History of Fine, NY


THIS was the twenty-eighth town erected by an Act of the Legis. lature passed March 27, 1849. This territory was formerly under the jurisdiction of Russell and Pierrepont, arid embraced No. 14, or Bloomfield; No. 12, or Scriba,; and the south half of No. 9, or Sarahs. burgh, in the former town; and No. 15, of Emilyville, of the latter. The town was named in honor of John Fine, of Ogdensburg, who was interested in an extensive tract in the town, and under whom the first settlement was begun. The first town meeting held at school-house No. 20 on June 18 of the same year, and the following officers elected: Supervisor, Joseph A. I. Brown; town clerk, J. M. Beckwith; assessors, J. M. Beckwith, James Marsh, Elijah C. Hill; collector, John K. Ward; commissioners of highways, John Marsh. George Young, and William H. Perkins; justices, A. I. Brown, J. M. Beckwith, and Elijah C. Hill.

The first settlement was begun by Elias Teall, who made a contract on the 24th of October, 1823, with the proprietois of the east half of Scriba, and undertook to secure settlers on the tract. He built a mill on a branch of the Oswegatchic and made some small improvements; but his undertaking failed. September 6, 1828, James C. Haile made a contract with the proprietors, and built a saw mill and a small grist mill on the Oswegatchie; he induced other settlers to come in. In May, 1833, he also left the town, his settlers having abandoned him. In February, 1834, Amasa I. Brown contracted with the owners for the Haile improvements and an additional tract of land, and in March of that year moved his family in; his nearest neighbors were ten miles away. A few others soon joined him, and in 1843 there were fortythree or forty-four voters. Among those who lived in the town in 1858, chiefly along the Oswegatchie River, were the following: S. Maitby, M. Rose, A. Guiles, R. Finley, E. Guiles, N. H. Jones, W. E. and E. Jones. Farther eastward were: G. Titus, W. P. Smith, M. 0. Carr, A. Hazieton, W. F. Haskell, B. Marble, 0. Hutchins, F. Austin, R. Scott, C. Scott, W. Cochrane, H. B. Fairman, J. Fairman, W. Kerr, A. H. Knapp, N. I. Morse, S. Stowell, E. C. Hill, J. and C. Marsh, A. Cleveland, C. A. Scott, J. I. Lansing, R. Durham, E. Churchman. Farther south were: B. Brown, W. Miller, G. W. Evans, D, Briggs, E. Vilas, D. Kilburn, B. Bebee. Others have come in later.

The little village of Fine is on the Oswegatchie River about five miles southeasterly from South Edwards. It has been locally known as "Smithville" from William P. Smith, who was an early resident there. The first improvement here was the building of a saw mill by William Horsford. In 1853 it was purchased by William P. Smith, who also opened a store, and here the post-office was established in 1853, with Mr. Smith as postmaster. The present postmaster is Charles Ayres. Marcus 0. Carr built the first dwelling in the village in 1855, who came from Russell as agent for Spalding & Butterfield, proprietorsof a large tract of land in the town. A saw mill and oar factory was started in 1858 by Spencer, Anderson & Co., who built four dwellings in connection. A grist mill was built about 1858 by Henry Rushton, which was afterwards sold to Zacheus Ladd, and burned in 1875. In 1871 Rice, Emery & Co., of Boston, purchased from Joseph Anderson twenty-six acres of land in the eastern part of the village tract, with a saw mill, butter tub and last factory. In 1872 they demolished all but the saw mill and built an extensive tannery, where 50,000 sides of sole leather were turned out annually. This tannery is still in operation. A public house was opened and kept by Charles Scott, and after him by various others. George Hatch is the present landlord. A shingle mill is operated by Joseph Anderson, and a saw and feed mill by George Cardiff & Son. Dowling Brothers, Charles Ayres, T. F. Conboy, J. N. McLeod, are merchants in Fine; and Thomas Miller deals in furniture.

A considerable village has sprung up since the opening of the Carthage and Adirondack Railroad at its terminus, and is called Oswegatchie. A post-office was established here and it has become important as a gateway into the wilderness from that direction. G. H. Newcomb is postmaster and has a store; and Colton & Son, A. D. Fie, and A. L. Greenfield are other merchants. Joseph Hulbert keeps a public house, and at Starr Lake, a short distance beyond, Lyman & Foley keep a summer hotel. A pulp mill was established by the Standard Pulp Company in 1893 ; John Irving runs a saw mill; W. S. Coffin & Son a saw mill and tub factory, and the Northside Lumber Company has a steam saw mill of large capacity.

The town has settled slowly, yet public improvements are being made, and with the many good roads and the opening of the Carthage and Adirondack Railroad through the town a good degree of prosperity is enjoyed by the inhabitants.

Jayville is a hamlet and post-office on the railroad, a few miles west of Oswegatchie, where there has been a large lumber business carried on. Thomas Richardson is postmaster and has a store, and there are now two saw mills in operation.

The supervisors of the town with the years of their service have been as follows:

Arnasa I. Brown, 1844-45; Daniel Truax, 1846-48; Arnasa I. Brown, 1849-50; Daniel Truax, 1551-53; Michael Griffin, 1854; Wm. P. Smith, 1855-60; Joseph Anderson. 1861-67; H. E. Anderson, 1868-69; F. L. Whittier, 1870-72 ; Archibald Muir, 1872-77; Joseph Anderson, 1875-79; Archibald Muir, 1880-81; E. H. Dowling, 1882-1893, George Hatch, 1894.


A Methodist class was organized at Fine about 1845, and for many years services were held in school houses. A neat church was erected a few years ago.

A Baptist society was organized at Fine in October, 1874, under Rev. C. H. Dike. Services are now held by Rev. Clemmons Shaw, who also preaches to the Union organization in Oswegatchie, which built a church three years ago costing about $2,000.

The Catholics have a church also at Fine.

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