Azariah Walton (1784-1855)

Azariah Walton, of Alexandria Bay, Jefferson County, New York

Azariah was a native of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, where he apprenticed as a blacksmith and became an expert machinist. Just prior to the War of 1812, he came to Brownville in Jefferson County to oversee the construction of the cotton mills. In 1828, he was appointed Collector of Customs at Alexandria, a post he would hold for nineteen years. In 1845, he established a company with Chesterfield Pearson (1793-1855) and together they bought all the Thousand Islands (1,500 of them, covering 15,400-acres) on the American side of the St. Lawrence River for a steal at just $3,000. After selling various islands to the US government for lighthouses, Azariah bought out Pearson. Azariah now increased his mercantile activities by entering the timber business, stripping the islands of their resources - not unsurprisingly for the era, he was not a naturalist.

Despite his somewhat Dickensian portrait, it was said that Azariah possessed, "the faculty of making every one about as happy as himself, and it is still the delight of many who knew him intimately to relate anecdotes (that showed) his proverbial good-nature". He married his wife in 1810 and they had ten children, four of whom were still alive in 1878.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 10/02/2019 and last updated on 10/02/2019.
History of Jefferson County, New York (1878), by Samuel W. Durant & H. B. Pierce; Will of Mrs Mary (Gilson) Walton -; wikitree entry for Nathaniel Walton