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St Lawrence County, New York

St Lawrence County Courthouse is located at 48 Court Street, Canton NY 13617; phone: 315‑379‑2276.

St. Lawrence County Neighborhoods


Beginnings [1]

Prior to 1801 the people of St. Lawrence county were compelled to journey to Montgomery, Oneida and Herkimer whenever they desired to transact legal business. In March of that year the Town of Lisbon was incorporated by act of the legislature and was made the county seat of the county of Clinton. In the autumn of the same year the legislature was petitioned that this territory should be set off into a county to be called St. Lawrence, and an act for this purpose was passed in March, 1802. It was agreed that the sessions of the court of common pleas and court of general sessions should be held in the old barracks in the town of Oswegatchie, and that one of the old stone buildings of the fort in that place should be considered the court house and jail of the county until a suitable building could be erected. The first court held in the county was presided over by Judge Nathan Ford, and was convened on the first Tuesday of June, 1802; John Tibbitts Jr. and Stillman Foot were the associate justices, and Louis Hasbrouck the county clerk.

Measures were soon taken for the erection of a court house and jail in Ogdensburg, and by the energy of Nathan Ford this was accomplished before the close of the year 1804. The court house was a plain rectangular building surmounted with a belfry, and, in November of 1804, Mr. Ford was able to declare that he had so far completed the house that the court was held in the court room, and part of the jail had been finished. In the new building no county clerk's office was provided, but Louis Hasbrouck made for himself a residence in the vicinity of the court house and established there the county clerk's office, keeping the records in his house for several years thereafter. This Hasbrouck house was destroyed by fire in the autumn of 1852.

After the court house was destroyed by the British in February, 1813, movements were initiated to remove the county seat from Ogdensburg, and it was even proposed to divide the county into two counties. In January, 1828, the legislature passed an act establishing the court house and other public buildings in Canton, and Ansel Bailey, David C. Judson and Asa Sprague, Jr., were appointed commissioners to superintend the erection of the court house, jail and clerk's office.

  1. Chester, Alden, ed., Legal and Judicial History of New York, volume III, National Americana Society, New York, 1911

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