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Warren County Bicentennial

Floyd Bennett speaking at Shepard Park

The Town of Johnsburg

Johnsburg, in area the largest town in Warren County, was partitioned from the original Town of Thurman on April 6, 1805. It is located in the northwest corner of the county, and consists of six hamlets with post offices: Bakers Mills, Johnsburg, North Creek, North River, Riparius and Wevertown. Other neighborhoods include Sodom, The Glen and Garnet Lake.

In 1788 John Thurman, a wealthy New York City merchant, bought from the state government 25,200 acres of Town ship #12 of the Totten and Crossfield Purchase. Under the leadership of John Thurman, the first clearing took place about 1790 on Elm Hill, located one mile south of today’s hamlet of Johnsburg. The name was taken from Thurman’s given name and was spelled Johnsburgh until 1893.

Land was cleared along Beaver Brook (now called Mill Creek), and a grist mill and saw mill were erected at the falls of the brook. A distillery was opened which produced a market for rye. In 1795 a woolen factory was built, but was converted to a cotton factory two years later. Thurman erected his Calico printing works, one of the first in America. He also built ash works and made pot ash.

Joseph Hopper kept the first tavern, one of the places chosen for annual town meetings and elections. John Richards was elected the first town supervisor, a position he held several times; he was also a State Surveyor who surveyed thousands of Adirondack acres, a NYS Assemblyman during the War of 1812, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas from 1805 to 1850, and a Federal Congressman in 1822-1825. Robert Waddell operated Thurman’s store at Elm Hill and conducted business dealings for him, for John Thurman’s business dealings often took him to the shipping ports of London and New York.

On Sept. 27, 1809 at the age of 79, Thurman was killed by an enraged bull in Bolton, NY, thus ending his part in the development of the town.

Next: The First Hundred Years: Historic Buildings

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