TOWN OF BROWNVILLE.
In 1797, when the town of Leyden was created from Steuben, there was not, so far as known now, a single white inhabitant in what afterward became Jefferson county north of Black river; nor was there a single inhabitant of the same region previous to the settlement made at the mouth of Philomel creek In the year 1799 by Jacob Brown and the companions of his voyage down the river that spring. This worthy pioneer and developer must have been made of the “sterner stuff” of man’s composition to attempt settlement in a country almost unknown and unheard of, or to leave the pleasures and opportunities of life in New York city for the dangers and uncertainties to be met on the frontier of civilization. But adversity was always a hard master. Jacob Brown’s early life was spent among scenes of wealth and pastimes, for his father was a man of position, means and influence, and educated his sons for high places in professional and business life; but disaster befell him, and Jacob was obliged to leave his studies and seek a means of livelihood. He cast about for a time, went to Ohio while the region was a territory, with a view to settlement, then returned east and began teaching school in New York. Here he met Rodolph Tiller, agent for the Chassanis lands, and was induced by his representations to explore them and make a settlement in the locality that best pleased him. It was this errand that brought Jacob Brown to the high falls in the late winter of 1798—99, from whence in March following he started down the river with several companions and helpers, with supplies and provisions for the journey. At the long falls, where was a little French settlement, the party left the boats and followed the old French road leading to the bend and thence to Clayton. Having traveled a considerable distance along the road, they struck off toward the river and reached the north bank less than two miles below Brownville, where the sound of a waterfall attracted attention. He followed up the river a short distance to the mouth of a small creek, where the pioneer saw a considerable volume of spring water discharging into the river, just below the falls. This place the party believed to be the head of navigation on the river, and the creek promised an abundant water power, therefore they stopped and made a camp.
After making a survey of the locality, Mr. Brown decided to make this his future home, and to that end built a log house and cleared a small tract of land, which was planted. Thus was made the pioneer settlement in what afterward became Jefferson county north of Black river. To the stream flowing from the north the pioneer gave the name Philomel creek, from the fact of his hearing a nightingale singing among the trees along its banks. (The nightingale was otherwise known as “Philomela.”) However, the course of the creek near its mouth was afterward changed by the settlers, who dug for it a channel more direct to the river.
Our Family Homes--Then and Now
Our Homes, some were lived in for generation, some for just a short time.
Villages, Towns and Cities of my family.
Some of the homes and places my family and extended family have lived.
See photos below the posts.
See photos below the posts.