The land that eventually became the Village of Dexter was originally claimed by the Oneida, one of the members of the Six Nations, or Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The land was acquired from them by the State of New York under the Treaty of Stanwix, in 1788. The land was surveyed into lots, or “Great Tracts”, and sold at auction by the New York State Assembly in 1791. In an unprecedented occurrence, all of the Great Tracts, including most of northern New York, were conveyed in a single deed to one Alexander Macomb. The following year, Macomb’s holdings were liquidated after he defaulted on his payments, and Great Tract No. 5, which contained the land north of the Black River, was sold to Peter Chassanis. The land now encompassed in the Town of Brownville was sold to Jacob Brown in 1799. The first improvements by him in the area were a dam and sawmill erected on Fish Island in 1811, opposite was is now Dexter in the Black River. The chief industry of this place was the processing of lumber into planks and timbers to be used at Sacket’s Harbor for shipbuilding. In 1815-16, they built a canal circumventing the dam at Fish Island to allow barge traffic to flow past Dexter into Lake Ontario (Hough 1854).
Spearheaded by these improvements, a settlement was formed on the mainland adjacent to Fish Island (possibly called "Basle" at the time). A grist mill was added to the place in 1826, and more than a dozen families were living there by 1837 (Hough 1854:104). The Dexter Village Company was incorporated in Jefferson County on March 1, 1837, for the purpose of laying out the streets and lots of of the nascent village. They sold village lots, making dividends by 1840. In 1846, the company dissolved into the Village of Dexter. Its principal exports were lumber, wood products, and wool (Hough 1854).
Dexter was incorporated in 1855 with a population of 528.
Dexter Fire and Ambulance
General Brown Central School
This page was created by AJRII
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on Sep 7, 2009 5:48 am.