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Edwards will celebrate its bicentennial

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EDWARDS — Re-enactors will make the past come alive when the Edwards Historical Association celebrates the community’s bicentennial June 9 at the Lions Club field.

Bicentennial festivities will continue July 29, which is also the 50th anniversary of the Lions Club, with a parade, concert by a drum and bugle corps and waterball tournament.

Edwards’s first settlers, Asa Brayton Jr. and his family, came from Utica in January 1812. Other men familiar with the area who had worked on the military highway from Plattsburgh to Sackets Harbor, commonly known in the area as the Russell Turnpike, followed for the water power promised by the Oswegatchie River.

In 1819, landowner Joseph Pitcairn brought over a group of indentured servants from his native Scotland, Edwards Historian LaVerne H. Freeman said. About 15 families and a half dozen single men lived in the brick home on Island Street that is Edwards’s oldest house.

“That group became the nucleus of Edwards,” she said. “We still have quite a few who are their descendants.”

The community gravitated at first to a 2.5-acre island for its water power but eventually moved toward Main Street and the west side that came to be called Brooklyn.

The town of Edwards is known for its talc and zinc mines, which brought commercial prosperity, especially after St. Joseph Lead Co. bought out Northern Ore in 1926.

The mines closed in 1981 and Edwards regressed to being a bedroom community, Ms. Freeman said.

The community’s origins will be remembered starting at 10 a.m. June 9 with members of Forsythe’s Rifles handling a rifle and cannon salute, music of the period and a children’s muster so they have a feel for military moves.

About two dozen vendors are expected, along with a chicken barbecue provided by the Lions and other food.

Members of the historical association will sell booklets, notecards and other paper products. Various organizations have sponsored bicentennial banners.

The Lions will continue the celebration with a 2 p.m. parade along Main and New streets July 29, said Frederick J. Finley, Lions Club director and parade chairman.

The day also will feature the Rip Law waterball tournament and a concert at 4 p.m. at Lions Club field by the Original Yanks drum and bugle corps.

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