Lorraine, Jefferson, NY

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LORRAINE

Erected originally as Malta from Mexico, by an act passed March 24, 1804, this town received its present name on account of there being another Malta in the State, in Saratoga county, April 6, 1808. When first incorporated, it included besides its present lines the town of Worth, or townships 1 and 2 of the Boylston tract. This relation was preserved until Worth was set off in 1848. The Boylston tract was a part of the Macomb purchase, a full account of which appears in the general history of Jefferson county, and was conveyed by William Constable to Samuel Ward, Dec. 18, 1792, who two days later sold it to Thomas Boylston, of Boston, for $20,000. The town is about six miles square, and has for its southern boundary Otsego county; on its north, east, and west are the towns of Adams, Redman, Worth and Ellisburg, in the order named from the northwest.

The surface of Lorraine is elevated, and very much broken by hills and gorges. The soil is underlaid by shales so finely developed that the term Lorraine shales has been applied to the formation. The layers of this rock are alternately soft and hard, so that they yield with great facility to the disintegrating agencies of frost, atmosphere action, and running water of the streams which traverse he town. Deep and immense gulfs or channels have been worn wherever these means of natural drainage exist. These chasms dare in most places impossible, and have caused the town much inconvenience and great expense in the location of roads and he building of bridges, while some of them are invested with tragic interest. Numerous accidents have happened to persons who have attempted to cross some of the deeper ones, and the loss of animals from falling over the steep and treacherous banks is frequently reported. Yet these gulfs afford attractions, in their ever-changing beauty and quiet grandeur, that repay the labor of a visit.

All the streams of the town have romantic gorges, but the gulf of the south branch of Sandy creek, is particularly impressive, and will convey a fair idea of the nature and proportions of many others in the town. "Its depth varies from one to two hundred feet, and its breadth from four to ten rods. The bottom, and in many place the sides, are overgrown with timber, and the stream wanders alternately from right to left, affording, wherever it washes the base, a cliff nearly vertical and of imposing grandeur. As the visitor follows the sinuous channel which the stream through a long lapse of ages has quietly wrought deep into the bowels of the earth, the scenery constantly changes, affording an endless succession of beauties. Were it not for the gentle murmur of the brook and the occasional trickling of the tiny stream the mossy precipice to break the stillness of the scene, the beautiful stanza of Beattie would be admirably appropriate."

"Thy shades, thy silence now be mine,
Thy charms my only theme,
My haunt the hollow cliff, whole pine
Waves o’er the gloomy stream,
Whence the scared owl, with pinions gray,
Breaks from the rustling boughs,
And down the lone vale sails away,
To more profound repose."

The south branch of Big Sandy creek traverses the northern part of the town, having a western course, and with its tributaries affords good drainage and some water-power, although the steepness of their banks generally prevents this from being fully utilized. In the central and southern portions of the town are Hull and Deer creeks, streams of moderate size, and flowing in a northwesterly direction; while farther south are large brooks whose water-power has been more or less improved. The soil generally is fertile, but is better adapted to grazing then the culture of the small grains. In the northwest corner of the town the surface is nearly level, and here and along Sandy creek are some productive farms, on which mixed industry prevails. (Jefferson County History, L. H. Everts, 1878)

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Transcribed by Holice B.Young

Html by Debbie

December 26, 1999

[Jefferson County ALHN][NY ALHN]

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