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Putnam County, New York


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Embracing A Comprehensive View of the Geography, Geology, and General History of the State and A complete History and Description of Every County, City, Town, Village, and Locality.
With Full Tables of Statistics.

By J.H. French

Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; corresponding member of the New York Historical Society, of the Albany Institute,etc.
Sixth edition. Published by R. Pearsall Smith, Syracuse, NY; 1860

Web Editor's Notes: Besides a chapter covering each county within New York State, the Gazetteer also includes sections for each of the following categories: State Boundaries; Topography; Geology; Seat of Government; State Government; Prisons; Military; Lands; Canals; Rail Roads; Corporations; Agriculture; Manufactures; Commerce; Colleges and Academies; Public Schools; Churches; Religious, Literary, and Benevolent Societies; Medical Societies; Population; and Professions and Occupations. If you are interested in any of these sections, I suggest that you contact your local library about borrowing a copy of this book or contact a good genealogical bookstore to inquire about purchasing a reprint of this book.

The text for Putnam County can be found on pages 540 through 543 of the above named edition. Footnotes have also been transcribed. In transcribing the following text, I've tried to retain the same spelling and punctuation as found in the original text. Any errors found in the transcription are mine and I apologize for such as may have unknowingly occurred and, if found, request that you identify them for county coordinator for this site.

Legend: Some of the abbreviations used in the following text are as follows:


This county1 was formed from Dutchess, June 12, 1812. It lies upon the Hudson, between Dutchess and Westchester cos., and extends E. to the Conn. Line. It is centrally distant 85 mi. from Albany, and contains 234 sq. mi. It embraces nearly all of The Highlands E. of the Hudson. The mountains consist of several steep, rocky ranges, extending in a N.E. and S.W. direction and separated by deep, narrow valleys, the principal of which are Peekskill Hollow, and Canopus and Pleasant Valleys. The co. is watered by the upper branches of Croton River and several smaller streams. Among the mountain valleys are numerous picturesque lakes, the largest of which are Lakes Mahopac2 , Canopus3 , and Gleneida4 . In the valleys the soil is a productive, sand loam, but the mountains are bare and rocky, and only valuable for their mines5 and quarries6. Iron ore abounds; and serpentine, magnesian limestone, and several other minerals are also found.7  The rocks belong chiefly to the primitive and lower sedimentary or metamorphic series, consisting of granite, gneiss, granular quartz, talcose slate, metamorphic limestone, serpentine, greenstone, and hornblends. Peat and marl are found in various localities.8   In the farming districts the people are principally engaged in dairying and furnishing milk for the New York market. Manufacturing is extensively carried on at Cold Spring. The principal works of internal improvement are the Hudson River R.R., extending through Philipstown, and the Harlem R.R., through Patterson and Southeast. The county seat is located at Carmel.9  The co. buildings consist of a courthouse10, jail11, and co. clerk's office.12  The poorhouse is located on a farm of 196 acres in Kent, about 2½mi. from Carmel.13  Two newspapers are published in the co.14  A strip 580 rods wide along the E. border of the co. constitutes a part of the "Oblong" Tract, and was patented by Thomas Hawley and his associates, June 8, 1731.15  The remaining part of the co., and a small part of Dutchess, are included in the great Highland Patent of Adolph Philipse. At the time of the Revolution this patent was owned by Philip Philipse, and Mary and Susannah, wives of Col. Roger Morris and Beverly Robinson, of the British army. Morris and Robinson, together with their wives, were attainted, and their property was confiscated and sold by the Commissioners of Forfeiture. It was subsequently shown in court that one-third of the patent was vested in the children of Col. Morris and his wife, and was not reached by the bill of attainder. The State was therefore obliged to protect the purchasers by settling the claims of the children.1   During the Revolution the passes through the mountains in this co. were carefully guarded, and at different times large bodies of troops were stationed there. It was the principal scene of the consummation of Arnold's treason, and of many events of minor interest, though no battle took place within its limits. Gen. Putnam had command of the army stationed here most of the time.

CARMEL -- was formed from "Frederickstown," March 17, 1795. It lies upon the S. border of the co., between Putnam Valley and Southeast. Its surface is rolling and hilly, with intervening valleys extending in a N. and S. direction. Peekskill Hollow Range and Big Hill are the highest summits.2   The W. branch of Croton River and Michaels Brook flow through the E. part of the town, and Peekskill Hollow Creek through the N.W. In the town are several beautiful lakes and ponds, the principal of which are Lakes Mahopac3 , Gleneida4 , and Gilead, and Kirk and Long Ponds. The soil is light, sandy and gravelly loam intermixed in some places with clay. Carmel, (p.v.,) the co. seat, is situated on Lake Gleneida. It is the seat of the Raymond Collegiate Institute5 , and contains 3 churches, a bank, and 2 newspaper offices. Pop. 391. Mahopac (p. v.) contains 1 church, and about 40 houses; and Red Mills,6 (p. v.,) contains 2 churches and about 20 houses. Settlement was commenced about 1740.7   Enoch Crosby, the "Harvey Birch" of Cooper's Spy, lived in this town till after the Revolution, when he removed to Southeast. A church was organized, and an edifice erected near Gilead Lake, a short time before the commencement of the Revolution. There are now 7 churches in town.8

KENT9 was formed as "Frederickstown," March 7, 1788. Its name was changed to "Frederickstown," March 17, 1795, and to Kent April 15, 1817. Carmel and a part of Patterson were taken off in 1795. It is the central town on the N. border of the co. Its surface in the E. part is broken by hills, and in the W. by steep, rocky mountain peaks separated by deep ravines. Smally Hill is the highest peak. The W. and middle branches of Croton River, and Horse Pound and Pine Pond Brooks, are the principal streams. In the town are several ponds and small lakes, the principal of which are White and Pine Ponds.10  Farmers Mills (p. v.) contains 1 church and several manufacturing establishments.11   Coles Mills (Kent p. o.) and Ludingtonville (p. o.) are hamlets. The first settlement was made about 1750, by Zachariah Merritt.12   The census reports 3 churches in town, -- 2 Bap. and 1 Union.

PATTERSON13 -- was formed from "Frederickstown" and Southeast, as "Franklin," March 17, 1795, and its name was changed April 6, 1808. It is the N.E. corner town of the co. Its surface is hilly; but, with a few exceptions, the hills are arable to their summits. The principal streams are the E. branch of Croton River and its tributaries, Quaker, Birch, and Muddy Brooks. Croton Lake is in the W. and Little Pond in the E. part. "The Great Swamp" extends along the E. branch of Croton River.1   The soil is sandy loam. Patterson, (p.v.,) a station on the Harlem R.R., contains 2 churches and 37 houses. Towners Station (Towners p. o.) and Haviland Hollow (p. o.) are hamlets. The Prot. E. Church at Patterson was built in 1770. There are 4 churches in town.2

PHILIPSTOWN3 -- was formed March 7, 1788. A part of Fishkill (Dutchess co.) was taken off in 1806, and Putnam Valley in 1839. It is the most westerly town of the co., and extends about 10 mi. along the Hudson. Its surface is broken by numerous steep and rocky mountain ridges separated by deep and narrow valleys.4   These mountains constitute the most elevated portion of The Highlands.5  The ranges have a general N. and S. or N.E. and S.W. direction. Clove Creek flows through the N. part of the town, and Canopus Creek through the N.E. corner. Foundry, Breakneck, Andreas, Indian, and other brooks flow through narrow valleys and rocky ravines into the Hudson. The greater part of the surface is unfit for agricultural purposes. Constitution Island6 is a promontory opposite West Point, connected with the mainland by a marshy meadow. The "Sunk Lot" is a tract of 1300 acres of low and apparently sunken ground. Several mines of magnetic iron ore had been opened in town; but none are now wrought. Granite is extensively quarried, and brick are made at several points along the river. The soil is a gravelly, sandy, and clayey loam. Coldspring, (p.v.,) situated on the Hudson, was incorp. April 22, 1846, and includes the suburban villages of Nelsonville and Marysville. It is a station on the Hudson River R.R., and contains 6 churches and an extensive foundery7 (sic). Pop. 2,237. Breakneck and Giffins Corners contain each about a dozen houses. Davenport Corners contains 1 church and 10 houses. Continental Village8 has 1 church and about 12 houses. Garrisons, (p.o.,) on the Hudson, is a station on the Hudson River R.R. The first settlement was made about 1715, by Thos. Davenport.9  This town was principally settled under Col. Beverly Robinson,10 who acquired title by marriage with Susannah, daughter of Frederick Philipse. Undercliff, the residence of Gen. Geo. P. Morris, is situated on a high bluff in the N. part of Cold Spring. The census reports 9 churches in town.11

PUTNAM VALLEY -- was formed from Philipstown, as "Quincy," March 14, 1839. Its name was changed Feb. 13, 1840. It lies on the border of the co., between Philipstown and Carmel. Its surface is broken by steep and rocky mountain ridges extending in nearly a N. S. direction, and separated by narrow valleys. These mountain ranges constitute a part of The Highlands. The principal streams are Canopus Creek, Canopus Lake Creek, and Peekskill Hollow Brook. Canopus Lake is a beautiful sheet of water near the center of the town.1   The soil in the valleys is a moderately fertile, sandy and gravelly loam. Iron ore has been found in several localities, but in places so difficult of access that it is not mined to any considerable extent. Oregon, at the confluence of Peekskill Hollow Brook and Canopus Lake Creek, contains 17 houses, and Crofts Corners contains 2 churches and 10 houses. Tompkins Corners is a hamlet. Among the early settlers were families named Dusenbury and Adams.2   The census reports 4 churches in town; 3 M.E. and 1 Bap.

SOUTHEAST -- was formed from Frederickstown and "Southeasttown,"3  March 7, 1788. A part of Patterson was taken off, as "Franklin," in 1795. It is the SE. corner town of the co. Its surface is rolling and hilly. The streams are the E. and middle branches of Croton River and their tributaries. Several small lakes and ponds lie among the hills.4  The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam. Iron ore abound, but no mines are wrought at the present time. About 4,000 gals. of milk are sent daily from this town to the New York market. Brewsters Station, (p.v.,) on the Harlem R.R., contains 1 church and a bank, and has a pop. of 176. Heddingville and Brush Hollow are hamlets. Southeast Center has 144 inhabitants, and Milltown (p.v.) 167. De Forest Corners, Doanesburgh, Foggingtown, and Dykemans Station (Dykemans p.o.) are hamlets. This was one of the first settled towns in the co.5  The first religious services were conducted by Rev. Elisha Kent, grandfather of the late Chancellor, about the year 1730.6

Web Editor's Note: The Putnam chapter is followed by two tables which are not being reproduced here. These are entitled: Acres of Land, Valuation, Population, Dwellings, Families, Freeholders, Schools, Live Stock, Agricultural Products, and Domestic Manufactures, of Putnam County. Please note that the reference to "Families" only gives the number of the families within each town and does not identify any names. However, some of the footnotes do contain surnames of early settlers.

All footnotes above can be found on the footnote page.

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