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History of the Town of Russia
From Nathaniel Benton's History of Herkimer County, 1856.


Contains that part of the county beginning at the southwest corner of lot number twenty-eight, in the third allotment of the Royal grant, and running thence east along the line of lots to the southeast corner of lot number thirty; then north along the line of lots, and the same line continued to the south bounds of the town of Wilmurt; then westerly along the same to the west bounds of the county; and then along the said west bounds to the place of beginning.

This town contains a part of the third allotment of the Royal grant, portions of Jerseyfield, Remsenburgh and Matchin's patents, and the whole of Lush's, Marvin's and Jacobs's patents.

Russia can not boast of anterevolutionary habitans, except the wild beasts of the forest, and the roaming Indian in pursuit of game, or on the war path to reach some point of attack, or circumvent a foe. Indeed, no white settlements were made in the town, until after the year 1790. The state road enters the town near the southeast corner of it, runs diagonally across the third allotment, and reaches Boon's Bridge, on the West creek, a short distance from the northwest corner of the Royal grant. The town is irrigated by several small streams, and among them is Black creek, all of them tributaries of the West Canada, and affording water power for mills and machinery of different descriptions and capacities, and a needful supply for grazing stock. Trenton Falls, the center of the creek, being the boundary line between the two counties at this point, lay partly in this town, and the crossing place where W.N. Butler was killed is pointed out about two miles above the junction of the Black creek with the Canada, so that this town and Ohio must dispute the palm for this locality.

The industrial pursuits of the population are chiefly directed to grazing and cheese and butter making. Utica is the nearest market town of note, and the Utica and Black river rail road now opens the most feasible route to the eastern market, whether by canal or railway, for the products of this town, diverting nearly the whole of its commercial trade to Utica.

Stodard Squires, from Connecticut, was the first settler; he came into the town in the year 1792. The Millington family, from Vermont, and the Smith family, came into the town, and took up lands, within a few years after Squires. Farley Fuller, George Taylor and Roscum Slocum moved into the town about the year 1795, and between that time and 1800 this town settled very fast. John G. Squires, a son of Stodard, was seven years old when his father moved on to the grant. He is now living, and occupies the same farm on which the family located when they came into the town. Mr. Squires is very particular and quite certain as to the locality of the Butler crossing, and his designation of the spot is supported by the declaration of an aged revolutionary veteran, Mr. Williams, who was with the American troops under Willett, and which I have derived from Jeremiah Cory, Esq., late sheriff of the county. Mr. Williams must have visited the spot, giving credence to his own declarations some fifteen or twenty years ago; and Mr. Squires asserts, that a bayonet and other warlike instruments were found near the place he points out. I have felt very anxious to fix the place of Walter N. Butler's death with reasonable certainty.

It may be assumed then, I think, that the two parties, the pursued and the pursuers, crossed the Canada creek about two miles above the junction of the Black creek with the West Canada, and in the neighborhood of the twin rocks. This place is about twenty-seven miles north of Herkimer village. There is no doubt but the hostile parties crossed the Black creek, and that the American advance and the British rear guards had a pretty smart encounter at that point. I have noticed but one fact in the course of my researches which seems to contradict the position now assumed. The Mount place, at which Willett's party encamped on their return from pursuing the enemy, is several miles nearly due east from this crossing place, and it may not seem probable that Willett, whose object it was to reach the German Flats as soon as possible, with his hungry troops, would have taken that route to reach a point nearly south from this crossing place. But he no doubt had good reasons for retracing his steps upon his recent trail, and this slight deviation from a direct course to Fort Dayton, should not be allowed to overbalance the traditional relations we now have. Ross and Butler, whose object was to reach the Black river, knew the most direct course to reach that point, and they were on it. The destruction of Fort Schuyler "by fire and flood," in May, 1781, and the withdrawal of the troops stationed there to Forts Herkimer and Dayton, render it quite improbable that any of Willett's troops went to the former post in October, 1782. The spot where Butler fell deserves a monument, to point out to unborn Americans where a severe chastisement was inflicted, and where the scourger fell. The mound on the west bank of the creek, formerly pointed out as Butler's grave, has been entirely washed away, and his remains have been scattered over the valleys once desolated by his revengeful arm.