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August 13, 2013

Upcoming celebrations recall Champlain history

CHAMPLAIN — It had its beginnings as a land grant to a colonial soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War. 

Now, the Town of Champlain is celebrating its 225th anniversary.

The occasion will be marked by Champlain Day, a day of festivities on Saturday. Events will include a free Gibson Brothers bluegrass concert, the unveiling of a historical marker, a stamp cancellation and many other offerings.

“It’s going to be a big day for us,” said Celine Racine Paquette, curator of the Samuel de Champlain History Center in Champlain. “We’re an old town.”

ENTREPRENEUR

Paquette noted that the town was founded by Pliny Moore, who came to survey the lots that he had received for his service in the Revolutionary War.

Moore had risen to the rank of lieutenant during the war. But having survived the musket fire and the cannonballs of that conflict, he found the task of surveying his new land to be an adventure in itself. 

The exploration took him through uncharted territories of forest and swampland.  

Undeterred, Moore settled on his lands, bringing his wife and son up from Kinderhook.

“He was quite an entrepreneur,” Paquette said, noting his establishment of sawmills, long an important feature of life on the Great Chazy River.

BROADER BOUNDARIES

In time, Moore contacted influential friends in Washington County to the south and, Paquette said he told them: “I know we’re in the wilderness here, but we need our own judicial.”

Paquette said that led to the formation of Clinton County as well as the Town of Champlain.

The county originally included the areas that are today Franklin and Essex counties, and the Town of Champlain had huge boundaries and few people. 

In fact, the town’s first boundaries included Isle La Motte, today part of Vermont.

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