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© 2013 John Austin; used with permission

Key to sources:

The 1865 New York State census More…

New York State had conducted a census roughly every 10 years since 1825. Many of these early State censuses have been lost to fire or other mis-hap. The only surviving St Lawrence Co. census records for 1865 cover the towns of Madrid through Pierrepont, alphabetically and are found in a bound volume in the County Clerk’s office in Canton They have also been microfilmed by the LDS Church. The other Towns in the county also conducted the census, but the originals have long since been lost. However, while the originals still were extant, the information concerning military service was extracted and copied in a large book in Albany, which does still exist and which has been microfilmed.

The census takers in 1865 asked members of each household about any person who had seen military service during the war. The information was collected at the end of each election district section in the census and was divided into three categories: those men still in the service as of June 1, 1865, those who had been discharged by that date, and those who had died as a result of their service, whether directly (wounds) or indirectly (as in the case of accidents or disease)

This 1865 list of men formed the backbone of the list of county soldiers because it contained information from all the Towns forming the county at that time, whereas no other source has coverage that complete. The weakness of the 1865 census is that it IS just a census of families living in St Lawrence Co. in the summer of 1865. It obviously misses any men whose families moved away since the beginning of the war. It also under-reports the deaths of many single men who had no family left in the county who could report their loss or their service. Elon McKee of Canton is a perfect example of a Canton resident, boarding with a family in 1860 and not reported as having died in the service in the 1865 census.

The 1865 Town Clerks records More…

In 1865, the New York State Legislature ordered the Town Clerks of the state to compile records of the servicemen who had enlisted from their locales. Some of the clerks did a fine job searching out the men or their relatives, and others did not. As a result, the quality of information contained in these records varies tremendously from town to town. When completed correctly, these Town Clerk records are a gold mine of information, listing birthdate, place of birth, parents’ names etc. However, most of the clerks did not fill out the forms very completely so some were not much help in compiling this list. It was, afterall, an unfunded mandate from the state, and the clerks probably bristled at the requirement to spend so much time compiling state records. Having said all that, some of the Town Clerk records are far from complete and do not necessarily contain men from that particular Town, but simply men who had been counted towards the Town quota or had merely enlisted in a certain Town. A case in point is Brasher. The TC records list 40 or so men who signed up for the 14th Heavy Artillery, but most (if not all) were from other counties and states. Every effort was made to try to verify that the men listed in the TC records were from the Town, or at least St Lawrence Co. Many men listed in TC records do not appear on the final list of county soldiers because their true residence at the time of the war could not be verified.

A glance at the table above listing men who had died in service brings out an unavoidable fact: many men who died were not listed in the 1865 census, but were listed in other records particularly the Town Clerk records. This means that for the four towns whose Town Clerk records do not exit (Hermon, Madrid, Massena, and Russell) the total number of men who served is likely to be vastly under-reported in the following list. Russell, especially, had always claimed to be the per-capita leader of men contributed to the war, but that claim could not be proven without the help of the Town Clerk records

One of the more interesting entries in The Town Clerk records comes from Fowler on page 10. Beneath the remarks concerning Thomas Rodan of the 92nd NY Infantry, it mentions that his wife Jane Rodan served as the laundress for the regiment until June 10, 1863 and was never paid. It also mentions she was born in Nova Scotia May 11, 1831. So although we have minute details of a non-soldier in one record, we are missing perhaps hundreds of soldiers from other records

The NYS Adjutant General’s reports More…

Beginning in the mid-1890's, the NYS Adjutant General's office began to sift through the muster and pay rolls of the Civil War units and published them in bound volumes over a period of about 10 years. Each volume lists the men in the unit along with basic information such as enlistment date, promotions, date of discharge etc. Not all men appear in their unit report, and some men have their names so garbled that they are difficult to identify. Still, these reports provide a good foundation for describing the basic facts of a man's service. Many men appear in the AG reports of more than one unit because of transfers and re-enlistments.

1850, 1860, etc
Federal Censuses More…

Much of the biographical information about each man, including hints about possible burial places was gleaned from the decennial censuses taken by the Federal government. Many of these census pages are found online and are searchable. They were also the prime source of information as to whether or not a man was actually a St Lawrence Co. resident.

From Bull Run to Chancellorsville by Newton Martin Curtis More…

General Newton Martin Curtis of Depeyster began to collect the rosters of his original regiment, the 16th NY Infantry, as part of his effort to write a history of that unit. Starting in the late 1880's, he attended GAR conventions and re-unions and put ads in local newspapers soliciting information about the whereabouts of all the men who served in the 16th NY Infantry. His final list appears as an addendum to his 1906 book "From Bull Run to Chancellorsville" and is an excellent source of biographical information for most of the men who served in that unit, including last known address and date of death for many

Cemetery transcriptions, both local and from around the country More…

Nearly half of the Civil war combat dead were buried in graves marked “Unknown”. When considering this fact, the total number of men with known burial places from St Lawrence County is not too bad: approximately 57% of all the men listed here have their burial site mentioned. There are many more that will be found in the future as more and more cemetery records become available on the internet. Some of the soldiers may be buried in St Lawrence County but may be "hiding in plain sight" for three reasons. Many soldier graves do not mention the fact of their service on the headstone, many men are buried using only their initials instead of a full name, and men with common names who are buried in a location far from the town they enlisted from may have been overlooked.

Civil War era newspapers published in St Lawrence County as well as later newspapers More…

There are thousands of searchable newspaper pages available on the internet, and many of these were used to find details of a soldiers life and death. The most difficult part of using this resource is the fact that there are so many pages to sift through that there is often not enough time to make a thorough search. Men with the most common names are also the ones who tend not to be found in newspaper articles because it was not possible to identify WHICH man the paper was referring to.

The 1890 Veterans Census More…

Those veterans or widows still living in 1890 were recorded in a seperate section of the 1890 census and stored in a different place than the normal population schedules. As a result, they were not completely lost as was almost all the rest of the 1890 census because of a fire and subsequent mis-handling. The 1890 census often provides details of wounds, captivity etc. that were not recorded anywhere else. However, like all sources used, it is not infallible. Case in point: Julia French in Norwood claimed to be the widow of Squire French of the 11th NY Cav., when in fact he had divorced her 16 years previously and was happily living with his second wife in Essex Co. NY

If the word "data" appears after a soldier’s remarks section, it means that at least some of the information listed came from one of several types of documents, often ones found through an internet search. Examples of such resources include but are not limited to state censuses, town histories, regimental histories, published genealogies, pension records and published vital records. More…

Unfortunately, none of the sources used for this list was infallible. Men appear on one list and not another, or appear on several lists but with different information in each one. The spellings of surnames causes a certain amount of confusion, especially names of French origin. Also, as in the case of most 19th Century sources, handwriting was not always easy to read, and not all inks stood the test of time as far as microfilming is concerned. In many cases, the data for an individual soldier was drawn from several sources in an attempt to get most of it correct.

The case of Willard Crosier is a good example. The 1865 list of men who died in the service lists him as Willard Corsir of Pitcairn, unit unknown. The Pitcairn Town Clerk listed him as Willard Crozier of the 16th NY Infantry, and the 142nd NY Infantry. He does not appear in the AG report for the 16th NY, but is listed in the AG report for the 142nd. So his entry was put together with some information from each source.

It is interesting to note that some men died within a month of enlistment, others served 4 years or more without suffering any wound or disease. James Forbes of Lisbon served in the 39th NY Infantry without a scratch and was accidentally killed by a pistol round shot in celebration by his own brother when he was within rods of his home.

Note that the assignment of a town of residence is somewhat arbitrary. In general, men were listed wherever they lived in 1860 or in whichever town seemed to be their true residence. However, people moved around then just as they do now, and many men are listed in the Town Clerk's records of 2 or more towns. For instance, George Hogle lived in Louisville in 1860, Norfolk in 1865, Russell in 1870, Pierrepont in 1890, Canton in 1900 and is buried in Pierrepont.


Names in bold died as a result of their service

This database was compiled by John Austin and is presented on this site with his kind permission.

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