MORE LOCAL HISTORY      


The following brief history of Waddington, used with permission, is excerpted from "St. Lawrence County Almanac" (Volumes 1-4), copyright © 1996-2000 Robert J. LaRue. 


The earliest recorded history of the Waddington region begins with exploits the first explorers who sailed up the St. Lawrence River as early as the late 1500's.  Many carried or dragged their boats along the Waddington shore to circumvent the rough rapids that once existed there.  The native Indians whose trails followed the St. Lawrence River called the early settlement "kanateroken," meaning wet village.  When the first wave of permanent white settlers arrived in the 1793, they found a Dutch family dressed in deerskin clothing living in a log hut along the river, in the vicinity of where the village now stands.

When St. Lawrence County was formed in 1802, the Waddington region was originally part of the town of Madrid.  When Madrid was divided in 1859, the half closest to the St. Lawrence River was named Waddington, reflecting the name of the principal village established along the St. Lawrence River in 1839. The riverfront settlement was originally called "Hamilton" for Alexander Hamilton, then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury who was killed in the famous duel with the country’s third vice president Aaron Burr. Hamilton was a business associate of David and T. L. Ogden and Joshua Waddington, landowners in the town.  In 1803, Waddington bought a large, undivided tract of land in the Hamilton area from the Ogdens. Waddington made some of the community’s first major improvements for early settlement.  Postal confusion with another community called Hamilton in Madison County, N.Y., necessitated a change of title. The village name was changed to Waddington in 1818.

The village of Waddington, located along the banks of the St. Lawrence River was formally incorporated on April 26th in 1839.  Walter Wilson was elected the village’s first president (later called mayor).  During the first twenty years of Waddington, a number of stone structures and residences were built that gave the village what was described as "an old-fashioned appearance," much of which it still maintains today.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Waddington was founded in 1818. Today it is the oldest church building in northern New York.

St. Lawrence County’s first paper mill was built in Waddington in 1828.  The Vermont firm of Whitcomb, Thayer and Wales produced paper of both writing and wrapping quality.  The mill operated for about twenty years.

Part of the original Waddington village was relocated in the 1950's during excavation to create the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Homes and landmarks near the St. Lawrence River were moved to accommodate the creation of Lake St. Lawrence.