SITE OF FIRST
- Grant Recipient
- 6660 State Route 26, Martinsburg, NY
- 43.736803, -75.468836
Martinsburg Historical Society
Few European Americans resided in Upstate New York when Walter Martin first founded Martinsburg in 1802. Martin purchased 8,000 acres for $12,000 in 1801 (1805 History of Lewis County, Franklin B Hough, 1883). He was promoted to Brigadier General when the first militia of Lewis County was formed in 1805 (1805 History of Lewis County). Martinsburg became the first county seat of Lewis County in 1805. Accordingly, the first courthouse was built in 1812 and the demand for a clerk’s office was prevalent.
As of 1829, Lewis County still lacked a clerk’s office, which resulted in an act passed that required a clerk’s office be built. Unfortunately for reasons unknown, this was not immediately done (1805 History of Lewis County). In 1847, “an association was formed in Martinsburg for the sole purpose of building a clerk’s office, which was completed and leased to the county free of rent” (A History of Lewis County, Franklin B. Hough, 1860). The building had a red brick exterior and was adjacent to the Methodist Church located in the center of town (History of Lewis County 1880-1965, G. Byron Bowen, 1970). The county clerk’s office remained in this building until 1864.
At a Special Session meeting of the Board of Supervisors in March of 1864, the County Clerk, David A. Stewart brought up the idea of moving the County Clerk’s office from Martinsburg to Lowville. In The Journal and Republican newspaper a week after the meeting on March 23, it was stated that the current clerk’s office to be moved into, “two rooms on the south side of the hall in the Court House in Lowville.” According to the Statutes at Large of New York (1864), an act was passed to change the Lewis County seat from Martinsburg to Lowville. This went forward in May of 1864 when a special act was officially passed.
The original clerk’s building in Martinsburg remained in use and served many other purposes until the Martinsburg Historical Society purchased it in 2011 for restoration purposes. (Deed, Lewis County, NY Clerk’s Office, 7 Jan 2011).