St. Lawrence and Franklin counties are situated in the northeastern corner of New York, along the Canadian border. St. Lawrence County was created in 1802 from parts of Clinton, Herkimer, and Montgomery counties, while Franklin County was carved from Clinton County six years later. Many of the early settlers to this area, even prior to the counties’ formation, were of New England origin.
Franklin Hough’s History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, originally published in 1853, is still the standard work on this region of New York State. A massive work featuring detailed maps and numerous line drawings of personalities, edifices, and scenes associated with the counties, Hough’s history covers much of the terrain that we have come to associate with 19th-century historical treatises. There are lengthy opening chapters on contact between the French explorers and settlers and the indigenous Iroquois tribes, with attention drawn to Indian wars and the treaties that followed them; journals and memoirs; and, of course, the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. Subsequent chapters account for the organization of the counties, awarding of land titles, first surveys, schools, and the organization and settlement of more than thirty towns in these adjoining counties–commencing with Lisbon in 1801 and ending with Fine in 1849. The town essays, typically, include details surrounding the town’s founding, memoranda from town records, names and tenures of town supervisors, names of county pioneers with stories about their settlements, and the founding of religious denominations. Still other chapters treat the history of social and cultural organizations, businesses, and the press; internal improvements along the St. Lawrence River and on land and rail; local geology; and Franklin and St. Lawrence counties in the War of 1812 and the “Patriot War” of 1837-40. While the volume contains numerous references to pioneering individuals and local officials, researchers may wish to pour over the biographical notices of the following persons, most of which refer back to the 18th century: Robert Attwater, Thomas Benedict, John Boyd, James Campbell, D.W. Church, Thomas Davies, John Fine, S. Foote, D. Ford, N. Ford, Asa Hascall, Louis Hasbrouck, Roswell Hopkins, H. Horton, D. C. Judson, R. McChesney, D .A. Ogden, David Parish, George Parish, H. Powell, B. Raymond, A. Richards, J. Rosseel, J. W. Smith, G. Smith, J .B. Spencer, R. Townsend, W. H. Vining, H. S. Waterhouse, Joseph York, and Silas Wright.