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

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

PIERREPONT(1) was formed from Russell, April 15, 1818(2). A part of Fine was taken off March 27, 1844, and Clifton was erected from it April 21, 1868. It is an interior town, lying south of the center, and contains 65,285 acres. The surface is much broken. The principal streams are Racket River, which crosses the north-east corner, and the two northerly branches of the Grass River, which cross the south part in a westerly direction. The soil is well adapted to grazing. Magnetic ore and other valuable minerals are found in considerable quantities. A company, composed of Messrs. Wm N. James and H. D. Butler of Colton, and Samuel Elliott or Pierrepont, has been organized to develop a bed of magnetic iron ore discovered about two and one-half miles south-west of Colton village.

The population of the town in 1870 was 2,391, of whom 2,127 were native, 264 foreign and all, white.

During the year ending Sept 30, 1872, the town contained twenty school districts and employed twenty teachers. The number of children of school age was 854; the number attending school, 694; the average attendance, 358; the amount expended for school purposes, $4,037.46; and the value of school houses and sites, $8,975.

PIERREPONT (p.o.) is a hamlet situated upon the hills about three miles from the line of Potsdam.

EAST PIERREPONT (Ellsworth, p.o.) is a small village on Racket River, in the north-east corner of the town, and in 1870 had 179 inhabitants.

Settlement was commenced in 1806 or '7, by Flavius J. Curtis, who located near the line of Canton. It lagged, however, until the opening of the St. Lawrence turnpike through the town in 1811-12. Hoyt Ferry and Joseph Shaw came in the latter year, or the year following. Henry Axtell settled in the town March 12, 1813, and in his family, the following year, was born the first child in town -- Edwin Axtell. Peter R. Leonard came from Shoreham, Vt., and settled in Canton in 1806. He removed to this town in 1813. Moses Leonard settled here the same year; and Davis Dunton, Joseph Mathers, Ebenezer Tupper, Clark Hutchins, Zuriel Waterman, Foster Shaw and Alaxson Woodruff about the same time. Nathan Crary taught the first school in the winter of 1815 and '16. Samuel Curtis settled here in 1815. Gardner Cox and John P. Dimick, from Barnard, Vt., made the first settlement at East Pierrepont in 1817, and from the former it was known as Cox's Mills. They purchased small tracts adjoining each other, including the water privilege on Racket River, at this place, and for several weeks occupied the same shanty together. They cut the timber from some twenty acres and in the winter returned to Vermont. On the 9th of the following March, Benj. Cox, who was concerned with his brother in the purchase, moved in his family, and his was the first family in that part of the town. Gardner Cox and Dimick also returned and remained during the summer, and in the fall the frame for a saw mill was got out, which, with a dam, was completed in 1819. John and Joseph Goulding, of Potsdam, were the millwrights. Within four years from the advent of Mr. Cox's family several others from Vermont came in under recommendations from Mr. Cox and settled on both sides of the river. Shubael Crandall and Andrew A. Compton settled in the town in 1817. Mr. Crandall came from Royalton, Vt., with ox teams, the journey occupying fourteen days. Samuel Bancroft came from Rutland county, Vt., in the summer of 1816, and moved his family into the town in 1817. Reuben Dorothy moved in in 1818, and Asa B. Briggs, from Barnard, Vt., in 1820. In 1822 Mr. Cox erected a grist mill with a single run of rock stones, and two years later a second run was added. In this year a school was established at East Pierrepont.

Religious services were held by Rev. A. Baldwin, an Episcopal clergyman, in 1816, but there are those who believe that the first devotional exercises were conducted by Rev. Ezra Healy, a Methodist minister.


(1) Named from Hezekiah B. Pierrepont, who was largely interested in lands in Macomb's Purchase, including most of this town. Mr. Pierrepont was born of English parentage, at New Haven, Conn., Nov 3, 1768. He entered college, but his physical activity rendered the prospect of a professional life distasteful to him and he left it without graduating. Being desirous of acquiring a knowledge of business he entered the office of his uncle, Isaac Beers, (from whom he derived his middle name,) who was an importer of books, and remained there until 1790, when he accepted an appointment in the custom house at New York. The next year he became the agent of Messrs. Watson & Greenleaf in Philadelphia, where he amassed considerable wealth, and in 1793, he formed a partnership with Wm. Leffingwell and established in business in New York. He repaired to France to superintend the shipment of provisions to that country, which was then in revolution, but the seizures by the English rendered this business so precarious that he abandoned it and made a voyage to India and China, acting as his own super-cargo. While returning with a valuable cargo his ship, the Confederacy, was taken by a French privateer and condemned and sold in France. He remained in Europe seven years, when he returned to New York, and in 1802 he married Anna Maria, daughter of Wm Constable, and purchased a country seat on Brooklyn Heights, which afterwards became his permanent residence. From his connection Wm. Constable he became interested in lands in Northern New York and by various purchases he acquired title to about half a million acres. His first purchase was Pierrepont, in 1806, and from that time until his death, Aug 11, 1838, his time was fully occupied in settling and improving his lands. The town originally embraced the townships of Clare, Clifton, Chaumont, Emilyville, and that part of Dewitt lying east of a continuation of the west line of these towns to the south line of Canton. Emilyville was taken off in the erection of Fine, and Clifton and Chaumont, in the erection of Clifton.

(2) The first town meeting was held at the house of Cyrus Grannis, March 1, 1819. Cyrus Grannis was elected Supervisor; Andrew A. Crampton, Town Clerk; Wm. Yale, Elisha Woodruff and Gardner Cox, Assessors; Peter R. Leonard and Joseph Dorothy, Poor Masters; Flavius J. Curtis, Ezra Crary and Samuel Belding, Commissioners of Roads; Richard Weller, Collector; Seth Hale, Overseer of Highways; Flavious J. Curtis, Ebenezer Tupper and Gardner Cox, Commissioners of Schools; Joseph Dorothy, Seth Hale, F. J. Curtis and Henry Axtell, Fence Viewers.