NORFOLK TOWN HISTORY



A desire of New York State to promote settlements along the St. Lawrence River, led to sales in 1787 of large tracts of land to Alexander Macomb, by the State, and ten townships were set on the south side of the St. Lawrence, each approximately ten miles square.

The townships were: Louisville, Stockholm, Madrid, Lisbon, Canton, DeKalb, Oswegatchie, Hague(Hammond), Cambray(Gouverneur), and Potsdam.

In 1809 Erastus Hall of Tyringham, Mass., received the first contract of land at what is now known as Raymondville, from Land Agent, Benjaman Raymond of Potsdam. He did some clearing and erected the first house. It was located on the North side of the Racket River, just west of the present bridgeon Route 56. This is today where Wm. Dunkelberg lives and farms beef cattle. It is the real neat farm that you pass when you go to Massena.

The same year, Eben Judson from Williston, Vt. came and took up land in the same vicinity, clearing land for a home. Both men returned to their homes in New England to return with their families in the Spring of 1810. Mrs. Judson was the first white woman who settled here (Hough's History of St. Lawrence & Franklin Counties-1858).

In 1810, the first saw mill was built by Timothy Osborne on Trout Brook at Raymondville, he was from Georgia, Vt. and acted as an agent for Bohen Shepherd.

There are four dams in the Town of Norfolk, and there was four paper mills, one at Yaleville, two in Norfolk village and one in Raymondville. There is a 77 foot drop in the river within the Town of Norfolk. There are Four Power Stations within the Town of Norfolk. In 1956 the dams produced:
Norfolk 1928 42.4 ft. head 4500 Kilowats
E. Norfolk 1928 32 ft " 3000 "
Raymondville 22.2 ft. " 2000 "
Yaleville 1940 12 ft. "....... 725 "
Today they produce more, since they have added inflatable height to these dams .

The first white child born in this new section was Roscius Judson, on August 7, 1810. He became a general in the Civil War.

In 1811, the first road was built from Raymondville toward Massena and also the first clearing was made for the present sight of the hamlet of Norfolk. In 1812"the first school was built at Raymondville. Also the first grist mill and also a saw mill, three miles below Raymondville owned by Jonathan Culver. There was the Culver dam built there of stones behind the Sunnyrest Cemetery in Baxterville. On the 1865 map of Norfolk, they show a bridge/road across the river at this location. In Norfolk village, the first crop of wheat was raised.

In 1814, the first bridge was built in Raymondville at the site of the present 'Old Parabolic Bridge'. This bridge got washed out several times. So in 1886, the present parabolic bridge was built 'high' up to prevent another washout at a cost of $10,000. This bridge was taken out of vehicle traffic on May 25, 1979 and was taken out of pedestrian traffic in 2004. This bridge was placed on the 'National Register of Historic Places' in 1984.

In 1816 Judge Benjamin Raymond became the first resident Land Agent. Also in 1816, a Durham boat came from Schnectady carrying material for Attwater's grist mill at Norfolk came up the Racquette River, it had to be hauled around Culver's dam. Russell Attwater built the first grist mill at Norfolk, a three story building, the third story was arranged so it could be used for religious purposes.

The first Congregationalist Society was organized at Norfolk with seventeen members on July 1, 1817. Also a small brickyard opened at Raymondville by E. Hall.

The first wedding was recorded on June 20, 1820, Dr. William Atwater and Delia Wetmore.

On April 9, 1823, the Town of Norfolk was divided from Louisville primarily because of the large swamp that forms a natural dividing line between Louisville and Raymondville. Norfolk became a separate township in excess of 35,500 acres, when a section of Stockholm was annexed, and on April 5, 1844 when a portion was returned to Louisville. Raymondville soon became known as the Lower Village to distinguish it from Norfolk, the Upper Village, and East Norfolk also became known as Slab City.

The main part of Raymondville was on the West side of the Racquette River and for years the State Highway ran on the West Side of the river. The concrete bridge in Raymondville was first built in 1941 and it was rebuilt in the 1990's. The first town meeting was held in East Norfolk on May 5, 1823 at the home of Elisha Adams across from the present Trailer Court on Route 56. Christopher Stowe was elected town supervisor. He lived on a farm on the River Road which is now being developed as a golf course. He soon made his first report to the County Board. His report stated that Norfolk had 108 taxable inhabitants, with a town tax of $248.70. State tax was reported at $62.77 and the county tax was listed as $89.77. Wild land was assessed at $1.09 per acre, improved land at $4.75 per acre, barns at $75.00 apiece, and the total real estate in the township was set at $62,770.

The first Norfolk village Post Office was opened on May 22, 1823 with Phineas Attwater as its first postmaster. Mail was brought to Norfolk from Potsdam by a courier who traveled on horseback and on foot.

The first saw mill was built in East Norfolk in 1824 and in 1825 the Phoenix Iron Company formed under the firm of E. Keyes and Company. The furnace was lined with sandstone from Potsdam and Hopkinton; it used bog ore from swampy lands in Norfolk and Brasher to produce a soft, tenacious pig iron. The furnace turned out about 12 tons daily, 200 days a year until 1844 when it burned.

The growth of the young town was reflected in the development of its churches: Grace Episcopal Church was organized in 1825 (In 1820 the Episcopal Church Society had been organized by Russell Attwater) this church was destroyed by the 1915 fire which burned both sides ofW. Main Street and was never rebuilt. The First Presbyterian- Congregational Church in Raymondville was formed in 1828 as a branch of the Norfolk village church. The Norfolk Congregational Society sold the building to the Wesleyan In 1874 the first butter factory was built by Charles Clark at Raymondville.

In 1901 the Remington-Martin paper mill was built by Charles Remington and Orrin Martin and began operating the paper mill and the Norwood & St. Lawrence RR in 1902. This was a $1,200,000 plant. The paper machine at the time was the largest in the world and the same machine is still running today. In 2007, the mill underwent an extensive modernization project of this paper machine. The mill had a second smaller paper machine that was scrapped out in the early 1960's. These mill machines made newsprint. Onae of the products today is used for making food containers for McDonald's Restaurants.

In 1904 Raymondville Paper and Pulp Mill opened. The mill closed in 1935. The Raymon,dville Paper Mill built the 'little' pulp mill in East Norfolk and probably closed in 1935. In 1904 the Union School District formed with three districts. Also electric lights came on in the village of Norfolk.

In 1909 the Norwood and St. Lawrence RR was estended to Waddington to bring the pulp wood to Norfolk for the papermill. The wood was cut in Quebec and floated up to, Waddington by ship.

In 1912 the first state road was built from Norfolk to Norwood, 3.35 miles.

In 1913 was the first Norfolk High School graduation class.

In 1915 the worst fire in Norfolk's history of both sides of West Main Street burned to the ground. Four lives were lost.

In 1916 Norfolk Bank started and first fire department was organized.

In 1918 another large fire in down town(both sides of W. Main Street). Supervisor Leslie Crabbe lost his life in the Crabbe store on the corner of W. Main and Furnace Streets.

In 1920 the High School burned.

In 1928, The Borrman Family started what is now Barrett's stone Quarry.

In 1935-38, the water works were installed in the Norfolk village.

In 1946, Street lights were installed in Raymondville.

In 1949, the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District was formed.

In 1954, the last steam engines were used on the Norwood & St. Lawrence RR and also the New York Central RR.

In 1958, the Raymondville Community Hall was built.

In 1958 William Pierce Rogers, Norfolk native was appointed US Atty. Gen. By President Eisenhower.

In 1968 William P Rogers, was appointed US Secretary of State by President Nixon.

Clarissa Bascom and Oliver Sackrider were great grandparents of famous artist Frederic Remington. She is buried here in High Street Cemetery.

NORFOLK TOWNSHIP POPULATION CHART

1825 - 665
1830 - 1309
1840 - 1728
1850 - 1733
1860 - 2329
1870 - 2441
1880 - 2471
1890 - 2024
1900 - 1911
1910 - 2938
1920 - 3066
1930 - 3047
1940 - 3327
1950 - 3378
1956 - 5098
1960 - 4590
1970 - 4360
1980 - 4975
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