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
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
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
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
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