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Town of Fine
From Child's Gazeteer of St. Lawrence County
1873-74

Link to listing of Individuals in Fine Business Directory

Fine(1) was formed from Russell and Pierrepont, March 27, 1844(2). It lies about the center of the south border, and contains 104,943 acres, being the third town in size in the county. Its surface is broken and hilly, but is mostly susceptible of cultivation, and is well watered by the Oswegatchie and its branches, and the numerous small lakes scattered over it. The soil is a moderately fertile gravelly loam. The settlements are comparatively recent and chiefly confined to the north part. The town is principally a wilderness. The timber is much of it beech and maple, with birch, spruce and hemlock and some elm, ash and cherry. Its elevation ensures immunity from malarious diseases and renders it remarkably healthy. The existence of iron ore in the town and the abundant water power furnished by the Oswegatchie, are elements which must eventually contribute largely toward its growth and prosperity, when adequate means of transportation are afforded. The population of the town in 1870 was 603, of whom 511 were native, 92 foreign and all, white.

During the school year ending Sept 30, 1872, the town contained seven school districts and employed seven teachers. The number of children of school age was 261; the number attending school, 186; the average attendance, 98, and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,070.43; and the value of school houses and sites, $1,485.

Fine (p.v.) (also known as Andersonville) is situated on the north bank of the Oswegatchie, in the north part of the town, and contains an extensive tannery, an oar factory, a grist mill, two daw mills, a shingle mill, two blacksmith shops, one hotel, four stores, (dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes and drugs) and about forty dwellings. The erection of a church is contemplated.

The first permanent settlement was made March 28, 1834, by Amasa I. Brown, though two previous attempts were made; the first in the fall of 1823 by Elias Teall, who, on the 24th of October of that year, contracted with the proprietors for the east half of the township of Scriba, built a house and mill, the latter on a branch of the Oswegatchie, made the first clearing and induced some settlers to join him, who, with himself, soon abandoned the attempt; the second, by James C. Haile, who, on the 6th of September, 1828, contracted with the proprietors, erected a saw mill on the Oswegatchie, a small grist mill, with one run of rock stones, without bolt or other appendages, built a house and barn and got in other settlers, and who, in May, 1833, having been abandoned by his companions, also left the settlement. In February, 1834, Mr. Brown contracted for Haile's improvements, with an additional tract of land, and on the 28th of the following month moved his family into the town. His nearest neighbors were ten miles distant. In a few weeks he was joined by G. Luther, who had previously attempted a settlement, and in the autumn by two others, making four families who wintered in town the first season. About twenty persons took up land that fall, but only three or four became settlers. Its remoteness from other settlements, together with a series of unpropitious seasons, which tended to impoverish the settlers and induced many to abandon their improvements, and the superior advantages presented by other localities inviting immigration, especially the western part of the State, retarded settlements here, and it was many years before a healthy growth and increase was perceptible. Since the organization of the town a slow, but sure improvement has been made, and to-day a prosperous future awaits the inhabitants of this town if enterprise and capital are judiciously applied to its attainment.

NOTES:

(1) Names from Hon. John Fine, of Ogdensburg, who was largely interested in the lands it comprises and under whom the settlement was begun. It embraces Townships Nos. 12 and 14 or Scriba and Bloomfield, and the south half of No. 9, or Sarahsburgh, in Great Lot No. III., formerly in Russell, and No. 15, or Emilyville, in the same tract, formerly in Pierrepont.

(2) The first town meeting was directed to be held at the school house in district No. 20, then in Russell, the second Tuesday in June, 1844. The first town officers were A. I. Brown, Supervisor; Joseph M. Beckwith, Town Clerk; J.M. Beckwith, James Marsh and Elijah Hill, Assessors; John K. Ward, Collector; John Marsh, George Young and William H. Perkins, Commissioners of Highways; A. I. Brown, J. M. Beckwith and Elijah C. Hill, Justices of the Peace.