Timeline of town creation in New York's North Country

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Counties of the North Country highlighted

The towns and cities of New York's North Country were created by the U.S. state of New York as municipalities in order to give residents more direct say over local government.[1] The North Country consists of Clinton County, Essex County, Franklin County, Jefferson County, Lewis County, and St. Lawrence County. When counties were first formed in 1683 the entire area was theoretically under the jurisdiction of Albany County though actually wilderness inhabited by Native Americans, by 1764 most of the area became effectively controlled by Albany County. The state would sell off this land to settlers and speculators, most notably as part of the Old Military Tract (1786) to veterans of the US Revolutionary War and as Macomb's Purchase (1791) to Alexander Macomb.[2] In 1772 the northern and western portions of Albany County was divided into two counties– Tryon and Charlotte. Tryon encompassed Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties along with the western section of Franklin; Tryon was renamed Montgomery in 1784. Charlotte encompassed Clinton, Essex, and the majority of Franklin County; the name of the county was changed to Washington County in 1784. In 1788 Clinton County was split from Washington, Essex was formed from Clinton in 1799 and Franklin was formed from Clinton in 1808. Montgomery County's North Country area went to Herkimer County on that county's formation in 1791, but western Franklin and eastern St. Lawrence were returned to Montgomery in 1797. In 1798 Lewis, Jefferson, and western St. Lawrence became part of the newly formed Oneida County from Herkimer in 1798, leaving only central St. Lawrence County as part of Herkimer. In 1801 the future St. Lawrence and Franklin counties which were portions of Montgomery, Herkimer, and Oneida were transferred to Clinton County; the next year in 1802 St. Lawrence was formed as a county. In 1805 both Lewis and Jefferson counties were formed from Oneida County.[3]

In 1785, the township of Plattsburgh was formed in Washington County, and the next year all of Washington County was divided into townships, including the formation of Crown Point township which included all of future Essex County while Plattsburgh was expanded to include most of future Clinton County and Franklin counties.[1] Towns in Franklin can all be traced back to Chateaugay, formed in 1799 a descendant of Plattsburgh. All the towns of Jefferson and Lewis counties can be traced back to Whitestown a town formed in Montgomery County in 1788. In 1801, a year before St. Lawrence County was formed the area of the county, which was 10 survey townships, was combined as the town of Lisbon, all towns in the county are descended from Lisbon.[4]

New York experimented with different types of municipalities before settling upon the current format of towns and cities occupying all the land in a county,[5] and all previous forms were transformed into towns (or divided into multiple towns) in 1788 when all of the state of New York was divided into towns.[1] Some early forms of government in earlier years included land patents with some municipal rights, districts,[6] precincts,[7] and boroughs.[8] Though originally intended to be mere “…involuntary subdivisions of the state, constituted for the purpose of the more convenient exercise of governmental functions by the state for the benefit of all its citizens” as defined by the courts in 1916 (Short v. Town of Orange), towns gained home rule powers from the state in 1964, at which time towns became "a municipal corporation comprising the inhabitants within its boundaries, and formed with the purpose of exercising such powers and discharging such duties of local government and administration of public affairs as have been, or, maybe [sic] conferred or imposed upon it by law.”[9]

The following is a timeline showing the creation of the current towns from their predecessors stretching back to the earliest municipal entity over the area. The timelines only represent which town(s) a particular town was created from and does not represent annexations of territory to and from towns that already existed. All municipalities are towns unless otherwise noted as patent, township, borough, district, or city.

Essex County[edit]

Crown
Point[A]
township
1786-1788
Willsboro[B]
1788
For further
descendants
see
Clinton and
Franklin counties
Crown
Point
[B]
1788
Ticonderoga[C]
1804
Lewis[C]
1805
Essex[C]
1805
Chesterfield[C]
1802
Jay[B]
1798
Dansville[D]
1821
(Wilmington
from 1822)
St.
Armand
[C]
1844
Keene[C]
1808
North
Elba
[C]
1849
Schroon[C]
1804
Minerva[C]
1817
Newcomb[C]
1828
Moriah[C]
1808
North
Hudson
[C]
1848
Elizabethtown[B]
1798
Westport[C]
1815

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Washington County.
[B] = A part of Clinton County until 1799, thereafter Essex County.
[C] = A part of Essex County.

Clinton and Franklin counties[edit]

For further
descendants
see
Essex
County
For antecendents 
see
Essex
County
Willsboro[B]
1788
Peru[D]
1792
Au Sable[D]
1839
Black
Brook
[D]
1839
Champlain[D]
1788
Mooers[D]
1804
Ellenburg[D]
1830
Clinton[D]
1845
Chazy[D]
1804
Altona[D]
1857
Chateaugay[E]
1799
Burke[F]
1844
Bellmont[F]
1833
Franklin[F]
1836
Westville[F]
1829
Harrison 1805
(Ezraville
from 1808;
Malone[E]
from 1812)
Constable[E]
1807
Fort
Covington
[F]
1817
Bombay[F]
1833
Duane[F]
1828
Brighton[F]
1858
Harrietstown[F]
1841
Dickinson[E]
1808
Moira[E]
1828
Bangor[F]
1812
Brandon[F]
1828
Santa
Clara
[F]
1888[10]
Waverly[F]
1880[10]
Altamont
1890
(Tupper
Lake
[F]
from
2004)[11]
Plattsburgh[A]
township
1785[4]-1788[1]
Plattsburgh[D]
1788[1]
Saranac[D]
1824
Beekmantown[D]
1820
Dannemora[D]
1854
Schuyler
Falls
[D]
1854
Plattsburgh[D]
City 1902[12]

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Washington County.
[B] = A part of Clinton County until 1799, thereafter Essex County.
[C] = A part of Essex County.
[D] = A part of Clinton County.
[E] = A part of Clinton County until 1808, thereafter Franklin County.
[F] = A part of Franklin County.

St Lawrence County[edit]

Lisbon[A]
1801
Canton
1805
Waddington
1859
Madrid
1802
Potsdam
1806
Ogdensburg
City 1868[13]
Oswegatchie
1802
Gouverneur
1810
Macomb
1841
Morristown
1821
De Kalb
1806
De Peyster
1825
Massena
1802
Stockholm
1806
Norfolk
1823
Louisville
1810
Clifton
1868[14]
Hermon
1834
Brasher
1825
Lawrence
1828
Clare
1880[14]
Hammond
1827
Pierrepont
1818
Fowler
1816
Edwards
1827
Hopkinton
1805
Russell
1807
Pitcairn
1836
Rossie
1813
Fine
1844
Piercefield
1901[15]
Parishville
1818
Colton
1843

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Clinton County until 1802, thereafter St. Lawrence County.

Lewis County[edit]

Denmark[F]
1807
Whitestown[A]
1788
Mexico[D]
1782
Lowville[E]
1800
Harrisburg[E]
1803
Champion[G]
1800
Pinckney[F]
1808
Adams[G]
1802
Harrison 1804
(Rodman[G] from
1808)
Turin[E]
1800
Martinsburg[E]
1803
High Market [F]
1852[4]-1973[17]
For further
descendants
see
Central
New York
West
Turin
[F]
1830
Osceola[F]
1844
Montague[F]
1850
Steuben[B]
1792
Leyden[C]
1797
Lewis[F]
1852
Watson[F]
1821
Brantingham
1828
(Greig[F] from
1832)
Lyonsdale[F]
1873[18]
New
Bremen
[F]
1848
Diana[F]
1830
Croghan[F]
1841

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Montgomery County until 1791, Herkimer County from 1791 to 1798, then Oneida County from 1798.
[B] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, Oneida County thereafter.
[C] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, then Oneida County until 1805, thereafter Lewis County.
[D] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, then Oneida County until 1816, thereafter Oswego County.
[E] = A part of Oneida County until 1805, thereafter Lewis County.
[F] = A part of Lewis County.
[G] = A part of Oneida County until 1805, thereafter Jefferson County.

Jefferson County[edit]

Alexandria
1821
Theresa
1841
Whitestown[A]
1788
Steuben[B]
1792
Leyden[C]
1797
Brownville[E]
1802
Le Ray
1806
Antwerp
1810
Philadelphia
1821
Wilna
1813
For further
descendants
see Central New York
Pamelia
1819
Orleans
1821
Mexico[D]
1792
Malta 1804
(Lorraine[E] from 1808)
Worth
1848
Champion[E]
1800
For further
descendants
see Lewis County
Adams
1802
Harrison 1804
(Rodman from 1808)
For further
descendants
see Lewis County
Ellisburg
1803
Henderson
1806
Clayton
1833
Watertown
1800
Watertown
city 1869[19]
Hounsfield
1806
Rutland
1802
Lyme
1818
Cape Vincent
1849

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Montgomery County until 1791, Herkimer County from 1791 to 1798, then Oneida County from 1798.
[B] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, Oneida County thereafter.
[C] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, then Oneida County until 1805, thereafter Lewis County.
[D] = A part of Herkimer County until 1798, then Oneida County until 1816, thereafter Oswego County.
[E] = A part of Oneida County until 1805, thereafter Jefferson County.
[F] = A part of Jefferson County.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b c d e Laws of the State of New York Passed at the Sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788, inclusive, Being the Eight, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh, sessions. II. Weed, Parsons and Company/State of New York. 1886. p. 103 & 748. Retrieved 2010-09-13. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Franklin County:History". Franklin County. Retrieved 2010-10-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "New York County Maps and Atlases". Genealogy, Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2010-10-02. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c French, John H. (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. new york gazetteer 1860.
  5. ^ "Governmental Units". John B. Deitz. Retrieved May 18, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ The Colonial Laws of the State of New York From 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to the Colonial Governors, the Duke's Laws, the Laws of Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive. V. James B. Lyon (State of New York). 1894. p. 383 and 395. Retrieved 2009-09-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ The Colonial Laws of the State of New York From 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to the Colonial Governors, the Duke's Laws, the Laws of Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive. II. John B. Lyon. 1894. p. 956.
  8. ^ Howell, George Rogers; Munsell, John H. (1886). History of the County of Schenectady, N.Y., from 1662 to 1886. W.W. Munsell & Company.
  9. ^ "Local Government Handbook" (PDF) (5th ed.). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. 60 (PDF 64). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2010-10-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ a b Seaver, Frederick J. (1918). Historical Sketches of Franklin County and its Several Towns with Many Short Biographies. J.B. Lyon Company. p. VII. santa clara 1888 waverly 1880 franklin county.
  11. ^ "Town of Tupper Lake". Northern New York American-Canadian Genealogical Society. Retrieved 2010-10-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Bailey, Jim. "City of Plattsburgh: City Historian". Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-10-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Ninety-First Session of the Legislature, Begun January Seventh, 1868, and Ended May Sixth, 1868, in the City of Albany. I. Van Benhuysen & Sons' Steam Printing House/State of New York. 1868. p. 715.
  14. ^ a b Curtis, Gates, ed. (1894). "Our County and its People: A Memorial Record of St. Lawrence County, New York". The Brown History Company.
  15. ^ Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Session of the Legislature, Begun January Second, 1901, and Ended April Twenty-Third, 1901, in the City of Albany. II. J.B. Lyon Company/State of New York. 1901. p. 1827.
  16. ^ Curtis, Gates, ed. (1894). Our County and Its People: A Memorial Record of St. Lawrence County New York. D. Mason & Company, Publishers.
  17. ^ "Local Government Count" (PDF). New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness. p. 7.
  18. ^ Hough, Franklin B. (1883). "History of Lewis County, New York and its People". D. Mason & Co. Retrieved 2010-10-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "City of Watertown". Jefferson County NYGenWeb. Retrieved 2010-10-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)