The Start of Edwards
Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War there began the settlement of the undeveloped areas of the new nation. The lands lying on the south side of the St. Lawrence River became important because of their proximity to English held territories, so they were surveyed and sold, with Alexander Macomb being the major purchaser.
Township No. 8, Edwards, in Great Tract No. 3 of Macomb's Purchase, was patented to Daniel McCormick in 1795. He had Reuben Ashman of Russell survey the township in 1806 and named it for his brother, Edward. It was originally a square, but the annexation of a portion from the town of Hermon gave it the shape it has today.
Settlement was slow because of lack of roads. Then the military turnpike was laid through the territory in 1810-1812 by a contractor, Enos Chapin. This construction, with the knowledge of the water power available, was an inducement to settlement, and the first settlers, Asa Brayton, Jr. and family arrived in January 1812.
A few others came in the years between 1812-1816. Then in 1816 Joseph Pitcairn acquired Township No. 8. He employed Phineas Attwater as agent for the sale of lands and promotion of settlement. Attwater was succeeded by George Allan who came in 1819 with group of settlers from Scotland.
The immigration of Scottish settlers and migration of other adventuresome pioneers to Edwards made possible a permanent settlement which was organized as a town on April 27, 1827. The first meeting was held at William Martin's. The records show there were 129 taxable inhabitants; real estate valued at $51,114; no valuation for personal property; and total taxes were $610.21.
Within the township other settlements opened as part of Edwards, Talcville for its mines and South Edwards (Shawville) to use its water power for mills.
People and places have changed throughout Edwards' 195 year history, but it is still a good place to live and raise a family in 2007.
During the 1976 Bicentennial year, a soft cover history of Edwards, Edwards On The Oswegatchie, was published. Recently, this book was reordered and copies are available to purchase at $10.00 each. Also, the history of Trout Lake, Land of the White Plume, is available again at $18.00 per copy. Contact the historian to make arrangements to purchase either one of these informative volumes.
Many genealogies of early families and, also families who came later as industries opened, have been collected and are available at the museum for personal research. Anyone whose roots are in Edwards and wish to contribute their family history to the collection, the information will be accepted gladly. Local people are always willing to give help and reminisce on earlier generations - just ask.
The town of Edwards has eight cemeteries. Two are basically very small family resting places - Winslow and Brayton. In the village are the old Riverside and the newer Fairview. In the surrounding areas can be found Payne, South Edwards, Pinney and Gates.