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History of Watertown, New York, USA
Journey back in time to Watertown, New York, USAVisit Watertown, New York, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.
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The area was first organized as the township of Watertown in 1801. Lumber, paper, and potash industries were developed, and the village of Watertown was separately incorporated in 1816. During a county fair, held there in 1878, F.W. Woolworth originated the idea of selling a fixed-price line of merchandise. When local timber resources were depleted, the community, with ample waterpower, acquired other industries.
Manufactures now include paper, locomotive air brakes, zinc die castings, air fresheners, electric motors, medical devices, and irrigation systems. Watertown continues to serve as a trade and distribution point for surrounding dairy farms...
There is MUCH more to discover about Watertown, New York, USA. Read on!
Watertown Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards
Watertown, New York, USA
Public Square Looking East Showing First Baptist Church and Town Clock, Watertown, N.Y.
Discover Watertown: History, News, Travel, and StoriesAdd History/News/Story
1854 - Watertown
Watertown, a flourishing post-borough, capital of Jefferson county, New York, is situated in Watertown township, on the left or S. bank of Black river, and on the Rome and Water- town railroad, about 100 miles W. N. W. from Albany, and 86 miles by railroad N. N. W. from Utica. It is the southern terminus of the Potsdam and Watertown railroad, 75 miles long, which connects with the Northern railroad at Stockholm. It contains a stone court house and jail, a state arsenal of brick, 6 banks, with an aggregate capital of $600,000, 9 or 10 churches, and several academies. Five or six newspapers are published in the borough. The river, which is here 00 yards wide, is crossed by a bridge. There is a fall of about 24 feet opposite the town, and rapids for 3 or 4 miles below, from which almost unlimited water-power may be derived with facility. The manufactories of this place are various and extensive, producing woollen and cotton goods, paper, flour, machinery, iron ware, farming implements,... Read MORE...
1868 - Mention was made some time since of the resident of Watertown, N. Y., who wheeled his wife on a wheelbarrow from that place to Saratoga.
The trip was undertaken, on the advice of a physician, for the benefit of the wife's health. Recently the couple passed through Utica on their way home, the woman restored to health, and walking beside her husband, who wheeled the empty barrow.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
August 22, 1868
1868 - A Watertown, N. Y., dispatch, October 21st says:
An extensive fraud is being perpetrated throughout the country, and especially in the West, by negotiating forged drafts purporting to be drawn by the banking house of Howard & Baker, of Watertown, and signed by C. E. Helmer, Cashier. The drafts are neatly engraved and executed. These drafts, to the amount of several thousand dollars, have been sent here for collection. There has never been any such banking house in this village.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
October 31, 1868
1869 - There are now twenty-two cities in New York State: Cohoes and Watertown being the latest additions.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
June 19, 1869
1875 - Fire
A fire broke out on Friday night in the paper mill and sack factory of Messrs. Taggath and Davis, in Watertown, N. Y., caused by an explosion of a kerosene lamp, destroying entirely one section of the mill, together with a large amount of stock. The property in the other four sections of the mill was saved, but damaged by smoke and water. The loss is probably $20,000; insured in the following companies: Westchester, of New York, $2,500; New-York Central, $2,000; Amazon, of Cincinnati, $2,500; People's of Memphis, $2,500; Rochester German, $2,500; Allemania, of Pittsburg, $1,500; Mississippi Valley, $2,000; People's, of New Jersey, $2,000; Lorillard, of New-York, $2,000; Old Dominion, of Richmond, Va., $2,500; Lancaster, of Lancaster, Penn., $2,500; Capital City, of Albany, $1,500; Atlantic, of Brooklyn, $2,000; St. Louis, of St. Louis, $2,500; Union, $2,500. William Barber was killed by suffocation.
The New York Times
New York, New York
September 27, 1875
1890 - LOSSES BY FIRE.
Fire Sunday night destroyed the two-story wooden block at the lower end of Court-street, Watertown, N. Y., owned by A. E. Baron, and occupied by Decout & Co., grocers and meat dealers; W. C. Greene, drugs, and J. A. McGregor, boots and shoes. The planking on the new iron bridge over the Black River at this point took fire and was burned considerably, warping some of the ironwork and rendering the structure temporarily unserviceable. The loss on the buildings is $10,000, and the insurance $5,000. The loss on the meat and grocery stock of Decout & Co. has not been estimated. The insurance on this stock was $2,200. The drug stock was insured for $1,500, but the loss on it has not as yet been estimated. McGregor loses $1,200 on stock. He carried $800 insurance.
The New York Times
New York, New York
February 4, 1890
1895 - Watertown
Watertown, a city, the capital of Jefferson co., N.Y., is situated on the S. bank of Black River, about 10 miles from its entrance into Lake Ontario, 90 miles N.N.W. of Utica, and 70 miles S. by W. of Ogdensburg. It is on the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad and the Utica & Black River Railroad. It contains a court-house, 10 churches, a high school, 4 national banks, 3 other banks, and a good hotel. Two daily and 3 weekly newspapers are published here, Several bridges here cross the river, which is 60 yards wide. The rapids of the river afford abundant hydraulic power at this place. It has manufactures of flour, leather, machinery, woollen goods, and farming implements, 4 paper-mills, several foundries, a manufactory of sewing-machines, and a large manufactory of spring-wagons. Pop, in 1880, 10,697; in 1890, 14,725.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1895 - Blizzard - THE STORM STILL HOVERS OVER THE UNITED STATES. IT IS SEVEREST IN THE EAST. TRAFFIC ALMOST ENTIRELY AT A STANDSTILL -- RAILROAD TRAINS BLOCKADED -- BUSINESS PARALYZED -- PEOPLE FROZEN TO DEATH AT SEVERAL PLACES...
Watertown, N. Y., Feb. 9. - The severe cold wave which has prevailed over this section for the past two days has been succeeded by one of the worst blizzards this year. The snow is heavy and packs hard. The railroads are all blockaded. About a foot of snow has fallen and the storm is still raging...
The Delphos Daily Herald
February 9, 1895
1898 - Watertown
In 1796 the veteran land surveyor, Benjamin Wright, laid out into townships and lots the entire Black river tract, or the eleven towns, comprising substantially all of great lots numbers five and six of the original Macomb purchase. Through various sales and transfers the title to the vast tract became vested (July 15, 1795) in Nicholas Low, William Henderson, Richard Harrison and Josiah Ogden Hoffman, who paid for the same one dollar per acre. After having thus acquired title the proprietors employed Benjamin Wright to make the survey and subdivision mentioned, and then (August 5, 1796) divided the townships among themselves by ballot, using the lands of Worth as “boot money” equivalent. On this division townships Nos. 2, 7 and 11, or the subsequently created towns of Watertown, Adams and Lowville, fell to Nicholas Low, under whom, through the agency of Silas Stow, M. S. Miller and I. W. Bostwick, acting in succession, the lands were disposed of to settlers. Wright’s survey showed an ... Read MORE...
1900 - November 14-15 - A record lake-effect snowstorm at Watertown, NY, produced 45 inches in 24 hours. The storm total was 49 inches.
The Weather Channel
Watertown, a city, capital of Jefferson co., N.Y., on the S. bank of the Black River, about 10 miles from its entrance into Lake Ontario and 70 miles (direct) NNW. of Utica, on the New York Central and Hudson River R. Several bridges here cross the river, the rapids of which afford abundant hydraulic power. The city is the seat of a state armory, of homes for the aged and orphans, etc., and has extensive manufactures of paper, wood-pulp, steam-engines, carriages and wagons, air-brakes, silk, foundry products, etc. Pop. in 1890, 14,725; in 1900 21,696.
Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
1918 - CHILD RESCUED FROM FIRE WITH MUCH DIFFICULTY - Fireman Goes Up Three Flights for Third Time to Save Baby.
Watertown, June 29. - A fire which broke out about 10:30 this evening among the boxes in the basement of the Cooperative store, a stock concern that occupies the ground floor of the Britton block in Arsenal street, caused damage to goods of many hundreds of dollars from smoke which the firemen pronounced about the worst they had ever had to combat. A child and several other dwellers in rooms on upper floors were rescued by the police.
The second floor is occupied by the rooms of the Machinists' union, while Mrs. J. D. Burtis, who came here recently from Antwerp where the family sustained a $1,000 loss by fire just before moving, rents the third and fourth floors, subletting apartments Mrs. Burtis, who is an invalid, was aided down the stairs by the police.
Detective Captain A. S. Wood learned that three-year-old Lena Reno, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eleanor Reno, who had gone out and left the child to be looked after by neighbors, was in a apartment on the fourth floor. Three... Read MORE...
1930 - ENRAGED BEAR KILLS KEEPER WITH BLOW.
(By International News Service).
Watertown, N.Y., June 2. - An enraged female bear, separated from its mate, killed its keeper here today when the man opened the cage door at the city zoo to feed it.
Loping up to the door when EMERSON E. JOYCE, 45, opened it to give the bear its first meal of the day, the animal struck the keeper in the head and dragged him into the cage.
JOYCE'S cry brought GROVER BRENON, superintendent of the zoo.
By this time, the bear was tossing the keeper around the cage. Two patrolmen succeeded in forcing the bear into a corner of the cage with long poles and carried JOYCE from the enclosure.
He was taken to the Mercy Hospital but doctors said that the first blow from the bear was fatal.
The Kane Republican
June 2, 1930
1955 - October 22 - WWNY TV channel 7 in Carthage-Watertown, NY (CBS) begins broadcasting
Discover Your Roots: Watertown Ancestry
Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Watertown, New York, USAWe currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Watertown.
View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)
William BARSHAM (8 December 1588, Colchester, Essex, England - 13 July 1684, Watertown, New York, USA)
Betsey WARREN (November 2 1786, - December 10 1824, Watertown, New York, USA)
Nancy WAITE (31 December 1801, Watertown, New York, USA - 25 December 1883, Brownville, Jefferson, New York, USA)
Isaiah LOADWICK (September 30 1826, St Johnsville, New York, USA - March 19 1889, Watertown, New York, USA)
Laura LADD (13 October 1831, Watertown, New York, USA - 19 December 1906, Watertown, New York, USA)
Elizabeth KINNEY (January 26 1836, Evans Mills, Jefferson, New York, USA - July 1900, Watertown, New York, USA)
Ella V SHEELY (1 September 1847, Watertown, New York, USA - 19 June 1934, Asheville, North Carolina, USA)
Benjamin Franklin LASHAR (12 August 1848, Watertown, New York, USA - 17 October 1910, Brooklyn, New York, USA (Flatlands) (Flatbush) (Coney Island))
Josephine O'NEIL (August 1859, Watertown, New York, USA - 23 May 1901, Watertown, New York, USA)
Ancestors Who Were Married in Watertown, New York, USAWe currently have information about ancestors who were married in Watertown.
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James KINNEY (1792 - September 1860) and Julia WEEKS (April 3 1810 - June 14 1849) married 5 June 1832
Isaiah LOADWICK (September 30 1826 - March 19 1889) and Laura LADD (13 October 1831 - 19 December 1906) married 18 January 1854
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Updated: 5/9/2023 5:30:23 PM
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