RUSSIA was formed from Norway, as Union., April 7, 1806. Its name was changed April 6, 1808. A part of Wilmurt
was taken off in 1836. It lies on the west border of the County, north of the Mohawk, and extends to the border
of the great northern wilderness. Its surface is rolling and moderately hilly, and on the west descends abruptly
to the valley of West Canada Oreek. The hills are from 800 to 1,000 feet above the Mohawk. West Canada and Black
Creeks flow west through the north-west part, the former forming a part of the west boundary. Extensive lumber
works have been erected on this stream. Trenton Falls, upon West Canada Creek, are on the west border. The soil
is a sandy and clayey loam.
Russia, (p. v.) in the south part of the town, contains two churches, viz., Union and Baptist; a union store, a
tin and hardware store, a school house and about 100 inhabitants.
Gravesville, (p. v.) named in honor of Wm. Graves, who erected the mills, is situated in the south-west part and
contains two churches, viz., Methodist and Universalist; a store, a furniture manufactory, a wool carding and cloth
dressing mill, a grist mill, two saw mills, a cheese box factory, a wagon shop, a blacksmith shop and about 100
Cold Brook, (p. v.) in the south part, contains a Methodist church, a hotel, a union store, a grocery, a planing
mill, a cheese box factory, a grist mill, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, a cabinet shop, a saw set factory
and 155 inhabitants.
Grant, (p. v.) located on Black Creek, near the center of the town, contains two churches, viz., Methodist and
Union; a hotel, two stores, a tannery, two saw mills, a grist mill and 85 inhabitants.
Poland, (p. v.) located on West Canada Creek, in the south part, contains a F. W. Baptist church, a store, a hotel,
a grist and saw mill, a tannery, a sash and blind factory, a wagon shop, two blacksmith shops, a cheese box factory,
a cabinet shop, a manufactory of bootjacks and ladders, and about 200 inhabitants.
The Poland Tannery was established in 1839 and has a capacity for tanning 130 sides of leather or 600 calf skins
The Cheese Factory was established in 1863, by a stock company, and has a capacity for manufacturing the milk of
Between Poland and Cold Brook are several manufacturing establishments, viz., I. & G. W. Trask’s ax and
edge tool factory, Stiliman’s patent saw set factory, D. P. Vincent’s cheese box factory, and Thomas T. Rhode’s
saw and plane handle factory.
Gang Mills is situated in the north-west part of the town, on West Canada Creek. It received its name from the
extensive mills of Hinkley & Ballou, erected here in 1848. These mills have a capacity to manufacture ten million
feet of lumber annually. The capital invested in mills and improved farms is about $150,000, and give employment
to from 100 to 150 men. The irnproved machinery recently constructed by Mr. J. N. Walters, the Superintendent,
gives these mills a place among the first in the State. The logs to supply the mills are cut and floatecidown West
Canada Creek from the north part of Herkimer and Hamilton Counties, a distance of from twelve to forty miles. Besides
these mills the village contains three stores, two smith’s shops, a tannery, a cabinet shop, several other mechanic
shops and about 250 inhabitants.
The settlement of this town was commenced in 1 792, by Stodard Squires. Jonathan Millington, from Vermont, ____
Smith, Farley Fuller, George Taylor, Roscum Slocum, William Buck, Jeremiah Smith, Jotham Carpenter, ____ Austin
and son, and Coon, were among the other early settlers. Mr. Squires was from Connecticut, and his son, John G.
Squires, then seven years of age, re sided for more than fifty years on the same farm upon which his
father located. Settlers came in quite rapidly for several years after the first opening was made.
The first marriage was that of Farley Fuller and Minerva Smith, in 1794; the first death that of a son of Mr. Allen,
and the second that of Waite Robinson. The first school was taught by
Morehouse, at Graves Hollow. Another school was taught about the same time by ____ Steurid. The first inn was,
kept by Jotham Carpenter, and the first store by Mr. Swinthurn, about a mile north-west of Cold Brook, in 1797.
The first saw mill was built in 1797, and the first grist mill, by Benjamin Hinman, the same year.
The first settlers were compelled to go to Utica or Little Falls to have their grain ground. Jonathan Millingham,
from Shaftsbury, Vt., settled in the town in 1797, and James Barker, from Massachusetts, in 1803.
The first religious services were held by Rev. Benajah Corp, of the F. W. Baptist denomination.
The population of the town in 1865 was 2,030; its area is 37,396 acres.
There are shteen school districts, employing the same number of teachers. The number of children of school age
is 695; the number attending school, 559; the average attendance, 227, and the amount expended for school purposes
during the year ending September 30, 1868, was $4,410.93.