For Jefferson County Official Site, click on this text.

Jefferson County was formed, 28 March 1805, from Oneida County. Oneida, in turn, came 15 Mar 1798 from Herkimer and included all of present day Jefferson and Lewis County, along with parts of Clinton, Madison, and Oswego. Herkimer came out of Montgomery. Montgomery, under its first name, Tryon, was formed from Albany County, one of the original counties of New York Province.

Jefferson County was named in honor of our third president, Thomas Jefferson. It occupies that corner of New York State where the St. Lawrence River empties out of Lake Ontario, and thus has a Canadian border. The nearness of Canada and these waterways have been important to Jefferson County both historically and genealogically. It is bounded on the northeast by St. Lawrence County, on the east by Lewis County, and on the south by Oswego County.

When Jefferson County was created in 1805, it included parts of eight Oneida towns: Champion and Watertown came from Mexico 14 March 1800; Adams was formed from Mexico 1 April 1802, and at the same time Brownville from Leyden; Ellisburg from Mexico 22 February 1803; Lorraine, originally Malta, from Mexico 24 March 1804; Rodman, then called Harrison, from Adams 24 March 1804; Rutland from Watertown 1 Apr 1802.

Watertown is the county seat, containing the usual county offices. Notable features of Jefferson County include the Thousand Islands, the international Thousand Island Bridge, a continuation of Federal Interstate Highway 81 right into Canada, and Fort Drum.

The military reservation of Fort Drum has preempted a large area of western Jefferson County, obliterating many landmarks and making small cemeteries very difficult to access. Large areas of the Towns of Le Ray and Philadelphia, nearly half of the Town of Antwerp, and most of the Town of Wilna are included in the Fort Drum boundaries.

Rivers of Jefferson County: the Black River rises south of Jefferson County, runs through Watertown to empty into Black River Bay in Lake Ontario. Perch River drains Perch Lake, and is now a state game management area. It also discharges into Black River Bay. Indian River, flowing through the Town of Theresa, is a tributary of the Oswegatchie which eventually reaches the St. Lawrence River in St. Lawrence County. Chaumont River runs through the towns of Orleans, Clayton and Lyme to empty into Lake Ontario in Chaumont Bay. The two branches of Sandy Creek, in the southern part of the county, also discharge into Lake Ontario.

For more information, as well as books available for sale about this region visit : Hope Farm Press

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If you have any questions or comments about this page, please contact,
County Co-Coordinator Nancy Dixon or
Co-Coordinator Bruce Coyne.

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