Early Jefferson County History
General Description of Jefferson County, NY
From: The Growth of a Century
AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE
History of Jefferson County, New York
From 1793 to 1894.
By John A. Haddock
Weed-Parsons Printing Company
Albany, N. Y. 1895
Jefferson County once formed part of the original county of Albany, the line of evolution from the latter being as follows: Albany county, formed November 1, 1683; Tryon, formed from Albany, March 12, 1772; Montgomery, changed from Tryon. April 2, 1784; Herkimer, formed from Montgomery, January 16, 1792; Oneida, formed from Herkimer, March 15, 1798; Jefferson, formed from Oneida, March 28, 1805.
This county is situated in the northern part of the State of New York, in an angle formed by the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, the superficial area, according to the latest statistics, being 733,585 acres, equivalent to 1,146 square miles. It is bounded on the northwest by the St. Lawrence River, on the northeast by St. Lawrence County, on the west by Lake Ontario, on the south by Oswego County, and on the east by Lewis County. The southwest part is marshy but at a short distance from the lake the land rises in gentle undulations, and, farther inland, by abrupt terraces to the highest point, 1,200 feet above the lake, in the town of Worth. A plateau, about 1,000 feet above the lake, spreads out from the summit, and extends into Oswego and Lewis counties. An ancient lake beach, 390 feet above the present level of the lake, may be traced through Ellisburgh, Adams, Watertown and Rutland. North of Black River the surface is generally flat or slightly undulating; in the extreme northeast corner it is broken by low ridges parallel to the St. Lawrence. With the exception of a few isolated hills, no part of the region is as high as the ancient lake ridge mentioned. An isolated hill in Pamelia formerly bore a crop of red cedar; and as this timber is now only found upon the islands in the lake and in the St. Lawrence, it is supposed that the hill was an island at a time when at least three-fourths of the country was covered by water.
The main water features of the county are Ontario Lake and St. Lawrence River. The main indentations of the lake are Black River bay, Chaumont bay, Henderson bay and Griffin’s bay. Black River bay is accounted the finest harbor on Lake Ontario. The largest islands attached to Jefferson County are Wells, Grindstone and Carleton, in the St. Lawrence, and Grenadier, Galloe and Stony islands in the lake. Besides these there are innumerable smaller ones, including several in the month of Black river, a number in Black River and Chaumont bays, and a portion of the archipelago known as the "Thousand Islands.” Among the most prominent headlands and capes are Stony Point and Six Town Point, in the town of Henderson; Pillar Point, in Brownville; Point Peninsula and Point Salubrious, in Lyme, and Tibbett’s Point, in Cape Vincent.
There are about twenty small lakes in the county, of which ten are in Theresa and Alexandria, two in Henderson, four in Ellisburgh, two in Antwerp, and one each in Orleans and Pamelia, Champion and Rutland. The largest of these is Butterfield Lake, lying between Theresa and Alexandria, which is about four miles in length. The other more important ones are Perch Lake, lying between Orleans and Pamelia, nearly three miles in length, and Pleasant Lake, in Champion, about two miles long.