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General Walter Martin Mansion

Stow Square Monument

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Brief History of Lewis County

 

Lewis County is located in northwestern New York State, slightly east of due north from Syracuse. A good portion of the Tug Hill Plateau is in the western part of the county and the county is home to the Black River Valley. The eastern part of the county is in the Adirondack Park.

Early settlers from Connecticut first started arriving in 1794 when Lewis County was still part of Oneida County.  Both Lewis and Jefferson Counties were formed from Oneida on March 28, 1805. The County is named for Morgan Lewis who was the Governor of New York at that time.

 The original five townships (Leyden, Turin, Martinsburg, Harrisburgh, and Lowville) grew to include eighteen separate townships.  Their names and date of inception are as follows:

Lowville March 14, 1800

Turin March 14, 1800

Harrisburgh February 22, 1803

Martinsburg February 22, 1803

Denmark April 3, 1807

Pinckney February 12, 1808

Watson March 30, 1821

Greig April 5, 1828

West Turin March 25, 1830

Diana April 16, 1830

Croghan April 5, 1841

Osceola February 28, 1844

New Bremen March 31, 1848

Montague November 14, 1852

High Market November 11, 1852 (joined with West Turin January 1, 1974)

Lewis November 11, 1852

Lyonsdale November 26, 1873

The County Seat was original located in Martinsburg with a Court House constructed in 1811.  In 1864 the decision was made to remove the seat to Lowville.

It was the Black River Canal, which opened to traffic in 1855 followed by a branch of the New York Central Railroad in 1868, that opened the door to settlement and export of regional products.  The two major industries of Lewis County are and have always been lumbering and dairying.  Lewis County also produces more high-grade maple syrup than any other New York State county.

The beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams have attracted city dwellers such that recreation and tourism have become a major industry in themselves.  Snow Ridge, a ski resort located in Turin, with increased snowmobile trails has made Lewis County a winter destination.

 

 

 
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