A very long time ago – not before the debut of doodling (which stretches way back to the dark cave walls of history) but well before Essex was founded – the area was settled by William Gilliland. So far as we can tell the dear slice of wilderness along the majestic lake was settled in 1765, but historians and archeologist far more astute than I can and should correct this common misconception if another better date emerges.
Essex Established in 1765
“In 1765 Gilliland, Irish soldier turned successful colonial merchant, moved his family up the Hudson River from New York City to the wilds of northern New York where he had purchased large tracts of land on the western shore of Lake Champlain between Split Rock in the Boquet River. Within a decade his farming communities, which included present-day Essex, were well established.” (Belden Noble Memorial Library. Essex, New York: An Early History. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers, 2003. 11-12).
Well established, but only for a brief while.
The American Revolution humbled the upstart village only a dozen years later, splitting the settlers’ loyalties and virtually erasing all gains made since Gilliland’s arrival. A year later he returned to the depleted settlement and with a steady influx of enterprising settlers witnessed revitalization and rapid growth. Industry boomed.
- A Brief History of William Gilliland (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- A Brief History of William Gilliland Part 2 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- The Dower House (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Hickory Hill and Rosslyn (rosslynredux.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Main Street Essex (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- the French Connection – Part 5 – Champlain in Quebec 1608 (darcynord.wordpress.com)