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Essex Town

Essex Town Hall is located at 2313 Main Street, Essex NY 12936; phone: 518-963-4287.

Beginnings [1]

The history of Essex began in 1764 when William Gilliland, a veteran of the British army, acquired twelve grants of land lying between Crown Point to the south and Cumberland Head to the north, along the western shore of Lake Champlain. One of these grants contained the area which is the present hamlet of Essex. Gilliland's original settlement was made in the village of Willsboro, four miles to the north, with his outlying meadows and scattered homesteads where Essex now is. A thriving community in the decade before the Revolution, the area lay in the path of skirmishing Revolutionary forces caught between Benedict Arnold and Burgoyne, the countryside was laid waste. No documented structure in Essex County appears to have survived. By the 1780's, however, Gilliland and his son-in-law, Daniel Ross, had re-established a community in Essex. Its harbors on either side of Shipyard Point made it ideal for the shipping needs of a growing Republic. Land speculation was opening up the northern frontier.

  1. Scheinin, Margaret, Essex Community Heritage Organization, Essex Village Historic District, nomination document, 1975, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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