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Russell Town, St Lawrence County, NY

Beginnings [1]

Russell village is situated near the center of the town on both sides of the Grass River. The place was settled in 1805, when Nathaniel Higgins located near the village site; Russell Attwater came the next year with Reuben Ashman, Nathan, David and Loren Knox, Jesse and and Moses A. Bunnell, and in 1807 the Phelps brothers, Horace Dickinson, John Watson, and Dr. Goddard came in. The manufacturing interests of the place began with the building of a saw mill by Mr. Attwater in 1807, and the site was occupied for the same purpose until recent years. A saw mill, however, was put in operation on Plum Creek, about half a mile from its mouth, near Russell, by Joel Clark, in the fall of 1805. Mr. Clark and Higgins, with their families, were the only ones settled in that neighborhood until 1807. In 1810 Mr. Attwater put up a small grist mill near the site of the present mill; the latter was erected in 1863 by Hiram Bartlett, and is now operated by Charles Bartlett. Other manufactures that have been carried on here were a fanning mill factory, which subsequently became a furniture shop, run by Palmer & Boyd; a cloth dressing business carried on by George L. Hosford, M. Van Brocklin and others, now abandoned. A forge was built by Benjamin Smith at the village on Grass River in 1846. It had two fires capable of producing about 400 pounds of bar iron per day. It was worked with bog and magnetic ores and with scrap iron. The ores were obtained from beds about eleven miles from the forge in unlimited quantities. The business was abandoned a few years later. An axe factory was established in 1850 and discontinued a few years later. The present manufactures are a furniture shop by Daniel Colton, who also deals in furniture; Hepburn, Brown & Co. make butter tubs; and F. W, Blanchard is proprietor of a cheese factory; James Gore is a harness maker and deals in horse fittings. The first school in Russell was taught in a log house in the Knox settlement by Phineas Attwater. In January, 1814, three school districts were formed, which have been subdivided until there are nineteen districts at the present time.

Russell is prominent as a dairy town, and considerable attention has been given to raising blooded stock. There are now eight cheese factories in operation, and the product enjoys a high reputation.

  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

Street Names
Blanchard Hill Road • De Kalb Junction-Russell Road • Mill Street • Pestle Street