The St. Lawrence County Historical Association will host John Austin on Sunday, October 8, at 2 pm, for an exploratory tour of the village of Rossie and the remains of what was once a thriving industrial center in St. Lawrence County.
Covering about a mile, the tour begins in the hamlet of Rossie, located on County Route 3 at the junction of County Route 8. Good walking shoes are required to fully view all stops, as some of the ruins are located across uneven ground, such as along the riverbank and through fields.
Highlights of the tour include the remains of the grist mill (1825), iron foundry, and machine shop (1840s); site of the iron furnace (1813); David Parish's land office (ca. 1812) and his house (ca. 1810); site of the lead smelter on the river (1838); and the Victoria Lead Mine stack (ca. 1830s, pictured).
David Parish first built a home there in 1810, establishing the county’s first iron blast furnace in 1813. In the 1830s, lead ore was discovered, resulting in several major lead and iron ore processing facilities that operated until the 1860s.
The demand for skilled workers led to a bustling economy, a village verging on city-hood, complete with schools, doctors, dentists, coopers, blacksmiths, casket makers, milliners, slaughterhouses, bowling alleys, grist mills, a chair factory and a popular hotel.
By 1865, however, ore deposits were depleted, and manufacturing ended. The population of Rossie dwindled and today only fragments of the grandeur of the mid-19th-century remain.
Suggested donation of $5.00 for nonmembers; members are free. To register (required), call (315) 386- 8133, or email email@example.com; detailed instructions for the tour will be provided.
John Austin is a historian, researcher, and writer living in De Kalb, NY. He taught middle and high school students for over 30 years, traveling extensively before returning to St. Lawrence County. John’s book, St. Lawrence County in the War of 1812: Folly and Mischief (2013), can be purchased at the Historical Association’s gift shop. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Parish Family.
Illustration: Coal Hill, Victoria Lead Mine, Rossie, NY (Lithograph by Eugene Ciceri and Lafosse, after Salathiel Ellis, ca. 1850s (courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery).