Castorland: French Refugees in the Western Adirondacks, 1793-1814

Castorland: French Refugees in the Western Adirondacks, 1793-1814

by Edith Pilcher


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Castorland, "the land of beavers," is a vast tract on the Black River between Lowville and Carthage in Lewis County, New York. Two hundred years ago, nobility and clergy retreating from the French Revolution founded settlements in this area. Drawing on the Castorland Journal, a day-to-day account kept by Simon Desjardins and Pierre Pharoux, Edith Pilcher presents a wealth of facts about this unique community and its failed struggle to establish an American haven for French exiles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801478253
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/15/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Edith Pilcher, an Adirondack historian, is the author of The Constables: First Family of the Adirondacks, Up the Lake Road, and Castorland: French Refugees in the Western Adirondacks, 1793–1814.

Table of Contents

Dedication 7

Introduction 13

List of maps and illustrations 11

Acknowledgments 18


I Formation of the Compagnie de New York 19

II 1793 - Voyage to America and First Explorations 31

III 1791 - Founding of the Settlement 55

IV 1795 - Consolidation and Disaster 73

V 1796 and 1797 - Desjardins' Downfall 91

VI Subsequent History of Castorland 107

VII The Castorland Region Today - Touring Car Kayak 135

VIII Sifting Discrepancies: A Survey of Writings about Castorland 149

Appendice: Several of the following items have been previously published, but are dispersed among different books; three have not been printed before now. Bringing these source materials together under one cover will be useful to those strongly interested in the subject.

I Plan of Association and First Program of Settlement 160

II Prospectus and Topographic Account 164

III The Constitution of Castorland 173

IV Rudolphe Tiller's Memorial and Justification of the Administration of Castorland 188

V Chassanis' Reply to Tillier's Memorial 204

VI Letter describing Castorland in 1800 207

VII 1859 Letter from Vincent LeRay to Dr. Hough containing recollections of Castorland and some of its settlers 211

Footnotes 217

Bibliography 235

Index 239

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