Jefferson County
Panoramic view of Boldt Castle on Heart Island
Panoramic view of Boldt Castle on Heart Island
Flag of Jefferson County
Official seal of Jefferson County
Map of New York highlighting Jefferson County
Location within the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 43°59′N 76°03′W / 43.99°N 76.05°W / 43.99; -76.05
Country United States
State New York
Founded1805
Named forThomas Jefferson
SeatWatertown
Largest cityLe Ray
Area
 • Total1,857 sq mi (4,810 km2)
 • Land1,269 sq mi (3,290 km2)
 • Water589 sq mi (1,530 km2)  32%
Population
 • Total116,721
 • Density92/sq mi (36/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district21st
Websitewww.co.jefferson.ny.us

Jefferson County is a county on the northern border of the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 116,721.[1] Its county seat is Watertown.[2] The county is named after Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States of America.[3] It is adjacent to Lake Ontario, southeast from the Canada–US border of Ontario.

Jefferson County comprises the Watertown-Fort Drum, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2014 it elected Colleen M. O'Neill as the first woman county sheriff in the state. She had served with the New York State Police for 32 years.[4] The popularity of the area as a summer tourist destination results in a dramatic increase of population during that season.

The United States Army's 10th Mountain Division is based at Fort Drum. The base had a total population of nearly 13,000 according to the 2010 census.

History

When counties were established in the Province of New York in 1683, the present Jefferson County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766, by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770, by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years subsequent to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

In 1789, the size of Montgomery County was reduced by the creation of Ontario County from Montgomery. The area split off from Montgomery County was much larger than the present county, as it was later divided to form the present Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming, Yates, and parts of Schuyler and Wayne counties.

Jefferson County is part of Macomb's Purchase of 1791.

In 1791, Herkimer County was one of three counties split off from Montgomery (the other two being Otsego, and Tioga County). This was much larger than the present county, however, and was reduced by a number of subsequent splits. The first one of these, in 1794, produced Onondaga County. This county was larger than the current Onondaga County, including the present Cayuga and Cortland Counties, and part of Oswego County.

Oneida County (as well as a part of Chenango County), was split off from Herkimer County in 1798.

Jefferson County was split off from Oneida County in 1805. In 1817, Carleton Island, captured from the British in the War of 1812, was annexed to the county. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the county was largely developed for agriculture.

By the early 20th centuries, Watertown was a city with the highest per capita number of millionaires in the United States. Local industrialists had made early fortunes from industries driven by water power. Mills were established along the falls of the Black River from the first half of the nineteenth century.

In 2019, Jefferson County and much of the rest of the North Country was identified as one of the most politically tolerant communities in America, according to an analysis by PredictWise.[5][6]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 1,857 square miles (4,810 km2), of which 1,269 square miles (3,290 km2) is land and 589 square miles (1,530 km2) (32%) is water.[7] It is the fourth-largest county in New York by area.

Jefferson County is in New York State's northern lobe, adjacent to the area where the Saint Lawrence River exits Lake Ontario. It is northeast of Syracuse, and northwest of Utica. The county is at the international border with Canada.

The Black River, which empties into Lake Ontario, is an important waterway in the county. Part of the Tug Hill Plateau is in the southern part of the county. The county contains part of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River, including such large islands as Carleton Island, Grindstone Island, and Wellesley Island.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
181015,140
182032,952117.6%
183048,49347.2%
184060,98425.8%
185068,15311.8%
186069,8252.5%
187065,415−6.3%
188066,1031.1%
189068,8064.1%
190076,74811.5%
191080,3824.7%
192082,2502.3%
193083,5741.6%
194084,0030.5%
195085,5211.8%
196087,8352.7%
197088,5080.8%
198088,151−0.4%
1990110,94325.9%
2000111,7380.7%
2010116,2294.0%
2020116,7210.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790–1960[9] 1900–1990[10]
1990–2000[11] 2020[1]

2020 Census

Jefferson County Racial Composition[12]
Race Num. Perc.
White (NH) 92,755 79.5%
Black or African American (NH) 6,271 5.4%
Native American (NH) 461 0.4%
Asian (NH) 2,185 1.9%
Pacific Islander (NH) 300 0.3%
Other/Mixed (NH) 6,759 5.8%
Hispanic or Latino 7,990 6.85%

2000 census

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 111,738 people, 40,068 households, and 28,127 families residing in the county. The population density was 88 inhabitants per square mile (34/km2). There were 54,070 housing units at an average density of 42/sq mi (16/km2). The county's racial makeup was 88.71% White, 5.83% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 2.05% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 4.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 93.2% spoke English and 3.5% Spanish as their first language.

21.9% were of English, 14.1% Irish, 12.8% German, 8.5% French and 8.5% Italian ancestry according to the 2010 American Community Survey.

There were 40,068 households, of which 37.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.80% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.07.

26.50% of the county's population was under age 18, 11.80% was from age 18 to 24, 31.30% was from age 25 to 44, 19.10% was from age 45 to 64, and 11.30% were age 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 107.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.50 males.

The county's median household income was $34,006, and the median family income was $39,296. Males had a median income of $28,727 versus $21,787 for females. The county's per capita income was $16,202. About 10.00% of families and 13.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.80% of those under age 18 and 9.20% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Jefferson Community College in Watertown provides higher education within the county.

Communities

Larger Settlements

# Location Population Type Area
1 Le Ray 25,574 Town North
2 Watertown 24,685 City Center
3 Fort Drum 15,896 CDP Center
4 Carthage 3,747 Village Center
5 Calcium 3,491 CDP Center
6 West Carthage 2,012 Village Center
7 Clayton 1,978 Village River Delta
8 Adams 1,775 Village South
9 Adams Center 1,568 CDP South
10 Sackets Harbor 1,450 Village Upper Lakeshore
11 Black River 1,348 Village Center
12 Philadelphia 1,252 Village North
13 Brownville 1,119 Village Center
14 Alexandria Bay 1,078 Village River Delta
15 Dexter 1,052 Village Center
16 Theresa 863 Village North
17 Great Bend 843 CDP Center
18 Cape Vincent 726 Village River Delta
19 Antwerp 686 Village North
20 Chaumont 624 Village Upper Lakeshore
21 Evans Mills 621 Village Center
22 ††La Fargeville 606 CDP River Delta
23 Redwood 605 CDP River Delta
24 Depauville 577 CDP River Delta
25 Glen Park 502 Village Center
26 Felts Mills 372 CDP Center
27 Natural Bridge 365 CDP North
28 Mannsville 354 Village South
29 Defereit 294 Village Center
30 Pamelia Center 264 CDP Center
31 Ellisburg 244 Village South
32 Three Mile Bay 227 CDP Upper Lakeshore
33 Belleville 226 CDP South
34 Henderson 224 CDP South
35 Lorraine 174 CDP South
36 Plessis 164 CDP North
37 Rodman 153 CDP South
38 Oxbow 108 CDP North
39 Herrings 40 Village Center

† - County Seat

†† - Former Village

Towns

Hamlet

Old Jefferson County Courthouse
Old Jefferson County Courthouse

Government

Legislative authority is vested in the county Board of Legislators, which consists of 15 members each elected from single member districts for two-year terms.[14] As of 2018, there are 14 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

United States presidential election results for Jefferson County, New York[15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 25,629 58.35% 17,307 39.40% 990 2.25%
2016 21,763 56.92% 13,809 36.12% 2,664 6.97%
2012 18,122 50.75% 17,099 47.89% 487 1.36%
2008 20,220 52.00% 18,166 46.72% 500 1.29%
2004 21,231 54.72% 16,860 43.45% 709 1.83%
2000 18,192 49.95% 16,799 46.12% 1,432 3.93%
1996 12,362 36.22% 16,783 49.18% 4,982 14.60%
1992 14,227 38.01% 13,380 35.75% 9,819 26.24%
1988 19,304 57.41% 14,137 42.05% 181 0.54%
1984 23,445 67.96% 10,960 31.77% 91 0.26%
1980 16,455 49.67% 13,271 40.06% 3,402 10.27%
1976 20,401 59.95% 13,503 39.68% 124 0.36%
1972 23,123 66.41% 11,629 33.40% 65 0.19%
1968 18,552 56.03% 13,438 40.59% 1,119 3.38%
1964 10,718 29.84% 25,175 70.10% 21 0.06%
1960 24,290 60.55% 15,800 39.39% 25 0.06%
1956 28,429 74.06% 9,959 25.94% 0 0.00%
1952 27,932 69.88% 12,026 30.09% 13 0.03%
1948 19,661 58.95% 13,176 39.51% 514 1.54%
1944 21,834 60.10% 14,449 39.77% 46 0.13%
1940 25,584 63.54% 14,581 36.22% 97 0.24%
1936 24,925 63.16% 13,975 35.41% 566 1.43%
1932 22,760 61.98% 13,478 36.70% 486 1.32%
1928 26,361 66.41% 12,908 32.52% 426 1.07%
1924 21,159 68.38% 7,665 24.77% 2,118 6.85%
1920 22,072 70.74% 7,925 25.40% 1,204 3.86%
1916 11,197 58.68% 7,089 37.15% 795 4.17%
1912 6,692 37.97% 6,054 34.35% 4,878 27.68%
1908 11,477 57.93% 6,694 33.79% 1,642 8.29%
1904 12,050 60.57% 6,696 33.66% 1,147 5.77%
1900 11,870 61.03% 6,776 34.84% 805 4.14%
1896 11,411 60.88% 6,644 35.45% 689 3.68%
1892 9,856 54.32% 7,181 39.57% 1,109 6.11%
1888 9,861 54.37% 7,562 41.70% 713 3.93%
1884 9,029 53.83% 7,075 42.18% 669 3.99%
Jefferson County Board of Legislators
District Legislator Party Residence
1 Robert W. Cantwell III Republican Cape Vincent
2 William W. Johnson Republican Lyme
3 Philip N. Reed, Sr. Republican Orleans
4 Allen T. Drake Democrat Theresa
5 Michael Montigelli Republican Le Ray
6 Daniel R. McBride Republican Wilna
7 John D. Peck Republican Champion
8 James A. Nabywaniec Republican Le Ray
9 Patrick R. Jareo Republican Ellisburg
10 Jeremiah J. Maxon Republican Adams
11 Robert D. Ferris Republican Watertown
12 Francee A. Calarco Republican Watertown
13 Scott A. Gray chairman Republican Watertown
14 Corey Y. Grant Republican Watertown
15 Anthony J. Doldo Republican Watertown

Law enforcement

As of 2021 the sheriff is Colleen M. O'Neill. O'Neill is the first female sheriff elected in the state, and was first elected in 2014.[16][17][18]

In 2012, the Sheriff's Office was the subject of three unrelated sexual harassment lawsuits by a female deputy and two other women.[19][20][21]

Sites of interest

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "QuickFacts - Jefferson county, New York". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 168.
  4. ^ staff (March 2016). "March 2016 20 Questions: Colleen O'Neill, Jefferson County Sheriff". NNY Business Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Ripley, Amanda. "The Least Politically Prejudiced Place in America". The Atlantic. ISSN 1072-7825. Archived from the original on March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  6. ^ He, Amanda Ripley, Rekha Tenjarla, Angela Y. (March 4, 2019). "The Geography of Partisan Prejudice". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Jefferson County, New York".
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "Jefferson County, New York : Legislature". co.jefferson.ny.us. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Sheriff's Office". Welcome to Jefferson County, New York. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  17. ^ "Colleen O'Neill". NY Sheriffs Association. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  18. ^ KELLYbkelly@wdt.net, BRIAN. "Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O'Neill will not seek reelection". NNY360. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  19. ^ "Three lawsuits target Jefferson County Sheriff's Department". WRVO Public Media. November 29, 2012. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "Attorney for Sheriff's deputy describes alleged harassment on the job in $50 million suit". WRVO Public Media. May 3, 2012. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  21. ^ "Sheriff's deputy files suit against Jefferson County department over topless photos". WRVO Public Media. April 18, 2012. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved November 2, 2021.

Further reading

Coordinates: 43°59′N 76°03′W / 43.99°N 76.05°W / 43.99; -76.05