Town of Rutland

Created: Saturday, 30 April 2016

(Hamilton Child's "Gazetteer of Jefferson County, N.Y.", 1890)
RUTLAND, embracing its, present limits, or township No. 3 (" Milan”) of the "eleven towns,” was taken from Watertown, April 1, 1802. The name of the town was selected at a meeting held for that purpose and suggested by settlers from Rutland in Vermont. It lies upon the south bank of Black River, east of the center of the county, and is bounded on the north by Le Ray, east by Champion, south by Lewis County and a part of Rodman, and west by Watertown. The surface of the town consists of a narrow river valley on the north, a terraced plateau in the center, and a hilly region in the south. The central plateau, embracing the greater part of the town, is 300 or 400 feet above the flat country farther north, and it descends by a succession of steep declivities to the level of the river. It is underlaid by Trenton limestone. Upon the south the surface gradually rises to the summits of the slate hills which occupy the south part of the county. A remarkable valley, known as "Rutland Hollow," extends through the town upon the lower terrace of the plateau, parallel to the river. It is deeply excavated in the limestone, and appears like the bed of an ancient river. Another smaller and deeper valley extends in the same direction across the summit of the plateau, and forms the bed of a deep, narrow lake. Pleasant Lake, Champion, is situated in the continuation of this valley. These valleys and terraces seem the result of abrasion rather than upheaval. Upon the edge of the terrace, 100 feet below the summit, may be seen the ancient lake ridge before mentioned. The soil is a very fertile loam upon the plateau, and a sandy loam upon the river. The town has an area of 27,238 ½ acres.

The first town meeting held within the limits of Jefferson County was organized at the house of Asher Miller, near Rutland Center, March 14, 1800. The records of the town of Watertown previous to 1805 having been burned, we have no list of the officers elected at that meeting. The first town meeting for Rutland was organized at the house of David Coffeen and adjourned to the house of Levi Butterfield, on Tuesday, March 7, 1803. The following officers were chosen, viz.: Henry Coffeen, supervisor; Jacob A. Williams, town clerk; Levi Heath, Solomon Thompson, and Getshorn Turtle, assessors; Benjamin Edde, constable and collector: Levi Butterfield and Daniel Evans, poundmasters; Clift French, Doctor Phillies, and Peter Cook, fence viewers; Levi Heath, Thomas Duntin, Frederick Tyler, Stephen Commins, John E. Howard, Stephen Ellice, Richmond Howland, Isaiah Babcock, Nathaniel Welch, Wolcott Hubbel, Thomas Lee, and Chandler Maltby, pathmasters; Joseph Underwood, Mathias Howk, and Thomas Lee, deer reeves; John Smith, Clift French, David Coffeen, Perley Keyes, Chauncey Rawson, Zelotus Harvey, and Asher Ward, hog reeves.

Previous to 1830 justices of the peace were appointed by the Governor and Council. We have not been able to ascertain who first received appointments, but among those who served as justices were Zelotus Harvey, Daniel Eames, Perley Keyes, Ethel Bronson, Archibald Clark, Joseph Graves, Levi Hale, and Merril Coburn. At a special town meeting held for the purpose at the house of Jousthah Porter, July' 5, 1813, William Brown, Jonathan Smiley, and Abel Doolittle were elected commissioners of common schools in place of Ethel Bronson, Amos Stebbins, and Judah Williams; and Josiah Massey, Timothy Tamblin, Obed Weeks, Ethel Bronson; and Robert Middleton, inspectors of common schools. In 1806, at the annual town meeting, Ethel Bronson was elected supervisor, but at his request was excused, and Perley Keyes was elected to fill his place. In Hough's History of ]efferson County Mr. Keyes's name does not appear as a supervisor of Rutland.

From Spafford’s Gazetteer of 1813 we quote :--

"In 1810 the population was 1,712. There were four saw-mills, two grist-mills, a distillery, and several mills, etc. There are about 60 framed dwelling houses, 85 framed barns, four framed school-houses, and four merchants."

The same author's Gazetteer of 1824 says of this town in 1821 :--

"There are three houses of worship, and 10 school-houses in which schools are kept eight months in 12. The population is 1,946: taxable property, $153.296: acres of improved land. 10,063; 2,946 cattle, 551 horses, 6,461 sheep: yards of cloth made in families, 23,895. There were three grist-mills, six saw-mills, three fullng-mills, two carding machines, five distilleries, and four asheries.''

In 1880 Rutland, had a population of 1,796. The town is located in the second school district of Jefferson County, and in 1888 had 13 school districts, in which the same number of teachers were employed 28 weeks or more. There were 329 scholars attending school, and the aggregate days attendance during the year was 26,989. The total value of school buildings and sites was $6,425, while the assessed valuation of all the districts was $811,755. The whole amount raised for school purposes was $2,857.67, of which $1,389.10 was received by local tax. Truman C. Gray was school commissioner.