Yearling is a city in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 12,364.
The town of Yearling, New York is sandwiched between the Adirondack Mountains and the province of Ontario. The original town had been a base camp for French fur traders in Quebec as they made their way to the Great Lakes. After the trapping business dried up in the 18th Century the town became a fort first for the British and then the Americans. In the War of 1812, the British sacked the American fort, burning it to the ground.
A survivor of the British attack by the name of Kent Yearling understood the fort’s strategic location not as a military operation, but as a commercial trading point between New York City and Canada. Once the war was over, he bought up all the land around the old fort and began construction of a new town, which he called Yearling. The town he built was a good stopover point for traders going from New York to Ontario initially. In time, though, new railroads, the St. Lawrence Seaway, highways, and airplanes would negate the town’s commercial value.
After Kent Yearling married the daughter of a wealthy textile mill owner and became the father of three sons, he decided to build a grand private school for his children in the model of Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. The school continued to expand through the 19th and 20th Centuries and has remained the central industry in the town of Yearling for the last fifty years.
Equal Love Festival & Riot
On February 14, 2004, the town of Yearling was the first in New York to legalize gay marriage. A week-long celebration know as the Equal Love Festival was planned for that week that would conclude on February 14 with the marriage of hundreds of homosexual couples. The festival ran into difficulty when a conservative group known as the Christian Liberation Army West or CLAW marched on the town and began a series of protests. In response, gay-rights groups led by Gays and Lesbians Everywhere! (or GALE) mounted counterprotests.
On Valentine's Day 2004, the protests turned violent, with both sides claiming later that the other side started the fighting. Two couples made it to town hall to receive their marriage licenses. Upon leaving town hall, Matilda Frost, part of the lesbian couple who received their license, was shot and killed by a CLAW sniper. The protests ended with numerous arrests, the resignation of the headmaster of the Kent Yearling Academy for Boys, and the resignation of the town of Yearling's mayor. Yearling soon outlawed gay marriages again, after providing licenses to all couples who had arrived for the Equal Love Festival.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,364 people, 4,181 households, and 2,583 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,440.0 people per square mile (941.6/km²). There were 4,531 housing units at an average density of 894.2/sq mi (345.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.05% White, 1.92% African American, 0.80% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.81% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.22% of the population.
There were 4,181 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 127.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 134.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,954, and the median income for a family was $36,236. Males had a median income of $32,358 versus $21,485 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,650. About 14.2% of families and 18.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.
The last full week in July every year the Yearling Heritage Festival is held. Among the events of the week are the Yearling Raft Race, a local Battle of the High School Bands competition, craft shows, a classic car show, and many other events. The week long events ends with a fireworks show on Friday night and a parade on Saturday morning.