Wolfe Island[edit | edit source]Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, New York on the South. It can only be reached by ferry. Lake Ontario is on the West side and the Saint Lawrence River is on the East. It is a long irregular shaped island with a lot of small bays about 54.38 square miles. About twenty miles long and between one to seven miles wide. The only village is Marysville which is on the North side directly across from Kingston.
The first inhabitants were the Point Peninsula Indians from the time of Christ until 8oo A.D. Then the Owasco Indians from both New York and the southern end of Ontario settled there, followed by the Pickering. The first Iroquois appeared about 1300 A.D. and were still there when the first white men came to the Island.
On March 13,1675 in the signatory grant from King Louis XIV to Robert Cavelier and Sieur de LaSalle it is referred to as "Gandunkouesnot" an Indian name which meant "Long (island) standing up". The french referred to it also as Grand Island. On July 16, 1792 , under British rule, what is now Wolfe Island was named by the Provincial Governor Simcoe after Major General James Wolfe.
The early 19th century brought some United Empire Loyalists there to settle. Later the Dutch and settlers from Ireland & Scotland moved there. By 1823 there were 15 families on the Island and in 1861 Wolfe Island had the largest population of 3,601. Today it has about 1,300 full time residents which doubles in the summer months.
Wolfe Island was at first heavily wooded until the 19th century when people started farming. The early farmers had a very hard life and survived very cold harsh winters. Today it has few farms but has become a popular resort area.