History of Jefferson County, New York

This volume has been compiled from many sources. A valuable history of Jefferson County was published by Dr. Hough in 1854. Its compilation required a vast amount of physical and mental labor, and was a very complete work. During the twenty-three years which have elapsed since its publication much interesting material has accumulated, and the demand for a new and more elaborate work was believed by the present publishers to warrant the compilation of the one herewith given to the public. Arrangements were made with Dr. Hough, whereby the use of his history was secured, and much valuable assistance rendered by him and his son, Mr. F.H. Hough.

Taking Dr. Hough's work as a foundation, it has been the aim of those in charge to collect all the additional material which the most diligent application could reach, and from the great mass thus accumulated construct a thorough and reliable work. Beginning with the earliest discoveries and settlements of the French in the region of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, everything of importance has been introduced, and the expeditions of Champlain, De Nouville, La Barre, Frontenac, Bradstreet, and Montcalm treated as much in detail as their connection with the region now within the bounds of the county seemed to demand.

The military and naval history of the "War of 1812 so far as it attaches to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence is closely connected with Jefferson County, inasmuch as all important operations were conducted from Sacket's Harbor, then the most important point on the northern frontier. The illustrious commander of the United States army in after-years was one of the earlier pioneers, and then a resident of the county. The chapter devoted to this war is from Dr. Hough's work, carefully corrected and revised by him, and is as complete as the limits of the present work would admit.

The history of land titles is also from the same source, and gives a thorough understanding of the complicated legislation and the multitudinous surveys and speculations of the various corporations and individuals who operated in the wild lands of northern New York.

The history of the city of Watertown and the various towns and villages has been carefully compiled and brought down to the present time. The civil organization, the courts, learned professions, churches, schools, agricultural and manufacturing interests, internal improvements, political matters, and every subject of interest will be found, each in its proper connection, thoroughly written up.

An important and interesting chapter upon the War of the Rebellion is furnished from material obtained through the courtesy of the Adjutant-Greneral at Albany, including a history of the various organizations which entered the service from Jefferson County, and closing with a carefully-prepared roster of the soldiers of the county.

Absolute perfection we cannot claim, but every care has been taken that the work shall be as complete and accurate as possible; and we trust that it will be received in that spirit which is characteristic of an intelligent community. If minor errors and inadvertencies shall be found, we simply ask the public to remember that perfection is an attribute of the Infinite alone.

Among the various works and text-books consulted have been the following: Documentary History of New York, Parkman's Works, Dr. Hough's History of Jefferson County, various Encyclopaedias, Legislative Manuals, Hon. C. R. Skinner's Pamphlet upon Watertown, The Records of Jefferson County, Public School Library, Annals of the West, "Olden Time," etc.

 

Table of Contents

HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

I. Physical Features 9-21
II. Pre-Historic 21-25
III. Champlain and Frontenac 25-42
IV. History of Land-Titles 42-55
V. Castorland 55-64
VI. Civil Organization 64-85
VII. Statistical 85-94
VIII. Public Officers 94-100
IX. The Learned Professions 100-111
X. Internal Improvements 111-129

ILLUSTRATIONS.

CITY OF WATERTOWN.
TOWN OF WATERTOWN.
TOWN OF ADAMS.
TOWN OF ALEXANDRIA.
TOWN OF ANTWERP.
TOWN OF BROWNVILLE.
TOWN OF CAPE VINCENT.
TOWN OF CHAMPION.
TOWN OF CLAYTON.
TOWN OF ELLISBURG.
TOWN OF HENDERSON.
TOWN OF HOUNSFIELD.
TOWN OF LE RAY.
TOWN OF LORRAINE.
TOWN OF LYME.
TOWN OF ORLEANS.
TOWN OF PAMELIA.
TOWN OF PHILADELPHIA.
TOWN OF RODMAN.
TOWN OF RUTLAND.
TOWN OF THERESA.
TOWN OF WILNA.
TOWN OF WORTH.

 

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Earthquakes have several times occurred in this section of the country. One is recorded in Canada, February 5, 1663, and is related as most terrific and awful. The ice in the St. Lawrence was broken up, the earth was violently shaken, houses thrown down, and such was the tumult of the elements that many believed that the end of the world was coming. Several times since the settlement of the country slight shocks have been felt. On the 12th of March, 1853, at two o'clock a.m., a shock occurred that was felt in parts of Lewis and Jefferson counties. It commenced with a rumbling sound that lasted about a minute and a half, and was attended with a deep rolling thunder. It is credibly related that in Champion the snow, then covered by a strong crust, was found broken into fissures by the movement.

The New York Reformer of November 8, 1860, describes an earthquake felt on the 26th of October, 1860, at seven p.m., in Ellisburg, Henderson, and Adams, accompanied by a heavy, subterranean, rumbling noise, lasting ten seconds. The sound and agitation passed from south to north, and buildings were considerably shaken during its continuance.