Essex, and Clinton cos., in close proximity to each other. The streams, forming the outlets of the
lakes, are mostly small. The whole region being a mountainous plateau higher than the surround
ing country, the streams that rise here flow in all directions and form tributaries of the St. Lawrence,
Lake Champlain, the Hudson, Mohawk, and Black Rivers. Several of the rivers have the same
name as the lakes which respectively form their headwaters; as the Racket, Chazy, and Chateaugay.1
This whole region is primitive, the rock being principally gneiss. Calciferous sandstone and
Trenton limestone are found upon Sacondaga River. White limestone is also found in several
localities. Peat is found in great abundance in the vlaies, or natural meadows, which extend along
the valleys. Iron ore and graphite are both found,—though no surveys have been made to ascer¬
tain their extent. A large amount of labor has been expended in mining for silver; with what
success is unknown. The soil is a light, sandy loam, and, except in the valleys, is not susceptible
of profitable cultivation. The mountain sides are covered with a thin growth of forest trees, and
when cleared seem incapable of supporting vegetation. The valleys at first are productive, but,
being deficient in lime, as soon as the vegetable mold is exhausted they become barren.
The county seat is located at Sageville, in the town of Lake Pleasant.2 The co. buildings, con¬
sisting of a courthouse, jail, and clerk's office, were erected in 1840. Each town supports its own
poor, and the co. poor are provided for by the Superintendent at the most convenio it place. There
has never been a paper printed within the co.3 The public works are entirely prospective.4 Most
of the territory of the co. is included in the Totten and Crossfield Purchase of 1773.5 Grants
within the limits of the co. were made in colonial times to Sir Jeffrey Amherst, Henry Balfour, and
Thomas Palmer. Arthursboro, in Morehouse, was granted to Arthur Noble. The first settlement
was made about 1790.
I - —
ARIETTA6—was formed from Lake Pleasant, May 13, 1836. A part of Long Lake was
taken off in 1837. It extends from the s.w. border northward nearly across the co., a little w. of
the center. Its surface is much broken, and it contains a great number of wild, picturesque lakes.
Of these, Racket and Forked Lakes, in the N. part, and Piseco,7 in the s., are the most important.
The principal streams are the w. and s. branches of Sacondaga River. A considerable amount of
lumbering is carried on.8 Piseco, formerly a p. o., and once a busy village of some 250 inhabit¬
ants, is now nearly deserted, and contains but 4 families.9 There is no p. o. in town. The first
settlers were Shadrack Dunning, at the e. end of Piseco Lake, in 1827, and David Wool worth, in
the s. part, about the same time. Rensselaer Yan Rensselaer, of Albany, settled in 1834.10
GILMAIV11 —was formed from Wells, April 23, 1839. A part was annexed to Wells in 1858.
It is an interior town, extending in a long, narrow strip near the e. border of the co. Its surface
is much broken by mountains and diversified by small lakes. Several of the highest peaks in the co.
are in this town; but their elevations have never been ascertained. It is the least populous town
in the State. €*ilman (p.o.) is in the s. border. Most of the settlers are in the S. part, a few
only living on the extreme n. border, quite isolated from their fellow townsmen. Philip Rhine¬
lander, a wealthy merchant of New York, began the first settlement.12
Hall, in July, 1773. It was estimated to contain 800,000 acres,
i—Council Minutes, XXXI, p. 31.
It was surveyed by Ebenezer Jessup and associates.
«Named by Rensselaer ATan Rensselaer, in honor of his
7 Named by Joshua Brown, a surveyor, from an Indian chief
of his acquaintance. It is about 5 mi. long and 1 to 1£ wide.
It is one of the most picturesque sheets of water in the co. Tho
mountains around it are over 500 feet, above its surface.
8 Henry Devereaux, some years since, began lumbering on a
large scale in the S. part, and built a tram E. K. some 8 or 10 mi.
long. He also spent many thousand dollars in buildings and
machinery; but the enterprise proved a failure.
9 In 1838 Andrew K. Morehouse, an extensive landholder,
built at this place a gristmill, sawmill, machine shop, a iarge
hotel and boarding house, and some half dozen dwellings.
Strong inducements were offered to settlers; but they became
dissatisfied with the title, and one by one dropped off. In 1843
he again tried to retrieve his fortunes by the formation of a
joint stock Co. and induced some 200 settlers to come in. Some
returned the same day; others remained a week or a month.
10 Eli Rood, of Saratoga, settled on the beech flatss. e. of Piseco
Lake; R. Dibble and Seth Whitman near the foot of the lake;
and Zadock Ross, from Clifton Park, s. of the lake. The first
birth was that of Miss M. M. Dunning, Aug. 28, 1829; the first
marriage, that of Amos Dunning and Ann Eliza Plummer; and
the first death, that of Seth Whitman. A school was taught by
Ann E. Plummer, in 1833.
11 Named from John M. Gilman, an early settler, from N. H.
42 Mr. Rhinelander cleared 300 acres for a stock farm, and built
If this system of naming lakes could be extended, it would
greatly assist those who wish to understand the geography of
this region. To make it complete, the eighth lake in the Fulton
chain should be named Moose Lake; Cranberry Pond, Oswe¬
gatchie Lake; Messewepie Pond, Grasse Lake; Ragged Lake,
Salmon; Colden Lake, Hudson; and Piseco Lake, Sacondaga;
and then the direction of the flow of the waters would be at once
apparent from the names of the lakes.
The first co. officers were Richard Peck, First Judge; Sami.
Call, County Clerk; James Harris, Sheriff; G. R. Parburt, Dis¬
trict Attorney; and Thos. H. Kline, Surrogate.
2 Tlie Hamilton County Sentinel, printed at
Johnstown and edited at Sageville, was started in 1845
by Clark & Thayer. It was subsequently in the hands
of Clark & Holmes, and is now issued by Clark &
The route of the Ontario & Hudson R. R., from Saratoga to
Sackets Harbor, extends through the N. part of the co. The
route is located; but no grading has been done within the co.
Several surveys have been made to test the practicability of
connecting Piseco Lake with Lake Pleasant, the Fulton chain
with Racket Lake, and Racket River with the Upper Saranac
Lake, for the purpose of forming a slackwater navigation through
the co. These schemes have been pronounced feasible. Con¬
siderable sums have been expended upon some of the streams so
that logs might be floated down.
A large share of this tract has reverted to the State by es¬
cheat, confiscation, and tax sales. It was purchased, at the re¬
quest and expense of Joseph Totten, Stephen Crossfield, and
•' thers, from the Mohawk and Canajoharie Indians, at Johnsons