In the Essex county courthouse in Elizabethtown, John Albert Berryman Wills filed his Declaration of Intent to become an US citizen. on January 19th 1872. He stated he resided in the town of Moriah. During the 19th century the iron ore beds in Moriah supplied the nation with the ore to built cannon and artillery for the Civil War at the US Arsenal in Watervelit, NY. The ore was also sent to Troy for the manufacturing of parlor stoves for which Troy became so famous.
Moriah is on the west side of Lake Champlain and before the railroads carried the ore down to the Hudson Valley, the Champlain Canal boats did the job.
|Aerial view of Port Henry , Moriah and Mineville on the west side of Lake Champlain|
It was here in Moriah at the Cheever Ore Bed and/or in Witherbee that John Wills worked as a iron miner, lived and raised his family. It was here, in Essex County, where he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1876. Again working as a miner was not an easy life
The following photos are from the Essex County Historical Society and although taken in a period of time after John Wills worked in the mines in Moriah, they do help to give a sense of the conditions and work the labor force encountered daily.