, Peter Castine Jr., acquired ownership of the farm in 1937 and lived here until 1947.  George Bedard, father of the current owner Louis Bedard, purchased the house and farm on September 3, 1947.  The purchase included the south lot that was 35¼ acres in size and the 61¾ acres of land the house was on.  Two other plots of land were also purchased.  With the help of his son Louis, George Bedard farmed the land but never moved into the house.  On December 22, 1961, Louis Bedard received ownership of the house but did not move there.  By this time, the house was in disrepair; the ceilings were collapsing and the roof and chimneys needed extensive work.  Minor repairs were made and the house was made into three apartments.  (Mr. Bedard states that he never saw a fireplace in the kitchen which had been one of the hallmarks of the house).  By 1978, no one lived in the house.  In 1984, Mr. Bedard and his wife Rita moved into the house and started to make improvements to the interior and exterior (no work was done that altered the original layout of the house).  New insulated windows were added and siding was placed over the deteriorated wood shingles.  The inside of the square columns supporting the porch were replaced.  After many years of hard work, the Bedard’s have finally brought the house back to its original grandeur.

    The original 1797 log cabin (and possibly the oldest structure in the Town of Champlain) has remained completely unchanged over the last 60 years or so.  Mr. Bedard used the house as a shed, pigsty and slaughter house.  The downstairs is divided into three sections.  Two sections were made into pens for pigs.  The third section at the entranceway has a large cement fireplace (not old) that is vented through the original brick chimney.  A large iron kettle, three feet in diameter and two feet deep, sits next to the fireplace.  Perhaps this kettle was originally used in the potash house.  Inspection of the walls and ceiling rafters reveal the original hand hewed logs that were joined together by mortise and tenon joints.  A rickety staircase is used to get to the upstairs loft.  Today, it is hard to imagine raising five children under the age of nine in a cabin like this, especially during the dead of winter.  At least four of the five children reached adulthood and married.  The Dewey’s were certainly a hardy pioneer family. 

    Mr. Bedard also states that he removed a smokehouse (probably the potash house) that was between the original log house and garage (see the 1948 aerial photograph of the property).  The building was perhaps 6x12 feet in size and was made with stone and mortar.  It was divided into two sections and had a firepit.  The hooks from this building are now hanging in the log house. The stones from this building were piled near the barn across the road. 

    Other structures were built near the Dewey house.  Adjacent to the driveway was a gazebo that had a slate roof and round posts.  It was removed by Mr. Bedard due to its deterioration.  The barn across the road (one section was very old and the second section may have been added prior to the 1930s) burned down on April 19, 1973 and had been used as a stable for horses. 

Wayside Panel and additional views of the tavern and original log cabin built by Elias Dewey around 1797.

deweys tavern in the town of champlain

location of deweys tavern relative to
                        champlain, canada and rouses point