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Town of Fowler
From Child's Gazeteer of St. Lawrence County

Link to listing of Individuals in Fowler Business Directory
Link to listing of Businesses in Fowler Business Directory

Fowler(1) was formed from Rossie and Russell, April 15, 1816(2). The townships of Edwards and Fitz William (now Edwards and Hermon) were annexed from Russell, April 10, 1818, and were taken off upon the erection of Edwards, April 7, 1827. Pitcairn was taken off March 29, 1836. It lies upon the south border of the county, west of the center, and contains 33,657 acres. Its surface is very irregular, being broken by ridges of gneiss. Its streams are Oswegatchie River, which flows in a tortuous course through the eastern and northern parts of the town, and Sawyers and Shingle creeks and numerous smaller streams tributary to that river. Sylvia Lake lies south of the center and Chub Lake, in the north-east corner. The former is noted for its transparency and depth, 200 feet of water being found in some places. A very fine quality of white limestone occurs in the vicinity of Hailesborough. Iron ore and other minerals are found in the town, but none are worked.

The population of the town in 1870 was 1785, of whom 1609 were native, 176 foreign, and all, except one, white.

During the year ending Sept 30. 1872, the town contained sixteen school districts and the same number of teachers were employed. The number of children of school age was 611; the number attending school, 525; the average attendance 259; the amount expended for school purposes, $3, 076.94; and the value of school houses and sites, $4,172.

Hailesborough(3) (p.v.) situated on the Oswegatchie, in the north-west part, two and one-fourth miles south-east of Gouverneur on the R.W. & O.R.R., contains one church, a hotel, a store, a grist and flouring mill, a saw mill of small capacity, a shoe shop, two blacksmith shops, one carriage shop, a shop for the manufacture of Sash, blinds, doors, brackets, moldings, spokes and axle-trees, a tannery, a quite extensive woolen and carding mill, about forty houses and 225 inhabitants(4). The hotel and a few of the residences are supplied with water from the river by means of a hydraulic ram. A very superior water privilege is afforded by the Oswegatchie, which descends within half a mile a distance of eighty-four feet, and a like distance within the next mile above this. The cheese factory owned by J. F. Hodgkin is located near Hailesborough. It uses the milk of 400 cows, though it possesses facilities for using that of 600.

Fullerville(5) (p.v.) (Fullerville Iron Works, p.o.) is located on the Oswegatchie, in the south-east part, and contains two churches, one hotel, two stores, two saw mills, one grist mill, about twenty-eight dwellings and 150 inhabitants. The erection of a new furnace to replace the one destroyed a few years since is contemplated.

Little York(6) (Fowler, p.o.) is located a little east of the center, and contains a church, hotel, two stores, a wagon and blacksmith shop, a shoe shop, about twenty-five dwellings and 125 inhabitants.

The Little York Cheese Factory, located near the village, has facilities for using the milk of 800 cows, though it is received from only 500 the present season.

West Fowler is a hamlet located on Sawyer's Creek, west of the center, and contains a church, saw mill, about twelve dwellings and fifty inhabitants. The West Fowler cheese factory, located west of this hamlet, and owned by A. E. Goodenough & co., uses the milk of 500 cows.

Homer's Factory, situated on the Oswegatchie branch, in the north part, derives its name from the cheese box and butter tub factory, owned by Mr. Homer, located here. There is also a saw and shingle mill, a blacksmith shop, about ten dwellings and sixty inhabitants.

Settlement was commenced in the fall of 1807, at Hailesborough, by Brig. Gen. James Haile, of Herkimer, N.Y., who in June of that year, purchased a tract one mile square, under the agreement to build mills within a year. Mr. Haile brought with him several men, among whom were Capt. Ward, a mill-wright, and Capt. Robinson, a carpenter, to commence the erection of mills. A saw mill was built that fall, and a small grist mill with one run of stones was got in operation the following year. The latter was swept away by a freshet in 1809 and rebuilt the next year. Elijah Sackett came in from Hartford, N. Y., in 1808, and was employed as miller until his death in 1812. This is believed to have been the first death which occured in the town. These were soon followed by Lemuel Arnold, John Ryan, Ebenezer Parker, _____ Cleveland and by Samuel B. Sprague. Alvin and Oliver Wright were early settlers in this locality. The next year John Parker located about three-fourths of a mile below Fullerville and commenced the first settlement in that vicinity. In this year the first marriage was contracted by John Parker and Miss Elizabeth S. Sackett. A saw mill was built at the falls in Fullerville, in 1813, by John Parker. The war of 1812 tended to retard settlement, and the fears of Indian raids it engendered caused many to leave the town. Early in 1818, Gen. Haile moved his family into the town. He resided here till his death, Dec 17, 1821. From this period settlements were made more rapidly. In 1825, Jasper Clark erected a mill at Hailesborough to saw the white limestone in that vicinity. The business was carried on by himself, and subsequently by A. Giles, for several years. It was used for building and tomb stones, its coarse texture unfitting it for the finer kinds of ornamental work. It makes excellent lime. A grist mill was built in 1826, by S. Fuller & Co., who sold it in 1838 to Rockwell Bullard & Co. In 1832 the Fuller brothers (Sheldon, Stillman, Heman, and Ashbell), originally from Ferrisburgh, Vt, but immediately from the Rossie Iron Works, erected a furnace at Fullerville. They obtained the first ore in the vicinity of Little York. The manufacture of iron under various processes and proprietors was carried on here for several years, and is likely to be revived very soon.

West Folwer Free Will Baptist Church was organized in 1826, by Elders Dodge and Waite. The church edifice will seat 450 persons, and was erected in 1852, at a cost of about $1,250. Rev. Amasa Chandler was the first pastor; Rev B. F. Jefferson is the present one. The society numbers twenty four members. Its property is valued at $2,000(7).


(1) Named from Theodosius Fowler of New York, a captain in the Revolutionary war, and former proprietor. It originally embraced Townships Nos. 7 and 11, or Kilkenny and Portaferry, of Great Lot No. III of Macomb's Purchase; but now comprises the former and only a small triangular tract in the north-west angle of the latter.

(2) The first town meeting was directed to be held at the house of Noah Holcomb. The first town officers were Theodosius O. Fowler, Supervisor; Simeon Hazelton, Town Clerk; Noah Holcomb, Elvan Cole and Benj. Brown, Assessors; John Parker and Noah Holcomb, Commissioners of Highways; Noah Holcomb and Benj. Brown, Overseers of the Poor; Simeon Hazelton and Samuel B. Sprague, Overseers of Highways; Alvan Wright, Constable and Collector; Alvan Wright, Simon Hazelton and Elam Cole, Commissioners of Common Schools; Theodosius O. Fowler, Jedediah Kingsley and Richard Merrill, Inspectors of Common Schools.

(3) Named from Gen. James Hailes, under whom settlement was commenced.

(4) The population of this village in 1870, according to the census of that year, was 177

(5) Named from the Fuller Bors., who introduced and engaged in the manufacture of iron here.

(6) Named from Little York, Canada, the former name of Toronto, on the capture of that place during the war of 1812.

(7) Information furnished by Wm. Hull, from the records in his possession.