New York Books - Jefferson County
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New York - Jefferson County

Click on these titles to check out books on this county.
Whispers From the Past: A Sourcebook of Civil War Veterans' Personal Histories
Harold I. Sanderson
An Every-Name Index of the 1865 New York State Census for Jefferson County
William M. Litchman
An Every-Name Index for Agricultural Schedules . . . Marriages, Deaths, and Civil War Soldier Deaths in the 1865 . . . state census for Jefferson Co.
William M. Litchman
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Other County Resources

Books on County Genealogy and History

Jefferson Co. GenWeb Project

Map of Jefferson Co. (1895)

Official Jefferson Co. Website

Official NY State Website

If one were to attempt to trace the history of Jefferson from its earliest occupation, a beginning would be made with the Indians of the Oneida and Onondaga tribes, whose hunting and fishing ground it was. In many parts of the county there are evidences of their early encampments and entrenchments. On the main line of travel from the Canadas to the Hudson valley the region was the scene of many bloody encounters between the Canadian Algonquins and the Iroquois. In nearly every town of the county, particularly those bordering Lake Ontario, are the remains of crude fortifications of Indian construction. These are usually on the hills and invariably face the northwest from whence came their enemy. The "first families" of Jefferson were red.

The first white man to visitJefferson was, undoubtedly, Samuel de Champlain, who, in the autumn of 1615, with a force of 2,500 Indians, crossed from the "vicinity of Kingston to Galloup and Stony islands and from thence to near the mouth of Stony Creek in the present town of Henderson, where the canoes were concealed in the woods." The unsuccessful compaign against the Iroquois which followed need not be recounted, but the fact that this visit occurred only eight years after the settlement of Jamestown by the English, their first on this continent, and preceded that of the Pilgrims in 1620 by five, gives emphasis to the years covered by the county's history.

From the day of Champlain to the end of the French dominion in America, there were apparently no settlements made in this district. Military posts were established during the French and Indian war, notably at Henderson, and garrisons were placed in various parts of the northern New York country during the Revolution, but the district as a whole was only the haunt of the wandering trapper.

An indeterminate treaty was made with the Indians in 1784, which was made definite by the Oneidas in September, 1788, by which the territory of Jefferson was included in a vast domain ceded to the State of New York. Of more interest to the county was the so-called "Macomb's Purchase," which was the greatest grant of land ever made by a State to individuals, including as it did 3,670,715 acres. The area was divided into five great tracts, No. 4 of which included more than half of the present county of Jefferson. To the Macomb grant most of the titles to land are now traced.

Tryon County was formed 1772 from Albany but the name was changed after the Revolution to one less distasteful, Montgomery. In 1798 Oneida County was erected, including what is now Jefferson, and not until March 28, 1805, was this district set off with the name of the third President of the United States. As created, the county included parts of eight towns of Oneida County, but the boundaries of Jefferson have been changed three times. As now constituted the area of the county is 1,274 square miles.

Jefferson County is located in one of the most wonderfully beautiful natural sections of the State. From the lavish display of the "Thousand Islands" to the lower peaks of the Adirondacks it spreads in picturesque diversity. Nor does it lack in utility, for mixed with the wilds are intervale lands of richest fertility. With its natural resources so marked, for so many years kown to the soldiery who passed to and from Canada, it seems strange that the first permanent settler should not come until the spring of 1797 in the person of Noadiah Hubbard. Tradition has it that Lyman and Marvel Ellis visited that same year the region which now bears their name. In 1805, as Jefferson County, it was estimated that the inhabitants numbered 1,500.

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