Augustus Sacket House
In 1801, a New York lawyer and land speculator traveled to the north country to investigate reports of a natural deep-water harbor in the Town of Hounsfield
. Much to his satisfaction, the advertisements were true, and later that year Augustus Sacket bought the entire area now known as the Village of Sackets Harbor
. In fact, the deed of this sale is preserved in the archives of the Jefferson County Historical Society
. He returned the following spring, and set working on improvements, including what was for the time, a very ambitious mansion. He completed the Federal Style mansion in 1803.
With his home built, Sacket began to lay out streets, build wharfs, and develop his little village on the lake, which soon became known as "Mr. Sacket's Harbor." He didn't stay long, though. Being appointed as customs collector in 1805, in 1807 he became the most unpopular fellow in town. By 1809, he'd had enough death threats to convince him that there was no future in Sackets Harbor
. He sold the remainder of his lands to a holding company headed by his brother-in-law Elisha Camp, and moved to Pennsylvania.
During the War of 1812
, Sacket Mansion was occupied by soldiers. The longest of these tenants was William Vaughan and his wife Abbey, who stayed until 1842. Among others were Col. Mills and Col. Backus, both killed in the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor. Col. Backus was in fact taken back to the mansion injured, along with several of his fellow soldiers, where he later died of his wounds. Thus it indeed was a military hospital during the war as the sign claims. Archaeological testing has not shown, however, that the back yard contains a pit of amputated limbs, as local legend states.
After 1842, the home was occupied by Edward Sacket, a son of Augustus Sacket. But he too moved after a short stay, and the mansion became a tenant house once again. In the late 1800s, it was purchased by Bernard Eveleigh, owner of the neighboring Eveleigh House hotel. The home was passed down in his family for three generations before being sold. In the 1970s, it was a physician's office. The Village of Sackets Harbor
bought the property in 1980, and restored the structure to its original 1803 configuration. It now serves as the office of the Sackets Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, and the Sackets Harbor Urban Cultural Park.
Historic Structures in Jefferson County