Civic Center, 2 Park Street
Potsdam, NY 13676
(315) 265-6910

Potsdam and the Civil War

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"One hundred years ago [April 12, 1861] our nation plunged into civil war -- the South arrayed against the North. When Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was fired upon by Southern rebels on April 12, 1861, the die was cast and the country galvanized into action. President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops to defend the Union, and the fight was on, gathering intensity as months rolled into years."

"In 1861, Potsdam was a small rural village with a population of approximately 2,123 persons. The Village boasted a school of higher education, St. Lawrence Academy, which was chartered in 1816 to train teachers, and which paved the way for the founding of State Normal School in 1869. The Village also had seven churches: Roman Catholic, Catholic Apostolic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Universalist, Methodist, and Episcopal."

"There were industries here too, small but ample for the needs of the people: a sash-and-door factory; sandstone quarries; a harness shop; a furniture factory; and a number of food, drug and clothing stores. Most of the news came via letter and telegraph and the local newspaper, the Courier & Freeman, which carried foreign, national and State news as well as local items in its weekly four-pages. Often the newspaper received pay for its subscriptions in wood and produce."