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Russell Town

Russell Town Hall is located at 4 Pestle Street, Russell NY 13684; phone: 315-347-2358.

Beginnings [1]

The Town of Russell was incorporated March 27, 1807. In 1798 Russell Attwater (for whom the town was named) purchased more than 13,000 acres land which would later become the property of Joseph Pitcairn. Mr. Attwater made an exploring trip here in 1806, and in the following year came in with Timothy Blair (a surveyor who surveyed the town into farms), Nathan Knox, Heman Morgan, Elias Hayden, Loren Knox, Reuben Ashman, Jesse Bunnell, Elihu Morgan, and David Knox. Nathaniel Higgins was the first to bring his family, and in the fall of 1805 Joel Clark and his family located on Plum Creek.

In April, 1806, Mr. Attwater returned, and in that and the succeeding year the following settlers came in: Joseph Hutchinson, Michael Coffin, Philip and Sampson Viall, John Potter, John Cooper, Calvin Hill, Simeon Stiles, Elihu Phelps, Samuel Clark, John Watson, Horace Dickenson, Enos Bunnell, Luther and David Phelps, and Philetus Clark. The first white child born in town was a son of Reuben Ashman, in October 1806; the second was a daughter in the family of Nathaniel Higgins, in May, 1807. Calvin Hill and Harriet Knox were the first persons married and the first death was a Mr. Curtis in 1807. Between 1810 and 1816 the town was very rapidly settled, and anticipations were indulged that it would soon become a populous and wealthy community. But these anticipations were clouded by a season of adversity. Mr. Attwater had in his business mortgaged his lands to the Mohawk Valley Bank, and being unable to meet his payments a foreclosure followed, which affected the titles of the settlers and caused the utmost disappointment. Many went away and only by the most urgent appeals were others prevailed upon to remain. The lands passed into the hands of Gerrit Smith, whose native benevolence led him to give all possible accommodation to those who needed it, and the settlements finally recovered and continued to advance.

  1. Curtis, Gates, ed., Our County and Its People: A Memorial Record of St. Lawrence County New York, D. Mason & Company, Publishers, Syracuse, N.Y., 1894

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