Sackets Harbor, New York

Sackets Harbor, New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Sackets Harbor, New York
settlement_type = Village
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = right

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Jefferson
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =

area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 5.9
area_land_km2 = 5.9
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 2.3
area_land_sq_mi = 2.3
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 1386
population_density_km2 = 235.2
population_density_sq_mi = 609.1

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 86
elevation_ft = 282
latd = 43 |latm = 56 |lats = 47 |latNS = N
longd = 76 |longm = 7 |longs = 4 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 13685
area_code = 315
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-64408
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0963166
website =
footnotes =

Sackets Harbor is a village in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 1,386 at the 2000 census. The village was named after land developer and owner Augustus Sackett.

The Village of Sackets Harbor is within the western part of the Town of Hounsfield and is west of Watertown. The heart of the village, with a Main Street and well-preserved 19th c. buildings, has been recognized as a National Register Historic District.

Because of its unique protected harbor on Lake Ontario and military installations created there, the village had national importance through the 19th century. To support the War of 1812, the US Navy built a major shipyard and its headquarters for the Great Lakes at the village. The Army constructed earthenworks, forts, barracks and supporting infrastructure to defend the village and navy shipyard. Soon after the war, the Army strengthened its defenses on the northern frontier by constructing Madison Barracks.

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site commemorates a battle and the contribution of the area to the stalemate of the War of 1812.


Sackets Harbor was founded in 1801 by Augustus Sackett, a land speculator from New York City. He and others had high hopes for trade across Lake Ontario with Kingston and other parts of Canada. The village was the most significant community in the area until the founding of the City of Watertown. The area attracted migrants from New England, as well as new immigrants from Great Britain and France. They cleared heavy forest and gradually constructed houses. By the 1810 census there were 943 qualified voters in the village. After the War of 1812, Sackets Harbor incorporated as a village in 1814.

The American Revolution did not resolve all issues with Great Britain. Border issues and increasing tensions led the US to impose the Embargo Act of 1807 prohibiting trade with Great Britain, which effectively included Canada. People on both sides of the border, Canadian (many of them native Americans, including Loyalists who had fled there after the Revolution) and American, quickly built up a vigorous smuggling trade across the waters.

The US government first stationed forces in the area to try to reduce smuggling.

War of 1812

As tensions increased with Great Britain, the US began to build up forces at Sackets Harbor. The scale of buildup was such that the citizens were outnumbered on a scale of about 8:1 by thousands of sailors and soldiers, camp followers and traders. Limited sanitary facilities and knowledge made dense troop encampments breeding grounds for contagious diseases which increased mortality rates for villagers, too.

The village was the location of two battles during the War of 1812. In the first battle in 1812, the brig USS "Oneida" and shore batteries repulsed an attacking force of five British ships. The village became a major base of operations, both for the Navy (including US Marine Corps) and Army, for the duration of the war. The Army built defensive earthworks around much of the village, and Fort Tompkins with barracks near Navy Point. Local militia built Fort Volunteer north of the village main streets. [ [ Sacketts Harbor Forts ] ] Thousands of troops gathered to defend the shipyard and village, and to attack Canada.

The numbers of troops so exceeded what could be built to shelter them that in 1813 troops were housed with residents, in stores, in barns and in tents. Village women counted themselves lucky if they were only cooking for officers. By the spring of 1813 the Army had gathered approximately 5200 men in the village. [Wilder, Patrick A."The Battle of Sackett's Harbour: 1813", Baltimore, MD, Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1994, p.40]

Until the feeral government established the U.S. Naval Academy in Annaoplis, MD, several schools were established for the training of midshipmen. Commodore Isaac Chauncey, writing to the Secretary of the Navy on 30 November 1814, described a school established at Sacket’s Harbor on Lake Ontario in that year:

"Sir. I have the pleasure to inform you that I have established a Mathematical School under the direction of my Chaplain the Revd. Mr. Felch who is fully competent to the duties of such a School. More than One hundred Officers attend this School, as they can be spared fromduty and about Sixty Lieutenants and Midshipmen attend daily who make great progress in the various branches of Mathematics Navigation. etc." [ History of the Chaplain Corps Vol. 1, NAVEDTRA 14281, chapter 5, pg. 30 ]

Most importantly, by 1813 the village became the US Naval Headquarters on the Great Lakes for the war. Three thousand men with shipbuilding and carpentry skills, hundreds brought from New York City because of a lack of locally skilled craftsmen, were soon working at the Navy Point shipyard, which had been constructed and was overseen during the war by New York City naval architect and shipbuilder Henry Eckford. They built eleven warships whose operations were critical to the United States' ability to defeat Great Britain for control of the Great Lakes.

In the second Battle of Sackett's Harbor in May 1813 British forces landed and attacked the village, but they were again driven off. Most of the American garrison and ships were at the opposite end of the lake at the time. The American defense was marred by officers' mistaken orders at Navy Point to destroy stores and a partially constructed ship, to prevent capture by the British.

The end of the war came before the last warship, the USS "New Orleans", was completed. She was put into storage and never completed. She was scrapped in 1883.

19th through 20th Century

The military recognized the continued importance of Sackets Harbor's strategic location. The Navy Shipyard operated until 1874. In 1848 a new Sackets Harbor Naval Station was constructed. After 1884, it was used mostly for training. The Army took over land just north of the village to build [, Madison Barracks] (c.1814-1819). Well into the late 19th c., this was a substantial military installation, with additional construction including housing, a school, a hospital, stables and supporting infrastructure. In WWI the base was used primarily as a hospital post and in WWII as a training post.

Madison Barracks has been listed as a National Register Historic District. The New York State Museum of Military History calls it "a living museum of military architecture". [] Comprising the northeastern quarter of the village, the Madison Barracks is being slowly redeveloped as a planned commercial/residential area: [] . The New York City consortium Fort Pike Associates holds title to unsold land in the complex.

The village was an important lake port through most of the 19th Century. Navy Point became a commercial shipyard and later a marina. From 1870-1930, the village was a popular destination for summer vacations, attracting visitors from Chicago and other cities around the Great Lakes. Heritage tourism and summer recreation are renewed sources of growth for the village. Developments of new houses are in planning and village review.

Notable people of the past

*American military officer and explorer Zebulon Pike was killed in 1813 during military operations in Ontario and was buried at the military cemetery in the village. The USS "General Pike ", the second warship built at Sackets Harbor, was named after him.
*Future President Ulysses S. Grant served two tours of duty in Sackets Harbor as a junior army officer.
*General Mark Wayne Clark was born at the Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor.

Additional historic facts

Company B of the United States Regiment of Dragoons, which is today 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, was organized at Sackets Harbor on July 29, 1833. It moved west to join the rest of the regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Lemay, Missouri, arriving September 6, 1833.

Sackets Harbor is the hometown of Funny Cide, the famous gelding owned by Sackatoga Stable. In 2003 he won two of the races in the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

The World War II tanker, the SS Sackets Harbor, was named after the village.


Sackets Harbor is located at coor dms|43|56|47|N|76|7|4|W|city (43.946503, -76.117758)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²), all of it land.

The village is on Black Water Bay, southwest of the mouth of the Black River, on Lake Ontario. Its protected harbor was critical to the founding and early history of the village. Much of Lake Ontario was gouged out of rock by glaciers. There were few protected harbors on the south shore deep enough for major shipping in the early 19th century.

New York State Route 3 passes east of the village, which is at the convergence of County Roads 62 (Sulphur Springs Road) and 75 (Adams Road/Dodge Avenue).


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 1,386 people, 653 households, and 370 families residing in the village. The population density was 609.1 people per square mile (234.7/km²). There were 791 housing units at an average density of 347.6/sq mi (134.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.26% White, 0.43% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.36% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.73% of the population.

There were 653 households out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the village the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 37.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 113.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.3 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $42,629, and the median income for a family was $51,397. Males had a median income of $33,696 versus $26,917 for females. The per capita income for the village was $23,269. About 5.8% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.


1. [ Sackets Harbor Forts, New York State Military Museum] accessed 30 Sept 2007

2. Patrick A.Wilder, "The Battle of Sackett's Harbour: 1813", Baltimore, MD, Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1994, p.49
* [ American Local History Network, Sackets Harbor History & Genealogy]
* [ Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site]
* [ Madison Barracks, New York State Military Museum]
* [ National Register of Historic Places]

External links

* [ Village of Sackets Harbor, NY]
* [ Sackets Harbor Information]
* [ Sackets Harbor Battlefield]
* [ Early History of Sackets Harbor, NY]

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