Belleville[edit | edit source]Town of Ellisburg. It was once known as Halls Mills, named after Giles Hall who was an early settler. Not until after the war of 1812 was the named changed to Belleville. It is not known where the name came from, although there are about four different versions of the name origination. One theory is that it was named "Belleville" because of the number of schools and churches in the small village that had bells, and another idea is that it was named for a place in Canada. Yet another is that it was known to have so many lovely young women living there that the reference was to the word 'Belle', as the first settlers were French and the word 'Belle' means beautiful and ville means village.
Belleville was first developed as an agricultural community around 1802 or 1803. To this day it is still one of the best farming areas in Jefferson County. The land in the area is one of the richest, and is believed to be from the low lands which extends as far as Adams and were once covered by a glacier. When the ice melted and the water receded it left many signs of fossils and debris. The underlying limestone and lime rock also made for an abundant supply of pure fresh spring water.
The Benton Wilkes horses and the Cheshire hogs were originally bred in Belleville. In 1888 a resident of Belleville compiled the first "cow census" in the Town of Ellisburg.
Belleville is still today a small, quiet, pleasant farming town and has never gone over 400 in population. In the early days Giles Hall built a grist mill, a saw mill, a wagon shop and the first blacksmith shop. Prior to 1820 Abraham Miller and Rufus Mather also built a grist mill about a mile outside the village, later selling an acre to Oren Howard who opened a chair factory. Harvey Dwight opened a cloth - dressing store, Luther Mather had a carding machine place and Samuel Northup later combined them into one business. Matteson Freeman opened a hotel known as the "Central House", which later burned and in 1873 I.L. Dillon rebuilt it as a hotel and it became "Dillonback House. Other merchants also included F. E. Wright, harness shop; Keyes & DeBois; Kelsey Brothers; Chapman & Doane, general store owners; Bradley Barney’s notions & jewelry; W. B. Wright, notions and groceries; S. Churc , groceries & drugs; L. J. Wait, hardware; Charles Dunham, meats; Mrs. H. G. Walrath and Mrs. Burliegh (Flora) Dickinson, milliners; Dr. E. A Chapman & Dr. S. W. Frame, physicians.
Mr. J. H. Carpenter, a furniture and musical instrument builder from Syracuse, moved there in 1861 and operated a furniture manufacturing place and employed eighteen men. He started the Carpenter Funeral Home first using a sleigh in winter and a wagon in summer. He was the first in the area, including Watertown, to have a motorized hearse. Family still runs the funeral home and is now called the Carpenter - Stoodley Funeral Home.
In 1826 The Union Society School opened and today this is where the Union Academy School stands, a well-know highly respected school. The name was changed to Union Academy of Belleville in 1861.
1853 brought a railroad and subsequently butter, potatoes, and cheese were shipped by rail. The Belleville Cooperative Cheese Factory was the largest in the world for years.
The village was incorporated in May 1860 and on the 29th of that month officers were elected. D’Alton Dwight, Alexander (Alcander) Dickinson, Daniel Hall, Abner M. Durfee and Calvin Littlefield, trustees; Arthur J. Brown, Clerk; William Pennell, Collins F. Armsbury and Henry Overton, assessors; James E. Green, treasurer; Cyrus N. Rowe, collector; and F. W. Stevens, pound master.
A few of the early settlers were Bradley and Joshua Freeman, Giles Hall, Metcalf Lee, Martin Barney, James Benjamin, Jedediah McCumber, Elder Edmund Littlefield, John Hawn, Calvin Clark, and brothers Elias, George and Alcander Dickinson and Ethni Fillmore.