MADRID — A log cabin built in 1835 by an Irish family who immigrated to the north country has started its 21st-century life at the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum, 1755 Route 345.

In a project led by Roger S. Austin, a museum trustee, the cabin was dismantled in the spring of 2015 from its original spot on Route 68 in the town of Lisbon near Flackville.

Visitors heading to the museum for this weekend’s 37th annual Spring Antique Gas & Steam Engine Exhibition will have a chance to step inside the log cabin, which is still being restored.

Horse pulls, tractor pulls and a range of other activities are planned for the event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. About 1,000 people usually attend each day. Admission is $5 for children 12 and older, while younger children are admitted free. Live music by Pure Country will be performed from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

“This whole place will be full. Everything will be open and there will be lots of demonstrations,” Mr. Austin said, noting that both the sawmill and shingle mill will be operating.

A new cement foundation was put in for the cabin and volunteers spent the past three years reassembling the cabin and researching its history. Plastic house wrap to keep the cabin protected from the weather was recently removed and new windows were installed, built to replicate the originals.

“It’s a work in progress, but hopefully we’ll get this completed soon,” Mr. Austin said. “We’ll have it more or less alive. It will be fully furnished and we’ll have people in there cooking and working so forth.”

Eventually, children will be allowed to go into the loft to give them an idea what it was like to sleep up there.

“This will be living history, learning history by watching it, seeing it take place,” Mr. Austin said.

Interpretive signs will share the history of the cabin and also discuss 19th-century immigration into St. Lawrence County and early construction methods.

Although the walls and roof are on the cabin, more work is needed. By next year, museum officials hope to have plank floors installed, and a stairway built leading to the second-story loft. The metal roof will be replaced with a red cedar roof and a wood stove will be installed. The logs will be chinked with special mud and other materials to fill the gaps between the logs.

Mr. Austin said a map identified the cabin’s original owner as David Madill, who reportedly purchased 25 acres of land in 1835. He lived in the cabin with his wife and grandchild.

Two local historians, Patricia Dominie of Morley and Bryan Thompson of DeKalb, found documents indicating that a family of Madills arrived in the Lisbon area from Monaghan, Ireland, around 1812.

Census data from 1850 shows David Madill had accumulated 47 acres of land, a $600 farm, four cattle, six sheep, two pigs and stores of wheat corn, oats, butter, hay and other goods.

Other new projects planned for the museum include assembling a 1900s wood shop that the museum obtained from the Stowe family estate near South Colton. Earlier this year, the museum’s Board of Trustees approved construction of a stockade fort that will serve as a living tribute to St. Lawrence County residents who served in the Civil War.

The museum property features more than a dozen exhibits including an original one-room schoolhouse that was moved from Evans Mills. Also featured are a blacksmith shop, heritage fibers, an equine pavilion, saw and shingle mills, a gas station, a granary, a cobbler shop and a carriage barn.

During the summer, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every second and fourth Saturday and by appointment. The website is For more information, call 315-344-7470 or email

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


Have been a reporter since 1991

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