From Jefferson County NY Wiki

LeRaysville[edit | edit source]

Leray Mansion
Leray Mansion

LeRaysville was located at the intersection of Pearl Street and Pleasant Street, originally in the Town of Leray and now part of Fort Drum.

The village was named for the French Aristocrat, James Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont (November 13,1760 – December 31,1840).

In 1801 Benjamin Brown, a brother of General Jacob Brown, built the first sawmill and dam on Pleasant Creek where it became known as Brown Mill.

Around the year 1790 to 1803 James D. Le Ray de Chaumont purchased large tracts of land in New York state including land near what would become LeRaysville on the area known as Pine Plains. There between 1806 & 1808 he was to build a Chateau that would became known as The LeRay Mansion.

The historian Hamilton Childs stated that not until the LeRay mansion was completed was the village then named LeRaysville. The mansion was known as a “Grand Manor House” and had exquisite gardens and grounds where lavish parties were held. Guests at the mansion were Kings, Princes, Courtiers and Noblemen.

A tavern was built in 1810, the post office in 1818, a grist mill in 1820 and by 1860 LeRaysville had a population of 120. After 1860 the village started to decline. By the late 1870’s and 1880’s the stone school house only had around 40 students, fewer than what they were to call the “golden years”. By 1890 LeRaysville had become a farming community and the village no longer had sawmills and industries.

Between 1939 to 1941, with World War 2 a threat, the government closed the Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor and decided to expand Pine Camp (aka: Pine Plains; Camp Hughs; Camp Drum & Fort Drum). In doing this the residents of about 10 villages in the area, including LeRaysville, were forced to move elsewhere. This area is now known as Fort Drum.

The cemeteries, including The Sheepfold Cemetery and two others near LeRaysville, are still there. Some can still be visited, but only on Memorial Day because of the security surrounding the military installation of Fort Drum.

On October 31, 2008, the LeRay Mansion was featured in a WWNY-TV news report about suspected paranormal activity inside the mansion.


See Also[edit | edit source]

Lost Villages

Fort Drum

NNY Genealogy site with 1864 and 1941 tax maps (external site)