Abutting Lake Champlain at the northeastern corner of New York State, Clinton County has long been a site of exchange and encounters. Local toponyms attest to French imperial ambitions in the colonial era: Champlain, certainly, but also Ausable, Point au Roche, Point au Fer, Chazy, and, facing Chazy on the lake, Vermont’s Isle La Motte. In turn, the historic sites of Crown Point and Ticonderoga are monuments to the strategic importance of Lake Champlain from a military perspective. By linking New York City and Montreal through the Hudson and Richelieu rivers, the lake was witness to the clash of empires that ended with the collapse of New France in the 1760s.
In the early nineteenth century, Clinton reaped the economic benefits of this natural hydrographic corridor. And while international trade boomed, the region received an ever-rising number of French-Canadian farmers, farm laborers, and craftsmen who sought to escape difficult economic straits along the St. Lawrence River. What the French had not seized by force of arms they conquered through sweat and toil. To this wave of migrants, especially those who arrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tens of thousands of county residents can today trace their lineage. » Continue Reading.