Moriah is a town in Essex County, New York, United States. The population was 4,798 at the 2010 census.
The town is in the eastern part of the county. It is 47 miles (76 km) by road south-southwest of Burlington, Vermont, 55 miles (89 km) south of Plattsburgh, 115 miles (185 km) north of Albany, and 116 miles (187 km) south of Montreal. Moriah is inside the Adirondack Park.
This area was inhabited for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, the area was inhabited chiefly by the historic Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk of the Iroquois Confederacy to the west of Lake Champlain, with Algonquian-speaking Mahicans to the south.
In 1749, French Jesuits attracted numerous Iroquois (mostly Onondaga fleeing warfare in the western part of present-day New York) to a site on the Oswegatchie River near present-day Ogdensburg. The Jesuit priests founded a mission village and fort. The Iroquois were required to convert to Catholicism to live there. The converted Iroquois and their descendants became known as the "Oswegatchie", and were considered "nephews" to the Six Nations of the Iroquois. They were among the Seven Nations of Canada that allied with the French during the Seven Years' War and with the British during the American Revolutionary War, in part due to their strong trading ties and cultural links. After the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) and British victory, the colonial government granted some of its soldiers land in the region, which was ceded by the French.
It was not until after the American Revolutionary War, when most of the Iroquois allies went to Upper Canada with the Loyalists, that the first European-American permanent settlement was made, around 1785. At the time, local Native Americans still hunted in the area. They were called the St. Regis and Oswegatchie Indians, although both groups were Catholic Iroquois. Relations were initially friendly, but American settlement patterns pushed the Native Americans from their hunting grounds. (The St. Regis group were Catholic Mohawk who lived at the reserve of Akwesasne, whose territory along the St. Lawrence River included land within the boundaries of both Canada and New York, recognized as the present-day St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.)
The town of Moriah was formed in 1808 from the town of Elizabethtown.
The discovery and mining of iron in the Adirondacks caused a boom in the local economy. This area also processed iron in smelting, and shipped products from Port Henry on Lake Champlain. These operations were conducted from 1824 until 1971. The Iron Center Museum in Port Henry recalls and interprets that past era.
Winter ice-fishing for smelt on the frozen Lake Champlain has been a popular sport for more than a century. Tourists come to join the residents in this activity.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 71.1 square miles (184.2 km2), of which 64.5 square miles (167.0 km2) is land and 6.6 square miles (17.1 km2), or 9.31%, is water.
The east town line is formed by Lake Champlain and the border of Vermont.
New York State Route 9N is a north-south highway near Lake Champlain. Interstate 87, the Northway, crosses the northwest corner of Moriah.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,879 people, 1,894 households, and 1,253 families residing in the town. The population density was 75.4 people per square mile (29.1/km²). There were 2,253 housing units at an average density of 34.8 per square mile (13.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.71% White, 2.79% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.30% of the population.
There were 1,894 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the town, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 110.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $31,903, and the median income for a family was $39,827. Males had a median income of $31,747 versus $21,592 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,721. About 8.5% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.Bartlett Pond - A pond by the north town line, northeast of Mineville.
Bulwagga Bay - A bay of Lake Champlain, southeast of Port Henry.
Cheever - An area of Port Henry located north of the village along Route 9N on the way to Westport.
Grover Hills - A hamlet north of Moriah Center on County Road 7.
Mineville - A hamlet northeast of Witherbee on County Road 6.
Moriah - The hamlet of Moriah is west of Port Henry village on County Road 42 at the junction of County Road 7.
Moriah Center - A hamlet north of Moriah on County Road 7 at County Road 4.
Moriah Corners - A small hamlet, similar to Moriah Center in that it is based around a four way intersection and a few small locally owned businesses.
Mullen Bay - A bay of Lake Champlain north of Port Henry by the north town line.
Port Henry – The village of Port Henry on the shore of Lake Champlain.
Witherbee - A hamlet near the north town line on County Road 7.
Robert Garrow, serial killer who murdered several women in the Syracuse area in 1973
Johnny Podres, Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher and 1955 World Series MVP. Born in Witherbee.
John Tarbell, born in Moriah, lieutenant-colonel of the 91st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and promoted to brevet brigadier general of United States Volunteers during the American Civil War In 1865 he resigned from the Army and bought a plantation in Scott County, Mississippi, and settled with his family in Atlanta to do business. On March 4, 1866, he testified before the US Congress and the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, saying the quality of leadership was integral to its success.
Tom Tyler, early 20th-century film star
Raymond R. Wright, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient