HOW many of you can tell where the Thousand Islands are? Well, take your geography and find the map of the State of New York. 

Now find the St. Lawrence River. You find it, do you, north of New York, the river through which all the water from the Great Lakes passes on its way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence?

You will not find as many islands on the map as their name denotes; but just at the outlet of Lake Ontario is another lake called the Lake of a Thousand Isles, and in this are found the Thousand Islands. Although this group is called the Thousand Islands, it does not mean that there are but one thousand islands, for there are said to be about eighteen hundred. 

This group is the most numerous collection of liver islands in the world.  For some time the question as to which government, Canadian or American, should have control of certain of these islands, was an open question, and serious disputes arose from time to time. Between the years 1820 and 1822 a company of persons was appointed by each government, and invested with the power to settle the question by fixing a boundary line. 

The line was originally drawn through the center of the river, and gave to the American government Long Island, the largest one of the archipelago. It is about twenty miles in length and nine miles in width. This island is situated in the St. Lawrence near the place where the river leaves Lake Ontario.

The Canadian government, seeing at once how disastrous to their defense in case of war, would be the occupation of this island by the Americans, proposed to exchange for it the large islands of Grindstone and Wells, between Clayton and Alexandria Bay, and Bernhardt near Ogdensburg. This proposition was accepted by our government, and accounts for the zigzag course of the boundary line among the islands.

In 1823 Elisha Camp, of Sackett's Harbor, was given the exclusive right of the islands on the American side. 

These islands were owned after this successively by Sackett, Sanford, Yates, and finally came into the hands of Parson and Walton. In 1846 Cornwall and Walton purchased of Parson and Walton a tract of land, which commenced at the head of Grindstone Island, containing 6,000 acres, for $3,000. With this purchase, the smaller Islands for a distance of thirty miles were thrown in to make good measure.

In 1870 Cornwall and Walton concluded to sell these smaller islands separately in order to develop the region as a summer resort. In 1872 they deeded, free of charge, to Staples and Mott the site where the Thousand Island House now stands, and this large hotel was erected by them in 1872-3. 

With the building of this hotel commenced the history proper of the Thousand Islands as a summer resort.

It is stated that islands, which eight years ago could be bought for $40 and $50, and were given to Cornwall and Walton, are today worth from $10,000 to $100,000. Hart's Island, upon which Moore wrote a poem, was sold for $40, and now is valued at $25,000. Manhattan Island, for several years the residence of Seth Green, was bought for $50, but it is now valued at $10,000.

The four islands occupied by the wife and sons of Asa L. Packer were bought for $50, and now their value is estimated at $100,000, although it is thought that they could not be bought at any reasonable price. Of course these estimates include the improvements made, but this increase of valuation has been reached by a comparatively small outlay. I visited this charming summer resort in 1876, and never before had I seen such a variety of beautiful scenery. Wells Island, on which the Thousand Island Park is situated, is laid out in streets and parks and is very pleasant. The Methodists hold a camp meeting on this island every fall; and several persons have bought lots and erected fine cottages, and in this delightful place, with the grand old St. Lawrence in full view, they spend the hot summer months.

At Alexandria Bay is located the Crossmon House, a mammoth hotel; and the summer that I was there it was said to be incapable of accommodating all who wished to find lodging there.

But it must not be supposed that all these islands are so valuable or so attractive. Many of them are simply rocky projections jutting above the water like the ones represented in the fore and background of the accompanying engraving. Others, however, which are so small as to have no name given them, are owned and inhabited by persons who take great pleasure in laying them out in gardens and flowerplots, and making them as attractive as possible. 

But it would take an abler pen than mine, and more thorough acquaintance with these lovely specimens of God's handiwork to give you a just idea of their beauty. And now if you have become interested in the Thousand Islands and wish to know more about them, my advice is, visit them another summer and see for yourselves.