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Town of Clifton
From Child's Gazetteer of St. Lawrence County

Link to listing of Individuals in Clifton Business Directory

CLIFTON was formed from Pierrepont, April 21, 1868, and the first town meeting was ordered to be held at the school house owned by the Clifton Iron Company, on the first Tuesday in June, 1868(1). It is an interior town, lying south of the center of the county, and contains 61,930 acres. It is watered by Grass and Oswegatchie rivers and their tributaries. The former flows north-west diagonally across the north part, and the latter almost directly west, south of the center. The surface is too much broken to admit of profitable cultivation.

The magnetic iron ores which have been known for several years to exist in the town are believed to be immense. In 1864 the Clifton Iron Company was formed for the purpose of working these ores into iron and steel. A large tract of land was purchased, roads were opened, and a furnace and buildings erected. A tram railroad was constructed to East DeKalb, a distance of twenty-four miles, but proved inadequate for the purpose for which it was designed, and has relapsed into disuse. The furnace was discontinued after one or two blasts. A steel factory was erected by a separate company and other improvements made, but the former was burned in September, 1869. The Clifton Iron Company is dissolved, and its property passed into the hands of individuals, who, in 1872, organized the Clifton Mining Company. The ore has yielded in the furnace over fifty-four per cent, of pig iron, but nothing at present (March, 1873) is being done to develop it. The town has an abundant water power.

The population of the town in 1870 was 221, of whom 142 were native and 79 foreign; 220 white and one colored(2).

During the year ending September 30, 1872, the town contained one school district and employed one teacher. The number of children of school age was 50; the number attending school, 37; the average attendance, 26; the amount expended for school purposes, $200.71; and the value of school houses and sites, $300.

CLARKSBORO (p.o.) is located at the high falls on Grass River.


(1) It embraces Townships Nos. 10 and 13, or Clifton and Chaumont, of Great Lot No. III of Macomb's Purchase.

(2) While the iron works were in operation the population of the town was about 700.