History of Degrasse, New York
Degrasse is located on the South Branch of the Grasse River in the
Southeastern part of Russell. During the war of 1812, 2 roads were
cut through Russell Township, the Old Albany road and the Lake George
road. Old deeds at Degrasse refer to land boundaries starting in the
center of the “Lake George” road. Early settlers settled along these 2
roads in pushing their way into the frontier land, known as the "South
In 1837, the first settlers began to arrive; this was the beginning
of Monterey (now Degrasse). Clifton Mines had a big influence on Monterey
in 1864 as building materials and equipment had to be transported through
this community on the way to the mines. Food had to be obtained locally.
Abner H. Armstrong, a Civil War veteran, established a store in his
home in 1866 to supply the workers needs. The fact that the Clifton Iron
Co. railroad passed near Degrasse plus a roundhouse to repair railroad
equipment and a water tank to supply the engines located in Monterey,
gave this hamlet a "boom town" atmosphere. This continued until Sept. 1869
when fire destroyed the steel works at the mines. Operations ceased and
remaining equipment moved out. The railroad with its wooden rails and
ties was either salvaged or left in care of Mother Nature.
More later on the growth of Monterey (Degrasse).
Marie Rocca, Town Historian
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