New York Books - Franklin County
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New York - Franklin County

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History of Clinton and Franklin Counties . . . Prominent Men and Pioneers
D. Hamilton Hurd
OBITUARIES 1999, Clinton, Franklin & Essex County, New York
Clyde M. Rabideau
Architecture from the Adirondack Foothills: Folk and Designed Architecture from Franklin County
Robert Harold McGowan
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Books on County Genealogy and History

Adirondack Museum

Adirondack Natural History Museum

Franklin Co. GenWeb Project

Franklin Co. Tombstone Transcriptions

Map of Franklin Co. (1895)

Official NY State Website

In bygone years a State Senator once stigmatized the county of Franklin as "the Siberia of New York," thereby showing the same lack of knowledge concerning this district that so delayed its settlement. So unfavorably was this section regarded, that when the State set aside thousands of acres for the Revolutionary soldiers, still called "The Old Military Tract," not one acre was taken up. The county is large, having an area of 1,678 square miles, and is not populous, the census of 1920 crediting it with 43,541 inhabitants. But when it is realized that as late as 100 years ago there were only about 4,000 people in the whole section, and that the passing of some of the ignorance concerning this region only began some fifty years ago, it shows the vitality of the county that it has grown and ranks with the few agricultural counties that are more than holding their own in this industry.

Franklin lies in the extreme northern part of the State, with Canada bounding it in that direction, the St. Lawrence River touching a few miles of one corner, and the counties of St. Lawrence, Essex, Hamilton and Clinton making up the other sides of its borders. Most of the territory was one great pine forest, with intermingled hard and soft woods, when first settled. Lumbering, early potash making, fires have denuded great areas, but there are still thousands of acres of virgin timber; and with the protection of the newly made Adirondack Park Commission, it seems likely that this will become a great pleasure, health and sanatorium resort.

The surface of the county is greatly broken. Hills, mountains, lakes, swamps, with many fertile intervales, are found. Many of the lakes are famous, such as the Saranacs, and rest on elevations above 1,500 feet. Iron and minor minerals are in the hills, but probably will never be utilized. Much of the land from which the pine has been cleared is too poor for paying agriculture, but the more fertile sections are being intelligently handled. Grains, hay and staples are the principal crops. Potatoes do well, and there are good markets for vegetables at the resorts. Dairying has been the main interest, but with changing conditions has become less profitable.

The ancestral line of Franklin County may be indicated thuswise: Albany County, which included all the north part of Maine and all of Vermont; Washington; Clinton, an offshoot, in 1788; Franklin, March 11, 1808. The separation from Clinton came about when it proved irksome to go great distances to Plattsburgh for all legal and some other business. Malone was chosen the county seat and court sessions were held in the "Academy." A new courthouse was erected the next year, which was also the jail and a house of worship; and the present one was built in 1885 at an expense of some $35,000.

Certain curiosities of history are attached to the story of Franklin. Like other counties of this part of the State they have a "purchase" to which all deeds for land must be traced. In this case it is the "Macomb" and "The Old Military Tract." The latter has already been mentioned. When the soldiers for whom it was set aside failed to take it, the State sold the land to speculators for about nine pence an acre. Macomb bought about 4,000,000 acres in 1791, including a great area in Franklin. The Arsenal Green of Malone is an example of a bit of land, fifty-one acres deeded in perpetuity to the State in 1812 by Cone Williams for a "public parade ground." Only by an act of the State Legislature, in 1917, after many years filled with legal difficulties, was it transferred to Malone.

Franklin was one of the principal counties through which the "Underground Railroad" ramified previous to the Civil War, Malone being one of the main stations. In the "Fenian Raids" of 1866 and 1870 Franklin was one of the rendezvous. However, none left the county in the advance into Canada of 1866. In the 1870 invasion, Malone, Chateaugay, Fort Covington and Hogansburg were the principal places where arms were assembled. On May 25 of the above year the Fenians penetrated the enemy's country (Canada) to a distance of three miles and two days later met the enemy and promptly retreated in great disorder. Casualties in the war: Canada, none; Fenians, three (slightly wounded).

Source: James Sullivan, Ed. History of New York State 1523-1927. Published: 1927

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From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City
1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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