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Westchester County 


From Its Earliest Settlement to the Year 1900 

13 Y 









The New York History Company 



HE preparatory work for this History was begun by the 
editor several years ago along the Hues of research and 
of the collection and systematizing of materials. The 
identification of Mr. Spooner with the enterprise dates 
from a later period, but in its relative importance is not to be esti- 
mated by its duration. To him the credit of the authorship of the 
History is undividedly due. The editor's personal share in the joint 
undertaking — apart from the selection of the plan of the work and 
the procurement and arrangement of materials — has been mostly 
that of supervision; or, more properly expressed, of such co-operation 
with Mr. Spooner as personal knowledge of the subject and zealous 
interest in the project have enabled him to render in the particulars 
specially of recommendation, contribution, and criticism. This His- 
tory is therefore not a work of collaboration, except in the sense 
here precisely indicated. As a literary work it is the exclusive pro- 
duction of Mr. Spooner; and whatever satisfaction the editor may 
reasonably — without an excess of complacency — take to himself in 
view of his own association in the enterprise, rests in a peculiar 
manner upon his appreciation of the conscientious devotion and ac- 
complished ability with which Mr. Spooner has brought it to its prac- 
tical issue. 

Although the previous histories of Westchester County, Bolton's 
and Scharfs, are works of great volume and information, they are 
works of reference strictly, and as such belong rather to the depart- 
ment of historical miscellany than to that of books adapted for pop- 
ular reading. Bolton's History is a collection of local chronicles en- 
tirely; Scharfs is on the same plan, with a number of general articles 
added. Both represent historical labors of great formality and 
seriousness, which are entitled to respect and whose aggregate results 
possess enduring value for inquiring persons. But mere collections 
of historical facts — even if comprehending all the elemental facts of 
a given subject — do not afford a satisfying view of history itself. 
That can be done only by the adequate treatment of facts — by the 
orderly, discreet, and able conjoining of them in a comprehensive 
narration. The twentv-five town histories.of Westchester County, 


however exhaustively and excellently written, do not constitute a his- 
tory of the county; and for a consecutive understanding of the 
general comity history the reader of Bolton or Scharf must rely upon 
his own constructive ingenuity — must indeed be his own historian. 

Long before the work now given to the public was conceived as a 
practical project, the present editor realized the force of these consid- 
erations and cherished not only a hope that a genuine narrative his- 
tory of the county might some day be produced, but an ambition to 
become personally instrumental in achieving so important a result. 
His attention was especially directed to the matter by his observa- 
tions during his connection with the schools, from which he became 
convinced of the extremely elementary character of the general 
knowledge of this county's history, even in relation to the Revolution, 
whereof, indeed, anything like a well co-ordinated understanding is 
most exceptional among the people, and quite incapable of being 
taught to the young because of the unsuitability for that purpose of 
all books heretofore published that bear on the subject. 

In formulating the plan for the present work the editor had funda- 
mentally in view a lucid continuous narrative, thorough in its treat- 
ment of the outlines of the subject and reasonably attentive to local 
details without extending to minuteness. These lines have been fol- 
lowed throughout. All existing materials, so far as accessible, have 
been utilized, proper credit being given to the sources from which 
borrowings have been made. The work comprehends a variety of 
new materials, which have been interwoven in the text. Portions of 
the manuscript have been revised or criticised by persons particularly 
well informed on certain phases of the subject; and to all of these 
critics the editor extends his thankful acknowledgments. 

Special credit is due to Mr. -lames L. Wells for his editorial suiter- 
vision of the entire work so far as concerns the sections of the original 
county now constituting the Borough of the Bronx, New York City; 
and thanks must also be expressed to Mr. Wells for the crest of 
Jonas Bronck (the first settler of Westchester County), introduced 
by his kind permission in the title-page. It is probably not generally 
known that from the Bronck crest have been derived some of tin; 
essential features of the arms of the State of New York. 

" Shonnard Homestead," 
August, 1900. 




Editor's Preface in 

Chapter I 
Physical Description of the County 1 

Chapter II 
The Aboriginal Inhabitants 17 

Chapter III 
Discovery and Preliminary View 51 

Chapter IV 
The Earliest Settlers — Bronck, Anno Hutchinson, Throckmorton, 
Cornell 73 

Chapter Y 
The Redoubtable Captain John Underbill— Dr. Adrian Van der 
Donck ( -> i; 

Chapter VI 
Beginnings of Serious Settlement — Westchester Town, Rye 114 

Chapter VII 
"The Portion of the North Riding on the Main" — Progress of 
Settlement and Beginnings of the Manorial Estates 132 

Chapter VIII 
The Philipses and the Van Cortlandts 155 

Chapter IX 
Pelham Manor and Now Rochelh — Caleb Heatlicote and Scars- 
dale Manor — General Observations on the Manors 173 

Chapter X 
General Historical Review to the Beginning of the Eighteenth 
Century — Completion of the Work of Original Settlement. . . . 193 

Chapter XI 
A Glance at the Borough Town of Westchester 226 


Chapter XII 
The Election on the Green at Eastchester, 1733 235 

Chapter XIII 
The Aristocratic Families and Their Influences 25.") 

Chapter XIV 
From the Stain]) Act to the Las1 Session of the Colonial Assembly 277 

Chapter XV 
Westchester County in Lino for Independence — Events to July 
9, L776 296 

Chapter XVI 
The State of New York Born at White Plains— Events to October 
12, 1776 335 

Chapter XY1I 
The Campaign and Battle of White Plains 357 

Chapter XVIII 
Fort Washington's Fall — The Delinquency of General Lee 397 

Chapter XIX 
The Strategic Situation — The Neutral Ground 412 

Chapter XX 
Events of 1777 and 1778 T25 

Chapter XXI 
From January. 177 ( .», to September, 1780 446 

Chapter XXII 
The Capture of Andre 464 

Chapter XXIII 
The Westchester Operations of the Allied Armies, 1781 — End of 
the War 41)7 

Chapter XXIV 
Genera] History of the County Concluded — From the Revolution 
to the Completion of the Croton Aqueduct ( 1842) 526 

Chapter XXV 
General History of the County Concluded 573 



HE County of Westchester, as a definitely bounded and or- 
ganized political unit, was created on the 1st of November, 
1683, by the provisions of an act of the first Provincial 
Assembly of New York, held under the administration of 
the Royal Governor Dongan, which formally marked off the province 
into the twelve original counties. By the terms of this act, Westchester 
County was to comprise " East and West Chester, Bronxland, Ford- 
ham, and all as far eastward as the province extends," and to run 
northward along the Hudson River to the Highlands, its southern 
limits being, of course, Long Island Sound and the waters between the 
mainland and Manhattan Island or New York County. Of the bound- 
aries thus described, only the western and northern have continued 
unchanged to the present time. The precise location of the eastern 
line, constituting the boundary between New York and Connecticut, 
was a matter of serious contention throughout the early history of the 
countv, and, indeed, was not established to the final satisfaction of 
both parties to the dispute until 1880. This long-standing and curious 
controversy as to the eastern boundary involved, however, nothing 
more than rival claims of colonial jurisdiction, arising from mathemat- 
ical inaccuracies in original calculations of distance, and from pecu- 
liar conditions of early settlement along the Sound, which presented 
a mere problem of territorial rectification upon the basis of reciprocal 
concessions bv the two provinces and subsequently the two common- 
wealths concerned; and. accordingly, while leaving a. portion of the 
eastern border line of Westchester County somewhat indeterminable 
for two centuries, the issues at stake never affected the integrity of 
its aggregate area as allotted at the beginning. On the other hand, 
the southern boundary of the old county has undergone extremely 
radical modifications,' which are still in progress. Since 1873, by 
various legislative acts, large sections of it have been cut away and 
transferred to the City of New York, comprising what until recent 
vears were known as the " annexed districts " of the metropolis, now 


officially styled the "Borough of the Bronx" of the Greater City. 
Although the county still retains its two most populous municipali- 
ties, Yonkers and .Mount Vernon, the New York City line has been 
pushed right up to their borders, and there is no reasonable doubt that 
within a few more years they, too, will be absorbed. Already forty- 
one and one half square miles, or 26,500 acres, have been annexed to 
the city. 

In these pages the story of old Westchester County is to be told; 
and whenever the county as a whole is mentioned without specific 
indication of the present limits, the reader will understand that the 
original county, including those portions which have actually passed 
under a new political jurisdiction, is meant. 

Westchester County, thus considered in its primal extent, is some- 
thing more than five 
hundred square miles in 
area, and lies centrally 
distant some one hun- 
dred miles from Al- 
bany. From its north- 
western point, Antho- 
ny's Nose, at the en- 
trance to the Highlands 
of the Hudson, to its 
southeastern extremity, 
Byram Point, on the 
Sound, it is entirely sur- 
rounded by the waters of 
the Hudson River, Spuy- 
ten Duyvil ('reek, the 
Harlem River, and Long- 
Island Sound, forming a 
shore line more than one 
hundred miles in length 
Llowance is made for the 


— considerably more, indeed, if scrupulou 
windings of the coast along the Sound. 

The Hudson River, completing its narrow and tortuous course 
through the Highlands at the northern boundary of Westchester 
County, runs thence to the sea in an almost due south direction. For 
a short distance below Anthony's Nose, however, it continues decid- 
edly narrow, until, at the very termination of this portion of its course, 
a place called Verplanck's Point, its banks approach quite close to- 
gether, being only one mile apart. Here was located the famous 
King's Ferry of the Revolution, an extremely important line of inter- 


communication between the patriot forces of the East and the West; 
and on the opposite bank stood the fortress of Stony Point, the 
scene of Wayne's midnight exploit. Just below Verplanek's the river 
suddenly widens, forming the magnificent Haverstraw Bay. This, in 


its greatest expansion, attains a breadth of oyer four miles. Farther 
down the prominent peninsula, of Croton Point juts out from the 
Westchester shore a distance of a mile and a half. Next the river 
spreads out into another noble bay, called the Tappan Sea. which 
extends to near Dobbs Ferry, with an average breadth of three miles. 
From there it flows majestically on to the ocean with no marked 


variations of width, the banks having a mean distance apart of a little 
more than a mile. 

From Anthony's Nose, the northernmost point of Westchester 
County on the Hudson, to the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the southern- 
most, is a distance, as the crow flies, of thirty-four miles. The breadth 
of the county varies from twenty-five to eight and one-half miles. 
Throughout its entire extent along the Hudson the Westchester shore 
rises abruptly from the river edge to elevations seldom less than one 
hundred feet. Nowhere, however, does the Westchester bank ascend 
precipitously in the manner, or even at all resembling the manner, of 
the Palisade formation on the western shore. The acclivity is often 
quite sharp, but everywhere admits of gradual approach, for both 
pedestrians and carriages, to the high ridges. Thus the whole western 
border of the county both affords a splendid view of the entrancing 
panorama of the Hudson, and is perfectly accessible from the railroad, 
which runs along t he bank of the river. Moreover, beyond the ridges in 
the interior the land lias a uniform and gentle descent into lovely val- 
leys, which permit convenient and rapid travel from all directions. 
These physical conditions render the western section of the county one 
of the most inviting and favored localities in the world for costly resi- 
dences and grand estates; and from the earliest period of European 
settlement of this portion of America, the Hudson shore of West- 
chester County has been a chosen abode for families of wealth and 
distinction. But every other part of the county — at least every part 
conveniently reached from the railroads — is also highly esteemed for 
select residence purposes; and, indeed, Westchester County through- 
out its extent is peculiarly a residential county. 

Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the Harlem River, which separate Man- 
hattan Island from the mainland and form a portion of the southern 
boundary of the old County of Westchester, are in reality only an arm 
of the sea: and though to the superficial observer they may appear 
to constitute one of the mouths of the Hudson, they have no such 
function, and, indeed, receive none of its flow. The two are strictly 
to be considered not as a river, but as a strait, connecting the tide 
waters of the East River and Sound with those of the North River. 
Their length is about eight miles. The Harlem River at its eastern ex- 
tremity is divided by Randall's Island into two channels — the south- 
ern and principal one communicating with Hellgate, and the northern 
one (unnavigable), called the Bronx Kills, passing between the 
island and the Westchester shore into Long Island Sound. The 
Harlem and Spuyten Duyvil waterway presents the remarkable phe- 
nomenon of double tides, which vary decidedly iu height, time of 
occurrence, duration of rise and fall, and swiftness of flow. ''The 


tides in the Harlem River," says General John Newton, in a report 
to the War Department, " are chiefly due to the propagated Hellgate 
wave, while the latter is the result of the contact of the Sound and 
Sandy Hook tides. The tides in the Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvil 
are produced by the propagation of the sea. tide through the Upper 
and Lower bays." The mean rise of the tide in the Harlem is from 
Ave and one-half to six feet; in the Spuyten Duyvil Creek it is three 
and eight-tenths feet. The mean high water level in the Hudson 
River at Spuyten Duyvil Creek is nearly a foot lower and an hour and 
forty minutes earlier than in the Harlem, and the mean duration of 
the rise of tide in the former is thirty-six minutes shorter than in the 
latter. The westerly current, from Hellgate, is swifter than the east- 
erly, from the Hudson. The place of " divide " between the Harlem 
River and the Spuyten Duyvil Creek is usually located at Kingsbridge. 
In early times the Harlem was navigable for most of its length, but 
owing to artificial obstructions (notably that of Macomb's Dam), 
which were begun in the first part of the present century, the channel 
above the present Central Bridge became both shallow and con- 
tracted. The mean natural depth of Spuyten Duyvil Creek has always 
been comparatively slight. Owing to the importance of this water- 
way as a means of short transit for craft plying between the Hudson 
River and ports on the Sound and in New England, the United States 
Government has in our own time dredged a channel, which, from the 
Hudson to Hellgate, has a depth of from twelve to fifteen feet. This 
improvement, known as the Harlem Ship Canal, was opened to com- 
merce on the 17th of June, 1805. The Harlem River and Spuyten 
Duyvil Creek are crossed at present by thirteen bridges. 

Along the Spuyten Duyvil and Harlem River portion of its water 
line, as along the Sound, the (old) County of Westchester loses the 
comparatively lofty feature which characterizes its Hudson shore, 
and the land is generally low, sinking into marshy tracts in some 
localities near the Sound. The Westchester coast on the Sound, 
stretching from the mouth of the Harlem River to the mouth of the 
Byram River (where the Connecticut State line begins), is broken by 
numerous necks and points, with corresponding inlets and coves. 
Among the more important of the projecting points of land are Stony 
Point ( Tort Morris), Oak Point, Barreto Point. Hunt's Point, Cornell's 
Neck (Clason's Point), Throgg's Neck (with Fort Schuyler at its ex- 
tremity), Rodman's (Pelham) Neck, Davenport's Neck, De Lancey 
Point, and Rye Neck. Some of these localities are famous in the his- 
tory of the county, the province, and the State. The coast indentations 
include the outlets of the Bronx River, Westchester Creek, and the 
Hutchinson River; Eastchester Bay, Pelham Bay. De Lancey Cove ami 


Larclimont Harbor, Mamaroneck Harbor, and Byram Harbor. Much 
of The contraband trade of colonial times was supposed to have found 
cover in the unobserved retreats which the deep inlets of this coast 
afforded; and of some of the earlier settlements along the Sound it is 
supposed that they were undertaken quite as much to provide secure 
places of rendezvous for commerce more or less outside the pale of the 
law as to promote the development of the country. In close prox- 
imity to the shore are manv islands, of which the more notable are 



those between IVlham Bay and New Rochelle, including City, Hart's, 
Hunter's. David's, and Glen Islands. 

The New York ( 'ity limits on the Hudson now reach to i he northern 
bounds of the hamlei of Mount Saint Vincent, and on the Sound to a 
point about opposite, taking in also Hunter's, Hart, and City Islands. 
Of the more than one hundred miles of coast line originally and until 
1873 possessed by Westchester County, about thirty have passed to 
the city — three miles on the Hudson, eight on Spuyten Duyvil Creek 
and the Harlem Hirer, and the remainder on the Sound. 

The eastern boundary of the county is an entirely arbitrary one. 


in no respect following natural lines of division, of which, indeed, 
there are none of a continuous character at this portion of the eastern 
confines of New York State. To the reader unfamiliar with the history 
of the New York and Connecticut boundary dispute, this zigzag line 
will appear to have been traced quite without reference to any sym- 
metrical division of territory, but for the accommodation of special 
objects in territorial adjustment. This is largely true, although the 
line, as finally drawn, was reduced as nearly to a simple construction 
as could be done consistently with the very difficult circumstances of 
the boundary dispute. 

On the north the limit fixed for the county at the time of its erec- 
tion was the point where the Highlands of the Hudson begin. Pur- 
suant to this provision the line between Westchester and Putnam 
Counties starts on the Hudson at Anthony's Nose and follows an east- 
erly course to the Connecticut boundary. 

The surface of the county consists of several ranges of hills, with 
valleys stretching between, in which are numerous streams and an 
abundance of lakes. None of the physical features of Westchester 
County (if we except its lovely prospect of the Hudson) are in any 
wise remarkable from tin 1 viewpoint of the tourist in quest of natural 
wonders. On the other hand, its entire surface presents scenery of 
diversified beauty and interest, not the less gratifying to the contem- 
plative eye because unchangeably modest in its pretensions. 

The principal chain of hills is the one closely bordering the Hudson, 
already noticed. This is the southern prolongation of the Highlands. 
Its elevations display a constant diminishing tendency southward. 

Another range, likewise extending north and south, is found near 
the Connecticut border. The Matteawan .Mountains enter the north- 
western corner of the county, and thence cross the Hudson. A high 
ridge, called the Stone Hill (the watershed of tin- county), passes 
from the town of Mount Pleasant on the Hudson eastward through 
the towns of New Castle, Bedford, Pounolridge, and Salem into Con- 
necticut, in spite of this exception, however, the general trend of the 
hills is north and south, a fact illustrated by the almost uniformly 
southerly course of the more considerable streams, and by the usually 
level character of the roads running north and south, as contrasted 
with the conspicuous unevenness of those which extend east ami west. 
Famous in our county's history are the North Castle or Chappaqua 
Hills, above White Plains, into which Washington retired with the 
Continental army after the engagement near the latter place (October 
28, 1776), and, on account of the strength of the new position thus 
gained, compelled General Howe, with his greatly superior force, to 
return to New York. The highest point in Westchester County ( ac- 


cording to the figures of the United States Coast Survey) is Anthony's 
Nose, 900 feet above half tide level. 


Of the streams of Westchester County the names of two, the Croton 
and the Bronx, haYe become widely familiar. The former river is the 
chief source of the water supply of New York City; the latter — which, 
by the way, also furnishes water to New York — has many historic 
and romantic associations, dear to New Yorkers as well as West- 
chester people, and its name has been adopted for one of the beautiful 
new parks of the city, and also for one of the five grand divisions 
which constitute the Greater New York. 

Some half dozen streams of noticeable size find their outlets in the 
Hudson. Peekskill Creek gathers its waters from the hills of the 
northwestern corner of the county, and flows into the Hudson just 
above the village of Peekskill. Furnace Brook is a small rivulet 
which empties into the river several miles farther south. Then comes 
the Croton, having its outlet in Croton Bay, as the northeastern por- 
tion of the Tappan Sea is called. 

The Croton has its sources in Dutchess County — these sources com- 
prising three " branches " ( the East, Middle, and West), which unite 
in the southern part of Putnam County. In its course through West- 
chester County to its mouth, the Croton receives as tributaries the 
Muscoot, Titicus, Cross, and Kisco Rivers. The Muscoot is the outlet 
of the celebrated Lake Mahopac in Putnam County, and the Cross 
(also called the Peppenegheck ) of Lake Waccabuc, one of the largest 
of the Westchester lakes. The Croton watershed lies almost wholly 
in the State of New York, although draining a small area in Connec- 
ticut. It extends about thirty-three miles north and south and eleven 
miles east and west, and has an area of 339 square miles above the 
present Croton Dam, to which about twenty square miles will be 
added when the great new dam, now in process of construction, is 
completed. This watershed embraces thirty-one lakes and ponds in 
Westchester and Putnam Counties, many of which have been utilized 
as natural storage basins in connection with the New York City 
water supply by cutting down their outlets and building dams across. 
Besides Croton Lake, there are two very large reservoirs in our county 
incidental to the Croton system — the Titicus Reservoir near Purdy's 
and the Amawalk Reservoir. The Croton Lake is by far the most ex- 
tensive sheet of water in the county. It is formed by a dam about 
five miles east of the mouth of the Croton, and has an ordinary length 
of some three and one-half miles. When the new dam is finished the 
length of the lake will be in excess of eleven miles. From the lake two 
aqueducts, the wk Old " and the " New," lead to the city. The former is 
thirty-eight and the latter thirty-three miles long, the distance in each 
case being measured to the receiving reservoir. It is the old aqueduct 



which crosses the Harlem River over High Bridge; the new is carried 
underneath the stream. 


South of the Croton River the next Hudson tributary of interest is 
the Sing Sing Kill, which finds its mouth through a romantic ravine 
crossed by the notable Aqueduct Bridge. Next comes the Pocantico 
River, entering the Hudson at Tarrytown. The last feeder of the 


Hudson from Westchester County, and the last received by it before 
discharging its waters into the sea, is the Sawmill (or Nepperhan ) 
River, at Yonkers. To this stream is due the credit for the creation of 
a very considerable portion of the manufacturing industries of the 
county, and consequently, also, to a great extent, that for the building 
up of the City of Yonkers. 

Into the Spuyten Duyvil Creek empties Tibbet's Brook, a small 
runlet which rises in the Town of Yonkers and flows south, passing 
through Van Cortlandt Lake ( artificial ). 

The most noteworthy of the streams emptying into the Sound is the 
Bronx Eiver, whose outlet is between Hunt's Point and Cornell's 
Neck. The Bronx lies wholly within Westchester County, having its 
headwaters in the hills of the towns of Mount Pleasant and New 
Castle. It traverses and partially drains the middle section of the 
county. This river, with other waters which have been artificially 
connected with it, affords to New York City a water supply of its own, 
quite independent of the Croton system- -a fact, perhaps, not generally 
understood. It is dammed at Kensico Station, making a storage 
reservoir of 250 acres. A similar dam has been thrown across the 
Byram Eiver, and another across the outlet of Little Bye Pond. By 
the damming of Little Rye Pond that body of water, with Rye Pond, 
has been converted into a single lake, having an area of 280 acres. 
The three parts of this system — the Bronx, Byram, and Rye Poml 
reservoirs — are, as already stated, connected artificially, and the 
water is delivered into a receiving reservoir at AY illiams's Bridge 
through the so-called Bronx River pipe line, a conduit of forty-eight- 
inch cast-iron pipe. The portion of the Bronx watershed drained for 
this purpose has an area of thirteen and one-third square miles. 

East of the mouth of the Bronx River on the Sound are the outlets 
of AYestchester and Eastchester Creeks — tidal streams — emptying, 
respectively, into AVestchester and Eastchester Bays. The Hutchinson 
River rises in Scarsdale and flows into Eastchester Bay. The Mama- 
roneck River has its source near White Plains and Harrison, finding- 
its outlet in Mamaroneck Harbor. The Byram River, which enters 
the Sound above Portchester, and at its mouth separates our county 
from Connecticut, drains parts of North Castle and Rye. Blind Brook 
empties at Milton, after draining portions of Harrison and Rye. 
Most of the streams flowing into the Sound afford, by the reflux of the 
tide, an intermitting hydraulic power. 

The Mianus River, rising in North Castle, and Stamford Mill River, 
rising in Poundridge, find their way to the Sound through Connecticut. 
Some minor streams in the northern section of the county flow into 
Putnam Count v. 



The lakes of Westchester, like the hills and streams, boast no fea- 
tures of exceptional interest, but are strictly in keeping with the 
quiet beauty of the general landscape. The largest, as already men- 
tioned, is Croton Lake, entirely artificial; and we have also seen that 

^^|5*JWL, , 

several of the natural lakes have been utilized for purposes of water 
supply. Lake Waccabuc, in the Town of Lewisboro, has, since 1870, 
been connected with the Croton system. It covers over two hundred 
acres, and is very deep and pure. In the Town of Poundridge several 


ponds have been artificially joined to one another, forming a hand- 
some body of water, called Trinity Lake, a mile and a quarter long, 
which supplies the City of Stamford, Conn. A dam twenty feet high 
has been erected across its outlet. Other lakes of local importance 
and interest are Peach Lake, on the Putnam County border; Mohegan 
and Mohansic lakes, in Yorktown; Valhalla Lake (through which the 
Bronx River flows), between Mount Pleasant and North Castle; Rye 
Lake, near the Connecticut line; Byram Lake, in Bedford and North 
Castle, the feeder of the Byram River, and Cross Pond (100 acres) in 

The rocks of Westchester County consist mainly of gneiss and mica- 
schist of many dissimilar varieties, and white crystalline limestone 
with thin interlying beds of serpentine, all of ancient origin and 
entirely devoid of fossils. Professor Ralph S. Tarr, of Cornell Univer- 
sity, in a recent series of papers 1 on the geology of New York State, 
embodying the latest investigations and conclusions on the subject, 
assigns to the southern angle of the State, including Westchester 
County, the name of the " Gneissic Highland Province." This prov- 
ince, he says, is of complex structure, and one in which, in its main 
and most typical part, the rocks are very much folded and disturbed 
metamorphic strata of ancient date. " These rocks/' he continues, 
" are really an extension of the highlands of New Jersey, which reach 
across the southern angle of New York, extend northeastward, and 
enter Connecticut. Besides these Archean gneisses there is some 
sandstone and a black diabese or trap, which form the Palisades, 
besides extensive layers of limestone, gneiss, and schist, which extend 
across the region occupied by the City of New York. This whole 
series of strata is intricately associated. Except at the very seashore 
line, the province is a moderate highland, with rather rough topog- 
raphy and with hills rising in some places to an elevation of 1,000 or 
1,200 feet above the sea level. Where there is limestone or sand- 
stone in this area, there is usually a lowland, while highlands occur 
where the hard gneiss comes to the surface not immediately at the 
seashore. This is extremely well illustrated in Rockland County, 
where the gneissic Ramapo Mountains are faced at their southeastern 
base by a lowland, a somewhat rolling plain, which, however, is 
bounded on its eastern margin by another highland where the trap 
of the Palisades rises close by the Hudson River/' 

In the opinion of Professor Tarr, this region, with the large Adiron- 
dack area, at the beginning of the Paleozoic were mountainous lands 
facing the sea, which stretched away to the westward, and beneath 
which all the rest of the site of New York State was submerged. The 

Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, vol. xxviii. 



western Highland mountains extended northward into New 
England, and toward the east they probably reached seaward along 
thepresent const Line. This mountain range extended southwestward 
alone the eastern part of the seacoast States, and west of it was a 
<> T eat sea in the present Mississippi Valley. Whether the Adiron- 
daeks and this Highland mountain range were ever connected, and 
w'lia! was the actual extension of the two areas, can not be told in the 
present state of geological knowledge, the record of much of the 
earlv history having been hidden beneath the strata of later ages. 
However in verv earlv Paleozoic times the waves of the sea beat at 
the western base of the southern Highlands, and these were then at 
Least separated from the Adirondack area, which was at that time an 
island in the Paleozoic sea. 

Professor dames I). Dana, in an inquiry concerning the relations 
of the limestone belts of Westchester County, arrives at the conclu- 
sion that, with those of New York Island, they are probably of Lower 
Silurian a*e, assigning also to the same age the comformably asso- 
ciated metamorphic rocks. He holds to the view that Westchester 
County belongs to the same geologic period as the Green Mountain 
reoion resembling in its order that portion of the latter which is now 
western Connecticut. Other geologists find reason for believing that 
the Westchester rocks are older than those of the Green Mountain 
area ami belong to an even earlier age than the Lower Silurian. It 
is pointed out that the marbles of Vermont and the marbles of W est- 
chester County, with their associated rocks, are essentially different 
f,-,>m one another, and can hardly, therefore, belong to a common 
formation; the Vermont marbles being found in a single belt and 
behio' almost pure carbonates of lime, and of mottled and banded 
appearance, tine -rained, with gray siliceous limestones, quartzites, 
and slates identified with them; whereas the Westchester marbles 
constitute a series of parallel belts and are - coarsely crystalline dolo- 
mites i double carbonates of lime and magnesia ) , generally of uniform 
white or whitish color, and have no rocks associated with them that 
can represeni the quartzites and argillites of Vermont." 

Still another opinion regarding the origin of the rocks of the W est- 
cdiester County regions is that of Prof. I. S. Newberry, who believes 
,l i;! i they date from the Laurentian age. 

The limestone beds are distributed through every geographical sec- 
tion of the count v. At Sim>- Sing occur marble deposits— very heavy 
beds which have been extensively quarried. It was, in fact, largely 
for the purpose of employing convict labor for the quarrying of the 
marble that this place was chosen as the location for the New York 


State Penitentiary. The Sing Sing marble, however, although an 
admirable building stone for many purposes, is of comparatively 
coarse and inferior quality, becoming stained in the course of time 
by the action of the sea air on account of the presence of grains of iron 
pyrites. Marble is also quarried at Tuckahoe. 

Abundant indications are afforded of extensive and radical glacial 
action. " Croton Poiut, on the Hudson, and other places in the county, 
show evidences of glacial moraines. Deep stria? and lighter scratches 
still remain upon many exposed rock surfaces, and others have been 
smoothly polished." A prominent feature is the presence in greal 
profusion of large granite bowlders, undoubtedly transported by 
glaciers from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with an inter- 



mingling of bowlders of conglomerate from the western side of the 
Hudson, the latter containing numerous shell fossils. The so-called 
" Cobbling Stone," in the Town of North Salem, is a well-known speci- 
men of the glacial bowlders of Westchester. It is a prodigious rock of 
red granite, said to be the solitary one of its kind in the county. 

The minerals found in the county, in greater or lesser quantities, 
embrace magnetic iron ore, iron and copper pyrites, green malachite, 
sulphuret of zinc, galena and other lead ores, native silver", serpen- 
tine, garnet, beryl, apatite, tremolite, white pyroxene, chlorite, black 
tourmaline, Sillimanite, monazite, Brucite, epidote, and sphene. But 
Westchester has never been in any sense a seat of the mining industry 
proper, as distinguished from the quarrying. In early times a silver 


.nine was operated at Sing Sing, very near where the prison now 
stands and not far from the same Locality an attempt was made some 
seventy years ago to mine for copper. Both of these mining ventures 
are of mere curious historical interest, representing no actual success- 
fu] production of a definite character. In the ridges along the north- 
ern borders of the county considerable deposits of iron ore are found. 
It is stated bv Mr. Charles E. Culver, in his History of Somers, that 
the irou ores "of that town have, upon assay, -yielded as high as (31 
per cent." Teat swamps, affording a fuel of good quality, exist in 
several parts of the county, notably the Town of Bedford. 

There are various mineral springs, as well as other springs, yielding 
water of singularly pure quality, The latter being utilized in some 
cases with commercial profit. A well-known mineral spring, for 
whoso waters medicinal virtues are claimed, is the Chappaqua Spring, 
three miles east of Sing Sing. _ 

The prevailing soil of Westchester County is the product of disinte- 
grations of the primitive rocks, and is of a light and sandy character, 
for the most pari not uncommonly fertile naturally, although the 
methods of scientific farming, which have been pursued from very 
early times, have rendered it highly productive. It is not generally 
adapted to wheat, summer crops succeeding best. Drift deposits and 
alluvium occur along the Sound and in some localities elsewhere, with 
a consequently richer soil. Agriculture has always been the repre- 
sentative occupation, although daring the last half century extensive 
manufacturing industries have been developed in several localities. 



f was not until 1609,, one hundred and seventeen years after 
the discovery of the New World, that European enter- 
prise, destined to lead to definite colonization and develop- 
ment, was directed to that portion of the North American 
continent where the metropolis of the Western hemisphere and the 
Empire State of the American Union have since been erected. The 
entire North American mainland, in fact, from Florida to Hudson's 
Bay, although explored by voyagers of different nationalities within 
comparatively brief periods after the advent of Columbus, had been 
practically neglected throughout the sixteenth century as a field for 
serious purposes of civilized occupation and exploitation. The early 
French attempts at settlement in Canada, in the first half of that cen- 
tury, and the colonizing expeditions sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to the 
shores of North Carolina, in the second half, were dismal failures, and 
in the circumstances could not have resulted differently. For these 
undertakings were largely without reference to intelligent and pro- 
gressive cultivation of such resources as the country might afford, 

being incidental, or, at 
least, secondary, to the 
absorbing conviction 
of the times that the 
riches of India lay 
somewhere beyond the 
American coast bar- 
rier, and would still 
yield themselves to 
bold search. Naturally, 
few men of substantial 
from ax old print. character and decent 

antecedents could be persuaded to embark as volunteers in such 
doubtful enterprises. The first settlers on the Saint Lawrence were 
a band of robbers, swindlers, murderers, and promiscuous ruffians, 
released from the prisons of France by the government as a heroic 
means of providing colonists for an expedition which could not be 
recruited from the people at large. The settlers sent by Sir Walter 


Raleigh under his patent from Elizabeth in 1585 for establishing colo- 
nies north of the Spanish dominions in Florida were, according to 
Bancroft, a body of -broken-down gentlemen and libertines, more 
fitted to corrupt a republic than to found one,' 1 with very few mechan- 
ics farmers, or laborers among them— mere buccaneering adven- 
turers, who carried fire and sword into the land and had no higher 
object' before them than to plunder and enslave the natives. It is 
true that very early in the sixteenth century the fishermen of Nor- 
mandy and Britanny began to seek the waters of Newfoundland for 
the legitimate ends of their vocation, and soon built up a gainful trade, 
which* stcadilv expanding and attracting other votaries, employed 
in 1583 more 'than four hundred European fishing craft. But this 
business was conducted almost exclusively for the profits of the 
fisheries, and although the vessels devoted to it ranged all along the 
New England coast, there was no consecutive occupation of the 
country with a view to its earnest settlement until after the dawn of 
the seventeenth century. 

Throughout the era of original American discovery and coast ex- 
ploration, the returning mariners had agreed in describing the re- 
gion to the north of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea as 
utterly lacking in indications of accumulated riches, inhabited only by 
savage races who possessed no gold and silver or other valuable prop- 
erty,*enjoyed no civilization, offered no commodities to commerce ex- 
cept the ordinary products of the soil and the chase, and could com- 
municate nothing definite respecting more substantial wealth farther 
to the west. The ancient civilizations of Mexico, Central America, and 
rem having been subverted by the Spanish conquist adores, and their 
stores of precious metals largely absorbed, it was fondly hoped that 
the unpenetrated wilds of the north might contain new realms with 
similar abundant treasures. Narvaez, in 1528, and De Soto, in 1539, led 
finely appointed expeditions from the Florida coast into the interior 
in quest of the imagined eldorados— emprises which proved absolutely 
barren of encouraging results and from which only a few miserable 
survivors returned to tell the disillusionizing tale of dreadful wilder- 
ness marches, appalling sufferings, and fruitless victories over 
wretched tribes owning no goods worth carrying away. The impress- 
ive record of these disastrous failures, in connection with the uni- 
formly unflattering accounts of the lands farther north, deterred all 
European nations from like pompous adventurings. The poverty of 
the native inhabitants of North America saved them from the swift 
fate which overtook the rich peoples of the south, and for a century 
preserved them even from intrusion, except of the most fugitive kind. 
This fact of their complete poverty is by far the most conspicuous 



aspect of the original comparative condition, in both economic and 
social regards, of the North American Indians, as well as of the his- 
tory of their gradual expulsion and extirpation. Possessing nothing 
but land and the simplest concomitants of primitive existence, they 
did not present to the European invaders an established and meas- 
urably advanced and affluent organization of society, inviting speedy 
and comprehensive overthrow and the immediate substitution on a 
general scale of the supremacy and institutions of the subjugators. 
Dispersed through the primeval forests in small communities, they 
did not confront the stranger foe with formidable masses of popula- 
tion requiring to be dealt with by the summary methods of formal 
conquest; and skilled in but few industries and arts, which they prac- 
ticed not acquisitively but only to serve the most uecessary ends of 
daily life, and maintaining themselves in a decidedly struggling and 
adventitious fashion by a rude agriculture and the pursuits of hunt- 
ing and fishing, their numbers in the aggregate, following well-known 
laws of population, were, indeed, comparatively 
few. Yet the same conditions made them the 
ruggedest, bravest, and most independent of 
races, and utterly unassimilable. Thus, as found 
by the Europeans, while because of their poverty 
provoking no programme of systematic conquest 
and dispossession, they were foredoomed to in- 
evitable progressive dislodgement and ultimate 
extermination or segregation. The cultivated 
and numerous races of Mexico and Peru, on the 
other hand, exciting the cupidity of the Spaniards 
by their wealth, were reduced to subjection at a 
blow. Put though ruthlessly slaughtered by the 
most bloody and cruel conquerors known to the 
criminal annals of history, these more refined 
people of the south had reserved for them a less 
melancholy destiny than that of the untutored 
children of the wilderness. Their survivors read- 
ily gave themselves to the processes of absorp- 
tion, and their descendants to-day are coheirs, in 
all degrees of consanguinity, with the progeny of 
the despoil er. 

The origin of the native races of America is. in the present state of 
knowledge, a problem of peculiar difficulty. Nothing is contributed 
toward its solution by any written records now known to exist. None 
of the aboriginal inhabitants of either of the Americas left any writ- 
ten annals. The opinion is held by some scholars, who favor the the- 



orv of Asiatic origin, that when the as yet unpublished treasures of 
ancient Chinese literature come to be spread before the world definite 
lioht niav be cast upon the subject. There is a strong- probability that 
the civilization of the Aztecs was either of direct Mongolian derivation 
or partiallv a development from early .Mongolian transplantations. 
This view is sustained, first, by certain superficial resemblances, and, 
second by various details in old Chinese manuscripts suggestive of 
former intercourse with the shores of Mexico and South America. The 
belief that man's initial appearance on this hemisphere was as a wan- 
derer from Asia finds plausible support in the fact of the very near 
approach of the American land mass to Asia at the north, the two be- 
in- separated bv a narrow strait, while a continuous chain of stepping- 
stone islands reaches from coast to coast not far below. Accepting 
the Darwinian theory of man's evolution from the lower orders, the 
idea of his indigenous growth in America seems to be precluded; for 
no traces have been found of the existence at any time of his proximate 
ancestors— the higher species of apes, from which alone he could have 
come, having no representatives here in the remains of bygone times. 

The question of man's relative antiquity on the Western hemisphere 
is also a matter of pure speculation. Here again the absence of all 
written records prevents any assured historical reckonings backward. 
\ncient remains, including those of the Aztecs and their associated 
races, the cliff-dwellers of Arizona and the mound-builders of the 
Ohio and Mississippi valleys, are abundant and highly interesting, 
but their time connections are lacking. Yet while the aspects of the 
purely historical progress of man in the New World are most unsatis- 
factory, anthropological studies proper are attended by much more 
favorable conditions in the Americas than in Europe. In the Old 
World, occcupied and thickly settled for many historic ages by man 
in the various stages of civilized development, most of the vestiges of 
prehistoric man have been destroyed by the people; whereas these 
still have widespread existence in the New. 

in the immediate section of the country to which the County of 
Westchester belongs such traces of the ancient inhabitants as have 
boon found are in no manner reducible to system. There are no ven- 
erable monumental ruins, nor are there any of the curious " mounds " 
of the west. Various sites of villages occupied by the Indians at the 
time of the arrival of the Europeans are known, as also of some of their 
forts and burial -rounds. Great heaps of oyster and clam shells here 
and there on tin'' coast remain as landmarks of their abiding places. 
Asido from such features, which belong to ordinary historical associa- 
tion rather than to the department of archaeological knowledge, few 
noteworthv "finds" have been made. Several years ago much was 


made in the New York City newspaper press of certain excavations 
by Mr. Alexander C. Chenoweth, at Inwood, on Manhattan Island, a 
short distance below Spuyten Duyvil. Mr. Chenoweth unearthed a 
variety of interesting objects, including Indian skele- 
tons, hearthstones blackened by lire, implements, and 
utensils. There can be no doubt that these remains 
were from a period antedating the European discov- 
ery. But they possessed no importance beyond that 
fact. With all the other traces of the more ancient in- 
habitants which have been found in this general re- 

VASE FOUND AT • ,, , ,, , , T , . -, . . 

inwood. & 10n ? they show that hereabouts Indian conditions 

as known to history did not differ sharply, in the way 
either of improvement or of degeneration, from those which preceded 
the beginning of authentic records. 

Yerrazano, the French navigator, who sailed along the coast of 
North America in 1524, entering the harbor of New York and possibly 
ascending the river a short distance, speaks of the natives whom he 
met there as " not differing much " from those with whom he had held 
intercourse elsewhere, " being dressed out with the feathers of birds 
of various colors." " They came forward toward us," he adds, " with 
evident delight, raising loud shouts of admiration and showing us 
where we could most securely land with our boat." In similar words 
Henry Hudson describes the savages whom he hrst took on board his 
vessel in the lower New York Bay. They came, he says, " dressed in 
mantles of feathers and robes of fur, the women clothed in hemp, red 
copper tobacco pipes, and other things of copper did they wear about 
their necks." Their attitude was entirely amicable, for they brought 
no arms with them. On his voyage up the river to the head of naviga- 
tion, Hudson was everywhere received by the Indian chiefs of both 
banks with friendliness, and lie found the various tribes along whose 
borders he passed to possess the same general characteristics of ap- 
pearance, customs, and disposition. 

RuttenbeT, the historian of the Hudson River Indians, in his general 
classification of the different tribes distributed along the banks, sum- 
marizes the situation as follows : At the time of discovery the entire 
eastern bank, from an indefinable point north of Albany to the sea, in- 
cluding Long Island, was held, under numerous sub-tribal divisions, 
by the Mohicans (also written Mahicans and Mohegans). The do- 
minion of the Mohicans extended eastward to the Connecticut, where 
they were joined by kindred tribes, and on the west bank ran as far 
down as Catskill, reaching westward to Schenectady. Adjoining 
them on the west was the territory of the Mohawks, and on the south 
their neighbors were chieftaincies of the Minsis, a totemic tribe of the 



I enni Lenapes. The hitter exercised control thence to the sea and 
svesl ward to the Delaware River. Under the early Dutch government, 
continues Ruttenber, the .Mohicans sold a considerable portion of their 
land on the west side to Van Rensselaer, and admitted the Mohawks 
to territorial sovereignty north of the Mohawk River. The Mohawks 
were one of the five tribes of the great Iroquois confederacy, whose 
other members were the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. 
Thus as early as L630 there were three principal divisions or nations 
of Indians represented on the Hudson: the Iroquois, Mohicans, and 
Lenni Lenapes (or Delawares). 

This is Ruttenber's classification. On the other hand, it has been 
considered by some writers on the Indians that the Mohicans were 
r.-ally only a subdivision of the Lenni Lenapes, whose dominions, ac- 
cording to Eeckewelder, extended from the mouth of the Potomac 
northeastwardly to the shores of Massachusetts Bay and the moun- 
tains of New Hampshire and Vermont, and westwardly to the Alle- 
..■henies and Catskills. But whether the Mohicans are to be regarded 


as a separate grand division or as a minor body, the geographical 
limits of the territory over which they were spread are well defined. _ 

They were called' by the Dutch Maikans, and by the French mis- 
sionaries the " nine nations of Mahingans, gathered between Manhat- 
tan ; ,nd the environs of Quebec." The tradition which they gave of 
their origin has been stated as follows: 

The country formerly owned by the Muhheakunnuk (Mohican) nation was situated partly 
in Massachusetts and partly in the States of Vermont and New York. The inhabitants dwelt 
chiefly in little towns and villages. Their chief seat was on the Hudson River now it is 
,alled Albany, which was called Pempotowwuthut-Muhhecanneuw, or the fireplace of the 
Muhheakunnuk nation, where their allies used to come on any business, whether relating to 
the covenant of their friendship or other matters. The etymology of the word Muhheakun- 
nuk, according to its original signification, is great waters or sea, which are constantly m 
motion either ebbing or flowing. Our forefathers assert that they were emigrants from 
another country ; that they passed over great waters, where this and the other country was 
nearly connected, called Ukhokpeck ; it signifies snake water or water where snakes are 
abundant • and that they lived by the side of a great water or sea, whence they derived the 
name of the Muhheakunnuk nation. Muhheakanneuw signifies a man of the Mahheakunnuk 
tribe Muhheakunneyuk is a plural number. As they were coming from the west they found 
many - Teat waters, hut none of a How and ebb like Muhheakannuk until they came to Hud- 
son's River Then they said to one another, this is like Muhheakannuk, our nativity. And 



when they found grain was very plenty in that country, they agreed to kindle a fire there 
and hang a kettle whereof they and their children after them might dip out their daily 
refreshment. 1 

The name given by the Mohicans and the Lenapes to the Hudson 
River was the Mohicanituk, or River of the Mohicans, signifying " the 
constantly flowing waters." By the Iroquois it was called the Coha- 

The Mohicans belonged to the great Algonquin race stock, which 
mar be said to have embraced all the Indian nations from the Atlantic 


to the Mississippi. Its different branches had a general similarity of 
language, and while the separate modifications were numerous and 
extreme, all the Indians within these bounds understood one another. 

The Mohican power is regarded by Ruttenber as hardly less formid- 
able than that of the Iroquois, and he points out that notwithstanding 
the boasted supremacy of the Iroquois in war there is no historical 
evidence that the Mohicans were ever brought under subjection to 
them or despoiled of any portion of their territory. Yet it is unques- 
tionable that the Iroquois exacted and received tribute from the Long 
Island Indians; and this could hardly have happened without pre- 
viously obtaining dominion over the Mohicans. On the other hand, it 
is certain that the Mohicans never tamely submitted to the northern 
conquerors. "When the Dutch first met the Mohicans," says Rut- 
tenber, ik they were iti conflict with the Mohawks (an Iroquois nation), 
and that conflict was maintained for nearly three-quarters of a cen- 

■ Massachusetts Hist. So< 

■. Cull., ix., 101. 

The editor submitted the 

above to Mr. Will- 

iam Wallace Tooker for 

his critical opinion. 

The following is Mr. Tool; 

;er's reply: 

•• This etymology of Muh 

heakunnuk, or Muh- 

hecanneuw, is decidedly 

wrong. Trumbull 

irives the true derivation in his ' Names in 
Connecticut.' p. 31, viz.: "The Mohegans, or 
Muhhekanneuks. took their tribe name from 
the Algonkin maingan, " a wolf." ' The maps 
and records prove this conclusively." 


tury, and until the English, who were in alliance with both, were able 
to effect a permanent settlement.'' 

Although the Mohican name was generic for all the tribes on the 
eastern side of the Hudson, it never occurs, at least in the southern 
part of New York State, in the numerous local land deeds and other 
documentary agreements drawn by the settlers with the Indians. The 
tribal or chieftaincy name prevailing in the district in question is uni- 
formly employed. This finds a good illustration in the affidavit of 
King Mmhani, executed October 13, 1730, in which the deponent says 
that"he is - a River Indian of the Tribe of the Wappinoes (Wappm- 
o-ers) which tribe was the ancient inhabitants of the east shores of 
Hudson's River, from the City of New York to about the middle of 
Beekinans patent (in the northern part of the present County of 
Dutchess) ; that another tribe of river Indians called the Mayhiccon- 
das (Mohicans) were the ancient inhabitants of the remaining east 
«hore of said river; that these two tribes constitute one nation." There 
was however, an intimate understanding among all the associated 
tribes and minor divisions of the Mohicans, which in emergencies was 
given very practical manifestation. The Dutch, in their early wars 
against the Indians of Westchester County, were perplexed to hud 
that the Highland tribes, with whom, as they supposed, they were 
upon terms of amity, were rendering assistance to their enemies. 

The Mohicans of the Hudson should not be confused with the Mo- 
hegans under Uncas, the Pequot chief, whose territory, called Mohe- 
ganick, lay in eastern Connecticut. The latter was a strictly local 
New England tribe, and though probably of the same original stock 
as the Hudson River Mohican nation, was never identified with it. 

The entire country south of the Highlands, that is, Westchester 
County and Manhattan Island, was occupied by chieftaincies of the 
Wappinger division of the Mohicans. The Wappmgers also held do- 
minion over a large section of the Highlands, through their sub- 
r bes, the Nochpeems. At the east their lands extended beyond the 
Connecticut line being met by those of the Sequins. The latter, hav- 
fn jurisdiction thence to the Connecticut River, were, i is believed 
an enlarged family of Wappmgers, « perhaps the original head of the 
tribe from whence its conquests were pushed over the southern pa 
of the peninsula.-' The north and south extent of the territory of the 
Sequin Ts said to have been some sixty miles. They first sold their 
lands June 8, 1633, to the Dutch West India Company ami upon them 
Erected the Dutch trading post of « Good Hope:; but ten years 
Iter tney executed a deed to the English, embracing " the whole 
country to the Mohawk country/- On Long Island were the Canarsie , 
Ro^aways, Merricks, Massapeags, Matinecocks, Corchaegs, Man- 




hansetts, Secatogues, Unkechaugs, Shinnecocks, and Montauks. The 
principal tribes on the other side of New York Bay and the west bank 
of the Hudson (all belonging to the Lenape or Delaware nation) were 
the Navesinks, Raritans, Hackinsaeks, Aquackanonks, Tappans, and 

The Wappinger sub-tribes or chieftaincies of Westchester County, 
thanks chiefly to the careful researches of Bolton, are capable of 

tolerably exact geographical loca- 
tion and of detailed individual de- 
scription. Bolton is followed in the 
main by Huttenber, who, giving due 
credit to the former while adding the 
results of his own investigations, is 
the final authority on the whole sub- 
ject at the present time. No apolo- 
gies need be made for transferring to 
these pages, even quite literally. 
Ruttenber's classification of the In- 
dians of the county, with the inci- 
dental descriptive particulars. 

1. The Reck o-awa wanes, better known by the generic name of Manhattans and so designated 
by Brodhead and other New York historians. Bolton gives to this chieftaincy the name of 
Nappeekamaks, a title which, however, does not appear in the records except as the name of 
their principal village on the site of Yonkers. This village of Nappeckamak (a name signify- 
ing the " rapid water settlement" ' ) was, says Bolton, situated at the month of the Nepperhan or 
Sawmill River. The castle or fort of the Manhattans or Reckgawawancs was on the north- 
ern shore of Spnyten Puyvil Creek, and was called Nipinichsen. It was carefully protected 
by a strong stockade and commanded the romantic scenery of the Papirinemen or Spnyten 
Duyvil and the Mohicanituk, the junction of which two streams was called Shorackappock. 
It was opposite this castle that the fight occurred between Hudson and the Indians as he was 
returning down the river. They held Manhattan Island and had thereon three villages, 
which, however, it is claimed, were occupied only while they were on hunting and fishing ex- 
cursions. In Breeden Raedt their name is given as the Reckewackes, and it is said that in 
the treaty of 1643 Oritany, sachem of the Hackinsaeks, declared he was delegated by and 
for those of Tappaen, Reckgawawanc, Kicktawanc, and Sintsinc. The tract occupied by the 
Reckgawawancs on the mainland was called Keckesick, and is described as " lying over against 
the flats of the Island of Manhates." In its northern extent it included the site of the 
present City of Yonkers, and on the east it reached to the Bronx River. Their chiefs were 
Rechgawac, for whom they appear to have been called, Feequesmeck and Peckauniens. 
Their first sachem known to" the Dutch was Tackerew (1639). In 1682 the names of Cohans. 
Teattanqueer and Wearaquaeghier appear as the grantors of lands to Frederick Philipse. 

2. The Weckquaesgecks. This chieftaincy is known to have had, as early as 1644, three 
intrenched castles, one of which remained as late as 1663, and was then garrisoned by eighty 
warriors Their principal village was where Dobbs Ferry now stands. It is said that the 
outlines of it can still be traced by numerous shell beds. It was called Weckquaesgeck, and 
its location was at the mouth of Wicker's Creek (called by the Indians the V\ ysquaqua 
or Weghqueghe). Another of their villages was Alipconck, the - place of the elms, ' now 
Tarrytown. Their territory appears to have extended from Norwalk on the Sound to the 
Hudson, and embraced considerable portions of the towns of Mount Pleasant, Creenburgh, 
~ Note by William Wallace Tooker: Tins is an incorrect derivation. The name really signifies " Trap fishing place/' 



White Plains, and Rye, being ultimately very largely included in the Manor of Philipsbor- 
ough. Their sachem in 1649 was Ponupahowhelbshelen ; in 1660 Aekhough ; in 1663 
Souwenaro ; in 1680 Weskora or Weskomen, and Goharius, his brother ; in 1681 Wessicken- 
aiaw, and Conarhanded, his brother. These chief's are largely represented in the list of 
grantors of lands to the whites. 

3. The Sint-Sincs. These Indians were not very numerous. Their most important vil- 
lage was Ossing-Sing, the present Sing Sing. They had another village, called Kestaubuinck, 
between the Smg Sing Creek and the Kitchawonck or Croton River. Their lands are de- 
scribed in the deed of sale to Pbilipse, August '24, 1685, and were included in his manor 

4. The Kitchawangs or Kicktawancs. Their territory apparently extended from the Cro- 
ton River north to Anthony's Xose. Ketchtawonck was their leading village, at the mouth of 
the Croton (Kitchtawonck) River. They occupied another, Sackhoes, on the site of Peekskill. 
Their castle or fort, which stood at the mouth of the Croton, is represented as one of the 
most formidable and ancient of Indian fortresses south of the Highlands. Its precise location 
was at the entrance or neck of Teller's Point (called Senasqua), and west of the cemetery of 
the Van Cortlandt family. The traditional sachem was Croton. There was apparently a 
division of chieftaincies at one time, Kitchawong figuring as sachem of the village and castle 
on the Croton and Sachus of the village of Sackhoes or Peekskill. The lands of the chief- 
taincv were principally included in the Manor of Cortlandt, and from them the towns of 
Cortlandt, Yorktown, Somers, North Salem, and Lewisboro have been erected. 

5. The Tankitekes. They occupied the country now comprising the towns of Poundridge, 
Bedford, and New Castle, in Westchester County, and those of Darien, Stamford, and New 

Canaan in Connecticut, 
all purchased by Na- 
thaniel Turner in 1640 
on behalf of the people 
of New Haven, and de- 
scribed in the deeds as 
tracts called Toquams 
and Shipham. Ponus 
was sachem of the form- 
er and Wasenssne of the 
latter. Ponus reserved 
portions of Toquams for 
the use of himself and 
his associates, but with 
this exception the entire 
possessions of the Tan- 
kitekes appear to have 
passed under a deed to 
the whites without metes 
or bounds. The chief- 
taincy occupies a prom- 
inent place in Dutch his- 
tory through the action 
of Pacham, " a crafty 
man," who not only per- 
Eormed discreditable services for Director Kieft, but also was very lavgely instrumental in 
bringing on the war of 1045. O'Callaghan locates the Tankitekes on the eastern side of 
Tappan Bav, and Bolton in the eastern portion of Westchester County, from deeds to then- 
lands. They had villages beside Wampus Lake in the town of North Castle, near Pleasant - 
ville, in tlic town of Mount Pleasant, and near the present villages of Bedford and Katonah. 

6. The Siwanoys, also known as "one of the tribes of the seacoast." This was one of the 
largest of the Wappinger subdivisions. They occupied the northern shore of the Sound from 
Norwalk twenty-four miles to the neighborhood of Hellgate. How far inland their territory 
extended is uncertain, but their deeds of sale covered the manor lands of Morrisania, Scarsdale, 
and Pelham, from which New Rochelle, Eastchester, Westchester, New Castle, Mamaro- 



neck, and Searsdale, and portions of White Plains and West Farms have been carved. They 
possessed, besides, portions of the towns of Rye and Harrison, and of Stamford (Conn.), and 
there are grounds for supposing that the tract known as Toquams, assigned to the Tankitekes, 
was part of their dominions. They had a very large village on the banks of Rye Pond 
hi the town of Rye, and in the southern angle of that town, on the beautiful hill now known 
as Mount Misery, stood one of their castles. Another of their villages was on Davenport's 
Neck. Near the entrance to Pelham Neck was one of their burying grounds. Two large 
mounds are pointed out as the sepulchers of their chiefs, Ann-Hoock and Nimham. In the 
town of Westchester they had a castle on what is still called Castle Hill Neck, and a village 
near Bear Swamp, of which latter they remained in possession until 1(389. One of their 
Sachems whose name has been permanently preserved in Westchester County was Katonah 
(1680). Their chief Ann-Hoock, alias Wampage, was probably the murderer of Ann Hutchin- 
son. One of their warriors was Mayane (1644), "a fierce Indian, who, alone, dared to attack, 
with bow and arrow, three Christians armed with guns, one of whom he shot dead, and whilst 
engaged with the other was killed by the third and his head conveyed to Fort Amsterdam. " 

In their intercourse with the whites from the beginning the Indians 
displayed aboldindependence and perfect indifference to the evidences 
of superior and mysterious power and wisdom which every aspect of 
their strange visitors disclosed. Though greatly astonished at the ad- 
vent of the tk Half Moon," and perplexed by the white skin, remark- 
able dress, and terrible weapons of its crew, they discovered no fear, 
and at the first offer of physical violence or duress were prompt and 
intrepid in resentment. On his way up the river, at a point probably 
below Spuyten Duyvil, Hudson attempted to detain two of the natives, 
but they jumped overboard, and, swimming to shore, called back to 
him " in scorn." For this unfriendly demonstration he was attacked 
on his return trip, a month later, off Spuyten Duyvil. " Whereupon,'* 
he says in his journal. " two canoes full of men, with their bows and 
arrows, shot at us after our sterne, in recompense whereof we dis- 
charged six muskets, and killed two or three of them. Then above a 
hundred of them came to a point of land to shoot at us. There I shot 
a falcon at them and killed two of them; whereupon the rest lied into 
the woods. Yet they manned off another canoe with nine or ten men, 
who came to meet us. So I shot a falcon and shot it through, and 
killed one of them. So they went their way." Thus in utter contempt 
of the white man's formidable vessel and deadly gun they dared assail 
him at the first opportunity in revenge for his offense against their 
rights, returning to the attack a second and third time despite the 
havoc thev had suffered. 

The entire conduct of the Indians in their subsequent relations with 
the Europeans who settled in the land and gradually absorbed it was 
in strict keeping with the grim and fearless attitude shown upon this 
first occasion. To manifestations of force they opposed all the re- 
sistance thev could summon, and with the fiercest determination and 
most relentless severitv administered such reprisals, both general and 
individual, as thev were able to inflict. Their characteristics in these 



respects, and their disposition of complete unteachableness as to 
moderation and Christian precept, are described in quaint terms in a 
letter written in 1G28 by Domine Jonas Michaelius, the first pastor in 
New Amsterdam. " As to the natives of this country," writes the 
good domine, " I find them entirely savage and wild, strangers to all 
decency; yea, uncivil and stupid as posts, proficient in all wickedness 
and godlessness; devilish men, who serve nobody but the devil, that 


is, the spirit which, in their language, they call Mauetto, under which 
title they comprehend everything that is subtle and crafty and beyond 
human power. They have so much witchcraft, divination, sorcery, and 
wicked tricks that they can not be held in by any locks or bounds. 
They are as thievish and treacherous as they are tall, and in cruelty 
they are more inhuman than the people of Barbary and far exceed the 
Africans. 1 have written something concerning these things to sev- 
eral persons elsewhere, not doubting that Brother Crol will have 
written sufficient to your Bight Reverend, or to the Lords; as also of 


the base treachery and the murders which the Mohicans, at the upper 
part of this river, against Fort Orange, had committed. . . . I have 
as yet been able to discover hardly a good point, except that they do not 
speak so jeeringly and so scoffingly of the Godlike and glorious majesty 
of their Creator as the Africans dare to do; but it is because they have 
no certain knowledge of Him or scarcely any. If we speak to them of 
God it appears to them like a dream, and we are compelled to speak 
of Him not under the name of Manetto, whom they know and serve — 
for that would be blasphemous— but under that of some great person, 
yea of the chiefs Sackiema, by which name they — living without a 
king — call those who have command of many hundreds among them, 
and who, by our people, are called Saekemakers. 7 ' In striking con- 
trast with this stern but undoubtedly just view of the Indian, as a so- 
cial individual, is the lofty and magnanimous tribute paid to his char- 
acter in its broader aspect by Cadwallader Golden after more than a 
century of European occupation of the country and intercourse with 
him. In his " History of the Five Indian Nations," published in 1727, 
Golden says : " A poor, barbarous people, under the darkest igno- 
rance, and yet a bright and noble genius shines through these dark 
clouds. None of the great Roman heroes have discovered as great love 
of country, or a greater contempt of death, than these barbarians 
have done when life and liberty came in competition. Indeed, I think 
our Indians have outdone the Romans. . . . They are the fiercest 
and most formidable people in North America, and at the same time 
as politic and judicious as can well be conceived." 

Although exterminating wars were waged between the Dutch and 
the Westchester Indians, in which both sides were perfectly rapacious, 
it was the general policy of the Dutch to deal with the natives ami- 
cablv and to attain their great object, the acquirement of the land, by 
the forms of purchase, with such incidental concessions of the sub- 
stance as might be required by circumstances. The goods given in ex- 
chanoe for the lands comprised a variety of useful articles, such as 
tools! hatchets, kettles, cloth, firearms, and ammunition, with trin- 
kets for ornament and the always indispensable rum. The simplicity 
of the natives in their dealings with the whites is the subject of many 
entertaining narratives. " The man with the red clothes now distrib- 
uted presents of beads, axes, hoes, stockings, and other articles, and 
made them understand that he would return home and come again to 
see them, brin<r them more presents, and stay with them awhile, but 
should want a little land to sow some seeds, in order to raise herbs to 
put in their broth. . . . They rejoiced much at seeing each other 
again, but the whites laughed at them, seeing that they knew not the 
use of the axes, hoes, and the like they had given them, they having 


had those hanging to their breasts as ornaments, and the stockings 
t hoy had made use of as tobacco pouches. The whites now put handles 
or helves in the former, and cut trees down before their eves, and dug 
the ground, and showed them the use of the stockings. Here a gen- 
eral laughter ensued among the Indians, that they had remained for 
so long a time ignorant of the use of so valuable implements, and had 
borne with the weight of such heavy metal hanging to their necks for 
such a length of time. . . . Familiarity daily increasing between 
them and the whites, the latter now proposed to stay with them, ask- 
ing for only so much land as the hide of a bullock would cover or en- 
compass, which hide was brought forward and spread on the ground 
before them. That they readily granted this request; whereupon the 
whites took a knife and beginning at one place on this hide cut it up 
into a rope not thicker than the finger of a little child, so that by the 
time the hide 1 was cut up there was a great heap; that this rope was 
drawn out to a great distance ami then brought round again, so that 
the ends might meet; that they carefully avoided its breaking, and 
that upon the whole it encompassed a large piece of land; that they 
were surprised at the superior wit of the whites, but did not wish to 
contend with them about a little land, as they had enough; that they 
and the whites lived for a long time contentedly together, although 
the whites asked from time to time more land of them, and proceeding 
higher up the Mohicanituk they believed they would soon want the 
whole country." 

The first purchase of Indian lands in what is now New York State 
was that of Manhattan Island, which was announced in a letter dated 
November 5, 1626, from P. Schaghen, the member of the States-Gen- 
eral of Holland attending the k ' Assembly of the XIX." of the West 
India Company, to his colleagues in The Hague. This letter con- 
veyed the information that a ship had arrived the day before bringing 
news from the new settlement, and that "They have bought the 
island Manhattes from the wild men for the value of sixty guilders " 

$24 of our money. The acquisition of title to the site of what has 
become the second commercial entrepot of the world for so ridiculous 
a sum — which, moreover, was paid not in money but iu goods — is a 
familiar theme for moralizing and didactic writers. Yet there can be 
no question that the value given the savages reasonably corresponded 
to honorable standards of equivalent recompense. The particular land 
with which they parted had to them no more worth than an equal area 
of the water of the river or the bay, except in the elementary regard 
that it was land, where man can abide, and not water, where he can 
not abide; while to the Dutch the sole worth lay in the chance of its 
ultimate development. On the other hand, the value received by the 

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settlers was an eminently substantial one, consisting of possessions 
having a practical economic utility beyond anything known to their 
previous existence. " A metal kettle, a spear, a knife, a hatchet, trans- 
formed the whole life of a savage. A blanket was to him a whole 
wardrobe." Moreover, the moral phases of such a bargain can not 
fairly be scrutinized by any fixed conception of the relative values in- 
volved. It was purely a bargain of friendly exchange for mutual con- 
venience and welfare. The Indians did not understand, and could 
not have been expected to understand, that it meant a formal and 
everlasting alienation of their lands; on the other hand, they deemed 
that they were covenanting merely to admit the whites peaceably to 
rights of joint occupancy. The amount of consideration paid by the 
latter has no relevancy to the merits of the transaction, which was 
honorable to both parties, resting, so far as the Dutch were con- 
cerned, upon the principle of purchase and recompense instead of 
seizure and spoliation, and, on the part of the Indians, upon the basis 
of amicable instead of hostile disposition. 

The principle of reciprocal exchange established in the purchase of 
Manhattan Island was adhered to in all the progressive advances 
made by the whites northward. Westchester County was never a 
squatter's paradise. Its lands were not grabbed by inrushing adven- 
turers upon the Oklahoma plan. De facto occupancy did not consti- 
tute a sufficient title to ownership on the part of the white settlers. 
Landed proprietorship was uniformly founded upon deeds of pur- 
chase from the original Indian owners. The rivalries between the 
Dutch and English, culminating in the overthrow of the former by 
conquest, were largely occasioned by antagonistic claims to identical 
strips of land — claims supported on both sides by Indian deeds of sale. 

But the right to buy land from the Indians was not a. necessary 
natural right inhering in any white settler. The government, upon 
the well-known principle of the supreme right of discovery, assumed 
a fundamental authority in the disposal of lands, and hence arose the 
numerous land grants and land patents to specified persons, which 
were based, however, under both Dutch and English law, upon pre- 
vious extinguishment of the Indian title by deeds of sale. It is well 
here to more clearly understand the principles underlying this govern- 
mental assumption. They have been thus stated : 

Upon the discovery of this continent the great nations of Europe, eager to appropriate as 
much of it as possible, and conceiving that the character and religion of its inhabitants 
afforded an apology for considering them as a people over whom the superior genius of 
Europe might claim an ascendancy, adopted, as by common consent, this principle : 

That discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects, or under whose authority, it 
was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by 
possession. Hence if the country he discovered and possessed hy emigrants of an existing 


and acknowledged government, the possession is deemed taken for the nation, and title must 
he derived from the sovereign in whom the power to dispose of vacant territory is vested In- 

Resulting from this principle was that of the sole right of the discoverer to acquire the 
soil from the natives and establish settlements, either by purchase or by conquest. Hence 
also the exclusive right can not exist in government and at the same time in private individu- 
als ; and hence also 

The natives were recognized as rightful occupants, hut their power to dispose of the soil 
at their own will to whomsoever they pleased was denied by the original fundamental prin- 
ciple that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it. 

The ultimate dominion was asserted, and. as a consequence, a power to grant the soil while 
yet in the possession of the natives. Hence such dominion was incompatible with an absolute 
and complete title in the Indians. Consequently they had no right to sell to any other than 
the government of the first discoverer, nor to private citizens without the sanction of that 
government. Hence the Indians were to be considered mere occupants to be protected indeed 
while in peaceable possession of their lands, but with an incapacity of transferring the abso- 
lute title to others. 1 

In many of the old Indian title deeds various conditional clauses ap- 
pear, the savages reserving to themselves certain special rights. For 
example, it was at times specified that they should retain the Avhite- 
wood trees, from which they constructed their "dugout" canoes. 
They always remained on (he lands after sale, continuing their former 
habits of life until forced by the steady extension of white settlement 
to fall back farther into the wilderness. Having no conception of the 
principles of civilized law, and no idea of the binding effect of con- 
tracts, they seldom realized that the mere act of signing over their 
lands to t he whites was a necessarily permanent release of them. They 
were incapable of comprehending any other idea of ownership than ac- 
tual physical possession, and in cases where lands were not occupied 
promptly after sale they assumed that no change had transpired, and 
thus frequently the same territory would be formally sold two or 
three times over. IieMdes, they considered that it was their natural 
right at all times to forcibly seize lands that had been sold, expel the 
settlers, and then resell them. The boundaries of sub-tribal jurisdic- 
tion were necessarily indefinite, and consequently deeds of sale by the 
Indians of one locality would frequently cover portions of lands con- 
veyed by those of another, which led to much confusion. 

The military power of the Indians of Westchester County was de- 
stroyed forever as a result of the war of K;4: > >-4.') with the Dutch. But 
it was not until after the close of the seventeenth century that the last 
vestiges of their legal ownership of lands in the county disappeared. 
In succeeding chapters of this History their relation to the progress of 
events and to the gradual development of the county during the period 
of their organized continuance in it will receive due notice, and it is 
not necessary in the present connection to anticipate that portion of 

•Moultnifs Hist, of >>w Vork, .111 


uur narrative. What is known of their ultimate fate as a people may, 
however, appropriately be related here. 

During the Dutch Avars many hundreds of them were slain and some 
of their principal villages were given to the flames. It is estimated 
that in a single Indian community (near the present village of Bed- 
ford), which was surrounded, attacked, and burned at midnight, more 
than five hundred of them perished before the merciless onslaught of 
the whites. After the peace of 1015 their remaining villages, being 
absorbed one by one in the extensive land purchases and grants, were 
by degrees abandoned. The continuance of the Indian on the soil was 
entirely incompatible with its occupancy by the white man. The 
country, by being converted to the uses of agriculture, became un- 
adapted to the pursuits of the natives, as it was quickly deserted by 
the game. The wild animals fled to the forest solitudes, and the wild 
menfollowed them, until only small groups, and finally isolated fami- 
lies and individuals, remained. The locality called Indian Hill, in the 
Town of Yorktown, is still pointed out as the spot where the last lin- 
<rerino- band of Indians in Westchester County had its abiding place. 
& The historian of the Town of Rye, the late Rev. Charles W. Baircl, 
gives the following particulars (typical for the whole county) of the 
gradual fading away of the Indians of that locality: 

The fullest account of the condition of the Indians of Rye is that of Rev. Mr Muirson. 
"As to the Indians, the natives of the country," he says, m a letter to the Gospel 
Propagation Society in January, 1708, - they are a decaying people. We have now in all 
this parish twenty families, whereas not many years ago there were several hundred. . . 

I have taken some pains to teach some of them, but to no purpose, for they seem regardless 
of instruction." Long after the settlement of the town there were Indians hying within its 
bounds, some of them quite near the village, but the greater number hack m the wilderness 
that still overspread the northern part of Rye. This was the case in most of the Connecticut 
towns the law obliging the inhabitants to reserve to the natives a sufficient quantity of plant- 

except as slaves. Tradition states that in old times a band of Indians used to visit Rye once 
a year, resorting to the beach, where they had a frolic which lasted several days. Another 
place which they frequented as late, certainly, as the middle of the last century, was a spot on 
Grace Church Street, at the corner of the road now called Kirby Avenue Here a troop of 
[ndians would come every year and spend the night in a « pow-wow, during which their 
cries and veils would keep the whole neighborhood awake. 

Removing, for the most part, northward, the remnants of the West- 
chester Indians became merged in the kindred tribes of the Mohican 
nation, whirl, stretched to the limits of the Mohawk country above 
Albany, and followed their destinies. The Mohicans, though vastly 
reduced in numbers and territorial possessions, still retained an or- 
ganized existence and some degree of substantial power until after 
the Revolution. Having constantly sustained friendly relations with 













the settlers, it was naturally with the colonists that their sympathies 
were enlisted when the struggle with Great Britain began. As early 
as Vpril 1774, a message was dispatched by the provincial congress 
of Massachusetts to the Mohicans and Wappingers at their principal 
village, Westeiihuch, on the western side of the Hudson just below Co- 
hoes Falls, with a letter requesting their cooperation in the impending 
conflict. The letter was addressed " To ( :aptain Solomon Ahkannu-au- 
waumut, chief sachem of the Moheackonuck Indians." Captain Solo- 
mon thereupon journeyed to Boston, where, in reply to the communi- 
cation from the congress, he delivered the following impressive ad- 
dress : 

Brothers : We have heard you speak by your letter ; we thank you for it : we now make 

answer. T , 

Brothers : You remember when you first came over the great waters, I was great and you 
were very little, very small. I then took you in for a friend, and kept you under my arms, 
so that no one might injure you ; since that time we have ever been true friends ; there has 
never been any qnarrerbetween us. But now our conditions are changed. You have become 
..-rent and tall' You reach the clouds. You are seen all around the world, and I am become 
small, very little. I am not so high as your heel. Now you take care of me, and I look to 
you for protection. , , -, ^ n ^ Ti 

* Brothers : I am sorry to hear of this great quarrel between you and old England, it ap- 
pears that blood must soon be shed to end this quarrel. We never till this day understood 
the foundation of this quarrel between you and the country you came from. 

Brothers : Whenever I see vour blood running, you will soon find me about to revenge my 
brothers' blood. Although I am low and very small, I will gripe hold of your enemy's heel, 
that he cannot run so fast and so light as if he had nothing at his heels. 

Brothers : You know that I am not so wise as you are, therefore I ask your advice m what 
I am now going to say. I have been thinking, before you come to action, to take a run to the 
westward, and feel the mind of my Indian brethren, the Six Nations, and know how they stand; 
whether they are on vour side or for your enemies. If 1 find they are against you, 1 will try 
to turn their minds. ' I think they will listen to me, for they have always looked tins way for 
advice concerning all important news that comes from the rising of the sun. If they hearken 
to me you will not be afraid of any danger behind you. However their minds are aftected 
you shall soon know by me. Now I think I can do you more service m this way than by 
marching off immediately to Boston and staying there ; it may be a great while before blood 
runs. Now. as I said, you are wiser than I ; I leave this for your consideration, whether I 
come down immediately or wait till I hear some blood is spilled. 

Brothers : I would not have you think by this that we are falling back from our engage- 
ments We are ready to do anything for your relief and shall be guided by your eounsels. 

Brothers : One thing I ask of you, if you send for me to fight, that you let me fight in my 
own Indian way. I am not usecl to fight English fashion, therefore you must not expect I 
can train like your men. Only point out to me where your enemies keep and that is all that 
I shall want to know. 

After the battle of Lexington, a year later, the Mohican braves 
marched to the theater of war in Massachusetts, arriving in time to 
participate in the battle of Bunker Hill. Subsequently, addressing a 
council which met at German Flats in this State and held adjourned 
sessions at Albany, Captain Solomon pledged anew the support of the 
Mohicans to the American cause. 

« Depend upon it," he said, " we are true to you and mean to join you. Wherever you go 
we shall be by vour sides. Our bones shall lie with yours. We are determined never to be 


at peace with the redcoats while they are at variance with you. We have one favor to beg. 
We should be glad if you would help us to establish a minister amongst us. that when our 
men are gone to war our women and children may have the advantage of being instructed by 
him. If we are conquered, our lands go with yours ; but if you are victorious, we hope you 
will help us recover our just rights." 

For about live years the Mohicans continued to serve as volunteers 
in the patriot army. " being generally attached," says Washington, in 
one of his letters, " to the light corps.*' and. he adds, conducting them- 
selves " with great propriety and fidelity." They were present, and 
fought with conspicuous valor, in a number of sanguinary encounters 
with the enemy in Westchester County. "At White Plains, in Oc- 
tober, 1770Y" says Ruttenber. "their united war cry, Woach, Woach, 
Ha, Ha, Hach, Woach! rang out as when of old they had disputed the 
supremacy of the Dutch, and their blood mingled with that of their 
chosen allies.*' 

In the spring of 177s, as a portion of the forces detached under 
Lafayette to check the depredations of the British on their retreat 
from Philadelphia, they assisted in the routing of the enemy in the 
engagement at Barren Hill. In -Inly and August of the same year, 
being stationed in Westchester County, they performed highly valu- 
able services, culminating in their memorable fight, August 31, 1778, 
at Cortlandt's Ridge, in the Town of Yonkers, where, according to the 
British commander, they lost "near forty killed or desperately 
wounded," about half their number. In this light they first attacked 
the British from behind the fences, and then fell back among the 
rocks, where for some time they defied all efforts made to dislodge 
Them. They were charged by an overwhelming force of cavalry, but 
as the horses rode them down "the Indians seized the legs of their 
foes and dragged them from their saddles." Their chief, Nimham, 
king of the Wappingers, finally counseled his followers to save them- 
selves, adding, however, " As for myself, I am an aged tree; I will die 
here." When ridden down by Simcoe he wounded that officer and 
was about to pull him from his saddle when shot dead by an orderly. 

In 1780 the surviving remnant of the Mohican warriors, some 
twenty men, were honorably discharged from the army, and returned 
to their homes. It was upon this occasion that Washington wrote 
the letter above alluded to. which was a communication to congress, 
requesting that suitable measures be Taken to provide them with 
necessary clothing. 

With The close of the Revolution the history of the Mohicans as a 
people ends completely, and even their name vanishes. From that 
time they are known no longer as Mohicans, but as " Stockbridge In- 
dians," from the name of a town in central New York, to which they 
removed. Leaving their ancient seats at the headwaters of the Hud- 


sou, they settled in 1783-88 near the Oneidas. They received a tract 
of land six miles square in Augusta (Oneida County) and Stockbridge 
(Madison County ) . This tract they subsequently ceded to white pur- 
chasers by twelve different treaties, executed in the years 1818, 1822, 
1823, 1825, 182G, 1827, 1829, and 1830. Some of them removed in 1818 
to the banks of the White River, in Indiana, and a large number, in 
1821, to lands ou the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers, in Wisconsin, which, 
with other New York Indians, they had bought from the Menominees 
and Winnebagoes. The Stockbridge tribe numbered 120 souls in 
1785 and i'AS in 1818. 

Physically the Indians of Westchester County, as of this entire por- 
tion of the country, were remarkable specimens of manhood, capable 
of marvelous feats of endurance and free from most of the diseases in- 
cident to civilized society. The early European writers testify with- 
out exception that there were none among them afflicted with bodily 
deformities. The women delivered their young with singular ease, 
and immediately after labor were able to resume the ordinary duties 
of life. The appearance and general physical characteristics of the 
Indians are thus described by Van der Donck : 

Thev are well shaped and strong, having pitch-hlack and lank hair, as coarse as a horse's 
tail, broad shoulders, small waist, brown eyes, and snow-white teeth ; they are of a sallow 
color, abstemious in food and drink. Water satisfies their thirst; flesh meat and fish are 
prepared alike. Thev observe no set time for meals. Whenever hunger demands the time 
for eating arrives. Whilst hunting they live some days on roasted corn carried about the 
person in a bag. . . . Their clothing is most sumptuous. The women ornament them- 
selves more than the men. And although the winters are very severe, they go naked until 
their thirteenth vear ; the lower parts of the girls' bodies alone are covered. All wear 
around the waist a girdle made of seawant (shells). They bedeck themselves with hair tied 
witli small bands. The hair is of a scarlet color and surpassing brilliancy, which is perma- 
nent and ineffaceable by rain. The women wear a petticoat down midway the legs, very 
richly ornamented with seawant. They also wrap the naked body in a deerskin, the tips ot 
which swing with their points. . . . Both go for the most part bareheaded. . 
Around the neck and arms they wear bracelets of seawant, and some around the waist. 
Moccasins are made of elk hides. . . . The men paint their faces of many colors. The 
women lay on a black spot only here and there. . . . Both are uncommonly faithful. 

Although their society was upon the monogamous plan, and none 
of the common people took more than one wife, it was not forbidden 
the chiefs to follow their inclinations in this respect. " Great and 
powerful chiefs," says Van der Donck, " frequently have two, three, or 
four wives, of the neatest and handsomest of women, who live together 
without variance." As the life of the Indian was spent in constant 
struggle against most severe conditions of existence, sensuality was 
quite foreign to his nature. This is powerfully illustrated by the al- 
most uniformly respectful treatment accorded female prisoners of 
war. As a victor the North American Indian was entirely merciless 
and cruel. His adult male captives were nearly always doomed to 


death, and if not slain immediately after the battle were reserved for 
slow torture. But the women who fell into his hands were seldom 
violated. Such forbearance was of course dictated in no way by sen- 
timent. The women, in common with the young children, were re- 
garded by the conquerors merely as accessions to their numbers. Un- 
chastity was an exceptionally rare thing among the married females; 
and in no other particular do the different accounts of the natives 
given by the earliest observers agree more markedly than in the state- 
ment that both the women and the girls were peculiarly modest in 
their demeanor. The Dutch farmers occasionally took Indian women 
for their wives, refusing to abandon them for females of their own 

One of the most curious domestic institutions of the Indians of this 
region was the sweating bath, " made," says Van der Donck, " of 
earth and lined with clay." " A small door serves as an entrance. 
The patient creeps in, seats himself down, and places heated stones 
around the sides. Whenever he hath sweated a certain time, he 
immerses himself suddenly in cold water; from which he derives great 
security from all sorts of sickness." Of medical science they knew T 
nothing, except how to cure wounds and hurts. They used for many 
purposes an oil extracted from the beaver, which also was consid- 
ered by the Dutch to possess great virtues. Upon the " medicine 
man, 1 ' who was supposed to effect cures by supernatural powers, their 
reliance in the more serious cases of sickness was mainly placed. 

Inured to abstemiousness by the rigors of his lot and but little dis- 
posed to sexual gratification, the Indian yet fell an easy victim, and 
speedily became an abject slave, to strong drink. It was not the taste 
but the stimulating properties of the white man's rum which en- 
thralled him. Hudson relates that when he first offered the intoxicat- 
ing cup to his Indian visitors while at anchor in New York Bay, they 
one and all refused it after smelling the liquor and touching their 
lips to it. But finally one of their number, fearing that offense might 
be taken at their rejection of it, made bold to swallow it, and ex- 
perienced great exhilaration of spirits in consequence, which led his 
companions to follow his example, with like pleasing effects. Robert 
Juet, the mate of the " Half Moon,'' gravely says in his journal : " Our 
master and his mate determined to try some of the cheefe men of the 
country, whether they had any treachery in them. So they took them 
down into the cabin, and gave them so much wine and aquse vitse that 
thev were all verv merie)' 1 Rum, or rather distilled liquor of every 

i The name of Manhattan Island is popularly ahaehtanienk. which, in the Delaware Ian- 
supposed to commemorate these joyous inebrie- guage, means ' the island where we all became 
ties Heckewelder savs: " They called it Man- intoxicated.'" Most popular writers have 


kind, soon came to be valued by the savages above every other article they obtained from the whites, and it played a very important part 
both in promoting intercourse and in hastening their destruction. A 
chief of the Six Nations, in a speech delivered before the commission- 
ers of the Tinted States at Fort Stanwix, in 1788, said: "The avidity 
of the white people for land and the thirst of the Indians for spirituous 
liquors were equally insatiable; that the white men had seen and 
fixed their eyes upon the Indian's good land, and the Indians had seen 
and fixed their eyes on the white man's keg of rum. And nothing 
could divert either of them from their desired object; and therefore 
there was no remedy but that the while men must have the land and 
the Indians the keg of rum." 

The Indian character has always been a matter of the most varied 
accounts and estimates. While there is no room for disagreement or 
misunderstanding about its more prominent separate traits, views 
of it in its general aspect are extremely divergent, ami extensive as 
is the literature bearing upon this subject there exists no single pres- 
entation of the Indian character in its proportions, at least from a 
familiar pen, that entirely rills and satisfies tin- mind. Longfellow's 
" Hiawatha " and Cooper's Indian actions bring out the romantic and 
heroic phases; but no powerful conception of the Indian type, except 
in the department of song and story, has yet been given to literature. 

There is one safe starting point, and only one, for a correctly bal- 
anced estimate of the Indian. He was essentially a physical being. 
Believing both in a supreme good deity and an evil spirit, and also in 
an existence after death, religion was not, however, a predominating 
factor and influence in his life and institutions. In this respect he 
differed from most aboriginal and peculiar types. Of a stolid, stoical, 
and phlegmatic nature, possessing little imagination, he was neither 
capable of spiritual exaltation nor characteristically subject to super- 
stitious awe and fear. Idolatrous practices he had none. Among all 
the objects of Indian handiwork that have come down to us— at least 
such as belong to this section of the country, — including the remains of 
pre-Europeau peoples, there are none that are suggestive of worship. 
He appears to have had no fanatic ceremonials except those of the 
"medicine man," which were extemporized functions for immediate 

■t .if n 

tics for different derivations— which ar 
ceedingly varied — by Mr. William W 
Tooker. in the " Brooklyn Eagle Almanac 

___s History lie says: " If the deri- 
Heckewelder gives is accurate, Van der 
would not have written: ' In the In- 
mmm?P8. which are rich and expressive, 

1897, ni». 270-281. M 

lt the they have no word to express drunkenness. 
conclusion thai the earliest form of the word Drunken men they call fools."" 
Manhattan, so far as has been discovered, was 


physical ends rather than regularly ordained formularies expressive 
of a real system of abstractions. He was a pare physical barbarian. 
His conceptions of principles of right and wrong, of social obligations, 
and of good and bad conduct, wore limited to experience and customs 
having no other relations than to physical well being. Thus there was 
neither sensibility nor grossness in his character, and thus he stood 
solitary and aloof from tin- rest of mankind. All sensitive and imagi- 
native races, like those of Mexico, South America, the West Indies, 
and the Orient, easily commingle with European conquerors; ami the 
same is true of strictly gross peoples, like the heathenish native tribes 
of Africa. Sensibility and grossness, like genius and insanity, are, in- 
deed, closely allied; where either quality is present it affords the fun- 
damentals of social communion for cultivated man, but where both are 
lacking no possible basis for association exists. In these and like re- 
flections may perhaps be found the true key to the character of the 

As we have indicated, the religion of the Westchester and kindred 
Indians did not rise to the dignity of a defined institution. By the 
term, the Indian religion, we understand only a set of elementary be- 
liefs, unaccompanied by an establishment of any kind. The Great 
Spirit of the Indians of this locality was called Cantantowit, who was 
good, all-wise, and all-powerful, and to whose happy hunting grounds 
they hoped to go after death, although their beliefs also comprehended 
the idea of exclusion from those realms of such Indians as were re- 
garded by him with displeasure. The Spirit of Evil they called Hob- 
baniocko. The home of Cantantowit they located in the southwest, 
whence came the fair winds; ami they accordingly interred their dead 
in a sitting position with their faces looking in that direction and their 
valuable possessions, including food for the soul's journey, beside 
them. The customs and ceremonials attending decease and sepnltnre 
are thus described by Knttenber: 

When death occurred the next of kin closed the eyes of the deceased. The men made no 
noise over the dead, but the women made frantic demonstrations of grief, striking their 
breasts, tearing their faces, and calling loudly the name of the deceased day and night. 
Their loudest lamentations were on the death of their sons and husbands. On such occasions 
they cut off their hair and bound it on the grave in the presence of all their relatives, painted 
their faces pitch black, and in a deerskin jerkin mourned the dead a full year In burying 
their dead the body was placed in a sitting posture, and beside it were placed a pot, kettle, 
platter, spoon, and money and provisions for use in the other world. Wood was then placed 
around the body, and the whole covered with earth and stones, outside of which palisades 
were erected, fastened in such a manner that the tomb resembled a little house. To these 
tombs great respect was paid, and to violate them was deemed an unpardonable provocation. 

To review the separate aspects of their social life and economy, in- 
cluding their domestic arrangements, their arts and manufactures, 
their agriculture, their trade relations with one another, and the like 


incidental details, would require much more space than can be given 
in these pages. For such more minute particulars the reader is re- 
ferred to the various formal works on the North American Indian. It 
will suffice to present some of the more prominent outlines. 

Their houses, says Ruttenber, were, for the most part, built after 
one plan, differing only in length. They were formed by long, slender 
hickory saplings set in the ground, in a straight line of two rows, as far 
asunder as they intended the width to be, and the rows continuing as 
far as they intended the length to be. The poles were then bent to- 
ward each other in the form of an arch and secured together, giving 
the appearance of a garden arbor. Split poles were then lathed up 
the sides and the roof, and over this was bark, lapped on the ends and 
edges, which was kept in its place by withes to the lathings. A hole 
was left in the roof for smoke to escape, and a single door of entrance 
was provided. Barely exceeding twenty feet in width, these houses 
were sometimes a hundred and eighty yards long. " In those places," 
says Van der Donck, fct they crowd a surprising number of persons, 
and it is surprising to see them out in open day." From sixteen to 
eighteen families occupied one house, according to its size. 

Of the manufacture of metals they had no knowledge. All their 
weapons, implements, and utensils were fashioned from stone, wood, 
shells, bone, and other animal substances, and clay. Their most note- 
worthy manufactured relics are probably their specimens of pottery. 
Mr. Alexander C. Chenoweth draws some interesting deductions as 
to the processes of pottery manufacture prevalent in early times from 
his examinations of specimens that he has unearthed. He says : 

They could fashion earthen jars with tasteful decorations, manufacture cloth, and twist 
fibers into cords. They had several methods of molding their pottery. One was to make 
a mold of basket work and press the clay inside. In baking, the basket work was burned 
off, leaving its imprint to be plainly seen on the outside of the jar. Other forms show that a 
coarse cloth or a net was used for the same purpose. Another method of molding, some- 
times employed, was to twist clay in long rolls and lay it spirally to form a vessel or jar, the 
folds being pressed together. This kind of vessel breaks easily along the spiral folds, as the 
method does not insure a good union between the layers. The vessels range in size from a 
few inches in circumference to four feet, the depth being in proportion to the diameter. 
The study of the decoration and method employed reveal the implements used for that pur- 
pose. The imprint of a finger nail is clearly defined on some of the rudest as a decoration. 
Others show the imprint of a coarse netting or cloth, while the edge of an escallop shell or 
clam shell was often used. Pointed sticks, wedge-shaped sticks, and straws were also com- 
mon implements for decorating with. These people twisted fibers, from which they made 

Their numerous weapons, implements, and utensils of stone — in- 
cluding mortars and pestles, axes, hatchets, adzes, gouges, chisels, 
cutting tools, skinning tools, perforators, arrow and spear heads, 
scrapers, mauls, hammer-stones, sinkers, pendants, pierced tablets, 
polishers, pipes, ami ceremonial stones — of all of which specimens 



have been found in Westchester County, were very well wrought, and, 
considering the extreme difficulties attending their fabrication on ac- 
count of the entire absence of metal tools, bear high testimony to the 
perseverance and ingenuity of the Indians as artificers. They had 
great art in dressing skins, using smooth, wedge-shaped stones to rub 
and work the pelts into a pliable shape. They produced fire by rap- 
idly turning a wooden stick, fitted in a small cavity of another piece 
of wood, between their hands until ignition was effected. When they 
wished to make one of their more dur- 
able canoes they had first to fell a suit- 
able tree, a task which, on account of the 
insufficiency of their tools, required much 
labor and time. Being unable to cut 
down a tree with their stone axes, they 
resorted to fire, burning the tree around 
its trunk and removing the charred por- 
tion with their stone implements. This 
was continued until the tree fell. Then 
they marked the length to be given to 
the canoe, and resumed at the proper 
place the process of burning and re- 

Their agriculture was exceedingly 
primitive. They raised only one princi- 
pal crop — maize, or Indian com. Quite 
extensive fields of this were grown. In 
addition, they planted the sieva bean, 
the pumpkin, and tobacco. For culti- 
vating their fields they used only a hoe 

made of a clam shell or the shoulder blade of a deer. They had no 
domestic animals to assist them in their agricultural labors and 
provide them with manure for the refreshment of their exhausted 
lands and with food products— no horses, sheep, swine, oxen, or 
poultry; and even their dogs were mere miserable mongrels. It is 
said that they used fish for fertilizing the soil, but this use must 
have been on an extremely limited scale. 

The extent and character of the trade relations between the Indians 
of the same tribe and those of different tribes can only be inferred 
from known facts which render it unquestionable that such relations 
existed For instance, tobacco, which was in universal use among 
the aborigines of North America, had to be obtained by exchange m 
all localities unadapted by climate and soil to its growth. The cop- 
per ornaments remarked by Hudson on the persons of the Indians 



whom lit- met in New York Bay must have been wrought out of metal 
obtained by barter or capture from distant parts of the country, since 
no deposits of native copper exist in this region. And Indian relics 
of various kinds are constantly found which bear no connection to the 
prevailing remains of the locality where discovered, but on the other 
hand are perfectly characteristic of other localities. 

For purposes of exchange, as well as for ornament, the Indians 
used wampum, a name given to a certain class of cylindrical beads, 
usually one-fourth of an inch long and drilled lengthwise, which were 
chiefly manufactured from the shells of the common hard-shell (dam 
( \rnus mercciiuria). The blue or violet portions of the shells furnished 
the material for the dark wampum, which was held in much higher 
estimation than that made of the white portions, or of the spines of 
certain univalves. According to Roger Williams, one of the earliest 
New England writers on the Indians, six of the white beads and 
three of the blue were equivalent to an English penny. The author 
of an instructive treatise on k ' Ancient and Aboriginal Trade in North 
America" 1 (from which some of the details in the preceding pages 
are taken) says of the wampum belts, so often mentioned in connec- 
tion with the history of the eastern tribes: 

Thev consisted of broad straps of leather, upon which white and blue wampum-beads were 
sewed In rows, being so arranged that by the contrast of the light and dark colors certain 
figures were produced. The Indians, it is well known, exchanged these belts at the conclu- 
sion of peace, and on other solemn occasions, in order to ratify the transaction, and to per- 
petuate the remembrance of the event. When sharp admonitions or threatening demonstra- 
tions were deemed necessary, the wampum belts likewise played a part, and they were even 
sent as challenges of war. In these various cases the arrangement of the colors and the 
tigures of the belts corresponded to the object in view : on peaceable occasions the white 
color predominated ; if the complications were of a serious character, the dark prevailed ; 
and in case of a declaration of war, it is stated, the belt was entirely of a somber hue, and, 
moreover, covered with red paint, while there appeared in the middle the figure of a hatchet 
executed in white. The old accounts, however, are not quite accordant concerning these 
details, probably because the different Atlantic tribes followed in this particular their own 
taste rather than a general rule. At any rate, however, the wampum belts were considered 
as objects of importance, being, as has been stated, the tokens by which the memory of 
remarkable events was transmitted to posterity. They were employed somewhat in the 
manner of the Peruvian guipu, which they also resembled in that particular, that their mean- 
ing could not be conveyed without oral comment. At certain times the belts were exhibited, 
and their relations to former occurrences explained. This was done by the aged and experi- 
enced of the tribe, in the presence of the young men, who made themselves thoroughly 
acquainted with the shape, size, and marks of the belts, as well as with the events they were 
destined to commemorate, in order to be able to transmit these details to others at a future 
time. Thus the wampum belts represented the archives of polished nations. Among the 
Iroquois tribes, who formed the celebrated " league," there was a special keeper of the wam- 
puni. whose duty it was to preserve the belts and to interpret their meaning, when required. 

The civil institutions of the Mohican Indians were democratic, 
showing but slight modifications of the purely democratic principle. 

Charles Ran, Government Printing Office. 1873. 


" Though this people,*' says Van der Donck, " do not make such a dis- 
tinction between man and man as ether nations, yet they have high 
and low families, inferior and superior chiefs." Their rulers were 
called sachems, the title usually remaining hereditarily in the family, 
although the people claimed the right of election. It does not appear 
that the sachems ever assumed oppressive powers, or, on the other 
hand, that rebellious or intrigues against their authority were ever 
undertaken to any noticeable extent. The sachem remained with the 
tribe at all times, and was assisted in the government by certain coun- 
selors or chiefs, elected by the people. There was a chief called a 
w> hero," who was chosen for established courage and prudence in war; 
another called an " owl," who was required to have a good memory 
and be a fluent speaker, and who sat beside the sachem in council and 
proclaimed his orders; and a third called a " runner," who carried mes- 
sages and convened councils. The Indian sachems and chiefs of the 
Hudson have left no names familiar to the general reader — certainly 
none comparable with those of Massasoit, Miantonomoh, Uncas, and 
Philip, of New England, or Powhattan, of Virginia. Even to the local 
historian, indeed, their names have little importance beyond that at- 
taching to them from their connection with notable transfers of land 
and with rivers, lakes, and localities to which they have been applied. 

In the geographical nomenclature of Westchester County, as well 
as of the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, are preserved 
numerous permanent memorials of the vanished aboriginal race. The 
following article on the pure or derived Indian names of our county 
has been compiled specially for this work. It is not, however, pre- 
sented with any claim to minute completeness. 



The Amerindian names of localities in Westchester County represent several dialectical 
variations of the great Algonquian language. While some are of the Mohegan dialect and 
akin to those of Connecticut, others partake more of the Delaware or Lenape characteristics 
as spoken in New Jersev and Pennsylvania. Where either of these have been retained unchanged 
in their phonetic elements, and without the loss of a syllable or initial letter, the task of 
identification and translation of their components has been comparatively easy. Many, 
however that have been handed down colloquially without having been recorded m deed or 
record, have become so altered that even the Amerind himself, should he reappear from the 
« happy hunting ground," would be utterly uuable to recognize the present sounds of the 
terms as part of his native speech. Those of the personal names bestowed on places are 
especially difficult to analyze, owing to their construction and the changes already noted 
Many of the place names were translated many years ago by Schoolcraft, Trumbull, and 
others, some correctlv, and others more often incorrectly. Some of the latter were so erro- 
neous that thev have' been passed by the writer without notice. The present attempts are 
based upon the comparative rules of Algonquian nomenclature, and are therefore not the 
hasty generalization of misapplied Chippeway root terms so often used by Schoolcraft and 

1 Recently adopted by the Bureau of Ethnology. 


followed by others The names mostly are descriptive appellations of the localities where 
originally bestowed, and as such do not differ from those retained in other parts of the coun- 
try where the same language was spoken. 

,lco»efco!mc£ — Var., 4<?ueanowncfc, Achqueehgeuom. Hutchinson s Creek, Eastchester 
Creek, and a locality in West Farms. The variations of this term are quite numerous. 
Delaware, A chwowdngeu, "high bank." See Aquehung, another variant. . 

Alipkonck.—«A place of elms." This interpretation, given by Schoolcraft in 1844, is 
probably correct. Allowing for the interchange or permutation of / and w, as well as b and 
p, occurring in many dialects, we find its parallel in the Otchipwe Anip, Abnaki, anibi, « elm 
tree," which with the locative completes the analysis. 

t pawquammis.— Var., ^awammeis, /Ipawami's, Epawames. Budd s .Neck, m Rye. ihe 
main stem of this name. Appoqua, signifies « to coyer;" TOS, " the stock or trunk ot a tree 
a generic, heme -the covering tree." possibly a descriptive term for the lurch tree, and used 

** AppamaghpTgT— Var. s Apparaghpogh. Lands near Verplanck's Point, also a locality east 
of Cortlandt. The main stem of this term is the same as that in the previous name, with the 
suffix paug, - a water-place " or « pond." -The (lodge) covering water-place," i.e., a place 
where the cat-tail Hag ( Typha latifolia) was cut. The Hags were used for mats and covering 
wigwams. „ T , , . , 

Aquehung.— A locality on the Bronx River. The name of Staten Island is the same, 
Acquehonga, « a high bank or bluff;" also Hocbjueiud; "on high." 

Apwonnah.— Rye. It means "an oyster." or " the roasted shell-fish. 

Armonck. — See Cohamong. 

irmenperal.—Ynv., Armenperai. Sprain River. Probably greatly corrupted. Its mean- 
inghas not been ascertained. A district on the Schuylkill River, ^^•as called Armenveruis 
(Col. Hist. N. Y., Vol. I., p. 593), probably the same name, for the v should be p. 

iskewaen. — A personal name, meaning not ascertained. 

Ispetong.— A bold eminence in Bedford. The main stem or root of this term signifies 
"to raise up," aspej Eliot uses it in the form Ashpohtag, •• a height," which applies well to 
the locality. 

Isumsowis —A locality in Pelham ; a personal name probably. 

Bissightick.—VnT., Bisightick, a -creek." This probably means -a muddy creek, 
pissiqh-tuck ; Delaware, Assisk-tik. 

Be-tuck-qua-pock.—VM., petuquapaen (Van der Donck's map). Ibis was the "Dumpling 
pond," at Greenwich, Conn. P'tukqua-paug, -a round pond, or water-place. (See ± rum- 
bull's Names in Connecticut.) 

Canopus. — Name of a chieftain. 

Cantetoe.— In this form not a place name, but seemingly from Cantecoy, "to sing and to 
dance." Variation., Kante Kante, Cante Cante, etc. It may have been derived, however, 
from Pocantico, which see. . 

( 'atonah.— Var., Katonah, Ket-atonah, " great mountain." Said to he the name of a chief. 
Cantetoe, by some is said to he a variant of Catonah. 

Cisqua —See Kisco. It does not mean beaver-dam in its present form. 

Cohomong.— Var., Armonck, Comonck, Cob-a-mong (?) Hills, also Byram River, the bound- 
ary between Connecticut and New York. The termination denotes a fishing-place— amaug. 
\.s it was a boundary it may represent a survival of Chaubun-kongamaug, -the boundary 
er may have been an earlier boundary, and, as such, retained to the 

- in West Farms ; a -boundary-place." 

. < Schoolcraft suggests Kenotin, - the wind." 
ne | I prefer the Delaware Kloltin, -he contends." 
Euketaupucuson.— Var., Ekucketaupacuson. -A high ridge in Rye." also applied to Rye 
Woods. This name denotes a « place where a stream opens out or widens on both sides. 
; ,., overflows, generally where the stream Hows through low lands. 

Gowahasuasing.— A locality in West Farms. A Delaware form signifying « a place of 
briars," or -a place where there is a hedge," comes from the same elements. 
Hast co.— Sec Miosst hassaky. 



!." 1 


present ,1 





-A h 


A p, 



Honge. — Blind brook. Probably taken from Acquehung. 

Kisco. — See Keskistkonck. 

Kitchawong. — Var., Kicktawanc, Kechtawong, Klchtawan (Kussi-trhuan). C rot on River, 
denotes "a wild, dashing stream." First suggested by Schoolcraft. 

Kekeshick. — A locality in Yonkers. Ketch-auke, "the principal, or greatest place," prob- 
ably a palisaded inclosure. 

Kitchtawan. — Var., Kightowank. A locality in Sing Sing and in Cortlandt. Probably a 
variation of Kitchawong. 

Keskistkonck. — Var., Kisco, Keskisco, Cisqua. Originally an Indian village situated on the 
bank of a creek. Massachusetts, Kishketuk-ock, " land on the edge of a creek." 

Kestaubnuck. — Var., Kastoniuck (Keche-tauppen-auke). " The great encampment." A vil- 
lage of the Indians (Van der Donck's map). Schoolcraft was mistaken in deriving Nyack 
from this term. Nyack signifies " a point of land," and is the equivalent of the Long Island 
Nyack ("Kings County) Noyac (Suffolk County). 

Kiwigtignock. — Var., Keioightegnack, He-weghtiquack. An elbow of the Croton River. 
Whquae-tigu-ack, " land at head of the cove." Compare Wiq'uetaipiock, the cove at Stoning- 
ton, Conn. 

Laapha/rachking. — Pelham. None of the components warrant a translation " as a place of 
stringing heads." We woidd suggest rather "a plowed field or plantation." Lapechiua- 
hacking, " land again broken up " for cultivation. 

Maminketsuck. — A stream in Pelham. "A strong flowing brook," Manuhketsuck. Earlier- 
forms might suggest another interpretation. 

Mamaroneck. — A river, so named after Mamaronock, a chief who lived at Wiquaeskeck in 
1044. Variations, Moworronoke, Momoronah, etc. (Mohmo'-anock) " he assembles the people." 

Manursing. — An island. This form denotes a " little island." Minnewits, Minnefords, 
etc., was so called after Peter Minuit. 

Myanas. — Var., Meanau, Meanagh, Meahagh, Mehanos, etc., all seem to be simply varia- 
tions of the same name — a personal one, " he who gathers together." Mayanne was killed 
by Captain Patrick in 1643. 

Meghkeekassin. — Var., Amackassin, Mekhkakhsin, Makakassin. A large rock, noted as a 
landmark west of Neperah. Delaware, Meechek-achsinik, "at the bi<j rock." 

Mohegan. — The late Dr. D. O. Brinton follows Captain Ilendrick, a native Mohegan, in 
translating the name as " a people of the great waters which are constantly ebbing and 
flowing." The tribe would naturally reject a term which 
agree with Schoolcraft and Trumbull that it denotes the " ' 
corroborate it. See Creuxius's ma]) of 1<><><), for " Natio Li 

Mentipathe. — A small stream in West Farms. Probably 

Miosse hassaky. — Var., Haseco. " A great fresh mead 
name occurs in parts of New England ; Moshhassuck Riv< v, 

Mopus. — A brook in North Salem. A variant of Canopi 

Mockquams. — A brook in Rye. A variant from Apaioquc 
name from the possessive in s. 

Mosholu. — A brook in Yonkers. This looks like a made- 
rupted one. 

Muscoota. — "A meadow," or a place of rushes, sometimes applied to grassy flats bordering 

Mutighticoos. — Var., Mattegticos, Titicus. A personal name, probably the same as the 
Abnaki MattegKessft, "the hare." 

Nan,ichiestawack.—(Ynn der Donck's map.) Delaware, Nanatschitaw-ack, "a place of 
safety, i.e., a place to take care of," probably a palisaded inclosure erected for defense. 

Nappeckamack.—Va,T., Neperhan, Neppizan, etc. This name has been generally translated 
as the " rapid water settlement," which is evidently an error. The same name occurs on 
Long Island as Rapahamuck. Both the n and r are intrusive. The suffix, amack or amuck, 
denotes " a fishing-place "; the prefix appeh " a trap "; hence we have appeh-amack, " the trap 
fishing-place." Neperhan (apehhan) « a trap, snare, gin," etc. At the locality where the name 
was originally bestowed, the Indians probably had a weir for catching fish, and this tact gave 
rise to the name of the settlement. On Long Island Rapahamuck was at the mouth of a 


Aolf 1 

first applied b 
lation." All th 


others. 1 
early maps 



a per 

OW ol 

s (?) 
1 minis 

sonal name. 
■ marshy land. 
Providence, R. 

(?), or perha] 


The same 
a personal 

up n: 


Or else a 


reatly cor- 


,-reek called Suggamuck (m'sugge-amuck) "the bass fishing-place." Wood's N.E. Prospect, 
1634, says: " When they used to tide it in and out to the rivers and creekes with long seanes 
or basse nets, which stop in the fish, and the water ebbing from them, they are left on the 
dry -round, sometimes two or three thousand at a set." (See Brooklyn Eagle Almanac on 
•• Some Indian Fishing Stations Upon Long Island," 1895, pp. 54-57.) 

Noch Peem.— (Van der Donck.) Var., Noapain, Ochpeen (Map 1688). This name de- 
notes « a dwelling place," "an abode," "where we are," etc. Delaware, Achpeen, "a 
lodge," " dwelling." 

Nipnichsen. Indian village and castle near Spuyten Duyvil. The name denotes "a small 

pond or water-place." 

Onox. Eldest son of Ponus. Onux (wonnux) "the stranger." 

Ponus. — A chief ; he places (something). 
Patthunck. — A personal name; "pounding-mortar." 

Pachamitt.— (Van der Donck's map. ) Name of a tribe taken from the place where they 
lived, "at the turning-aside place." De Laet says : " Visher's Rack, that is the fisherman's 
bend," and here the eastern bank is inhabited by the Pachami, a little beyond where projects a 
sandy point." Pachanu, a sachem, takes his name also from tribe and place. 

Paunskapham.—A locality in Cortlandt. Probably this on exhaustive search will be found 
a personal name. 

Pasquasheck.—(Vsm der Donck.) Pasquiasheck, Pashquashic (Pasquesh-auke). "Land at 
the bursting forth," i. e., "at the outlet of a stream ;" an Indian village at the mouth of a 
stream. . 

Papirinemen.— Spuyten Duyvil Creek ; also place at north end of Manhattan Island. Inis 
name has a verbal termination denoting the act of doing something, a suffix not allowable m 
place names. Hence it was probably a personal name denoting « to parcel out," to divide, 
to divert, variation, Pewinenien. _ . 

Pechquinakonck.— (Van der Donck.) A locality in North Salem; probably originally an 
Indian village situated on high land. Pachquin-ak-onk, " at the land raised or lifted up." 

Pepemighting.—A river in Bedford. Pepe-rnightug, "the chosen-tree," probably a bound- 
ary mark originally. „■■•,-, i n 

Peppenegkek.—Yar., Peppeneghak, a river and pond in Bedford. Probably a boundary 
mark like the previous name ; " the chosen stake." 
Pockerhoe. — See Tuckahoe (?). 

Poningoe.— Var., Peningoe. Locality in Rye. Looks like a personal name, meaning not 

Pocantico.— Var., Pokanteco, Puegkanteko, Peckantico. Tarrytown. Pohki-tuck-ut, "at 
the clear creek." 

p titiais.—A trail. An abbreviation of Mutighticoos (J). 

Pockcotessewake.—A brook in Rye; also another name for Mamaroneck River. Var., 
Pockottssewake. Probably the name of some Indian. The chief called Meghtesewakes seems 
to have had a name with a similar termination but different prefix. Pokessake, a grantor on 
the Norwalk deed of 1651. 

Quaroppas.— White Plains, including Scarsdale. Seemingly a personal name. 
Quinnahung. — Hunt's Point, West Farms, " a long, high place." 

Ranachque.— Bronck's land. Wanachque, "end, point, or stop." The name has probably 
lost a locative. See Senasque. 

Rahonaness.—A plain east of Rye. Probably so called from an Indian. 
J{;n l ,„,raws. Var., Nippmrance (Captain John Mason, 1643). "The plantatio of Rippo- 
wams is named Stamforde " (X. H. Rec, Vol. I, p. 69). This included the territory on both 
sides of Mill River. The late J. H. Trumbull was unable to translate this name. It may 
be rather presuming to suggest where he failed. We think we can see Nipau-apuchk in the 
Delaware, or Nepau-ompsk in the Massachusetts, " a standing or rising up rock." In collo- 
quial use ompsk is frequently abbreviated to ams. See Toquams. 

■SarAws.— Var., Sackhoes.' From the possessive seemingly a personal name. Colloquial 
use changes names fiequently, and it may be a variant of the Delaware Sakunk, "mouth of a 
stream." Compare Saugus, the Indian name of Lynn, Mass., which has the same derivation. 
Sackama Wicker.—" Sachems house," Delaware, Sakama-ivik-ing, "at the chief's house. 


Sackwahung. — A locality at West Farms. An evident variant of Aquehung. 

Shorakapkock. — Spuyten Duyvil Creek, where it joins the Hudson, "as far as the sitting- 
down place," i.e., where there was a portage. 

Shingabawossins. — A locality in Pelham. Applied to erratic bowlders or rolling- stoms. 
It probably denotes " a place of flat stones." 

Shappequa. — Var., Chappaqua. "A separated place," i.e., " a place of separation." Men- 
tioned as a boundary in some conveyances. 

Sickham. — A locality in Cortlandt. A personal name. 

Shippam. — New Rochelle. A personal name, probably, although Eliot gives ns Keechepam, 
" shore." 

Sigghes. — A great bowlder, a landmark mentioned as a boundary. Another name for 
Meghkaekassin. From an original Siogke-ompsk-it, "at the hard rock." 

Sacunyte Napucke. — A locality in Pelham. Sakunk-Napi-ock, " at the outlet of a pond or 
water-place." Probably used in some conveyance to indicate the line running to this place, 
hence a boundary designation 

Saperwack. — A hook or bend in a stream at West Farms. " Land on a river," or " ex- 
tended land;" the name will bear both interpretations. 

Sepackena. — A creek at Tarrytown. 

Sachkerah.—A locality at West Farms. 

Saproughah. — A creek at "West Farms. 

Sepparak. — A locality in Cortlandt. The foregoing names are seemingly variations of the 
same word, denoting " extended <>r spread-out land." A search for early forms might change 
this opinion. 

Senasqua. — Croton Point on Hudson, Wanasque, " a point or ending." This name, as well 
as Ranachque, has lost its suffix. On Long Island it occurs in Wanasquattan, " a point of 
hills," Wanasquetuck, " the ending creek." 

Sint Sinck. — Sing Sing. Ossin-sing, "stone upon stones," belongs to the Chippeway dia- 
lect and was suggested by Schoolcraft (see Proc. X. Y. Hist. Soc, 18-14, p. 101). He is 
also responsible for a number of other interpretations frequently quoted. The Delaware 
form, Asin-es-ing, " a stony place," is much better. The same name occurs on Long Island 
in Queens County. But on the Delaware Paver is a place called Maetsingsing (see Col. 
Hist. N. Y., Vol. 1, pp. 590, 596), which seems to be a fuller form of our name and warrant- 
ing another interpretation : " Place where stones are gathered together," a heap of stones, 

Snakapins.— Cornell's Neck. If not a personal name, as I suspect, it may represent an 
earlier Sagajnn, "a ground-nut." 

Suckehonk.—" A black (or dark colored) place," a marsh or meadow. The Hartford 
meadows, Connecticut, were called Suck'iang. 

Soakatuck. — A locality in Pelham. " The mouth of a stream." The same as Saugatuck 
in Connecticut. 

Suwanoes.— A tribe located from Norwalk, Conn., to Hellgate. They were the Shawon- 
anoes, " the Southerners," to tribes farther north. 

Tammoes is. —Creek near Yerplanck's Point. Delaware, Tummeu-esis, "little wolf," a per- 
sonal name. 

Tanracken.— A locality in Cortlandt. Tarackan, "the crane." The name was derived 
from the loud and piercing cry peculiar to the genus, especially to the Grus americana or 
Whooping Crane, which, says Nuttall, has been "not unaptly compared to the whoop or yell 
of the savages when rushing to battle." (Trumbull.) 

Tunkitekes.— Name of tribe living back of Sing Sing. This is probably a term of derision 
applied to them by other tribes : " Those of little worth." 

Tatomuck.— This name has probably lost a syllable or more. The suffix indicates a « fish- 
ing-place." On Long Island Arhata-amuck denotes "a crab fishing-place." Corrupted m 
some records to Katawamac. 

Toquams.—Ynv., Toquamske. This was a boundary mark in some conveyance, or else a 
well known landmark ; p'tukqu-ompsk, "at the round-rock." 

Titicus.—A brook flowing north and west across the State line into the Croton River ; also 
a village and postoffice in Connecticut. An abbreviation of Mutightkoos or Matteticos. 


Tuckahoe.— Hill in Yonkers. This appears in Southampton, L. I., and elsewhere, and 
seems to have been applied to a species of truffle or subterranean fungus (Pachyma cocos— 
Fries) sometimes called Indian loaf. The tuckaho of Virginia (tockwhogh, as Captain John 
Smith wrote the name) was the root of the Golden Club or Floating Arum (Oranthim Aquati- 
cum). -'It groweth like a flag in low, marshy places. In one day a sal vage will gather 
sufficient for a week. These roots are much the bigness and taste of potatoes." (Strachey.) 

Waumainuck— Delancy's Neck. Yar., Wabnanuck, "land round about." Some other 
place understood. 

Wampus.—" The Opossum." A personal name. 

Weckquaskeek.— Var., Wechquoesqueeck, Wiequotshook, Weecquoexguck, etc. Schoolcraft's 
suggestion, " the place of the bark-kettle," and as repeated in various histories, is absolutely 
worthless.' The name is simply a descriptive appellation of the locality where the Indians 
lived at the date of settlement. Delaware, Wiquie-askeek, Massachusetts, Wehque-askeet, 
Chippewa, U'aiekwa-ashkiki, "end of the marsh or bog." 

Weqh</itfghe. — Yar., Wyoquaqua. A variant of the foregoing. 

Wenntehees.— A locality in Cortlandt. Probably a personal name from the final s, although 
early forms, if found, might indicate with a locative an original Winne-pe-es-et, " at the good- 
tasted water-place," i.e., " a spring." 

Wishqua. — " The end." 

Wissayek. — Dover. "Yellow-place." 

Waccabuck.— A lake or pond in Lewisboro. Wequa-baug, " end or head of the pond." 



HE alluring hypothesis of the discovery and settlement of 
portions of this continent by the Northmen far back in the 
Middle Ages, formerly received with quite general consid- 
eration, finds few supporters at this day among the loading 
authorities on the early history of America. That the Norse colonized 
Greenland at a very early period is unhesitatingly admitted, abundant 
proofs of their occupancy of that country being afforded by authentic- 
ruins, especially of churches and baptistries, and collateral testimony 
to the fact being furnished by old ecclesiastical annals, which seem to 
indicate that as early as the eleventh century Greenland belonged 
to the jurisdiction of the Catholic bishops of Iceland. It is also con- 
ceded to be not impossible that accidental Norse descents from Green- 
land upon the continent were made in the centuries that followed. 
But this is merely an amiable concession to academic conjecture. It 
is insisted that no reliable Norse remains have ever been found south 
of Davis Straits: and one by one the various relics thought to be of 
Norse origin that have been brought forward, in- 
cluding certain supposed Runic inscriptions, have 
been pronounced incapable of acceptation as such. 

Several years ago there was found at Inwood, 
just below the limits of Westchester < 'ounty, by Mr. INWOOr> STONE - 
Alexander C. Chenoweth (whose Indian excavations in the same lo- 
cality are noticed in the preceding chapter), a stone curiously marked, 
which was the subject of some archaeological discussion at the time. 
The markings were claimed to be rude Runic characters constituting 
an inscription, out of which one writer, by ingeniously interpolating 
missing letters, formed the words Kirkjussynir akta, which translated 
are " Sons of the Church tax (or rake a census)." k ' I suppose it to 
mean," added this writer, " that representatives of the Church of 
Rome had been there to tax, or number the people, and that this stone 
was inscribed to commemorate the event." 1 Thus it is seen that the 
general region of which our county forms a part has been connected 
with the fabled ages of Norse habitation of America— whatever may 
be thought of the specific ground for the connection. The Inwood 


Inscribed Stone, by Cornelia Horsford (Privately printed. Cambridge. 1S95), p. 14. 


stone is possibly as plausible a specimen of "Runic" lettering as 
other so-called inscribed stones which have been scrutinized and re- 
pudiated by archaeologists from time to time. The all-sufficient argu- 
ment against the Norse theory is that no satisfactory traces of Norse 
residence, aside from the doubtful inscriptions, have ever been dis- 
covered — no ruins of dwellings or works of any kind, no personal rel- 
ics, and no indisputable graves, — whereas such a people could not 
conceivably have dwelt here without transmitting to us some more 
visible tokens of their presence than laboriously carved memorials. 

The authentic history of Westchester County begins in the month 
of September, 1609, when Henry Hudson, in his little ship the " Half 
Moon," entered the harbor of New York and ascended the great river 
which now bears his name. But there are strong reasons for believing 
that Hudson was not the first navigator to appear on our shores, or at 
least in their immediate vicinity. 

In 1524 Juan Yerrazano, an Italian in the French service, sailing 
northward along the coast, came to anchor at a place apparently out- 
side the Narrows. In a letter dated July 8, 1521, to Francis I., king 
of France, he reports that he " found a very pleasant situation among 
some steep hills, through which a very large river, deep at its mouth, 
forced its way to the sea; to the estuary of the river, any ship heavily 
laden might pass with the help of the tide, which rises eight feet. But 
as we were riding at anchor in a good berth we would not venture up 
in our vessel, without a knowledge of the mouth; therefore we took 
the boat, and entering the river we found a country on its banks well 
peopled. . . . We passed up this river about half a league, 
when we found it formed a most beautiful lake three leagues in cir- 
cuit. . . . All of a sudden, as is wont to happen to navigators, a 
violent contrary wind blew in from the sea, and forced us to return to 
our ship, greatly regretting to leave this region which seemed so com- 
modious and delightful, and which we supposed must also contain 
great riches, as the hills showed mam T indications of minerals." This 
description, although perplexing in some of its statements, and there- 
fore suggesting caution as to conclusions, reasonably admits of the 
belief I allowing for the inaccuracies in detail which nearly always oc- 
cur in the reports of the early explorers) that Yerrazano entered and 
inspected the Upper Bay. But it hardly justifies the opinion that he 
passed ni» the river; the "lake three leagues in circuit " could have 
been no other body of water than the Upper Bay, and the " river " up 
which he went " about half a league " to reach it was evidently the 

In the following year (1525) Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese sailor 
employed by Spain to seek a passage to India, explored the coast, 



which, he says, k * turns southward twenty leagues to Bay St. Chripsta- 
pel in 39°. From that bend made by the land the coast turns north- 
ward, passing said bay thirty leagues to Rio St. Antonio, in 41°, which 
is north and south with said bay." Gomez's "Bay St. Chripstapel" 
was unquestionably the Lower New York Bay, and his "Rio St. Anto- 
nio" (so named in honor of the saint on whose day he beheld it) the 
Hudson River. The latter conclusion is clearly established by his de- 
scription of the river as "north and south with said bay," which, taken 
in its connections, can not possibly apply to any other stream. To have 
established the north and south direction of the river he must have 
explored it for some distance. It hence becomes an entirely reason- 
able inference that in 1525, eighty-four years before Hudson's appear- 
ance, the Portuguese Gomez, sailing under a commission from Spain, 
entered Westchester County waters. It has even been suggested that 
Anthony's Nose, the peak which guards the entrance to the High- 
lands, owes its name to this first voyager of the river. 1 

Aside from the records of these early discoveries of Verrazano and 
Gomez, there is much historic- * 

al evidence indicating that at _:„-,~i -Jbjr 

least the general coast con- 
formation in the latitude of 
New York was well under- 
stood by European cartograph- 
ers and navigators long before 
Hudson made his memorable 
voyage in the " Half-Moon." 
This is strikingly illustrated 
by Hudson's own statement, the "half^moon." 

that in seeking a way to India 

in this region lie was partly influenced by a hint received from his 
friend, Captain John Smith, of Virginia, to the effect that somewhere 
about 40 north there was a strait conducting to the Pacific, similar 
to Magellan's Strait. Indeed, it was in studied violation of the in- 
structions laid down for him by his employers at his setting out that 
he turned his vessel hitherward. His instructions were to sail past 
Nova Zembla and the north coast of Siberia, through the Bering Strait 
into the Pacific, and so southward to the Dutch Indies. The famous 

.,HM ; f 

1 Benson, in his "Memoirs.'" says that " the promon- 
tory in the Highlands is called Antonie's Nose, after An 
tonie De Hooge, secretary of the colony of Rensselaer- 
wyck." He gives no authority for the opinion. The 
Labadist brothers called it Antonis Neus (L. I. Hist. Coll.- 
vol. i., p. 330), and say that all the Highlands "bear the 
names that were originally given to them."' and this be- 

cause it has the form of a man's nose. All the Dutch An- 
thonies appear to have claimed it in turn: but what if it 
should finally appear that it was named by the Spaniards, 
who gave the whole river into the charge of Saint Anthony ? 
—Sailing Directions of Henry Hudson, edited by the Rev. 
II. F. It, Costa {Albany, 1869). 


" Sailing Directions " of Ivar Bardsen that he took with him to guide 
his course related exclusively to far northern latitudes. 

Thus it is likely that neither the honor of the original discovery of 
the Hudson River, nor such merit as attaches to the conception of the 
availability of this latitude for adventurous quest, belongs to Henry 
Hudson. Proper recognition of these historical facts does not, how- 
ever, involve any diminishing from the uniqueness and greatness of 
his achievement. He found a grand harbor and a mighty and beau- 
tiful river, previously unknown, or only vaguely known, to the civil- 
ized world. He thoroughly explored both, and, returning to Europe, 
gave accounts of them which produced an immediate appreciation of 
their importance and speedily led to measures for the development of 
the country. Judged by its attendant results, Hudson's exploit stands 
unrivaled in the history of North American exploration. No other 
single discovery on the mainland of this continent was so quickly, 
consecutively, and successfully followed by practical enterprise. 

Henry Hudson was of English birth and training. Apart from this, 
aud from the facts of his four voyages, which were made in as many 
years, nothing is known of him. His first voyage was undertaken in 
1607 for the Muscovy Company, having for its object the discovery of 
a northeast route to China along the coast of Spitzbergen. His sec- 
ond, in 1608, to a like end, took him to the region of Nova Zembla. It 
was on his third, in 1609, still looking for a short way to the Orient, 
that he came to these shores. His fourth and last, in pursuit of the 
same chimera, was in 1610-11, the expense being borne by three Eng- 
lish gentlemen. He explored the bay and strait to which his name has 
since been given, passed the winter in the southern part of the bay, 
and on the 21st of June, 1611, was, with his 
sou and seven companions, set adrift in an 
open boat by his mutinous crew, never to be 
heard of more. 

When Hudson adventured forth on his 
momentous voyage of 1609 he flew from the 
mast of his vessel the flag of the new-born 
Republic of the United Netherlands. Just 
at that time the Netherlands were success- 
fully concluding the first period of their 
gigantic struggle with Spain for independence. It was, indeed, in the 
same month that the " Half-Moon " sailed from Amsterdam (April) 
that the twelve years' truce between the Spanish aud Dutch was 
signed. Everywhere in Europe this was a period of transition. In 
England the long reign of Elizabeth had but recently come to its end, 
and already, under James l.,the first of the ill-fated Stuart dynasty, the 


events were shaping which were to culminate in the Commonwealth. 
In France Henry IV. was still reigning — that Henry of Navarre who 
signed the Edict of Nantes, gave peace to the warring factions of the 
kingdom, and laid the foundations for the diplomacy of Richelieu and 
the power of Louis XIV. In the German Empire the seeds of the ter- 
rible Thirty Years' War were ripening. In Sweden the young Gus- 
tavus Adolphus was about to come to the throne. In Russia the dawn 
of a new era was being ushered in by the accession of the first sov- 
ereign of the house of Romanoff. In the south of Europe, on the other 
hand, the glories of long ages of commercial, intellectual, and political 
supremacy were fading away : the Italian republics were beginning to 
decline, and the might of Spain was tottering to its fall. To this pe- 
riod belong many of the world's greatest inventive and philosophical 
intellects: Shakespeare, Cervantes, Rubens, Van Dyck, Kepler, Gali- 
leo, Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, and Lord 
Bacon, who said of the early attempts to utilize the discoveries of 
Columbus : kk Certainly it is with the kingdoms of the earth as it is in 
the kingdom of Heaven : sometimes a grain of mustard seed becomes 
a greattree. Who can tell? " And in this grand epoch of mental ac- 
tivity and political change a more rational spirit respecting the uses 
to be made of America was becoming conspicuously manifest. The 
sixteenth century had been wholly wasted so far as the legitimate de- 
velopment of the newly discovered lands beyond the sea was con- 
cerned ; but with the first decade of the seventeenth soberly conceived 
plans of orderly colonization began to be set on foot. During that dec- 
ade the French inaugurated their permanent settlements in Canada, 
and the English, under Captain John Smith, at last established an 
enduring colonv in Virginia— enduring because founded on the secure 
basis of mutual self-interest, labor, and economy. Even Spain, with 
all her greed for new realms to pillage, had practically abandoned the 
futile hope of forcing a gateway to them at the west. It remained for 
the Dutch the most practical-minded people in Europe, to make then- 
entry into America, in matter-of-fact times and circumstances such as 
these, upon a mere quixotic expedition to the far Cathay— almost the 
last one, happily, of its grotesque kind. 

Hudson's employers in this enterprise were the Dutch East India 
Company, a powerful corporation, which had been chartered in 1602 
to trade with the East Indies, the southern and eastern coasts of Asia, 
and the eastern coast of Africa. The new countries in America, and, 
indeed, the entire waters of the Atlantic, were excluded from the field 
of its operations. The company, during the less than seven years of 
its existence, had enjoved extraordinary success, and its earnings now 
represented seventv-fiVe per cent, of profit. In resolving upon a voy- 


age for the long desired " northwest passage," the company adopted 
a decidedly conservative plan. There was to be no visionary explora- 
tion for a possibly existing route through the coastline of America, but 
a direct entrance into Arctic waters in the region of Nova Zembla. in 
the hope that an open sea, or continuous passage, would there be 
found. Hudson, an Englishman, was chosen for the undertaking be- 
cause he was known to be familiar with the northern seas — no Dutch 
navigator of like experience being available. On the 4th of April, 
1609, be sailed from Amsterdam in the " Half-Moon,'' a vessel of some 
eighty tons burden, with a crew of twenty Dutch and English sailors. 
Pursuant to his instructions from the company, he set a direct course 
for the northeast coast of America, which he reached in the latitude of 
Nova Scotia. Here, however, he abruptly departed from the plans 
laid out for him, turned southward, passed along the shores of Maine 
and Cape Cod, and proceeded as far as Chesapeake Bay. Returning 
northward from that region, he followed the windings of the coastline 
until, on the 2d day of September, he sighted the Highlands of Nave- 
sink. Dropping anchor in the Lower Bay on the 3d, he remained there 
ten days, meantime exploring with his ship's boat the surrounding 
waters. Although his intercourse with the Indians was friendly, the 
men whom he sent out in the boat provoked a conflict with them, in 
which one of the exploring party, John Coleman, was killed and two 
men were wounded. On the 12th of September he steered the " Half- 
Moon " through the Narrows, anchoring that evening somewhere in 
the Upper Bay, probably not far from the lower extremity of Manhat- 
tan Island. The next day he began his voyage up the river, and after 
making a distance of eleven and one-half miles again came to anchor. 
It was at this stage of his journey that he attempted to detain two of 
the natives, who, however, jumped overboard, swam to the shore, and 
cried back to him "in scorn.' 1 Brodhead, in his "History of New 
York," locates the scene of this incident opposite the Indian village of 
Nappeckamack, now the City of Yonkers. But from the details given 
in the Journal of Hudson's mate, Robert Juet, it appears probable 
that the point of anchorage on the 13th was not above the confines of 
Manhattan Island. It is significant that the formidable attack on 
Hudson"* vessel when he was returning down the river, an attack in 
retaliation for his treacherous act upon this occasion, occurred at 
Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and was clearly made by Manhattan Island In- 
dians, the Indian fortress in that locality being on the southern shore 
of the creek. The question, of course, is not important enough to re- 
quire any serious discussion, but upon its determination depends the 
fixing of the date of Hudson's entrance into Westchester waters— 
that is, the date of discovery of our county and of the mainland of 



m the 

r 4Ti 

T 81 

New York State. To our mind, after a careful study of the records of 
the voyage, it scarcely admits of doubt that the " Half -Moon's " arrival 
above Spuyten Duyvil is to be assigned not to the first but to the sec- 
ond day of its progress up the stream. 1 

Leaving his anchorage below Spuyten Duyvil 
the 14th of September, 
1609, Hudson traversed 
on that day the entire 
Westchester shore, en- 
tering the Highlands 
before nightfall. The 
record of the day's sail- 
ing is thus given in 
Juet's Journal : " In 
the morning we sailed 
up the river twelve 
leagues . . . and came 
to a strait between two 
points, . . . and it (the 
river) trended north 
by one league. . . . The 
river is a mile broad; 
there is very high land 
on both sides. Then 
Ave went up northwest 
a league and a half, 
deep w a t e r; t h e n 
northeast five miles; 
then n o r t h w e s t b y 
north two leagues ami 
a half. The land grew 
very high and moun- 
tainous." The " strait 

between two points," where they found the stream "a mile broad," 
was manifestly that portion of the river between Verplauck's and 
Stony Points. Continuing his voyage, Hudson sailed until he reached 
the site of Albany, where, finding the river no longer navigable, he was 
constrained to turn back, emerging from the Highlands into the West- 
chester section about the end of September. Here for the first time 
since leaving the Lower Bav blood was shed. The ship was becalmed 


1 Wood, in his account (if the Discovery ami 
Settlement of Westchester County, in Scharf's 
History, accepts Brodhead's date; but Dr. Cole. 

[istory of Yonkers in the same work 
■viewing the statements in Juet's Jour- 
des upon the 14th of September. 


off Stony Point, in the k> strait " described by Juet, and the natives, 
animated solely by curiosity, came out in their canoes, some of them 
being received on board. The occupant of one of the canoes, which 
kept " hanging under the stern," was detected in pilfering from the 
cabin windows, having secreted " a pillow and two shirts and two 
bandaliers." Whereupon the " mate shot at him, and struck him on 
the breast, and killed him.*' The visitors now lied precipitately, those 
on board the " Half-Moon " jumping into the water. A boat was low- 
ered from the ship to recover the stolen property, and one of the In- 
dians in the water had the temerity to take hold of it, at which " the 
cook seized a sword and cut off one of his hands, and he was drowned." 
It is difficult to characterize the shooting of the Indian thief otherwise 
than as wanton murder, and this whole episode stands to the serious 
discredit of Hudson and his companions. At Spuyten Duyvil the next 
day was fought the historic encounter with the Indians of that local- 
ity, who, harboring bitter resentment because of Hudson's attempted 
forcible detention of two of their people on his journey up-stream, now 
met him with a fleet of canoes and most valorously gave him battle. 
The details of this fight have been given in our chapter on the Indians, 
and need not be repeated here. It is noticeable that the only san- 
guinary incidents of Hudson's exploration of the river occurred along 
the Westchester coast. 

Sailing away from the scene of this bloody conflict, the " Half 
Moon " passed out of the Narrows on the 4th of October, just one 
month and a day after its arrival in the Lower Bay, and proceeded 
direct to Europe, reaching the port of Dartmouth, England, on the 
Tth of November. The English authorities, reluctant to concede to 
Holland the right to Hudson's important discoveries, detained the 
vessel for several months on the strength of its commander's British 
nativity, and though it was ultimately released to its Dutch owners 
Hudson himself was not permitted to return to the Netherlands. As 
we have seen, he embarked under English patronage the next year 
upon another chimerical adventure after the northwestern passage, 
and ended his career in 1611 as a miserable castaway on the shores 
of Hudson's Bav. The " Half-Moon » was destined for a somewhat 
like melancholy fate, being wrecked five years later in the East Indies. 
By the delimitations of its charter granted in 1602, the Dutch East 
India Company was excluded from all commercial operations in 
America; and accordingly no steps were taken by that corporation to 
develop the promising country found by Henry Hudson. But the 
alert and enterprising private traders of Holland were prompt in 
seeking to turn the new discoveries to profitable uses. While Hudson 
and his ship were held at Dartmouth, that is, during the winter of 




1609-10, an association of Dutch merchants was organized with the 
object of sending out a vessel to these lands, and for a number of 
years voyages were annually made. Of the first ship thus dispatched 
Hudson's mate was placed in command, having under him a portion 
of the crew of the " Half-Moon." These early private undertakings 
were mainly in connection with the fur trade, which offered especial 
advantages on the shores of the Hudson, 
where at that period fur-bearing animals, 
notably the beaver and otter, were very nu- 
merous. So abundant, indeed, was the 
beaver in this part of the country that for a 
long period of years beaver-skins formed one 
of the principal items in every cargo sent to 
Europe. A representation of the beaver was 
the principal feature of the official seal of 
New Netherland. 

In 1612 a memorable voyage was made to 
Hudson's River by Henry Christiansen and Adrian Block, two Hol- 
landers, in a vessel which they owned jointly. They returned with a 
goodly cargo of furs, carrying with them to the home country two 
sons of Indian chiefs, by one of whom Christiansen, several years sub- 
sequently, was murdered on a Hudson River island. In 1613, with 
two vessels, the " Fortune " and the " Tiger," they came back. Chris- 
tiansen, commanding the " Fortune," decided to pass the winter on 
Manhattan Island, and built several houses of branches and bark. 
Upon the spot where his little settlement stood (now 39 Broadway) 
the Macomb mansion, occupied by Washington for a time while 
President, was constructed; and the officers of the Netherlands- Ameri- 
can Steamship Line are now located on the same site. Block's ship, 
the " Tiger," took fire and was completely destroyed while at her an- 
chorage in the harbor. This great misfortune operated, however, only 
to stimulate the enterprise of the resourceful Dutchmen, who forth- 
with, in circumstances as unfavorable for such work as can well be 
conceived, proceeded to build another, which was named the " On- 
rust," or " Restless," a shallop of sixteen tons' burden, launched in the 
spring of 1611. With the " Restless " Block now entered upon an ex- 
ploration almost as important as Hudson's own, and certainly far 
more dangerous. Steering it through the East River, he came sud- 
denly into the fearful current of Hellgate, whose existence was pre- 
viously unknown to Europeans, and which he navigated safely. Pass- 
ing the mouth of the Harlem River, he thoroughly explored the West- 
chester coast along the Sound and emerged into that majestic body 
of land-locked water. To Block belongs the undivided honor of the 



discovery of Long Island Sound, which had never before been entered 
by a European mariner. Indeed, it was assumed up to that time that 
the coastline north of the eastern extremity of Long Island was con- 
tinuous, and the separation of Long Island from New England is not 
indicated on any of the maps of the period. Block sailed through the 
Sound to Cape Cod, discovering the Connecticut River and the other 


conspicuous physical features. The name of Block Island, off the 
coast of Rhode Island, commemorates this truly distinguished dis- 
coverer, and his momentous voyage. A highly interesting result of 
Block's achievement was a chart of the country, which he prepared 
and published, here reproduced in part. Although the outlines in 
certain respects, particularly in the case of Manhattan Island, are ex- 
tremely crude, they are surprisingly faithful in the parts representing 
his individual resp< visibility. It will be observed that the general 


trend of the Westchester coast on the Sound is traced almost exactly. 

Returning to Holland in the fall of 1614, with the " Fortune," hav- 
ing left the kt Restless " with Christiansen, Block at once became a 
beneficiary of an attractive commercial offer which had been pro- 
claimed some months previously by the States-General, or central 
government, of the Netherlands. He and his companion Christiansen 
were by no means the only seekers of fortune in the splendid realms 
made known by the captain of the " Half-Moon." Other trading ex- 
peditions had gone there, and interest in the resources of this quarter 
was becoming quite active. To further promote such interest, and to 
arouse fresh endeavor, the States-General, in March, 1614, issued a 
decree offering to grant to any person or number of persons who 
should discover new lands a charter of exclusive privileges of trade 
therewith. Upon Block's return there was pending before the States- 
General an application for the coveted charter by a strong organiza- 
tion of merchants, which was based upon Hudson's discovery and the 
representation that the hopeful organization was prepared to make 
to the region in question the number of voyages conditionally required 
in the decree. On October 11, 1614, Block submitted to the States- 
General, at The Hague, explicit information of his discoveries, and a 
charter bearing that date was accordingly granted to him and a num- 
ber of individuals associated with him (of whom Christiansen was 
one), comprising a business society styled the New Netherland Com- 
pany. This company had for its formally defined aim the commer- 
cial exploitation of the possessions of Holland in the New World, to 
which collectively the name of New Netherland was now applied. It 
was in the same year and month that New England was first so called 
by Prince Charles of Wales ( afterward Charles I. ). 

The grant of the States-General establishing the New Netherland 
Company, after naming the persons associated in it — these persons 
being the proprietors and skippers of five designated ships, — describes 
the region in which its operations are to be carried on as " certain new 
lands situate in America, between New France and Virginia, the sea- 
coasts whereof lie between forty and forty-five degrees of latitude, and 
now called New Netherland." The range of territorial limits in lati- 
tude thus claimed for Holland's dominion on the American coast is 
certainly a broad extension of the rights acquired by the discoveries 
of Hudson and Block, and utterly ignores the sovereignty of England 
north of the Virginian region proper. On the other hand, the entire 
coast to which Holland now set up pretensions had already been not 
only comprehensively claimed by Great Britain, but allotted in terms 
to the corporate ownership and jurisdiction of two English companies. 
In 1606, three years before the voyage of Hudson and eight years be- 


fore the chartering of the New Netherlands Company, the old patent 
of Sir Walter Raleigh having been voided by his attainder for treason, 
James I. issued a new patent, partitioning British America, then 
known by the single name of Virginia, into two divisions. The first 
division, called the First Colony, was granted to the London Company, 
and extended from thirty-four degrees to thirty-eight degrees, with 
the right of settlement as far as forty-one degrees in the event that 
this company should be the first to found a colony that far north. The 
second division, or Second Colony, assigned to the Plymouth Company, 
embraced the country from forty-one degrees to forty-five degrees, 
with the privilege of acquiring rights southward to thirty-eight de- 
grees, likewise conditioned upon priority of colonization. Through- 
out the long controversy between England and Holland touching their 
respective territorial rights in America, it was, indeed, the uniform 
contention of the English that the Dutch were interlopers in the in- 
terior, and that the exclusive British title to the coast was beyond 

Attached to the charter given by the States-General to the New 
Netherland Company was Block's tk figurative map," already alluded 
to. The grant accorded to the company a trade monopoly, which, how- 
ever, was only " for four voyages, within the term of three years, com- 
mencing the 1st of January, 1615, next ensuing, or sooner." During 
this three years' period it was not to be " permitted to any other per- 
son from the United Netherlands to sail to, navigate, or frequent the 
said newly discovered lands, havens, or places," "on pain of confisca- 
tion of the vessel and cargo wherewith infraction hereof shall be at- 
tempted, and a fine of 50,000 Netherland ducats for the benefit of the 
said discovers or finders." 

No obligation to settle the land was prescribed for the company, 
and, indeed, this charter was purely a concession to private gain-seek- 
ing individuals, involving no projected aims of state policy or colonial 
undertaking whatever, although wisely bestowed for but a brief pe- 
riod. Under the strictly commercial regime of the New Netherland 
Company other voyagWwere made, all highly successful in material 
results, the fur trade with the Indians still being the objective. That 
the scope of operations of these early Dutch traders comprehended the 
entire navigable portion of the Hudson River is sufficiently evidenced 
by the fact that two forts were erected near the site of Albany, one 
called Fort Nassau, on an island in the river, and the other Fort 
Orange, on the mainland. It is hence easily conceivable that not in- 
frequent landings were made by the bartering Dutchmen at the va- 
rious Indian villages on our Westchester shore in these first days of 
Hudson River commerce. 



On the 1st of January, 1018, the charter of the New Netherland 
Company expired by time limitation. Application for its renewal was 
refused, and from that date until July, 1621, the whole of New Nether- 
land was a free field for whomsoever might care to assume the ex- 
pense and hazard of enterprises within its borders. This peculiar con- 
dition was not, however, due to any flagging of interest in their Ameri- 
can possessions on the part of the Dutch government, but was an in- 
cident of a well-considered political programme which was kept in 
abeyance because of the circumstances of the time, to be launched in 
the fullness of events. 

The twelve years' truce between Holland and Spain, signed in 1609, 
was now drawing to its close. The question of the continuance of 
peace or the resumption of war was still a doubtful one, contingent 


upon the ultimate disposition of Spain, for the people of the Nether- 
lands were resolved in no case to accept anything but absolute inde- 
pendence. In the eventuality of war it would become a particularly 
important part of Dutch policy not merely to provide for the protec- 
tion of the new provinces in America and their prospective inhabit- 
ants, but to cope with the formidable Spanish maritime power in 
American waters, and as far as possible prey upon the rich commerce 
of Spain with that quarter of the globe and even wrest territory from 
her there. To this end it was more than idle to consider the recharter- 
ing of a weak aggregation of skippers and their financial sponsors as 
the sole delegate and upholder of the dignity and strength of the re- 
public in the western seas. If hostilities were to be renewed it would 
be indispensable to institute an organization in connection with New 
Netherland powerful enough to encounter the fleets of Spain on at 


least an equal footing. A perfect pattern for such an organization al- 
ready existed in the Dutch East India Company. The creation of a 
West India Company on similar lines to meet the expected need was 
the grand scheme of statecraft which caused the States-General to 
reject the solicitations of the worthy traders of the New Xetherland 
Company for a continuation of their valuable monopoly. 

This was, moreover, no newly devised plan. In 1604, two years after 
the establishment of the East India Company, and long before the 
first appearance of the Dutch tlag on the American coast, the concep- 
tion of a West India Com] .any was carefully formulated in a paper 
drawn up by one William Usselinx and presented, progressively, to the 
hoard of burgomasters of Amsterdam, the legislature or " states " of 
Holland province, and the States-General of the nation. In this docu- 
ment Usselinx proposed the formation of "a strong financial corpora- 
tion, similar to that exploiting the East Indies, for the fitting out of 
armed vessels to attack the fleets of Spain and make conquest of her 
possessions in the American hemisphere." 1 But it was deemed inex- 
pedient to sanction such a venture at the time. 

Upon the termination of the twelve years' truce, in the spring of 
1621, and the revival of the war between the two countries, the Dutch 
statesmen had the details of the much-cherished West Indian Com- 
pany enterprise thoroughly matured, and on the 3d of June of that 
year the charter of the new corporation, comprising a preamble and 
forty-five articles, was duly signed. The subscriptions to its stock, 
which was required by law to be not less than seven millions of florins 
(12,800,000), were immediately forthcoming. But although the ex- 
istence of the company dated from July 1, 1621, it was some two years 
before its charter took complete effect, various disputed points not be- 
ing immediately adjustable. Twelve additional articles were subse- 
quently incorporated, the whole instrument receiving final approval 
on the 21st of June, 1623. 

The Dutch West India Company, to whose care the conversion of the 
American wilderness into a habitation for civilized man was thus com- 
mitted, and under whose auspices European institutions were first 
planted and organized government was erected and for many years 
administered here, was in its basic constitution a most notable body, 
partaking of the character of a civil congress so far as that is practi- 
cable for an association pursuing essential mercantile ends. It had a 
central directorate or executive board, officially styled the assembly 
of the XIX., which was composed of nineteen delegates, eighteen be- 
ing elected from five local chambers, and the nineteenth being the 

1 Van Pelfs Hist, of the Greater New York. i. 0. 


direct representative of " their High Mightinesses, the [States-General 
of the United Provinces." The five local chambers were subordinate 
bodies which met independently, embracing shareholders from Am- 
sterdam, Zeeland, the Meuse (including the cities of Dort, Kotterdam, 
and Delft), the North Quarter (which comprised the cities of North 
Holland outside of Amsterdam), and Priesland. The controlling in- 
fluence in the company was that of the City of Amsterdam, which at 
first sent eight and later nine delegates to the Assembly of the XIX. 
The spheres of trade marked out for and confirmed to the company, 
" to the exclusion of all other inhabitants or associations of merchants 
within the bounds of the United Provinces," comprehended both the 
Atlantic and the Pacific coasts of the two Americas, from the Straits 
of Magellan to the extreme north, and, in addition, the African coast 
from the Tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope. 

The rights and powers vested in the corporation fell short of those 
of actual independent sovereignty only in the particulars that the 
more weighty acts of the company, as declarations of war and conclu- 
sions of peace, were subject to the approval of the Dutch government, 
and that the officers appointed to rule distant countries, and their un- 
derlings, should be acceptable to the States-General and should take 
the oath of fealty to the Netherlands republic. " To protect its com- 
merce and dependencies, the company was empowered to erect forts 
and fortifications; to administer justice and preserve order; maintain 
police and exercise the government generally of its transmarine af- 
fairs; declare war and make peace, with the consent of the States- 
General, and, with their approbation, appoint a governor or director- 
general and all other officers, civil, military, judicial, and executive, 
who were bound to swear allegiance to their High Mightinesses, as 
well as to the company itself. The director-general and his council 
were invested with all powers, judicial, legislative, and executive, sub- 
ject, some supposed, to appeal to Holland, but the will of the com- 
pany, expressed in their instructions or declared in their marine or 
military ordinances, was to be the law of New Netherland, excepting 
in cases not especially provided lor, when the Roman law, the imperial 
statutes of Charles V., tin- edicts, resolutions, and customs of Patr'tii— 
Fatherland— were to be received as the paramount rule of action." 1 

One of the primary aims in the construction of this mighty corpora- 
tion being to establish an efficient and aggressive Atlantic maritime 
power in the struggle with Spain, very precise provisions were made 
for that purpose. ' " The States-General engaged to assist them with 
a million of guilders, equal to nearly half a million of dollars; and m 
case peace should be disturbed, with sixteen vessels of war and four- 

1 De Lancey's Hist, of the Manors of Westchester County (Scharf, i.. 42). 



teen yachts, fully armed and equipped— the former to be at least of 
three hundred and the latter of eighty tons' burden; but these vessels 
were to be maintained at the expense of the company, which was to 
furnish, unconditionally, sixteen ships and fourteen yachts, of like ton- 
nage, for the defense of trade and purposes of war, which, with all 
merchant vessels, were to be commanded by an admiral appointed 
and instructed by their High Mightinesses." 

And this magnificent programme of naval aggression was no mere 
wordy ornamentation woven into the prosaic context of a matter-of- 
fact commercial agreement for nattering effect. The West India Com- 
pany, with its ships of war and armed merchantmen, under brilliant 
commanders, scoured the Spanish Main, capturing many a richly 
freighted bark of the enemy, and, not content with the prizes of the 

high seas, it dispatched expedi- 
tions to attack the Spanish terri- 
torial possessions in the Antilles 
and South America, which pro- 
ceeded from conquest to conquest. 
By its energy and prowess, in the 
name of the republic of the United 
Netherlands, was begun in the 
first half of the seventeenth cen- 
tury the work of dismemberment 
of the vast Spanish empire in the 
New World which now, at the 
close of the nineteenth century, 
has been so gloriously completed 
by the arms of the republic of the 
United States. On the South 
American mainland Brazil, a 
province of Portugal, at that time 
tributary to Spain, was conquered 
and held for several years as 
Dutch territory, and the country known as Dutch Guiana, where the 
flag of Holland still floats, also yielded itself to these merchant princes 
of the Netherlands. In addition numerous AVest India islands were 
taken. A celebrated episode of the company's naval operations during 
the war was the capture of the Spanish " Silver Fleet " (1628) , having 
the enormous value of $4,600,000 in our money. The financial concerns 
of the corporation prospered exceedingly as the result of these and 
other successes. In 1629 a dividend of fifty per cent, was declared, and 
in 1630 a dividend of twenty-five per cent. 

As we have seen, the status of the West India Company's organiza- 



tion was not exactly settled until 1(323, and although it nominally en- 
joyed exclusive dominion and trade privileges on the shores of the 
Hudson from the 1st of July, 1621, no steps were taken to colonize the 
land in the as yet unperfected state of its affairs. Before coming to 
the era of formal settlement under its administration it is necessary 
to complete our review of what is known of the history of the ante- 
cedent years. 

It is certain that the separate voyages undertaken hither by various 
adventurous men between 1610 and 1623 resulted in no settlement of 
the country worthy of the name. We find no record of any transpor- 
tation of yeomen or families to this locality for the announced object 
of making it their abode and developing its resources. Although there 
is no doubt respecting the utilization of Manhattan Island in more or 
less serious trading connections at an early period, the history of the 
first years of European occupation is involved in a haze of tradition 
and myth. From the vague reports given by different voyagers, in- 
genious and not over-scrupulous writers constructed fanciful accounts 
of pretended undertakings and exploits in this quarter, which, how- 
ever, being presented in sober guise, have had to be subjected to 
methodical investigation. All historical scholars are familiar with 
the famous Plantagenet or Argall myth. In 1648 a pamphlet was pub- 
lished in England, with the title, " A Description of New Albion," by 
one Beauchamp Plantagenet, Esq., which assumed to narrate that in 
the year 1613 the English Captain Samuel Argall, returning from 
Acadia to Virginia, "landed at Manhattan Isle, in Hudson's River, 
where they found four houses built, and a pretended Dutch governor 
under the West India Company of Amsterdam," and that this Dutch 
population and this Dutch ruler were forced to submit to the tre- 
mendous power of Great Britain. The whole story is a sheer fabrica- 
tion, and so crude as to be almost vulgar. Yet such is the continuing 
strength of old pseudo-historical statement that we still find in com- 
pendious historical reference works of generally authentic character 
mention of Argall's apocryphal feat of arms — the " first conquest of 
New Netherland by the English," — usually accompanied, albeit, by 
the discreet "(?)" conscientiously employed by such faithful com- 
pilers in cases of incertitude. 

In 1619 occurred the first known visit of an English vessel to the 
waters of Westchester County and Manhattan Island, which merits 
passing notice here for an interesting incident attaching to it. Captain 
Thomas Dermer, sent by Sir Ferdinand Gorges, of the Plymouth Com- 
pany, to the Island of Monhegan on the coast of Maine, partly to pro- 
cure a cargo of fish and partly to return the unfortunate Indian slave 
Squanto to his home, came sailing through Long Island Sound in his- 




ship's pinnace on a trip to Virginia which he had decided to make 
after dispatching his laden vessel back to England. Leaving Martha's 
Yh.evard, he shaped his voyage he narrates, "as the coast led me till 
I came to the most westerly part where the coast began to fall away 
southerly [the eastern entrance to the Sound]. In my way 1 discov- 
ered land about thirty leagues in length [Long Island], heretofore 
taken for main where I feared 1 had been embayed, but by the help 
of an Indian 1 got to sea again, through many crooked and straight 
passages. I let pass many accidents in this journey occasioned by 
treachery where we were twice compelled to go together by the ears; 
once the savages had great advantage of us in a strait, not above a 
bow-shot [wide], and where a great multitude of Indians let fly at us 

from the bank; but it pleased God to make us victors. Near unto this 
we found a most dangerous cataract amongst small, rocky islands, oc- 
casioned by two unequal tides, the one ebbing and flowing two hours 
before the other." An excellent Westchester historian, commenting 
upon this description, identifies the place where the Indians " let fly " 
as Throgg's Point (the -dangerous cataract" being, of course, Hell 
< rai e i . and adds the following appropriate remarks : " Such was the 
vovage of the first Englishman who ever sailed through Long Island 
Sound, and the first who ever beheld the eastern shores of Westchester 
County. This was five years after the Dutch skipper Block had sailed 
through the same Sound from the Manhattans, and ten years after 
Hudson's discovery of the Great River of the Mountains. Very singu- 
lar it is that fights with the Indians, both on the Hudson and on the 
Sound, and at 'points nearly opposite each other, were the beginning 
of civilization in Westchester County, and that the first was with the 
Dutch and the second with the English, the two races of whites which, 
in succession, ruled that county and the Province and State of New 
York." 1 

De Lancey's Hist, of the Manors (Scliarf, i.. 10). 


Notwithstanding the failure of the old New Netherland Company 
organized by Block, Christiansen, and their associates, to get its 
charter of monopoly renewed in 1618, that organization did not pass 
out of existence. To the New Netherland Company, moreover, belongs 
the honorable distinction of having made the first tangible proposal 
for the actual settlement of the country — a proposal quite explicit 
and manifestly sincere. On February 12, 1(520, its directors addressed 
to Maurice, Prince of Orange, stadtholder or chief executive of the 
Netherlands, a petition reciting that " there is residing at Leyden a 
certain English preacher, versed in the Dutch language, who is well 
inclined to proceed thither [to New Netherland] to live, assuring the 
petitioners that he has the means of inducing over four hundred fami- 
lies to accompany him thither, both out of this country and England, 
provided they would be guarded and preserved from all violence on 
the part of other potentates, by the authority and under the protec- 
tion of your Princely Excellency and the High and Mighty Lords 
States-General, in the propagation of the true, pure Christian religion, 
in the instruction of the Indians in that country in true doctrine, and 
in converting them to the Christian faith, and thus to the mercy of the 
Lord, to the greater glory of this country's government, to plant there 
a new commonwealth, all under the order and command of your Prince- 
ly Excellency and the High and Mighty Lords States-General. " The 
directors, on their part, offered to the intending emigrants free trans- 
portation in the company's vessels and cattle enough to supply each 
family, upon the single condition that the government would furnish 
two warships for the protection of the expedition from pirates. This 
condition was not complied with, and the scheme fell to the ground. 
It is a coincidence, and very presumably no accidental one, that this 
offer was volunteered in the same year that the Pilgrims sailed from 
Holland in the "Mayflower" and landed at Plymouth. Indeed, it is 
well known that the original intention of the " Mayflower" company 
was to proceed to New Netherland, and their landing on the New 
England coast instead was the result of a change of plan almost at the 
last moment. It will heme be observed that it was by the merest cir- 
cumstance of fortune that our State of New York did not become the 
chosen seat of the Puritan element. Yet New Netherland as originally 
settled was just as distinctly a place of refuge for persecuted religious 
sectarians as New England, the Walloons who came to New York Bay 
being no less pilgrims for reasons of belief than the much-sung pas- 
sengers of the " Mayflower." 

If should be borne in mind that the confines of New Netherland, as 
that territory was understood by the Dutch government, were not 
limited to the shores of the Hudson River, New York Bay and its 




estuaries, and Long [sland Sound. Henry Hudson, in his voyage of 
discovery northward from Chesapeake Bay in 1609, had entered and 
explored Bav, and in the years which followed that region 
received the occasional attention of ships from Holland. It was em- 
braced as a matter of course, in the grant made to the West India 
( :ompanv The name North River, by which the Hudson is still known 
at its mouth, was first given to it to distinguish it from the Delaware 
River or South River, as that stream was called by the Dutch. 

We have shown, in perhaps greater detail than some of our readers 
mav think is necessary in the pages of a local history, that the de- 
termining consideration m the creation of the West India Company 
was the desire of the Netherlands statesmen to provide, m view ot the 
impending war with Spain, for a strong offensive and defensive naval 
arm in the Atlantic ( >cean; and that the energies of the company were 
devoted on a great scale and with signal success to the realization of 
this aim The peaceful colonizing and commercial functions of the 
' on the other hand, were not outlined with any degree of 

special formality in the char- 
ter, but were rather left to the 
nai ural course of events. Upon 
this point the document speci- 
fied simply that the company 
" Further may promote the 
populating of fertile and unin- 
habited regions, and do all that 
the advantages of these prov- 
inces [the United Nether- 
lands], tin- profit and increase 
of commerce shall require.*' 
"Brief as is this language," 
aptly says a recent historian, 
" there Avas enough of it to ex- 
press the vicious principle un- 
derlying colonization as con- 
ducted in those days. It was 
the advantage of these provinces 
that must be held mainly in 
view— t h a t is, the h o m e 
country must receive the main 
benefit from the settlements 
wherever made, and commerce must be made profitable. The welfare, 
present or prospective, of colonies or colonists, was quite a subsidiary 
consideration. This accounts for much of the subsequent injustice, 



oppression, and neglect which made life in New Netherland anything 
but agreeable, and finally made the people hail the conquest by Eng- 
land as a happy relief." 1 

Early in the month of May, 1623, the first shipload of permanent 
settlers from Holland came up Xew York Bay. They were Walloons 
— thirty families of them, — from the southern or Belgic provinces of 
the Lower Countries, which, having a strongly preponderating pro- 
Catholic element, had declined to join the northern Protestant prov- 
inces in the revolt against Spain. These Walloons, stanch Hugue- 
nots in religious profession, finding life intolerable in their native 
land, removed, like the sturdy English dissenters, to Holland, and 
there gladly embraced opportunity to obtain permanent shelter from 
persecution, as well as homes for themselves and their families, in the 
new countries of America. They were not Hollanders, and had noth- 
ing in common with the Dutch except similarity of religion; they did 
not even speak the Dutch language, but a French dialect. The ship 
which bore them, the " Xew Xetherland," was a fine vessel for those 
days, of 266 tons burden. It came by way of the Canaries and the 
West Indies, and was under the protecting escort of an armed yacht, 
the "Mackerel." The whole expedition was commanded by Captain 
Cornelius Jacobsen May, in whose honor Cape May, the northern pro- 
montory at the entrance to Delaware Bay, was named. He was con- 
stituted the governor of the colony, with headquarters in Delaware 
Bay. He at once divided the settlers into a number of small parties. 
Some were left on Manhattan Island, and others were dispatched to 
Long Island (where the familial- local name of the Wallabout still 
preserves the memory of the Walloons), to Staten Island, to Connecti- 
cut, to the vicinity of Albany, and to the Delaware or South I^ver— al- 
though the families locating on the Delaware returned to the northern 
settlements after a brief sojourn. It does not appear that any of these 
first colonists were placed in Westchester County, or even within the 
northern limits of Manhattan Island. Arriving in May, with seeds and 
agricultural implements, they were able to raise and garner a year's 
crop, and consequently suffered none of the hardships which made the 
lot of the Puritans during their first winter at Plymouth so bitter. Al- 
though distributed into little bands, which might have been easily ex- 
terminated by organized attack, they sustained, moreover, peaceful 
relations with the Indians. Thus from the very start fortune favored 
the enterprise of European colonization in Xew York. 

Having in this and the preceding chapter, with tolerable regard for 
proportions, as well as attention to minuteness in the more important 

1 Van Pelt's Hist, of the Greater New York, i.. 13. 


matters of detail, outlined the general conditions prevailing pre- 
viously to and at the time of discovery, and traced the broader histor- 
ical facts preliminary to the settlement of Westchester County, we 
shall now, in entering upon the period when that settlement began, 
have mainly to do with the exclusive aspects of our county s gradual 
development, giving proper notice, however, to the general history and 
conditions of the changing times as the narrative progresses. 




URING the first fifteen or so years after the beginning of the 
colonization of New Xetherland there was no attempt at 
settlement north of the Harlem River, so far as can be de- 
^^ termined from the records that have come down to us. The 
earliest recorded occupation of Westchester land by an actual white 
settler dates from about 1639. At that period at least one man of 
note and substance, Jonas Bronck, laid out a farm and erected a 
dwelling above the Harlem. That he had predecessors in that sec- 
tion is extremely improbable. The entire Westchester peninsula at 
that time was a wilderness, inaccessible from Manhattan Island, ex- 
cept by boat. 1 The colony proper, as inaugurated by the few families 
of Walloons, who came over in 1G23, and as subsequently enlarged by 
gradual additions, was at the far southern end of Manhattan Island, 
where a fort was built for the general security, and where alone ex- 
isted facilities for trade and social intercourse. To this spot and its 
immediate vicinity settlement was necessarily confined for some 
years; and though by degrees certain enterprising persons took up 
'lands considerably farther north, steadily pushing on to the Harlem, 
it is most unlikely that that stream was crossed for purposes of habi- 
tation by any unremembered adventurer before the time of Bronck. 
Certainly any earlier migration into a region utterly uninhabited ex- 
cept by Indians, and separated by water from all communication with 
the established settlements, would have been an event of some im- 
portance, which hardly could have escaped mention. We may there- 
fore with reasonable safety assume that Bronck, the first white resi- 
dent in Westchester County of whom history leaves any trace, was 

i That is. not conveniently or for practical upon rocks and reefs at the place called Spyt 
purposes accessible otherwise. At Kingsbridge, den duyvel " (the original name of Kings- 
the place of divide between Spuyten Duyvil bridge,,. The editor of this History has crossed 
Creek and the Harlem River-known in the there when fishing, finding the passage reason- 
earliest times as "the fording place "-Ten- ably safe at - dead low water." At other 
turosome persons would occasionally ford the times, when the tide was higher but not full, 
stream. In the journals of Jasper Bankers and it was fordable although f****™*** 1 * 
Peter Sluvter-a narrative of a visit to New ment of risk being enlarged bj the rapiditj of 
York in 1679-it is related (p. 135) that people the current. 
•' can go over this creek at dead low water 



the first in fact, and that with his coming, about the year 1639, the 
annals of the civilized occupation of our couuty begin. 

The little colony of Walloons landed on Manhattan Island by the 
ship " New Netherland " in the spring of 1023 was, as we have seen, 
only one of several infant colonies planted on the same occasion and 
governed by a director of the Dutch West India Company, who had his 
headquarters in Delaware Bay. The first director, Cornelius Jacob- 
sen May, was succeeded at the expiration of a year by William Ver- 
hulst, who in 1(520 was replaced by Peter Minuit. Previously to 
Minuit's appointment little effort had been made to give a formal 
character to the administration of the local affairs of New JSether- 
land, although the interests of the settlements were not neglected. 
In 1025 wheeled vehicles were introduced, and a large importation of 
domestic animals from Holland was made, including horses, cattle, 

swine, and sheep. More- 
over, some new families 
and single people, mostly 
Walloons, were brought 

With the arrival of Peter 
Minuit, as director-gen- 
eral, on May 1, 1020, the 
concerns of the colony first 
came under a carefully 
ordered scheme of manage- 
ment. The settlements in 
New York Bay were now 
made the seat of govern- 
ment of New Motherland. 
The director-general was 
to exercise the functions of 
chief executive, subject to 
the advice of a council of 
five members, which, be- 
sides acting as a legis- 
lative and general admin- 
istrative body, was to con- 
stitute a tribunal for the 
trial of all cases at law 
arising, both civil and 
criminal. There were two other officers of importance — a secretary 
oft lie council and a schout-fiscaal. The latter performed the com- 
bined duties of public prosecutor, treasurer, and sheriff. There was 


no provision for representative government, although it was custom- 
ary in cases of considerable public moment to call in some of the prin- 
cipal citizens as advisers, who in such circumstances had an equal 
voice with the members of the council. Of this custom the directors 
sometimes took advantage in order to place the responsibility for 
serious and perhaps questionable acts of policy upon the citizens. 
The conduct of Director Kieft in entering upon his course of violent 
aggression against the Indians, which resulted in great devastation in 
our county, was given the color of popular favor iu this manner. 

In the early months of Minuit's administration the Island of Man- 
hattan was purchased from the Indians " for the value of sixty 
guilders," or $24. The same ship which carried to Holland the news 
of this transaction bore a cargo of valuable peltries (including 7,246 
beaver skins) and oak and hickory timber. The first year of Minuit's 
directorship was also signalized by the dispatching of an embassy 
to New England, partly with the object of cultivating trade relations 
with the Puritan settlers, but mainly in connection with the rival 
English and Dutch territorial claims. Thus at the very outset of 
systematic government by the Dutch iu their new possessions the 
controversy with England, destined to be settled thirty-seven years 
later by the stern law of the stronger, came forward as a subject 
requiring special attention. 

It should not be supposed that the settlement on Manhattan Island 
at this early period enjoyed any pretensions as a community. Indeed, 
it had scarcely vet risen to true communal dignity. According to 
Wassanaer, the white population in 1628 was 270. But this number 
did not represent any particularly solid organization of people com- 
posed of energetic and effective elements. The settlers up to this 
time were almost exclusively refugees from religious persecution, 
who came for the emergent reason that they were without homes in 
Europe— mostly honest, sturdy people, but poor and unresourceful. 
The inducements so far offered by the AVest India Company were not 
sufficiently attractive to draw other classes to their transatlantic 
lands, and the natural colonists of the New Netherland, the yeomen 
and burghers of the United Provinces, finding no appearance of ad- 
vantage to offset the plain risks involved in emigration, were very 
reluctant to leave their native country, where conditions of life were 
comfortable and profitable much beyond the average degree. Ihis 
reluctance was alluded to in the following strong language ^ a re- 
port made to the States-General by the Assembly of the XIX. m lb- J: 
" The colonizing such wild and uncultivated countries demands more 
inhabitants than we can well supply; not so much through lack of 
population, in which our provinces abound, as from the fact that all 


2 "iLjj \»UjjL er~^ vu,j~~Sj». ^/J- i \~fti~Jiy ,j r vw^ U, , 


f Lju^u4^\ 


<^-l «U^«V 


who are inclined to do any sort of work here procure enough to eat 
without any trouble, and are therefore unwilling to go far from home 
on an uncertainty." 

It accordingly became a matter of serious consideration for the 
company to devise more effective colonizing plans. After careful 
deliberation, an elaborate series of provisions to this end was drawn 
up, entitled " Freedoms and Exemptions granted by the Assembly of 
the XIX. of the Privileged West India Company to all such as shall 
plant any colonies in New Netherlands which in June, 1G29, received 
the ratification of the States-General. As this document was the 
basis upon which the celebrated patroonships, including the patroon- 
ship of Yonkers, were founded, a brief summary of it is in order. 

Any member of the West India Company who should settle a " col- 
onic » (i. e., a plantation or landed proprietorship) in New Xetherland 
was entitled to become a beneficiary of the Privileges and Exemptions, 
but that right was withheld from all other persons. The whole coun- 



try was thrown open under the otter, excepting " the Island of Man- 
hattan," which was reserved to the company. A colonic, within the 
meaning of the document, was to be a settlement of " fifty souls, up- 
wards of fifteen years old," one-fourth to be sent during the first year 
and the remainder before the expiration of the fourth year. Everyone 
complying with these conditions was t<> be acknowledged a patroon of 
New Xetherland. The landed limits of the patroonships were exten- 
sible sixteen English miles " along the shore — that is, on one side of 
a navigable river, or eight miles on each side of a river — and so far 
into the country as the situation of the occupiers will permit"; 
and the company waived all pecuniary considera- 
tion for the land, merely requiring settlement. 
Upon the patroons was conferred the right to 
" forever possess and enjoy all the lands lying 
within the aforesaid limits, together with the 
fruits, rights, minerals, rivers, and fountains 
thereof; as also the chief command and lower 
jurisdiction, fishing, fowling, and grinding, to the 
exclusion of all others, to be holden from the 
company as a perpetual inheritance." In case 
" anyone should in time prosper so much as to 
found one or more cities," he was to " have power 
and authority to establish officers and magis- 
trates there, and to make use of the title of his 
colonie according to his pleasure and the quality 
of the persons." The patroons were directed to 
furnish their settlers with " proper instructions, in 
order that they may be ruled and governed conformably to the rule of 
government made or to be made by the Assembly of the XIX., as well 
in the political as in the judicial government." Special privileges of 
traffic along the whole American coast from Florida to Newfound- 
land were bestowed upon the patroons, with the proviso that their 
returning ships should land at Manhattan Island, and that five per 
cent, of the value of the cargo should be paid to the company's officers 
there. It was even permitted to the patroons to traffic in New Neth- 
erland waters, although they were strictly forbidden to receive in ex- 
change any article of peltry, "which trade the company reserve to 
themselves." Nevertheless they were free to engage in the coveted 
peltry trade at all places where the Company had no trading station, 
on condition that they should " bring all the peltry they can procure " 
either to Manhattan Island or direct to the Netherlands, and pay to 
the company kk one guilder for each merchantable beaver and otter 
skin." The company engaged to exempt the colonists of the patroons 


from all " customs, taxes, excise, imports, or any other contributions 
for the space of ten years." In addition to the grants to the patroons, 
it was provided that private persons, not enjoying the same privileges 
as the patroons, who should be inclined to settle in New Netherland, 
should be at liberty to take up as much land as they might be able 
properly to improve, and to " enjoy the same in full property." The 
principle of recompense to the Indians for the lands, as a necessary 
preliminary to legal ownership, was laid down in the stipulation that 
" whoever shall settle any colonic outside of Manhattan Island shall 
be obliged to satisfy the Indians for the land they shall settle upon." 
The patroons and colonists were enjoined " in particular and in the 
speediest manner " to " endeavor to find out ways and means whereby 
they may support a minister and schoolmaster, that thus the service 
of God and zeal for religion may not grow cool and be neglected 
among them." With an eye to possible infringements upon the com- 
mercial monopoly of the company, the colonists were prohibited from 
making any woolen, linen, or cotton cloth, or weaving any other stuffs, 
on pain of banishment. The universal recognition in those times of 
the propriety and expediency of employing negro slaves in new coun- 
tries found expression in Article XXX. of the instrument, as follows: 
"The company will use their endeavors to supply the colonists with 
as many blacks as they conveniently can, on the conditions hereafter 
to be made; in such manner, however, that they shall not be bound 
to do it for a longer time than they shall think proper." 

So far as this new system of " Freedoms and Exemptions " was in- 
tended to encourage proprietary enterprises in New Netherland, its 
purposes were at once realized. Indeed, even before the final ratifi- 
cation of the plan, several of the leading shareholders of the com- 
pany sent agents across the water to select the choicest domains, 
which were duly confirmed to them as patroons soon after the charter 
went into effect. Thus Samuel Godyn and Samuel Blommaert, 
through their representatives, made purchases of land from the 
Indians on Delaware Bay, one hundred and twenty-eight miles long 
and eight miles broad, and were created patroons in consequence. 
The first patroonship erected within the borders of the State of Xew 
York was that of Rensselaerswyck, comprising territory on both 
banks of the upper Hudson, of which Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, of Am- 
sterdam, was the founder. This great tract was subsequently changed 
into an English manor, and continued under the proprietorship of a 
single hereditary owner until near the middle of the present century. 
Another of the early patroons, Michael Pauw, acquired lands on the 
west shore of the North River, now occupied by Jersey City and 
Hoboken, later adding Staten Island to his possessions, and named 


the whole district Pavonia. Westchester County, as an inviting lo- 
cality for a patroonship, did not immediately claim notice; but, as we 
shall see, it received in due time its share of attention in this regard, 
becoming the seat of one of the most noted of all the patroons, Adrian 
Van der Donck. 

Much discontent arose among the general membership of the \\ est 
India Company on account of the land-grabbing operations of the 
wealthy directors, which was intensified as time passed by continuing 
evidences of the self-seeking and general thriftiness of the patroons. 
It was charged that the latter paid little or no heed to the plain spirit 
of the charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, which in creating the 
patroons had in view essentially the development of the country 
granted to them; and that, instead of settling the land in good faith, 
they sought principally the profits of trade, coming into conflict with 
the' interests of the company. One result of the controversy was the 
recall of Minuit, who was supposed to have shown too much partiality 
for the patroons and too little zeal for the protection of the company 
against their personal enterprises. This happened in 1633. The 
next director-general was Walter Van Twiller, who remained m of- 
fice until 163S, being dismissed for promiscuous irregularities of con- 
duct, both otficial and personal. 

From the pages of De Laet, the historian of the West India Com- 
pany, we obtain an interesting statement of the fiscal affairs of New 
Netherland to the close of Minuifs directorship— that is, to the end of 
the first term of organized government. The total exports of the 
Province of New Netherland from its foundation to the beginning of 
1G33 amounted in value to 454,127 florins. The value of the imports 
during the same time was 272,817 florins. Thus for the nine years 
the company realized a profit on trade transactions of 181,2S0 florins, 
or about $S,000 annually. This was an exceedingly trifling return 
on a capitalization of nearly three millions of dollars, and it is no 
wonder that the practical-minded merchants who controlled the com- 
pany began to look in a decidedly pessimistic spirit at the whole New 
Netherland undertaking, and as time went by conceived a fixed indif- 
ference to the local welfare of such barren and unprofitable settle- 
ments. On the other hand, the company was earning magnificent 
sums in prize money from its captures of the enemy's merchant ships, 
and was drawing handsome revenues from the newly conquered 
dominions in South America and the West Indies. The contempt in 
which New Netherland came to bo hold because of its unproductive- 
ness is strikingly illustrated by the selections of men to manage its 
a flairs. Van Twiller, who succeeded Minuit, was a mere coarse buf- 
foon; and Kieft, who followed Van Twiller, was a cruel and vulgar 


despot, who from the first regarded his position as that of sovereign 
lord of the country, and proceeded to rule it by his arbitrary will, dis- 
pensing with a council. , It is sufficient to contrast these selections of 
rulers for New Netherland with the choice of Prince Maurice of Nas- 
sau for governor of the Province of Brazil, to appreciate the compar- 
atively low and scornful estimation placed upon the North American 
realms in the inner councils of the West India Company after due 
experience in their attempted exploitation. According to an explicit 
" Eeport on the Condition of New Netherland," presented to the 
States-General in 163S, the company declared that up to that time it 
had suffered a net loss in its New Netherland enterprise; that it was 
utterly unable to people the country; and that " nothing now comes 
from New Netherland but beaver skins, minks, and other furs." 

Closely following the submission of this significant report came a 
new departure in policy as to colonization, which had far-reaching ef- 
fects, and under which before long a tide of immigration began to roll 
into our section. 

Eealizing at last that the splendid scheme of patroonships, or a 
landed aristocracy, instituted in 1629, appealed only to a limited class 
of ambitious and wealthy men, who could never be relied upon to per- 
form the tedious and financially hazardous work of settling the coun- 
try with a purely agricultural population, the States-General on Sep- 
tember 2, 1038, at the instance of the company, made known to the 
world that henceforth the soil of New Netherland would be open to 
all comers, of whatever position in society, whether natives of the 
home country or inhabitants of other nations not at war with the 
Netherlands. The specific terms attached to this very radical propo- 
sition were the following: 

" All and every the inhabitants of this State, or its allies and 
friends," were invited to take up and cultivate lands in New Nether- 
land, and to engage in traffic with the people of that region. Per-, 
sons taking advantage of the offer of traffic were required to have 
their goods conveyed on the ships of the West India Company, paying 
an export duty of ten per cent, on merchandise sent out from the 
ports of the Netherlands, and an import duty of fifteen per cent, on 
merchandise brought thither from New Netherland. These certainly 
were not onerous customs exactions. Respecting individuals, of 
whatever nationality, desiring to acquire and cultivate land, the di- 
rector and council were instructed " to accommodate everyone, ac- 
cording to his condition and means, with as much land as he can prop- 
erly cultivate, either by himself or with his family." The land thus 
conceded was to become absolute private property, and to be free 
from burdens of every kind until after it had been pastured or culti- 



vated four years; but subsequently to that period the owner was to 
pay to the company -the lawful tenths of all fruit, grain, seed, to- 
bacco, cotton, and such like, as well as of the increase of all sorts of 
cattle" Those establishing themselves in New Netherland under this 
offer were bound to submit themselves to the regulations and orders 
of the company, and to the local laws and courts; but there was no 
stipulation for the renunciation of allegiance to foreign potentates. 
Considering the illiberal tendency of international relations prevalent 
in the seventeenth century, and the native self-sufficient character of 
the Dutch race, this whole measure is remarkable for its broad and 
generous spirit. There was no allusion in it to 
^fjjJT iPy] the subject of religious conformity, and the per- 

fect toleration thus implied afforded a strong in- 
ducement to persons growing restive under the 
narrow institutions of the English colonies. This 
element, migrating from New England, found 
the shores of Westchester County most con- 
venient for settlement, and became one of the 
most important and aggressive factors of our 
early population. 

The noteworthy measure of 1638, whose pro- 
visions we have just analyzed, was supple- 
mented in July, 1640, by an act of the States- 
Oeneral effecting a thorough revision of the 
charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1629. 
The patroonships were not abrogated, but the 
right to be chosen as patroons was no longer 
confined to members of the company, and the 
privileges and powers of the patroons were sub- 
jected "to considerable modification. The legal 
limits of their estates were reduced to four English miles along the 
shore, although they might extend eight miles laud ward in; and the 
planting of their "colonies" was required to be completed within 
three instead of four years. Trade privileges along the coast outside 
of the Dutch dominions were continued as before; but within the ter- 
ritory of New Netherland no one was permitted to compete with the 
ships of the company, excepting that fishing for cod and the like was 
allowed, on condition that the fisherman should sail direct to some 
European country with his catch, putting in at a Netherlands port to 
pay a prescribed duty to the company. In this act much greater rela- 
tive importance was attached to the subject of free colonists, or colo- 
nizers other than patroons, than in the original charter of 1629, the 
object manifestly being to assure the public that New Netherland was 



not a country set apart for lords and gentlemen, but a land thrown 
open in the most comprehensive way to the common people. Free 
colonists were defined to be those who should " remove to New 
Netherland with five souls above fifteen years," and all such were to 
be granted by the director-general " one hundred morgens (two hun- 
dred acres) of land, contiguous one to the other, wherever they please 
to select." The colonists were put on precisely the same footing as 
thepatroons in matters of trade privilege, and, in fact, enjoyed all the 
material rights granted to the patroons except those of bearing a title 
and administering great landed estates, which, however, were equally 
within their reach in case of their ability to comply with the require- 
ment for the transportation from the old country and introduction', 
into the new of fifty bona fide settlers. The company assumed the 
responsibility of providing and maintaining " good and suitable 
preachers, schoolmasters, and comforters of the sick"; and it ex- 
tended to the free colonists, no less than the colonists of the patroons, 
exemption from all taxes for a certain period. The former clause 
regarding negroes Mas renewed in about the same language, as fol- 
lows: "The company shall exert itself to provide the patroons and 
colonists, on their order, with as many blacks as possible, without, 
however, being further or longer obligated thereto than shall be 

Thus from 1629 to 1640 three distinct plans for promoting the set- 
tlement of New Netherland were formulated and spread before the 
public. The first plan, after being tested for nine years, was found a 
complete failure, because based upon the theory that colonization 
should naturally and would most effectively proceed from the patron- 
age of the rich, who, acquiring as a free gift the honors of title and 
the dignities of landed proprietorship, would, it was thought, readily 
support those honors and dignities by the substance of an established 
vassalage. It was soon found that such a theory was quite incapable 
of application to a country as yet undeveloped, and that the sole reli- 
able and solid colonization in the conditions which had to be dealt 
with would be that pursued on the democratic principle and under- 
taken in their independent capacity by citizens of average means and 
ordinary aims. It stands to the credit of the West India Company 
and the Dutch government that, having discovered their fundamental 
error of judgment in the first plan of settlement, they lost no time in 
framing another, which was made particularly judicious and liberal 
in its scope and details, and was as successful in its workings as the 
original scheme had been disappointing. 

We have now arrived at the period indicated at the beginning of 
this chapter as that of the appearance of the first known settlers 


within the original historic borders of our County of Westchester. 
The attention of the Dutch pioneers on Manhattan Island had early 
been directed to this picturesque and pleasant region, and it is a 
pretty well accepted fact that some land purchases were made from 
the Westchester Indians antedating 1039, although the records of 
these assumed transactions have been lost. The most ancient deed 
to Westchester lands which has been preserved to the present day 
bears date of August 3, 1639, and by its terms the Indians dispose of 
a tract called Keskeskeck; the West India Company being the pur- 
chasers, through their representative, Cornelius Van Tienhoven, pro- 
vincial secretary to Director Kieft. 

In the next year Van Tienhoven was dispatched by Ivieft on similar 
important business to this same section; and, April 19, bought from 
the Siwanoy Indians all the lands located in the southeastern portion 
of Westchester County, running as far eastward in Connecticut as the 
Norwalk River. The instructions under which he acted directed him 
to purchase the archipelago, or group of islands, at the mouth of the 
Norwalk River, together with all the adjoining territory on the mam- 
land, and " to erect thereon the standard and arms of the High and 
Mighty Lords States-General; to take the savages under our protec- 
tion, and to prevent effectually any other nation encroaching on our 
limits." The purchase of 1640 was in the line of stole policy, being- 
conceived and consummated as a countercheck to the English, who, 
having by this time appeared in considerable numbers on the banks of 
the Connecticut River, were making active pretensions to the whole 
western territory along the Sound and in the interior, and were thus 
seriouslv menacing the integrity of the Dutch colonial empire. 

W r e may here appropriately pause to glance at some pertinent as- 
pects of British colonial progress in New England — aspects with 
which, we shall be bound to grant, those of contemporaneous Dutch 
development in New Netherland do not compare over-favorably. 

The Pilgrims of the "Mayflower" landed on Plymouth Rock late in 
the month of December, 1620, a little more than two years before the 
original company of Walloons came to New York Bay on the ship 
"New Netherlands The first British settlement in New England and 
the first Dutch settlement in New Netherland were thus inaugurated 
almost simultaneously, the former having a slight advantage as to 
time, and the latter a considerable one in the possession of a more 
o-enial climate, a less stubborn soil, and a superior natural location 
as also in the enjoyment of a more powerful, interested, and liberal 
home patronage. From the parent settlement at Plymouth, the Eng- 
lish not only rapidly advanced into the whole surrounding country, 
but in the course of a few years sent colonizing parties to quite remote 


localities; and wherever an English advance colony gained a foot- 
hold, there permanent and energetic settlement was certain very 
speedily to follow. As early as 1633 a number of Englishmen from 
Massachusetts, desiring to investigate the Indian stories of a better 
soil to the south, came and established themselves in the Connecticut 
Valley. Shortly afterward a patent for this region was obtained 
from the British crown by Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and others. 
In 163G John TV inthrop, son of Governor Winthrop, settled on the 
Connecticut with a goodly company; and in 1638 Theophilus Eaton, 
with the noted Rev. John Davenport, led a large band of settlers to 
the same locality, planting the New Haven colony. Rhode Island 
was brought under settlement also at that period by Roger Williams 
and other dissidents from the intolerant religions institutions of 

Now, the Euglish, in establishing important and flourishing settle- 
ments throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island, were, technically 
speaking, not in advance of the Dutch. The Dutch were the undis- 
puted first discoverers of the entire Connecticut and Rhode Island 
coastline, along which the intrepid navigator Block sailed in 1614. 
Later, Dutch voyagers returned to those shores and trafficked with 
the natives; and finally, in 1623, when Director May arrived in New 
York harbor on his mission of colonization from the West India Com- 
pany, he dispatched a number of his Walloon families to the mouth of 
the Connecticut River. At the same place the arms of the States- 
( General of the Netherlands were formally erected in 1632, and in 1633 
Director-General Van Twiller bought from the Indians a tract of land 
called Connittelsock, situated on the western Connecticut bank, on 
which tract, at a point sixty miles above the mouth of the stream, a 
Dutch fort and trading-house, named Good Hope, were built. In- 
deed, the English pioneers of 1633, proceeding down the Connecticut, 
found the Dutch already in possession there. 

But the Dutch occupation of the mouth and valley of the Connec- 
ticut River was never otherwise than merely nominal, a fact which, in 
view of the easily conceivable future importance of that quarter in 
connection with the maintenance of Dutch territorial claims, is cer- 
tainly striking, and characteristically illustrates Dutch deliberation 
and inefficiency in colonizing development as contrasted with English 
alacrity ami thoroughness. Moreover, all the connecting circum- 
stances indicate that the establishment by the Dutch of a fort and 
trading-post on the Connecticut was not prompted by serious designs 
of consecutive settlement, but was a pure extemporization in the in- 
terest of ultimate insistence upon lawful ownership of that region. 
From 1623, the year in which Manhattan Island was regularly settled, 


until 1639, a period of sixteen years, not a single Dutch colony had 
been founded, and probably not a single Dutch family had taken up 
its abode, in all the country intervening between the Harlem and the 
Connecticut Rivers-a country splendidly wooded and watered with 
a highly interesting coast and rich alluvial lands, and vastly im- 
portant as an integral and related portion of the dominions of New 
Netherland. It may perhaps be replied that the whirlpool of Hell 
Gate presented a natural obstacle to convenient intercourse with the 
shores of the Sound, and consequently to advantageous settlement m 
the entire trans-Harlem country. But if the Manhattan Island col- 
ony had been animated by any noticeable spirit of progress, it would 
not have allowed sixteen years to pass without finding access to this 
region, either from the northern extremity of Manhattan Is and or 
from the Long Island side. The truth is, there was no general devel- 
opment by the Dutch even of Manhattan Island during the period m 
question/ Only its southern end was occupied by any regular aggre- 
gation of settlers, and this aggregation still existed mainly for the 
business of bartering with the Indians and sending to Holland " beav- 
er skins minks, and other furs," the only products which, as declared 
in the " Report of 1638 on the Condition of New Netherland, were 
afforded by the province. 

To review the comparative situation in 1610, while the English had 
steadilv and systematically advanced as an earnest and practical col- 
onizing people, covering the land from Plymouth Rock to the Sound 
with organized settlements which sought the immediate development 
of all its available resources, the Dutch had remained stationary, with 
only a single settlement worthy of consideration. It is true they had 
located and occupied a few trading-posts in and around New York 
Bay, as well as in distant parts of New Xetherland— in Delaware Bay, 
on the upper Hudson at Albany, and on the Connecticut River. But 
these enterprises represented in no case creditable colonizing en- 

It has been seen that, in the years 1639 and 1610, Cornelius Y an 
Tienhoven, as the representative of Director-General Kieft, purchased 
from the Indians, first, a large Westchester tract called Keskeskeck, 
and, second, lands covering generally the southeastern section of this 
county and extending to the Norwalk River. This was done to fore- 
stall English claims to priority of possession, at that time conspicu- 
ously in course of preparation. But even in this matter of land pur- 
chases the Dutch were scarcely aforetime of the alert English. To 
the latter, also, the Indians executed a deed of sale, embracing exten- 
sive portions of Westchester County, and nearly as ancient as the first 
Dutch land deed. On July 1, 1610, Captain Nathaniel Turner, in be- 


half of the New Haven colony (Quinnipiacke), bought from Ponus, 
sagamore of Toquains, and Wascussue, sagamore of Shippan, lands 
running eight miles along the Sound and extending sixteen miles into 
the northwestern wilderness. This tract was comprehensively known 
by the name of " The Toquams." Ponus prudently reserved for him- 
self " the liberty of his corn and pasture lands." It included, in Con- 
necticut, the present Town of Stamford, as well as Darien and New 
Canaan, and parts of Bedford and Greenwich; aud, in Westchester 
County, the Towns of Poundridge, Bedford, and North Castle, either 
in whole or in part. On the basis of this purchase, the settlement at 
Stamford, Conn., was laid out in 1641. In 1655 the bargain of 1610 
was reaffirmed by a new agreement with the Indians respecting the 
same district. No early settlements in the Westchester sections of 
the tract were attempted by the English; but it is an interesting point 
to bear in mind that the interior sections of this county bordering on 
Connecticut were first bought from the Indians not under Dutch but 
under English auspices, and thus that the English fairly share with 
the Dutch the title to original sovereignty in Westchester County, so 
far as that title can be said to be sustained by the right of mere 

There was a second English purchase from the Indians in 1610, 
which constructively may have included some parts of Westchester 
County. Mehackem, Narawake, and Pemeate, Indians of Norwalk, 
agreed to convey to Daniel Patrick, of Greenwich, all their lands on 
the west side of " Norwake River, as far up in the country as an 
Indian can goe in a day, from sun risinge to sun settinge,*' the consid- 
eration being " ten fathoms wampum, three hatchets, three bows, six 
glasses, twelve tobacco pipes, three knives, tenn drills, and tenn 

It was a year or two previously to 1610 that Jonas Bronck, gener- 
ally regarded as the first white inhabitant of AVestchester County, 
came across the Harlem River to take up land and build a home. He 
was not a native Hollander, being, it is supposed, of Swedish extrac- 
tion. But he appears to have made his home in Amsterdam, where 
he was married to one Antonia (or Teuntje) Slagboom. While there 
is no evidence that he was a man of large wealth, it is abundantly 
manifest that he was quite comfortably circumstanced in worldly 
goods. Unquestionably his sole object in emigrating to New Nether- 
land was to acquire and cultivate land, probably under the liberal 
general offer to persons of all nations proclaimed by the States-Gen- 
eral in 1638. He was, therefore, one of the first of the new and more 
substantial class of men who began to remove hither after the substi- 
tution bv the West India Company of a broad and democratic plan of 


colonization for the old exclusive scheme of special privileges to the 
patroons. Sailing from Amsterdam in a ship of the company's, with 
his wife and family, farmhands and their families, domestic servants, 
cattle, and miscellaneous goods, he landed on Manhattan Island; and, 
not caring to purchase one of the company farms there (the whole 
island having been expressly reserved to the private uses of the West 
India Company), proceeded to select a tract in the free lands beyond 
the Harlem. Here, pursuant to the custom peremptorily required by 
Dutch law, he first extinguished the Indian title, purchasing from 
the native chiefs Ranachqua and Taekamuck five hundred acres 
kk lying between the great kill (Harlem River) and the Ahquahung " 
mow the Bronx River). An old kk Tracing of Broncksland " is still 
preserved in the office of the secretary of state at Albany, upon which 
the house of Jonas Bronck is located. Its site as thus indicated was 
not far from the present depot of the Harlem River branch of the New 
York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, at Morrisania. This dwelling 
is described as of " stone," covered with tiles, and had connected with 
it a barn, tobacco-house, and two barracks. As the Dutch word for 
stone fsteenj is always ambiguous unless accompanied by a descrip- 
tive prefix, it is uncertain what kind of building stone, whether brick 
or the native rock of the country, was used by Bronck. In view of the 
generally provident character of the man, it is a reasonable supposi- 
tion that he brought a supply of brick with him from Holland; and 
thus that the first house erected in the county was made of that re- 
spectable material. To his estate he gave the Scriptural name of 
Enimaus. From the inventory of the personal property which he 
left at his death, it is clear that he was a gentleman of cultivation. 
His possessions included pictures, a silver-mounted gun, silver cups, 
spoons, tankards, bowls, fine bedding, satin, grosgrain suits, linen 
shirts, gloves, napkins, tablecloths, and as many as forty books. The 
books were largely godly volumes, among them being Calvin's " Insti- 
tutes," Luther's " Psalter " and " Complete Catechism," the " Praise 
of Christ," the " Four Ends of Death," and " Fifty Pictures of Death." 
Bronck died in 1643. The celebrated Everardus Bogardus, the 
Dutch domino on Manhattan Island and husband of Anneke Jans, 
superintended the inventorying of his estate. His widow married 
Arent Van Corlaer, sheriff of Rensselaerswyck. Jonas Bronck left a 
son, Peter, who went with his mother to her new home,and from whom 
the numerous Bronx family of Albany and vicinity is descended. The 
Bronck property on the Harlem was sold on July 10, 1651, to Jacob 
Jans Stall. One of its subsequent owners was Samuel Edsall, a 
beaver-maker and man of some note in New York City, who had trade 
transactions with the Indians, became versed in their language, and 


acted officially as interpreter. He sold it to Captain Richard Morris, 
and it subsequently became a part of the Manor of Morrisania. 

The Bronx River, first known as Bronck's River, or the Bronck 
River, was appropriately so called for this pioneer settler on its 
banks; and from the stream, in our own day, has been derived the 
name given to the whole great and populous territory which West- 
chester County has resigned to the growing municipal needs of the 
City of New York. Whatever changes in local designations may 
occur in the American metropolis in the progress of time, it is a safe 
prediction that the name of the Borough of the Bronx, so happily 
chosen for the annexed districts, will always endure. 

The example of Bronck in boldly venturing over upon the main- 
land would doubtless have found many ready followers among the 
Dutch already on Manhattan Island, or those who were now arriving 
in constantly increasing numbers from Europe, if the threatening 
aspect of the times had not plainly suggested to everybody the inex- 
pediency of going into an open country exposed to the attacks of the 
Indians. In the summer and fall of 1641 events occurred which, con- 
sidered in connection with the well-known unrelenting character of 
Director Kieft, foreshadowed serious trouble with the natives; and 
early in the spring of 1612 a war actually broke forth which, although 
at first conducted without special animosity, developed into a most 
revengeful and sanguinary struggle, with pitiless and undiscriminat- 
ing massacre on both sides as its distinguishing characteristic. It is 
probable that, before the preliminaries of this war had so far de- 
veloped as to fairly warn the people of the impending peril, various 
new Dutch farms and houses on the Westchester side were added to 
the one already occupied by Bronck. Be this at it may, it is certain 
that settlers from the New England colonies had begun to arrive at 
different localities on the Sound. These English settlers, in many re- 
gards the most important and interesting of the Westchester pio- 
neers, now claim a good share of our notice. 

First in point of prominence is to be mentioned the noted Anne 
Hutchinson, whose name, like that of Bronck, has become lastingly 
identified with Westchester County by being conferred upon a river. 
Whether she was the first of the immigrants from Xew England into 
Westchester County, can not be determined with absolute certainty; 
but there is no question that she was among the very earliest. In the 
summer of 1612, permission having been granted her by the Dutch 
authorities to make her home in Xew Xetherland, she came to the dis- 
trict now known as Pelham, and on the side of Hutchinson's River 
founded a little colony. The company consisted of her own younger 
children, her son-in-law, Mr. Collins, his wife and family, and a few 


congenial spirits. In barely a year's time the whole settlement was 
swept to destruction, everybody belonging to it being killed by the 
Indians with the sole exception of an eight-year-old daughter of Mrs 
HutchSsoni win, was borne away to captivity. The lady herself 
was burned to death in the flames of her cottage. .^ . , . . . 

The tragical fate of Anne Hutchinson is one of the capital historic 
episodes of Westchester annals, because to the personality and career 
of this remarkable woman an abiding interest attaches. It is true 
that interest in Anne Hutchinson, in the form of special sympathy or 
special admiration, may vary according to varying individual capabil- 
ities for appreciation of the polemic type of women; but upon one 
point there can be no disagreement-she was among the foremost 
characters of her times in America, sustaining a conspicuous relation 
to early controversialism in the New England settlements, and must 
always receive attention from the students of that period. 

She was of excellent English birth and connections. Her mother 
was the sister of Sir Erasmus Dryden, and she came collaterally from 
the same stock to which the poet Dryden and (though more distantly) 
the » T eat Jonathan Swift trace their ancestry. Her husband, Mr. 
Hutchinson, is described as " a mild, amiable, and estimable man, 
possessed of a considerable fortune, and in high standing among his 
Puritan contemporaries"; entertaining an unchanging affection for 
his wife, and accompanying her through all her wanderings and 
trials, until removed by death a short time before her flight to our 
Westchester County. Mrs. Hutchinson personally was of spotless 
reputation and high and noble aims; benevolent, self-sacnhcing; hold- 
iuo- the things of the world in positive contempt; an enthusiast in re- 
liction, independent in her opinions, and fearless in advocacy of them. 
With her husband and their children, she left England and came to 
Massachusetts Bay in 163G. Settling in Boston, she immediately en- 
tered upon a career of religious teaching and proselytizing. tk Every 
week she gathered around her in her comfortable dwelling a congre- 
o-ation of fifty or eighty women, and urged them to repentance and 
oood deeds * Soon her meetings were held twice a week; a religious 
revival swept over 1 he colony." But, careful not to offend against the 
decorum of the church, she confined her formal spiritual labors to 
the women, declining to address the men, although many of the latter, 
including some of the principal personages, visited her, and came 
under her personal and intellectual influence. Among her cordial 
friends and supporters were Harry Vane, the young governor of the 
colony; Mr. Col ton, the favorite preacher; Coddington, the wealthy 
citizen; and Captain John Underbill, the hero of the Pequod wars, 
who, accepting a commission from the Dutch in their sanguinary 


struggle with the Indians, was the leader of the celebrated expedi- 
tionary force which, in 1644, the year after the murder of Mrs. Hutch- 
inson, marched into the heart of Westchester County and wreaked 
dire vengeance for that and other bloody deeds. To the work of in- 
struction she added a large practical philanthropy, assisting the poor 
and ministering to the sick. 

But it was not long before Mrs. Hutchinson, by the independence of 
her opinions, excited the serious displeasure of the rigid Puritan ele- 
ment. Her precise doctrinal offense against the established stand- 
ards concerned, says a sympathetic writer, " a point so nice and finely 
drawn that the modern intellect passes it by in disdain; a difference 
so faint that one can scarcely represent it in words. Mrs. Hutchinson 
taught that the Holy Spirit was a person and was united with the be- 
liever; the Church, that the Spirit descended upon man not as a per- 
son. Mrs. Hutchinson taught that justification came from faith, and 
not from works; the Church scarcely ventured to define its own doc- 
trine, but contented itself with vague declamation." Although at 
first the Hutchinsonians were triumphant, especially in Boston, 
where nearly the entire population were on their side, the power of 
the church speedily made itself felt. On August 30, 1637, the first 
synod held in America assembled at Cambridge, its object being "to 
determine the true doctrines of the church and to discover and de- 
nounce the errors of the Hutchinsonians." Eighty-two heresies were 
defined and condemned, certain individual offenders were punished 
or admonished, and Mrs. Hutchinson's meetings were declared disor- 
derly and forbidden. Meantime Vane had been deposed as governor, 
and Winthrop, an unrelenting opponent of innovations, elected in his 
stead. In the following November Anne was publicly tried at Cam- 
bridge. "Although in a condition of health that might well have 
awakened manly sympathy, and that even barbarians have been 
known to respect, her enemies showed her no compassion. She was 
forced to stand up before the judges until she almost fell to the floor 
from weakness. No food was allowed her during the trial, and even 
the members of the court grew faint from hunger. She was allowed 
no counsel; no friend stood at her side; her accusers were also her 
judges." She was condemned by a unanimous vote, and sentenced 
to be imprisoned during the winter in the house of the intolerant 
Joseph Welde, and to be banished in the spring from the colony. 
While in duress pending her exile, she was excommunicated by the 
First Church of Boston for "telling a lie." In March, 1638, the 
Hutchinson family left Boston and removed to Bhode Island. There 
they remained until after the death of Mr. Hutchinson, in 1642, when 
Anne resolved to seek another home under the Dutch, and came to 
what is now Pelham, at that time a complete wilderness. 


There is no record of land purchase from the Indians by Mrs. 
Hutchinson or any of her party. This is undoubtedly for the reason 
pointed out by Bolton, that the whole colony was exterminated before 
purchase could be completed. Indeed, it does not appear that even 
the formality of procuring written license from the Dutch authorities 
to settle in the country had yet been observed. The massacre oc- 
curred in September of 1(543. It is said that an Indian came to Mrs 
Hutchinson's home one morning, professing friendship. I mding that 
the little colony was utterly defenseless, he returned in the evening 
with a numerous party, which at once proceeded to the business of 
slam-liter. According to tradition, the leader of the murderous In- 
dians was a chief named Wampage, who subsequently called himself 
- \nn-Hoock," following a frequent custom among the savages, by 
which a warrior or brave assumed the name of his victim. In lbo4, 
eleven years later, this Wampage, as one of the principal Indian pro- 
prietors of the locality, deeded land to Thomas Pell, over the signa- 
ture of - Vnn-Hoock." A portion of the peninsula of Pelham Neck 
was Ion- known by the names of - Annie's Hoeck » and the " Manor 
of inn Hoeck's Neck." Bolton, referring to various conjectures as 
to the site of Anne's residence, inclines to the opinion that it was 
-located on the property of George A. Prevoost, Esq of Pelham, 
near the road leading to the Keck, on the old Indian Path. The 
onlv one of Mrs. Hutchinson's company spared by the attacking party 
was her youngest daughter, quite a small child, who, after being held 
in captivitv four years, was released through the efforts of the Dutch 
governor and restored to her friends; but it is said that she -had 
forootten her native language, and was unwilling to be taken from 
the'lndians." This girl married a Mr. Cole, of Kingston, in the Nar- 
ragansett country, and - lived to a considerable age." One of the 
sons of Anne Hutchinson, who had remained in Boston when ins par- 
ents and the younger children left there in 1G3S, became the founder 
of an important colonial family, numbering among its members the 
Tory o-overnor Hutchinson, of the Revolution; also a grown-up 
daughter of Mrs. Hutchinson's married and left descendants in New 

England. tt . 

In the autumn of 1642, a few months after Anne Hutchinson s first 
appearance on the banks of the Hutchinson River, the foundations of 
another notable English settlement on the Sound were laid. John 
Throckmorton, in behalf of himself and associates (among whom was 
probably his friend, Thomas Cornell), obtained from the Dutch gov- 
ernment a license, dated October 2, 1042, authorizing settlement 
within three Dutch (twelve English) miles " of Amsterdam." In 
this license it was recited that " whereas Mr. Throckmorton, with his 


associates, solicits to settle with thirty-five families within the limits 
of the jurisdiction of their High Mightinesses, to reside there in peace 
and enjoy the same privileges as our other subjects, and be favored 
with the free exercise of their religion,"' and there being no danger 
that injury to the interests of the West India Company would result 
from the proposed settlement, ' k more so as the English are to settle 
at a distance of three miles from us," " so it is granted." The locality 
selected by Throckmorton was Throgg's Neck (so called from his 
name, corrupted into Thro gmor ton), and apparently the colony was 
begun forthwith. By the ensuing spring various improvements had 
been made, and on July 6, 1643, a land-brief, signed by Director Kieft, 
" by order of the noble lords, the director and council of New Nether- 
land," was granted to " Jan Throckmorton," comprising " a piece of 
land (being a portion of Vredeland), containing as follows: Along the 
East River of New Netherland, extending from the point half a mile, 
which piece of land aforesaid is surrounded on one side by a little 
river, and on the other side by a great kill, which river and kill, on 
high water running, meet each other, surrounding the land." The 
term ik Vredeland " mentioned in the brief (meaning Free Land or 
Land of Peace) was the general name given by the Dutch to this and 
adjacent territory along the Sound, which was the chosen place of 
refuge for persons fleeing from New England for religious reasons. 

John Throckmorton, the patentee, emigrated from Worcester 
County, England, to the Massachusetts colony, in 1631. He was in 
Salem as late as 1639; but, embracing the Baptist faith, removed soon 
afterward to Rhode Island, where he sustained relations of intimacy 
with Roger Williams. It is well known that Williams came to New 
Netherland in the winter of 161243, in order to obtain passage for 
Europe on a Dutch vessel, and it is not improbable that Throckmorton 
accompanied him on his journey to the Dutch settlements from Rhode 

One of Throckmorton's compatriots was Thomas Cornell, who later 
settled and gave his name to Cornell's Neck, called by the Indians 
Snakapins. He emigrated to Massachusetts from Essex, England, 
about 1636; kept an inn in Boston for a time; went to Rhode Island 
in 1611; and from there came to the Vredeland of New Netherland. 
On the 26th of July, 1616, he was granted by the Dutch a patent to a 
" certain piece of land lying on the East Rh er, beginning from the 
kill of Bronck's land, east-southeast along the river, extending about 
half a Dutch mile from the river to a little creek over the valley 
(marsh) which runs back around this land." This patent for Cor- 
nell's Neck was issued at about the same time that the grant to 
Adrian Van der Donck of what is now Yonkers was made. The 


Cornell and Van der Donck patents were the first ones of record to 
lands in Westchester County bestowed by Dutch authority subse- 
quently to the Throckmorton -rant of 1043. It is claimed for Thomas 
Cornell, of Cornell's Neck, that he was the earliest settler in West- 
chester County whose descendants have been continuously identified 
with the county to the present day. He was the ancestor of Ezra 
Cornell, founder of Cornell I'ni versify, and Alonzo R. Cornell, gov- 
ernor of New York. His part in the first settlement of the county 
has been traced in an interesting and valuable pamphlet from the pen 
of Governor Cornell. 1 Both Throckmorton and Cornell escaped the 
murderous fury of the Indians to which Anne Hutchinson fell a vic- 
tim in the fall of 1643. It is supposed that they were in New Amster- 
dam at the time with their families, or at all events with some of their 
children. Certain it is that the infant settlement on Throgg's Neck 
was not spared. Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, in his " His- 
tory of New England from 1630 to 1646/' says: " They [the Indians] 
came to Mrs. Hutchinson in way of friendly neighborhood as they had 
been accustomed, and, taking their opportunity, they killed her and 
Mr. Collins, her son-in-law, . . . and all her family, and such 
of Mr. Throckmorton's and Mr. Cornell's families as were at home, in 
all sixteen, and put their cattle into their barns and burned them." 
Throckmorton did not return to the Neck to live, or at least did not 
make that place his permanent abode. In 1652 he disposed definitely 
of the whole property, conveying it, by virtue of permission petitioned 
for and obtained from the Dutch director-general, to one Augustine 
Hermans. From him are descended, according to Bolton, the Throck- 
mortons of Middletown, N. J. Cornell, after receiving the grant to 
Cornell's Neck, erected buildings there, which he occupied until 
forced for the second time by hostile Indian manifestations to aban- 
don his attempt at residence in the Vredeland. His daughter Sarah 
testified in September, 1665, that he " was at considerable charges in 
building, manuring, and planting" on Cornell's Neck, and that after 
some years he was " driven off the said land by the barbarous violence 
of the Indians, who burnt his home and goods and destroyed his 
cattle," This daughter, Sarah, was married in New Amsterdam on 
the 1st of September, 1643, to Thomas Willett. She inherited Cor- 
nell's Neck from her father, and it remained in the possession of her 
descendants — the Willetts, of whom several were men of great prom- 
inence in our county — for more than a century. Thomas Cornell, 
after being driven away from Cornell's Neck, returned to Rhode Is- 
land, where he died in 1655. 

Some Beginnings of Westchester County History. Published for the Westchester County Historical Society, 1890. 


In the preceding pages we have consecutively traced the several 
known efforts at settlement along the southeastern shores of West- 
chester County, from the time of Jonas Bronck's purchase on the 
Harlem to that of Thomas Cornell's flight from the ruins of his home 
on Cornell's Neck, covering a period of ten years, more or less. It is 
a meager and discouraging record. By reference to the map, it will 
be observed that all these first Westchester settlements were closely 
contiguous to one another, and embraced a continuous extent of terri- 
tory." Bronck's patent reached to the mouth of the Bronx River, and 
was there joined by Cornell's; beyond which, successively, were 
Throckmorton's grant and the domain occupied by Anne Hutchinson. 
It is also of interest to note that the upper boundary of the four tracts 
corresponded almost exactly with the present corporate limits of the 
City of New York on the Sound. 





HE troubles of the Dutch with the Indians, to which frequent 

allusion has been made, began in 1641, as the result of a 

revengeful personal act, capitally illustrating the vindic- 

tiveness of the Indian character. In 1626, fifteen years be- 

x venerable Indian warrior, accompanied by his nephew, a lad 

of tender age, came to New Amsterdam with some furs, which he in- 
tended to sell at the fort. Passing by the edge of the " Collect," a 
natural pond in the lower part of Manhattan Island, he was stopped 


by three laborers belonging to the farm of Director Minnit (said to 
have been negroes), who, coveting the valuable property which he 
bore, slew him and made off with the goods, bnt permitted the boy to 
escape. The latter, after the custom of his race in circumstances of 
personal grievance, made a vow of vengeance, which in 1641, having 
arrived at manhood's estate, he executed in the most deliberate and 
cruel manner. He one day entered the shop of Claes Cornel isz Hmits, 
a wheelwright living near Turtle Bay, in the vicinity of Forty-fifth 
street and the East River. The Dutchman, who knew him well, sus- 
pected no harm, and, after setting food before him, went to a chest to 
get some cloth which the young savage had said he came to purchase. 
The other fell upon him from behind, ami struck him dead with an 
ax. This terrible deed aroused strong feeling throughout the settle- 
ments, and Director Kieft demanded satisfaction of the chief of the 
Weckqttaesgecks, the tribe to which the offender belonged. An exas- 
perating answer was returned, to the effect that the accused had but 
avenged a wrong, and that, in the private opinion of the chief, it 
would not have been excessive if twenty Christians had been killed 
in retaliation. The only recourse now left was to declare war against 
the savages, and to this end all the heads of families were summoned 
to meet on August 25), 1641, ,w for the consideration of some important 
and necessary matters.'* The assembled citizens selected a council 
of twelve men, who, upon advising together, recommended that fur- 
ther efforts be made to have the murderer delivered up to justice. All 
endeavors in this line proving unsuccessful, war was declared in the 
spring of 1642. Ilendrick Van Dyck, an ensign in the company's 
service, was placed in command of eighty men, with, instructions to 
proceed against the Weekquaesgecks and kk execute summary ven- 
geance upon that tribe with Are ami sword." This party crossed into 
our county, and, under the direction of a guide supposed to be experi- 
enced and trustworthy, marched through the woods with the intent 
of attacking the Indian village, which then occupied the site of Dobbs 
Ferry. But they lost their way, and were obliged lo come inglori- 
ously back. Shortly afterward a treaty of peace was signed at 
Broiick's house, the Indians engaging to give up the murderer of 
Smits, dead or alive. The first period of the war was thus brought 
to an end. 

But causes of irritation still existed, which were not done away 
with as time passed. The assassin was not surrendered according to 
agreement, and the savages continued to commit outrages, which 
greatly incensed the not too amiable Dutch director-general. The 
next event of importance was an act of aggression against the In- 
dians, quite as barbarous as any ever perpetrated by the latter, which 


has covered Kieft's name with infamy. Early in February 1643, a 
band of Mohawks from the north made a descent upon the Mohican 
tribes, for the purpose of levying tribute. Many of the Weck- 
qnaesgecks and Tappaens, to escape death at the hands of the in- 
vaders fled to the Dutch settlements; and thus large parties of 
Indian fugitives belonging in part to a tribe against whom Kieft 
cherished bitter resentment were gradually congregated within close 
proximity to New Amsterdam. The director, seizing the opportunity 
for vengeance thus presented, secretly dispatched a body of soldiers 
across the Hudson to Pavonia, which had been selected by most of 
the fleeino- savages as their headquarters, and on the night between 
the 25th and 26th of February these natives were indiscriminately 
massacred " Nearly a hundred," says Bancroft, " perished in the 
carnage Davbreak did not end its horrors; men might be seen, 
mangled and helpless, suffering from cold and hunger; children were 
tossed into the stream, and as their parents plunged to their rescue 
the soldiers prevented their landing, that both child and parent might 
drown » Similar scenes were enacted at Corlaer's Hook, where forty 
Indians were slaughtered. In 1886 the remains of some of these vic- 
tims of Kieft's inhumanity and treachery were unearthed by persons 
making excavations at Communipaw Avenue and Halliday Street, 
Jersev City. A newspaper report published at the time, after recit- 
ing the historical facts of the tragedy, gave the following particulars: 
"Trenches were dug [bv the soldiers] and the bodies thrown into them 
indiscriminately. The scene of the butchery is now known as Lafay- 
ette and after nearly two and a half centuries one of the trenches has 
been opened. Crowds gathered around the place yesterday while the 
excavating was going on, and looked at the skulls and bones. The 
number of the bodies can only be determined by means of the skulls, 
as the bones are all mixed together, and many of them crumble at the 
touch into fine dust." * 

A furious war of revenge was now proclaimed by the savages, a 
cveneral alliance of the tribes being effected. Even the Long Island 
Indians, who had formerly dwelt on terms of amity with the settlers, 
rose against the common white foe. The settlement planted in the 
previous year at Maspeth by the Rev. Francis Doughty, father of 
Elias Doughty, who in 1666 became the purchaser of Van der Donck's 
patroonship of Yonkers, was entirely swept away; and another Eng- 
lish settlement at Gravesend, presided over by Lady Moody (an exile 
from New England, like Anne Hutchinson, on account of religious 
belief), was three times fiercely attacked, but, being excellently stock- 
aded, successfully resisted the desperate assailants. Historical writ- 

i New York Trihxne, April 23, 1S8G. 


ers upon this gloomy period vie with each other in vivid descriptions 
of its terrors. " The tomahawk, the firebrand, and scalping-knife," 
says O'Callaghan, " were clutched with all the ferocity of frenzy, and 
the war-whoop rang from the Raritan to the Connecticut. . 
Every settler on whom they laid hands was murdered, women and 
children dragged into captivity, and, though the settlements around 
Fort Amsterdam extended, at this period, thirty English miles to the 
east and twenty-one to the north and south, the enemy burned the 
dwellings, desolated the farms and farmhouses, killed the cattle, de- 
stroyed the crops of grain, hay, and tobacco, laid waste the country all 
around, and drove the settlers, panic-stricken, into Fort Amsterdam." 
Roger Williams, who was in New Amsterdam during that eventful 
spring writes: " Mine eyes saw the flames of their towns, the frights 
and hurries of men, women, and children, and the present removal of 
all who could to Holland." Nevertheless, after a few weeks of violent 
aggression, the Indians were persuaded to sign another peace, nego- 
tiated mainly through the prudent efforts of the patroon David Pie- 
tersen de Vries. This treaty included the solemn declaration that 
" all injuries committed by the said natives against the Netherland- 
ers, or by the Netherlander against said natives, shall be forgiven 
and forgotten forever, reciprocally promising one the other to cause 
no trouble the one to the other.-' 

There is no doubt that the Dutch, alarmed for the very existence of 
their New Netherland colony, this time most scrupulously observed 
the compact entered into; but the Indians, still restless and unsa- 
tiated, renewed hostilities with the expiration of the summer season. 
In September they attacked and captured two boats descending the 
river from Fort Orange, and, resuming their programme of promiscu- 
ous slaughter, they soon afterward murdered the New England refu- 
gees on the coast of the Sound and burnt their dwellings. It was 
consequently resolved by the Dutch to take up arms once more, and, 
if possible, administer a crushing blow to the power of their enemy, a 
resolve which, during the ensuing winter, they were enabled by good 
fortune to realize, at least to the limit of reasonable expectation. 

Kieft first senl a force to scour SI at on Island, which, like Van 
Dyck's Westchester expedition of 1042, returned without results, no 
foe being encountered. A detachment of one hundred and twenty 
men was then dispatched by water to the English, settlement of 
Greenwich, on the Sound, it having been reported that a large body 
of hostile Indians was encamped in the vicinity of that place. Disap- 
pointment was also experienced there. After marching all night 
without finding the expected enemy, the troops came to Stamford, 
where they halted to wait for fresh information. From here a raid 


was made on a small Indian village (probably lying within West- 
chester borders), and some twenty braves were put to death. An 
aocd Indian who had been taken prisoner now volunteered to lead the 
Dutch to one of the strongholds of the natives, consisting of three 
powerful castles. He kept his promise; but, although the castles 
were duly found, they were deserted. Two of them were burned, the 
third being reserved for purposes of retreat in case of emergency. 
Thus the second armed expedition sent into Westchester County ac- 
complished comparatively little in the way of inflicting the long-de- 
sired punishment upon the audacious savages. Numbers of West- 
chester Indians (mostly women and children) were captured and sent 
to Fort Amsterdam, where, as testified by Dutch official records, they 
were treated with malignant cruelty. 

The next move was somewhat more successful. A mixed force of 
English and Dutch, commanded jointly by Captain John Underbill, 
the celebrated Indian fighter from New England, and Sergeant Peter 
Cock of Fort Amsterdam, proceeded to the neighborhood of Heem- 
stede (Hempstead), Long Island, and attacked two Indian villages. 
Afore than a hundred Indians were killed, the Dutch and English loss 
being only one killed and three wounded. Hut as the principal 
strength of the enemy was known to be in the regions north of the 
Harlem River, whence the warriors who slew the settlers and de- 
vastated the fields of Manhattan Island were constantly emerging, it 
was deemed indispensable to conduct decisive operations 111 that 
quarter Captain Underbill, whose long experience and known dis- 
cretion in savage warfare indicated him as the man for the occasion, 
was scut to Stamford, with orders to investigate and report upon the 
situation Being trustworthily informed that a very numerous body 
of the Indians was assembled at a village at no great distauce, and 
placino- confidence in the representations of a guide who claimed to 
know the way to the locality, he advised prompt action. Director 
Kieft adopting his recommendation, placed him in command of one 
hundred and thirty armed men, who were immediately transported 
on three yachts to Greenwich. This was in the month of Febru- 
ary, 1644.' 

A raging snowstorm prevented the forward movement of the troops 
from Greenwich for the greater part of a day and night. But the 
weather being more favorable the next morning, they set out about 
daybreak, and, led by the guide, advanced in a general northwest- 
wardly direction. It was a toilsome all-day march through deep 
snow ami over mountainous hills and frequent streams, some of the 
latter being scarcely fordable. At eight o'clock in the evening they 
halted within a few miles of the village, " which had been carefully 


arranged for winter quarters, lay snugly ensconced in a low moun- 
tain recess, completely sheltered from the bleak northerly winds, and 
consisted of a large number of huts disposed in three streets, each 
about eighty paces long." After allowing his men two hours of rest 
and strengthening them with abundant refreshments, Underbill gave 
the word to resume the march. The enterprise, attended by extreme 
hardships up to this time, was now, in its final stage, favored by 
peculiarly satisfactory conditions. It was near midnight, the snow 
completely deadened the footsteps of the avenging host, and a bril- 
liant full moon was shining — fc * a winter's day could not be brighter.'' 
O'Callaghan, in his " History of New Netherland," gives the follow- 
ing account of the resulting conflict: 

The Indians were as much on the alert as their enemy. They soon discovered the Dutch 
troops, who charged forthwith, surrounding the camp, sword in hand. The Indians evinced 
on this occasion considerahle holdness, and made a rash once or twice to hreak the Dutch 
lines and open some way for escape. But in this they failed, leaving one dead and twelve 
prisoners in the hands of the assailants, who now kept up such a hrisk fire that it was impos- 
sihle for any of the besieged to escape. After a desperate conflict of an hour, one hundred 
and eighty Indians lay dead on the snow outside their dwellings. Not one of the survivors 
durst now show his face. They remained under cover, discharging their arrows from behind, 
to the. great annoyance of the Dutch troops. Underbill, now seeing no other way to overcome 
the obstinate resistance of the foe, gave orders to Are their huts. The order was forthwith 
obeyed; the wretched inmates endeavoring in every way to escape from the horrid dames, but 
mostly without success. The moment they made their appearance they rushed or were driven 
precipitately back into their burning hovels, preferring to be consumed by fire than to fall by 
our weapons. In this merciless manner were butchered, as some of the Indians afterward 
reported, five hundred human beings. Others carry the number to seven hundred; " the 
Lord having collected most of our enemies there to celebrate some peculiar festival." Of 
the whole party, no more than eight men escaped this terrible slaughter by fire and sword. Three 
of these were badly wounded. Throughout the entire carnage not one of the sufferers — man, 
woman, or child — was heard to utter a shriek or moan. 

This battle, if battle it may be called, was by far the most sanguin- 
ary ever fought on Westchester soil. At White Plains, the most 
considerable Westchester engagement of the devolution, the com- 
bined losses of both sides in killed, wounded, and missing did not 
reach four hundred. 

The site of the exterminated Indian village has been exactly lo- 
cated by Bolton. It was called Xanichiestawack, and was in the Town 
(township) of Bedford, not far from the present Bedford village. It 
" occupied the southern spur of Indian Hill, sometimes called the 
Indian Farm, and Stony Point (or Hill), stretching toward the north- 
west. There is a most romantic approach to the site of the mountain 
fastness by a steep, narrow, beaten track opposite to Stamford cart- 
path, as it was formerly denominated, which followed the old Indian 
trail called the Thoroughfare." The picturesque Mianus River flows 
by the scene. The last ghastly memorials of the slaughter have long 
since passed away, but local tradition preserves the recollection of 


many mounds under which the bones of the slain were interred. They 
were probably laid there by friendly hands. Underbill, in the bitter 
winter season, with his small and exhausted party, and with no im- 
plements for turning the frozen sod, naturally could not tarry to give 
burial to Ave hundred corpses. 

Captain John Underbill is an entirely unique figure in early Amer- 
ican colonial history, both English and Dutch. Although his name, 
when mentioned apart from any specific connection, is usually asso- 
ciated with New England, he belongs at least equally to New Nether- 
land and New York. Indeed, during more than two-thirds of his 
residence in America he lived within the confines of the present State 
of New York, where most of his descendants have continued. West- 
chester County, by his prowess rescued from the anarchy into which 
it had been thrown by the aboriginal barbarians and established on a 
secure foundation for practical development, became the home of one 
of his sons, Nathaniel Underbill, from whom a large and conspicuous 
family of the county has descended. 

The captain sprang from the old Underbill stock of Huningham, in 
Warwickshire, England. He was born about 1000, and early im- 
bibed an ardent love of liberty, civic and religious, by his service as a 
soldier under the illustrious Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, in 
the Low Countries, where he had for one of his comrades-at-arms the 
noted Captain Miles Standish. Coming to New England with Gov- 
ernor Winthrop, he immediately took a prominent place in the Massa- 
chusetts colony, being appointed one of the first deputies from Boston 
to the General Court, and one of the earliest officers of the Ancient 
and Honorable Artillery Company. In the Pequod War (1636-37) he 
was selected by the governor, Sir Harry Vane (who was hiu personal 
friend), to command the colonial troops; and, proceeding to the seat 
of the disturbances in Connecticut, he fought (May 26, 1637) the des- 
perate and victorious battle of Mystic Hill. In this encounter seven 
hundred Pequods were arrayed against him, of whom seven were 
taken prisoners, seven escaped, and the remainder were killed — a 
record almost identical, it will be noted, with that made at the battle 
in our Bedford township in 1644. Captain Underbill felt no compunc- 
tions of conscience for the dreadful and almost exterminating de- 
structiveness of his victories over the Indians. In his narrative of 
the Mystic Hill fight, alluding to this feature of, the subject, he says: 
" It may be demanded: Why should you be so furious? Should not 
Christians have more mercy and compassion? But I would refer 
you to David's war. When a people is grown to such a height of 
blood and sin against God and man, and all confederates in the ac- 
tion, then He hath no respect to persons, but harrows and saws them, 


and puts them to the sword and the most terriblest death that may be. 
Sometimes the Scripture declareth that women and children must 
perish with their parents; sometimes the case alters, but we will not 
dispute it now. We had sufficient light from the Word of God for 
our proceedings.' 7 

Espousing the religious doctrines and personal cause of Anne 
Hutchinson, Captain Underhill suffered persecution in common with 
the other Hutchinsonians, and in the fall of 1637, only a few months 
after his triumphant return from the wars, was disfranchised and 
forced to leave Massachusetts. He went to England the next year, 
and published a curious book, entitled kk News from America; or, A 
New and Experimental Discoverie of New England: Containing a 
true relation of their warlike proceedings there, two years last past, 
with a figure of the Indian Fort, or Palizado. By Capt. John Under- 
hill, a commander in the warres there/' Keturning to America, he 
settled in New Hampshire. Later, he lived in Stamford, Conn., and 
was a delegate from that town to the General Court at New Haven. 
From the time that he accepted his commission from the Dutch in 
their wars with the Indians until his death he lived on Long Island. 
He first resided at Flushing, and finally made his home at Oyster Bay, 
where he died July 21, 1672. In 1653 he was active in defending the 
English colonists of Long Island against the hostilities of the Indians, 
and in that year he fought his last battle with the savages, at Fort 
Neck. In 1665 he was a delegate from the Town of Oyster Bay to the 
assembly held at Hempstead under the call of the first English gov- 
ernor, Nicolls, by whom he was later appointed under-sheriff of the 
North Biding of Yorkshire, or Queens County. In 1667 he was pre- 
sented by the Matinecoc Indians with one hundred and fifty acres of 
land, to which he gave the name of Kenilworth or Killing-worth. A 
portion of this tract is still in the possession of his descendants. 

The character and personality of Captain John L T nderhill have been 
variously estimated and pictured. No doubt most of our readers are 
familiar with Whittier's poem, which quite idealizes him: 

Goodly and stately and grave to see, 

Into the clearing's space rode he, 

With the sun on the hilt of his sword in sheath, 

And his silver buckles and spurs beneath, 

And the settlers welcomed him, one and all, 

From swift Quanipeagan to Gonic Fall. 

" Tarry with ns," the settlers cried, 
« Thou man of God, as our ruler and guide." 
And Captain Underhill bowed his head, 
« The will of the Lord be done! " he said. 
And the morrow beheld him sitting down 
In the ruler's seat in Cocheco town. 


And he judged therein as a just man should; 
His words were wise and his rule was good ; 
He coveted not his neighbor's land, 
From the holding of bribes he shook his hand; 
And through the camps of the heathen ran 
A wholesome fear of this valiant man. 

A man of independent and fearless convictions he unquestionably 
was, as also of conscientious principles. He was not, however, a 
typical Puritan hero; and it is not from the gentle and reverent muse 
of Whittier, which loves to celebrate the grave and stately (but other- 
wise mostly disagreeable) forefathers of New England, that a faithful 
idea of the Captain John Underbill of history is to be obtained. His 
associations during his very brief residence in Massachusetts were 
certainly not with the representative men of that rigorous and somber 
order, but with the imaginative, ardent, and sprightly natures, whose 
presence was felt as a grievous burden upon the theocratic state. He 
was grimly hated and scornfully expelled from Boston by the Puri- 
tans, whom he reciprocally despised. In his book he gives decidedly 
unflattering characterizations of Winthrop and others, showing this 
animus. Captain Underbill was really a man of high and impetuous 
spirits, fond of adventure, always seeking military employment, lead- 
ing a changeful and roving life almost to his last days; yet possessing 
earnest motives and substantial traits of character, which made him 
a good and respected citizen, and enabled him to accumulate consid- 
erable property. But although not a Puritan, his final adoption of 
New Netherland as a place of residence was not from any special 
liking for the Dutch; in fact, he never was satisfied to live in any of 
the distinctive Dutch settlements, and, though much inclined to the 
honors and dignities of public position, never held civic office under 
the Dutch. During his life on Long Island he made his home among 
the English colonists, and preserved a Arm devotion for English in- 
terests, which he manifested on several occasions long before the 
end of Dutch rule, by holding correspondence with the English au- 
thorities concerning the position of affairs on Long Island. 

Soon after Captain Underbill's expedition to Bedford the Indian 
tribes again sued for peace. " Mamaranack, chief of the Indians re- 
siding on the Kicktawanc or Croton River; Mongockonone, Pappeno- 
harrow, from the Weckquaesgecks and Nochpeems, and the Wrap- 
pings from Stamford, presented themselves, in a few days, at Fort 
Amsterdam; and having pledged themselves that they would not 
henceforth commit any injury whatever on the inhabitants of New 
Netherland, their cattle and houses, nor show themselves, except in a 
canoe, before Fort Amsterdam, should the Dutch be at war with any 
of the Manhattan tribes, and having further promised to deliver up 


Pacham, the chief of the Tankitekes (who resided in the rear of Sing 
Sing), peace was concluded between them and the Dutch, who prom- 
ised, on their part, not to molest them in any way." It appears that 
this peace was effected through the intervention of Underbill, was 
unsatisfactory to the Dutch, and proved but a makeshift; for in the 
fall of 1644 the " Eight Men " wrote as follows to the home office of 
the West India Company: tk A semblance of peace was attempted to 
be patched up last spring with two or three tribes of savages toward 
the north by a stranger, whom we, for cause, shall not now name, 
without oue of the company's servants having been present, while 
our principal enemies have been unmolested. This peace hath borne 
little fruit for the common advantage and reputation of our lords, 
etc., for as soon as the savages had stowed away their maize into 
holes, they began again to murder our people in various directions. 
They rove in parties continually around day and night on the island 
of Manhattans, slaying our folks, not a thousand paces from the fort; 
and 'tis now arrived at such a pass that no one dare move a foot to 
fetch a stick of firewood without a strong escort." 

It was not until the summer of 1645 that a lasting treaty was ar- 
ranged. On the 30th of August, says O'Callaghan, a number of chiefs 
representing the warring tribes " seated themselves, silent and grave, 
in front of Fort Amsterdam, before the director-general and his coun- 
cil and the whole commonalty; and there, having religiously smoked 
the great calumet, concluded in the presence of the sun and ocean a 
solemn and durable peace with the Dutch, which both the contracting 
parties reciprocally bound themselves honorably and firmly to main- 
tain and observe/' It was stipulated that all cases of injury on either 
side were to be laid before the respective authorities. No armed 
Indian was to come within the line of settlement, and no colonist was 
to visit the Indian villages without a native to escort him. Hand- 
some presents were made by Kieft to the chiefs, for the purchase of 
which, it is said, he was obliged to borrow money from Adrian Van 
der Donck, at that time sheriff of Hensselaerswyck. 

The settlement of the lands beyond the Harlem was not, however, 
resumed at once. For some time the restoration of the burned farm- 
houses and ruined fields of Manhattan Island claimed all the energies 
of the Dutch; and the memories of the dreadful experience of the 
colonies of Anne Hutchinson and John Throckmorton effectually de- 
terred other New Englanders from seeking the Vredeland. In 1646, 
however, two enterprises of great historic interest were undertaken 
within the limits of our county. One of these was the settlement by 
Thomas Cornell on Cornell's Neck, whose details we have already 
narrated. The other was the creation of kk Colen Donck," or Donck's 



colony, embracing the country from Spuyten Duyvil Creek northward 
along the Hudson as far as a little stream called the Ainackassin, and 
reaching inland to the Bronx River, under a patent granted by the 
Dutch authorities to Adrian Van der Donck. 

The exact date of Van der Donck's grant is unknown, and the 
record of his purchase of the territory from the Indians has not been 
preserved. The tract constituted a portion of the so-called Keskes- 
keck region, bought from the natives for the West India Company by 
Secretary Van Tienhoven, " in consideration of a certain lot of mer- 
chandise," under date of August 3, 1639. That Van der Donck made 
substantial recompense to the original owners of the soil is legally 
established by testimony taken in 1G66 before Richard Nicolls, the 
first English' governor of New York, in which it is stated that 

the Indian proprietors concerned 
" acknowledged to have sold and 
received satisfaction of Van der 

Adrian Van der Donck was a gen- 
tleman by birth, being a native of 
Breda, Holland. He was educated at 
the University of Ley den, and studied 
and practiced law, becoming uiriusque 
juris. In 1641 he accompanied Kiliaen 
Van Rensselaer to New Netherland, 
and was installed as schout-fiscaal,or 
sheriff, of the patroonship of Rens- 
selaerswyck. In this post he con- 
tinued until the death of the patroon, in 1646. Meantime he had 
manifested a strong inclination to establish a " colonie " of his own, 
at Katskill; but as such a proceeding by a sworn officer of an already 
existing patroonship would have been violative of the company's reg- 
ulations, he was forced to abandon the project. On October 22, 1645, 
he married Mary, daughter of the Rev. Francis Doughty, of Long Is- 
land. Earlier in the same year he loaned money to Director Kieft, a 
transaction which probably helped to pave the way for the prompt 
bestowal upon him of landed rights upon the termination of his offi- 
cial connection with Rensselaerswyck. 

In the Dutch grant to Van der Donck, the territory of which he 
was made patroon was called Nepperhaem, from the Indian name of 
the stream, the Nepperhan, which empties into the Hudsou at Yonk- 
ers, where stood at that period, and for perhaps a quarter of a century 
later, the native Village of Nappeckamack (the " Rapid Water Settle- 
ment"). The whole extensive patroonship, styled at first Colen 



Donck, soon came to be known also as ' k De Jonkkeer's land," or " De 
Jonkkeer's," meaning the estate of the jonkheer, or young lord or 
gentleman, as Van der Donck was called. Hence is derived the name 
Yo'nkers, applied from the earliest days of English rule to that entire 
district, and later conferred upon the township, the village, and 
the city. To the possibilities of this magnificent but as yet utterly wild 
property Van der Donck gave a portion of his attention during the 
three years following the procurement of his patent. In one of his 
papers he states that before 1649 he built a sawmill on the estate, be- 
sides laying out a farm and plantation; and that, having chosen 
Spuyten Duyvil as his place of residence, he had begun to build there 
and to place the soil under cultivation. His sawmill was located at 
the mouth of the Nepperhan Kiver, and from its presence that stream 
was called by the Dutch " De Zaag Kill," whence comes its present 
popular name of the Sawmill River. Van der Donck's plantation, " a 
flat, with some convenient meadows about it," was located about a 
mile above Kingsbridge, near where the Van Cortlandt mansion now 
stands. " On the flat just behind the present grove of locusts, north 
of the old mill, he built his bouwerie, or farmhouse, with his planting- 
field on the plain, extending to the southerly end of Vault Hill." 
It is not probable that Van der Donck lived for any considerable time 
upon his lands in our county. He was a man of prominence in Fort 
Amsterdam, was its first lawyer, and soon became busied with its 
local affairs in a public-spirited manner, which led to his embroilment 
in contentions with the ruling authorities, and, in that connection, to 
his departure for Europe and protracted absence there. 

In the spring of 1G49 he was selected a member of the advisory 
council of the " Nine Men," a body chosen by the popular voice to 
assist in the general government. In this capacity he at once took 
strong ground against the tyrannical conduct of the new director, 
Stuyvesant, and, in behalf of the Nine, drew up a memorial, or re- 
monstrance, reciting the abuses under which the people of New Neth- 
erland suffered. Stuyvesant at first treated this action of his coun- 
cilors with arbitrary vindictiveness, and caused Van der Donck to be 
arrested and imprisoned. After his release, continuing his course of 
active protest against misgovernment and oppression, he prepared a 
second and more elaborate memorial, and, with two others, was dis- 
patched to Holland by the commonalty to lay the whole subject be- 
fore the States-General. In this mission he had the moral support of 
the vice-director under Stuyvesant, Van Dincklagen, who wrote a 
letter to the States-General promotive of his objects. But upon arriv- 
ing in the mother country he found himself opposed by the powerful 
influences of the company, which not only succeeded in defeating the 


principal reforms that he sought to secure, but eventually directed 
against him the persecution of the government, and prevented him, to 
his great inconvenience and loss, from returning to New Netherland 
for fully four years. Yet Van der Donck's earnest and commendable 
efforts for the public weal wore not wholly without result. An act 
was passed separating the local functions of the principal settlement 
on Manhattan Island from the general affairs of the province. By 
this measure the settlement formerly known as Fort Amsterdam be- 
came an incorporated Dutch city, with the name of New Amsterdam; 
and thus to the labors of Van der Donck the first municipal organiza- 
tion of what is now the City of New York is directly traceable. In 
addition, a final modification of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemp- 
tions was effected (May 24, 1G50), introducing various improvements 
in its detailed pro visions. He even procured the adoption of an order 
recalling Stuyvesant, which, however, in view of the critical position 
of political affairs (a war with England being threatened) was never 

While in Holland Van der Donck was not forgetful of the interests 
of his colony, but in good faith strove to fulfill the obligations which 
he had assumed in acquiring the proprietorship of so extensive a 
domain. On March 11, 1050, in conjunction with his two associate 
delegates, he entered into a contract " to charter a suitable flyboat of 
two hundred lasts, and therein go to sea on the 1st of June next, and 
convey to New Netherland the number of two hundred passengers, of 
whom one hundred are to be farmers and farm servants, and the re- 
maining one hundred such as the Amsterdam Chamber is accustomed 
to send over, conversant with agriculture, and to furnish them with 
supplies for the voyage." In making this contract (which, on ac- 
count of circumstances, was never carried out), Van der Donck un- 
doubtedly had in view the locating of at least a portion of the two 
hundred emigrants on his own lands. Pursuant to his perfectly serious 
intentions respecting his estate in this county, he obtained from the 
States-General, on the 20th of April, 1652, the right to dispose by will, 
as patroon, " of the Colonie Nepperhaem, by him called Colen Donck, 
situate in New Netherland." From this time for more than a year 
he was constantly occupied in seeking to overcome the obstacles put 
in the way of his departure for America by his enemies of the West 
India Company. He evidently regarded the securing of this patent 
as the final step preparatory to the systematic colonization and de- 
velopment of Colen Donck; for immediately after its issuance he em- 
barked his private goods, with a varied assortment of supplies for the 
colony, on board a vessel lying at anchor in the Texel. But upon ap- 
plying to the States-General, on the 13th of May, for a formal permit 



to return, he was refused. On the 24th, renewing his application, he 

stated that " proposing to depart by your High Mightinesses' consent, 

with his wife, mother, sister, brother, servants, and maids," he had 

" in that design packed and shipped all his implements and goods "; 

but he understood " that the Honorable Directors [of the West India 

Company] at Amsterdam had forbidden all skippers to receive him, or 

his, even though exhibiting your High Mightinesses' express orders 

and consent," " by which he must, without any form of procedure or 

anything resembling thereto, remain separated from his wife, mother, 

sister, brother, servants, maids, 



( ©tjclrjtfc [jet tcgnitooo?0!gIj in istact is ) 

Begrijpende de Nature, Aerc, gelcgentheyt en vrucht- 
baerheyt van het felve Lan t ; mitfgaders de proffij telij ckc en- 

vallen, die aldaer 
uyt hier fclvcn als van buyten ii 

ndcrhout der Mcufchen , (fo< 
ebrachr) gevonden worden. 

©emanicte m onqfotmtvm cpgmfcfjappm 

• Dantic ©ilomoftc J3atu«l|cri Uanorn 11 anDr. 

Ecn byfonder verhael vanden wonderlijcken Aert 

ende het Weefen der B E V E R S , 

Daer Noch By C evoeghe Is 

tfcnSDifcourfi otorr be gelcrjrwrjcpt ban Nieuw Nederlandc , 

Olfftticn CHI Nedcrlandrs Patriot , cn&C COl 

■ Nieuw Nederlander. 

"Brfchnren doer 

i D R I A E N vander D O N C 
Beyder Rechten Do&oor, die teghenwoop- 

digh noch in Nieuw Nederlant is. 


family connections, from two 
good friends, from his merchan- 
dise, his own necessary goods, 
furniture, and from his real estate 
in New Netherlands' These and 
other strenuous representations 
proving unavailing, he was at last 
compelled to dispatch his family 
and effects, remaining himself in 
Holland to await the more favor- 
able disposition of the authorities. 
Resigning himself to the situa- 
tion, he now turned his attention 
to literary labors, which resulted 
in the composition of a most valu- 
able work on the Dutch provinces 
in America. Wo reproduce here 
a facsimile of the title page of 
this interesting book, which, 
translated, is as follows: " De- 
scription of New Xetherland (as 
It is Today), Comprising the Nature, Character, Situation, and Fer- 
tility of the Said Country; Together with the Advantageous and 
Desirable Circumstances (both of Their Own Production and as 
Brought by External Causes) for the Support of the People Which 
Prevail There; as Also the Manners and Peculiar Qualities of the 
Wild Men or Natives of the Land. And a Separate Account of the 
Wonderful Character and Habits of the Reavers; to Which is Added 
a Conversation on the Condition of New Netherland between a 
Netherland Patriot and a New Netherlander, Described by Adriaen 
Van der Donck, Doctor in Roth Laws, Who at present is still' 
in New Netherland. At Amsterdam, by Evert Nieuwenhof, Rook- 
seller, Residing on the Russia [a street or square], at the [sign of 

25p Evert Nieuwenhof, r>orch-Ucrhoopcr/ luommiftcop't 
fiuflanatm't&cljinf-rjocrli/ Anno i6jj, 



the] Writing-book. Anno 1655." The book was probably first pub- 
lished in 1653, the copy from which the above translation is made 
being of a later edition. It was Van der Donck's intention to enlarge 
upon his facts by consulting the papers on file in the director-general's 
office at New Amsterdam, to which end he obtained the necessary 
permit from the company. But upon his return to America, which 
occurred in the summer of 1653, Stuyvesant, who still harbored re- 
sentment against him, denied him that privilege. 

Van der Donck's book, despite its formidable title, is a volume of 
but modest pretensions, clearly written for the sole object of spread- 
ing information about the country. Considering the meagerness of 
general knowledge at that time respecting the several parts of the 
broad territory called New Netherland, and remembering that the 
writer peculiarly lacked documentary facilities in its preparation, it 
is a remarkably good account of the whole region. Especially in 
those parts of it where he is able to speak from the results of personal 
observation or investigation, he is highly instructive, and is thor- 
oughly entitled to be accepted as an authority. His description of 
the Indians, though quite succinct, ranks with the very best of the 
early accounts of native North American characteristics, customs, 
and institutions. While he makes frequent allusion to his residence 
at Kensselaerswyck, there is no special mention of that part of the 
country where his own patroonship was located— our County of West- 
chester, — a circumstance which may reasonably be taken to indicate 
that he never had made it his habitation for any length of time. 

Some of the statements which appear in Van der Donck's pages 
belong to the decidedly curious annals of early American conditions. 
For example, he relates that in the month of March, 1647, "two 
whales, of common size, swam up the (Hudson) river forty (Dutch) 
miles, from which place one of them returned and stranded about 
twelve miles from the sea, near which place four others also stranded 
the same year. The other ran farther up the river and grounded 
near the great Chahoes Falls, about forty-three miles from the sea. 
This fish was tolerably fat, for, although the citizens of Bensselaers- 
wyck broiled out a great quantity of train oil, still the whole river (the 
current being rapid) was oily for three Aveeks, and covered with 
grease." His accounts of the native animals of the country, excellent 
for the most part, become amusing in places where he relies not upon 
his individual knowledge but upon vague stories told him by the 
Indian hunters of strange creatures in the interior. Thus, he makes 
New Netherland the habitat of the fabled unicorn. " I have been 
frequently told by the Mohawk Indians," says he, " that far in the 
interior parts of the country there were animals, which were seldom 



seen, of the size and form of horses, with cloven hoofs, having one 
horn in the forehead from a foot and a half to two feet in length, and 
that because of their fieetness and strength they were seldom caught 
or ensnared. I have never seen any certain token or sign of such 
animals, but that such creatures exist in the country is supported by 
the concurrent declarations of the Indian hunters. There are Chris- 
tians who say that they have seen the skins of this species of animal, 
but without the horns." He also speaks of " a bird of prey which has 
a head like the head of a large cat "—probably a reference to the cat- 
owl. His remarks about the beaver, based upon personal study and 
knowledge, are singularly interesting. The deer, he informs us, " are 
incredibly numerous in this country. Although the Indians through- 
out the year, and every year (but mostly in the fall), kill many thou- 
sands, and the wolves, after the fawns are cast and while they are 
young, also destroy many, still the land abounds with them every- 
where, and their numbers appear to remain undiminished." 

Being finally granted leave to go back to New Netherland, Van der 
Donck applied to the West India Company for permission to practice 
his profession of lawyer in the province. But the company, careful 
in conceding substantial favors to a man who had caused it so much 
trouble, allowed him only to give advice in the line of his profes- 
sion, forbidding him to plead, on the novel ground that, " as there was 
no other lawyer in the colony, there would be none to oppose him." 
After his return to New Amsterdam he did not figure prominently in 
public affairs. He died in 1655, leaving, it is supposed, several chil- 
dren, whose names, however, as well as all facts of their subsequent 
lives and traces of their descendants, are unknown. 

Van der Donck's Colen Donck was the only patroonship ever 
erected in Westchester County, and was the first of the great landed 
estates which, during the seventeenth century, were parceled out in 
this section to gentlemen of birth and means, and various enterprising 
and far-seeing individuals. All who had preceded him above the 
Harlem were ordinary settlers, who merely sought farms and home- 
steads, without any aristocratic pretensions or aspirations. During 
the nine years which intervened between his death and the end of 
the Dutch regime, the general condition of the province was too un- 
satisfactory to justifv any similar ambitious endeavor in the direction 
of extensive land ownership above the Harlem. The Indians were 
still restless and inclined to harass individual settlers. Indeed, in 
1655, the year of Van der Donck's death, a general massacre of set- 
tlers' by the Indians occurred, and the people in the outlying localities 
again crowded into Fort Amsterdam for protection. It was not until 
after the beginning of the English government that private land hold- 
ings in Westchester County at all comparable to Van der Donck's 


were acquired. He was the only Dutch gentleman— for Bronck be- 
longed strictly to the burgher class— throughout the forty-one years 
of Dutch rule who, under the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, 
an instrument framed expressly to create a landed aristocracy in 
America, formally sought to establish a fief in this county, it is 
noticeable, however, that most of the estate which he owned passed 
before many years— although not until the Dutch period was ended— 
into the hands of one of his fellow-countrymen, Frederick Philipse, in 
whose family it continued for a century. Moreover, almost the entire 
Hudson shore of Westchester County was originally acquired and 
tenaciously held by Dutch, and not by English, private proprietors. 

The tract of Nepperhaem, or Colen Donck, was devised by Van der 
Donck, in his will, to his widow. This lady subsequently married 
I high O'Xeale, of Patuxent, Md., and resided with her husband in 
that province. Apparently, nothing whatever was done by O'Xeale 
and his wife in the way of continuing the improvements begun by 
Van der Donck; and, for all that we know to the contrary, the estate 
remained in a wholly wild and neglected condition for some ten years, 
lint in 1666 the O'Xeales, desiring to more perfectly establish their 
legal title, with a view to realizing from the lands, obtained from the 
Indians who had originally sold the tract to Van der Donck formal 
acknowledgment of such sale, and also of their having received from 
him full satisfaction; and thereupon a new and confirmatory patent 
for Nepperhaem was issued by Governor Nicolls. This is dated "at 
Fori James, New York, on the Island of Manhattan," October 8, 1666. 
It describes the property in the following words: U A certain tract 
of land within this government, upon the main, bounded to the north 
wards by a rivulet called by the Indians Mackassin, so running south- 
ward to Nepperhaem, from thence to the kill Sliorakkapork [Spuyten 
Duvvil], and then to Faperinemen [the locality of Kingsbridge], 
which is the southernmost bounds; then to go across the country to 
the eastward by thai which is commonly known by the name of 
Bronck's, his river and land, which said tract hath heretofore been 
purchased of the Indian proprietors by Adriaen Van der Donck, de- 
ceased." The English patent was bestowed upon O'Xeale and his 
wife jointly. They at once proceeded to sell the lands in fee to dif- 
ferent private persons. Notice of the resulting sales must be de- 
ferred to the proper chronological period in our narrative. It may 
be noted here, however, that the principal purchasers of Van der 
Donck's lands were John Archer and Frederick Thilipse, who later 
became the lords, respectively, of the Manors of Fordham and Phil- 
ipseburgh, the former lying wholly, and the latter partly, within 
the borders of the old patroonship. 



HE destruction by the Indians of the early English settle- 
ments in the Vredeland on the Sound was followed by a 
long period of almost complete abstention from further 
™ colonizing enterprises in that portion of Westchester 
County. It is true that after the definite conclusion of peace be- 
tween the Dutch and the Indians in 1645, both the Dutch govern- 
ment of New Netherland and the English government of Connec- 
ticut began gradually to give serious attention to the question of 
the boundary between their rival jurisdictions, and that the result- 
ing conflict of interests touching the ownership of those lands gave 
rise to practical measures on both sides. It will be remembered 
that the Dutch authorities, while permitting Throckmorton and his 
associates to settle on Throgg's Neck, and later granting Cornell's 
Neck to Thomas Cornell, simply received these refugees from New 
England as persons coming to take up their abodes under the pro- 
tection of their government and subject to its laws. Indeed, the 
formal acts of the Dutch director in issuing licenses to the English 
colonists are sufficient evidences of the merely individual character 
of the first English settlements on the Sound. But while willing to 
accommodate separate immigrants from New England with homes, 
the Dutch had always regarded the presence of the English on the 
banks of the Connecticut River, and their steady advance westward 
in an organized way, with apprehension and resentment. To secure 
the Dutch title to original and exclusive sovereignty over the whole 
country, Kieft made land purchases from the Indians, in 1039 and 
1010, extending as far east as the Norwalk archipelago, purchases 
which, however, were matched by similar early deeds granted by the 
natives to the English to much of territory in the eastern part of 
Westchester County. After the close of the Dutch and Indian wars, 
the territorial dispute steadily grew in importance, although it was 
a number of years before the Dutch found any special cause for 
complaint on the score of actual English encroachment. 

Ou July 11, 1019, Director Stuyvesant, representing the West 
India Company, confirmed the former Indian deeds of sale by pur- 
chasing from the sachems Megtegichkama, Oteyochgue, and Wegta- 


kockken the whole country " betwixt the North and East Rivers." 
The boundaries of this tract, which in the record of the transaction 
is called Weckquaesgeek, are not very distinctly defined; but the in- 
tent of the purchase was evidently incidental to the general Dutch 
policy of showing a perfect title to the country. At all events, a 
very large part of Westchester County was embraced in the sale, 
the recompense given to the Indians consisting of " six fathom cloth 
for jackets, six fathom seawant [wampum], six kettles, six axes, six 
addices, ten knives, ten harrow-teeth, ten corals or beads, ten bells, 
one gun, two lbs. lead, two lbs. powder, and two cloth coats." 

The English of Connecticut, on the other hand, do not seem to 
have attached any peculiar political value to Indian land purchases. 
There is no record of any purchase of Indian lands extending into 
Westchester County on the part of the government of Connecticut. 
The authorities of that colony were evidently satisfied to leave the 
westward extension of English possessions to the individual enter- 
prise of the settlers, meantime holding themselves in readiness to 
support such enterprise by their sanction, and regarding all the land 
occupied by their advancing people as English soil, without refer- 
ence to the counterclaims of the Dutch. 

The purchase made by Xathaniel Turner, lor the citizens of New 
Haven, in L640, of territory reaching considerably to the west of the 
present eastern boundary of our county, was confirmed to the inhab- 
itants of Stamford on August 1 1, l<;r>r>, by the Indian chief Ponus and 
Onox, his eldest son. The tract bought in L640 ran to a distance 
sixteen miles north of the Sound. By the wording of the new deed of 
l<;r>r>, its bounds extended "sixteen miles north of the town plot of 
Stamford, and two miles still further north tor the pasture of their 
[the settlers'] cattle; also eight miles east and west." The Indian 
owners, upon this occasion, received as satisfaction four coats of 
English (doth. No settlement of the region was begun during the 
continuance of Dutch rule in Xew Xetherland, and thus the matter 
did not come prominently to the notice of Director Stuyvesant. 

But in the preceding year a private English purchase from the 
Indians was made of a district lying nearer the Dutch settlements 
and within the limits of the already well-established jurisdiction of 
the New Amsterdam authorities, which became a matter of acute 
irritation. On the 14th of November, 1(>54, Thomas Pell, of Fairfield, 
Conn., bought from the sachems Maminepoe and Ann-Hoock (alias 
Wampage), and five other Indians, " all that tract of land called West 
Chester, which is bounded on the east by a brook, called Cedar Tree 
Brook or Gravelly Brook, and so running northward as the said brook 
runs into the woods about eight English miles, thence west to 


Bronck's River to a certain bend in the said river, thence 
by marked trees south until it reaches the tide waters of the Sound, 
together with all the islands lying before that tract." This 
is the earliest legal record we have of the application of the name 
Westchester to any section of our county; although there is reason 
for believing that for several years previously this locality on the 
Sound had been so called by the people of Connecticut, and that some 
squatters had already made their way thither. 1 The bounds of Pell s 
purchase overlapped the old Dutch Vredeland and encroached upon 
the grants formerly made in that region to Throckmorton and Cor- 
nell." Indeed, after the English took possession of New Netherland, 
the Town of Westchester set up a claim to the whole of Throgg's Neck, 
and Pell brought suit to recover Cornell's Neck from Thomas Cor- 
nell's heir; but as it was a part of the English policy to confirm all 
legitimate Dutch land grants, both these pretensions were disal- 
lowed Westchester, as originally so styled, covered a much greater 
extent of country than the township of that name. Gravelly Brook, 
named in the conveyance from the Indians as its eastern boundary 
line is a creek flowing into the Sound in the Township of New 
Rochelle; so that the territory at first called Westchester included 
besides Westchester township proper, the townships (or portions of 
them) of Pelham, Eastchester, and New Rochelle. It is an interest- 
in^ fact that the first of these four townships to be settled was the 
one most remote from Connecticut and nearest the seat of Dutch 
authority; which lends color to the strong suspicion that the migra- 
tion of the English to this quarter was under the secret direction, or 
at the connivance, of the government of Connecticut, which sought 
to extend settlement as far as possible into the disputed border terri- 
tory Later as Pell's purchase became sub-divided, separate local 
names were given to its several parts, the name of Westchester being 
retained for' that portion only where the original settlements had 
been established. Thus it came that the company making the first 
considerable sub-purchase within the Pell tract conferred the name 
of Eastchester upon their lands, which immediately adjoined West- 
chester town at the east. The settlers in Westchester were not ex- 
terminated or driven away, like those on Hutchinson's River and 
Throw's and Cornell's Necks; and, though interfered with by the 
Dutch" held their ground permanently. Westchester was therefore 
the earliest enduring English settlement west of Connecticut. This 

T 1 M F ng 11. e^^ents upon •• Oost- ton and his colonists had the express sanction 
dorp ''-aT Westchester was called by the of the Dutch government. 
Dutch. It is hardly likely that the English 


was remembered when, in 1683, under English rule, the erection of 
regularly organized counties was undertaken; and accordingly the 
name Westchester was selected as the one most suitable for the 
county next above Manhattan Island. 

It is certain that English settlers had begun to arrive in West- 
chester before the execution of Pell's deed from the Indians (Novem- 
ber 14, 1654); for on the 5th of November, 1054, nine days before that 
execution, it was resolved at a meeting of the director-general and 
council of New Netherland that " Whereas a few English are begin- 
ning a settlement at no great distance from our outposts, on lands 
long since bought and paid for, near Vredeland," an interdict be 
sent to them, forbidding them to proceed farther, and commanding 
them to abandon that spot. Tell, in the law suit which he brought 
in L665 against the heir of Thomas Cornell to recover Cornell's Neck, 
stated that in buying the Westchester tract he had license from the 
governor and council of Connecticut, "who took notice of this land 
to be under their government," and "ordered magistratical power 
to be exercised at Westchester." The colonial records of Connect- 
icut show that such License was in fact granted to him in 1663. This 
sanction, issued nine years after his original purchase, was probably 
procured by him with a view to a second and confirmatory purchase. 
Whether the first settlers came to Westchester as the result of any 
direct instigation on the pari of the Connecticut officials can not be 
determined; but it is probable that the latter were fully cognizant of 
their enterprise, and promoted it by some sort of encouragement. 
Certainly the Westchester pioneers made no false pretenses, and 
sought no favors from the Dutch, but boldly announced themselves 
as English colonists. One of their first acts was to nail to a tree the 
arms of the Parliament of England. 

Stuyvesant permitted the winter of L654-55 to pass without offering 
to disturb the intruders in the enjoyment of the lauds they had so 
unceremoniously seized. Put in April he dispatched an officer, Claes 
Van Elslandt, with a writ commanding Thomas Pell, or whomsoever 
else it might concern, to cease from trespassing, and to leave the 
premises. Van Elslandt, upon arriving at the English settlement, 
was met by eight or nine armed men, to whose commander he de- 
livered the writ. The latter said: "I can not understand Dutch. 
Why did not the fiscaal, or sheriff, send English ? When he sends 
English, then I will answer. We expect the determination on the 
boundaries the next vessel. Time will tell whether we shall be under 
Dutch government or the Parliament; until then we remain here 
under the Commonwealth of England.'' Notwithstanding this de- 
fiant behavior, the Dutch director-general was reluctant to act severe- 


ly in the matter, and nearly a year elapsed before the next proceed- 
ings were taken, which were based quite as much upon considerations 
affecting the character of the English settlement as upon the desire 
to vindicate Dutch territorial rights. The director and council, by 
a resolution adopted March 6, 1656, declared that the English at 
Westchester were guilty of " encouraging and sheltering the fugi- 
tives from this province," and also of keeping up a constant corre- 
spondence with the savage enemies of the Dutch. On these grounds, 
and also to defend the rights of the Dutch against territorial usurpa- 
tions, an expedition, commanded by Captains De Koninck and New- 
ton and Attornev-General Van Tienhoven, was sent secretly to West- 
chester. On the 14th of March this party made its descent upon the 
village, and, finding the English drawn up under arms, prepared for 
resistance, overpowered them, and apprehended twenty-three of their 
number, some of whom were fugitives from New Amsterdam and 
the others bona fide English colonists. All the captives were con- 
veyed to Manhattan Island, where the Dutch runaways were con- 
fined in prison and the English settlers placed under civil arrest and 
lodged in the City Hall. The next day Attorney-General Van Tien- 
hoven formally presented his case against the prisoners. In his argu- 
ment he alleged as one of the principal grievances against the people 
of Westchester that they were guilty of the offense of " luring and 
accommodating our runaway inhabitants, vagrants, and thieves, and 
others who, for their bad conduct, find there a refuge." He de- 
manded the complete expulsion of the English from the province. 
This demand was sustained by the director and council, with the 
proviso however, that the settlers should be allowed six weeks' 
time for the removal of their goods and chattels. At this stage the 
prisoners came forward with a decidedly submissive proposition. 
They agreed that, if permitted to continue on their lands, they would 
subject themselves to the government and laws of New Netherland, 
only requesting the privilege of choosing their own officers for the 
enforcement of their local laws. This petition was granted by Stuy- 
vesant, on condition that their choice of magistrates should be sub- 
ject to'the approval of the director and council, selections to be made 
from a double list of names sent in by the settlers. Under this 
amicable arrangement, Toll's settlement at Westchester (called by 
the Dutch Oostdorp), while retaining its existence, was brought under 
the recognized sovereignty of New Netherland, in which position it 
remained until the English conquest. 

The history of this first organized community in Westchester 
County is fortunately traceable throughout its early years. On 
March 23 1656, the citizens submitted to Director Stuyvesant their 


nominations of magistrates, the persons recommended for these of- 
fices being Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler, Thomas Newman, John 
Lord, Josiah Gilbert, William Ward, and Nicholas Bayley. From 
this list the director appointed Thomas Wheeler, Thomas Newman, 
and John Lord. Annually thereafter double nominations were made, 
and three magistrates were regularly chosen. There is no indication 
in the records of New Netherland of any willful acts of insubordina- 
tion by the settlers, or of any further delinquencies by them in the 
way of harboring bad characters. The Dutch authorities, on their 
part, manifested a moderate and considerate disposition in their 
supervisory government of the place. At the end of 165(3 Stuyvesant 
sent three of his subordinates to Westchester, to administer the oath 
of office to the newly appointed magistrates and the oath of alle- 
giance to the other inhabitants. But the latter objected to the form 
of oath, and would promise obedience to the law only, provided it was 
conformable to the law of God; and allegiance only " so long as they 
remained in the province." This modified form of oath was gener- 
ously consented to. Later (January 3, 1657), Stuyvesant sent to the 
colonists, at their solicitation, twelve muskets, twelve pounds of pow- 
der, twelve pounds of lead, two bundles of matches, and a writing- 
book for the magistrates. At that time the population of West- 
chester consisted of twenty-five men and ten to twelve women. 

The Dutch commissioners dispatched by Stuyvesant to Westches- 
ter in 1050 left an interesting journal of their transactions and ob- 
servations there. The following entry shows that the colonists were 
typical New Englanders in practicing the forms of religious worship: 

81 December. — After dinner Cornelius Van Ruyven went to see their mode of worship, as 
they had, as yet, no preacher. There I found a gathering of about fifteen men and ten or twelve 
women. Mr. Baly said the prayer, after which one Robert Bassett read from a printed book 
a sermon composed by an English clergyman in England. After the reading Mr. Baly gave 
out another prayer and sang a psalm, and they all separated. 

The writing-book for the magistrates provided, with other neces- 
sary articles, by Governor Stuyvesant, was at once put to use; and 
from that time forward the records of the towu were systematically 
kept. All the originals are still preserved in excellent condition. 
The identical magistrates' book of 1G57, with many others of the 
ancient records of Westchester, and also of West Farms, are now in 
the possession of a private gentleman in New York City. 

In accepting and quietly submitting to Dutch rule, the English 
were merely obeying the dictates of ordinary prudence. Their hearts 
continued loyal to the government of Connecticut, and they patiently 
awaited the time when, in the natural course of events, that govern- 
ment should extend its jurisdiction to their locality. After seven 
and one-half vears definite action was taken by Connecticut. At a 


court of the general assembly, held at Hartford, October 9, 1662, an 
order was issued to the effect that -this assembly doth hereby de- 
clare and inform the inhabitants of Westchester that the plantation 
is included in ye bounds of our charter, granted to this colony oi 
Connecticut." The Westchester people were accordingly notified to 
send deputies to the next assembly, appointed to meet at Hartford 
in Mav, 1663; and also, in matters of legal proceedings, to "take 
the benefit," in common with the towns of Stamford and Greenwich, 
of a court established at Fairfield. Readily attaching much impor- 
tance to the will of Connecticut thus expressed, they abstained from 
their usual custom of nominating magistrates for the next year to 
Governor Stuyvesant. The latter, after some delay, sent to make 
inquiries as to the reason for this omission; whereat Richard Mills, 
one of the local officers, addressed to him a meek communication, 
inclosing the notifications from Connecticut and saying: "We 
humbly beseech you to understand that wee, the inhabitants of this 
place, have not plotted nor conspired against your Honor." This 
did not satisfy Stuyvesant, who caused Mills to be arrested and in- 
carcerated in New Amsterdam. From his place of confinement the 
unhappy Westchester magistrate wrote several doleful and contrite 
letters to the wrathful director. " Right lion. Gov. Lord Peter Stev- 
enson," said he in one of these missives, - thy dejected prisoner, 
Richard Mills, do humbly supplicate for your favor and commisera- 
tion towards me, in admitting of me unto your honor's presence, 
there to indicate my free and ready mind to satisfy your honor 
wherein I am able, for any indignity done unto your lordship m 
any way, and if possible to release me or confine me to some more 
wholesome place than where I am. I have been tenderly bred from 
my cradle, and now antient and weakly," etc. The claims of Con- 
necticut to Westchester being persisted in, Stuyvesant made a jour- 
ney to Boston in the fall of 1663 to seek a permanent understanding 
with the New England officials about the delicate subject. But no 
conclusion was arrived at, and the Westchester affair remained in 
statu quo until forcibly settled by the triumph of English force before 
New Amsterdam in the month of September, 1664. 

The Dutch-English controversy regarding the Westchester tract 
was one of the incidental phases of the general boundary dispute, 
which Stuyvesant, from the very beginning of his arrival in New 
Netherland as director-general, had iu vain sought to bring to a deci- 
sion In 1650, as the result of overtures made by him for an amicable 
adjustment of differences, he held a conference at Hartford with 
commissioners appointed by the United English Colonies; and on 
the 19th of September articles of agreement were signed by both 


parties in interest, which provided that the bounds upon the main 
"should begin at the west side of Greenwich Bay, being about four 
miles from Stamford, and so to run a northerly line twenty miles up 
into the country, and after as it shall be agreed by the two govern- 
ments, of the Dutch and of New Haven, provided the said line come 
not within ten miles of the Hudson River." 

But these articles, constituting a provisional treaty, were never 
ratified by the home governments. In 1054 the States-General of 
the Netherlands instructed their ambassadors in London to negotiate 
a boundary line, an undertaking, which, however, they found it im- 
possible to accomplish. The English government, when approached 
on the subject, assumed a haughty attitude, pretending total ignor- 
ance of their High Mightinesses having any colonies in America, and, 
moreover, declaring that, as no proposal on the boundary question 
had been received from the English colonies in America, it would be 
manifestly improper to consider the matter in any wise. Subsequent 
attempts to settle this issue were equally unsuccessful. Neverthe- 
less, it was always urged by Stuyvesant that, in the absence of a reg- 
ularly confirmed treaty, tin- articles of 1050 ought to be adhered to 
in good faith on both sides, as embracing mutual concessions for the 
sake of neighborly understanding, which were carefully formulated 
at the time and had never been repudiated. It will be admitted by 
most impartial minds that this was a reasonable contention. But 
the Westchester tract was not the only territory in debate. English 
settlement had proceeded rapidly on Long Island, and the onward 
movement of citizens of Connecticut in that quarter was quite as in- 
consistent with the terms of the articles of 1050 as was the presence of 
an organized English colony in the Vredeland. Thus whatever 
course might be suggested by fairness respecting the ultimate Eng- 
lish attitude toward Westchester, that was only one local issue among 
others of very similar nature; and with so much at stake, the policy 
of self-interest required a studied resistance to the Dutch claims in 
general, even if that involved violation of the spirit of an agreement 
made in inchoate conditions which, though in a sense morally bind- 
ing, had never been legally perfected. Finally, there was no conceiv- 
able risk for the English in any proceedings they chose to take, how- 
ever arbitrary or unscrupulous; for in the event of an armed conflict 
over the boundary difficulty, the powerful New England colonies 
could easily crush the weak and meager Dutch settlements. 

It is not known to what extent, if any, the settlers at W r estchester 
suffered from the great and widespread Indian massacre of 1055, 
which occurred before they had submitted themselves to the Dutch 
government and consequently before their affairs became matters 


of record at New Amsterdam. On the 15th of September of that 
year sixty-four canoes of savages — -k Mohicans, Pachamis, with others 
from Esopus, Hackingsack, Tappaan, Stamford, and Onkeway, as 
far east as Connecticut, estimated by some to amount to nineteen 
hundred in number, from five to eight hundred of whom were armed," 
—landed suddenly, before daybreak, at Fort Amsterdam. They 
came to avenge the recent killing of a squaw by the Dutch for steal- 
ing peaches. " Stuyvesant, with most of the armed force of the set- 
tlement, was absent at the time upon an expedition to subdue the 
Swedes on the Delaware. A reign of terror followed, lasting for 
three days, during which, says O'Callaghan, " the Dutch lost one 
hundred people, one hundred and fifty were taken into captivity, 
and more than three hundred persons, besides, were deprived of 
house, home, clothes, and food." The Westchester people were 
probably spared on this occasion. It was a deed of vengeance 
against the Dutch, and, as the English pioneers had up to that time 
firmlv resisted Dutch authority, the Indians could have had no reason 
for interfering with them. The reader will remember that when 
Stuyvesant's officer, Van Elslant, came to Westchester with his writ 
of dispossession in the spring of the same year, he was met by only 
eight or nine armed men; whereas one year later twenty-three adult 
males were made prisoners by De Koninck's party at that place. 
This demonstrates that the progress of the settlement had at least 
undergone no retardation in the interval. 

Thomas Pell, to whose enterprise was due the foundation of the 
first permanent settlement in the County of Westchester, was born, 
according to Bolton's researches, at Southwyck, in Sussex, England, 
about 1G0S, although he is sometimes styled Thomas Pell of Nor- 
folk. He was of aristocratic and distinguished descent, tracing his 
ancestry to the ancient Pell family of Walter Willingsley and Dyin- 
blesbye, in Lincolnshire. A branch of this Lincolnshire family re- 
moved into the County of Norfolk, of which was John Pell, gentle- 
man, lord of the Manor of Shouldham Priory and Brookhall (died 
April 4, 155G). One of his descendants was the Rev. John Pell, of 
Southwyck (born about 1553), who married Mary Holland, a lady of 
royal blood. Thomas Pell, the purchaser of the Westchester tract, 
was their eldest son. As a young man in England he was gentle- 
man of the bedchamber to Charles I., and it is supposed that his 
sympathies were always on the side of the royalist cause. It is 
uncertain at what period he emigrated to America, but Bolton finds 
that as early as 1G30 he was associated with Roger Ludlow, a mem- 
ber of the Rev. John Warhani's company, who settled first at Dor- 
chester, Mass., and later removed to Windsor, Conn. In 1G35, with 


Ludlow and ten families, he commenced the plantation at Fairfield, 
Conn, (called by the Indians Unquowa). In 10-17 he traded to the 
Delaware and Virginia. Being summoned in 1648 to take the oath 
of allegiance to New Haven, he refused, for the reason that he had 
already subscribed to it in England, "and should not take it hero." 
For his contumacious conduct he was fined, and, refusing to pay 
the fine, " was again summoned before the authorities, and again 

Thus his early career in Connecticut was attended by circum- 
stances which, on their face, were hardly favorable to his subse- 
quent selection by the government of that colony as an agent for 
carrying out designs that they may have had regarding the absorp- 
tion of Dutch lands. It is altogether presumable that in buying 
the Westchester tract from the Indians in 1654 he acted in a strictly 
private capacity, although the settlers who went there may have 
been stimulated to do so by the colonial authorities. Pell himself 
does not appear to have ever become a resident of Westchester. He 
evidently regarded his purchase solely as a real estate speculation, 
selling his lands in parcels at first to small private individuals, and 
later to aggregations of enterprising men. 

Of the more important of these sales, as of the conversion of much 
of his property into a manorial estate called Pelham Manor, due men- 
tion will be made farther along in this History. The erection of Pel- 
ham Manor by royal patent dated from October 6, 1606, Thomas Pell 
becoming its first lord. He married Lucy, widow of Francis Brew- 
ster, of New Haven, and died at Fairfield without issue in or about 
the month of September, 1669. He left property, real and personal, 
valued at £1,294 14s. 4d., all of which was bequeathed to his nephew, 
John Pell, of England, who became the second lord of the manor. 

For some six years following Pell's acquisition of Westchester in 
1654, there were, so far as can be ascertained, no other notable land' 
purchases or settlements within our borders. Van der Donck's patent 
of the " Yonkers Land," inherited by his widow, continued in force; 
but the time had not yet arrived for its sub-division and systematic 
settlement. The New Haven Colony's purchase from Ponus and 
other Indians in 1640, confirmed to the people of Stamford in 1655, 
which covered the Town of Bedford and other portions of Westchester 
County, also continued as a mere nominal holding, no efforts being- 
made to develop it. No new grants of any mentionable importance 
were made by the Dutch after that to Van der Donck, and while in- 
dividual Dutch farmers were gradually penetrating beyond the Har- 
lem, they founded no towns or comprehensive settlements of which 
record survives. 


But with the decade commencing in 1660 a general movement of 
land purchasers and settlers began, which, steadily continuing and 
increasing, brought nearly all the principal eastern and southern 
sections under occupation within a comparatively brief period. 

The earliest of these new purchasers were Peter Disbrow, John 
Coe, and Thomas Stedwell (or Stud well), all of Greenwich, Conn., 
who in L660 and the succeeding years bought from the Indians dis- 
tricts now embraced in the Towns of Rye and Harrison. Associated 
with them in some of their later purchases was a fourth man, John 
Rudd; 1 but the original transactions were conducted by the three. 
Their leader, Peter Disbrow, says the Rev. Charles W. Baird, the 
historian of Bye, was " a young, intelligent, self-reliant man,"' 
who seems to have enjoyed the thorough confidence and esteem 
of his colleagues. On January 3, 1660, acting by authority from 
the Colony of Connecticut, he purchased ik from the then native 
Indian proprietors a certain tract of land lying on the maine be- 
tween a certain place then called Bahonaness to the east and to the 
West Chester Bath to the north, and up to a river then called Moa- 
quanes to the west, that is to say, all the land lying between the 
aforesaid two rivers then called Peningoe, extending from the said 
Bath to the north and south to the sea or Sound." This tract, on 
Peningo Neck, extended over the lower part of the present Town of 
Bye, on the east side of Blind Brook, reaching as far north as Port 
Chester and bounded by a line of marked trees. 

Six months later (June 29, 1660) the Indian owners, thirteen in 
number, conveyed to Disbrow, Coe, and Stedwell, for the consider- 
ation of eight coats, seven shirts, and fifteen fathom of wampum, 
all of Manussing Island, described as " near unto the main, which 
is called in the Indian name Peningo." A third purchase was ef- 
fected by Disbrow May 22, 1661, comprising a tract lying between 
the Byram River and Blind Brook, " which may contain six or seven 
miles from the sea along the Byram River side northward." Other 
purchases west of Blind Brook followed, including Budd's Neck and' 
the neighboring islands; the West Neck, lying between Stony Brook 
and Mamaroneck River, and the tract above the Westchester Path 
and west of Blind Brook, or directly north of Budd's Neck. This 
last-mentioned tract was " the territory of the present Town of Har- 
rison, a territory owned by the proprietors of Rye, but wrested from 
the town some forty years later." Baird describes as follows the 

1 John Budd was a Quaker, originally from moved to Rye, and was the ancestor of the 

Southold, Suffolk County, N. Y., and suffered numerous Horton family of Westchester Coun- 

persecution there on account of his religious ty. For these particulars (not mentioned in 

antecedents. One of his daughters married previous histories) we are indebted to Charles 

Joseph Horton, also of Southold, who later re- H. Young, Esq., of New Rochelle. 


aggregate landed property represented by the several deeds: "The 
southern part of it alone comprised the tract of land between Byram 
River and Maniaroneck River, while to the north it extended twenty 
miles, and to the northwest an indefinite distance. These boun- 
daries included, besides the area now covered by the Towns of Rye 
and Harrison, much of the Towns of North Castle and Bedford, in 
New York, and of Greenwich, in Connecticut; whilst in a north- 
west direction the territory claimed was absolutely without a fixed 
limit. As the frontier town of Connecticut, Rye long cherished pre- 
tensions to the whole region as far as the Hudson." The satisfac- 
tion given the Indians for all parts of the territory consisted chiefly 
of useful articles, and for some of the section the recompense be- 
stowed was very considerable according to the standards obtain- 
ing in dealings with the Indians in those days. Thus, the value 
paid for Budd's Neck was " eightie pounds sterling," and for the 
Harrison tract twenty pounds sterling. These sums certainly con- 
trast quite imposingly with the value given by the Dutch in 1624 
for Manhattan Island — twenty-four dollars. 

Little time was lost in laying out a settlement. For this purpose 
Manussing Island was selected as the most available spot, and there 
a community was established which took the name of Hastings. In 
Disbrow's deed of May 22, 1661, to the lands between the Byram 
River and Blind Brook, mention is made of "the bounds of Hast- 
ings on the south and southwest," which indicates that at that 
early date the island village had already been inaugurated and 
named. The following list of all the inhabitants of Hastings (the 
second town organized in Westchester County) whose names have 
come down to us is taken from Baird: Peter Disbrow, John (Joe, 
Thomas Stud well, John Bndd, William Odell, liichard Vowles, Sam- 
uel Ailing, Robert Hudson, John Brondish, Frederick Harminson, 
Thomas Applebe, Philip Galpin, George (Mere, John Jackson, and 
Walter Jackson. It will be observed that all these, with one ex- 
ception (Clere), are good English names. This settlement, only one 
hour's sail from Greenwich, was too far removed from New Amster- 
dam to excite the jealous notice and protest of Director Stuyvesant, 
although it lay considerably to the west of the provisional boundary 
line marked off in the articles of 1 <;.">(>. Its founders apparently re- 
moved there with no other object than to secure homes and planta- 
tions, holding themselves in readiness, however, like those of West- 
chester, to come under the Connecticut government in due time. The 
oldest Hastings town document that has been preserved is a decla- 
ration of allegiance to "Charles the Second, our lawful lord and 
king," dated July 26, 1662. At the same period when the people of 


Westchester were informed that their territory belonged to the Col- 
ony of Connecticut, and instructed to act accordingly, like notifica- 
tion was sent to Hastings. Early in 1663 the townsmen, at a public 
meeting, appointed Richard Yowles as constable, who went to Hart- 
ford and was duly qualified. John Budd was selected as the first 
deputy to the Connecticut general court, which body, on the 8th of 
October, 1663, designated him as commissioner for the Town of Hast- 
ings with " magistraticall power." 

The Island of Manussing, only one mile in length, was in the course 
of two or three years found inadequate for the growing requirements 
of the colonists, and they began to build up a new settlement on the 
mainland. This was probably in 1661. Meantime other colonists 
had joined them, including Thomas and Hachaliah Browne, George 
Lane, George Kniffen, Stephen Sherwood, and Timothy Knap. They 
called the new village Rye, " presumably," says Baird, " in honor of 
Thomas and Hachaliah Browne, the sons of Mr. Thomas Browne, a 
gentleman of good family, from Rye, in Sussex County, England, 
who settled at Cambridge, Mass., in 1632/' " The original division 
of Rye consisted of ten acres to each individual planter, besides a 
privilege in the undivided lands." The general court of Connec- 
ticut, on the 11th of May, 1665, ordered " that the villages of Hast- 
ings and Rye shall be for the future conjoyned and made one plan- 
tation, and that it shall be called by the appellation of Wye" Grad- 
ually the island was abandoned. The village of Rye became Avithin 
a few years a very respectable little settlement. It lay k " at the 
upper end of the Neck, along the eastern bank of Blind Brook, and 
the present Milton road was the village street, on either side of 
which the home-lots of the settlers were laid out. . . . The 
houses erected were not mere temporary structures, as on Manus- 
sing Island, but solid buildings of wood or stone, some of which 
have lasted until our own day. They were long, narrow structures, 
entered from the side, ami stood with gable end close upon the road, 
and huge chimney projecting at the rear. Each dwelling generally 
contained two rooms on the ground floor — a kitchen and ' best room * 
— with sleeping apartments in the loft." 

The original Rye purchases of Disbrow and his associates in 1660 
antedated by only one year the purchase of the adjacent Mamaro- 
neck lands, extending from the Mamaroneck River to the limits of 
Thomas Pell's Westchester tract. On the 23d of September, 1661, 
the Indian proprietors, Wappaquewam and Mahatahan (brothers), 
sold to John Riehbell, of Oyster Bay, Long Island, three necks of 
land, described as follows in the conveyance: "The Eastermost is 
called Mammaranock Neck, and the Westermost is bounded with 

richbell's mamaroneck purchase 127 

Mr. Pell's purchase." The three necks later became known as the 
East, Middle, and West Necks. All the meadows, rivers, and islands 
thereunto belonging were included in the sale; and it was also 
specified that Eichbell or his assigns might " freely feed cattle or 
cutt timber twenty miles Northward from the marked Trees of the 
Necks.'' As payment, he was to deliver to Wappaquewam, half 
within about a month and the other half in the following spring, 
twenty-two coats, one hundred fathom of wampum, twelve shirts, 
ten pairs of stockings, twenty hands of powder, twelve bars of lead, 
two firelocks, fifteen hoes, fifteen hatchets, and three kettles. Two 
shirts and ten shillings in wampum were given in part payment on 
the day of the transaction. But Eichbell was not permitted to enter 
into undisturbed possession of his fine property. Another English- 
man of Oyster Bay, one Thomas Eevell, in the following month (Octo- 
ber, 1GG1) appeared on the scene and undertook to buy the identical 
lands, or a very considerable portion of them. His negotiations 
were with the same Wappaquewam and certain other Indians, to 
whom he paid, or engaged to pay, more than Eichbell had bound 
himself for. Out of his rival claim arose a wordy legal dispute, 
wherein affidavits were filed by various witnesses, one of whom (tes- 
tifying in Eichbell's behalf) was Peter Disbrow, of Manussing Island. 
From the testimony of Wappaquewam it appears that that chief was 
overpersuaded by another Indian, Cockoo, to resell the territory to 
Eevell, upon the alluring promise that " he should have a cote," " on 
which he did it." The burden of the evidence was plainly in favor 
of Eichbell, who, in all the legal proceedings that resulted, triumphed 
over his opponent. 

The Indian Cockoo, who contributed his good offices to the assist- 
ance of Eevell in this enterprise, was none other than the notable 
Long Island interpreter, Cockonoe, who was John Eliot's first in- 
structor in the Indian language, and who was a frequent interme- 
diary between English land purchasers and the native owners of 
the soil. What is known of the history of this very unique char- 
acter has been embodied in an interesting monograph by Mr. William 
Wallace Tooker, 1 to whom we are indebted for the article on Indian 
local names in the second chapter of this volume. 

His name appears variously in legal documents as Cockoo, Cokoo, 
and Cockoe — all abbreviations of the correct form, Cockonoe. Eliot, 
in a letter written in 1649, descriptive of how he learned the Indian 
tongue, relates that he became acquainted while living at Dorchester, 
Mass., with a young Long Island Indian, "taken in the Pequott 
warres," whom he found Xi^vy ingenious, able to read, and whom 

1 Coekonoe-de-Long Island. New York, 1S96. 



he taught to write, " which he quickly learnt." " He was the first," 
says Eliot, " that 1 made use of to teach me words and to be my in- 
terpreter." And at the end of his " Indian Grammar," printed at 
Cambridge in 1 <'><;*>, Eliot testifies more particularly to the services 
rendered him by this youth. " By his help," he says, " I translated 
the Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and many texts of Scripture; 
also I compiled both exhortations and prayers by his help.'' Cocko- 
noe attended Eliot for some time in his evangelistic expeditions, and 
later made his home among the English settlers on Long Island, 
whom he stood ready at all times to assist in their private dealings 

with the Indians. When 
Thomas Revell sought to 
get the upper hand of 
Richbell in the purchase 
of lands in the present 
Township of Mamaroneck, 
he accordingly brought 
Cockonoe with him from 
Long Island, and confided 
To him full authority in 
the premises. Cockonoe 
made large promises to 
the native owners in Re- 
vell's behalf, and readily 
i nd need t hem t o grant 
him power of attorney to 
sell the lands to Revell. 
The understanding was 
shrewdly planned, but 
Richbell's claim was too 
well established to be 

Richbell, unlike Pell in 
his Westchester purchase, 
and Disbrow and his com- 
panions in their Rye ven- 
ture, did not hold himself independent of the Dutch provincial admin- 
istration. He promptly applied to the government at New Amster- 
dam for confirmation of his landed rights. Perhaps he was actuated 
in this step by a prudent desire to avoid the legal complications and 
annoyances which the settlers at Westchester had experienced, and 
perhaps he sought to strengthen his case against his competitor 
Revell by the forms of official recognition. In an elaborately polite 

Indian Trimer-^ 

M ° ^ S& 

Jjg The way nf Training up of our ^ 
wf fndi.n Tenth in die g->o«l gf 
im knowledge of G.otl, in the ^5* 
<55f knowledge of die Scdjrune* g^ 

jVtf and in an ability to Rea.te. j£^, 

4g |— ^ ;z^7^ji7^ go, 

$M _„ -ii_j-i-. — : — ,^ 

^fj t tm- 3 14,15* gut lt,ir..ig. J& 
J[§ mu<an(b n'$ rttthtwtJuuMl'b «J* 

^£p ncbji*kitbt'Mt}2dds $& 

fj^ i?, K-ib watch h.ummikfii:fi!)n- |k&. 
4&U. jjwt .'ivwn&lioxvitfncetvp.'itd. xjgC, 
Mitmmt(J\\rrborp{b : &?. (§f 

~¥ -^ ■ W »-f» *f- ^ ■ t^S *j* tf, * r yp j^ 



communication, dated " In New Netherlands, 24th December, 1661," 
and addressed "To the most noble, great, and respectful lords, the 
Director-General and Council in New Netherlands," he solicited 
" most reverently " that letters patent be granted him for his tract, 
promising not only that all persons settling upon it should similarly 
crave letters patent from the Dutch authorities for such parcels of 
land as they should acquire, but also that he would take care to 
"enforce and instruct them of your Honour's government and will." 
By a document signed May (I, 1662, Director Stuyvesant complied 
with his request, stipulating, however, that Richbell and all persons 
associated with him or settling under him should "present them- 
selves before us to take the oath of fidelity anil obedience, and also, 
as other inhabitants are used to, procure a land brief of what they 

The bounds of RichbelPs patent on the Sound ran from " Mr. Pell's 
purchase" at the southwest to the Mamaroneck River at the north- 
east. The three necks, constituting its water front, are thus de- 
scribed by the historian of the Manors of Westchester County: 

The Middle Neek was sometimes styled the " Great Neck," from its longer extent of 
water front, which led to the supposition that its area below Westchester Path was greater 
than that of the East Neck. The East Neck extended from Mamaroneck River to a small 
stream called Pipin's Brook, which divided it from the Great Neck, and is the same which 
now (1886) crosses the Boston Road just east of the house of the late Mr. George Vander- 
burgh. The North Neck extended from the latter stream westward to the month of a much 
larger brook called Cedar or Gravelly Brook, which is the one that bounds the land now 
belonging to Mr. Meyer on the west. And the West Neck extended from the latter to 
another smaller brook still further to the westward, also termed Stony or Gravelly Brook, 
which was the east line of the Manor of Pelham. A heated controversy arose between John 
Richbell and John Pell (second lord of the Manor), as to which of the two brooks last named 
was the true boundary between them. Pell claiming that it was the former and that the West 
Neck was his land. After proceedings before Governor Lovelace and in the Court of 
Assizes, the matter was finally settled on the 22d of .January, 1671, by an agreement prac- 
tically dividing the disputed territory between them. 

Richbell creeled ;i house on (lie East Neck, and resided there. In 
the interior his landed rights, ;is understood in his deed from the 
Indians, extended "twenty miles northward." By letters patent 
from Governor Lovelace, issued to hint October Hi, Kills, the whole 
tract was confirmed to him, " running northward twenty miles into 
the woods." This tract embraced the present Towns of Mamaroneck, 
White Plains, and Scarsdale, and most of New Castle. But the en- 
terprising men of Rye in 1683 bought from the Indians the White 
riains tract — a purchase which gave rise to a protracted contention 
about the ownership of that section. The West and Middle Necks 
went out of Richbell's possession under mortgage transactions, the 
principal mortgage*' being Cornelius Steenwyck, a wealthy Dutch 
merchant of New York. Most of the Middle Neck was subsequently 


acquired by the Palmer family (still prominent in the Town of Mamar- 
oneck). Toward the end of the eighteenth century Peter J. Munro 
became its principal proprietor, from whom it is called to this day 
Munro's Neck. Upon it is located the widely known and exclusive 
summer resort of Larchmont, The East Neck was conveyed by 
Richbell, immediately after the procurement of his patent from Gov- 
ernor Lovelace, to his mother-in-law, Margery Parsons, who forth- 
with deeded it to her daughter Ann, his wife. By her it was sold 
in 1697 to Colonel Caleb Heathcote, under whom, with its interior 
extension, it was erected into the Manor of Scarsdale. Heathcote's 
eldest daughter, Ann, married into the distinguished de Lancey 
family. As he left no male heir, Ann de Lancey inherited much of 
the manor property, and the de Laneeys, continuing to have their 
seat here, gave their name to the locality still called de Lancey's 

John Richbell, the original purchaser of all the lands whose his- 
tory has thus been briefly traced, was " an Englishman of a Hamp- 
shire family of Southampton or its neighborhood, who were mer- 
chants in London, and who had business transactions with the West 
Indies or New England." lie was engaged for a time in commer- 
cial enterprises in the British West India Islands of Barbadoes, then 
a prominent center of transatlantic trade. In 1656 ho was a mer- 
chant in Charlestown, Mass. (near Boston). The next year he en- 
tered into a peculiar private understanding with Thomas Mediford, 
of Barbadoes, and William Sharpe, of Southampton, England, which 
is supposed to have afforded the basis for his purchase, four years 
later, of the Mamaroneck tract. The details of the understanding 
are not stated in terms in any document that is extant; but its 
nature can readily be conjectured from the wording of the " Instruc- 
tions " prepared for him by his associates, dated Barbadoes, Septem- 
ber 18, 1657. He is advised to inform himself "by sober under- 
standing men'' respecting the seaeoast between Connecticut and 
the Dutch settlements, and the islands between Long Island and 
the main, ascertaining "within what government it is, and of what 
kinde that government is, whether very strict or very remisse." 
Having satisfied himself, in these and other particulars, that he 
"may with security settle there and without offense to any," he is 
advised to "buy some small Plantation," which, among other ad- 
vantages, must be " near some navigable Ryver, or at least some 
safe port or harbour," and " the way to it neither long nor difficult." 
He is next to obtain an indisputable title to the land, to settle there 
with his family, and to clear and cultivate it. Precise directions 
are given him for his agricultural and economic operations, includ- 


ing the following significant ones: " Be sure by the first opportunity 
to put an acre or two of hemp seed into the ground, of which you 
may in the winter make a quantity of canvass and cordage for your 
own use. In the falling and clearing your ground save all your 
principal timber for pipe stands and clapboard and knee timber.'' 
Lastly, he is instructed to " advise us, or either of us, how affairs 
stand with you, what your wants are, and how they may be most 
advantageously employed by us, for the life of our business will 
consist in the nimble, quiet, and full correspondence with us." There 
can be no doubt that all this was with a view to procuring facilities 
for contraband traffic. The navigation laws, at that time as through- 
out the colonial period, were extremely burdensome, and large profits 
were to be made in evading them. Although no direct evidence ex- 
ists that the Mamaroneck shores were utilized to this end, we think 
it highly probable that some illicit trade found its destination there. 
It is a fact that Richbell's lands, unlike those of Thomas Pell and 
Disbrow and his associates, were not taken up to any considerable 
extent by bona fide colonists for many years. Yet he was a poor 
man, always in debt, and could not afford to let his property lie idle. 
As late as 1671 a warrant was issued by Governor Lovelace " for ye 
fetching Mr. John Richbell to town [New York City] a prisoner," 
wherein it was recited that " John Richbell, of Mamaroneck," was " a 
prisoner under arrest for debt in this city, from which place he hath 
absented himself contrary to his engagement." It may hence justly 
be remarked that, on the other hand, he could hardly have been en- 
gaged in any very extensive or remunerative "nimble" business. 

Before buying the Mamaroneck tract, Richbell had become an in- 
habitant of Long Island, residing at Oyster Bay. On the 5th of Sep- 
tember, 1660, he purchased Lloyd's Neck, on that island, for which 
on December 18, 1665, he obtained a patent from Governor Nicolls. 
This property he sold one year later for £150. Through his brother, 
Robert Richbell, a member of the English Council of Trade created 
by Charles II., he probably received early information of the expe- 
dition intended for the conquest of Ne\\ Xetherland from the Dutch. 
After the conquest he made his home at Mamaroneck, where he died 
July 26, 1684, leaving a widow and three daughters — Elizabeth, 
Mary, and Ann. Elizabeth, according to Bolton, became " the sec- 
ond wife of Adam Mott, of Ham stead," and their son, William, was 
the ancestor of Dr. Valentine Mott, of New York City. Mary Rich- 
bell married Captain James Mott, of Mamaroneck, who, in an entry 
in the town records, alludes to " a certain piece of land laying near 
the salt meadow," ,f in my home lot or field adjoining to my house," 
as being the burial place of John Richbell. 




N the 6th of September, 1664, the City of New Am- 
sterdam surrendered to an English fleet which had 
been secretly dispatched across the Atlantic to take 

J possession of the Dutch dominions in America; and 
soon afterward the fortified places of the Dutch on the Dela- 
ware and the upper Hudson gave in their allegiance to the 
new rulers of the land. For many years the whole course of events 
in New Netherland had been steadily tending to this eventuality. As 
early as 1050, when the Hartford articles of agreement between Stuy- 
vesant and the commissioners of the United Colonies of New Eng- 
land were signed, the Dutch pretensions to territorial ownership on 
the banks of the Connecticut were abandoned, and the English rights 
as far west as Greenwich on the Sound and to within ten miles of the 
Hudson River in the interior were recognized. At the same time, 
sovereignty on Long Island was formally divided with the English, 
it being provided in the articles that "upon Long Island a line run 
from the westernmost part of Oyster Day, so, and in a straight and 
direct line, to the sea, shall be the bounds betwixt the English and 
Dutch there, the easterly part to belong to the English and the west- 
ernmost part to the Dutch." Subsequent developments were uni- 
formly in the direction of the acquisition by the English of all un- 
settled intermediate territory. While the Dutch not only made no 
encroachments upon the sections adjoining the English settlements, 
but even neglected all systematic occupation of the undeveloped 
country indisputably belonging to their own sphere, such as the 
regions north of the Harlem Liver, the English were constantly ex- 
tending, by actual seizure and occupation, the limits of their west- 
ward claims. One after another the Dutch gave up to their rivals 
every point in dispute. In 1 663, after a strenuous endeavor to re- 
tain' the Westchester tract, where they had preserved the forms of 
jurisdiction since the early days of its colonization by Pell's settlers, 
they resigned this important vantage ground; and early in 1664, 



forced to au issue on Long Island by the stubborn attitude of the 
English towns there, they entered into an arrangement by which 
all controverted matters in that part of their diminishing realms 
were determined agreeably to the British interests. By this latter 
transaction the villages of Newtown, Flushing, Jamaica, Hempstead, 
and Gravesend became English. The arrogant general disposition 
of the English in Connecticut in the closing period of the Dutch 
rule is described as follows by Stuyvesant iu a dispatch to the West 
India Company, dated November 10, 1G63: "They know no New 
Netherland, nor g< ivernment 
of New Netherland, except 
only the Dutch plantation 
on the Island of Manhattan. 
Tis evident and clear that 
were Westchester and the 
five English towns on Long 
Island surrendered by us to 
the Colony of Hartford, and 
what we have justly pos- 
sessed and settled on Long 
Island left to us, it would 
not satisfy them, because it 
would not be possible to 
bring them sufficiently to 
any further arrangement 
witli us by commissioners 
to be chosen on both sides 
by the mediation of a third 
party; and as in case of dis- 
agreement they assert, in 
addition, that they may pos- 
sess and occupy, in virtue of 
their unlimited patent, the 
lands lying vacant and un- 
settled on both sides of the North River and elsewhere, which would 
certainly always cause and create new pretensions and disputes, even 
though the boundary were provisionally settled here." The patent 
here referred to by Stuyvesant was one granted by Charles II. on 
the 23d of April, 1662, to the Colony of Connecticut, wherein the 
westward bounds of Connecticut were stated to be " the South Sea" 
— that is, the Pacific Ocean. Tin southern bounds wore likewise 
fixed at " the Sea " — meaning not the Sound, but the Atlantic Ocean 
south of Long Island. 


March 23, 1C61 (n. s.J, Charles II. by royal patent vested in his 
brother, the Duke of York (afterward James II.), the proprietorship 
of all of New Netherland. The sole semblance of justification of 
this act was the venerable claim of England to the North American 
mainland, based upon the discovery of the Cabots in the reign of 
Henry VII., nearly a hundred and seventy years before. At the 
time of the gift to the Duke of York, no state of war existed be- 
tween England and the Netherlands. Neither was there the plau- 
sible excuse of emergency on the ground of any threatening be- 
havior of the Dutch in America, or even of dangerous differences 
between the provinces of New Netherland and Connecticut; for, as 
w T e have seen, the Dutch had pursued an undeviating course of for- 
bearance and submission, and had but recently yielded all for which 
their English neighbors contended. It was a deed of spoliation pure 
and simple, and as such has been characterized in varying terms of 
denunciation by all impartial historians. Four ships of war, car- 
rying ninety-two guns and about four hundred and fifty land troops, 
and commanded by Colonel Richard Nicolls, appeared before New 
Amsterdam at the end of August, and demanded the surrender of 
the city. Stuyvesant desired to resist to the last, but was over- 
borne by the will of the citizens, and on the 6th of September articles 
of capitulation were sigued, which were extremely generous in their 
provisions, the Dutch being granted full privilege to continue in the 
enjoyment of their lands and other possessions, as well as liberty of 
religion and of occupying minor civil offices. Nicolls was installed 
as governor of the province, which took the name of New York. 

One of the first documents which the new authorities had to con- 
sider was a communication from the "inhabitants of Westchester," 
reciting, under seven different heads, their local grievances against 
the Dutch. In this paper no specific remedy was prayed for, and it 
appears to have been drawn merely to put on record the real and 
supposed injuries that the settlers had suffered from the New Neth- 
erland government, and to attract official attention to their commu- 
nity. O'Callaghan shows that in some of its more serious charges 
it is distinctly untruthful, suggesting a malignant animus. It con- 
cluded with the bitter complaint that, because of the conduct of the 
Dutch, the plantation is at " a low estate," that conduct having 
operated as " an utter obstruction from the peopling and improv- 
ing of a hopeful country." 

The form of tenure under which New Netherland was granted to 
the Duke of York by the king was defined in the patent as fol- 
lows: "To be holden of us, our heirs, and successors, as of our 
Manor of Greenwich and our County of Kent, in free and common 


socage, and not in capite, nor by knight service, yielding and ren- 
dering of and for the same, yearly and every year, forty beaver 
skins when they shall be demanded, or within ninety days there- 
after." This meant simply that there was to be no feudal tenure 
of lands under its provisions (all feudal tenures having, in fact, been 
abolished throughout English dominions by act of Parliament four 
years previously), but that the system introduced should be strictly 
allodial, patterned, moreover, upon that prevailing in " our Manor 
of East Greenwich in the County of Kent," " the object being to 
give to the new possessions in America the most favorable tenure 
then known to the English law." The basis of the ancient and 
effete feudal system was the complete subjection of the vassal to 
his lord, the vassal being bound to perform military and other per- 
sonal services and to be judged at law by his lord, and the lord 
guaranteeing him, in consideration of his fealty, security in the pos- 
session of his lands and general protection. On the other hand, allo- 
dial tenure, or " free and common socage," was " a free tenure, the 
land being a freehold, and the holder a freeman, because he, as well 
as the land, was entirely free from all exactions, and from all rents 
and services except those specified in his grant. £o long as these 
last were paid or performed, no lord or other power could deprive 
him of his land, and he could devise it by will, and in case of his 
death intestate it could be divided among his sons equally." Thus 
iu its very origin, English rule in what is now the State of New 
York had for its basic principle an absolutely free yeomanry. The 
erection of " manors," presided over by so-called " lords," did not 
affect in the least this elementary free status; the manors being 
only larger estates, and their lords wealthy proprietors with cer- 
tain incidental aristocratic functions and dignities which violated in 
no manner the principle of perfectly free land tenure, 

New York, under this patent from Charles II., assumed at once 
the character of a " proprietary province " — that is, a province owned 
absolutely by the beneficiary, James, Duke of York, and ruled ex- 
clusively by him through his subordinates, subject to the general 
laws of England. In this character it continued for nearly twenty- 
one years (excepting a little more than one year, when it was again 
under Dutch sway by virtue of reconquest), at the end of that time 
being merged in the provinces of the crown because of the acces- 
sion of James to the throne of England. Richard Nicolls, the duke's 
first governor, after substituting for the old name of New Nether- 
land that of New York, proceeded to rename the various parts of 
the province. He assigned the comprehensive designation of York- 
shire to the whole district surrounding Manhattan Island, compris- 


ing Long Island, Staten Island, and the present Westchester County; 
and, following the local style of old Yorkshire, in England, he sub- 
divided this district into three so-called " Hidings " — the ''East," 
"West," and "North." The East Hiding consisted of the present 
Suffolk County; the West Hiding, of Staten Island, the present Kings 
County, and the Town of Newtown, in the present Queens County; 
and the North Hiding, of the remainder of the present Queens 
County, together with the Westchester plantation. The first offi- 
cial (as well as popular) name for our county, of more than mere 
local application, was " the portion of the North Hiding on the main." 
But the Long Island jurisdiction extended only to flu 1 Bronx, the 
settlements which later sprang up west of that stream being under 
the government of Harlem and New York City until Westchester 
County came into existence, in 1GS3. 

Governor Nicolls, after proclaiming the Duke of York as lord pro- 
prietor of the province, and exacting recognition of him as such, 
which was readily forthcoming (Stuyvesant, and the leading Dutch 
citizens generally, subscribing to the oath of allegiance), permitted 
the former order of things to continue with as little interference as 
possible. With the transfer of sovereignty, however, it became nec- 
essary to issue new land patents to existing owners, extinguishing 
the condition in the old deeds that lands were held under allegiance 
to the Dutch West India Company, and instituting instead the au- 
thority of the new regime. This formality was provided for in the 
celebrated code known as "The Duke's Laws," adopted by an as- 
sembly of delegates from the towns of the province held at Hemp- 
stead in the summer of 1665. It was prescribed that "all persons 
whatsoever who may have any grants or patents of townships, lands, 
or houses, within this government, shall bring in the said grants or 
patents to the said governor and shall have them renewed by au- 
thority from his Loyal Highness, the Duke of York, before the next 
Court of Assizes. That every purchaser, etc., shall pay for every 
hundred acres as an acknowledgment two shillings and six pence." 
The Dutch submitted cheerfully to the regulation, but some oppo- 
sition to it was offered by the inhabitants of the English towns of 
Long Island, who, conceiving that they belonged to the jurisdiction 
of Connecticut, were disinclined to be thus summarily incorporated 
under the new-fledged government. 

The boundary question which so vexed Stuyvesant was immedi- 
ately brought to the serious attention of Nicolls by the Connecticut 
officials. He was no sooner well established in possession of the 
Dutch province than delegates were sent to him from Connecticut 
to congratulate him and arrange a settlement of the boundary line. 


He appointed commissioners to meet these delegates, and on the 
28th of October, lf>C>4, it was agreed that the line should start on 
the Sound at a point twenty miles east of the Hudson River and 
pursue a north-northwest coarse until it intersected the line of 
Massachusetts, which at that time was supposed to ran across the 
continent to the Pacific Ocean. In locating the twenty-mile start- 
ing point, Nicolls accepted representations made by the Connecticut 
people, and it was fixed at the mouth of the Maniaroneck Eiver, 
which in point of fact, however, is only ten miles from the Hudson. 
Accordingly, the boundary between New York and Connecticut was 
declared to be " a line drawn from the east point or side where the 
fresh water falls into the salt, 1 at high-water mark, north-northwest 
to the line of Massachusetts." This produced a line striking the 
east bank of the Hudson just above Croton Point, and the west bank 
at West Point — an arrangement which, when the New York author- 
ities discovered the fact, was greatly to their dissatisfaction, and 
which later was rectified on a basis as nearly as convenient adjust- 
able to the original twenty-mile understanding. But for the time 
being, notwithstanding the serious miscalculation of distance, the 
division of territory on the Sound appeared equitable enough. It 
was unquestionable that everything east of Greenwich belonged to 
Connecticut, by virtue of long settlement and also of the articles of 
1 (;:»(}. West of Greenwich there were only three settlements on the 
Sound— those at Rye and Westchester, and an infant colony at East- 
dies) er — and all of these had been established exclusively by Con- 
necticut people. Westchester village, and with it all the territory 
on the Sound as far as the Maniaroneck River, was surrendered by 
Connecticut to New York, only the Rye purchase being retained. As 
for the interior, that was wholly unsettled as yet, and there was no 
occasion to make any issue concerning it. Meantime the New York 
government was able to contend that it was the original intent of 
both parties to have the Connecticut line drawn at a distance of 
twenty miles from the Hudson; and anything inconsistent with this 
in the precise terms of the arrangement actually effected was natur- 
ally subject to revision in due time. 

Although the village of Westchester had attained to the impor- 
tance of a separate organized community, the settlers there had held 

1 •■ The place whore the fresh water falls into a northerly course, a rocky reef originally 

the salt " is, says de Laneey, in his History crossed it nearly at right angles, causing the 

of the Manors, the literal translation of the formation of rapids. It was high enough to 

Indian name Maniaroneck. He adds: "A short prevent the tide rising over it at high water, 

distance above the present bridge between the so that the fresh water of the river always 

Towns of Maniaroneck and Rye, where the fell into the salt water of the harbor, and at 

river bends suddenly to the east and then takes low water with a strong rush and sound." 


their lands from the beginning under an arrangement with Thomas 
Pell, the original white owner of the territory, whereby they were to 
pay him kk a certain summe of money." Circumstances prevented the 
fulfillment of this obligation, and on the 16th of June, 1664, three 
months before the surrender of the province to the English, they 
signed a document restoring to him all rights, titles, and claims to 
the tract. One of the signers was " John Acer," probably the John 
Archer who a few years subsequently became lord of the Manor of 
Fordham. The restoration thus made was only temporary, for in 
1007 Westchester received a town patent. 

The proprietary pretensions of Thomas Pell were quite unlimited. 
Besides undertaking to hold the Westchester settlers to the letter 
of their agreement with him, he asserted and attempted to legally 
enforce a claim to Cornell's Neck, which in 1646 had been patented 
by the Dutch director, Kieft, to Thomas Cornell, and from him had 
descended to his eldest daughter, Sarah, the wife of Thomas Willett 
and later of Charles Bridges. Shortly after the English govern- 
ment of New York had become established, Pell sought to oust Mrs. 
Bridges from the possession of Cornell's Neck, and in consequence 
of his arbitrary proceedings she, with her husband, brought suit 
to restrain him from interfering with her in the enjoyment of her 
inheritance. The action was tried before a jury on the 29th of 
September, 1005. It proved to be a test case as to the validity of 
Dutch grants in the whole territory which had been in dispute be- 
tween New Netherland and Connecticut. Pell set up the plea that 
the so-called Cornell's Neck was comprehended within the tract that 
he had bought from the Indians in 1054; that the governor and 
council of Connecticut had taken " notice of this land to be under 
their government," and had licensed him to purchase it; and that 
any prior Dutch grant ought to be voided, since " where there is no 
right there can be no dominion, so no patent could be granted by 
the Dutch, they having no right." On the other hand, the plaintiffs 
alleged " ye articles of surrender, and the King's instructions, where- 
in any grant or conveyance from the Dutch is , confirmed." The 
jury promptly returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, with sixpence 
damages; and it was ordered "that the high sheriff or the under- 
sheriff of ye North Biding of Yorkshire upon Long Island do put 
the plaintiffs in possession of the said land and premises; and all 
persons are required to forbear the giving the said plaintiffs or 
their assigns any molestation in their peaceable and quiet enjoy- 
ment thereof." Under this decision the absolute ownership of Cor- 
nell's Neck by the descendants of Thomas Cornell was never sub- 
sequently questioned. Mrs. Bridges deeded the Neck to her eldest 



son, William Willett, who on the 15th of April, 1GG7, procured from 
Governor Mcolls a new and more carefully worded patent to it. 
The Keck continued in the Willett family for more than a century 
afterward, and, although never invested with manorial dignity, was 
recognized throughout the colonial period as one of the most im- 
portant landed estates in Westchester County, the heads of the Wil- 
lett family vying in social and public prominence with the Mor- 
rises, Philipscs, de Lanceys, and Van Cortlandts. 

old saint Paul's church, eastchkstek. 

But though defeated in his attempt to acquire Cornell's Neck, Pell 
was recognized as the " one only master " of the territory reaching 
from the eastern confines of that locality to the Mamaroneck pur- 
chase of Thomas Richbell. We have seen that the title to the West- 
chester plantation was reconveyed to him by the settlers on the 16th 
of June, 1661; and in the same month another circumstance occurred 
indicating that Pell's authority over the whole domain was undis- 
puted. On the 21th of June, 1661, he granted to " James Evarts 



and Philip Pinckney, for themselves and their associates, to the 
number of ten families,"' the privilege " to settle down at Hutch- 
inson's, that is, where the house stood at the meadows and uplands, 
to Hutchinson's River." This new English colony, located just above 
Westchester, on the strip between Throgg's and Pelham Necks, was 
called Eastchester, or the >k Ton Farms." All the grantees came from 
Fairfield, Pell's home. The original ten families were soon joined 
by others, making twenty-six families in all. A curious covenant, 
comprising twenty-seven paragraphs, was adopted for the govern- 
ment of the place, in which plain rules for the observance of all 
wore laid down. 1 To better secure themselves in the posession of 

ze of God, sitt 

1 Imprimis, that we by the : 
down on the track of land lieng betwext 
Huthesson's broock, whear the house was, un- 
tell it com unto the river, that runeth in at the 
head of the meados. 

2. That we indeavor to keepe and maintayn 
christian love and sivell honisty. 

3. That we faithfully conssall what may be 
of inlinnyti in any one of us. 

1. l'lainlie to dealle one with another in 
christian love. 

5. If any trespas be don, the trespaed and 
the trespaser shall ehuse tow of this company, 
and they a thirde man if need be required, to 
end the mater, without any further trubell. 

U. That all and every one of us, or that 

shall 1 f us. do pave unto the minester, 

according to his meade. 

7. That none exceed the quantity of fifteen 
acres, until all have that quantity. 

S. That every man hath that meadow that 
is most convenient for him. 

H. That every man build and inhabit on his 
home lot before the next winter. 

10. That no man make sale of his lot before 
he hath built and inhabited one year, and then 
to render it to the company, or to a man whom 

17. Thar ev 
good fence a 
due time a : 
pany's be gO( 

IN. That ev 
of the compa 

19. That wt 
Brewster cat 
of exhortatio 
we meet toge 
to talk of th 

view if the 
s land whei 

y sow or plant in their fields. 

give new encouragement to Mr. 
other week, to give us word 
and that when we are settled 

ler every other weeke. one hour, 

best things. 

11. T 

>f his alot- 

2u. That one man, either of himself, or by 
consent, may give entertainment to strangers 
for money. 

21. That one day. every spring, be improved 
for the destroying of rattle snakes. 

22. That some, every Lord's day, stay at 
home, for safety of our wives and children. 

23. That every man get and keep a good lock 
to his door as soon as he can. 

21. That a convenient place be appointed for 
oxen if need require. 

25. If any man's meadow or upland be worse 
in quality, that be considered in quantity. 

26. That every man that hath taken up lottes 
shall pay to all publick charges equal with 
those that got none. That all that hath or 
shall take up lots within this track of land 

12. Thai no man shall cngro.sse to himself by 
buying his neighbor's lot for his particular in- 
terest, but with respect to sell it if an ap- 
proved man come, and that without much ad- 
vantage, to be judged by the company. 

13. That all public affairs, all bridges, high- 
ways, or mill, be carried on jointly, according 
to meadow and estates. 

11. That provision be endeavoured for educa- 
tion of children, and then encouragement be 
given unto any that shall take pains accord- 
inn' to our former way of rating. 

15. That no man shall give entertainment to 
a foreigner who shall carry himself obnoxious 
to the company except amendment be after 
warning given. 

16. That all shall join in guarding of cattle 
when the company see it convenient. 

Thomas Shute 
The mark of 

Nathaniel Tompkins, 
Philip Pinkney. 
The mark of X Joseph Joans. 
John lloitt, 
James Everts, 

The mark of X Daniel Godwin, 
The mark of X William Squire, 
David Osburn, 
John Goding, 
Samuel Drake, 
John Jackson, 

The mark of John Drake, I D 
The mark of 

Nathaniel White, 



their lands, they obtained a further grant from the Indians in 1666; 
and on the 9th day of March of that year a patent was issued to 
them by Nicolls, through their representatives — Philip Pinckney, 
James Evarts, and William llayden. They were to have the privi- 
lege of electing a deputy constable, but in all other matters were to 
" have relation to ye town and court of Westchester." Certain bor- 
der lands between them and the Westchester people were " to lye in 
common between them and ye inhabitants of Westchester," a pro- 
vision which later gave rise to a good deal of local controversy. 
Although the Eastchester settlement was made by men fresh from 
Connecticut, its citizens do not appear to have sought at any time 
to remain under that colony. 

Having parted with all that section of his lands below Hutchin- 
son's River, Thomas Pell next turned his attention to the erection of 
the remainder into one imposing estate. This was accomplished by 
letters patent procured from Governor Nicolls the 8th of October, 
1666, a document under which the first manor in Westchester County 
was organized. The boundaries given it were Hutchinson's River 
on the west and Cedar Tree Brook or Gravelly Brook on the east; 
and it was to include "all the islands in the Sound, not already 
granted or otherwise disposed of, lying before that tract," and to 
"run into the woods about eight English miles in breadth." The 
whole was declared to be " an enfranchised township, manor, and 
place by itself," and to bo entirely free from "the rules, orders, or 
direct ions of any riding, township or townships, place, or jurisdic- 
tion, either upon the main or upon Long Island." The proprietor 
was to pay annually to the Duke of York "one Iamb upon the first 
day of May, if the same shall be demanded." The subsequent history 
of Pelham Manor will be traced in due chronological order. 

The inhabitants of Westchester village accepted the government 
of New York without demur. Applying to Governor Nicolls for a 
town patent, they were informed by him (December 28, 1665) that 
he would defer issuing it until the whole could be equally divided 
into lots according to each man's assessed valuation. Early in Kit!" 
(February 13) the desired instrument was granted to them, being the 
first of its kind in our county. The persons mentioned in the docu- 
ment are "John Quimby, John Ferris, Nicholas Bayley, William 

William Haidon's mark, II 

The mark of John Gay, I G 

John A. Pinkney. 

The mark of John Tompkins, 

Richard Shute, 

The mark of John Hollind, I II 

Moses Hoitte, 

Richard Hoadley, 

The mark of II( 
John Emory, 
Moses Jackson, 
John Clarke, 

This is a true 
iii.Mll. transcribe 
23(1 Hay of Nov 


Betts, and Edmund Waters, as patentees for and on behalf of them- 
selves and their associates, ye freeholders and inhabitants of ye said 
town." The boundaries fixed were: At the west, " the western part 
of the lands commonly called Bronks Land "; at the south, the Sound, 
or East River; and at the east, Ann's Hook, or Pelham Neck. At 
the north they extended "into the woods without limitation for 
range of cattle." " All ye rights and privileges belonging to a town 
within this government " were bestowed. 

" Bronks' land," whose " western part " was indicated as the limit 
of Westchester town in the direction of the Hudson Eiver, was a 
territory of quite uncertain dimensions. Together with the lands 
beyond along the Harlem and the Spuyten Duyvil Greek, it was 
dotted with the farms of Dutch settlers who had been gradually 
coming over from the Manhattan Island side. 

On Manhattan Island, from the mouth of the Harlem River to 
Spuyten Duyvil, the land was well occupied; and at the northeast- 
ern extremity of the islaud a village called Harlem had been built 
up. The interests of the settlers on both sides began to demand 
that ferry communication be established. As early as 1658 this 
need had received attention from the Dutch authorities, an ordinance 
having been passed in that year with a view to the inauguration of 
a terry from Harlem to the mainland, and the construction of a sub- 
stantial wagon road from Fort Amsterdam to Harlem. Nothing- 
practical was done by the Dutch in connection with these projected 
improvements. But in 1666 Governor Nicolls granted to the people 
of Harlem a charter providing for "a ferry to and from the main," 
and authorizing them "at their charge to build one or more boats 
for that purpose fit for the transportation of men, horses, and cattle, 
for which there will be such a certain allowance given as shall be 
adjudged reasonable." A ferry was soon afterward put in opera- 
tion, conducted by Johannes Verveelen, in whom the privilege was 
vested for six years. He was required to maintain a tavern for the 
accommodation of the public. Special favors were extended to him 
in consideration of the expense that he was under and to encourage 
him in his enterprise. He was given a small piece of land on the 
Bronx side to build a house on. The sole right to remove cattle 
from one shore to the other belonged to him, and persons sw r imraing 
cattle over were obliged to pay him half the ferriage rate per head. 
The "fording place" on Spuyten Duyvil Greek was fenced about so 
as to prevent its surreptitious use for cattle. Finally, he was ex- 
empted from all excise duties on wine or beer retailed by him for 
the space of one year. The ferriage charges, as fixed by law, were: 
For every passenger, two pence silver or six pence wampum; for 


every ox or cow brought into the ferryboat, eight pence or twenty- 
four stivers wampum; cattle under a year old, six peine or eighteen 
stivers wampum. Government messages between New York and 
Connecticut were free. Each passenger whom he entertained was 
to pay " for his meal, eight pence; every man for his lodging, two 
pence a man; every man for his horse shall pay four pence for his 
night's hay or grass, or twelve stivers wampum, provided the grass 
be in the fence." 

The site of the ferry landing on the Manhattan side is located 
by Biker, in his "History of Harlem," at the north of One Hun- 
dred and Twenty-third Street, three hundred feet west of First Ave- 
nue. But the Harlem aud Westchester ferry proved unprofitable, 
and in 1609 was abandoned. This step was partly occasioned, how- 
ever, by the growing promise of more favorable conditions over 
toward Spuyten Dttyvil, where, on the Westchester side, the foun- 
dations of the Town of Fordham were being laid and an era of 
active settlement had set in; and there Verveelen obtained a new 
ferry franchise, running from the 1st of November, 1009. 

The reader will recall that the whole great tract known vari- 
ously as Xepperhaem, Colon Donck, and the Jonkheer's Land, or 
Yonkers Land, embraced between the Hudson and Bronx Rivers, and 
extending to above the limits of the present City of Yonkers, granted 
by the Dutch West India Company as a patroonship to Adrian Van 
der Donck, was inherited after his death, in 1665, by his wife, Mary, 
daughter of the Bev. Francis Doughty, of Maspeth, Long Island. She 
presently took another husband, Hugh O'Xeale, and removed with 
him to his home in Patuxent, Md. After the English conquest and 
the issuance of notification to existing land proprietors to renew 
their patents, she and her husband journeyed to New York, and ap- 
peared before Governor Mcolls with satisfactory evidence of legal 
ownership of this tract. The governor therefore (October 8, 1666) 
granted a royal patent to " Hugh O'Xeale and Mary his wife," con- 
firming them in its possession, its limits being thus described: 
" Bounded to the northwards by a rivulet called by the Indians 
Macakassin, so running southward to Xeperhaem [Yonkers], from 
thence to the Kill Shorakkapoch [Spuyten Duyvil] and then to 
Paprinimen [Kingsbridge], which is the southernmost bounds, then 
to go across the country to the eastward by that which is com- 
monly known by the name of Bronck's his river and land." As 
these limits were the original ones of the patroonship, it follows 
that no part of the Y^onkers tract had been disposed of since Van 
der Donck's death, and that any persons living upon it previously 
to October, 1666, were either tenants or mere squatters. 


The O'Neales lost no time in divesting themselves completely of 
the ownership of the property, which they doubtless considered 
troublesome because of its remoteness from their Maryland home. 
On October 30, 1666, twenty-two days after the procurement of the 
Nicolls patent, it was conveyed to Elias Doughty, of Flushing, Mrs. 
O'Neale's brother— a conveyance which was further and finally per- 
fected May 16, 1667. 

The new proprietor very soon began to receive and accept offers 
for portions of the estate. In March and September, 1667, he sold 
to John Archer, of Westchester, - fourscore acres of land and thirty 
acres of meadow," in the vicinity of the present Kingsbridge, " lying 
and beino' betwixt Brothers River and the watering place at the end 
of the Island of Manhatans." This was the beginning of a new 
manorial estate— the second of our country in point of antiquity. 
Douohtv also sold, Jnlv 6, 1668, to William Betts and George Tippett, 
his Sm-in-law (for whom Tibbet's Brook is named), about two thou- 
sand acres reaching from the Hudson to the Bronx, with its south- 
ern boundary starting just below Kingsbridge and above Archers 
lands and its northern passing through Van Cortlandt Lake along 
the north side of - Van der Donck's planting field." About the same 
time (June 7, 1668), for the value of a horse and £5, Doughty con- 
veyed to Joseph lladden some three hundred and twenty acres di- 
rectly north of Van der Donck's planting field, lying in unequal parts 
on both sides of Tibbet's Brook. In 1676 he sold a tract one mile 
square (still called -'the Mile Square"), bordering on the Bronx 
River to Francis French, Ebenezer Jones, and John Westcott. And 
finally on the 20th of November, 1671', all that remained of the 
Yonkers Land was disposed of in equal thirds to Thomas Delaval, 
Thonms Lewis, and Frederick Philipse. 

Of these various sales, the first, to Archer, and the last, to Philipse 
and others, arc of special historic interest, each of the two being fol- 
lowed by consecutive developments which will demand particular 

attention. . . 

John Archer, the earliest sub-purchaser in the original Van der 
Donck tract, was, as already stated, an inhabitant of the Town oi 
Westchester. There is some uncertainty whether he was of English 
or Dutch origin. According to Bolton he was a descendant of Hum- 
phrey Archer of Warwickshire (i:>27-62), whose ancestor was Fulbert 
1/ Archer, one of the companions of William the Conqueror; and from 
Humphrey the same authority carefully traces John's descent. Bol- 
ton is of the opinion that he came with the early Westchester settlers 
from Fairfield, Conn., about 1654-5. But the whole English pedigree 
for John Archer which Bolton has so painstakingly constructed is of 



at least doubtful authenticity. Hiker, the 
that in the original records of that villag 
pears in connection with Fordhani and s 
is invariably written "Jan Arcer." It 
others that he came from Amsterdam, Ilo 
this country an Englishwoman, and livi 
settlement, he ultimately anglicized his 
John Archer. 

His purchase in 1667 from Doughty o 
was but one step toward the final acquire 
comprising (Bolton says) 1,253 acres, 
exception of the hundred odd acres sol< 
bought from the Indians. There still 
Indian deed to him of Territory running 
a point on the Harlem, and extending 

historian of Harlem, states 
e ids name occasionally ap- 
imilar matters, and that it 

is supposed by Riker and 
Hand, and that marrying in 
ng in an English-speaking 

original Dutch name into 

f lands below Kingsbridge 
meiit of a handsome estate. 
Ml this property, with the 
1 to him by Doughty, was 
survives the record of an 
from Papirinemen down to 
to the Bronx. This pur- 


chase, which made him the sole owner probably as far south as 
High Bridge, was effected on the 2Sth of September, 1669, the con- 
sideration given by him to the Indians being " 13 coats of Duffels, 
one-halfe anchor of Runie, 2 cans of Brandy, wine with several other 
small matters to ye value of 60 guilders wampum." The lands which 
he bought from Doughty in L66T, and other adjacent lands which he 
possessed, were leased by him in twenty and twenty-four acre par- 
cels to such persons as would clear and cultivate them, and accord- 
ingly became occupied in 1668-69 by a number of former Harlem 

A little settlement sprang up which, says Edsall in his "History 
of Kingsbridge," was located " on the upland just across the meadow 
from Papirinemen." The place, from being near the " fording place," 
was called Fordhani. " It had the countenance and protection of 

1 The building shown in the cut was Macomb's tidoiuill. II was blown down in 1S50. 


the governor, being in a convenient place for the relief of strangers, 
it being the road for passengers to go to and from the main, as well 
as for mutual intercourse with the neighboring colony. The village 
consisted of aboul a dozen houses in an extended line along the base 
of Tetard's Bill, crossed ai the middle by the 'old Westchester Path ' 
(Boston Posl Road), leading up over the hill toward Connecticut. 
No traces of these old habitations remain." Of course the reader 
will not confound the Fordham of Poe's Cottage mow a station on 
the New York and tlarlem Railroad) with this ancienl community 
on Spuj'ten I >u\ \ il < 'reek. 

The people settled ai Fordham and thereabouts on both shores 
felt sorely aggrieved ai the diversion of eastern travel from its nat- 
ural route across the wading place to the ferry ai Harlem. The 
assumption exercised by the ferryman and his fellow-towns- 
men in fencing in the ford so as to protecl the ferry monopoly was 
milc h resented bv them, and they threw down the fence and claimed 
the right to cross a1 pleasure. Finally, in L0C9, the controversy was 
settled by the transfer of 
veelen was continued in < 

settled bv the transfer of the ferry to i leir locality. John Vei 

,-m,., operated i lie line until his death, 

and was succeeded <>\ 
the lime 

his son, Daniel, who was still ferryman ai 
l 1( , ( .,,. r ,i..n of the King's Rridge |ir>04). The elder 
Verveelen, upon assuming his new functions, received "the tsland, 
or neck of land, Papirinemen " for liis use, where he was "required 
to provide a dwelling house furnished with three or lour good beds 
for lll( , entertainment of strangers; also provisions a1 all seasons for 
them, their horses an. I cattle, will, stabling and stalling; also a suf- 
ficieni . M „| ab ie boal to transfer passengers and cattle on all occa- 
sions lie was charued with one-third the expense of a causeway 
built aeross the meadow from Papirinemen to Fordham. It is note- 
worthy thai about the time when the Fordham ferry was pul in op- 
eration the Albany and Boston Posl Roads won- projected ami their 
construction begun. 

In the contracl made with Verveelen for taking charge ot the 
ferry, its location was fixed -at tin- place commonly called Spuyten 
Duyvil, between Manhattan lslan.1 and the now village called Ford- 
ham." This name Spuyten Duyvil, now restricted to the point ot 
confluence of the Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek, was. says 
Bdsall, originally "applied to a strip on the Manhattan Island side 
of the wading place, then to the crossing itself, and finally to the 
nock, which still retains it." 1 

,,„.,,, ,,., s always been controversy as to jeot from the Rev. Dr. Cole, our well-known 

,!„. derivation I 'ordinal significan £ the Westchester authority on the Dutch period and 

curious name Snuyten Duyvil. The editor of Dutch names. rhe following is 01. • 

this History requested an ..pinion on the sub- reply: 


The villa-.- of Fordham, like That of Harlem, had its dependence 
up' hi i In- mayor's court of Xew York, although causes involving less 
than £5 could be locally disposed of there. 

John Archer was not only the founder of Fordham, but remained 
its principal man ami controlling spirit until his death. On May 3, 
L669, ho received authority from Governor Lovelace to settle sixteen 
families on the mainland "near the wading place." 'in the period 
1»'»«'>!'-. 1 lie leased various farms about Fordham to tenants. But his 
private affairs, like those of Richbell of Mamaroneck, had become in- 
volved, and. like Richbell, In- sought relief by mortgaging lands to 
the Dutch ni. -reliant. Cornelius Steenwyck. On September IS, 1GG9, 
he executed to Steenwyck a mortgage for 2,200 guilders; on Novem- 
ber 14. 1671, another tor 7,000 guilders; and on November 24, 1676, 
a third for 24,000 guilders, the lasl mentioned being payable in seven 

Meanwhile, however, despite his financial complications, Archer 
obtained from Governor Lovelace a royal patent consolidating his 
landed possessions inn, one complete property, which was appointed 
to be "an entire and enfranchised township, manor, and place of 
itself." It included the hamlel of Fordham, and was styled Ford- 
ham Manor, being tin* second in poiiil of time among the six manors 
of Westchester < 'mini \ . N.-xt lo the Manor of Morrisania, which em- 
braced nil (he mainland directly south of it. it was the smallest. 
h> northern line began not far ft present Kingsbridge, where 

the Spuyten Duyvil ('reek bends due smith, merging into the Har- 

[i le or point on which we im- 

Of course I he popular i Sp tt'o use this instrument in our cooking 

i iP.ook pr 'sses. 

VII.. Chapter vii.t, with whieh we are both Tl nly matter to be decided with our 

familiar ll I k ai ham], is how it was originally spelled. Was 

his spelling n duyvil" li is iioi Duyvil, or Spuyten Duyvil? If it 
" spuyt." Inn •• spijt." I .1" iioi know how were the latter, it meant "Spouting Devil." 
Irving was, Im il could mean nothing else. Ii might have 
il for "in spl ,-il " his spell sted by an energetic or boiling 
iiiK i" spijt "I spring in tin vicinity. This would turn en- 
"Spijt" and '•spuyt." in the I) irely on a question of fact. Was t here such a 
wholl.i : - loe 1 spring? See a footnote of Dr. Thomas 
sorrow, grief, disph isnre, vexation, H. Edsall, ou page 748 of Vol. I. of Scharf's 
etc. Our English word ' all its History. He suggests that it may have re- 
mil. I. t and more intense detinitions, meets ii ferred ton -strong dashing of the tides at cer- 
exactly. tain line- upon the liar at the entrance to the 
"Spuyt" is very different, our words strait. We do not know on what historic 
"spout," " -pit " (Lai.. " sputa n "i, meaning facl the name rests, and so we can not know 
lo throw out or belch forth, are its equiva- whether the original root was "spijt " or 
lents. "spuyt." Of course, Irving's fun decides 
In the phrase of which you speak as sus nothing. It may, however, have rested on 
Kested bj soi no. viz.: "point "f the dov- some tradition which lias not come down to us. 

Yours as ever, very cordially. 

lis," the word is confounded with another and 

-till wholly different Teutonic root, which is 

neither "spijt " nor "spuyt," bul "spit " or David Col 

"spits." We have this in our Kn-li-h word Yonkers, February 26, 1900. 



lem River; and its southern started from a point on the Harlem below 
High Bridge. Its eastern boundary was the Bronx. As "acknowl- 
edgment and quit rent" for his manorial patent, Archer was to pay 
yearly " twenty bushels of good peas, upon the first day of March, 
when it shall be demanded." 

The history of Fordham Manor is brief. Already mortgaged in 
part two years before its creation, and again mortgaged for a much 
larger amount on the very day after the issuance of the royal patent, 
it never recovered from the burden of indebtedness thus laid upon it. 
Moreover, at the end of the fifth year of its existence, it became 
pledged beyond the hope of redemption. In Archer's mortgage of 
1676 to Steenwyck, all his rights in the manor were transferred to 
the latter, conditioned only upon the proviso that if before the 24th 

of November, 1683, he should repay the 
amount borrowed, at six per cent, 
yearly interest, he should re-enter as 
proprietor. The debt Avas not dis- 
charged, and Steenwyck took the whole 
estate as his property. By the will of 
Cornelius Steenwyck and his wife, Mar- 
garet t a, drawn November 20, 1684, they 
devised the manor without any reser- 
vations to "the Nether Dutch Beformod 
Congregation within the City of New 
York." By that congregation it was 
preserved intact (its lands being leased 
to various persons) until 1755, when an 
act was passed permitting the minister, 
elders, and deacons of the church to sell 
the lands. 

John Archer, the patentee and lord of the manor, is referred to 
in the will of the Steenwycks as "the late John Archer," and there- 
fore must have died some time before November 20, 1684, the date 
which that document bears. " It is said (we quote from Bolton) 
that he suddenly expired in his coach while journeying from his 
manorial residence to New York City, and was interred on Tetard 
Hill.'' He was a contentious man, being involved in many legal 
disputes with his tenants and neighboring land owners. Upon one 
occasion the mayor's court in New York, acting upon a complaint 
from the people of Fordham that he had undertaken to govern them 
by "rigour and force," and had "been at several times the occasion 
of -Teat troubles betwixt the inhabitants of the said town," ad- 



monished him k * to behave himself for the future civilly and quietly, 
as he will answer for the same at his peril." He held the office of 
sheriff of New York City. His sou, John, inherited what was left 
of his property. To quote again from Bolton, it is said that three 
hundred acres upon which stood the old manorial residence were, 
through the liberality of Mrs. Steenwyck (who survived her hus- 
band), exempted from the bequest to the Dutch Church, and con- 
tinued in the possession of the Archers. At all events, members of 
the family continued to reside upon their ancestral lands, and in 
the eighteenth century Benjamin Archer, a direct descendant of the 
first John, owned in fee a considerable section of the old manor. 
The progeny of John Archer in Westchester County at the present 
time are numerous. 

Although the settlers in Fordham Manor were brought under the 
jurisdiction of Manhattan Island, its lands owed their development 
mainly to the activity of men belonging to the ancient Town of 
Westchester; and it is with the history of Westchester town that 
this old manorial patent will always be associated. Indeed, the 
limits of the Town (township) of Westchester as originally created 
by the legislature of the State of New York embraced all the ter- 
ritory of Fordham and also of Morrisania Manor. Out of West- 
chester township, as thus first established, was subsequently (1846) 
carved the new Township of West Farms, which included both Ford- 
ham and Morrisania .Manors; and West Farms was in turn sub- 
divided, the lower section of it being erected (IS.").")) into another 
township, called Morrisania, whose bounds coincided generally with of the historic Morrisania Manor, having for their northern 
limit a line beginning on the Harlem River near the High Bridge; 
and finally, in 1872, the Township of Kingsbridge was organized, con- 
sisting of all the former Township of Youkers lying south of the south- 
erly line of the City of Yonkers. This township included the whole 
of the original Manor of Fordham. The three names— Fordham, 
West Farms, and Morrisania — are all of seventeenth century origin; 
ami the three localities, as individual parts of the original Township 
of Westchester, came into existence within the same general period 
of time. Having given in brief tin' history of the village and Manor 
of Fordham, it is proper to notice its neighboring and associated lo- 
calities of West Farms and Morrisania before turning our attention 
again to other portions of the county. 

The West Farms tract, like that of the "Ten Farms," or East- 
chester, never attained to manorial dignity. It was a strip along 
the Bronx River, extending to the vicinity of what is still known 
as West Farms village (now a part of the City of New York). By 


a deed dated "West Chester, March the 12th, 1663/' this strip was 
sold by nine Indians to Edward Jessup and John Richardson, of 
Westchester, who on the 25th of April, 1666, were confirmed m its 
proprietorship by royal letters patent from Governor Nicolls, each 
beino- allotted one-half of the whole. Jessup's half, after his death, 
came into the possession of Thomas Hunt, of Westchester, and Rich- 
ardson's was inherited by his three married daughters, one of whom 
was the wife of Gabriel Leggett, progenitor of the West Farms Leg- 
o-etts, and the other the wife of Joseph Hadley, of the Yonkers. Ike 
whole patent was originally divided into twelve parcels, collectively 
styled " The West Farms," a name descriptive of its local relation 
to Westchester, by whose citizens it was opened up and upon whose 
government it depended. Between the West Farms patent and the 
lands of the Morrises, at the southwest, lay a strip whose owner- 
ship was long in controversy, and which hence was called " the de- 
batable ground." 

The foundations of the great Morris estate were begun about 16 <U, 
when Captain Richard Morris, an English merchant from Barbadoes, 
purchased, in behalf of himself and his brother Lewis, from Samuel 
Edsall the old Bronxland tract. This was the identical land, con- 
sisting of some five hundred acres, which about 1639 was granted 
by the Dutch West India Company to Jonas Bronck, the first known 
settler in Westchester County. After Bronck's death, it was owned 
by his widow and her second husband, the noted Arendt van Curler 
(or Corlaer), from whom it passed through several proprietors to 
Samuel Edsall, a beaver-maker in New Amsterdam. Edsall's pur- 
chase was made on the 22d day of October, 1664, almost immedi- 
ately after the conquest of New Netherland by the English; and he 
promptly took out a patent for it from Governor Nicolls. The 
Nicolls patent describes it as " a certaine tract or parcel of land 
formerly in the tenure or occupation of Jonas Bronck's, commonly 
called by the Indians by the name of Ranackque, and by the Eng- 
lish Bronck's land, lying and being on the maine to the east and 
over against Harlem town, having a certain small creek or Kill 
which rans between the north east part of it and Little Barnes 
Island, near Hellgate, and so goes into the East River, and a greater 
creek or river which divides it from Manhattan Island, containing 
about 500 acres or 250 margon of land. 1 ' It is an interesting his- 
torical reminiscence that this Bronxland tract, now the most thickly 
populated portion of the old County of Westchester, was not only 
the first locality within our borders to be settled under the Dutch, 
but was also the object of the first private purchase made under 
the English. 


The brothers Richard and Lewis Morris, who became owners of 
Bronxland by purchase from Edsall in 1G70, were descended from 
an ancient Welsh family of Monmouthshire. Lewis inherited the 
paternal estate of Tintern in that county, which was confiscated by 
Charles I. because of his connection with the Parliament party, in 
whose service he fought as commander of a troop of horse. For 
the loss thus suffered he was later indemnified by Cromwell. Emi- 
grating to Barbadoes, he bought a splendid property on that island. 
He took part in the successful English expedition against Jamaica, 
haying received from Cromwell the commission of colonel. Adopt- 
ing the principles of the Quakers, he became a leading member of 
that sect, and entertained George Fox upon his visit to Barbadoes 
in 1671. 

Richard Morris, a younger brother of Lewis, fought with him in 
support of the Parliament, being a captain in his regiment. He 
followed him to Barbadoes after the Restoration, and there mar- 
ried Sarah Pole, a wealthy lady. The attention of the brothers was 
attracted to New York as a place offering favorable opportunities 
for enterprise, and it was decided that Richard should remove to 
that quarter and buy a large landed property. Articles of agree- 
ment were entered into between the brothers, providing that " if 
either of them should die without issue, the survivor, or issue of 
the survivor, if any, should take the estate." By an instrument 
dated August 10, 1670, Captain Richard Morris, who is styled " a 
merchant of New York," and Colonel Lewis Morris, " a merchant 
of Barbadoes," jointly purchased from Edsall the five hundred Bronx- 
land acres. Here Richard made his home with his young wife and 
a number of negro slaves whom he had brought from the West 
Indies. Both Richard and Sarah Morris died in the fall of 1672, 
leaving an infant son, Lewis Morris the younger. 

Information being sent to Colonel Lewis Morris of the decease of 
his brother, he came to New Y^ork in 1673 to look after the in- 
terests of the estate. Meantime the province had been recaptured 
by the Dutch, and the new governor, Anthony Colve, finding that 
" Colonel Morris, being a citizen of Barbadoes, was not, under the 
terms of the capitulation, entitled to the same liberal terms as 
British subjects of Virginia or Connecticut," and " also that the in- 
fant owned only one-third of the estate and the uncle two-thirds," 
resolved upon the confiscation of the latter's two-thirds. Never- 
theless, the uncle managed to arrange matters advantageously with 
the Dutch officials, and was not only appointed administrator of 
Richard's estate and guardian of the infant, but was finally " granted 
the entire estate, buifdings, and materials thereon, on a valuation to 


be made by impartial appraisers for the benefit of the minor child, 
but Colve ' appropriated ' (due regard being had, of coarse, to the 
infant's interests) all the fat cattle, such as oxen, cows, and hogs." 

The elder Lewis .Morris, having thus brought about a tolerably 
satisfactory adjustment of the matter, returned to Barbadoes to 
close up his private interests. This accomplished, he came to New 
York again in 1675, with the resolve of making it his permanent 
home. During his absence the English had resumed the govern- 
ment of the country. On March 25, 1G7G, Governor Andros issued 
to him a patent covering not only the original five hundred acres 
of Bronck, but some 1,420 adjoining acres in addition. The word- 
ing of this important patent, in its description of the property, is as 
follows: "Whereas, Colonel Lewis Morris of the Island of Barba- 
does, hath long enjoyed, and by patent stands possest, of a certain 
plantation and tract of land, lying and being upon the maine, over 
against the town of Harlem, commonly called Bronck's land, the 
same containing about five hundred acres or two hundred and fifty 
morgen of land, besides the meadow thereunto annexed or adjoin- 
ing, called and bounded as in the original Dutch ground brief and 
patent of confirmation is set forth; and the said Colonel Morris 
having made good improvement upon the said land, and there lying 
lands adjacent to him not included in any patent or grants, which 
land the said Colonel Morris doth desire lor further improvement, 
this said land and addition being bounded from his own house over 
against Harlem, running up Harlem river (oj)aniel Turner's land, 
ami so along his said land northward to John Archer's line [Ford- 
ham Manor], and from thence stretching east to the land of John 
Richardson and Thomas Hunt [West Farms patent], and thence 
along the Sound about southwest, through Bronck's kill to the said 
Colonel .Morris his house, the additional land containing (accord- 
ing to the survey thereof) the quantity of fourteen hundred, ami 
the whole, one thousand, nine hundred and twenty acres." In con- 
sideration of this grant Colonel Morris was to pay "yearly and every 
year, as a quit-rent to his royal highness, five bushels of good winter 
wheat." The land of Daniel Turner, mentioned in the patent, was 
a narrow strip of about eighty acres extending along the Harlem 
River just below Fordham Manor. Turner was one of the original 
patentees of Harlem, and was one of the first men of that village to 
compete with the Westchester people in acquiring lands beyond the 

Colonel Morris, to render his title to the whole estate absolutely 
invulnerable, took the precaution of obtaining a deed from the In- 
dians, dated February 7, 1685. Of course this formality was not 


necessary as to the portion of the property which formerly belonged 
to Edsall, and he had in view simply to secure himself beyond all 
possibility of legal dispute in the possession of the additional lands 
granted to him by Andros. 

In the same year that the patent for Bronxland and its adjacent 
territory was issued, Colonel Morris bought a very extensive tract 
in East Jersey, to which he gave the name of Tintern and Mon- 
mouth, after his ancestral seat in the old country. His New Jer- 
sey property amounted to about 3,500 acres. Thus, besides found- 
ing one of the principal hereditary domains of Westchester County, 
he was among the earliest of large landed proprietors in New Jer- 
sey, where also ho selected what has since become a very conspicu- 
ous and valuable section. lie lived on his Bronxland property until 
his death, in 1001, occupying a handsome residence, which even in 
those early colonial times was a place of liberal hospitality. He 
was a prominent man in the province, sustaining intimate relations 
with Governor Andros and other celebrated official characters, and 
from 1683 to 1686 was a member of Governor Dongan's council. Dur- 
ing his lifetime, although possessing abundant means and enjoy- 
ing the distinction of aristocratic birth and antecedents, no steps 
were taken to erect the estate into a manor. He was twice mar- 
ried, but left no descendants, his sole heir being his nephew, Lewis, 
the only son of his brother, Richard. The value of Colonel Morris's 
personal property, etc., exclusive of his real estate, as appraised by 
Stephanus Van Cortlandt, Nicholas Bayard, John Tell, and William 
Richardson, was estimated at above £4,000. Among the chattels 
enumerated in the inventory were the following: 


22 man negroes at 20 1 440 

1 1 women at 15 1 165 

6 boys at 15 1 90 

2 gai-les at 12 1 24 

25 children at 5 1 125 


In the will of Colonel Morris appears this interesting item: " I 
give and bequeathe unto my honored friend, William Penn, my negro 
man Yaff, provided said Penn shall come to dwell in America.'' Re- 
ferring to this bequest at a meeting of Friends in Philadelphia in 
i?00, Penn said: " As I am now fairly established here in America, 
1 may readily obtain the servant by mentioning the affair to my 
young friend, Lewis Morris; although a concern hath laid upon my 
mind for some time regarding the negroes, and I almost determined 
to give my own blacks their freedom. For I feel that the poor cap- 


tured Africans, like other human beings, have natural rights, which 
can not be withheld from them without great injustice." Upon the 
same occasion Penn spoke of his long and familiar acquaintance with 
Colonel Morris, which intimacy, he said, had its influence in in- 
ducing him (Morris), although many years older, to become a Friend. 
Colonel Morris retained his Quaker convictions to the last, and in 
his will provided for the payment of annuities to the meeting of 
Friends at Shrewsbury, N. J., and the meeting in the province of 
New York. To his nephew and heir, young Lewis Morris, he refers 
in the will with considerable severity, adverting to " his many and 
great miscarryages and disobedience toward me and my wife, and 
his causeless absenting himself from my house, and adhering to and 
advizeing with those of bad life and conversation." This graceless 
youth soon proved himself, however, eminently deserving of his fine 
inheritance. Under him the Bronxland estate was converted into 
the Manor of Morrisania in 1697. He rose to be one of the most 
distinguished men of his times in America, holding, among other 
prominent positions, those of chief-justice of New York and governor 
of New Jersey. 



E have seen that the old patroonship of Colen Donck, after 
being confirmed by Governor Nicolls in 1GGG to Van der 
Donck's widow and her second husband, Hugh O'Neale, 
was conveyed by them to Mrs. Q'Neale's brother, Elias 
Doughty, and by him sold in parcels to a number of purchasers. 
The southernmost portion was bought by John Archer, and, with 
other land adjoining, was erected, under his proprietorship, into 
the Lordship and Manor of Fordham in 1671. North of Archer's 
purchase was a tract of about two thousand acres, sold to William 
Betts and George Tibbetts, which stretched from the Hudson River 
to the Bronx, forming a parallelogram. Other purchasers were John 
Hadden, who bought some three hundred and twenty acres on both 
sides of Tippett's Brook just north of the present Van Cortlandt 
Lake, and Francis French and associates, who wore the original 
owners of the " Mile Square " in the present City of Yonkers. 
Finally, all the remainder of the Yonkers land, aggregating 7,708 
acres, was disposed of by Doughty, November 29, 1G72, in equal 
thirds, to Thomas Delaval, Thomas Lewis, and Frederick Philipse. 

After Archer, none of these purchasers except Philipse require 
special mention, all the others having been ordinary farming men, 
who, while good citizens and substantial promoters of the progress 
of settlement, left little impress upon the development of the country. 
Tibbetts came from Flushing, Long Island. Betts had lived for a 
number of years in Westchester, where he served as one of Stuyve- 
sant's magistrates, and later was a patentee of the town under the 
English patent. Tibbetts, Hadden, and Betts, as settlers outside 
the limits of Fordham, had various disputes with the authorities of 
that place, and especially with Archer, the lord of the manor. Being 
summoned to assist in the building of the " causeway " from the 
ferry terminal to the firm land, they objected, representing to the 
governor that this improvement would be of less value to them than 
a bridge across the Bronx on the road to Eastchester, to whose 
construction they promised to devote themselves if excused from 
contributing to the other work. The governor sagaciously decided 
that both enterprises should be carried through, and directed that 


Tibbetts, Betts, and Hadden should first join the Fordham people in 
making the causeway, after which an equivalent amount of help 
should be given by the townsmen toward the building of the Bronx 
bridge. The latter structure was completed in due time, being pro- 
vided with a gate on the Eastchester side to prevent the " Hoggs" 
from coming over. All the lands north of Archer's line, with the 
sole exception of the Mile Square, were eventually absorbed in the 
great Philipsc purchase; and accordingly by June 12, 1693, the date 
on which the royal charter for the Manor of Philipseburgh was is- 
sued, the independent holdings of Hadden, Metis, and Tibbetts had 
been completely extinguished. .Such of their former proprietors, or 
their descendants, who continued to live on the lands, remained not 
as owners but as tenants of the Philipses. Even the so-called island 
of Papirinemen 1 (now Kingsbridge), where the ferry from Manhattan 
island terminated, became a part of the manorial lands. The south- 
ern section of the old Van der Donck patroonship, embracing the 
parcels originally bought from Doughty by Betts, Tibbetts, and Had- 
den, was called' the Lower Yonkers, the residue, which embraced 
more than three-fourths of the whole, being known as the Upper 

Frederick Philipse, in his first appearance as a purchaser of lands 
in this county, acted only as one of three associates, who combined 
to acquire all that was left of the Van der Donck grant after the 
first sales of it to various persons, each of the three agreeing to take 
an equal third of the property. By this arrangement he became 
seized in 1072 of some twenty-nine hundred acres in the Upper 
Yonkers— certainly a large proprietorship, very much larger than 
either the Archer or the Morris patents. But this was only the 
initial venture in a series of land-buying transactions, at least eight in 
number, which continued over a period of fifteen years, and, when 
completed, made him sole owner of the country from Spuyten Duyvil 
to the Croton River and from the Hudson to the Bronx. He bought 
additional lands successively as follows: 1081 (confirmed in 1683X, 
the Pocantico tract, covering the territory around Tarrytown; 1682 
(confirmed in 1684), the Bissightick tract, or Irvington; 1082 (con- 
firmed in 1081), the Weckquaesgeck tract, or Dobbs Ferry; 1681 (con- 
firmed in 1081), the Nepperhan tract, stretching from the north line 
of the present Yonkers to the extreme northern limits of the manor, 
between the Sawmill and Bronx Rivers; 1085, the equal thirds of his 

the Spuyten Duyvil Creek way was the so-called Island of Papirinemeu, 

;e, while identical with' the pres- where Verveelen's ferry terminated. 

It was 

',„t channel, formed at high tide another across the shallow tideway that the "cause- 
(though shallow) tideway; and the land in- way >' was built before the days of the Kings 
closed between the main channel and this tide- Bridge. 



associates of 1072, Thomas Delaval and Thomas Lewis, in the Upper 
Yonkers tract; 1686, the Sint-Sinck tract, or Sing Sing, which had 
previously been purchased by and confirmed to his son, Philip Phil- 
ipse; 1687, the " Tappan Meadows" (Rockland County); and finally, 
at a date or dates now indeterminate, but previously to June 12, 
1693, the holdings of Betts, Tibbetts, and Hadden in the Lower 
Yonkers tract, together with the island or flat of Papirinemen. This 
vast region, whose individual parts had been separately confirmed to 
him as purchased, was vested in him as a whole by Governor Fletcher 
on the 12th of June, 1693. The document is one of the most elab- 
orate of ancient land deeds. Besides confirming him in tin* owner- 
ship, it erects the estate into a manor called Philipseburgh or Phil- 
ipseborough, and also confers upor> Philipse the privilege of build- 
ing a bridge across Spuyten Duyvil Creek at Papirinemen, on the 
line of the then existing ferry, and authorizes him, in recompense 
for his expenses in that enterprise, to collect, for his own behoof, fares 
from all persons using the bridge. 

Although along the Hudson the lands of Philipse reached as far 
north as Croton Bay, their limits in the interior were considerably 
farther south, not being above the headwaters of the Bronx River; 
and thus the northern boundary of his property, as finally converted 
into the Manor of Philipseburgh, was a southeast line from the month 
of the Croton to the sources of the Bronx. At its northwest corner 
it touched the estate of Stephanas Van Cortlandt, the brother of his 
second wife — an estate which also (1<;!>7| became one of the great 
manors, called Cortlandt Manor, running east from Croton Bay to 
the Connerticnt line, and including, besides almost the whole of the 
northern part of Westchester Comity, a tract on the west bank of the 
Hudson. Van Cortlandt's purchases did not begin until L683, about 
three years after Philipse had entered actively upon his land-absorb- 
ing operations. 

In addition to his various purchases in this county, Philipse bought 
of white people, in 1C>S7, the Tappan salt meadows lying opposite 
Ervington and Dobbs Ferry in the present County of Rockland, a 
comparatively small but finely situated tract, which was incorpor- 
ated in the manor grant of June 12, 1693, and always remained a 
part of the hereditary manor. 

The ancestors of Frederick Philipse are said to have been Hussites 
of Bohemia, who, driven from their home by religious persecution, 
emigrated to Friesland, one of the provinces of the United Nether- 
lands. There his father, Frederick, married Margaret Dacres, sup- 
posed to have been a lady of good family from the parish of Dacre, 
in England. The son was born in Bolsward, Friesland, in 1626, and. 



according to Bolton, came to New Netherland some time previously 
to 1(353, in which year lie was appointed one of the appraisers of the 
house and lot of Augustine Heermans, in New Amsterdam. His sur- 
name in Dutch was variously written Flypse, Flypsen, Vlypse, Ylyp- 
sen (meaning the son of Philip), which was anglicized into Philipse 
(pronounced Phillips). Whether he came to this country in 1 he pos- 
session of any comfortable amount of means is unknown; but it is 
certain that as a young man in New Amsterdam he began life in a 
humble capacity, working at the trade of carpenter. But soon em- 
barking in commerce, aud developing great shrewdness and money- 
getting ability, his fortunes rapidly improved. He made large 
profits" from transactions with the Indians and from the shipping 
business, and, having the tact and address to place himself on good 
terms with the government, he enjoyed from an early period valu- 
able special favors. From Stuyvesant he received grants to desir- 
able lands on Manhattan Island. There is little if any doubt that 

he was engaged in the slave trade and al 


ilso in contraband and 
piratical traffic. Final- 
ly, at the age of thirty- 
six, in 1662, be con- 
tracted a very advan- 
tageous marriage, es- 
pousing Margaret Har- 
denbroek DeYries, the 
daughter of Adolf Har- 
denbroek and widow of 
Pietries Rudolphus De 
Vries, a wealthy New 
Amsterdam merchant. 
This lady proved to be 
hardly less energetic 
and resourceful than 
Philipse himself, and, 
retaining the manage- 
ment of her own affairs, added not a little to the growing wealth of 
the family. She continued the business of her first husband, and 
made frequent voyages to and from Holland on the vessels which 
she owned acting as supercargo. In the well-known " Journal of a 
Voyao-e to' New York and Tour in Several of the American Colonies 
in 1679-80," by Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter (published by the 
Lon<r island Historical Society), the writers, who crossed on one of 
hor "ships, make various allusions to her business characteristics 
which while by no means complimentary, give an excellent idea of 



her extreme carefulness of her private interests. " The English mate, 
who afterward became captain,'" these narrators say, " was very close, 
but was compelled to be much closer, in order to please Margaret. 

It is not to be told what miserable people Margaret and 
Jan (her man) were, and especially their excessive covetousness. 

Margaret and her husband would not have a suitable boat 
for the ship built in Falmouth, but it must be done in New 
York, where timber was a little cheaper. ... A girl attempt- 
ing to rinse out the ship's mop let it fall overboard, whereupon the 
captain put the ship immediately to the wind and launched the jolly- 
boat, into which two sailors placed themselves at the risk of their 
lives in order to recover a miserable swab, which was not worth six 
cents. As the waves were running high, there was no chance of 
getting it, for we could not see it from the ship. Yet the whole 
voyage must be delayed, three seamen be sent roving at the risk 
of their lives, and Ave, with all the rest, must work fruitlessly for 
an hour and a half, and all that merely to satisfy and phase the 
miserable covetousness of Margaret." 

Within a comparatively few years after his marriage to Margaret, 
Frederick Philipse had become by far the wealthiest man in New 
York. During the Dutch interregnum, in 1674, his possessions were 
valued by commissioners appointed by Governor Colve at 80,000 guil- 
ders, an amount which, though large for the times, was small com- 
pared with the wealth that he ultimately amassed. In 1002, Mar 
garet having died, li<- married for his second wife Catherina, daughter 
of Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt and widow of John Dervall — an- 
other fine alliance from the substantial point of view. His commer- 
cial and financial operations continually grew in magnitude and 
profitableness. He was the largest trader with the Five Nations at 
Albany, sent ships to both the Fast and West Indies, imported 
slaves from Africa, and, besides enjoying the profits of irregular 
commerce, shared, as has been with good reason alleged, in the gains 
of piratical cruises. All the time he maintained his former judicious 
relations with the government. He was a member of the governor's 
council for twenty years, extending from the administration of An- 
dros to that of Bellomont. He resigned from the council in 1698, 
in anticipation of his removal by the home government in England, 
which followed, in fact, not long after. This removal was the re- 
sult of satisfactory evidence that he was interested in the piratical 
East Indian trade, having its rendezvous in Madagascar — evidence 
upon which a number of New York citizens had based a petition, 
praying that "Frederick Philips, whose great concerns in illegal 
trade are not only the subject of common fame, but are fully and 


particularly proved by depositions," "be removed from his place in 
the council." He died in 1702. His children, four in number- 
Philip, Adolphus, Annetje, and Rombout— were all by his first wife. 
Philip and Rombout died before himself (the latter probably in child- 
hood), and he accordingly divided the manor between his grandson, 
Frederick (Philip's son), and his son Adolphus, the former taking the 
section from Dobbs Ferry southward, and the latter the remainder. 
Frederick the grandson, succeeded to the title of lord of the manor; 
and his eldest son, Frederick, was not only the third lord, but in- 
herited the whole original estate (Adolphus Philipse having died 
without issue). Under Frederick, the third lord, the manor con- 
tinued to exist in its integrity until the Revolution, when, m conse- 
quence of his being a Tory partisan, and his removing himself to the 
British lines, the whole property was confiscated, to be sub-divided 
and sold in due time bv the State commissioners of forfeiture. Annetje 
Philipse, the daughter of Frederick, the first lord of the manor, mar- 
ried Philip French, and left descendants who intermarried with prom- 
inent patriotic families, including the Brockholsts, Livings tons ami 
Javs The first Frederick Philipse also had an adopted daughter 
Eva (child of his wife Margaret by her first husband), who married 
the eminent New York merchant, Jacobus Van Cortlandt, a brother 
of Catherina, the second wife of Frederick Philipse the first. Jaco- 
bus Van Cortlandt bought fifty acres from his father-in-law in the 
Lower Yonkers tract, which formed the nucleus of the his One Van 
Cortlandt estate in the present Borough of the Bronx (whence tin 
names of Van Cortlandt Lake and Van Cortlandt Park). 

Frederick Philipse, the original proprietor, with whose history 
alone we are concerned in this portion of our narrative, not long- 
after beoinning the systematic upbuilding of his great estate, took 
steps toward erecting two residences upon it, one on the banks of 
the Nepperhan, not far from the site of Van der Donck's mill, and 
the other on the Pocantico, near Tarrytown, in the present Town of 
Mount Pleasant. At what period the Yonkers residence, which later 
became the -Manor House" of the Philipses, was begun is a ques- 
tion that has never been settled satisfactorily, although it has in- 
volved some very animated controversy. The date 1682 was ac- 
cepted at the time when the -Manor House" became the City Hall 
of Yonkers; but it is sturdily maintained by respectable authorities 
on the early history of Philipseburgh Manor that the dwelling did 
not have its beginning until many years later. The time of the 
erection of the Pocantico house, styled "Castle Philipse,' is like- 
wise unknown. Ultimately the « Manor House " at 1 onkers became 
the principal seat of the family, much excelling the Pocantico house 


in architectural pretensions; but of the two dwellings as originally 
built, the latter was undoubtedly the finer, a fact of which suffi- 
cient evidence is afforded by the circumstance that it was the pre- 
ferred habitation of the proprietor after the procurement of the ma- 
norial patent. The selection of the Yonkers site for one of the resi- 
dences was undoubtedly determined by the existence there of Van 
der Donck's mill and the conspicuous natural advantages of the 
locality. The other, being intended as the family seat for the dis- 
tant northern section of the property, was naturally located on the 
most important stream falling into the Hudson in that section, the 
Pocantico River. 

Opinions differ as to whether Philipse had a predecessor on the 
Pocantico as on the Nepperhan. Although in the former quarter 
his proprietorship was the earliest of legal record, the question 
whether private settlers boasting no legal pretensions had not ar- 
rived there before his purchase is, of course, a fair one. Bolton finds 
no evidence of any such ancient occupancy. The Rev. Dr. David 
Cole, in his " History of Yonkers," written in 18S6, discussing the 
subject of the two Philipse houses, makes no allusion to possible 
settlements at or near Tarrytown antedating Philipse's appearance, 
or to the pre-existence of a mill there, simply remarking that he 
chose the banks of the Pocantico " as a site for a new mill." More 
over, in the same connection, speculating with regard to the period 
at which Philipse established himself in his residence on the Po- 
cantico, Dr. Tole concludes that it was not until after the death ot 
his first wife, Margaret, in 1000 or 1091. Yet in his historical discourse 
delivered at the third centennial of the old Dutch Church of Tar- 
rytown, October 11, 1807, Dr. Cole, after fixing upon 10S3 as the year 
when Philipse removed to the Tarrytown dwelling, says that he found 
there, at that earlv date, "a small community already gathered." 
Already, he informs us, there was upon the Pocantico " a mill site 
like the Van der Donck site of Y r onkers," which already had upon 
it " a simple dwelling for the miller," upon whose foundations Castle 
Philipse was built. ' Continuing, Dr. Cole says that " around were 
farmers who brought to the mill their grain to be ground and their 
logs to be sawed. ' They (the Philipses) found the old graveyard, as 
old as the settlement, with regard to which 1 have no difficulty in 
accepting Mr. Irving's belief that it had been started as early as 
1645 and that it had in it three graves by 1050, and fifty by 1075, 
and one hundred and eighty by 1700." J According to this changed 

^pTop^f the question of the antiquity of interments and his opinion is apparent* con- 

the graveyard, see the statement by Benjamin curred in by the author of Scharfs article on 

F CorneU, superintendent of the Sleepy Hoi- the Town of Mount Pleasant, the late Rev. 

low Cemetery, in Scharf, ii., 293. Mr. Cornell John A. Todd, 
adopts the date 1645 as that of the earliest 


view of Dr. Cole's, Tarrytown and the country round about belong- 
to the oldest settled localities of the county. Of course the fact of the 
presence of a mill before the coming of Philipse would lend color 
to the belief that settlers in some numbers had been there and in 
that vicinity for a period of years. This much is certain: that a mill; 
whether an old one established by some enterprising pioneer whose 
name is unknown to us, or a new one built by Philipse, was in 
operation on the Pocantico from the time that Castle Philipse was 
erected by the proprietor. The Yonkers and Tarrytown mills were 
styled by Philipse, respectively, the Lower Mills and the Upper 

The residence on the Nepperhan at Yonkers was very substan- 
tially built, " the bricks, and indeed all the building materials," says 
Mrs.' Lamb, " being imported from Holland at what was then es- 
teemed a prodigal expenditure. The great massive door, which still 
swings in the center of the southern front, was manufactured in 
Holland and imported by the first Lady Philipse in one of her own 
ships." Only the southern front of the structure was built by the 
first Frederick. Here he lived for a time with his wife Margaret; at 
least during the summer seasons. Traces of an underground pass- 
ago, apparently leading from the Manor House, were recently dis- 
covered by some workmen engaged in making excavations in Yonk- 
ers; and it has been surmised that this was a secret means of exit 
for 'the occupants of the dwelling, connecting probably with a neigh- 
boring blockhouse, to be used in case of an Indian raid. In 1SS2, 
two hundred years after the presumed erection of the original build- 
ing, the Manor House, renamed Manor Hall, after having been put 
inl state of permanent preservation, Avas formally dedicated to the 
uses of the City of Yonkers as a municipal building. 

Castle Philipse, on the Pocantico, was also very substantially built, 1 
and possessed a feature entirely lacking in the Manor House, being 
carefully fortified to resist attack. Its walls were pierced with 

.Mi William F. Minnerly, well known in inches deep, to the same height as before, and 

Tarrytown as a builder, states that in 1864 he a new partition built, fifteen feet long and 

was Vmplovod to make some alterations in the nine feet high. The remainder of the bricks 

old (Pocantico) Manor House. One was in that came out of the chimney-tor. strange to 

Hkin* Lvn the chimney, which was very say, there was a remainder, and a large one. 

arge In the second story he found that a too-Mr. Minnerly bought and with them he 

oom about four feet square had been built in tilled in a new house, twenty-two feet front . bj 

he chimney to be used as a smoke-house for twenty-eight feet deep and two stories high, 

mok ■" n at The number of bricks in this and found them amply sufficient for the pur- 

;. , n U was a marvel. They had all been pose. The bricks were so hard that when the 

, „m-ht from Holland, and landed on the north masons who did the work wished to cut them 

shore of the Pocantico, very near the old mill. they wer liged to use a hatchet In size, 

one of the prominent objects on the manor. each brick was an inch and a garter thicl. 

The portion of the chimney taken down was three and one-halt inches wide, and seven 

relaid with the bricks, Ave feet breast, sixteen inches Iong.-ScMrf, n., o09. 


port and loop holes for cannon and musketry. The difference be- 
tween the two residences in this respect is convincing proof that dur- 
ing the last twenty years of the seventeenth century, while the lower 
portion of the county had become practically secure against Indian 
depredations, the middle section was still deemed somewhat unsafe. 
The building of Castle Philipse was followed quickly by the advent 
of tenants, and in a comparatively few years quite a number of 
farming people had secured homes as far north as Tarrytown and 
beyond. The progress made toward the general settlement of the 
lands of that locality was so encouraging that Philipse deemed him- 
self under obligations to provide the people with facilities for re- 
ligious worship. To this worthy deed he was prompted by his first 
wife, Margaret; and his second wife, Catherina, also took a deep in- 
terest in the matter. The result was the building of the Dutch 
Reformed Church of Sleepy Hollow, one of the most noted of old 
religious edifices in America. From certain circumstances Dr. Cole, 
in the centennial address already referred to, feels justified in ex- 
pressing the conviction that the erection of the church was com- 
menced by Philipse as early as 1681. He points out that its bell 
was cast to order in 1685 — " proof positive,'' he declares, " that the 
building had already been begun/' But according to the only au- 
thentic records in existence, it was not until 1697 that the church 
organization was effected and a minister, Rev. Guiliam Bertholf, 
summoned. The tablet over the door of the church states that it 
was built in 1699, but this tablet was probably not put up until 
within comparatively recent years, and it records the accepted date 
of the completion of the structure, making no mention of the time 
at which it was begun. Philipse was a worshipper within its walls, 
and he was buried in a vault beneath it, which was prepared ex- 
pressly for his family. His decided preference for the Pocantico 
house as his permanent place of residence is illustrated by his selec- 
tion of the Pocantico instead of the Nepperhan settlement as the 
location for the church building. 

We have now traced the early history of the various original land 
patents and grants along the shore line of Westchester County, ex- 
tending from the mouth of the Byram River on the Sound to the 
Hudson, with incidental accounts of the principal patentees or 
grantees and of the settlements established. This embraces all the 
exterior portions of the county except the section from Croton Bay 
to the Highlands — that is, the present Town of Cortlandt, — which, as 
we have indicated, was bought by Stephanus Van Cortlandt in a 
series of purchases commencing in 1683, and, with its eastward ex- 
tension to the Connecticut line, together with a tract on the west 



side of the Hudson River, was erected into the Manor of Cortlandt 

in 1697. , ., j » 

Stephanus Van Cortlandt was the eldest of the seven children of 
Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt and Annetje, sister of Govert Locker- 
mans a very wealthy and distinguished burgher of New Amster- 
dam' ' His father, Oloff, was a man of note in New Amsterdam 
and 'New York for forty years. He came to New Netherland m 
1638 with Director Kieft, as a soldier in the service of the Dutch 
West India Company. Oloff was a native of the province of Ltrecht, 
in Holland, possessed a good education, and is supposed to have 
been of thoroughly respectable if not gentle descent although noth- 
hm- definite is known of his ancestry. After remaining a brief time 
in'the military service in New Amsterdam, he was .appointed by 
Kieft to official position, from which he resigned in 1648 to en- 
o-age in mercantile and brewing pursuits, wherein he was very suc- 
,on ac q uiring a large fortune. He was ^— <^ 

most uninterruptedly 
from 1655 to the Eng- 
lish conquest. At the 
time of the surrender of 
the province to Nicolls 
he was one of the Dutch 
commissioners to nego- 
tiate the terms of the 
capitulation. Under the 
English government he 
continued to be a prom- 
inent and influential 
citizen until his death 
(April 4, 1684). He mar- 
ried Annetje Locker- 
mans on the 26th of 
February, 1642, and by 
her had seven children, 
three sons and four 


daughters. 1 Of these children Stephanus, the eldest (born May 7, 
164:?), and Jacobus, the youngest (born July 7, 1658), were the pro- 
genitors of all the Van Cortlandts of subsequent generations; Steph- 
anus being the founder of the so-called elder Van Cortlandt branch, 

t- Stephanus, whose history is given in the 
text; Maria, married Jeremias Van Rensselaer; 
Johannes, died a bachelor; Sophia, married 
Andries Teller: Catherina, married, first, John 

Dervall, and, second. Frederick Philipse the 
first; Cornelia, married Brandt Schuyler: and 
Jacobus, noticed in the text. 


of Cortlandt Manor, and Jacobus (who married Eva, stepdaughter of 
the first Frederick Philipse) the founder of the younger or Yonkers 

Stephanus, a native-born Dutch-American, received an excellent 
education under the direction of the scholarly Dutch clergymen of 
New Amsterdam. He had just become of age when the English 
fleet, in 10(34, in the name of the British king and of James, Duke 
of York, demanded and received the submission of New Netherland. 
His first public employment was therefore under English rule. He 
was a member of the original Court of Assizes created by the duke's 
laws, and thereafter was constantly engaged in official service, hold- 
ing practically every position of importance in the province except 
that of governor. His career was probably the most conspicuous 
and creditable of that of any inhabitant of New York in the seven- 
teenth century, and " undoubtedly the first brilliant career that any 
native of New York ever ran." In 1077, at the age of thirty-four, 
he was appointed mayor of New York, being the first native Amer- 
ican to hold that office, in which he continued with hardly an in- 
terruption until his death. He was, with Philipse, one of the orig- 
inal members of the governor's council, and served in that body 
without any intermission to the end of his life. At the time of 
the Leisler regime, the responsibility for the government of the 
province was temporarily committed to him and Philipse by the de- 
parting lieutenant-governor, Nicholson, and, although a kinsman of 
Leisler's, he firmly resisted the hitter's assumption of authority, an 
act which for a time endangered his life, so that he was obliged 
to flee from the city. He was later one of the justices of the Supreme 
Court of the province, and for several months previously to his death 
was its chief justice. " He was prominent in all the treaties and 
conferences with the Indians as a member of the council, and was 
noted for his influence with them. His letters and dispatches to 
Governor Andros, and to the different boards and officers in Eng- 
land charged with the care of the colonies and the management of 
their affairs, remain to show his capacity, clear-headedness, and 
courage. Equally esteemed and confided in by the governments of 
James as duke and king, and by William and Mary in the troublous 
times in which he lived, and sustained by all the governors, even 
though, as in Bellomont's case, they did not like him personally, no 
greater proof could be adduced of his ability, skill, and integrity." 
He died on the 25th of November, 1700. 

Under date of November 10, 1077, Yan Cortlandt received from 
Governor Andros a license authorizing him to acquire such lands 
" on the east side of Hudson's River " as " have not yet been pur- 


chased of the Indyan proprietors," " payment whereof to be made 
publicly at the Fort or City Hall." He did riot begin to avail him- 
self of this privilege, however, until six years later, when (August 24, 
16S3) he bought from seven Indians, " in consideration of the sum 
of twelve pounds and several other merchandises," what is known 
as Verplanck's Point (called by the Indians Meanagh, whence the 
present local name of Meahagh), together with an adjacent tract 
running eastward, called Appamapogh. The general situation of 
the purchase thus made is described in the deed as follows: " Being 
on the east side of the Hudson River, at the entering in of the 
Highlands, just over against Haverstraw." 

Earlier in the same year (July 13, 1683) Van Cortlandt purchased 
from the Haverstraw Indians a tract of about fifteen hundred acres 
on the west side of the Hudson, " directly opposite to the promon- 
tory of Anthonv's Nose and north of the Dunderberg Mountain, 
forming the depression or valley through the upper part of which, m 
the Revolutionary War, Sir Henry Clinton came down and cap- 
tured Forts Clinton and Montgomery." 

The territory below Verplanck's Point, extending to the mouth of 
the Croton River, was originally bought from the Indians in part 
by one Cornelius Van Bursum, of New York City, and in part by 
Governor Dongan. Van Bursum was the first white owner of the 
peninsula of Croton Point, which in the Indian language was called 
by the pleasing name of Senasqua, and, before receiving its present 
name, had long been known as Teller's Point (also Sarah's Point), 
from 'william and Sarah Teller, who were early settlers upon it. 
Governor Dongan's lands (purchased from the Indians in 1685) em- 
braced all the river shore, excepting Croton Point, from the mouth 
of the Croton to Van Cortlandt's property, and in the interior reached 
to the Cedar Ponds. Both Van Bursum's and Dongan's holdings 
were later sold to Van Cortlandt. To him was conveyed also a 
tract owned by " Hew MacGregor, Gentleman, of the City of Xew 
York," lying above Verplanck's Point. 

Thus Stephanus Van Cortlandt became the proprietor of nearly 
the whole of Westchester County along the Hudson from Croton 
Bay to the Highlands. In the interior his bounds, both at the north 
and the south, ran due east twenty miles to the Connecticut border 
(which border was, by the interprovincial agreement between Con- 
necticut and New York, considered to be at a distance of twenty 
miles from the Hudson). But there were two strips of land above 
Verplanck's Point of which neither Van Cortlandt nor his heirs ever 
obtained the ownership. One was the so-called Ryke's patent, a 
tract called by the Indians Sachus or Sackhoes, embracing about 


eighteen hundred acres between Verplanck-s and Peekskill Creek, 
whereon a large portion of the village of Peekskill has been built. 
This tract was bought from the Indians, April 21, 1GS5, by Ei chard 
Abramsen, Jacob Abramsen, Tennis Dekey (or DeKay), Seba, Jacob, 
and John Harxse, and soon afterward was patented to them for a 
quit-rent of " ten bushels of good winter merchantable wheat year- 
ly." The name of Ryke's patent is Dutch for Richard's patent, so 
called after Richard Abramsen, the principal patentee, who later 
assumed the English name of Lent. Substantially the whole tract 
passed to Hercules Leut, Richard's son, about 1730. The second of 
the two strips on the Hudson which always remained independent 
of the Van Cortlandt estate was a three-hundred-acre parcel front- 
ing on the inner and upper part of Peekskill Bay, which was deeded, 
on April 25, 1685, to Jacobus DeKay " for the value of four hun- 
dred guilders, seawant," and which ultimately became the property 
of John Krankhyte (ancestor of the Cronkhites). Upon this strip is 
the Peekskill State Camp of Military Instruction. 

The area of the Van Cortlandt estate in Westchester County, omit- 
ting the two Peekskill strips just noticed, was 86,203 acres, and, 
adding that of the tract on the opposite side of the Hudson, aggre- 
gated 87,713 acres. Van Cortlandt, as a man of large business con- 
cerns and important official interests in New York, continued to live 
in the city, or at least to spend most of his time there, notwith- 
standing his extensive landed acquisitions and his ultimate design 
of procuring for them manorial dignity. But it was probably as 
early as 1683 that the historic mansion of the family at the mouth 
of the Croton River, which is still standing in a good state of preser- 
vation, had its beginning. This house was originally intended as a 
trading place and a fort, and was built with very thick stoue walls, 
pierced with loopholes for musketry, all of which have been filled in 
save one, iu what is now the sitting-room, which is preserved as a 
memento of olden times and of the antiquity of the dwelling. Sit- 
uated just where the road from Sing Sing to Croton Landing crosses 
the wide mouth of the Croton River, where that stream empties into 
the Hudson, it commands a magnificent view of the broad Tappan 
Sea. In former times the ferry across the Croton River mouth, 
which was the only means of reaching the country above without 
making a wide detour, had its northern terminus near the mansion. 
During the first ten years after its construction the house was prob- 
ably occupied by the proprietor only as a temporary residence when 
visiting his lands; but later it was enlarged and improved to be- 
come suitable for the purpose of a manor house aud the accommo- 
dation of the numerous family of its wealthy owner. It has re- 


niamed in the possession of the Van Cortlandts continuously since 
the time of Stephanus, and has always been used as a habitation by 
some member of the family. Near it is the Van Cortlandt burial 
ground, a small, square inclosure, where a number of the most emi- 
nent descendants of Stephanus, including the noted General and 
Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt of the devolution, are in- 

Apart from the erection of this dwelling, and of mills for the 
benefit of his existing and prospective tenants, Van Cortlandt ac- 
complished little in the way of developing his estate. On the 17th of 
June, 1G9T, the whole was established as the Lordship and Manor of 
Cortlandt, bv royal letters patent from Governor Fletcher, a quit- 
rent of " forty shillings current money " to be paid annually to the 
governor " on the feast day of Annunciation of our Blessed Virgin 
Mary," " in lieu and stead of all other rents, services, dues, duties, 
and demands whatsoever." Tan Cortlandt died at the early age of 
fifty-seven, three years and one-half after the issuance of this manor 
: .rant. Judging from the well-known character of the man, it may 
readily be believed, in the words of the historian of the " Manors of 
Westchester County," that " had he lived to be seventy-five or eighty 
years old, like so very many of his descendants in every generation, 
instead of dying at fifty-seven, leaving a large family, mostly minors, 
it is probable that he would have left his manor as flourishing and 
as populous in proportion as that of Eensselaerswyck at the same 
date " The great distance of Cortlandt Manor from New York City 
and its surrounding settlements, as well as its difficulty of access from 
the country immediately below on account of the obstruction pre- 
sented by the Croton, delayed for many years the occupation of its 
lands- and so meagre was its population that it was notuntil 1734 that 
the Manor of Cortlandt availed itself of the privilege conferred in the 
orant of sending a representative to the general assembly. The first 
settlements were in the neighborhood of Croton and Peekskill. The 
Indians continued numerous, though for the most part peaceable, 
until an advanced period in the eighteenth century. 

Stephanus had fourteen children, 1 of whom eleven were living at 

il Johannes, married Anne Sophia Van (Mary), married, first, Kil^en Van Kens^aei, 
Schaaek and eft one child, Gertrude, who fourth patroon and first manorial lord of Rens- 
'n „ Verplanck, grandson of Abra- selaerswyck. 6. Gertrude, died unmarried 7. 
Zm Tsaacsen Verplanck, the first of that name Philip, married Catherine de Peyster daughter 
fn America 2. Margaret, married Colonel of the first Abraham; from this couple sprang 
Samuel Bavard, only son of Nicholas Bayard, the eldest line of Van Cortlandts now British 
^e youngest of the three nephews of Gov- subjects. 8. Stephen, marred CatalmaStaats 
ernor Stuvvesaut. 3. Ann. married Etienne these were the ancestors of the Van Cort 
(Steph n) Te Lancey, founder of the de Lancey landts of Second River • (the Passaxe) N^J 
family of New York City and Westchester now extinct in the males. 9. Gertrude mar- 
County. 4. Oliver, died a bachelor. 5. Maria ried Colonel Henry Beekman; no issue. 10. 

V]::'-- ■ i ; . 


. - . i; ' ; ':^;'lB!;il?;ii;:i ' . - 



the time of the father's death; and he devised the manor lands to 
them in equal shares, excepting that the eldest, Johannes, received, 
in addition to his equal portion, the whole of the peninsula of Ver- 
planck's Point. (This peninsula was so called for Philip Verplanck, 
grandson of Johannes, who inherited it, and in whose family it con- 
tinued uutil sold to a New York syndicate in the first half of the 
present century.) One of the eleven children, Oliver Van Cort- 
landt, dying without issue in 1706, bequeathed his share equally 
among his brothers and sisters and their heirs. The ten remaining 
heirs kept the property intact and undivided until 1730, when a divi- 
sion was determined upon, which followed in due course. Cort- 
landt Manor remained a separate political division (embracing also, 
for purposes of representation in the assembly, the Eyke and the 
Krankhyte patents) until divided into townships by the New York 
State act of 1788. The original townships carved out of it were 
Cortlanclt, Yorktown, Stepkentown (now Somers), Salem (now North 
Salem and Lewisboro), and about a third of Poundridge. In area 
it was the largest of the six Westchester County manors, consider- 
ably exceeding in this respect the Manor of Philipseburgh, which 
in its turn was several times larger than the four other manors (Pel- 
ham, Scarsdale, Ford- 
ham, and Morrisania) 
combined. Its eastern 
boundary was fixed 
in the governor's 
grant at a distance 
twenty miles from the 
Hudson, and coincid- 
ed at the time with 
the boundary line be- 
tween New York and 
Connecticut; but the 
ultimate State line, 
as adjusted by com- 
promise under the 
" Oblong " arrangement, ran somewhat to the east of it; so that the 
extreme northeastern portion of the county, as well as a part of 
the extreme northwestern section, was never included in this manor. 
Jacobus Van Cortlandt, younger brother of Stephanus and an- 


Gysbert, died young. 11. Elizabeth, died 
young. 12. Elizabeth, 2d, married Rev. William 
Skinner, of Perth Amboy. N. J. 13. Catharine, 
married Andrew Johnston, of New Jersey. 14. 
Cornelia, married John Schuyler, of Albany; 

these were the progenitors of the Schuylers 
descended from General Philip, who was their 
son, and from his brothers and sisters. (The 
above is taken from Edward Floyd de Lancey's 
History of the Manors.) 


cestor of the so-called Yonkers branch of the Van Cortlandt family, 
was born on the 7th of July, 1G5S, and on the 7th of May, 1691, 
married Eva Philipse, adopted daughter of the first Frederick Phil- 
ipse. In 1699 he purchased from his father-in-law fifty acres of 
choice land in the " Lower Yonkers," a property which he increased 
to several hundred acres by subsequent purchases. Out of this land 
was erected the historic Van Cortlandt estate, about a mile above 
Kingsbridge. He left the property to his son, Frederick, who mar- 
ried a daughter of Augustus Jay (ancestor of Chief Justice John 
Jay). Frederick built in 171S the line Yan Cortlandt mansion, 
which, together with the then existing residue of the estate, was 
purchased by the City of Xew York in 1889, the land being con- 
verted into a public park (Yan Cortlandt Park) and the mansion 
placed in the custody of the Colonial Dames of the State of New 
York, and by them utilized for the purposes of a historical museum. 

Jacobus Yan Cortlandt, the ancestor of the Yonkers Van Cort- 
landts, also owned a large estate in the Town of Bedford, part of 
which descended to Chief Justice John Jay and is still in the pos- 
session of the Jay family. 

Our narrative, from the period when the active acquisition of 
the lands of Westchester County began, about the time of the Eng- 
lish conquest (1661), has naturally followed the course of the pro- 
gressive new purchases and occupation running from the seat of the 
already settled localities on the Sound westward and northward 
along the formerly unpurchased or undeveloped shores of the Har- 
lem River, Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and the Hudson. Pursuing this 
natural course, our attention has been mainly claimed by the great 
land grants of Morrisania, Fordham, Philipseburgh, and Cortlandt 
Manors, extending consecutively from near the mouth of the Bronx 
to Anthony ? s Nose, and covering substantially the whole of the west- 
ern half and northern section of the county. The reader has, of 
course, borne in mind that throughout the period we have traversed 
in tracing the originial land acquisitions under English rule in the 
western division of the county — that is, a period reaching to the end 
of the seventeenth century, — the more complete settlement of the 
already well-occupied eastern division was steadily proceeding, and, 
besides resulting in the constant upbuilding of the little communities 
on the Sound, was incidentally bringing all previously neglected dis- 
tricts of the interior, up to the confines of Philipse's and Van Cort- 
landt's lands, under definite private ownership, and distributing 
through them an enterprising and energetic element of new settlers. 
To this onward movement from the east the inhabitants of all the 
existing patents from Westchester town to Byram Point contributed; 


and, moreover, ihe people of the adjoining parts of Connecticut con- 
tinued to manifest a hearty interest and to share in the work of oc- 
cupation and development. As Avill be shown later, much of the 
most notable enterprise undertaken from the east was by certain 
communities of settlers, or by individuals having only comparatively 
small personal interests, as distinguished from large landed proprie- 
tors. Indeed, notwithstanding the presence of two quite extensive 
and very solidly founded manor grants on the Sound (Pelham and 
Scarsdale), the general character of the original settlement and suc- 
ceeding history of the eastern division of Westchester County differs 
totally from that of the western, in that the former represents 
mainly the results of communal and minor individual interest and 
activity, while the latter sprang essentially from manorial aspira- 
tion, proprietorship, and patronage. 

But in recurring to the history of the eastern portions of the 
county and of the gradual movement of settlers thence into the 
interior, Ave shall first review the progress of events in the two 
large proprietary estates of that division: the Pell estate, which, 
when last noticed, had been erected into a manor under the lord- 
ship of its founder, Thomas Pell; and the estate of John Pdchbell, 
of Mamaroneck, transmitted after his death to his wife, Ann, and 
from her purchased by Caleb Ileathcote, who soon afterward pro- 
cured its erection into the Manor of Scarsdale. So many of our im- 
mediately preceding pages have been devoted to the origin and early 
history of Fordham, Morrisania, Philipseburgh, and Cortlandt Man- 
ors, that similar accounts of the two remaining manors may very 
fittingly follow here. This, with some general observations, will 
complete what is necessary to be said about the foundations of the 
manors of Westchester County. 



HOMAS TELL died in the month of September, 1669, three 
years after obtaining from Governor Nicolls the manorial 
patent for his magnificent estate on the Sound, stretching 
from Hutchinson's River to RichbelPs Mamaroneck grant. 
Leaving no issue, he willed all his possessions, excepting certain 
personal bequests, to his nephew, John Pell, then residing in Eng- 
land, the only son of his only brother, the Rev. John Pell, D.D. 
Doctor Pell, Thomas's brother, was a man of brilliant intellectual 
accomplishments, served as ambassador to Switzerland under Crom- 
well, and subsequently took orders in the Church of England. But 
despite his talents he had faults of temperament which prevented 
him from advancing in the church, and being of an improvident dis- 
position he wasted his property to such a degree that he was com- 
mitted to the King's Bench Prison for debt. To his son, John, the 
golden inheritance from the rich uncle in America must have been 
singularly welcome. 

John Pell, the successor of Thomas iu the " lordship " of Pelham 
Manor, was born on the 3d of February, 1643. He arrived in Amer- 
ica and entered into his proprietorship in the summer of 1670. On 
the 25th of October, L687, a new royal patent of Pelham Manor was 
issued to him by Governor Dongan, the reason for this proceeding- 
being, as stated in the patent, that he desired " a more full and firme 
grant and confirmation " of his lands. The bounds of the manor as 
specified in the new instrument were precisely the same as those pre- 
scribed in the Nicolls patent to his uncle — Hutchinson's River on 
tin 1 south and Cedar Tree or Gravelly Brook on the north, with the 
neighboring islands; but the dignities attaching to the manorial lord- 
ship were somewhat more elaborately defined, and instead of pay- 
ing to the royal governor as quit-rent " one lamb on tin 1 first day of 
May," as had been required of Thomas Tell, he was to pay "twenty 
shillings, good and lawful money of this province," "on the five and 
twentyeth day of the month of March." He married (1685) Rachel, 
daughter of Philip Pinkney, one of the first ten proprietors of East- 


Chester. He resided on his estate, and seems to have taken an active 
and influential interest in public matters related to Westchester 
County, having been appointed by Governor Andros (August 25, 1688) 
the first judge of Westchester County, and serving as delegate from 
our county in the provincial assembly from 1G91 to 1695. He died 
in 1702. The tradition is that he perished in a gale while upon a 
pleasure excursion in his yacht off City Island. 

The most notable event of John Pell's administration of his manor 
was the conveyance by him through the celebrated Jacob Leisler of 
six thousand acres as a place of settlement for the Huguenots— a 
transaction out of which resulted the erection of the Town of New 


The Edict of Nantes, a decree granting a measure of liberty to the 
Protestants of France, promulgated in 1598 by King Henry IV., was 
on the 22d of October, 1685, revoked by Louis XIV., and by that act 
of state policy the conditions of life in the French kingdom were 
made quite intolerable to most persons of steadfast Protestant faith. 
For some years previously to the revocation numerous French Prot- 
estants had begun to seek homes in foreign lands, especially America; 
and after 1685 the emigration grew to large proportions. A great 
many of the Huguenots came to New York City. Several of the lead- 
ers of the sect abroad entered into correspondence with Leisler 
(known to them as a responsible merchant and influential citizen 
of New York and, moreover, a man of strong liberal principles), with 
a view to the purchase by him as agent of eligible land for the estab- 
lishment of a Huguenot colony. It happened that a number of the 
Huguenot immigrants in New York City, looking about them for 
suitable places of residence, had in 1686 and 1687 chosen and secured 
from John Pell parcels of land in that portion of Pelham Manor now 
occupied by the present City of New Rochelle. From this circum- 
stance Leisler, as the constituted agent of the Huguenots, was led to 
locate the settlement at that place. He entered into negotiations 
with Pell, and on the 20th of September, 1689, " John Pell and 
Rachel his wife " conveyed to him, " in consideration of the sum 
of sixteen hundred and seventy-five pounds sterling, current silver 
money of this province," " all that tract of land lying and being 
within said Manor of Pelham, containing six thousand acres of land, 
and also one hundred acres of land more, which the said John Pell 
and Rachel his wife do freely give and grant for the French church 
erected, or to be erected, by the inhabitants of the said tract of 
land, or by their assignees, being butted and bounded as herein is 
after expressed, beginning at the west side of a certain white oak 
tree, marked on all four sides, standing at high water mark at the 


south end of Hog Neck, by shoals, harbour, and runs northwesterly 
through the great fresh meadow lying between the road and the 
Sound, and from the north side of the said meadow to run from 
thence due north to Bronckes river, which is the west division line 
between the said John Pell's land and the aforesaid tract, bounded 
on the southeasterly by the Sound and Salt Water, and to run east- 
northerly to a certain piece of salt meadow lying at the salt creek 
which runneth up to Cedar Tree brook, or Gravelly brook, and is 
the bounds to Southern. Bounded on the east by a line that runs 
from said meadow northwesterly by marked trees, to a certain black 
oak tree standing a little below the road, marked on four sides, and 
from thence to run due north four miles and a half, more or less, and 
from the north side of the said west line, ending at Broncke's river, 
and from thence to run easterly till it meets with the north end of the 
said eastern most bounds, together with all and singular the islands 
and the islets before the said tract of land lying and being in the 
sound and salt water," etc. This was an absolute deed of sale of 
the property. The sum paid for it, £1,G75, was extraordinarily large, 
in comparison with the usual amounts given in those times for un- 
improved landed property, and is a demonstration of the entirely 
substantial character of the settlement of New Rochelle at its very 
foundation. In addition to the purchase money, " said Jacob Leisler, 
his heirs and assigns, 1 ' were to yield and pay " unto the said John 
Pell, his heirs and assigns, lords of the said Manor of Pelham, to 
the assigns of them or him, or their or either of them, as an acknowl- 
edgment to the lords of the said manor, one fat calf on every four and 
twentieth clay of June, yearly and every year forever — if demanded." 
This proviso was incorporated conformably with the customs of the 
times, which required the vouchsafing of peculiar courtesies to the 
lords of manors on the part of individuals upon whom they bestowed 
their lands. The ceremony of the presentation of the fat calf was 
duly observed for many years, and was always made a festival oc- 

Although the deed of sale specified the Bronx River as the western- 
most boundary of the tract, its bounds as finally established stopped 
at Hutchinson's River or creek. The six thousand acres comprised 
the whole northern section of the manor, Pell retaining the southern 
portion, a wedge-shaped territory, about one-half less in area than the 
part conveyed to Leisler. 

Shortly after the consummation of the purchase, Leisler began to 
release the lands to the Huguenots, and the place was settled with 
reasonable rapidity. It was called New Rochelle in honor of La 
Rochelle in France, a community prominently identified with the 



Huguenot cause in the religious wars. From the first the French 
refugees proved themselves most desirable additions to the popu- 
lation of our county, and the entire history of New Rochelle is a 
gratifying record of progress. 

It will be remembered that John Rickbell's original purchase from 
the Indians of what is now the Township of Mamaroneck— a purchase 
confirmed to him at the time by the Dutch authorities, and later by 
the English governor, Lovelace— comprised three necks on the Sound 
between the Mamaroneck River and Thomas Pell's lands, and that 
the interior extension of the purchase was twenty miles northward 
" into the woods." Of the three necks, called the East, Middle, and 
West Necks, the first was deeded by Richbell to his mother-in-law, 
Margery Parsons, and by her immediately conveyed to his wife, Ann; 
but "the latter two were mortgaged and finally lost to Richbell's 

estate. These Middle and West 
Necks, with their prolongation 
into the interior, formed a tri- 
angular tract of land owned by 
several persons, which lay 
wedge-shaped between the 
Manor of Pelham, at the south- 
west, and what later became 
the Manor of Scarsdale, at the 
northeast. The East Neck, ter- 
minating at the mouth of the 
Mamaroneck River, continued 
to be the property of Mrs. Rich- 
bell until its sale by her to Caleb Heathcote, in 1G97. It formed 
the nucleus of Scarsdale Manor, erected in 1701. It is of interest, 
before coming to the period of Heathcote's proprietorship, to glance 
at the origin of the village of Mamaroneck, which we have omitted to 
do in our account of Richbell's connection with this section. 

Soon after procuring his English patent (1G68), John Richbell and 
his wife set apart for the purpose of allotments, or house lots, a 
strip of land running from the Mamaroneck River westward along 
the harbor shore, and fronting on the old Westchester path. These 
lots were eight in number: one he reserved for himself, one he deeded 
as a gift to John Basset (1669), and the others he leased or sold. 
\mono- the purchasers was Henry Disbrough, or Disbrow, in 16-6, 
who the next year erected on his lot the famous Disbrow house. 
Tr£n eler-s along the Boston Post Road may still see, on the western 
outskirts of Mamaroneck, a stone chimney, all that remains of this 
structure. The ruin is remarkable for its great size, giving an idea 






of the enormous fireplaces in use at the time when the house was 
built. It is said that the Disbrow house is one of the landmarks 
described by James Fenimore Cooper (who lived in Mamaroneck) in 
the " Spy," and that a secret cupboard in the chimney served as a 
hiding place for Harvey Birch, the hero of that story. The strip 
devoted by Eichbell to the Mamaroneck house lots was called " Bich- 
belFs two-mile bounds," from the fact that each lot ran two miles 
" northwards into the woods." Such was the beginning of the ven- 
erable village of Mamaroneck. For many years, however, only a 
very few settlers lived there, and in an instrument drawn as late 
as 1707, by " the freeholders of Mamaroneck " in common, the names 
of only eight persons appear as signers. 

Just before his death John Eichbell was engaged in a controversy 
with the townspeople of Eye concerning the ownership of a tract 
called by the Indians Quarop- 

pas, which had already become ^ 

known among the whites as 
"the White Plains." This land 
was unquestionably embraced 
within the limits of EichbelFs 
original purchase, described as 
running northward twenty 
miles into the woods; but in 
16S3 the people of Eye bought 
the same White Plains district 
from the Indians claiming its 
proprietorship. At that time 
the New York and Connecticut 
boundary agreement of 1664 

was still in force, whereby the dividing line between the two provinces 
started at the mouth of the Mamaroneck Eiver and ran north-north- 
west. Under the then existing boundary division, therefore, Eye 
was still a part of Connecticut, and, moreover, the White Plains tract 
also fell on the Connecticut side. This circumstance, strengthened 
by the incorporating of it within the Eye limits while the old bound- 
ary understanding still prevailed, enabled the Eye men to advance 
plausible pretensions to it when, very soon afterward (in fact, only 
six days subsequently), a new boundary line was fixed, beginning at 
the mouth of the Byram Eiver, which gave both the White Plains 
and Eye to New York. The claim set up by Eye to the White 
Plains caused Eichbell's title in the upward reaches of his twenty- 
mile patent to assume a decidedly cloudy aspect; and to the confu- 
sion thus brought about was due the comparatively limited range of 




the bounds of the Manor of Scarsdale, which otherwise would have 
run twenty miles north from the mouth of the Mamaroncck River, 
instead of stopping short at the White Plains. 

After Kichbell's death (July 26, 1684), his widow continued in 
quiet possession of the estate, making no efforts to further develop 
or improve it, and, with the exception of a renewed protest against 
the intrusion of the Rye men in the White Plains tract, doing nothing 
in the way of asserting her proprietary rights outside of the East 
Neck, where, of course, they were unquestioned. In 1696 she gave 
to Caleb Heathcote, of the Town of Westchester, her written consent 
to his procuring from the Indians deeds of confirmation of the old 
Richbell patent; and in the same year Governor Fletcher granted to 
Colonel Heathcote a license authorizing him to buy vacant and un- 
appropriated lands in Westchester County and to extinguish the title 
of the natives. On December 23, 1697, Heathcote bought from Mrs. 
Richbell her entire landed estate for £600, New York currency. Avail- 
ing himself of the rights and privileges thus acquired, ho not only 
became the founder and lord of an organized manor, but embarked 
in comprehensive original purchases of the interior lands of West- 
chester County, which ultimately gave him, in association with 
others, the title to most of the county between the Manors of Cort- 
landt on the north, Philipseburgh on the west, Scarsdale on the 
south, and the Connecticut line on the east. These latter purchases, 
made under Governor Fletcher's license of 1696, were entirely dis- 
connected from his manor grant of Scarsdale, and resulted in ex- 
tensive new patents, which are known in the history of the county 
as the " Three Great Patents of Central Westchester," named re- 
spectively the West, Middle, and East Patents, and having an aggre- 
gate area of some seventy thousand acres. The history of the Three 
Patents belongs, however, with our account of Colonel Heathcote as 
one of the great early proprietors, and will receive brief notice after 
the story of Scarsdale Manor has been told. 

Caleb Heathcote was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, 
in 1665, and was the sixth of the seven sons of Gilbert Heathcote, 
gentleman, of that place. "The family was an ancient one, the 
first of whom there is authoritative mention having been a master 
of the Mint under Richard II." His father, Gilbert, was a Round- 
head and stanch adherent of the Parliament in the civil Avars, serv- 
ing creditably in the Parliamentary army. He held the office of 
mayor of Chesterfield. All of the seven sons became successful 
merchants. The eldest, Sir Gilbert, was " Lord Mayor of London, 
member of Parliament, one of the founders and the first governor of 
the Bank of England, knighted by Queen Anne, and created a baronet 



in 1732 by George II." His descendants have ever since belonged 
to the British aristocracy, and his grandson, the third Sir Gilbert, 
was raised to the peerage as Baron Aveland. Another son, Samuel, 
was the progenitor of the Baronets Heathcote, of Harsley Park, 
County of Hampshire. 

Caleb came to America about 1691, making his home in New 
York and pursuing trade there. It is said that his removal to this 
country was occasioned by an unfortunate love affair, his bride- 
elect having broken off her engagement with him to marry his 
brother Gilbert. He immediately became a prominent man in the 
city and province, and served at 
various times in a number of im- 
portant offices, among them being 
those of surveyor-general of His 
Majesty's customs for the eastern 
district of North America, judge 
of the Court of Admiralty for the 
provinces of New York, New Jer- 
sey, and Connecticut, member of 
the governor's council, mayor of 
New York City, judge of the Court 
of Common Pleas of Westchester 
County, colonel of the Westchester 
County militia, and mayor of the 
borough Town of Westchester. It 
was from his connection witli tin 
military that he obtained his title 
of " Colonel," by which he was 
always known. He was mayor 
of New York at the same time 
that his brother Gilbert was Lord Mayor of London. lie was firmly 
attached to the Church of England, and probably did more than any 
other man of his times to promote its dominance in New York, being 
one of the founders of the parish of Trinity Church in New York 
City, and the leading person in establishing the parishes of West- 
chester, Eastchester, and Bye in Westchester County. As lord of 
Scarsdale Manor he caused that manor to be constituted one of the 
precincts of the parish of Bye, of which he was" chosen warden and 
vestryman. He is described by a contemporary writer as " a gen- 
tleman of rare qualities, excellent temper, and virtuous life and 

At an early period of his residence in New York, Heathcote began 
to take a decided interest in the advantages offered by this county, 



and bought property both in the Town of Westchester and East- 
chester patent. In 1696, through his influence, Westchester was 
created a "borough town," patterned in all particulars after the 
old English borough towns. It is noteworthy that only two borough 
towns were ever established in New York Province, one being West- 
chester and the other Schenectady. Westchester's town charter, 
dated April 16, 1696, conferred the " municipal privileges of a mayor 
and aldermen and assistants, and the additional one of a repre- 
sentative of its own in the assembly of the province"; and Colonel 
Heathcote was appointed its first mayor. It was in this same year, 
as we have seen, that he took the steps which led to the creation of 
the Manor of Searsdale and to the great purchases by him and asso- 
ciates of the vacant and unappropriated lands in the central part 
of Westchester County which comprised the " Three Patents." 

By the terms of Mrs. Riehbell's conveyance to him of the Rich- 
bell estate in 1697, he succeeded to all of her property rights, both 
on the East Neck and in the interior region patented to her hus- 
band by Governor Lovelace, running northward " twenty miles into 
the woods." This conveyance did not include, however, the " allot- 
ments " previously made to various persons in the " two-mile bounds " 
(upon which the foundations of the Village of Mamaroneck had al- 
ready been begun); and there was also a small tract of thirty acres 
on wbat is now de Lancey's Neck, previously deeded by Mrs. Rich- 
bell to James Mott, which Colonel Heathcote did not acquire. With 
these exceptions, he became the absolute owner of all the lands in 
Westchester County left by John Richbell at his death. Prepara- 
tory to his application for a manorial grant, he procured Indian con- 
firmations of his title to various portions of the property thus bought; 
and he also extended its limits southward to the Eastchester patent 
by purchasing from the Indians all the country between the head- 
waters of the Hutchinson River and the Bronx, a strip known as the 
Fox Meadows. 

On the 21st of March. 1701. letters patent for the Manor of Scars- 
dale were issued to Caleb Heathcote by Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan. 
Its bounds are not very clearly described in that document. Accord- 
ing to the spirit of the grant, its northward projection was to be a 
distance of twenty miles, as in the original Richbell patent; but 
an express proviso was made that no further title should be given 
to Heathcote than that which he " already hath to ye lands called 
ye White Plains, which is in dispute between ye said Caleb Heath- 
cote and some of the inhabitants of the Town of Rye." In point of 
fact, Searsdale Manor was always limited at the north by the White 
Plains tract, Heathcote never having been able to legally establish 


his ownership of the disputed lands. The northern line of the 
manor followed the Mamaroneck River from its mouth for about 
two miles, and thence proceeded to the Bronx. At the west and 
east it was bordered, respectively, by the Bronx and the Sound. On 
the south it was bounded by the wedge-shaped private lands already 
mentioned, by the extreme northern corner of the old Pelham Manor 
(included in the New Bochelle purchase of the Huguenots), and by 
the Eastchester patent. The annual quit-rent fixed in the grant 
was " five pounds current money of New Yorke, upon the Nativity 
of our Lord." 

The manor was called Scarsdale by its proprietor after that por- 
tion of Derbyshire in England where he was born — a locality known 
as " the Hundred of Scarsdale." Although his proprietary interest 
in the town lots of Mamaroneck was confined to his personal owner- 
ship of two of them, he was always regarded by the settlers there 
as the controlling spirit of the place, and he gave much attention to 
the promotion of its development and welfare. 

Concerning the improvements made by him upon the manor, and 
his general administration of it, we quote from the accouut written 
by his descendant, Edward F. de Laucey: 

Colouel Heathcote established a grist mill on the Mamaroneck River near the original 
bridge crossed by the "Old Westchester Path," and a sawmill high up on that river, now the 
site of the present Mamaroneck Water Works, upon which site there continued to be a mill 
of some kind until it was bought two years ago [1884] to establish those works. He made 
leases at different points throughout the manor, but did not sell in fee many farms, though 
always ready and willing to do so, the whole number of the deeds for the latter on record 
being only thirteen during the twenty-three years or thereabout which elapsed between his 
purchase from Mrs. Richbell and his death. Some of these farms, however, were of great 
extent. He did not establish, as far as now known, any manor courts under his right to do 
so. The population was so scant, and the manor, like all others in the county, being subject 
to the judicial provisions of the provincial legislative acts, there was really no occasion for 
them. He personally attended to all duties and matters connected with his manor and his 
tenants, never having appointed any steward of the manor. Papers still in existence show that 
his tenants were in the habit of coming to him for aid and counsel in their most private affairs, 
especially in the settlement of family disputes, and lie was often called upon to draw their 

Upon the eminence at the head of the [Mamaroneck] Harbor, still called Heathcote 
Hill, he built a large double brick manor house in the style of that day in England, with all 
the accompanying offices and outbuildings, including the American addition of negro 
quarters in accordance with the laws, habits, and customs of the period. Here he lived 
during the remainder of his life, which terminated on the '28th of February, 1720-1, in his 
fifty-sixth year. The house stood till some six or seven years before the American Revolu- 
tion, occupied, however, only by tenants after the death of his widow in 173G. Later it was 
accidentally destroyed by tire. The present double frame building standing on a portion of 
the old site was built in 1792 by the late John Peter de Laucey, a grandson of Colonel 
Heathcote, who had succeeded to the property. 

Colonel Heathcote married Martha, daughter of the distinguished 
William Smith ("Tangier" Smith), of Saint George's Manor, Loug 
Island, who was chief justice and president of the council of the 



province. They had six children, two sons and four daughters, but 
both the sons and two of the daughters died in early life. Thus 
Caleb Heathcote left no descendants in the male line. One of his 
daughters, Anne, married James de Lancey, afterward royal chief 
justice and governor of New York, the progenitor of the present 
de Lanceys of Westchester County. The other surviving daughter, 
Martha, became the wife of Lewis Johnston, of Perth Amboy, N. J. 

The descendants of this 
branch have never been 
identified with our coun- 
ty. Mrs. de Lancey and 
Mrs. Johnston inherited 
from their father the 
whole of the manor prop- 
e r t y in equal shares. 
V a r ions parcels were 
gradually disposed of by 
the two heirs, and in 1775 
a general partition sale 
was held, under which 
both the de Lancey and 
Johnston interests were 
divided up among numer- 
ous purchasers. Scars- 
dale Manor, as it existed before the partition, comprehended the pres- 
ent Towns of Mamaroneck and Scarsdale, with a small part of Har- 

The reader will remember that Heathcote, in addition to buying 
the Kichbell estate and some adjacent Indian lands, called the Pox 
Meadows (the latter being secured in order to extend the limits of 
his proposed manor southward to the Eastchester boundary), pro- 
cured from Governor Fletcher a license to purchase vacant and un- 
appropriated land in Westchester County, and extinguish the title 
of the natives. Under this license, dated October 12, 169G, he, with 
a number of associates, bought up practically all of the county that 
still remained in the possession of its aboriginal owners — that is, 
all of the previously unpurchased portions bounded on the south by 
Harrison's Purchase and Scarsdale Manor (or, rather, Harrison's 
Purchase and the disputed White Plains tract), on the east by Con- 
necticut, on the north by Cortlandt Manor, and on the west by Phil- 
ipseburgh Manor. In the aggregate, the purchases thus made em- 
braced "about seventy thousand acres, or some twelve thousand 
seven hundred acres of so-called " improvable land," and they were 


largely confirmed to Heathcote and his associates in three patents 
issued by Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan, known as the West, Mid- 
dle, and East Patents. The West Patent, dated February 14, 1701, 
to Robert Walter and nine other patentees, included all of the 
large angle between Philipseburgh and Cortlandt Manors, and 
stretched eastwardly to the Bryam River and the Town of Bed- 
ford. It contained five thousand acres of improvable land. The 
Middle Patent, dated February 17, 1701, to Caleb Heathcote and 
twelve others, extended from the West Patent to the Mianus River, 
and had fifteen hundred acres of improvable land. The East Patent, 
the largest of the three, embracing sixty-two hundred acres of im- 
provable land, was granted on the 20th of March, 1701, to R. Walter 
and ten others, and covered much of the northeastern section of the 

In the purchases consolidated in these three patents Heathcote was 
the original mover, but had the co-operation of several other active 
parties, notably Robert Walter and Joseph Horton. Heathcote, with 
a view to protecting his individual interests already acquired in the 
deed from Mrs. Richbell (which transferred to him such rights as 
she and her husband had previously possessed "northward twenty 
miles into the woods"), had a proviso inserted in each of the new 
patent deeds reserving to himself any lands possibly included in 
these purchases whereof he might already be the owner. The first 
of the purchases leading up to the three patents was made by him 
personally, October 10, 1696 (seven days after the procurement of 
his license from Governor Fletcher), from Pathunck, Wampus, Co- 
hawney, and five other Indians. This is known as " Wampus's Land 
Deed," or the " North Castle Indian Deed," and was " for and in con- 
sideration of 100 pounds good and lawful money of New York." 
Among the names of Indian chiefs participating in the sales of the 
northern-central Westchester lands to Heathcote and his associates 
is the familiar one of Katonah. None of the three patents was ever 
erected into a manor or developed as any recognized separate do- 
main or sphere of settlement. All the lands comprised in them 
were gradually disposed of to incoming individual aggregations of 
settlers wishing to enlarge their limits. As an example of this 
process, the tract known as the Middle Patent, or Whitefields, was 
in 1733 sub-divided, by agreement of the surviving patentees, into 
thirteen lots, having a total estimated value of £1,989, upon which, 
in 1739, fifteen settlers were living; and in 17(35 final settlement with 
the individual occupants of the lands (at that time twenty-six in num- 
ber) was effected by the proprietors on the basis of nine shillings 
per acre. 


All the Three Patents were granted in the same year (1701) that 
the Manor of Scarsdale was erected. With the purchases upon which 
this manor and the Three Patents were constructed, the original ac- 
quisition of great areas of land in Westchester County by individual 
proprietors came to an end, there being, indeed, no more " vacant 
and unappropriated " soil to be absorbed. It may therefore be said 
that with the beginning o'f the eighteenth century, but not until then, 
the whole of our county had come under definite tenure — a period 
of some seventy-five years after the first organized settlement on 
Manhattan Island having been required for that eventuality. With 
the exception of a few localities of quite restricted area — namely, on 
the Sound the Eye, Harrison, Mamaroneck, New Eochelle, East- 
chester, and Westchester tracts and settlements; on the upper Hud- 
son the Ryke and Kranckhyte patents, upon which the village of 
Peekskil] has been built; and in the interior the disputed White 
Plains lands, the Bedford tract, and some minor strips bought or oc- 
cupied by men from the older settlements on the Sound, — all of West- 
chester County, as originally conveyed by the Indians under deeds of 
sale to the whites, was parceled out into a small number of great 
estates or patents representing imposing single proprietorships, as 
distinguished from ordinary homestead lots or moderate tracts taken 
up incidentally to the progress of bona fide settlement. These great 
original proprietorships were, indeed, only nine in number, as fol- 
lows: (1) Cortlandt Manor, the property of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, 
which went after his death to his children and was by them pre- 
served intact for many years; (2) Philipseburgh Manor, founded by 
Frederick Philipse and retained as a whole by the Philipse family 
until confiscated in Revolutionary times; (3) Fordham Manor, estab- 
lished by John Archer, subsequently forfeited for mortgage indebted- 
ness to Cornells Steenwyck, and by him and his wife willed to the 
Nether Dutch Congregation in New York, which continued in sole 
ownership of it until the middle of the eighteenth century; (1) Morris- 
ania Manor, the old " Bronxland," built up into a single estate by 
Colonel Lewis Morris, by him devised to his nephew, Lewis Morris 
the younger, who had the property erected into a manor, and whose 
descendants continued to own it entire for generations; (5) Pelham 
Manor, originally, as established under Thomas Pell, its first lord, an 
estate of 9,1 C6 acres, but by his nephew John, the second lord, di- 
vided into two sections, whereof one (the larger division) was sold to 
the Huguenots, and the other was preserved as a manor until after 
the death of the third lord; (6) Scarsdale Manor, the estate of 
Colonel Caleb Heaihcote, which for the most part remained the prop- 
erty of his heirs until sold by partition in 1775; and (7, 8, 9) the 


Three Great Patents of Central Westchester, granted to Heathcote 
and associates on the basis of purchases from the Indians, and by 
the patentees gradually subsold, mainly to settlers who in I he course 
of time occupied the lands. In the nine estates and patents thus 
enumerated were contained, at a rough estimate, about 225,000 of the 
300,000 acres belonging to the old County of Westchester. 

It will be observed that with the single exception of Pelham the 
six manors of the county long retained their territorial integrity. 
A small portion of the Manor of Philipseburgh, it is true, was trans- 
ferred by the Philipses to the younger branch of the Van Cortlandts, 
but this was a strictly friendly conveyance, the two families being 
closely allied by marriage. Even in the three manors where no second 
lord succeeded to exclusive proprietorship — Cortlandt, Fordham, and 
Scarsdale — sales of the manorial lands in fee to strangers were ex- 
tremely rare, and it was an almost invariable rule that persons set- 
tling upon them, as upon Philipseburgh, Morrisania, and Pelham 
Manors (where the ownership devolved upon successive single heirs), 
did not acquire possession of the soil which they occupied, but merely 
held it as tenants. The disintegration of the manors, and the substi- 
tution of small landed proprietorship for tenantry, was therefore a 
very slow process. Throughout the colonial period tenant farming 
continued to be the prevailing system of rural economy outside of 
the few settlements and tracts which from the start were independ- 
ent of the manor grants — a system which, however, did not operate 
to the disadvantage of population in the manor lands. Upon this 
point de Lancey, the historian of the manors, says : " It will give a 
correct idea of the great extent and thoroughness of the manorial 
settlement of Westchester County, as well as the satisfactory nature 
of that method of settlement to its inhabitants, although a surprise, 
probably, to many readers, when it is stated that in the year 1769 one- 
third of the population of the county lived on the two manors of 
Cortlandt and Philipseburgh alone. The manors of Fordham, Mor- 
risania, Pelham, and Scarsdale, lying nearer to the City of New 
York than these two, and more accessible than either, save only the 
lower end of Philipseburgh, were, if anything, much more settled. 
It is safe to say that upward of five-eighths of the people of West- 
chester County in 1769 were inhabitants of the six manors. " 

The distinguishing characteristics of the manors demand notice 
here, although our space does not permit any elaborate treatment of 
this particular subject. 1 First, it should be understood that the 
manors, one and all, were only ordinary landed estates, granted to 

1 Readers desiring a more detailed account "Origin and History of the Manors," in 
are referred to Edward Floyd de Lancey's Scharf's " History of Westchester County." 


certain English subjects in America who, while popularly styled 
" lords " of the manors, enjoyed no distinguished rank whatever, 
and were in no way elevated titalarly, by virtue of their manorial 
proprietorships, above the common people. In no case was a mano- 
rial grant in Westchester County conferred upon a member of the 
British nobility, or even upon an individual boasting the minor rank 
of baronet; and in no case, moreover, was such a grant bestowed in 
recognition of services to the crown or as a mark of special honor 
by the sovereign. Without exception, the proprietors of the manors 
were perfectly plain, untitled gentlemen. Yet, says de Lancey, " we 
often, at this day, see them written of and hear them spoken of as 
nobles. ' Lord Philipse ' and ' Lord Pell ' are familiar examples of 
this ridiculous blunder in Westchester County. No grant of a feudal 
manor in England at any time from their first introduction ever car- 
ried with it a title, and much less did any grant of a New York 
freehold manor ever do so. Both related to land only. The term 
Lord of a Manor is a technical one, and means simply the owner, the 
possessor of a manor— nothing more. Its use as a title is simply 
a mark of intense or ignorant republican provincialism. ' Lord ' as 
a prefix to a manor owner's name was never used in England nor 
in the Province of New York." 

The manor was a very ancient institution in England, but by the 
statute of quia emptorvs, enacted in 1290, the erection of new manors 
in that kingdom was forever put to an end. The old English man- 
ors, founded in the Middle Ages, were of course based upon the feudal 
system, involving military service by the fief at the will of his lord, 
and, in general, the complete subjection of the fief. The whole 
feudal system of land tenure having been abolished by the statute 
of Charles II. in 1GG0, and the system of " free and common socage " 
(meaning the right to hold land unvexed by the obligation of feudal 
service) having been substituted in its stead, New York, both as a 
proprietary province under the Duke of York and subsequently as a 
royal province, never exhibited any traces of feudality in the mat- 
ter of land tenures, but always had an absolutely free yeomanry. 
But it was never contemplated that New York or any of the other 
provinces in America should develop a characteristically democratic 
organization of government or basis of society. Titled persons were 
sent to rule over them, and, particularly in New York, there was a 
manifest tendency to render the general aspect of administration and 
social life as congenial as possible to people of high birth and ele- 
gant breeding. Moreover, there being no provision for the creation 
of an American titled aristocracy, it was deemed expedient to offer 
some encouragement to men of aristocratic desires, and the institu- 


tion of the manor was selected as the most practicable concession 
to the aristocratic instinct — a concession which, while carrying with 
it no title of nobility, did carry a certain weighty dignity, based 
upon the one universally recognized foundation for all true original 
aristocracy — large landed proprietorship, coupled with formally con- 
stituted authority. The establishment of new manors in England 
was discontinued by the statute of 1290 for the sole reason that at 
that period no crown lands remained out of which such additional 
manors could be formed, the essential preliminary to a manor being 
a land grant by the sovereign to a subject. But in the American 
provinces, where extensive unacquired lands were still awaiting ten- 
ure, the manor system was capable of wide application at discre- 
tion; and in New York and some of the other provinces it was the 
policy of the English government from the beginning to encourage 
the organization of manors. " The charter of Pennsylvania," said 
the learned Chief Judge Denio of the New York Court of Appeals, in 
his opinion in the Rensselaerswyck case, " empowered Penn, the pat- 
entee, to erect manors and to alien and grant parts of the lands to 
such purchasers as might wish to purchase, ' their heirs and assigns, 
to he held of tlu. said William Pain, his heirs and assigns, by such serv- 
ices, customs, and rents as should seem tit to said William Penn, etc., 
and not immediately of the said King Charles, his heirs or successors,' not- 
withstanding the statute of quia emptores" Similarly in New York, 
the manor grants issued during the time that it remained a propri- 
etary province (namely, those to Thomas Pell in 1666 and to John 
Archer in 1671) were made by the authority and in the name of the 
Duke of York as proprietor, and not of the king. After New Y^ork 
was changed into a royal province, the manor grants were continued 
by the authority ami in the name of the king. 

The privileges attaching to the manor grants in Westchester 
County varied. All of them, however, had one fundamental char- 
acteristic. Each manor was, in very precise language, appointed to 
be a separate and independent organization or jurisdiction, entirely 
detached from other established political divisions. To give the 
reader an idea of the formality with which such separation was 
made, we reproduce the wording of one of the manor grants upon 
this point, which is a fair specimen. In his letters patent to John 
Archer for the Manor of Fordham, Governor Lovelace says: " I doe 
grant unto ye said John Archer, his heirs and assigns, that the house 
which he shall erect, together with ye said parcel of land and prem- 
ises, shall be forever hereafter held, claimed, reputed and be an 
entire and enfranchised township, manor, and place of itself, and shall 
always, from time to time and at all times hereafter, have, hold, and 



enjoy like and equal privileges and immunities with any town en- 
franchised or manor within this government, and shall in no manner 
or way be subordinate or belonging unto, have any dependence upon, or in 
any wise be under the rule, order, or direction of any riding, township, place, 
or jurisdiction, either upon the main or Long Island," 

Thus, first of all, and as its great essential characteristic, the ma- 
norial estate was always made a political entity. As such it was 
under the government of its proprietor and his subordinates, who, 
however, in all their acts were subject to the general laws of the 
land, simply applying those laws as circumstances and conditions 

required. According to the 
theory of the old English manors, 
a so-called " Court Baron " was 
an indispensable attachment of 
every manor — that is, a court for 
the trial of civil cases, over which 
the lord or his steward presided, 
the jurors being chosen from 
among the freehold tenants. 
There was also usually a so- 
called " Court Leet," which has 
been described as " a court of 
record having a similar jurisdic- 
tion to the old sheriff's ' Tourns ' 
or migratory courts held by the 
sheriff in the different districts or 
' hundreds ' of his county, for the 
punishment of minor offenses and 
the preservation of the peace," 
which was provided for in order 
that the lords of manors " might 
administer justice to their tenants at home." In all the West- 
chester County manor grants, except Fordham, authority is given 
to the grantee to hold " one Court Leet and one Court Baron." This 
privilege was not always availed of; for example, we have seen 
that in the Manor of Scarsdale the manorial courts were never or- 
ganized. It is worthy of note in this connection that among the 
manor lords of Westchester County were several of the early judges 
of the province, including John Pell (second lord of Pelhani Manor), 
who was the first judge of Westchester County; Caleb Heathcote, of 
Scarsdale Manor, who served as county judge for twenty-seven years, 
and was also an admiralty judge; Lewis Morris, of Morrisania, one 
of the most famous of the royal chief justices; and the second Fred- 



erick Philipse, who was a puisne judge of the Supreme Court. To 
this list should be added the name of the celebrated chief justice 
and royal governor, James de Lancey, who married the eldest daugh- 
ter of Caleb Heathcote. In addition to their civil functions, the pro- 
prietors of four of the manors (Cortlandt, Philipsebnrgh, Pelham, 
and Morrisania) enjoyed the right of advowson and church patron- 
age, under which they had the power to exercise controlling influ- 
ence in church matters within their domains. The prevailing sec- 
tarian tendencies of different localities in Westchester County during 
the colonial era and for many years subsequently were owing mainly 
to the particular religious preferences and activities of the respective 
manor lords of those localities. In Westchester, Eastchester, and 
Rye the Church of England early secured a firm foundation through 
the zeal of Colonel Caleb Heathcote, of Scarsdale, who was its earnest 
supporter. A similar influence, with a similar result, was exercised 
in the Yonkers land by the second Frederick Philipse, who had been 
educated in England, where he became attached to the Established 
Church, and who as proprietor of the lower part of Philipseburgh 
Manor founded Saint John's Church at Yonkers, which to this day 
maintains the leading position in that community. On the other 
hand, at Tarrytown, on the upper part of Philipseburgh Manor, the 
Dutch Reformed Church enjoyed supremacy from the beginning, on 
account of the patronage accorded it by the first lord and by his 
son and successor in that division of the manor, Adolph. 

Upon one of the Westchester manors, Cortlandt, was bestowed an 
extraordinary privilege: that of being represented in the general 
assembly of the province by a special member. This privilege 
was granted to no other manor of New York, except Rensselaers- 
wyck and Livingston, although it was enjoyed also by the two bor- 
ough towns, Westchester and Schenectady. But it was provided 
that the exercise of the privilege, so far as Cortlandt Manor was 
concerned, was not to begin until twenty years after the grant (i. e., 
in 1717). At the expiration of that time, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, 
his heirs or assigns, had full authority to " return and send a dis- 
creet inhabitant in and of the said manor to be a representative of 
the said manor in every assembly," who should " be received into 
the house of representatives of assembly as a member of the said 
house, to have and enjoy such privilege as the other representatives 
returned and sent from any other county and manors." Cortlandt 
Manor did not, however, choose a representative in the assembly 
until 1734, when Philip Yerplanck was elected to sit for it. He 
continued to serve in that capacity for thirty-four years, being suc- 
ceeded by Pierre Van Cortlandt, who remained a member of the 


assembly until 1775. Notwithstanding the exceptional privilege 
of representation given to Cortlandt Manor as a manor, the other 
manors of Westchester County were equally able to make their influ- 
ence felt in that body. In addition to the special members from 
Cortlandt Manor and Westchester town, the county as a whole was 
entitled to representation by two general delegates. Heathcote, 
John Pell, the Philipses, and the Morrises all sat at various times 
for the county. 

The original purpose of the manor grants being to encourage the 
development of the semi-aristocratic system for which they provided, 
no onerous charges in the way of special taxation were assessed upon 
the manor proprietors. In each grant was incorporated a provision 
for the payment of annual " quit-rent " to the provincial government, 
but the amount fixed was in every case merely nominal. The vari- 
ous quit-rents exacted were, for the Manor of Pelham, as originally 
patented to Thomas Pell, " one lamb on the first day of May (if the 
lamb shall be demanded) "; for Pelham, as repatented to John Pell, 
"twenty shillings, good and lawful money of this province, at the 
City of New York, on the five and twentieth day of March"; for 
Fordham, " twenty bushels of good peas, upon the first day of March, 
when it shall be demanded"; for Philipseburgh, "on the feast day 
of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, . . . the an- 
nual rent of four pounds twelve shillings current money of our said 
province"; for Morrisania, "on the feast day of the Annunciation 
of our Blessed Virgin, . . . the annual rent of six shillings"; 
for Cortlandt, " on the feast day of our Blessed Virgin Mary, the 
yearly rent of forty shillings, current money of our said province"; 
and for Scarsdale, " five pounds current money of New York, upon 
the nativity of our Lord." Appended to most of the quit-rent leases 
was the significant statement that the prescribed payment was to be 
"in lieu of all rents, services, and demands whatever," apparently 
inserted to emphasize the well-understood fact that the manor grants 
were strictly in the line of public policy, and were in no way intended 
to become a source of revenue to the government. 

The importance of the manorial proprietorships in Westchester 
County, in their relations to its political and social character and 
to its eventful history for a hundred years, can not be overestimated. 
All the founders of the six manors were men of forceful traits, native 
ability, and wide influence. With a single exception, 1 they left their 
estates, entirely undiminished and unimpaired, either to children or 
to immediate kinsmen, who in turn, by their personal characters and 

i John Archer, of Fordham. In consequence continued to be a respectable and useful one 
of financial complications, his manor did not in the country. 
remain in his family. Yet the Archer family 


qualities, as well as by their marital alliances, solidified the already 
substantial foundations which had been laid, and greatly strength- 
ened the social position and enlarged the spheres of their families. 
To enumerate the marriages contracted during the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, in the male and female lines, by the Van Cort- 
landts, the Philipses, the Morrises, the Pells, and the descendants 
of Caleb Heathcote, would involve almost a complete recapitulation 
of the more conspicuous and wealthy New York families of the 
entire colonial period, besides many prominent families of other 
provinces. To the Westchester manorial families belonged some of 
the most noted and influential Americans of their times — men of 
shining talents, fascinating manners, masterful energy, and splendid 
achievement; statesmen, orators, judges, and soldiers — who were 
among the principal popular leaders and civic officials of the prov- 
ince and who won renown both in the public service and in the held 
during the Revolution. Alike to the patriot cause and the Tory 
faction those families contributed powerful and illustrious support- 
ers. As the issues between the colonies and Great Britain became 
more closely drawn, ami the inevitable struggle approached, the in- 
fluences of the representative members of the Westchester families 
were thrown partly on one side and partly on the other. The tenants 
in each case were controlled largely by the proprietor, and thus an 
acute division of sentiment ami sympathies was occasioned which, in 
connection with the unique geographical position of this county in 
its relations to the contending forces of the Revolution, caused it 
to be torn by constant broils and to be devastated by innumerable 
conflicts and depredations. Remembering that the old manorial 
families of Westchester County rested upon an original foundation 
of very recognizable aristocratic dignity, which was made possible 
only by monarchical institutions; that the pride of lineage had, at 
the time of the Revolution, been nourished for the larger part of a 
century; and that the disposition of attachment to the king naturally 
arising from these conditions had been much strengthened by con- 
tinuous intermarriage with other families of high social pretension 
and political conservatism, it seems at this day remarkable, or at 
least a source of peculiar satisfaction, that their preferences and 
efforts were, on the whole, rather for the popular cause than against 
it. Even in the formative period of the Revolution, before passions had 
been stirred by experience and example, and before actual emergency 
impelled men to put aside caution, it was distinctly apparent that the 
Tory party was the weaker, both numerically and in point of leader- 
ship; and at a very early period of the war, notwithstanding the 
loss of New York Citv to the American army and the retreat of 


Washington into New Jersey, Toryism became an unwholesome thing 
throughout much the larger part of Westchester County. The in- 
fluence of the Tory landlords, even upon their own tenantry, was, 
indeed, a constantly diminishing factor, while that of the patriotic 
leaders steadily grew. This could not have been the case if the 
weight of sentiment among the principal families of the county had 
not been genuinely on the side of American freedom. 



N tracing to the beginning of the eighteenth century the 
history of the great land purchases and manor erections, 
only incidental allusion has been made to the general 
history of the times during the first few decades which 
followed the surrender of New Netherland by the Dutch, and to 
the coincident progress of such settlements as were not directly asso- 
ciated with the manorial estates. After briefly summarizing the 
general history of the province and the county during that period, 
we shall complete the account of original local settlement. The 
narrative as a whole will then proceed more uniformly and rapidly. 

Eichard Nicolls, the first of the English governors, continued in 
office until 1G68, when he was succeeded by Francis Lovelace. Dur- 
ing Mcolls's administration, the old Dutch land patents throughout 
the province were reissued, being altered only so as to provide for 
allegiance to the Duke of York and the government of England, in- 
stead of the Dutch West India Company and the government of the 
United Netherlands; the boundary line between New York and Con- 
necticut was provisionally established, although upon a basis soon 
to be totally repudiated; and the code known as "the Duke's Laws," 
for the general government of the province, was adopted. This code 
" established a very unmistakable autocracy, making the governor's 
will supreme, and leaving neither officers nor measures to the choice 
of the people." Among its detailed features were " trial by jury, equal 
taxation, tenure of land from the Duke of York, no religious estab- 
lishment but requirement of some church form, freedom of religion 
to all professing Christianity, obligatory service in each parish on 
Sunday, a recognition of negro slavery under certain restrictions, 
and general liability to military duty." 

The legitimacy and propriety of owning negro slaves was never 
questioned in New York or elsewhere in America in those days. 
Bondmen, both black and white, were brought here during the earli- 
est period of settlement by the Dutch; and with the arrival of Director 



Kieft, in 1638, the practice of furnishing negroes to all who desired 
them had become a thoroughly established one. A distinct article 
providing for the furnishing of blacks to settlers was incorporated in 
the " Freedoms and Exemptions " of the Dutch West India Com- 
pany, a series of regulations adopted to promote colonization. All 
the leading English families who came to the province after the con- 
quest owned negroes, both as laborers and as house servants. Colonel 
Lewis Morris, as has been noticed in another place, possessed at his 
death sixty-six negroes, of an aggregate value of £844; and the house- 
hold slaves left by the first Frederick Philipse, in 1702, as shown 
by an inventory of his estate, numbered forty. According to a 
census of the year 1703, says a historian of New York City, there was 
" hardly a family that did not have from half a dozen to a dozen 
or more in their service." This custom of regarding negroes as 

absolute property was, moreover, viewed 
with entire and unquestioning approval 
in the mother country at that period. In 
a curious document drawn up by " the 
Committee of the Council of Foreigne 
Plantations," about 1683, " certaine prop- 
ositions for the hotter accommodating 
the Foreigne Plantations with servants " 
are duly formulated. They are prefaced 
with the statement that " it being uni- 
versally agreed that people are the foun- 
dations and improvement of all planta- 
tions, and that people are encreased prin- 
cipally by sending of servants thither, it 
is necessary that a settled course be taken 
for the furnishing them with servants.'' 
" Servants," it is next stated, " are either 
blacks or whites," and the status of the former is defined as follows: 
" Blacks are such as are brought by wave of trade and are sould at 
about £20 a head one with another, and are the principall and most 
useful 1 appurtenances of a plantation, and are such as are perpetuall 
servants." It would be difficult to find in the literature of slavery 
under English rule a more accurate and ingenuous definition of the 
position of the negro as understood in olden times. 

Lovelace, who succeeded Nicolls as governor in 1668, continued his 
predecessor's liberal policy toward the Dutch population, and ad- 
ministered affairs successfully and smoothly until suddenly forced 
to resurrender the province to its original owners in 1673. During 
his incumbency the settlers in our county rapidly increased. He 




took an active interest in improving the means of communication 
between the outlying localities and New York City. He strongly 
urged upon the people of Harlem village the necessity of building 
a good wagon road to the fort, and at an early period of his govern- 
ment the ferry service at Kingsbridge was inaugurated. From his 
time dates the opening of the first regular route of travel to Con- 
necticut, what was later improved into the Boston Post Road. " Once 
a month, beginning with January 1, 1673, the postman, mounted upon 
a goodly horse, which had to carry him as far as Hartford, collected 
the accumulated mail into his saddlebags. At Hartford he took' 
another horse, and wended his way as best he might through woods 
and swamps, across rivers, and along Indian trails, if he was happy 
enough to find such. On his return, the city coffee-house received 
his precious burden, and upon a broad 
table the various missives were displayed 
and delivered when paid for." 1 The begin- 
ning of these regular trips between New 
York and the New England colonies was, 
of course, an event of great importance to 
all the settlers in the eastern part of West- 
chester County, and the road was steadily 
developed into a substantial thoroughfare 
for vehicles. 

Louis XIV. of France, having deter- 
mined to crush the Dutch Republic for in- 
terfering with some of his designs of state- 
craft, induced Charles II. of England to 
join him in that enterprise. The Nether- 
lands, however, opposed a powerful and 

eventually successful resistance to the allies, both on land and sea. 
The dykes were opened, the Prince of Orange, who had been invested 
with supreme authority, brilliantly defended his country against the 
invader at every point, and the French armies were forced to retire. 
The Dutch navy, triumphing over both the French and English 
fleets, in a number of decisive engagements, soon entered upon a 
course of aggression beyond the seas. A squadron under Admirals 
Evertsen and Binckes, after making a successful descent in the West 
Indies, proceeded to New York, anchoring off Sandy Hook on July 
29, 1673. Governor Lovelace was away at the time, upon business 
relating to our county, in connection with the new Boston Post Road. 
Some resistance was offered, which was speedily overcome, the Eng- 
lish garrison capitulated, and soon Dutch authority was restored full- 

1 Van Pelt's Hist, of the Greater New York, !., 67. 




fledged throughout the Province of New York. The city was renamed 
New Orange, in honor of the prince, and Captain Anthony Colve 
was installed as governor. He immediately took measures to put 
the city in a capital condition of defense. To that end, and for the 
general purposes of his government, he caused the estates of the 
citizens to be appraised, and taxed them accordingly. It was as 
an incident of this proceeding that Frederick Philipse was ascer- 
tained to be the wealthiest inhabitant, with a fortune of 80,000 guil- 
ders. One of Colve's summary acts was his attempted confiscation 
of the property of the infant Lewis Morris, which he was prevented 
from accomplishing by the skillful address of Colonel Morris. The 
governor very promptly notified the settlements of the existence of 
the new regime, and demanded their obedient submission. One of 
the first to receive his attention in this regard was Westchester, or 
Oostdorp, whose recalcitrant behavior at the advent of the English 
in 1664 will be recalled by the reader. To the citizens of that back- 
slidden town Colve, on August 13, sent notification to appear before 
him and his council without delay, " together with their constables' 
staves and English flags, and they would, if circumstances permitted, 
be furnished with the prince's colors in place of the British ensign." 
Needless to say, this command was complied with, and the West- 
chester men were warned that " in future they should demean them- 
selves as loyal subjects." The government of the place was re- 
organized on the Dutch plan, with a new set of magistrates and new 
local regulations, among which was the requirement that the people 
should be of the Reformed Christian religion in uniformity with the 
Synod of Dort, or at least well-aftectioned thereunto. The village 
of Fordham, also, was constrained to adapt its local affairs to the 
new conditions. Colve caused its citizens to nominate to him six 
of their number best qualified to act as magistrates, all of whom 
should be of the Reformed Christian religion, and at least one-half 
men of Dutch nationality. This action as to Fordham, however, 
was in part the result of the initiative of the people of the place, who 
desired a new status of village government. The secretary of the 
province under Colve, it is worthy of mention, was Cornelius Steen- 
wyck, who subsequently became the owner of the Manor of Fordham. 
During the Dutch restoration, which lasted fifteen months, New 
York province (or the Province of New Orange, as it was styled) did 
not revert to the proprietorship of the Dutch West India Company, 
but was subject direct and solely to the States-General of the Nether- 
lands. The great commercial corporation which had settled it and 
ruled it for forty-one years had fallen upon unprosperous times. The 
affluent condition of the company during its early career was mainly 


due to its revenues from the prizes of war and from wealthy cap- 
tured provinces in the West Indies and South America. These reve- 
nues were cut off by the conclusion of peace with Spain, and its 
affairs began to decline, until " finally its liabilities exceeded its as- 
sets by more than five millions of florins. Various schemes were 
proposed and tried to save it from bankruptcy or dissolution, but 
none availed to ward off disaster. In 1673 it was practically extinct, 
but it was not until 1671 that it was officially dissolved." Such was 
the melancholy end of this magnificent organization, which came 
to pass in the very year that Dutch authority, after a fitful period 
of renewal, was terminated forever in New York. 

Early in 1671, by the Treaty of Westminster, peace was restored 
between England and Holland, each party agreeing to return to the 
other whatever possessions had been conquered during the war. On 
November 10 of that year New York was peacefully handed over to 
the representative of the Duke of York, Edmund Andros, who as- 
sumed its government. This new change was attended by no fur- 
ther inconvenience to the citizens than the obligation to take the 
oath of allegiance to England. 

Nothing of importance in the general concerns of the province 
after the resumption of English rule requires our notice until 1683. 
In that year two events of great consequence occurred — first, the 
division of New York into counties, and, second, the revision of the 
New York and Connecticut boundary agreement of 1661. 

On the 17th of October, 1683, the first legislative assembly in the 
history of New York convened in New York City. It was summoned 
by the new governor, Thomas Dongan, who " came with instructions 
to allow the people in their various towns to elect representatives to 
a general assembly, which was to constitute a sort of lower house, 
with the governor's council as the upper house of legislation, the 
governor acting as the sovereign to approve or veto the bills passed. 
The assembly was to meet once in three years at least, and to num- 
ber not more than eighteen members." This first New York assem- 
bly consisted of fourteen representatives, of whom four were from 
Westchester, as follows: Thomas Hunt, Sr., John Palmer, Richard 
Ponton, and William Richardson. 1 The assembly passed an act, ap- 
proved by the governor on November 1, from which we quote the per- 
tinent portion : " Having taken into consideracon the necessity of 
divideing the province into respective countyes for the better govern- 
ing and setleing Courts in the same, Bee It Enacted by the Gover- 
nour, Councell and Representatives, and by authority of the same, 
That the said Province bee divided into twelve Countyes, as fol- 

1 " Civil History of Westchester County," by Rev. William J. dimming, Scharf, i., 647. 


loweth : . . . The Countye of Westchester, to contain West and East 
Chester, Bronx Land, Ffordham, Anne Hooks Neck [Pelham Neck], 
Bichbell's [de Lancey's Neck], Miniford's Island [City Island], and 
all the Land on the Maine to the Eastward of Manhattan's Island, 
as farr as the Government Extends, and the Yonckers Land and 
Northwards along Hudson's River as far as the High Lands." The 
other eleven counties named and erected were New York, Richmond, 
Kings, Queens, Suffolk, Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Albany, with 
Duke's and Cornwall, the latter two embracing territory now belong- 
ing to the States of Massachusetts and Maine, 1 but at that time the 
property of the Duke of York. It was also provided that there 
should be a high sheriff in each county, and that courts should be 
established, including town courts, county courts, a Court of Oyer 
and Terminer, and a Court of Chancery, the Supreme Court of the 
province consisting of the governor and council. Westchester was 
appointed to be the shire town, or county seat, of the county. It 
continued as such until after the burning of the courthouse (Febru- 
ary 1, 1758), when White Plains was selected. By one of the acts 
passed by the assembly of 1683, entitled tk An act for the more orderly 
hearing and determining matters of controversy," courts of session 
for Westchester County were directed to be held on the first Tues- 
days of June and December, one at Westchester and the other at 
Eastchester; and on the first >Vednesday of December a Court of 
Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery was to be held. The 
County Court of Westchester County did not begin its existence 
until 1688, when John Pell was appointed its first judge. The first 
high sheriff of the county, Benjamin Collier, was, however, appointed 
almost immediately (November 9, 1683), and in 1684 a county clerk, 
John Rider, was appointed. From the beginning, all the principal 
officers were appointive, and held their places during the pleasure 
of the governor, excepting only representatives in the general as- 
sembly, who were chosen by the people. 

One of the chief enactments of the assembly of 1683 was a pro- 
posed " Charter of Liberties and Priviledges, granted by his Royal 
Highness to the Inhabitants of New York and its dependencies,"* 
which, however, was disapproved when transmitted to England. In- 
deed, before the time for the convening of the second general as- 
sembly arrived, this representative body was abolished altogether, 
the Duke of York having mounted the throne as James II. and having 
come to the conclusion that it was not expedient for the people of 
the province to participate in its government. It was not until 1691, 

1 Duke's County embraced Nantucket, Mar- Man's Land; and Cornwall County comprised 
tha's Vineyard, ' Elizabeth Island, and No Pemaquid and adjacent territory in Maine. 


after the accession of William and Mary, that the assembly again 
came together, to continue as a permanent institution. 

The basis of the New York and Connecticut boundary agreement 
of October, 1664, as understood by Governor Mcolls and as uni- 
formly insisted upon by the New York provincial government, was 
a line starting at a point on the Sound twenty miles from the Hud- 
son Eiver. It was represented to Nieolls by the Connecticut com- 
missioners that this point was at the mouth of the Mamaroneck 
Eiver — a very convenient place, moreover, from the Connecticut point 
of view, for the line to begin, since it would just take in the Eye 
settlement. So the starting point was fixed at the Maniaroneck's 
mouth, whence the boundary was to run north-northwest until it 
should intersect the southern line <>f Massachusetts. Here, again, 
great injustice was done to New York; for this north-northwest line 
would cut the Hudson below the Highlands, utterly dismembering 
the Province of New York, and giving to Connecticut all of the river 
above the Highlands, including the settlements at Albany and other 
places along the stream. Of course such a division, when its true 
nature became realized, could not bo submitted to. But there was 
no immediate occasion for a different adjustment. New York at that 
period was not at all disposed to claim Eye, which, from the be- 
ginning, had belonged without question to the jurisdiction of Con- 
necticut; and as for the interior, it mattered little for the time being 
how far Connecticut's nominal boundary reached, as no settlements 
had yet been begun there, and even private proprietary interests on 
the pari of subjects of New York (excepting only Eichbell's patent) 
had not yet come into being. The whole matter was left in abeyance 
for nineteen years. 

A new boundary, substantially the one now existing, was estab- 
lished by articles concluded between Governor Dongan and council 
of New York and the governor and delegates of Connecticut on the 
21th day of November, L683. Important concessions were made on 
both sides. New York demanded, as the fundamental thing, that 
the original intention of a twenty-mile distance from the Hudson 
should be adhered to; and, moreover, that the boundary should run 
north and south, or parallel to the Hudson, instead of north-north- 
west — a demand to which Connecticut yielded. On the other hand, 
it was conceded to Connecticut that she should retain her older set- 
tlements on the Sound, extending as far westward as the limits of 
the Town of Greenwich, or the month of the Byram Eiver; but as 
this arrangement would cut off from New York a considerable ter 1 - 
ritory along tin 1 Sound that rightfully belonged to her under the 
twenty-mile agreement, tin 1 deprivation thus suffered was to be com- 



pensated for by assigning to New York an " equivalent tract " {%. e., 
a tract equal in area to the surrendered Sound lands) along the 
whole extent of the fundamental north and south boundary. 

The divisional line traced in conformity with these mutual con- 
cessions is probably the most curious of American State boundaries, 
and must be an inexplicable puzzle to all persons not familiar with 
the historical facts which we have recited. It has no fewer than 
five points of departure. After following the Byram River for a 
short distance, it abruptly leaves that stream and runs in a straight 
direction northwest; then, forming a right angle, goes northeast; 

then returns again at a right angle to 
northwest; and finally, at a very ob- 
tuse angle, proceeds in a continuous 
course to the Massachusetts boundary. 
But however eccentric in appearance, 
it was constructed with strict refer- 
ence to a fair and regular division of 
territory under the terms of the com- 
promise and the peculiar conditions 
of existing settlement which made 
such a compromise necessary. 

Beginning at the mouth of the 
Byram River, the line, as thus decided 
upon in 1683, ran up that stream as 
far as the head of tidewater (about a 
mile and a half), where was a " wad- 
ing-place" crossed by a road, and 
where stood a rock known as "The 
Great Stone at the Wading-place." 
From this point as a natural boundary 
mark it went north-northwest to a dis- 
tance eight miles from the Sound, 
which was deemed to be a reasonable 
northward limit for the Connecticut 
Sound settlements. From here, making a right angle, the line paral- 
leled the general course of the shore of the Sound for twelve miles. 
Thus the strip on the Sound set off to Connecticut formed a parallelo- 
gram eight by twelve miles. But as the eastern termination of the 
twelve-mile line was beyond the twenty-mile distauce from the Hud- 
son, another north-northwest line was drawn from that termination, 
which, after running some eight miles, came to a point distant from 
the Hudson the required twenty miles. Here began the straight 
line to the Massachusetts border, pursuing a course parallel to the 





general direction of the Hudson River. Along these latter two sec- 
tions of the boundary, the so-called kk equivalent tract " or " Oblong," 
having an area of 61,440 acres, was, in recompense for the Sound set- 
tlements which New York surrendered, taken from Connecticut and 
given to New York; and as thus rectified the whole north and south 
boundary line, beginning at the northeast corner of the Connecticut 
parallelogram, was located some two miles to the eastward of the 
basic twenty-mile distance originally agreed upon. 

The settlements on the Sound which fell to Connecticut by this 
determination of the boundary were five in number — Greenwich, 
Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. A sixth settlement, 
Rye, which had previously belonged to Connecticut, was for the most 
part transferred to New York, although a portion of its lands fell on 
the Connecticut side of the line. It was in large measure owing to 
the aggressiveness of the Rye settlers, and to the questions arising 
out of the territorial claims made by the Town of Rye as the west- 
ernmost locality of Connecticut, that the boundary matter was forced 
to an issue in 1683. The Rye people, conceiving that the Connecticut 
colony extended all the way to the Hudson River, complained to the 
legislature of Connecticut about the purchases or pretensions of 
New York citizens along the Hudson which came to their notice; and 
the Connecticut governor brought the subject to the attention of the 
governor of New York and urged a settlement. And now, under 
the new boundary treaty of the two provinces, Rye itself was rudely 
sundered from its parent colony and made a part of New York. This 
was extremely repugnant to the settlers of Rye, who, indeed, 
continued to deem themselves as belonging to Connecticut, and 
ultimately, rather than submit to the government of New York, when 
that government took certain steps distasteful to them, boldly re- 
volted against its authority and organized the famous " Rye Rebel- 
lion." Nor was Rye the only settlement founded by Connecticut 
men and governed by Connecticut which, against its will, was incor- 
porated in New York. The history of the Town of Bedford is almost 
as interesting in this respect as that of Rye. Previously to 1683 the 
Bedford settlement had been begun by Stamford men, and for years 
after the boundary agreement of that year, Bedford, like Rye, was 
much disaffected toward New York. It was an active party to 
the " Rye Rebellion." 

The boundary line fixed by interprovincial agreement on the 24th 
of November, 1683, was approved by the legislature of Connecticut 
on the 8th of May, 1684, and a surveyor was appointed to lay off the 
line. This surveyor, with the co-operation of officers from New York, 
traced the first sections of the boundary as far as the termination 


of the agreed line parallel to the Sound. Thus the territory retained 
by Connecticut on the Sound was formally marked off without de- 
lay; but the "equivalent tract" or "Oblong" to which New York 
was entitled was not apportioned upon that occasion, although its 
approximate width was calculated and indicated by the surveyors. 
The new boundary, while accepted by the two provinces, did not re- 
ceive ratification in England, probably because no special attention 
was paid to the matter; and the lack of such ratification enabled 
Connecticut, after the revolt of Kye and Bedford, to contend that 
the whole arrangement was without legal effect, and to insist that 
it be passed upon by the king before it could be considered binding. 
It was accordingly taken to King William for final decision, who in 
March, 1700, confirmed it, ordering Eye and Bedford to return to 
the jurisdiction of New York; and on the 10th of October follow- 
ing the two towns were, by the legislature of Connecticut, absolved 
from all allegiance to that colony. 

So far as the political status of Eye and Bedford was concerned, 
this forever ended all doubt on that point; but the exact location of 
the boundary line along each of its various sections still continued 
a subject of dispute, and, in fact, the controversy did not end until 
the present generation. The history of this dispute of two hundred 
years' standing may conveniently be completed in the present con- 
nection. We quote from the excellent summary of it given in the 
Eev. Mr. Baird's " History of Eye " : 

After various failures to effect a settlement, New York and Connecticut selected com- 
missioners, who met at Rye in April, 1725, and began the work of marking the boundary. 
They started at " the Great Stone at the Wading-place," which had been designated as the 
point of beginning forty-one years before. Their survey was extended as far as that of 1C8-L-, 
to " the Duke's Trees," at the northwest angle of the Town of Greenwich, where three white 
oaks had been marked as the termination of the former survey. Here the work was sus- 
pended for want of funds, and it was not resumed until the spring of 1731. The survey was 
then completed to the Massachusetts line; the "equivalent tract " or " Oblong" was meas- 
ured and " set off to New York," and the line dividing the Province of New York from the 
Colony of Connecticut was designated by monuments at intervals of two miles. "The Great 
Rock at the Wading-place " may still be found at the northeastern end of the bridge crossing 
the Byram River. Starting at this rock, the boundary line strikes across the King Street 
and follows the course of that road for about two miles. At the distance of five miles from 
the Wading-place it crosses Blind Brook near the head of that stream at an angle which 
terminates the territory of Rye. The famous " Duke's Trees " are about two miles north of 
this point. 

The boundary line laid down in 1731 remained without disturbance until 1855, when the 
question arose as to its existing definiteness. On some portions of the line the marks had 
disappeared, and along the whole distance the greatest uncertainty existed. Residents near 
the border refrained from voting in either State, while officers of justice and tax collectors 
hesitated to exercise their authority up to any well-defined limit. These circumstances were 
taken advantage of by those wishing to evade the payment of taxes or the enforcement of the 
law. In May, 1855, the General Assembly of Connecticut took steps to have the true position 
of the boundary line ascertained, by means of a new survey and the erection of new monu- 
ments. In the following year the New York legislature took similar action, and the com- 


missioners appointed under the several acts employed an engineer to run the line. The 
commissioners could not agree, however, as to the method of running the line, and nothing 
was done. In August, 1859, new commissioners were appointed on the part of each State, 
hut, owing to the tenacity with which Connecticut adhered to the claim that a straight line 
should he run, 1 regardless of existing monuments to indicate the original course, no agree- 
ment could he reached. 

The last step taken in the matter occurred in 1860. On the 3d of April in that year 
the legislature of New York passed an act empowering the commissioners formerly appointed 
" to survey and mark with suitable monuments " the " line between the two States, as fixed 
by the survey of 1731." They were to give due notice of their purpose to the commissioners 
of Connecticut, inviting them to join in the duties imposed upon them. But in case of their 
refusal or neglect to do so, they were to proceed alone and perform the work assigned. The 
commissioners of New York, acting under these instructions, held several conferences with 
those of Connecticut, but the latter adhered inflexibly to the principle that the boundary to 
be established must be a straight one. The commissioners from New York therefore pursued 
the course enjoined upon them. They fixed and marked th« boundary line between the two 
States, placing monuments along its course, at intervals of one mile, from the Massachusetts 
line to the mouth of the Byram River. This work was undertaken on the 8th of June, I860, 
and was completed in the autumn of that year. On December 5, 1879, this line was agreed 
to by the legislatures of New York and Connecticut, and confirmed by congress during the 
session of 1880-81. 

The existence of New York as a proprietary province, belonging to 
James, Duke of York, terminated in 1085, when, Charles II. having 
died without leaving legitimate issue, James, his brother, succeeded 
to the sovereignty. This was an event of considerable importance, 
not alone for New York, but also for the colonies of New England 
and New Jersey. New York at once lost its separate status as a 
proprietary province, and became, like the New England and New 
Jersey possessions of Great Britain, an ordinary province of the 
crown. Governor Donga n, identified with so many conspicuous meas- 
ures of change and progress in New York, now originated the 
proposition for uniting the colonies of New Jersey, New York, and 
New England under a single government. k * By reason of the dif- 
ferent proprietorships of the various colonies, no uniform rule of 
import or export duties prevailed. An article heavily taxed in New 
York might be free in New Jersey or Connecticut. The customs 
at New York suffered greatly, and trade was thrown into much con- 
fusion by reason of vessels running over to the New Jersey shore of 
the river and there unloading their goods. These were gradually 
smuggled into Now York, and sold at a price below that of articles 
which had honestly passed the custom-house. Dongan, therefore, 
urged the expediency of consolidating all the king's colonies from the 
Delaware to and including Connecticut and Massachusetts. " 2 De- 
spite some local opposition this was done, and in 1688 Sir Edmund 

1 The representatives of Connecticut contend- them. On the other hand, the commission- 
ed for a straight line between the two extreme ers of New York considered their authority 
points, fifty-three miles apart, because the old limited to "ascertaining" the boundary as 
monuments and marks upon the line were gen- originally defined.— Scharf, i., 5. 
erally removed, and the original line could not 2 Van Pelfs Hist, of the Greater New York, 
be traced with any certainty by reference to i., SO. 


Andros was appointed the first governor of the combined provinces, 
with headquarters in Boston. A lieutenant-governor, Colonel Fran- 
cis Nicholson, was deputized to take charge of the separate affairs 
of the Province of New York. The old governor's council was re- 
tained, although nothing was as vet done toward reviving the as- 
sembly. Lieutenant-Governor Nicholson's councilors were Anthony 
Brockholst, Frederick Philipse, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and Nicho- 
las Bayard. Dongan, before being superseded, granted to the City 
of New York, in 1GSG, its first charter as a corporation, under the 
style of " The Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of New 
York," the city having two years previously been divided into wards 
and made to include the whole of Manhattan Island. This advance 
step taken by the city is fairly representative of the general develop- 
ment which had fairly begun at that period — a development to which 
Westchester County contributed its share. 

The reign of James, the last of the Stuart monarchs, was brief. 
Three years after he ascended the throne the people of England, 
weary of the tyranny, corruption, and religious intolerance of his 
dynasty, rose against him, and received with open arms the Prot- 
estant William, Prince of Orange, who, as the husband of Mary, one 
of the daughters of James, was eligible to rule over them. It was 
a bloodless revolution. In February, 1689, William and Mary were 
proclaimed king and queen. James, after making a stand in Ireland, 
where he fought the disastrous battle of the Boyne, fled to Catholic 

The news of the landing of William stirred the American colonies 
profoundly. Aside from their natural preference for a Protestant 
king, they apprehended that the dethroned James would enlist in 
his cause the power of France, and that they would soon have to 
deal with a French invasion. James's officials were accordingly 
treated without ceremony. In Boston Governor Andros was, in April, 
1689, deposed and cast into prison. In New York Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Nicholson, having by unguarded behavior and unbecoming lan- 
guage provoked popular resentment and distrust, found himself con- 
fronted by the determined hostility of the captains of the training 
bands, who, in June, compelled him to vacate his office and return 
to England. The province was thus left without a head, and the 
people were quite unwilling to intrust affairs to the council, com- 
posed as it was of the old royal favorites. The training band cap- 
tains, assuming temporary authority in the name of the people, called 
a convention of delegates from all the counties, which assembled on 
June 26, and appointed a committee of safety. By this committee 
Jacob Leisler, one of the captains and a prominent member of the 


community, was placed in military command of the province, and 
the citizens were called upon to come together and choose by popular 
election a successor to Stephanus Van Cortlandt in the mayoralty 
of the city, which they did accordingly. Finally, in December, by vir- 
tue of a letter from their majesties, addressed to " Francis Nicholson, 
Esq., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief in our Province 
of New York, and in his absence to such as for the time being take care for 
preserving the peace and administering the laws" Leisler, at the direction 
of the committee of safety, assumed the functions of lieutenant-gov- 
ernor pro tempore, in addition to those of military commander. The 
committee, consisting of eight members, now transformed itself, at 
Leisler's request, into a gubernatorial council. 

This unprecedented and peculiar regime lasted for a little more 
than a year after Leisler's elevation to the executive office, or nearly 
two 3^ears from the time of Nicholson's deposition. Born of a pop- 
ular uprising, it was in its entire character, spirit, and conduct a 
people's government. This was one of the principal charges brought 
against it by the opposing aristocratic party, who, however, did not 
vouchsafe it so reputable a name, but styled it an organization of 
" the rabble." The leading members of Nicholson's council — Bay- 
ard, Philipse, and Van Cortlandt — not only lent no countenance to 
the training band captains, the committee of safety, or the popularly 
chosen lieutenant-governor, but boldly opposed each step in the new 
order of things. Bayard, the most active of the three, was arrested 
by Leisler's order in January, 1690, tried, and condemned to death for 
treason on the ground of his opposition to the king's representative; 
but suing for pardon, he received a commutation of his sentence. 
Philipse, at the beginning of the troubles, left the city, but returned, 
and, conducting himself with tolerable prudence, was not molested. 
Van Cortlandt, who was not only one of Nicholson's councilors, but 
mayor of New York, at first remained at his post, and after the choice 
of his successor by the elective process declined to recognize the act 
as legal and refused to deliver up his books and seals. At the time 
of Bayard's arrest, fearing a like fate, he saved himself by hasty 
flight.' It is an interesting fact that Leisler was related by marriage 
to both Van Cortlandt and Bayard; and Philipse also became of kin 
to Leisler's family by marrying Van Cortlandt's sister. Yet so in- 
tense were the passions of the times that these ties of relationship 
counted for nothing, and Leisler's own kinsmen were the most bitter 
and unrelenting of the enemies who resisted him during the days of 
his authority and pursued him to ignominious death after his down- 

Late in 1690 King William appointed Colonel Henry Sloughter as 

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his royal governor for New York, with Major Richard Ingoldsby as 
lieutenant-governor. Ingoldsby was the first to arrive, and demanded 
the transfer of the government to himself, a demand with which 
Leisler refused to comply, because Ingoldsby was unable to show 
proper credentials. 

This misunderstanding was followed by an unfortunate attack 
upon the royal troops by Leisler's followers, and, although he dis- 
avowed responsibility for the manifestation, it was charged up to 
him as one of his offenses. Upon the arrival of Governor Sloughter, 
in March, 1691, he was imprisoned, and then, by swift proceedings, 
sentenced to die the death of a traitor. On May 17, less than two 
months after giving up the reins of government, he was hanged, to- 
gether with his son-in-law, Jacob Milbourne. No appeal of his case 
to England was permitted, a melancholy circumstance in view of 
the action of Parliament four years later in formally reversing his 
attainder of treason after a dispassionate review of all the facts. 

The name of Jacob Leisler is conspicuously and honorably iden- 
tified with the early history of West- 
chester County through his purchase 
and sale to the Huguenots, already no- 
ticed, of about two-thirds of the old 
Manor of Pelham, a tract of some six 
thousand acres. There is no doubt 
that in making this purchase and in 
disposing of the lands to the French 
religious refugees he was animated en- 
tirely by unselfish and sympathetic 
considerations. A German Protest- 
ant by birth, and, moreover, the son of 
a clergyman of the Reformed Church, 
he became known in New York as a zealous supporter and promoter 
of the Protestant religion. It was in consequence of the reputation 
which he thus enjoyed that the Huguenots, before emigrating to New 
York, applied to him to select ami secure a suitable locality for their 
contemplated settlement. As a few individual Huguenots had al- 
ready built homes on Pelham Manor, that quarter was already indi- 
cated as the one to be chosen. In the original purchase from John 
and Rachel Pell, September 20, 1689, "Jacob Leisler, of the City of 
New York, merchant," was the sole person interested; and his con- 
scientious spirit in the transaction is indicated by the significant 
provision of the deed that, besides the six thousand acres conveyed 
!o him, a parcel of one hundred acres should be set apart from Pell's 
property as a free gift to the French church. Moreover, he gave for 



the lands the large sum of " sixteen hundred and seventy-five shillings 
sterling, current silver money of this province," paying the entire 
amount on the day of purchase — a sum whose comparative magni- 
tude will be appreciated when it is remembered that eight years 
later Caleb Heathcote, in buying from Mrs. Eichbell her title to most 
of the present Township of Mamaroneck and other lands (having an 
aggregate area much larger than the New Eochelle tract), paid for 
his acquisition only £600. Leisler rapidly transferred his whole pur- 
chase to the Huguenots, and before his execution they were in full 
possession of it. 

Smith, in his " History of New York," gives the following inter- 
esting item: " Leisler' s party was strengthened on the 3d of June, 
16S9, by the addition of six captains and four hundred men in New 
York, and a company of seventy men from Eastchester, who had 
all subscribed on that day a solemn declaration to preserve the 
Protestant religion and the Port of New York for the Prince of 
Orange and the governor whom the prince might appoint as their 
protector." The action of the seventy volunteers of our Town of 
Eastchester in marching down to New York to give their support 
to Leisler is highly significant. The men of Eastchester were dem- 
ocrats of democrats in all their antecedents, but at the same time 
were godly and sober citizens, who would not have lightly, or for 
mere emotional or adventurous reasons, espoused a factional 
cause. They evidently believed, most completely and ardently, in 
the righteousness and also the sufficiency of the improvised govern- 
ment. It is indeed impossible to question the sincere and virtuous 
animus of Leisler 1 s followers. 

Leisler, raised to authority by the people, fully recognized the 
people as the source of power. Notwithstanding the previous aboli- 
tion of the provincial assembly, he promptly appealed to the repre- 
sentatives of the people when a grave public emergency arose soon 
after he became acting governor. In February, 1690, the settlement 
of Schenectady was burned and its inhabitants were massacred by 
the Indians at the instigation of the French. Leisler at once sum- 
moned a general assembly for the purpose of providing means and 
supplies for retributive measures. In that body Thomas Browne 
was the delegate from Westchester County. 

The influence of Leisler as a plain citizen, before by the stress of 
events placed in the control of affairs, was uniformly on the side of 
the public welfare, of intelligence, and progress; and the history of 
his personal career is that of a vigorous, successful, and honest man, 
who eminently deserved the position he won. He came to New 
York in 1660, while the city was still known as New Amsterdam, 


being one of a company of fifteen soldiers for the re-enforcement of 
the garrison. Afterward he traded with the Indians and acquired 
considerable means. He served under Dongan as one of the com- 
missioners of the Admiralty Court. In 1GGT he was one of the jurors 
in a case of witchcraft tried at Brookhaven, Long Island, against 
Ralph Hall and his Avife, which resulted in acquittal. As one of the 
captains of the training bands he enjoyed the unusual confidence of 
the citizen soldiers — a confidence which, because of his reputation 
in the community, was shared by the public in general when the 
necessities of the situation constrained them to assume the tempo- 
rary direction of the government. He was, moreover, sustained 
throughout his administration by some of the best and most substan- 
tial citizens, notwithstanding the opposition and intrigues of the 
former governing class; and the persistent continuance of a per- 
fectly respectable u Leislerian party " for many years after his trag- 
ical end is convincing tribute to the excellence of both his private 
and civic character. His descendants at this day are very numer- 
ous, and have representatives in many of the old and highly re- 
spectable families of New York and Westchester County. Included 
among them are those of the Grouverneur Morris and Wilkins 
branches of the Morrises of Morrisania. For the pedigree of the 
Westchester County descendants of Leisler, we refer our readers to 
Bolton's " History of Westchester County," rev. ed., i., 585. 

When at last, in March, 1691, the government of the province was 
resumed by a direct appointee of the king, Colonel Henry Sloughter, 
it was ordered that the provincial assembly should be re-established. 
No time was lost by Governor Sloughter in bringing this to pass; 
and on April 0, 1691, the second regularly constituted assembly of 
New York came together, with John Pell, of the Manor of Pelham, 
and Joseph Theale, of the Town of Rye, sitting as representatives 
from Westchester County. The assembly "consisted of seventeen 
members, but was afterwards increased to twenty-seven. 
By the act of May 8, 1699, the representatives were elected by the 
freeholders of £40 in value, who were residents of the electoral dis- 
trict at least three months prior to the issue of the act. The elections 
were held by the sheriff at one place in each county, and voting was 
rira voce. The act of November 25, 1751, directed the sheriff to hold 
his court of election near the Presbyterian meeting-house at White 
Plains. Previously it had been held in the southern part of the 
county, doubtless at Westchester. Catholics could neither vote nor 
hold office, and at one time the Quakers and Moravians were also 
virtually disqualified by their unwillingness to take the oath." 1 

1 Scharf, i., 647. 




<§tmn\ MtvMy 


Their Majefties Province 


As they were EnaSed in divers Saffrons, thefirftof 

which began April, the 9th, Annoy, Domini, 

1 <5px. 

At New-Tod, 

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milium &■ QsxesuMirh i<6 9* 



Excepting- the representatives in the general assembly, only the 
strictly local officers — supervisors, collectors, assessors, and consta- 
bles — were elective. The most important of these, the supervisors, 
date from an early period. 

By the " Duke's Laws," promulgated in 1665, the Courts of Sessions levied the taxes 
upon the towns. By an act of the general assembly, passed October 18, 1701 (13th William 
III.), the justices of the peace, in special or general session, were directed to levy once a year 
the necessary county and town charges and allowances for their representative in the general 
assembly, to make provision for the poor, and to issue warrants for the election of two 
assessors and one collector, and for the collection of taxes. These duties were transferred 
to a board of supervisors by an act of general assembly passed June 19, 1703 (2d Anne), 
entitled " An Act for the better explaining and more effectually putting into execution an act 
of general assembly made in the third year of the reign of their late majesties, King William 
and Queen Mary, entitled An Act for defraying the publick and necessary charges thro'out 
this province, and for maintaining the poor and preventing vagabonds." The freeholders 
and inhabitants of each town were authorized to choose once each year, on the first Tuesday 
of April (unless otherwise directed), one supervisor, two assessors, and one collector. The 
supervisors elected were directed to meet in the county town on the first Tuesday of October, 
ascertain the contingent charges of the county and such sums as were imposed by the laws 
of the colony, apportion to each town, manor, liberty, jurisdiction, and precinct their respective 
quotas, and to transmit them to the assessors of the different towns, etc.. who should appor- 
tion them among the inhabitants. The supervisors were authorized to choose annually a 
treasurer. The court of sessions was thus relieved of that portion of its duties which was 
legislative and not judicial. Supervisors had been chosen in several of the towns before the 
passage of the act of 1703 (Eastchester, 1681!; Mamaroneck, 1697; New Rochelle, 1700); 
but what their duties were it is impossible to state. 1 

During the ton years following The arrival of the first royal gov- 
ernor under King William, and the definite erection of representative 
government in the province, there was a steady expansion of popula- 
tion, wealth, and enterprise. Sloughter died only two months after 
Leisler's execution, and was succeeded as governor the next year by 
Benjamin Fletcher, who was superseded in 1G98 by the Earl of Bello- 
niont. one of the best and most conscientious of New York's early 
colonial rulers. Philipse and Van Cortlandt, who had been sent 
into retirement by Leisler, were recalled to the council by Sloughter, 
and both of them thus resumed their old-time prominence. It has 
already been recorded how Philipse, on account of the notoriety at- 
taching to his connection with unlawful traffic, was finally forced to 
resign from the council. This traffic, while vexatious to the gov- 
ernment officials and increasingly demoralizing, was far from being- 
regarded with general disapprobation by the commercial commu- 
nity of New York. Too many were interested in its gains to admit 
of such hostility, and, indeed, the large private interests concerned in 
it were mainly responsible for the extensive proportions to which it 
grew in the closing years of the seventeenth century. Ir was not 
confined to the ordinary forms of smuggling — mere surreptitious im- 
portations of taxable European goods. — but included relations of more 

Seharf, 645. 


or less intimacy with the pirates of the high seas. " The most ap- 
proved course usually pursued was to load a ship with goods for 
exchange and sale on the Island of Madagascar. Rum costing two 
shillings per gallon in New York would fetch fifty to sixty shillings 
in Madagascar. A pipe of Madeira wine costing nineteen pounds in 
New York could be sold for three hundred pounds in that distant 
island. Not that just so much specie would be given for these 
articles there. But here was the rendezvous of the pirates, or buc- 
caneers, of the Indian Ocean, and the goods they offered in exchange 
were extremely costly." 1 Probably the principal reason of Governor 
Fletcher's recall was his tolerance of such intercourse. Bellomont, 
who followed him, was charged expressly to deal summarily with it; 
and in consequence, Frederick Philipse found it expedient to termi- 
nate his membership in the council, and so avoid disgraceful expul- 
sion. It was as an incident of Bellomont's vigorous policy in this 
line that Captain William Kidd, whose name and fame have become 
immortal iu the legendary annals of piracy, was arrested, tried, and 
hanged (May, 1701). Kidd originally appears in the virtuous and 
nobfe character of a pirate hunter. A number of particularly re- 
spectable and distinguished subscribers (among them King William 
and Lord Bellomont at that time not yet governor), having at heart 
the suppression of piracy, equipped a stanch vessel for Kidd, who 
was known as a bold and experienced mariner, and sent him forth 
to search for these evil men wheresoever they might ply their horrid 
vocation, and scourge them from the seas. As the story runs, he ren- 
dered valuable services for a. time in this chivalric cause, but later 
fell into degenerate ways, and himself became a most desperate cor- 
sair. His favorite haunts after returning from his cruises were the 
inlets and islands of Long Island Sound, where he landed his precious 
cargoes, and, according to tradition, buried his gold, silver, and jew- 
els.^ It is said that when brought to trial he confided to the author- 
ities the location of a treasure secreted on Gardiner's Island, and 
that it was duly found and appropriated by them. From the authen- 
ticated accounts of Captain Kidd's frequentings of the coast of the 
Sound, it may safely be said that from time to time he must have 
steered his bark into some of the numerous places of retreat along 
The Westchester shore. This, however, is only a reasonable infer- 
ence. There is nothing to show that he ever had a rendezvous within 
our waters. In the course of time popular imagination, stimulated 
by the fiction of his buried wealth, even ascribed to him expeditions 
up the Hudson River as far as the Highlands. Bolton reproduces a 
very entertaining account of an attempt during the present century 

i Van TVlfs Hist, of the Greater New York, i., 9S. 


to raise a sunken bark off Caldwell's Landing in the Highlands, sup- 
posed to have been Captain Kidd's private ship. Some $20,000 was 
spent in the enterprise. 1 The pre-eminence which Captain Kidd has 
always enjoyed in the popular imagination is much out of propor- 
tion to his achievements. His formal piratical career was at all 
events very brief. It was in October, 1G96, that he was dispatched 
to hunt down pirates, and at that time he must have had a fairly 
honest reputation. Less than five years later he met his doom on the 
gallows. His exceptional popularity as a pirate hero is doubtless 
due to the fanciful stories of his buried treasures, to which a certain 
substantial foundation was supposed to have been given by the un- 
earthing of one of them — in all probability the only one — by the au- 

At the beginning of the eighteenth century Manhattan Island had 
attained a population of nearly six thousand souls, and about one 
thousand houses had been erected upon it. Westchester County, 
established upon practically the same boundary lines as exist to-day 
(considering the county in its original integrity), had acquired the 
elements of serious development in all its parts. Practically all its 
land had been appropriated by purchase. Means of convenient com- 
munication with New York had been secured, and a bridge across 
the Spuyten Duyvil Creek built. All of the six manorial estates had 
been granted by letters patent, and in part settled by tenants, with 
here and there the foundations of villages laid. The old settlements 
on the Sound had made steady advancement and new settlers had 
generally begun to occupy the non-manorial lands in the interior. 
The progress of the Sound settlements and of interior occupation 
outside of the manors remains to be glanced at in order to complete 
the history of the county to the period at which we have arrived. 

The Lye settlement, which grew out of purchases made by citizens 
of Greenwich, Conn., on the New York side of the Byram River, be- 
ginning in 1G60, flourished from the start, and gradually expanded 
over all the adjacent country. Included within the Colony of Con- 
necticut by the boundary compact of 1664, there never existed any 
question as to its political status until, under the new boundary ad- 
justment of 1683, it was detached from Connecticut ami incorporated 
in New York. Even during the aggressive Dutch restoration of 
1673-74, although Mamaroneck was summoned to submit and readily 
yielded, no attempt was made to subdue the people of Rye, who, 
however, in anticipation of trouble, made preparation for a sturdy 
resistance, and united with those of Stamford and Greenwich in pe- 
titioning the general court for help. From the earliest period of 

1 Bolton, rev. ed., i., 161. 


the Eye settlement, even before Rye itself had come into being, and 
while the founders of the place were still living on Manussing 
Island in a community known as Hastings, the town had rep- 
resentation in the Connecticut general court at Hartford, and 
received due attention and care from that body. It was probably 
due to the privilege of direct representation thus enjoyed, quite as 
much as to the circumstance of their Connecticut nativity, that the 
Rye people so stoutly persisted, long after being legally annexed to 
New York, in holding themselves allegiant to the mother colony, and 
so bitterly resented the assumption of authority over them by an 
alien aristocratic government which for a considerable term of years 
conceded no representative rights whatever to its inhabitants, and 
even after instituting a general assembly granted no immediate rep- 
resentation to the individual towns. 

In enumerating here the various additional purchases of the Rye 
people, it is not necessary to go into minute particularization regard- 
ing the several tracts. In 1002 they bought the territory of the 
present Town of Harrison — a territory which was subsequently grant- 
ed by the provincial government of New York to John Harrison and 
others, and on that account became the bone of contention between 
the Rye men and the New York authorities, leading to the celebrated 
revolt. In 1080 and 1081 occurred what were known as kk Will 's 
Purchases " from an Indian chief named Lame Will, or Limping Will, 
extending into the present Town of North Castle. And finally, in 
10S3, just before the new boundary articles were concluded, the Qua- 
roppas, or White Plains, tract was bought, another purchase destined 
to be a source of difficulty because of the claim to previous owner- 
ship set up by John Richbell and later persevered in by his widow 
and by her successor in the Richbell estate, Colonel Caleb Heathcote. 
It has been mentioned in our account of the boundary revision of 
1683 that the aggressive attitude of the Town of Rye in its territorial 
pretensions as the frontier settlement of Connecticut was one of the 
principal causes leading to that revision. tk May, 1082, John Ogden, 
of Rye, presented himself before the general court and on behalf of 
the people complained that sundry persons, and particularly Fred- 
erick Philipse, had been making improvements of lands within their 
bounds. Air. Philipse had been building mills near Hudson River, 
encroaching thereby upon the town's territory, which was believed to 
extend in a northwesterly direction from the mouth of Mamaroneck 
River to the Hudson, and even beyond. The general court gave Mr. 
Ogden a letter to the governor of New York, protesting against such 
proceedings, and reminding him that by the agreement made in 1001 
a line running northwest from the mouth of Mamaroneck River to 


the Massachusetts line was to be the dividing line between Con- 
necticut and New York." x On the 28th of November of the follow- 
ing year, by the new boundary articles, Rye was ceded to New York, 
and Governor Treat of Connecticut promptly notified the inhabitants 
of this change. The town, while reluctant to accept the fate ap- 
pointed for it, desisted from electing deputies to the general court 
of Connecticut, and did not renew that practice until the " revolt " 
in 1097. Nevertheless, attempts were made from time to time to 
secure some sort of official recognition from Connecticut, represent- 
atives being dispatched to deal with the governor and general court 
as to various special matters. A summons from Governor Dongan 
of New York, in 1(585, commanding the Kye settlers to appear before 
him and prove their titles to the lands which they occupied, was 
ignored. On the other hand, live had the honor of contributing one 
of the two representatives from Westchester County to the earliest 
sessions of the New York provincial assembly held after the organiza- 
tion of that body on a permanent basis. Joseph Theale, one of the 
leading men of Kye, was elected to the New York assembly for 
the years 1691 to 1694, inclusive, and again for 1697. "For ten 
years," says Dr. Baird, "disaffection smoldered, the authority of 
the province was ignored, taxes were paid but irregularly to either 
government, and whenever possible matters in controversy were car- 
ried up to Hartford, and Hartford magistrates came down to per- 
form their functions at Kye. . . . Fends and dissensions among 
themselves added to the perplexity of the inhabitants. Some of them, 
it would appear, sided with the province in the controversy, and hence, 
doubtless, some of the actions for defamation and other proofs of 
disturbance which we find on record about this time." 

In 1695 a tract of land which for more than thirty years had be- 
longed to the Kye settlers, "situated above Westchester Path, between 
Blind Brook and Mamaroneck River, and extending as far north as 
Kye Fond," was bought by a certain John Harrison from an Indian 
who professed to be " the true owner and proprietor." After having 
been surveyed by order of Governor Fletcher, of New York, this tract, 
called "Harrison's Purchase," was patented (June 25, 1696) to Har- 
rison and four associates— William Nicols, Ebenezer Wilson, David 
Jamison, and Samuel Haight. In vain did the people of Kye protest 
against so unrighteous a proceeding. The land was wholly unim- 
proved and unsettled, its rightful prior ownership was claimed by 
the Indian from whom Harrison bought if, and, moreover, the Rye 
men, by having contemptuously neglected to avail themselves of 
the opportunity extended to them by Dongan in 1685 to prove their 

1 Baird's Hist, of Rye. 



land titles, had incapacitated themselves from establishing a supe- 
rior title by the records. The issuance of the Harrison patent was 
followed, about the end of 1696, by a verdict adverse to Eye ren- 
dered in the New York courts in a suit brought by Mrs. Ann Bich- 
bell against the Eye people for intrusion on the White Plains lands. 
These two events brought matters to a crisis. Eye seceded from New 
York, applied to be received back into Connecticut, and, meeting 
with encouragement, resumed formal connection with the latter gov- 
ernment, until by order of 
the king compelled to aban- 
don it. 

Eye's petition to the gen- 
eral court of Connecticut, in 
conjunction with a similar 
one from Bedford, was sub- 
mitted on January 19, 1697, 
and was graciously re- 
ceived. On the 8th of April 
following an overt manifes- 
tation against New York's 
authority was made at Eye 
by Major Sellick, of Stam- 
ford, " with about fifty dra- 
gones, whom he called his 
life-guard, with their arms 
presented." The major and 
his " dragones " presumed to 
interfere with an election 
which was being conducted 
there by Benjamin Collier, 
high sheriff of Westchester 
County, for representative 
in the New York assembly. 
Apparently no actual vio- 
lence was done, but the show 
of force excited strong feel- 
ing in New York, and was 
promptly characterized in 
very severe terms by the pro- 
vincial assembly. Governor 
Fletcher issued a proclamation ordering Eye and Bedford to return 
to their allegiance, and also entered into communication on the sub- 
ject with the governor of Connecticut, from whom, however, he 



obtained no satisfaction. In addition, Fletcher tried conciliatory 
measures, dispatching Colonel Caleb Heathcote, one of the members 
of his council, to Eye, with instructions to do what he could by means 
of his personal influence toward settling the troubles. Heathcote's 
report gives a very clear idea of the merits of the controversy, show- 
ing that the Rye settlers had only themselves to blame for the loss 
of the Harrison lands. " I asked them/' says Heathcote, " why they 
did not take out a patent when it was tendered them [by Dongan]. 
They said they never heard that they could have one. I told them 
that their argument might pass with such as knew nothing of the 
matter, but that I knew better; for that to my certain knowledge 
they might have had a patent had they not rejected it, and that it 
was so far from being done in haste or in the dark that there was 
not a boy in the whole town, nor almost in the whole county, but 
must have heard of it; and that I must always be a witness against 
them, not only of the many messages they have had from the govern- 
ment about it, but likewise from myself. ... I told them as 
to the last purchase wherein I was concerned [that of the Eichbell 
estates, including the White Plains tract], if that gave them any 
dissatisfaction, that I would not only quit my claim but use my inilu- 
ence in getting them any part of it they should desire. Their an- 
swer was they valued not that; it was Harrison's patent that was 
their ruin." 

For three years, 1(507 to 1699, inclusive, Rye was represented in 
the Connecticut general court by regularly elected delegates. Dur- 
ing this period and for one year longer, the town was designated 
officially by its inhabitants as being " in the County of Fairfield." 
New York made no attempt at coercion, but referred the matters at 
issue to the king; and in March, 1700, an order of the king in council 
was issued, not only approving the boundary agreement of 16S3-81, 
but directing the revolted towns "forever thereafter to be and re- 
main under the government of the Province of New York." This 
decision was, as a matter of course, accepted by all parties as final. 
Rye never recovered the Harrison purchase, although some of her 
inhabitants bought land there ami became influential in its affairs. 
Moreover, " until the Revolution the inhabitants of the purchase 
participated with those of Rye in the transaction of town business, 
without any other distinction than that of having their own offi- 
cers for the discharge of local functions"; and Harrison also formed 
" one of the six precincts of the parish of Rye, under the semi-eccle- 
siastical system that prevailed." Harrison was settled largely, how- 
ever, by Quakers from Long Island. The White Plains dispute was 
not determined adversely to Rye. Caleb Heathcote, while never in 


legal form relinquishing his claim to " the White Plains,-' did not 
attempt to enforce it, and, indeed, uniformly treated the Rye people 
interested with generous fairness. He consented to the insertion 
in the letters patent for his Manor of Scarsdale of a clause expressly 
withholding from him any further title to the White Plains than 
that which he already possessed. The Kye settlers of White Plains 
always retained the lands which they acquired there, and at length, 
in 1722, obtaiued a patent for the whole tract of 4,435 acres. " White 
Plains/' says Dr. Baird, " drew largely on the strength of the com- 
munity of Eye. . . . Some branches of nearly all the ancient 
families established themselves there, and, indeed, those families 
are now represented there more numerously than in the parent set- 

According to the " Lists of Persons and Estates " kept by the 
general court of Connecticut, there were in Kye in 16G5 twenty-five 
" persons," possessed of estates valued at £1,211; in 1683, forty-seven, 
worth £2,339; and in 1G99, sixty, worth £3,306. By "persons" in 
this connection are probably to be understood heads of families. The 
population of Kye, including White Plains, in 1712, as shown by 
an enumeration then taken, was 51G, the town being, next to West- 
chester (which had 572 inhabitants), the most populous in the county. 

A celebrated fact in connection with the history of Rye during the 
first half of the eighteenth century is the establishment of the ferry 
to Oyster Bay, Long Island. This was authorized by royal letters 
patent, dated the 18th of July, 1739, to John Budd, Hachaliah Brown, 
and Jonathan Brown. The fare fixed for " every person " using the 
ferry was one shilling and six pence; and in addition rates of car- 
riage for a great variety of articles were specified. For the privi- 
lege thus conferred upon them, the patentees paid an annual quit- 
rent of two shillings and six pence. The operation of this ferry was 
very instrumental in contributing to the growth of population in 
the towns of Rye and Harrison, and in the central portions of the 

The early history of White Plains has been so frequently referred 
to in the course of our narrative that this subject may be dismissed 
here with a brief summary. By virtue of the grants to John Rich- 
boll, issued both by the Dutch government and the first English 
governor, it was long claimed that White Plains (or "the White 
Plains," as originally and for many years called) was included in the 
Richbell lands running northward from the Mamaroneck River 
" twenty miles into the woods." Indeed, for nearly forty years 
after the first appearance there of settlers, or intending settlers, the 
legal title to this region remained undetermined. On November 22, 


1683, six days before the signing' of the new boundary articles be- 
tween New York and Connecticut, the enterprising men of Rye pur- 
chased the whole tract, known by the Indian name of Quaroppas, 
from the native chiefs who at that time professed to own it. Thus 
Rye came under the government of New York with a very plausible 
title to the White Plains. Gradually Eye men began to occupy the 
lands — a movement that attracted the attention of Mrs. Richbell, 
who in 1696 brought an ejectment suit and obtained a favorable ver- 
dict, which, however, was not enforced. During the lifetime of 
Colonel Caleb Heathcote, successor to Mrs. Richbell's rights and 
proprietor of Scarsdale Manor, nothing was done toward settling 
the question of ownership. Heathcote died on the 28th of Febru- 
ary, 1721, and soon afterward active measures were begun by the 
White Plains settlers toward securing a patent from the govern- 
ment. In this endeavor they were put to considerable vexation 
and expense by the authorities. " Three times were they compelled 
to make surveys of their goodly land, three times required to notify 
the owners of adjoining lands that such surveys were about to be 
made, and all to furnish pretexts lor oppressive charges by the 
officers of the governor's council." 1 The royal patent was finally 
granted on the 13th of March, 1722, to Joseph Bucld and others. It 
was for "All that said- tract or parcel of land, situate, lying, and 
being in the County of Westchester, commonly known by the name 
of the White Plains. " Among the names of the settlers at that 
period mentioned in the official documents we find the following: 
Daniel Brundage, Joseph Hunt. Joseph Budd, John lloit, Caleb Hy- 
att, Humphrey Underbill, Joseph Purdy, George Lane, Daniel Lane, 
Moses Knap]*', John Horton, David Horton, Jonathan Lynch, Peter 
Hatfield, James Travis, Isaac ('overt, Benjamin Brown, John Turner, 
David Ogden, and William Yeomans. This list is but a partial one, 
being confined to the patentees. "At the time ibis patent was is- 
sued," says the author of the chapter on White Plains in Scharfs 
History, " Broadway, with its home-lots, had long been established." 
After the procurement of the patent the population increased so rap- 
idly that "in 172.% the inhabitants assumed an independent organ- 
ization, elected officers, and proceeded to manage their own affairs.'' 
In the progress of this History, we have so far followed the move- 
ments of settlement and development along closely connecting lines. 
It has thus happened that the settlement of the Town of Bedford, 
which, under a strictly chronological arrangement, should have re- 
ceived notice among the comparatively early events, has not as yet 
been traced, or even referred to, except in the merest incidental 

i " History~of White Plains," by Josiah S. Mitchell, Scharf, i. ( 721. 



Bedford, as one of the ancient towns of the county, presents unique 
aspects. It is the only one of the first settlements having an inland 
location, and the only one whose original history stands quite apart 
from that of the remainder of the county, with no associations or 
relations binding it to other Westchester settlements of early origin 
and respectable importance. In common with Westchester, East- 
chester, Pelham, and Rye, it was settled by Connecticut people; but, 
unlike these communities, it was by its isolation in the northern cen- 
tral portion of the county removed completely from New York en- 
vironment and influence. Bedford, at least until within recent times, 


is to be regarded as a purely New England village accidentally ab- 
sorbed by New York. 

What is now the Township of Bedford was a portion of the pur- 
chase made by Nathaniel Turner, for the New Haven colony, July 1, 
1040, of a tract of land eight miles long on the Sound and extending 
sixteen miles into the wilderness to the northwest. Upon that tract 
the village of Stamford was begun in 1641; and in 1655 its interior 
extension was repurchased from the Indians by the people of Stam- 
ford. No attempt at settlement on the portion of the tract now 
known as Bedford town was made until 1680. In that year the Town 


of Stamford granted to twenty-two Stamford men 1 the lands known 
as the " Hop Grounds " lying " at the north end of Stamford bounds.'' 
Under this grant the beneficiaries, on the 23d of December, 1680, 
bought from Katonah, Rockaway, and several other Indians, the 
territory in question, 7,(573 acres, for the value of £16 16s. 6d. The 
purchase thus made became known as " Bedford Three Miles Square." 
The whole of the southeastern portion of the present township- 
something more than one-third of the whole township in area— was 
included in it. Subsequent purchases were added at various times, 
the last being effected on the 23d of January, 1722, for a considera- 
tion of £20. The various deeds of sale from the natives during the 
eighty-two years from 1610 to 1722 were signed, altogether, by thirty- 
five Indians. 

According to Dr. Baird in his " History of the Bedford Church," 
the original settlers were nearly all the sons of English Puritans, 
founders of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and there is no author- 
ity for the statement that they came from Bedfordshire, England, 
and from that circumstance gave the town its name. The name 
Bedford, says Dr. Baird, was probably bestowed by the general 
court of Connecticut, in accordance with the principle adopted many 
years before, intending, as they quaintly expressed it, "thereby to 
keep and leave to posterity the memorial of several places of note 
in our dear native country of England." In March, 1681, house-lots 
were laid out, under a rule providing thai each man's lot be " pro- 
portionable in quantity to what it lacks in quality." The other lands 
were divided on the same principle. The house-lots adjoined one 
another on the village street, it being deemed advisable for the set- 
tlers to live close together as a precaution in case of Indian attack. 
May 12 the general court at Hartford officially recognized the set- 
tlement, and recommended that "there be a suitable loot laid out 
for ye first minister of ye place, and a loot for ye ministry to be and 
belong to ye ministry forever." This pious injunction was promptly 
obeyed, and as early as December, 1681, the town took steps to pro- 
cure a' minister. The general court, on May 16, 1682, issued an 
order to the effect that " Upon the petition of the people of the Hop 
Ground, this court doth grant them the priviledge of a plantation, 
and doe order that the name of the towne shall henceforth be called 
Bedford." Joseph Theale was appointed as the " chiefe military 
officer for the training band," and Abram Ambler as magistrate. 

i Richard Ambler, Abraham Ambler. Joseph iel Jones. Thomas Pannoyer, John Holmes Jr 

Theale Daniel Weed. Eleazer Slawson, John Benjamin Stevens. John Green. Sr Dav d 

Wes< '.I'. Jonathan Petit, John Cross, John Waterbnry, Samuel Weed, and Jonathan Kil- 

Miller, Nicholas Webster, Richard Ayres, Will- born, 
iam Clark, Jonas Seely, Joseph Stevens, Dan- 


New proprietors wore gradually admitted upon paying forty shillings 
each for shares in the undivided lands. About the end of the first 
year Joshua Webb was received as an inhabitant upon the under- 
standing that he would erect and operate a mill. This arrange- 
ment was carried out, the mill being built on the Mianus River. All 
the newcomers for very many years were New England people. 

Notwithstanding the exclusion of Bedford from Connecticut by 
the provisions of the boundary agreement of 1083-84, Bedford con- 
tinued to recognize the sole authority of Connecticut. Her people, 
like those of live, disregarded the summons of Governor Dongan of 
Now York in 1085, to take out patents for their lands, although this 
omission did not, as in the case of Bye, cause them any ultimate loss 
of territory. Frequent applications were, however, made to the 
Connecticut authorities for a town patent; and on May 21, 1607, after 
Bedford and Bye had been taken under the protection of that colony, 
these efforts were finally rewarded. The Connecticut patent for Bed- 
ford issued on that date was to " John Miller, Senr., Daniel Simkins, 
Zachariah Roberts, Cornelius Seely, Jeremiah Andrews, John West- 
coate, John Miller, Junr., John Holmes, Junr., and the rest of the 
present proprietors of Bedford," and in it the tract was described 
as follows: "All those lands, boath meadows, swamps and uplands, 
within these abuttments, viz.: Southerly on the bounds of the town- 
ship of Stamford; Westerly on the wilderness; Northerly on the wil- 
derness; and easterly on the wilderness, or land not yet laid out. 
Every of which sides is six miles in length, to witt : from the east 
side westerly, and from the south side northerly, and is a township 
of six miles square, or six miles on every side, which said lands have 
been by purchase or otherwise, lawfully obtained of the Indian na- 
tive proprietors." April 8, 1704, this Connecticut patent was con- 
firmed by New York, an annual quit-rent of £5 being provided for. 

By reference to a map of the manors of Westchester County it will 
be observed that the northern section of Bedford Patent overlaps 
Cortlandt Manor, taking a quite considerable area from that manor. 
On the other hand, Stephanas Van Cortlandt's manor grant, dated 
June 17, 1007, called for a southern boundary beginning at the mouth 
of the Croton River and running due east "twenty English miles "— 
that is, in a continuous line from the Hudson River to Connecticut. 
This interception of the southern boundary of Cortlandt Manor by 
the Bedford Patent requires explanation. 

At the time when the Cortlandt Manor grant was issued the Bed- 
bud Patent for a tract six miles square based upon Stamford bounds 
on the south, as conferred by the general court of Connecticut, was 
already in existence, having', in fact, been obtained some six weeks 


previously. Consequently, says a Bedford historian, " when Van 
Oortlandt-s surveyor, working on his fc due east ' line, was .advancing 
through Bedford, he Avas doubtless apprised by our settlers that he 
was on Connecticut soil. No use to go farther; so he ran his line 
around the north side of Bedford, leaving her out of the Van Cort- 
landt Manor." 1 Indeed, Van Cortlandt or his heirs, fully accepting 
the claims of the Bedford people regarding their northern limits, 
built along those limits, to indicate the line of separation between 
Bedford and the manor, a solid stone wall, much of which still re- 
mains. This wall is to-day, says the writer from whom we have 
just quoted, kk undoubtedly the most notable landmark in this part 
of the county," and "for nearly two miles extends right across the 
country, without regard to the lay of the ground, broken only by 
two highways, and until lately with not even a barway through it." 
By the census of 1712 Bedford was given a population of 172. 
There are reasons, however, for supposing that this was an under- 
enumeration. It is noteworthy that no slaves were then owned in 
Bedford, " the people here being too poor at that early date to in- 
dulge in such luxuries." 

Early in the eighteenth century Jacobus Van Cortlandt, son of 
Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt, and younger brother of Stephanus 
Van Cortlandt, of Cortlandt Manor, became one of the principal 
landed proprietors of Bedford. This was the same Jacobus Van 
Cortlandt who married Eva, adopted daughter of the first Frederick 
Philipse, and founded the Van Cortlandt estate of the Little or 
Lower Vonkers, above Kingsbridge. He purchased lands of the 
Indians and settlers of Bedford as late as 1714, and his landed pos- 
sessions in the town ultimately amounted to 5,115 acres, which he 
bequeathed to his son Frederick Van Cortlandt, of the Lower Yon- 
kers, and his three daughters, Margaret, wife of Abraham de Peyster; 
Anne, wife of John Chambers, and Mary, wife of Peter Jay. The 
whole of the original estate was partitioned in 1743. Frederick Van 
Cortlandt receiving 1,424 acres, Abraham de Peyster 1,110 acres, 
John Chambers 1,282 acres, and Peter Jay 1,209 acres. Upon the 
death of Peter Jav (1782) his share was divided among his sons, 
Peter, Frederick, and John (the chief justice). John Jay subsequently 
became the solo proprietor of the Bedford estate, and after his re- 
tirement from public life made it his home, dying in the old Jay man- 
sion in 1829. Tie was succeeded in the proprietorship by his son, the 
distinguished Judge William Jay, who in turn was succeeded by his 
son, the Hon. John Jay. 

The great "West, Middle, and East Patents" of central West- 

_1 " History of Bedford," by Joseph Barrett, Scliarf, ii., 59G. 


Chester, which we have already described, secured by Caleb Heath- 
cote and others from Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan in 1701, were 
among the foundations upon which such portions of the county north 
of the White Plains and Harrison tracts as were not included in the 
Eye and Bedford Patents and the Philipseburgh and Cortlandt Manor 
grants were settled. The West Patent, known as " Wampus's Land 
Deed," or the "North Castle Indian Deed," based upon a purchase from 
the Indians made by Heathcote in 1G9C>. but not patented until Febru- 
ary 14, 1702, was bounded on the east by the Byram River and the 
Bedford line, on the north by the Croton River, and at the west took 
in all the wedge-shaped land between Philipseburgh and Cortlandt 
Manors, forming an acute angle on the Hudson at the Croton's mouth. 
Its northern boundary, however, was subsequently removed from the 
Croton to the southern line of Cortlandt Manor, in order to conform 
to the Cortlandt Manor grant. Out of the West Patent was erected 
much of the Town of North Castle. The patentees, ten in number, 
included men of prominence and influence in the province, whose 
"interest was not that of settlers seeking a home, but merely that 
of speculators." The lands began to be settled about 1718-20 by 
Quaker farmers from Long Island, who came by way of Harrison's 
purchase, and whose descendants to this day belong to the principal 
families of that section of our county, among them the Haights, 
Weekses, Carpenters, Buttons, Quimbys, Hunts, Birdsalls, Barneses, 
and Havilands. In August, 1712, the settlers petitioned Governor 
Burnett to incorporate their lands into a township, mentioning in 
that document that their number comprised thirty men able to bear 
arms. Letters patent were soon afterward issued for the Town of 
North Castle. In addition to the lands represented by the West 
Patent, North Castle originally embraced a portion of the Middle 
Patent and also a separate grant made in 1700 to Ann Bridges, Roger 
Mompesson, and seven others. 1 It even encroached on the bounds 
of the East Patent, covering a considerable part of the present Town 
of Poundridge. The number of settlers increased rapidly, and we 
are informed that at the time of its division by the setting off of 
New Castle " it was the second town in the county in assessed valu- 
ation, ranking next to Westchester in that respect, and the first in 
population." 2 Inasmuch as North Castle lay entirely in the interior, 
and quite remote from New York City, its exceptional prosperity is 

i This grant lay between the West and Mid- Thomas Wenham, a member of the governor's 

die Patents. Ann Bridges was the wife of council. 

Chief Justice John Bridges. Roger Mompesson = " History of Now Castle," by Joseph Bar. 

was chief justice of the province at the time. rett, Seharf, ii., 615. 
One of their associates in the patent was 


a striking proof of the fact that the wealth of our county had its 
origin exclusively in the agricultural interest. 

The old Town of Salem, now constituting the Towns of North Salem 
and Lewisboro, also has an interesting early history, on account of 
the inclusion in it of all of the lands of the " Oblong," or " Equiva- 
lent Tract." It will be remembered that the Oblong was uot laid 
off and monumented until 1731. In 1700 twenty-live citizens of 
Connecticut (mostly residents of Norwalk) obtained from the gov- 
ernment of that colony the grant of what is known as the Ridge- 
field Patent, whose western boundary was the New York State line, 
at that time supposed to be twenty miles from the Hudson. After 
the measuring off of the Oblong, the Ridgefleld patentees, discov- 
ering that a portion of their property lay in New York State, peti- 
tioned the New York authorities for a patent for fifty thousand 
acres within the Oblong bounds, which was duly granted, June 8, 
1731. These patentees were headed by the Rev. Thomas Hawley, 
and are described in the document as " inhabitants of ye town of 
Ridgefleld." These Oblong acres subsequently became the eastern 
portion of the original Town of Salem, whereof the western portion 
was taken from Cortlandt Manor. 

The Town of Poundridge was settled by farming people from Con- 
necticut, who began to take up lands within its borders in the latter 
part of the first half of the eighteenth century. The name comes 
" from the ancient ' Indian pound,' which formerly stood at the foot 
of a high ridge a little south of the present locality known as Pound- 
ridge, where the Indians sot their traps tor wild game." The first set- 
tler is supposed to have been Deacon John Fancher. He came in 
1730. In 1711 Joseph Lockwood, James Brown, David Potts, Ebe- 
nezer Scofield, and others from Stamford, made a settlement on the 
sito of the present village. The Lockwood family was long the most 
prominent one in the town. From an early period the settlers of 
Poundridge united the handicraft of shoemaking to their rural pur- 
suits. They " went to the ' shoe-shops ' in the adjoining towns, re- 
ceived their work cut out, and took it home, each one making the 
whole article, whether boot or shoe." 1 The decline in the population 
of the town since 1850 is largely due to the unprofitableness of this 
ancient industry, consequent upon the use of machinery for the manu- 
facture of shoes. 

1 George Thateher'Smith, in*Scharf,",ii., 563. 



LIE earliest enumeration of the inhabitants of the Province 
of New York was made in 1698 " by the high sheriffs and 
justices of the peace in each respective county," at the 
direction of Governor Bellomont. It showed a total pop- 
ulation of 18,067, including 2,170 negroes, of whom 1,063 (917 whites 
and 146 negroes) were in Westchester County. At that date West- 
chester was the fifth in rank among the ten counties embraced within 
the present limits of New York State, being exceeded by New York, 
Suffolk, Kings, Queens, and Albany. At the next census, taken in 
1703, Westchester's population had increased to 1,946; in 1712, to 
2,815; and in 1723, to 4,409. Thus in the first quarter of a century 
alter the county as a whole had begun to display a general settled 
condition the number of its inhabitants had increased threefold. In 
1731 its people were 6,033; in 1737, 6,745; in 1746, 9,235; in 1749, 
10,711:5; in 1756, 13.257; and in 1771 (the last of the colonial censuses), 
21 .745. 

The following details from the census of 1712 show the distribu- 
tion of population throughout the various civil divisions then ex- 

Westchester 572 

Eastchester 300 

Rye 516 

New Roclielle 304 

Yonkers 260 

Philipse burgh 348 

Mamaroneck 84 

Morrisania 62 

Pelham 62 

Bedford 172 

Cortlandt Manor 91 

Ryke's Patent (Peekskill) 32 

Scarsdale 12 


The portions of the county styled Yonkers and Philipseburgh at 
that period were, respectively, the lower and upper divisions of Phil- 



ipseburgh Manor, the former being presided over by Frederick Phil- 
ipse, 2d, and the latter by Adolph Philipse, his uncle. After the 
uncle's death, the whole manor was reunited under Frederick Phil- 
ipse, 2d, and continued as a single political division until after the 
Revolution. To the above-named civil divisions of 1712, the only 
new ones added during the remaining sixty odd years of the colonial 
era were White Plains, North Castle, Salem, and Poundridge. 

Under this census the ancient Town of Westchester led all the 
other localities of the county in population, with 572 inhabitants, 
having, indeed, a very decided preponderance over every community 
except Rye, which numbered 51 (5 souls. But it must be borne in 
mind that in 1712 Rye as a political division included certainly the 
White Plains and Harrison tracts; and probably not a few settlers 
dispersed through the interior sections of the county not as yet com- 
prehended in definitely named settlements were counted also in the 
Rye enumeration. 

We have referred in various connections to the peculiar privilege 
bestowed upon the Town of Westchester by its erection in 169G into 
a borough, a privilege enjoyed by only one other community of New 
York Province (Schenectady) from the beginning to the end of the 
colonial period. It was entirely fitting that Westchester should be 
singled out for this distinction. It was the seat of the earliest or- 
ganized and successful English settlement in the province north of 
the Harlem River, dating back to 1654 (and probably earlier); it 
gave its name to the great County of Westchester, and it had always 
been a rural community of exceptional respectability and progres- 
siveness. Detached from the jurisdiction of Manhattan Island by a 
broad river, it occupied an isolated position, and its local affairs were 
thus incapable of being connected with those of the island. More- 
over, Westchester, with its attached locality of West Farms, was 
peculiarly justified in appealing for special privileges, in view of the 
exceptional functions that had been conferred upon the adjacent 
manorial lands of Morrisania, Fordham, Philipseburgh, and Pelham. 
These lands had been erected into "entire and enfranchised town- 
ships, manors, and places by themselves," for the gratification of 
wealthy individual proprietors. On the other hand, here was a 
thriving democratic town, whose settlement antedated that of any 
of the manorial estates, and which was more important than any of 
them in the matter of population and development. It was reason- 
able in such circumstances to demand for it some unusual political 

Westchester received its first town patent from Governor Nicolls 
on the 15th of February, 1667. In that instrument " all ye rights and 


privileges belonging to a town within this government" were be- 
stowed upon the patentees. In 1686 it was deemed advisable by 
the inhabitants to procure a second patent, which was accordingly 
issued (January 6) by Governor Dongan. Under this second patent 
twelve men 1 were designated as the "Trustees of the Freeholders 
and Commonalty of the Town of Westchester," these trustees being- 
constituted as "one body corporate and politick." In order to dis- 
pose forever of any possible hostile claims to lands within their 
town limits on the ground of irregularities or defects in the original 
purchases from the Indians, the trustees, on the 27th of May, 1692, 
obtained a final deed of sale from four Indians— Maminepoe, Warn- 
page (alias Ann Hook), Chrohamanthense, and Mamertekoh— by 
which the latter, for the consideration of goods valued at £8 Is 6d, 
released unconditionally to the tk county town of Westchester " what- 
ever proprietary pretensions they had to its territory. Also steps 
were taken by the trustees to mark off the northern bounds of the 
town, where it adjoined " Mr. Pell's purchase." The records of the 
town were kept with regularity from 1G5T. As early as 1678 a bridge 
had been built joining Throgg's Neck to the mainland. 2 The polit- 
ical limits of the town were always understood and expressed as 
extending from the westernmost part of Bronxland to " Mr. Pell's 
purchase," and thus Cornell's Neck, West Farms, and Morrisania 
Manor belonged to the political territory of the town. Indeed, the 
proprietors of Cornell's Neck (the Willetts), as also the various fam- 
ilies constituting the settlement of West Farms, were at all times 
thoroughly identified with the local concerns of Westchester town. 

In 1670 the good people of Westchester were somewhat exercised 
by the appearance of a supposed witch amongst them. An order ap- 
pears in the Assize Book, dated July 7, 1670, for the removal of one 
" Katherine Harrison late of Wethersfield in his Ma ties Colony of Con- 
necticott widdow." In this order it is related that " contrary to ye 
consent & good liking of ye Towne she would settle amongst them & 
she being reputed to be a person lyeing und r ye supposicion of Witch- 
craft hath given some cause of apprehension to ye Inhabitants there." 
Accordingly, the constable and overseers are directed to notify her 
to remove out of the precincts " in some short tyme," and also to ad- 
monish her to "returne to ye place of her former abode/' Subse- 
quently, however, Katherine Harrison was fully exonerated. 

i William Richardson, John Hunt. Edward "It is ordered that ye bridge betwixt Throgg's 

Waters Robert Huestis, Richard Ponton, Will- Necke and the Town., be maintained and up- 

iam B-irnes John Bugbie, John Bailey, John held by a rate to bo levied and assissed upon 

Tudor' lol'm Ferris Joseph Palmer, and all persons and estates that are putt in the 

Thomas Baxter county rate belonging to the Township of 

*ln this connection the following entry from Westchester. East Chester excepted." 
the town records, dated July 9, 1678, is of interest: 


A fact of curious interest, illustrating in a striking way the active 
enterprise which characterized the Town of Westchester and its 
associated districts from the beginning, has been brought to the 
attention of the present writer by the kindness of the Rev. Theodore 
A. Leggett, D.D., of Staten Island, a descendant of one of the West 
harms patentees. We have seen that Elizabeth Richardson, daugh- 
ter of Thomas Richardson, co-patentee with Edward Jessup of West 
Farms (1GGG), married Gabriel Leggett. Gabriel had a brother, John 
Leggett, who also was a landed proprietor in the section embraced 
in the political bounds of Westchester town. John Leggett was a 
shipbuilder, and under date of November 30, 1676, he executed a 
bill of sale reading as follows: " John Leggett of Westchester, within 
the Province of X. Y., shipright, to Jacob Leysler of N. Y. City, mer- 
chant, a good Puick, or ship, Susannah of New York, now laying in 
this harbour, and by said Leggett built in Bronck's fiver near Westchester, 
together with masts, Lay boat, and other materials." Thus the ship- 
building industry was introduced at the mouth of the Bronx as 
early as 1676 (probably earlier) — that is, seven years or more before 
the organization of the County of Westchester. This John Leggett, 
builder of the " Susannah," died in the West Indies in 1679. It 
is interesting to note that he named as his executor the first Fred- 
erick Philipse, with whom he seems to have sustained a business 
partnership of some kind, and to whom ho bequeathed the sum of 
thirty pounds sterling. 

Upon the organization of our county, in 1683, Westchester was 
appointed to be its shire-town, and in legislative acts passed shortly 
after the regular institution of parliamentary government in the 
province this community was the object of respectful attention. By 
an act passed May 11, 16!>3, "a public and open market" was ap- 
pointed to be held every Wednesday at Westchester; and it was 
enacted that "there shall likewise be held and kept twice yearly 
and every year a fair, to which fair it shall and may be likewise lawful 
for all and every person to go and frequent, . . . the first to 
be kept at the Town of Westchester in the said county on the second 
Tuesday of May and to end on the Friday following, being in all 
four days, inclusive, and no longer; and the second fair to be kept 
at Rye in the said county on the second Tuesday in October yearly, 
and to end the Friday following," etc. 

From the foregoing survey of the progress of Westchester town 
up to the time of its conversion into a borough, the reader will see 
that it had well earned the right to that honor. The royal charter 
constituting it a borough town is a very elaborate document, which 
if reproduced entire would occupy some fifteen of our pages. It 


bears date the 16th of April, 1696, and is signed by Governor Ben- 
jamin Fletcher. After instancing the previous grants of patents to 
the town and describing it with extreme and redundant particularity 
(its bounds being specified as the westernmost part of tk Brunks land " 
at the west and the westernmost line of " Mr. Pell's pattent " at the 
east), the charter provides that the former Town of Westchester 
shall in future be styled "the borrough and town of Westchester." 
The requirement is made that the local authorities shall pay an- 
nually to the governor of New York, on the 25th day of March, " the 
sum of thirty shillings current money of N. York " as quit-rent. It 
is directed that the freeholders shall elect annually twelve trustees, 
whose duties shall be confined to disposing of any undivided lands 
within the town. Next follows the provision that k> in the s fl town 
corporate there shall be a body politick consisting of a mayor, six 
aldermen, and six assistants, or common council, . . . to be 
called and known by the name of the mayor, aldermen, and 
commonalty of the borough and town of W. Chester." Colonel 
Caleb Heathcote is appointed as the first mayor, with "William 
Barns, Jno. Stuert, William Willett, Thos. Baxter, Josiah Stuert, and 
Jno. Baily, gents.," as aldermen, and " Israel Honeywell, Robert Hus- 
tis, Sam'l Ilustis, Sam'l Ferris, Daniel Turner, and Miles Oakley, 
gents.," as assistants. But these offices, after the expiration of the 
first year, are declared to be elective, and are to be filled annually by 
a majority vote of the freeholders on the first Monday of May. Pro- 
vision is made for the continuance of the weekly market, and two 
yearly fairs (instead of one, as previously provided) are to be held 
at Westchester, the first in May and the second in October. Retail 
liquor sellers are to be licensed at the discretion of the mayor, the 
annual license fee exacted being such sum of money as the licensee 
" shall agree for, not exceeding the sum of 20s." Finally the " may- 
or, aldermen, and common council*' are authorized "to return and 
send one discreet burgess of the s d town and borough into every 
general assembly hereafter to be summoned or holden within this 
our province of N. York/' 

Caleb Heathcote, as mayor, organized the government of the bor- 
ough town on the (5th of June, 1096. In October of that year he pre- 
sented the corporation with an official seal. The first representa- 
tive in the assembly was Josiah Hunt, who served from 1702 to 
1710. The subsequent representatives were Lewis Morris, Sr. (1710- 
28), Gilbert Willett (1728-32), Lewis Morris, Jr. (1732-50), Peter de 
Lancey (1750-68), Lewis Morris, 3d (1769), John de Lancey (1769-72), 
and Isaac Wilkins (1772-75) — all men of distinction, force, and influ- 
ential family connections. The official style of "the Borough and 

NuqiB, 4;8 

f HE 

New-York Gazette 

Front September 26. to Monday October $. 1726. 

A Lift of the Names of the prefenf .Reprefentatives 
■EUtledand chofen by the ftverdtCUtes and Counties 
jn tkft Colony to jerve &Qimf0fj0Mlfa& 

For the City *nd County of Ne%-York, 

A Dolph Philtpfe, Efq; Speaker^ ' 
Stephen De Lanccy, Ef<# 
Capt. Gerrit Van Horns, 
Capt. Anthony, Rutgreft, 

For the Ctty and Qounty of Albany, 
Coll. Mjndert Schuyla ■, RyerGerrttJe, Efc.; 
Capt. Jacob Glen, 
Capt. Jeremiah Kanftaer, 
Mr. Robert Livmgji on,. jun._ 

For the County of Ulftsr, 
Coll. Abraham Gaasbeck. Chan bers, " 
Mr. (Albert Pawling, 

For Dutchcfs County, 
Mf. Henry Bcekman, 
Mr". Joha^ACi vanKlecb^ 

For the Burrbugh «f Weflchejl<r' k 
Coll. Leuii Morris. 

>fW -the- Comity of Wf*i»M ' 

Coll. miham mut> •;■•**• 

Major Ft$dnck_ Philtpfe . 

For Queens Count} * 
Coll. JjSUc flJ«fe 
Capt» Benjamin Hickt. 

For Kmgs County, 
Coll. £/VW^ Stillwell. 
Capt. Samuel Gerrufe; 

For S«//«j*. Cownr/, 
Cipt. Epenetm Plat, 
Mr. Samuel Hutchmfon* 

For Richmond Ou*t)^ 
Mr. Richard Merrily 
Mr. 3«5w Le Count. 

For 0r4»gf Co**'/. 
Capt Lancaster Syms, 
Capt. Corhetitcs Hartng, 

Which Reprefentatives being cohvened in 
General Afsemblv, on the 17th of September his 
Excellency the'Governour made the following 
Speech to them, »«.-. 

Qtnthmin ; 

THE. Choice, which the People" of this 
^novmce have fo lately made of you to 
Keprefent them, givej Me a frefh Op- 
portunity of knowing their Sentiments, and ln- 
clinatiory/.fiji^lalways endeavouredtrt pi omotc 
theu lnterctt ifctfce utmoft of iny Ability,, |nd 

it will add to my Pleaf ur e to do it in the manner 4 
which thevjhemfelves.defire. 
* : AV hTn'you'enquire into the ftate of the pre- 
fent Revenue, I believe you will find it ineffi- 
cient to aniwer the ufualExpence for the Support 
of the Government. And confidering the 
Flounihing and Encreafing Condition of the 
Colony, it would be toirsDifhonour, as well as. 
Difadvantage, to leficn the Encouragement thar 
has been given to the nccefiary Officers ot the 
Government. ■ I depend on your Readinefs to 
the bed of Kings, who has fhewn, during the 
whole eourfe of His Reign, That theconjiam Em* 
filoymem of Ms Thoughts, and the mofi tartieft Wishes of 
His Heart, tend wholly to the Securing to His Subjetls 
the'irjufi Rights and You need not 
fear that any of His Servants will dare to abufe 
the Confidence repofed in them, when they muft 
expecV that their Neglect of Duty or Abufe of 
Trufr, will draw upon them His juft Difplea* 

You will find, that the Supply laft provided 
fcrWtffftmg the new Apartments in the Fort, 
has been iraployed with the utmoft Frugality ; 
and I hope, that by the fame Management, the 
Repairs of the Roof of the Chappel and the 
Barracks, which arc in a Condition entirely 
Ruinous, will require no very large Sum, tho' 
it is plain, that the Charge of doing it willen- 
creale confiderably, if it is delay'd any longer 

; than the next Spring, which Obliges Me to Re- 
commend it to your Care at prellnt,thatProvifion 
may be made for fo prcfline and neceflarv a 
Work. & J 

I muft Remind you, that your Agent continues 
his Diligence in watching over the Interefts of 
the Province, tho' he has remain'd a long time 
without any Allowance j fo generous a Condudr, 
onhis part, will not fail of engaging you to take 

5 care that his paft Services may not go unrewarded, 
and that fo uieful a Perl on may be fixed in your 
Service, and a iettled Provifion made for his 

I fhall lay before you my late Conferences 
with the Six Nations, an which I flatter my felf, 
that I hare contributed not a little to fix them in 
their Duty to His Majefty, their Afteftion to 
this Government, and their juft Apprehcnfions 
of the Til Defigns of the People of Canada, in 
Fortifyingfo near to them at ?agjra. \ have fent 
a, fit Perion to refidc among the Sennit this 
Winter, 'who ism t permitted to Trade, and will 

\ thereby \fcaK tfc&inore weight and credit with. 




Town of Westchester " was not abolished until 1785, when, by a leg- 
islative act, it was changed to ki the Township of Westchester." 

Westchester borough was the birthplace in our county of the in- 
stitution of the Established Church of England. On this point Mr. 
Fordham Morris, in his essay on tk The Borough Town of Westches- 
ter," takes occasion to correct some mistaken popular impressions. 

Some (lie says) have likened this ancient town to those of New England and Long 
Island, while others, zealous members of the Episcopal Church, have tried to make themselves 
and others believe that the town was a reproduction of an English parish of the eighteenth 
century, such as we read of in the Spectator or the tales of Fielding and Smollett. They 
fancy the squire in his high-backed pew, the parson in his wig, gown, and surplice, telling 
the congregation its duty to their Maker, and also as to the tithes, the royal family, the 
House of Hanover, and the Protestant succession. Neither is a correct similitude. The 
officials, though elected, were subject to the governor's approval, and no rigid rule as to 
church membership prevailed as in the New England towns. The town, not the church 
wardens and vestry, attended to most of the temporalities, such as highways and bridges, and 
though the vestry levied the church rates, the town built and paid for the church, and in 
very late colonial times released its interest in the church property to the rector, church 
wardens, and vestry. Though the church was supported partially by a tax, the schoolmaster 
was supported by the borough, but until post-Revolutionary times the poor were a parish 
charge. Though an act for settling orthodox ministers in the province was passed shortly 
after the establishment of the English colonial system (for of course, the English was the 
orthodox church in colonial times), those sons of Cromwellian soldiers, Quaker refugees, and 
Independents did not at first take kindly to a State church, and good Parson Bartow . . . 
did not even wear a surplice. Many of the people were gradually won over to mother church, 
so far as a student can judge from reading the good minister's letters to the Society in 
England, more by his own loving kindness and self-respect rather than any inherent love those 
hard-working farmers had for the Church of England. Besides, the Quakers had established 
their meeting-house in the town almost as early as the Church of England edifice was erected, 
and its graveyard is still to be found, adjoining the Episcopal churchyard, though the meeting- 
house and those who were moved by^the Spirit within it have long^since departed. 

In a previous chapter, in connection with our account of the foun- 
dation of the settlement of Westchester, we have reproduced from 
the journal of one of the Dutch commissioners who visited the place 
in 1050 a description of the forms of worship then in vogue there, 
from which it appears that there was no officiating clergyman, and 
that the exercises were conducted in homely fashion. Not until 
1084 was any formal measure taken to procure a minister. It was 
then voted in town meeting (April 2) " that the Justices and Vestry- 
men of Westchester, Eastchester, and Yonckers do accept of Mr. War- 
ham Mather as our minister for one whole year; and that he shall 
have sixty pound, in country produce at money price, for his salary, 
and that he shall be paid every quarter." Apparently the arrange- 
ment was not effected, or at least did not endure for long; for in 
1092 the town voted that " there shall be an orthodox minister, as 
soon as possible may be," and requested Colonel Caleb Heathcote, " in 
his travels in New England," to procure one. 

September 21, 1093, the provincial assembly of New York passed 
an ecclesiastical act, under which Westchester County was divided 


into two parishes, Westchester and Llye, the former to include the 
Towns of Westchester, Eastchester, and Yonkers, and the Manor of 
Pelham, and the latter the Towns of Eye, Mamaroneck, and Bedford. 
Westchester was required to raise £50 yearly for the minister's sup- 
port, and to elect on the second Tuesday of January ten vestrymen 
and two church wardens. In 1695 the Rev. Warham Mather was 
engaged as the Church of England clergyman at Westchester. He 
was succeeded in 1702 by the Rev. John Bartow, a missionary of the 
Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, newly arrived 
from England, who continued to officiate until his death, in 1720. He 
was a man of excellent learning and high character, and his letters 
(of which numerous ones are reproduced by Bolton) are of much in- 
terest to students of the early conditions in Westchester County. 
The orthodox church at Westchester was formally chartered under 
the name of Saint Peter's by Lieutenant-Governor Clarke in 1762. 

Eastchester, incorporated in the parish of Westchester by the act 
of 1693, was made a separate parish in 1700. From early times 
Eastchester parish was known as Saint Paul's. To this day the 
Westchester and Eastchester Episcopalian churches preserve their 
original names of Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's, respectively. The 
present Saint Peter's Church edifice in Westchester village is en- 
tirely modern, but Saint Paul's in Eastchester dates from about 1761, 
and is one of the most interesting of the old-time structures in our 

This is not the connection, however, in which to relate the church 
history of Westchester County, or even to note with particularity 
the local facts of church and religious concerns in the Town of West- 
chester and its associated Localities, interesting though those facts 
are. We are occupied with (he general story of Westchester County 
on broad lines. It has been lilting to intercept our general narra- 
tive for a glance at the borough Town of Westchester, whose creation 
constitutes one of the essential phases of the general history of the 
county. Having discharged this duty in as succinct a manner as 
possible, we now proceed with the broader narrative. 

The local history of Westchester County from the beginning of 
the eighteenth century to the Revolution involves nothing remark- 
able, aside from the aspects of the peculiar character from the first 
assumed by the county which have been described in our account of 
the origin and erection of the great manorial estates. Following 
the lines of development naturally resulting from its selection as the 
seat of wealthy and influential landed proprietors, Westchester 
County very soon took a prominent position on this account, and, 
through the powerful and distinguished men whose homes and in- 


terests were within its borders, exerted an influence of the first im- 
portance, both upon current public affairs and in the shaping of 
issues and conditions which were to lead to grand events. The his- 
tory of Westchester County, as a county, during this period, is one 
of steady and reputable growth, but is not specially distinguishable 
from that of other rural New York counties. No large towns were 
built up, and aside from political contests nothing of exciting in- 
terest or unusual significance transpired to attract general atten- 
tion to the county or to become memorable in a large way. The 
purely internal history of Westchester County for three-quarters of 
a century following the comparative completion of its settlement 
comprehends, indeed, nothing more than the ordinary chronicles of a 
lew scattered communities and of a mixed land-owning and farming 
population, living together in circumstances of good understanding 
and of xneasing though quite uneventful prosperity and progress. It 
is in the general historical associations attaching to the careers of 
representative Westchester men that the broad interest of our coun- 
ty's story up to the events antecedent to the Revolution is found. 



HE estate of Morrisania, established by Colonel Lewis Morris, 
of the island of Barbadoes, upon the foundations of the old 
Dutch Bronxland grant — an estate consisting of nearly two 
thousand acres, — was inherited at the colonel's death, in 
1691, by his nephew, Lewis, who at that time had just come of age. 
Young Lewis Morris as a boy was of a vivacious and somewhat way- 
ward disposition, and, tiring of the humdrum life in the home of his, 
uncle, a stern old Covenanter and rigid Quaker, ran away and roamed 
about in the world until his craving for a more animated existence 
had been pretty well gratified. He first went to Virginia, and then 
to Jamaica, trying to support himself as a copyist and in other ways, 
and finally returned, tractable enough, to his uncle's roof. The old 
gentleman not only granted him full pardon, but promptly took an 
interest in procuring a suitable wife for him, with the result that, in 
November, 1691, he received the hand of Isabella, daughter of James 
Graham, Esq., attorney-general and one of the principal men of the 
province. Being his uncle's sole heir, he inherited not only the Mor- 
risania estate, but the large tract of land which Colonel Morris had 
bought in Monmouth County, X. J. Turning his attention to the 
interests of the latter property, he took up his residence on that 
portion of it call Tintern. Here, it is said, was established the first 
iron mill in this country. He at once took an active part in public 
affairs in New Jersey. ' In 1(592 he was appointed a judge of the 
Court of Common Right in East Jersey, and he also became a mem- 
ber of the council of Governor Hamilton. He did not, however, neg- 
lect his property in New York. Following the example of other large 
land-owners, he had his Westchester County estate erected into the 
lk Lordship or Manor of Morrisania." This was done by letters patent 
granted to him on the 8th of May, 1697, by Governor Fletcher, where- 
in authority was given him and his successors to hold a court leet 
and court baron, to exercise jurisdiction over all waifs, estrays, 
wrecks, deodands, goods, or felons happening and being within the 


manor limits, and to enjoy the advowson and right of patronage over 
all churches in the manor. It was a considerable time, however, be 
fore the Manor of Morrisania became largely tenanted. At the census 
of 1712 its population was only sixty-two. This was probably due in 
part to the preference manifested by its young lord, during the first 
years of his proprietorship, for residence and political activity in New 
Jersey, and in part to his disinclination during that period to take 
any particularly vigorous measures toward tenanting its lands. It 
was not until 1710 that Lewis Morris was first elected to represent 
Westchester Borough in the general assembly of New York. 

A man of ardent temperament, fine talents, high ambitions, and 
abundant wealth, and one of the new-fiedged manorial " lords " of 
the province, it would not have been surprising if Morris had from 
the beginning of his career associated himself with the ultra-aristo- 
cratic party and had uniformly confined his sympathies and activities 
to the aristocratic sphere. There were few encouragements in those 
limes for the development of independent and lofty civic character. 
All high positions were appointive, depending upon the favor of the 
royal governor, who was as likely as not to be a man utterly cor- 
rupt, mercenary, and unscrupulous. But from an early period of his 
public life, Morris displayed a bold and aggressive spirit, and an espe- 
cial contempt for consequences when, in his judgment, opposition to 
the acts of the governors became a matter of duty. The son of a cap- 
tain in Cromwell's arm} 7 , and reared from infancy by an uncle who 
had fought with distinction on the same side and who was charac- 
terized by particularly inflexible personal conscientiousness, his birth 
and training gave him, moreover, instincts of vigorous hostility to 
arrogant and selfish despotism. It can not be doubted that this latter 
element of his character was the chief contributing influence which 
led him, at the zenith of his career, to sacrifice his elevated position 
and stake his entire reputation in the cause of righteous resistance 
to official tyranny, an act which, as we shall presently see, was the 
occasion of the first grand assertion of the principle of American 

After the appointment of Jeremiah Basse as governor of New Jer- 
sey, in 1G98, Morris was one of the principal leaders of the party 
which refused to acknowledge his authority. He was in consequence 
expelled from the council and fined £50 for contempt. In 1700, when 
Hamilton was again made governor of New Jersey, Morris was ap- 
pointed president of the council. In this position he strongly advo- 
cated the surrender of the proprietary government of New Jersey to 
the crown, persuaded the New Jersey proprietors to lend their co- 
operation to the project, and went to England to urge the reform 



upon the queen. His proposals were received with favor, and he was 
nominated for the governorship of New Jersey under the new ar- 
rangement; but as it was finally decided to appoint a single gov- 
ernor for the two provinces of New York and New Jersey, Lord 
Cornbury, a cousin of Queen Anne, being chosen for that post, Mor- 
ris's appointment was not confirmed. He was, however, placed in 
the council. This was in 1703. As one of Cornbury's councilors he 
made an honorable record of uncompromising antagonism to that 
most corrupt, tyrannical, and villainous of New York's colonial gov- 
ernors. Smith, the Tory historian of New York— certainly not a 
prejudiced authority in this particular connection, — says of Lord 
Cornbury: " We never had a governor so universally detested, nor any 
who so richly deserved the public 
abhorrence. In spite of his noble de- 
scent, his behavior was trifling, 
mean, and extravagant. It was not 
uncommon for him to dress in a 
woman's habit, and then to patrol 
the fort in which he lived. Such 
freaks of low humor exposed him to 
the universal contempt of the whole 
people. Their indignation was kin- 
dled by his despotic rule, savage big- 
otry, insatiable avarice, and injus- 
tice, not only to the public, but even 
to his private' creditors." In brief, 
he plundered the public treasury, 
converted subscription funds to his 
personal uses, and borrowed snms 
right and left, which he coolly re- 
pudiated. After his removal from 

the office of governor he was arrested and imprisoned for debt in 
New York; but by the death of his father, the Earl of Clarendon, he 
became a member of the House of Lords, a dignity which carried 
with it exemption from being held for debt, whereof he took advan- 
tage to decamp without settling with his creditors. Morris, as a 
member of the council, became at once a thorn in Cornbury's side. 
The governor removed him in 1701. By order of Queen Anne he 
was reinstated the next year, only to be again and permanently dis- 
missed by Cornbury. He then, as a member of the New Jersey leg- 
islature, put himself, with Gordon and Jennings, at the head of the 
party that sought to drive Cornbury from office. To this end resolu- 
tions were passed detailing the evils and infamies of his administra- 



tion, which were sent to England and resulted in Cornbury's recall 
(1708). During the brief rule of Lord Lovelace, Morris again sat in 
the council; but under Lovelace's successor, Ingoldsby, lie was once 
more suspended because of personal unacceptability to the executive. 

Finally, in 1710, a governor was senr over with whom Morris was 
able to establish the most satisfactory relations, both official and 
personal— the noted General Robert Hunter. His arrival is memora- 
ble in New York provincial annals because of the great Palatinate 
immigration of which it marked the beginning. Some three thou- 
sand Palatinates — refugees from the Palatine or Pfalz provinces of 
Germany, whom continual wars and religious persecutions had driven 
from their homes — sailed with Governor Hunter from Plymouth, Eng- 
land. The vessels bearing them were separated by terrible storms at 
sea, and hundreds of the immigrants died before port was reached. 
These Palatine immigrants and their countrymen who followed them 
were distributed mainly among the central and upper Hudson River 
counties—Orange, Ulster, and Dutchess — and throughout the Mo- 
hawk Valley. But very many of them naturally remained in New 
York City, and from there gradually made their way into the sur- 
rounding country. Individual Palatine families sought homes from 
time to time in Westchester County, but our county was not one of 
the chosen places of colonization for these people, and no Palatinate 
settlements were established here. 

Hunter was an entirely different manner of man from the gover- 
nors who preceded him. He boasted no dazzling ancestry. As a 
lad he was apprenticed to an apothecary, but left that employment 
to enter the army, as a private, without either money or influence. 
Possessing marked natural abilities, he soon attracted the attention 
of his superiors, and was steadily promoted until he attained the 
rank of brigadier-general. He associated and corresponded on terms 
of intimacy with the celebrated literary characters of that sparkling 
age, ami, although not himself a man of great pretensions, had very 
excellent parts,' especially "a pleasant wit, and was never more 
happy in his sallies, as he wrote to his friend Dean Swift, than when 
he was most annoyed." In Lewis Morris he found a congenial soul. 
The two collaborated in the composition of a farce entitled " Andro- 
borus," which hit off the peculiarities of some of their opponents in 
a lively fashion. Morris was promptly installed by Hunter as presi- 
dent of the council. It was in 1710, the year of Hunter's assumption 
of the governorship, that he entered the Xew York assembly as a 
delegate from the borough Town of Westchester, and in that body 
he at once became a zealous supporter of the governor. In this 
championship he strongly opposed the popular party, which resisted 


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the governor's desire for the granting of supplies in bulk and for a 
number of years at once, and tb insisted upon granting supplies of 
money only from year to year, and with applications specified, thus 
fixing the salaries for governor and other officials only per annum and 
by name, so that obnoxious persons were in danger of being left un- 
paid." The issue was a radical one, and gave rise to strong feeling 
on both sides. It is a curious fact that Lewis Morris, whose chief 
claim to remembrance is his identification with the great popular 
agitation of a later period, whereof, indeed, he was one of the heroes, 
was, in this early controversy between the " Court party " and the 
people, the mainstay of the former. Moreover, the warmth of his 
advocacy of the governor's cause was such that, on account of violent 
language in the course of debate, he was expelled from the assem- 
bly. He was thereupon re-elected to his seat by his Westchester con- 

Morris was appointed to the office of chief justice of New York by 
Governor Hunter on the 13th of March, 1715. He still continued to 
sit for Westchester Borough in the assembly, and did not retire from 
that body until 1728. His Westchester County colleagues in the 
assembly during his eighteen years of service for the borough from 
1710 to 1728 were Joseph Budd, Joseph Drake, John Hoite, Josiah 
Hunt, Jonathan Odell, Edmund Ward, William Willet, Frederick 
Philipse, 2d, and Adolph Philipse. As chief justice he served unin- 
terruptedly until August 21, 1733, when, on account of his attitude 
in the Van Dam case, he was removed by Governor Cosby, and James 
de Lancey, the son-in-law of Caleb Heathcote, of Searsdale Manor, 
was named in his stead. 

The affairs of the Province of New York moved along smoothly 
enough, excepting for the differences between the assembly and the 
executive, from the time of Hunter's appointment as governor, in 
1710, until the arrival of Cosby, in August, 1732. Hunter was suc- 
ceeded by William Burnet, also a highly polished and amiable man, 
with whom Morris sustained relations quite as friendly and agree- 
able as with Hunter. Burnet was followed by Colonel John Mont- 
gomerie, remembered as the grantor of the Montgomerie Charter of 
New York City, who died suddenly on the 1st of July, 1731, a victim, 
as is supposed, of a smallpox epidemic then raging. 

At the head of Montgomery's council, occupying that position by 
virtue of his Ion- service as a councilor, covering a period of twenty- 
nine years, was an old and very respected New York merchant, Kip 
Van Dam.' He was, as his name indicates, a thorough Dutchman, 
and was a typical representative of the thrifty and solid Dutch 
trading-class, who, notwithstanding the English conquest and the 



changes brought about by it, had never ceased to enjoy the highest 
standing in the community and to share in the government of the 
city and province. A native American (having been born in Albany), 
he was an entirely self-made man, modest, honest, and public spirited. 
It also stood to his credit that he was the father of a family of fifteen 
children. 1 Pending the selection of a new governor by the appointive 
power in England, Van Dam, in his capacity of president of the coun- 
cil, became vested with the authority of acting chief magistrate. 
None of the complicated circumstances attending the like eleva- 
tion of the unfortunate Leisler forty years before existed at this time. 
The regularity of his official succession was beyond question, no fac- 
tional controversy of any sort resulted from it, and, indeed, the whole 

public viewed with satisfaction the tem- 
porary exercise of power by a native cit- 
izen of so much respectability. 

The citizen-governor continued to ad- 
minister affairs for thirteen months, duly 
turning over the office to his chosen suc- 
cessor, William Cosby, in the month of 
August, 1732. This Cosby was another 
Cornbury — narrow, vain, avaricious, un- 
principled, contemptible, and tyrannical. 
He had previously been governor of the 
Island of Minorca, using the opportuni- 
ties of that position to promote his 
private financial interests. After his 
appointment as governor of New York, 
while still in England, he had been paid 
fees and perquisites amounting to sev- 
eral thousand pounds as his due, al- 
ii he had not vet begun to perform the functions of the place. 
From Van Dam's accounts he found, to his great disgust, that the pro 
tempore governor had drawn and pocketed the entire salary belong- 
in- to the position during the thirteen months of his occupancy of 
it. Such ridiculous conduct on the part of a mere acting governor, 
who was only a plain, merchandizing citizen and Dutchman, could 
not be submitted to by the sensitive Cosby. He demanded that Rip 
Van Dam should deliver over to him one-half of the salary thus taken. 
A T an Dam shrewd lv responded that he would cheerfully do so if Cosby 
would, on his part, relinquish half the fees that had been paid him 

York City, 





One of his sons. Rip Van Dam, Jr.. mar- iam Coekroft, of 

i granddaughter of Steph- brother James was the ancestor of the present 

This couple had a daugh- Coekroft family of Sing Sing. 
Dam, who married Will- 

ried Judith ISayard. 
anus Van Cortlandt. 
ter, Margaret Van 


for the same period. Cosby scornfully refused to listen to so impu- 
dent a proposal, and Van Dam stubbornly declined to accept any 
less equitable terms. This unseemly dispute over a paltry matter of 
salary led to official proceedings of the most peculiar and arbitrary 
nature, which aroused the people to strong resentment, and out of 
which was developed a question of popular right as fundamental and 
weighty as any that ever came up for decision in colonial times. 

Governor Cosby, still determined to wring the money from the ob- 
stinate Van Dam, was now compelled to resort to the forms of law 
to compass that end. Not content to leave the case to the decision 
of the ordinary courts of the province, he proceeded to erect a Court 
of Chancery for its trial. Equity courts, of which the governor was 
ex officio chancellor, had always been extremely distasteful to the 
people, and being constituted by the exclusive act of the executive, 
without the consent of the legislature, were, according to the best 
legal opinion, tribunals of at least doubtful authority. The assump- 
tion of the powers of chancellor by former governors had given rise 
to intense popular discontent, and the more intelligent predecessors 
of Cosby had shrunk from attempting to exercise them, except quite 
sparingly. But Cosby recognized no such scruples of prudence. He 
designated three of the Supreme Court judges — Chief Justice Morris, 
Frederick Philipse, and James de Lancey — as equity judges to act iu 
the Van Dam prosecution, stopping short only of the extreme meas- 
ure of personally sitting at the head of the court as chancellor. Wan 
Dam's counsel, William Smith ''the elder," and James Alexander, 
when the cause came np, boldly denied the legality of the court, 
maintaining that the governor and council were utterly without 
power to organize such a body. To the great astonishment of Judges 
Philipse and de Lancey, Chief Justice Morris at once held with 
Smith and Alexander, ami, on the ground that the Equity Court was 
a tribunal of irregular creation, delivered a decision in favor of Van 
Dam. This, of course, brought matters to a crisis. Cosby, incensed 
at the act of the chief justice, wrote to him in decidedly discourteous 
terms, requesting a copy of his opinion. Morris, in transmitting the 
document to him, accompanied it with a communication couched in 
strong but dignified language. '"This, sir," he wrote, "is a copy of 
the paper I read in court. I have no reason to expect that it or 
anything that I can say will be at all grateful or have any weight 
with your Excellency, after the answer I received to a message I 
did myself the honor to send you, concerning an ordinance you were 
about to make for establishing a Court of Equity in the Supreme 
Court as being in my opinion contrary to law, which I begged might 
be delaved till I could be heard on that head. I thought myself 



well in the duty of my office in sending this message, and hope I 
do not flatter myself in thinking I shall be justified in it by your 
superiors, as well as mine. The answer your Excellency was pleased 
to send me was, that 1 need not give myself any trouble about that 
affair, that you would neither receive a visit nor any message from 
me, that you would neither rely upon my integrity nor depend on 
my judgment, that you thought me a person not at all fit to be trusted 
with anv concerns relating to the king, that ever since your coming 
to the o-overnment I had treated you both as to your person and as 
the king's representative with slight, rudeness, and impertinence; 
that you did not desire to hear or see anything further of me." De- 
fending himself against the various charges and intimations made 
bv the'oovernor, he reminds his excellency that " if judges can be so 

intimidated as not to dare to give 
any opinion but what is pleasing 
to a governor and agreeable to 
his private views," the people of 
the province must suffer in for- 
tune or even life. In relation to 
the accusation of inattention or 
want of politeness, and other 
personal matters, he adds these 
pointed words: " If a bow awk- 
wardly made, or anything of that 
kind, or some defect in ceremo- 
nial in addressing yon, has occa- 
sioned that remark, I beg it may 
, be attributed to want of courtly 
: education, or to anything else 
rather than to want of respect to 
his Majesty's representative. As 
to my integrity, I have given you 
no occasion to call it in question. 
I have been in office almost 
twenty years. My hands were 
never soiled with a bribe, nor am I conscious to myself that power 
or poverty hath been able to induce me to be partial in favor of 
either of them; and as I have no reason to expect any favor from 
you so I am neither afraid nor ashamed to stand the test of the 
strictest inquiry you can make concerning my conduct. I have served 
the public faithfully and honestly, according to the best of my knowl- 
edge ;ul d T dare and do appeal to it for my justification. Cosby, 
without ceremony, now deprived Morris of his office by handing to 


the young James de Lancey a notice of his appointment as chief 

Morris was removed from the chief justiceship on the 21st of Au- 
gust, 1733. Five years previously he had terminated his long service 
in the New York assembly. Thus, after more than forty years of 
connection with public affairs, interrupted only by brief suspen- 
sions from office during his early career, he was now retired to pri- 
vate life. From the beginning of Cosby's arbitrary proceedings in 
the Van Dam matter, the indignation of the people had been power- 
fully stirred. Always opposed to the institution of the Court of Chan- 
cery, the extemporization of that tribunal by Cosby for the special 
purpose of procuring a judgment in his own favor was an outrage 
deeply offensive to their sense of decency and right; and the rude 
expulsion of Chief Justice Morris from the bench, because of his un- 
willingness to be a party to such a flagrant transaction, was, in 
their eyes, a deliberate and insolent attempt at despotic power. Mor- 
ris was universally regarded as a victim of official tyranny, and the 
people were not slow to find in his personality a rallying point for 
the effective expression of their feeling. He was urged to stand as 
a candidate for the assembly at the coming election, a demand to 
which he willingly acceded, offering himself for the suffrages of the 
electors of Westchester County, William Willet, one of the members 
for the county, having retired in his favor. The other representa- 
tive of the county at that time was Frederick Philipse. Lewis Morris, 
Jr., son of the chief justice, had been elected the preceding year to 
sit for the Borough of Westchester. 

The resulting eiection, held on the 29th of October, on " the Green " 
at the Town of Eastchester, was probably the most notable one in 
the whole colonial history of Westchester County. The elaborate and 
graphic description of it, published in the first number of the famous 
New York Weekh/ Journal, November 5, 1733, is undoubtedly familiar 
to many of our readers, having been frequently reproduced. This 
description gives, however, so interesting a picture of the political 
customs of the times, and, in its entirety, is so pertinent to our nar- 
rative, that we copv it here without abridgment: 

October 29, 1733. 
On this day, Lewis Morris, Esq., late Chief J " S tice of this Province, was by a majority 
of voices elected a Representative from the Comity of Westchester. It was an Election of 
great Expectation; the Court and the County's interest r was exerted"(as is said) to the 
utmost. I shall give my readers a particular account of it. Nicholas Cooper, Esq., High 
Sheriff of the said County, having by papers affixed to the Church of Eastchester and other 
public places, given notice of the Day and Place of Election, without mentioning any time of 
Day when it was to be done, which made the Electors on the side of the late Judge very 
suspicious that some Fraud was intended— to prevent which about fifty of them kept watch 
upon and about the'Green at»Eastchester (the Place ofElection) from 12 o'clock the night 
before till the Morning of the Day. The other Electors, beginning to move on Sunday 


afternoon and evening, so as to be at New Rochelle by Midnight, their way lay through 

•s ! s P •■ ha ef the Inhabitants of which provided for their Entertainment as hey 

passed each house in their way, having a table plentifully covered for that Purpose About 

pa^tu eat n i William Le Court at New Rochelle, whose house not 

;::;;:;t "i^h'^^rtat a ^a^. *. r "^^w 

1 eh the, sat till daylight, at which time they began to move They were 3 omed on the 
U ,t tie East e„d o the Town by about seventy horse of the Electors o the lower part of 
he Connty and then proceeded toward the place of Election in the following order, vu: 
Fi-st r le tw o trumpeters and three violins; next, four of the principal Freeholders, one of 
v nVl ca rhHl a banner, on one side of which was affixed in gold capitals « king George and 
n the other in golden' capitals "Liberty and Law"; next ™°^^£trtto££ 
Morris, Esq., then two Colours; and at sun rising they entered upon the Gu 'en at La ^ ; 
followed by above three hundred horse of the principle Freeholders of he County, a greater 
number than had ever appeared for one man since the settlement of that County. 

blaster appoint 1, the Society fee Propagate of the W^ lately made by 

lXSthffiXh^=ie SLirMtSSf : 

Provtaee of New York, and the Honourable Frederick Phillipse Esq Second Judge of he 

Sd Province and Baron of the Exchequer, attended by about a hundred and seventy horse 

(the beholders and friends of the said Forster and the two *$£»%*"* "'" 

hat wine the to Judge returned in the same manner, some of the late Judge s party crying 
out' No Excise" nn<l one of them was heard to say (though not by the Judge), "No 
Pretender "upon which Forster, the Candidate, replied, « I will take notice of you. Tin 
aftotatreS to the house of Mr. Baker, which was prepared to receive and entertain 

1 .. Abou "an hlr after, the High Sheriff came to town, finely mount *«£*£■£ 
„,i,l holster cans being scarlet, richly laced with silver. Upon Ins approach, the Elect Orson 

1.1, v em i, the Green, where they were to elect, and, after having read Ins Majesty s 
to b the 1 te "proceed to a choice, which they did, and a great majority appeared tor 
Mr. Morris the late Judge; upon which a pell was demanded, hut by whom is not known to 
"* SoS SrtSEtfiMS tMe teXrSl side the majority 


alleged on that side; and, notwithstanding that he was told by the late , Cluef IS ^ 

eStt This Cooper now High Sheriff of the said County, is said not only to be a granger in 
that Cu^, but not having a foot of land or other visible estate ™**%r°*™* 
granted, and it is believed he had not wherewithal to purchase any. The polling had not 
Ton- been continued before Mr. Edward Stephens, a man of a very considerable estate 


said Comity, did openly, in the hearing of all the Freeholders there assembled, charge William 
Forster, Esq., the Candidate on the other side, with being- a Jacobite, and in the interest of 
the Pretender, and that he should say to Mr. William Willet (a person of good estate and 
known integrity, who was at that time present and ready to make oath to the truth of 
what was said) that true it was that he had not taken the oaths to his Majesty King George, 
and enjoyed a place in the Government under him which gave him his bread; yet notwith- 
standing that, should King James come into England he should think himself obliged to go 
there and fight for him. This was loudly and strongly urged to Forster's face, who denied 
it to be true; and no more was said of it at that time. 

About 11 o'clock that night the poll was closed, and it stood thus: 

For the Late Chief Justice 231 

The Quakers 38 


For William Forster, Esq 151 

The Difference 11S 

Total 269 

So that the late Chief Justice carried it by a great majority without the Quakers. Upon 
closing the poll the other candidate, Forster, and the Sheriff, wished the late Chief Justice 
much joy. Forster said he hoped the late Judge would not think the worse of him for 
setting up against him, to which the Judge replied \w believed he was put upon it against his 
inclinations, but that he was highly blamable, and who did or should know better for 
putting the Sheriff, who was a stranger and ignorant upon such matters, upon making so 
violent an attempt upon the liberty of the people, which would expose him to ruin if he were 
worth £10,000, if the people aggrieved should commence suit against him. The people made 
a loud huzza, which the late Chief Judge blamed very much, as what he thought not right. 
Forster replied he took no notice of what the common people did, since Mr. Morns did not 
put them upon the doing of it. The indentures being sealed, the whole body of Electors 
waited on their new Representative to his lodgings with trumpets sounding and violins 
playing, and in a little time took their leave of him, and thus ended the Election to the general 

The rallying cries of the two parties, "No Land Tax" and "No 
Excise," related to a current political issue of some importance. Phil- 
ipse had opposed the levying of quit-rents on his manor, which his 
partisans termed a "land tax," and instead of it had advocated the 
raising of revenue by excise duties. This issue, however, was only 
an incidental one in the great contest of 1733. Quit-rents had always 
been exceedingly objectionable to the rural population, and excise 
duties were almost equally unpopular. As the Philipse and de Lan- 
cey party chose to take their stand against the so-called land tax, 
the Morrisites met them by raising the counter issue of no excise. 
But in reality it was a contest on the sole question of the governor's 
outrageous abuse of authority, and as such it became a perfect test 
of the disposition and readiness of the people to shake off the fetters 
of an odious government ami to array themselves for free institu- 
tions. There was no mistaking the true nature of the emergency, 
and the minds of the people were not to be confused by the pre- 
tense that it was an ordinary struggle over the opposing doctrines 



of " land tax " and " excise." All the government influence was ar- 
rayed againsl Morris, and with a f..m.alii.v ami .ht.T.ninaiion most 
conspicuous. The Morris party, on the other hand, stood just as un- 
mistakably and resolutely for the principle of popular defiance of op 
pressive government. The electors of the county were conscious thai 
the verdict which they were called upon to render would have the 
greatesl moral weight, and would be taken as n crucial test oi the 
atate of public opinion In these cinu instances, emphatic as was 
the majority i<>r Morris, the character and composition of his fol 
lowing were even more significant than the mere proportions of his 
vote. We are told that his supporters from the lower pari of the 
county " numbered onlj aboul seventy horse." 'I he remainder came 

from far ami wide, run I nl.ii I .-.| hv ,-vrrv p.,rli..n -,f Hi" (Oimty excepl 

i tie borough Town of Westchester, which was a constituency by itself, 
,,,,1 the Manor of Philipscbu . L - 1. , whirl,, under the influence of its 
im i for his antagonii t. I rom L'elhara and New 
,r i lie Manor of I lort landl I he word 
,i i iastchester earlj on the 
• I-. Kven the Quakers, the 
strictest oi Sabbath observers, joined in the throng which began to 

m ,,vr thitlnr .,n Mi.nlay riiin;/ and a f temOOIJ. 11 WBS H Sponta 

MlI1 ,, ,,,■ ,!,,. f)(H) pie to rogh ter their votes in a -real cause. 

|,,. government , amlnlalr r.>m ma mini prart ira 1 1 V 

thai w hich wa Philipsc 

ipporl was in the 
hen measured against th 
e county it w us u 1 1 erly overbi >rno. 
i the Morris party, " No Pretender! " and the altercation 

| .| : ,r.,l,ii.- prim i|. !•■.>•. "I I "iv.l-T al'lunl a-hl^l illus 

proprietor, waj 
Uochelle to th( 
had gone forth to gather on the Un 

niMinni;. mI M. mm lav, tl..- L".Hli «>f 0< 


neons ass 

< m the other li 

no support, 
of the powe 
ri> Lancoj 

lions, but w 

people ol ill 

The cry <» 

nboiil I he si 


'I hi, 

irectly subordinate to the will 
I the influence of I foief Justice 
acro-regale of a" mean propor 

i 1 " ion of i he fundau 

tin- I'xilcl Stuarts \v 

the throne of Knglam 

tal character of the contest At thai period 
. : .nii scheming to make their way back to 

In ||,,. nun. I-, ..I (In- (.lain p.-.,p|.-, particularly 

the d< 

in i he \ merica n i olonies, I he associa I ions ( »i 

wore entirely ' hose of oppressive rule, licenl ioi 

religious intolerance. So severer political re] 

an American subjecl (especially if he son 

suspii ion of being n Jacobite or support 

Hem e th.- ala.rn \ v, ith w hii h that reproach w 

men1 candidate by the democratic Morrisites. With such an accu 

miilation of aristocratic sins upon him, it was an inconvenienl 

position in which I'orstor stood when he faced the Westchester yeo 

graded dynasty 

corrupt ion, and 

could attach to 

elective office) than the 

,r the Stuart Pretender. 

ii" ni i he govern 

Ml I , 1,1,1 .'II' 

u WA'A 


Tin- U ( ipnpi I i< [kii 'I fif (he <-l< - (inn reprndin i il i fis i il 
|,. n |,v .i [H in t< r Ik. 1. 1 New Vnf'k, MM <lnhn I'elei /ellgel I'" hil.«l 

,.,,i,, |.o l,.i ill III ■!' I l«. \\ il tl'*MM I I" I I "•■"I' •"" l flotlfll l< ! I lflt.4 ii. I. '! 

!,i , | fij .,1 1 1 I., i il,. ml limn "I 1 1 ' ' Wrrkii/ (fa rMr. % 

; ,i i (ml i im. 1 1.. ..hi fn i ipnp< r in I In |n •■ Im i ' In hl ■■' "" l " 1 " i 
,,i ii,,- (jn , it, .i|.|.i .u.'l ..i. I " Infn i Mi I i ' .. iimli i 1 1" 'ii" i Hon of 
\\ iiii.ii,, Hi ,i.ii., i-l v ho fi i "i i"in,'i i fi [irinh r In IMiilndi Ipliln, [nil 
, M) , ,. \{\%\ h,..l [mm ii ••'• ' i mi" nl |H Inlci In U ■ "i I rm fi mini 
,,l j in |„ i fiiifiiifn .. - r find Film i v linl I" tnigfil enrn nl his i rtiti 
The </(/ '//' , n.ii in .ill' .i ■■•• . i in,,, ni <.i i i.i 'i i in ■.'!•• 1 1 ..ui i In- Vnu 
|,, lln mritrnvci i , In en " i Hpnloii il i Fin I ill In pi i" 1 rml hlnji "''J' ' 

lUttmUU' i" il' I| " 1 " f«nd Id [phi I i mn i Find '/• nj ■ i i il rongl 

j,,.. Morr! i reporl nf Hie We ih l.« iter 
( ,,uni ■ .•!<•» i ion - ., 1 1,, i ■ I'.k .|iii i. H n 
...l.ij.i. <l for in wi i Inn in II It in mid 
II,. 1 1 '/< I,-. •!■, before r < I u r n i k • • tn 
\ .,i I itio .-.I In i in,, im ■< i ipl f.o fi lend 
mi' Iim-imI, u I..., n-fi I I m- f.o the (Jiml 
, i ,,i. uiid 1 1 imI in ' 'i ;• Ii i ■' " fl 

Hurl ;, , opie I /\l Fill < .cfil I, lie Fil nm <■ 

f 00 | I. p , fo l..-:-in I Im |. ill. In Fl.l lofl "I Fl 

rivnl new KpH per ; ■< ml n weel Intel I he 

In I i | ,r .,) i I,. Ve V '» Ofl ii r«A/// •/""< 

n«/ from i In [rl i I he ele< linn 

reporl ».< i nmpnnied 1 1"- edil inn propel 

nn ,, brond ilde, or mpplenn ril ; find, in 

addition, nppenred I he folio * inji nofnide piei ' "' "' ■ 

On WnUu -l, ... tl- '-I il '•) ' ' ' ' I ' " : , '" 1 "' 

,,, i,i„, ,,i (| l i,l kh Ki ■ '■ 

in, „i (I- m,„-. fi IK ,.,■ r. l. nl riiel 

: .■ •■ In 

w.Unmltom u\ i.K |*<> f ,i> »,« I II . ■ n 

,.,,.., ,,i ,,.,' ■'■ ' ; 

,-" I-" '" f"i 

: I in il,- ..,..!•' 

' •« | ' I. 

| ))( I,.,., |, il,,- ;,,,■.,!<• || .i,l im i.i irn pre allied .un'-n;- -ill i hi ' nl 
pttph ' eepl tl"- '" \hium\UiU-\) \<U nlifn -I villi \.\u «nv< f-m»i i - 
. n ,-l i h< i,' /, ■ ,.i i'-'l -• hi, . ' i'.i- H." in 'Ii ilnnl p.u i -, <>li I he i nun 

'I i,,. | ( ,.|| i f ,l i|,. • Middle i>ui' h rjhiin h, "J. ih ■ mil 
,-,l,i. |, I:,,, \ .hi Ik, , - - .i meniM-r, vtittu n - " 

il,,. h, ||, -,,,•■< r i'. •■<.!(. in 'ii." Kit.- Hi" <■ ■•■i.i, ' Firved deep in ' i ■ ' 
,.,,,ll ,,i ii,,- , it| ,ol,-i il.' in u npin,., I. VI fiH ■ '•■ I' l 
,,,,i1m •nil he deciphered fi.I Ihe lime vhen H,. led- •"...' ] " '- 1 ■ ■' ■"-''" 

,. M , ||. (■' .1 I ' 

- , .< 


Zenger's attendance as a self-constituted reporter at the election 
at Eastchester, and his resulting establishment of the New York 
Weekly Journal, led to a train of remarkable consequences. Like 
Leisler, Zenger was a German by birth — a typical representative of 
the early class of alien immigrants who came to America to better 
their condition, and readily adapted themselves to the institutions 
which they found here. He came over as a lad in the Palatinate 
immigration of 1710, served as an apprentice at the printing trade 
with William Bradford for eight years, and later opened a printing- 
office of his own, which was located on intone Street, near the corner 
of Whitehall. Zealously devoted to the principles of the anti-Cosby 
party, he embarked boldly in his opposition newspaper publishing 
venture without weighing and doubtless without caring for the con- 
siderations of caution which naturally should have suggested them- 
selves to a person assuming such a responsibility in those times of 
very limited license for the press. He was immediately supported 
and encouraged by the foremost leaders of the popular party— men 
like Van Dam, Morris, and the two most eminent New York lawyers 
of the period, James Alexander and William Smith, both of whom 
had been present in Morris's behalf at the Westchester County elec- 
tion. These and others furnished him, for his paper, numerous able 
and aggressive articles upon topics germane to the absorbing ques- 
tion of popular rights, which were printed over noms de plume. The 
tone of the Wecldy Journal gradually became more direct, personal- 
ities were indulged in, and unsparing poetical effusions, of very man- 
ifestly personarapplication to the governor and his creatures, were 
provided from time to time for a smiling public. Governor Cosby 
endured these wicked polemics and exacerbating satires, though not 
without much misery of soul, for the space of about a year. Then, 
unable longer to restrain his rage, he resolved to crush the atrocious 
sheet forever and to visit condign punishment upon its owner. 

In this undertaking the governor had the cordial assistance of 
Chief Justice de Lancey, who applied to the grand jury to find an 
indictment against Zenger. But that body, made up from the ranks 
of the people, ignored the demand. Next, Cosby caused his council 
to send to the general assembly a message on the subject of the 
scurrilous publications. The assembly, no more complaisant than 
the grand jury, calmly laid the matter on the table. Finally, in con- 
sequence of some new and particularly flagitious publications, de 
Lancey procured from the grand jury a presentment against the spe- 
cial numbers of the paper containing them, which were accordingly 
burned by the hangman. But what was most desired, the indictment 
of Zenger, was still refused. lie was nevertheless arrested on an in- 



formation for libel, and, after languishing in prison several months, 
was brought to trial on a charge of printing matter that was " false, 
scandalous, and seditious." His counsel, Alexander and Smith, cour- 
ageously took the ground that the whole proceedings before de Lan- 
cey were illegal, inasmuch as the new chief justice had been ap- 
pointed by the mere executive act of the governor, without the con- 
sent of the council. De Lancey met this contention by summarily 
disbarring the two lawyers. With their exit from the scene the 
entire defense seemed doomed to fall to the ground, as there was no 
other sufficiently able lawyer in New York to take it up. In this 
emergency Andrew Hamilton, of Philadelphia, an advocate of con- 
summate intellectual qualities 
and fascinating eloquence, and 
the Nestor of the whole colo- 
nial bar, was persuaded to 
come to New York and assume 
the defense of the unfortunate 
printer. Hamilton admitted 
the publication of the matters 
complained of, but demanded 
that witnesses be summoned 
to prove them libelous. This 
was not to the taste of the chief 
justice, and was denied on the 
principle that "the greater 
the truth, the greater the 
libel." Thereupon, accepting 
with good grace the ruling 
of the court, Hamilton pro- 
ceeded to address a power- 
ful plea to the jury as judges 
both of the law and the facts. 

He urged them, as patriots and freemen, to dismiss all prejudice 
from their minds and determine from the facts whether the ac- 
cused had not really published the truth, or what represented legiti- 
mate public opinion, which he had the right to do and which 
there was need of doing under a free government. " I make no 
doubt," said he, in prophetic words, "but your upright conduct this 
day will not only entitle you to the love and esteem of your fellow- 
citizens, but every man who prefers freedom to a life of slavery will 
bless and honor you as men who have baffled the attempts of tyranny, 
and, by an impartial and incorrupt verdict, have laid a noble founda- 
tion for securing to ourselves, our posterity, and our neighbors that 



to which nature and the laws of our country have given us a right — 
the liberty of both exposing and opposing arbitrary power in these 
parts of the world, at least by speaking and writing truth. 1 ' To this 
unanswerable argument the jury responded by an almost immedi- 
ate verdict of acquittal. Hamilton was hailed by the people with 
acclaims even more enthusiastic and flattering than those which had 
greeted Morris. He was presented by the common council with the 
freedom of the city in a gold box, and upon his departure for Phila- 
delphia a salute was fired in his honor. It was in the month of Au- 
gust, 1735, that this crowning victory of the people over their tyran- 
nous governor was won — just two years after the humiliation of 
Chief Justice Morris. 

The Zenger verdict established forever the principle of the liberty 
of the press in America. During the long controversy and agitation 
which preceded it, the people had familiarized themselves with the 
doctrine of resistance to tyrants. " If all governors are to be rever- 
enced," said one of the writers in Zenger's Journal, " why not the 
Turk and old Muley, or Nero?" It became decidedly the fashion to 
exalt the people above their rulers, and to make pungent retorts to 
those who urged the old ideas of obedience to authority. In the spirit 
of political independence nurtured and matured during that period, 
reflective historical writers have recognized one of the earliest foun- 
dations of the American Revolution. That spirit, as an active force, 
underwent a suspension after the realization of its immediate ob- 
ject, only to be revived, however, with increased energy, wiien the 
issues antecedent to the Revolution began to take shape. From that 
October day, when the people of Westchester County gathered in 
front of the old Eastchester church to rebuke the presumption of 
the royal governor, the ultimate attitude of New York concerning 
any question of popular right never could have been in doubt. The 
sentiment so emphatically expressed by Westchester County w r as 
most heartily sustained by the people of New York City whenever 
the citizens of that municipality had opportunity to make their at- 
titude felt. The public bodies of the city were uniformly opposed 
to Cosby's attempts. In September, 1731, when the agitation arising 
out of the Van Dam matter, Morris's dismissal, and the course of 
the Weekly Journal was at its height, an election for aldermen and 
assistants was held, at which only one of the government candi- 
dates was successful. As we have seen, the grand jury from first 
to last refused to indict Zenger; and the common council was equally 
refractory when demands were made upon it by the governor, and at 
the happy termination of the Zenger prosecution celebrated the 
grand popular victory by awarding the highest public honors to 


New -York Weekly JOURNAL 

Containing the fnjbejl Advices, Foreign, md Domfiick. 

M UN DAT Novembc 

ri2, 1733. 


Mr. Zenger. 

Ncert the following in your next 
and you'll oblige your Friend, 


Mira temporum felicitas ubt-pntiri qua 
vein, & qua feutras dicer e licit. 


THE Liberty of the Prefs 
is a Subject of the great- 
eft Importance, and in 
which every Individual 
is as much concern'd as 
lie is in any other Part of Liberty : 
Therefore it will not be improper to 
communicate to the Publick the Senti- 
ments of a late excellent Writer upon 
this Poin r . fuch is the Elegance and 
Pcrfpicuity of his Writings, fuch the 
inimitable Fo'cc of his Reafjning, that 
it will be difficult to fay any Thins 
new that he has not faid, or not to 
fey that much woife which he has 

There are two Sorts of Monarchies, 
an abfolute and a limited one. In the 
firft, the Liberty of the Profs can never 
be maintained, it is inconfiflent with 
it •, for what abfolute Monarch would 
fuffeT any Subject to animadvert 
on his Actions, when it is in his Pow- 
er to declare the Crime, and to nomi- 
nate the Punifhmcnt > This would 
make it very dangerous to exercifefuch 
a Liberty Bcfidcs the Object againft 
which thole Pen3 muft be directed, is 

their Sovereign, the fole fupream Ma- 
Iht - ti for ^hcrc beingno-Law fa 
thole Monarchies, but the Will of the 
In nee, n makes it nccertary for his 
Mimftcrs to confult his Plcafure be- 
fore any Thing can be undShfflftti : 
He is therefore properly chargeable 
with the Grievances of his Subjects, 
and what the Minifter there acts bdir.g 
in Obedience to the Prince, he ought 
not to incur the Hatred of the People • 
for it would be hard to impute that l0 
him for a Crime, ^which is theFruitof 
his Allegiance, and for refilling which 
he might incurthe Penalties of Trea- 
fon. Befides, in an abfolute Monar- 
chy, the Will of the Prince being the 
Law,a Liberty of the Prefs to complain 
of Grievances would be complaining 
againft the Law, and the Conftitution, 
to which they have fubrnitted, or have 
been obliged to fubmit:, and therefore 
in one Senfe, may be fai'd to deferve 
Punifhment, So that under an abfo 
lute Monarchy, I fay, fuch a Liberty 
is inconfiftent with the Conftitution, 
having no proper Subject in Politics' 
on which it might beexercis'd, and if 
exercis'd Would incur a certain Penalty 
But in a limited Monarchy, as Fvg 
land is, our Laws are known, fixed 
and efhblifhed. They are the flreigh 
Rule and fureGuide to direct theKing, 
the Minifters, and other his Subjects : 
And therefore an Offence againft the 
Laws_ is fuch an Offence againft the 
Conftitution as ought to receive a pro 
per adequate Punifhment j the levexis. 



Zenger's lawyer. No other attitude was to have been expected, how- 
ever, of New York City, with its largely preponderant element of 
tradespeople and other plain citizens, who were substantially united 
in opposition to offensive manifestations of power. But in West- 
chester County, dominated to so great an extent by conservative 
landlords, the case was widely different. In this county the real 
battle was fought and won, determining unmistakably the exist- 
ence of a decisive majority against royal oppression among the peo- 
ple of the province at large. Nothing is more interesting in con- 
nection with the Westchester electoral contest of 1733 than the fact 
that the lines of local division upon which it was fought were pre- 
cisely the ones that divided the rival Whig and Loyalist factions of 
the county when they came to make their trial of strength forty 
years later on the issue of co-operation or non-co-operation with the 
general cause of the American colonies. At the historic meeting of 
the freeholders of Westchester County held at White Plains on the 
11th of April, 1775, the contending parties were again led by the 
heads of the Morris and Philipse families — Lewis Morris, 3d, grand- 
son of the chief justice, and Frederick Philipse, 3d, son of the Judge 
Philipse of Cosby's Court of Chancery. And the result was the same 
as on the first occasion— a complete triumph for the Morris party, 
representing, as before, the principle of non-obedience to objection- 
able government. 

Lewis Morris, the deposed chief justice, upon re-entering the as- 
sembly became at once the leader of the popular forces in that body. 
It being decided to send a representative to England to inform the 
home government of Cosby's bad acts, and if possible get him re- 
called, Morris was selected to go on that errand. He made the 
journey in 1731, duly laid the grievances of the colonists before the 
privy council, and procured a. decision pronouncing the grounds of 
his own removal from the chief justiceship inadequate, but received 
no further satisfaction. Soon afterward, in 1736, Cosby died. Morris, 
upon his return to America, was very warmly greeted by the people. 
Notwithstanding his prominent connection with the events whose 
history we have traced, and in spite of the comparative failure ol 
his mission to England, he retained the friendship and appreciation 
of influential men at the British court, and was, in 1738, appointed 
colonial governor of New Jersey, a position which he continued to 
hold until his death, May 21, 171(3. He left his Morrisania property 
jointly to his son Lewis and his widow, directing that the whole 
should go to the former upon the latter' s death. His New Jersey 
property he bequeathed to another son, Robert Hunter Morris, who 
held, at the time of the father's death, the distinguished office of 



chief justice of that province. Lewis Morris, Sr., represented the 
County of Westchester in the provincial assembly until his appoint- 
ment as governor of New Jersey, when he resigned, retiring perma- 
nently from public life in New York. 

Chief Justice Morris gave his Manor of Morrisania to his eldest 
son, Lewis, third of the name, who was known by his contempora- 
ries, and is referred to in all historical works, as Lewis Morris, Jr. 
He was the father of Colonel Lewis Morris, the signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence; of the still more noted statesman, Gouverneur 
Morris; of Judge Richard Morris, successor to John Jay as chief 
justice of the Supreme Court of New York State; and of General 
Staats Long Morris, of the British army. 

Lewis Morris, Jr., third proprietor and second lord of the Morris 
estates in Westchester County, was 
born September 23, 1698. Most of his 
political career was contemporaneous 
with that of his father, which it closely 
resembled in its general characteris- 
tics. Tie was a deputy for Westchester 
Borough in the general assembly from 
1732 to 1750, serving as speaker 
in 1737. Previously to entering the 
assembly he had been a member of 
the governor's council for some years, 
but had been removed from that 
body in 1730 because of his deter- 
mined opposition to the policies of 
Governor Montgomerie. He was, in- 
deed, quite as heartily disliked by 
Montgomerie as his father was by 

Cosby, and apparently for quite similar reasons. In justification 
of li is course in the council lie wrote a very able letter to the 
English government, which is a luminous presentation of the par- 
tisan differences of the time. When the great popular issue arose 
in 1733 on the Van Dam salary question he was a zealous supporter 
of his father's cause. Cosby, in his denunciatory communications to 
the Lords of Trade respecting the attitude of Chief Justice Morris, 
speaks with savage resentment of the son also, who, he says, having 
"got himself elected an assemblyman for a borough, gave all the 
opposition he could to the measures the house took to make the gov- 
ernment easy." With this wanton behavior of the junior Morris, 
Cosby continues, the father was well pleased, " wherein without 



doubt he had an eye on the Boston assembly, 1 whose spirit begins to 
diffuse itself too much amongst the other provinces." During the 
absence of the deposed chief justice in England (1734-36) the son 
took his place here in public leadership. After Cosby's death, early 
in 1730, an animated controversy sprang up concerning the legality 
of the accession of Clarke, at that time president of the council, to 
the position of lieutenant-governor, the popular faction declaring his 
assumption of power to be irregular. This was the occasion of nu- 
merous official letters of complaint by the unhappy lieutenant-gov- 
ernor. He related how Morris and his son, Van Dam, Smith, and 
Alexander had by their long-continued acts " wrought the people to 
a pitch of rebellion." " These are the men," he said, " who declaim 
against the king's prerogative, who poison the minds of the people, 
who libel the governor and all in authority in weekly printed papers, 
and who have endeavored to distress the governor in his just ad- 
ministration." He went so far as to recommend, as a drastic remedy, 
that the younger Morris and others be sent to England for sedition, 
a thing which he regretted he could not venture to do without orders, 
because " forbidden by His Majesty's instructions to send any pris- 
oners to England without sufficient proof of their crimes to be trans- 
mitted with them." They were a worrisome set, these Morrises, to 
royal governors having a fancy for arbitrary power and a strong dis- 
taste for popular interference with their executive ease. 

The younger Morris was also a judge of the Court of Admiralty, 
and at one time a judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. He was 
twice married, his first wife being Catherine Staats, and his second 
Sarah Gouverneur. Like his father, he possessed a positive tempera- 
ment, an unbending will, and a rather domineering manner. His 
uncompromising disposition in all matters of opinion and feeling- 
is well illustrated by the celebrated direction given in his will re- 
garding the education of his son Gouverneur. " It is my wish," he 
says, " that my son Gouverneur shall have the best education that 
can be furnished him in England or America, but my express will and 
directions are that under no circumstances shall he be sent to the 
Colony of Connecticut for that purpose, lest in his youth he should 
imbibe that low craft and cunning so incident to the people of that 
country, and which are so interwoven in their constitution that they 
ean not conceal it from the world, though many of them, under the 
sanctified garb of religion, have attempted to impose themselves 
upon the world as honest men." 

1 It was during the period of the events re- and Peter obtained employment with him and 

corded in this chapter that Faneuil Hall. inherited his fortune. In 1740 the people of 

identified so conspicuously with the subsequent Bogt(m were rtivi(led in opinion llpon the ques- 

a citation for American libertv. was built in ,. . ., ,, . „. . , ,, , . 

T , , _ , ^ .. . . .. lion of the erection of a new Central Market 

P.oston. Peter Faneuil. for whom it was 

named, was a native of our Town of New Hal1 ' and mneh bltter fee,mg was aroused. 

Rochelle, whence he went to Boston in the Thereupon, Peter Faneuil, actuated by public 

year 1720, at the age of eighteen. His uncle spirit, erected Faneuil Hall, and presented it 

Andrew was a wealthy merchant of that city, to the city. 



HE great Manor of Philipseburgh at the death of its founder, 
the first Frederick Philipse, November 6, 1702, was divided 
between two heirs, his son, Adolphus or Adolph, and his 
grandson, Frederick. Adolph took the northern portion, 
extending on the south to the present Dobbs Ferry and bounded on 
the west by the Hudson River, on the north by a line running from 
the mouth of the Croton to the sources of the Bronx, and on the 
east by the Bronx River. Frederick's share, also reaching from the 
Hudson to the Bronx, had for its southern limits Spuyten Duyvil 
Creek and the line of Fordham Manor. In this divided condition the 
manor remained until the death of Adolph in 1740, when, as no issue 
survived him, it was consolidated under the sole ownership of Fred- 
erick. By him the whole manor was transmitted at his death in 
1751 to his eldest son, the third Frederick, who continued in pos- 
session of it until the Revolution. 

When tin- first Frederick Philipse died, the manor had been in ex- 
istence only nine years. But he had previously devoted many years 
to the purchase of the estate and its gradual preparation for aristo- 
cratic pretensions, had built two mansions, one on the Nepperhan 
and one on the Pocantico, had established well-equipped mills, and 
had encouraged the coining of tenants by giving them land on the 
most liberal terms. After the erection of the manor he was active 
in various ways in improving the property and promoting its avail- 
ability for permanent settlement. He built across the Spuyten 
Duyvil Creek, in 1694, the first bridge connecting the mainland witii 
Manhattan Island, which has been known from that day to this as 
the King's Bridge. Having established his permanent country resi- 
dence at Castle Philipse, on the present site of Tarrytown, he built 
near there the first church in the western section of the county — the 
far-famed Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. 1 In a communication from 

1 See p. 163. While the present History lias every personal and local name, of its four great 

boen going through the press, there has been registers of members, consistorymen, baptisms, 

published a little book entitled, " First Record an(J marriageSi f rom i ts organization to the 

Cook of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hoi- eighteenth century. Translated and 
low, Organized in 1697, and now the First Re- 

formed Church of Tarrytown. N. Y. An orig- copied from the original, and carefully proof- 

islation of its brief historical matter. 

d. by Rev. David Cole, D.D.. Yonkers, 

id a reproduction, faithful to the letter of X. Y. 


Governor Bellomont to the Lords of Trade, written in 1698, it is 
stated that at that time there were not more than twenty " poor 
families " in the whole Manor of Philipseburgh ; but there are strong 
reasons for regarding this as an utterly unreliable estimate. Bello- 
mont was a governor of reform tendencies, and was particularly un- 
sparing in his denunciations of the enormous land grants of his 
predecessors. He naturally wished to make these grants appear in 
as bad a light as possible, and so, in writing upon the subject to 
his superiors, represented that practically nothing had been done 
by the grantees toward populating their lands. It is unquestion- 
able that the first lord of the manor laid substantial foundations for 
its development and transmitted it to his successors in a condition 
of reasonably good preparedness for rapid progress. At the census 

of 1712, only ten years after his death, the 
population of Philipseburgh Manor was 
60S— more than one-fifth of the whole 
population of the county. 

All of the first Frederick's children 
were the offspring of his first wife, Mar- 
garet Hardenbrook De Vries. His sec- 
ond wife, Catherina, a sister of Stephanas 
Van Cortlandt and widow of John Der- 
vall, survived him many years, dying in 
V 1730. She lived witli her stepson, Adolph, 
\a at Castle Phiiipse, and was universally 
beloved for her gentle and pious char- 
acter. In the records of the Sleepy Hol- 

GOVEHNOR BELLOMONT. lOW CllUTCh SllC is Spokoll of aS " tilt' 

Bight Honorable, Godfearing, very wise 
and prudent Lady Catherine Phiiipse." By her will she left to the 
congregation of that church a chalice bearing her name, a baptismal 
bowl, and a damask cloth. 

Both Adolph and Frederick, the surviving male heirs of the first 
lord, were men of mark and influence, not only as Westchester County 
landlords, but in the general concerns of the province. Adolph was 
his second son and Frederick his grandson — the only child of his 
eldest son, Philip, who died on the Island of Barbadoes in 1700. 

Adolph Phiiipse was born in New York City, November 15, 1065. 
He was reared to mercantile pursuits, and according to all accounts 
was, like his father, a shrewd and successful man of affairs. From 
old official documents it appears that he was his father's trusted and 
active lieutenant in the conduct of delicate transactions with the 
piratical skippers of the Indian Ocean. Notorious as were the rela 



tions which Philipse and others sustained with the pirates, it was 
of course not safe for the pirate ships to attempt to deliver their 
cargoes at New York, or even to rendezvous within too close prox- 
imity to that port. It was the custom to dispatch from New York 
vessels to meet them at more or less distant points along- the coast, 
which vessels, after receiving their valuable merchandise, would 
either return to the vicinity of New York and await opportunity to 
smuggle the stuff in, or sail to Europe and dispose of it there. Adolph 
was the discreet representative of the house of Philipse in the man- 
agement of these important details. In a memorable report of the 
British Board of Trade, October 19, 1698, on the connections sub- 
sisting between the New York merchants and the pirates, the opera- 
tions of the clever Adolph in one instance are explicitly described. A 
ship or sloop called the " Frederick," belonging to Frederick Philipse, 
at that time " one of his Majesty's Council of New York," was, " upon 
expectation of a vessel from Madagascar," sent out under the con- 
duct of Adolph Philipse. This was " upon pretence of a voyage to 
Virginia, but really to cruize at sea, in order to meet the said vessel 
from Madagascar. Upon meeting of that vessel great parcells of East 
India goods wore by direction of the said Adolphus Philipse taken 
out of her, and put aboard the said sloop ' Frederick,' with which, by 
his order, she sayled to Delaware Bay and lay there privately. He 
in ye meanwhile returned in the Madagascar ship (having then only 
negroes on board) to New York, and after some days came again to 
the ' Frederick ' sloop in Delaware Bay. There the said sloop deliv- 
ered some small part of East India cargo, and from thence, by his 
direction, sayled with the rest (North about Scotland) to Hamburgh, 
where some seizure 5 having been made by Sir Paul Ricaut (His Maj- 
esty's Resident there), and the men sent hither (London), they have 
each of them severally made depositions relating to that matter be- 
fore Sir Charles Hedges, Judge of the Admirality. We observe that 
Cornelius Jacobs (the master) appears to be the same Capn. Jacobs 
who is named to have traded with the Pirates." Relations with the 
pirates on the part of Frederick and Adolph Philipse being thus 
established to the satisfaction of the authorities in England, both 
father and son fell under the disfavor of the government. Frederick 
Philipse was forced to give up the seat in the council which he had 
held for a score of years; and Adolph, who had been nominated for 
membership in that body a short time previously by Governor Bello- 
niont, was pronounced unworthy of such an honor, and his name 
was withdrawn. But the disgrace was only a passing cloud. No 
judicial proceedings were taken against either of the Philipses. The 



father died soon after, and the son was graciously forgiven in due 

Adolph Philipse in the year before this episode of the wt Frederick " 
had become on his own account one of the principal land owners of 
the province. On the 17th of June, 1697, Governor Fletcher granted 
to him a patent (known historically as "The Great Highland Patent") 
for the territory immediately above Westchester County, running 
from the Hudson to the Connecticut line, a distance of some twenty 
miles, and extending northward about twelve miles. Out of the 
patent thus conferred Putnam Comity (then a portion of Dutchess 
County) has since been erected. The sole consideration charged for 
the grant was a " Yearly Rent of twenty Shillings Currant money of 

our said Province," payable upon the 
feast day of the Annunciation of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary. Adolph Philipse, 
at his deatii, left the Highland Patent, 
with all his other landed possessions, to 
his nephew, the second Frederick, who 
divided it equally among his three chil- 
dren — Frederick (3d), Mary, wife of Roger 
Morris, a colonel in the British army, and 
Susannah, wife of Colonel Beverly Robin- 
son, also a noted Tory. The whole patent 
Mas partitioned off into three parts and 
nine lots, each child receiving one-third 
part and three lots. The lots acquired by 
Colonel Robinson and Major Morris, says 
Blake in his " History of Putnam Coun- 
ty," were confiscated by the legisla- 
ture, but the reversionary interest was not affected by this action, 
and that interest was purchased of the heirs for $100,000 by the 
first John Jacob Astor, who ten years afterward received for it from 
the State of New York $500,000 in State stock at six per cent. 

After the death of his father, Adolph became the head of the 
family, a position which he divided with his nephew. Frederick, when 
the latter came of age. On the 7th of February, 1705, he was ap- 
pointed a member of the governor's council, and in 1718 he was made 
one of the commissioners for running the boundary line between 
New York and Connecticut. He was removed from the council in 
1721, on the representation of Governor Burnet, for opposing the con- 
tinuance of the assembly after His Fxcellency's arrival. In 1722 he 
was elected a member of the assembly from Westchester Comity, 
of which body he was chosen speaker in 172r>. He sat for West- 



Chester County until the election of 1726, being then returned as 
one of the four members from New York City. He occupied the 
speaker's chair until 1737, when he lost his seat; but at an election 
held soon afterward to till a vacancy from the city he was once 
more returned, although, it was charged, only by means of the "most 
barefaced villany " practiced in his behalf by the sheriff. He was 
again chosen speaker in 1739, and remained as such until 1745, when, 
at the age of eighty, his legislative career was terminated. He died 
in 1740. He was never married. 

It is thus seen that Adolph Philipse was one of the most important 
public characters of his times, being speaker of the assembly for 
eighteen years. His retirement as a member for Westchester County 
was in the interest of his nephew, Frederick, who promptly took 
the seat that he vacated, retaining it without any interruption for 
twenty-four years. 

In the memories of the people of Westchester County the name of 
Philipse is, from the political point of view, identified exclusivelv 
with the idea of ultra devotion to royal authority in the person of 
the king's constituted representative. It is hence an extremely curi- 
ous fact that, six years before the removal of Lewis Morris from the 
chief justiceship, Adolph Philipse, the senior member of this family, 
gave his voice and exercised his official power in exactly the same 
cause as that to which Morris became a martyr— the cause of oppo- 
sition to the Court of Chancery as an extra-constitutional organiza- 
tion, none the less (indeed, all the morel illegal and odious because 
finding its sole warrant for existence in the governor's prerogative. 
In 1727 we find Governor Burnet bitterly complaining to the Lords 
of Trade about some " extraordinary resolves " concerning the Court 
of Chancery, "which," he says, "was all done at the suggestion of 
their speaker, who had lately lost a cause in chancery." Philipse, 
he continues, had "the least reason of any man to disown the Court 
of Chancery, for he himself was a member of council when that court 
was established by the council and when the Lords of Trade ap- 
proved that establishment, and he himself three years ago being cast 
in a suit at common law brought it into chancery and obtained some 
relief from it." Burnet intimates that the conduct of Speaker Phil- 
ipse in this matter was not occasioned by any high sense of principle, 
but was merely personal; and certainly Philipse had no cause in this 
connection, or regarding any other question of policy, to make him- 
self specially complaisant toward Governor Burnet, who had pro- 
cured his dismissal from the council. On the other hand, antago- 
nism to the Court of Chancery was emphatically a popular cause, 
only less so in degree (because of the less emergent circumstances) 



in Burnet's time than in Cosby- s; and whatever personal motives 
may have influenced Philipse's course, that course could not be sepa- 
rated from association with the popular feeling. Adolph Philipse, 
moreover, was never an intense partisan; and his long-continued 
service as speaker of the assembly is sufficient testimony to the 
general fairness and acceptability of his political disposition. He 
always adhered to the simple religious faith in which he had been 
brought up, that of the Dutch Reformed Church, although the 
Church of England increasingly claimed the attachment of the rich, 
powerful, and ambitious; and it occasioned grievous regret to the 
Episcopalians that a man of his prominence should be so conspicu- 


ously unidentified with "the" Church. His public character has been 
summed up in words of unqualified approval by the eminent patriot 
and statesman, John Jay. " He was," says Jay, " a man of superior 
talents, well educated, sedate, highly respected, and popular. Except 
that he was penurious, I have heard nothing to his disadvantage." 

Frederick Philipse, 2d, co-heir with his uncle Adolph under the 
will of the first lord of the manor, was born on the Island of Bar- 
badoes in 1G95. His parents were Philip, eldest son of Frederick and 
Margaret Philipse, and Maria, daughter of Governor Sparks, of Bar- 
badoes. Philip Philipse, born in New York City in 1663, went to 


Barbadoes to reside on an estate of his father's called Spring Head. 
Frederick was the only child, and was left an orphan at the age of 
five. His grandfather, who was still living, thereupon sold the Bar- 
badoes property, and the boy was sent to England to be reared by 
his mother's people. There he remained until his early manhood, en- 
joying every educational and social advantage which wealth and dis- 
tinguished connections could give. Although from these associa- 
tions he derived marked aristocratic predilections, which, in turn, 
were inbred in his children, and became the cause of their undoing 
in the evil days of the Revolution, his character, as thus formed, was 
that of an accomplished and amiable gentleman, quite free from 
corrupt and arrogant traits. By his tenants and the public he was 
always known as "Lord" Philipse, and his personality well corres- 
ponded to his title. " He was/' says Mrs. Lamb, " polished in his 
manners, hospitable, generous, cordial, manly. His cultivated Euro- 
pean tastes were soon distinguishable in his improvements. The 
manor house swelled into thrice its former size, and was beautiful 
in innumerable ways. The two entrances on the new eastern 
front were ornamented with eight columns and corresponding 
pilasters. A broad, velvety lawn appeared skirted by garden ter- 
races, horse chestnuts, and the old Albany and New York Post 
Load, above which rose Locust Hill. To the right and left were 
laid out gardens and grounds, in which flourished valuable trees and 
choice shrubs and flowers, and through which, in all directions, 
stretched graveled walks, bordered with box. To the west the green- 
sward sloped gradually toward the river, dotted with fine specimens 
of ornamental trees, and was emparked and stocked with deer. The 
roof of the manor house was surmounted by a heavy line of balus- 
trade, forming a terrace, which commanded an extensive view. The 
interior of the new part was elaborately finished. The walls were 
wainscoted, and the ceilings highly ornamented in arabesque work. 
The marble mantels were imported from England, and were curious 
specimens of ancient art in the way of carving. The main halls of 
the entrance were about fourteen feet wide, and the superb stair- 
cases, with their mahogany handrails and balusters, were propor- 
tionately broad. The city establishment of the family was, in its 
interior arrangements, quite as pretentious as the manor house, and 
it was where the courtly aristocracy of the province were wont to 
meet in gay and joyous throng." " It was he," says Allison in his 
" History of Yonkers," " who enlarged the Manor House on the Nep- 
perhan in 1745, by extending it to the north, changing its front to 
the east, and giving it its imposing array of windows, its too por- 


ticoes as now seen, and its surrounding balustrade, from which views 
of the river and the Palisades are commanded." 

About the time of his return to America to claim his inheritance, 
young Frederick was married to Joanna, daughter of Lieutenant- 
Governor Anthony Brockholst, who also had been tenderly reared in 
England. During the first few years of his residence on his estate he 
took no part in public life. But from the time of his first election to 
the assembly, in 1726, until his death, in 1751, he was constantly in 
official position. His career in the assembly was not specially note- 
worthy. Despite the rivalry of the Morrises, who stood for political 
views radically opposed to his own, his seat in the assembly seems 
never to have been imperiled. It was an understood thing in West- 
chester County for more than half a century that one of the county 
members should always be a Philipse. He was appointed by Gover- 
nor Montgomerie ou June 24, 1731, third judge of the Supreme Court 
of the province, and on August 21, 1733, by the removal of Morris 
from the chief justiceship and the elevation of de Lancey to that 
office, he became second judge, continuing as such until his death, 
lie was also, from 1735 until his death, judge of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas of Westchester County. 

In opposing Chief Justice Morris and siding with de Lancey upon 
the question of the legality of the Court of Chancery appointed to 
try the Van Dam case, Frederick Philipse followed the natural bent 
of his sympathies. It is related in Governor Cosby 's official letter to 
the home government concerning Morris's famous decision that Jus- 
tice Philipse, in common with Justice de Lancey, heard k ' with aston- 
ishment " the abrupt declaration by the chief justice that the Court 
of Chancery was not a legal tribunal; and this no doubt was a quite 
faithful representation of his mental attitude on that trying occa- 
sion. Whatever may be thought of the conduct of the ambitious de 
Lancey, Philipse's action was unmistakably ingenuous. It probably 
never occurred to him to doubt the perfect regularity and sufficiency 
of a court which had been set over the people at the discretion of 
the king's governor and his advisers. Philipse's career on the bench, 
excepting in this single case, was uneventful and wholly acceptable. 
After the Van Dam decision the Supreme Court was dominated by 
the individuality of de Lancey, as it had previously been by that of 
Morris, and the function of a second judge was not an onerous one. 
Judge Philipse is described in an official communication from the 
council to the English government as " a very worthy gentleman of 
plentiful fortune and good education." 

On his manor — or rather his section of the manor, for it was only 
during the last two years of his life, after the death of his uncle 


Adolph, that he enjoyed possession of the whole property — he ruled 
with much appreciation of his proprietary dignity and corresponding- 
observance of ceremony, but to the uniform satisfaction of his ten- 
ants, lie displayed none of the puffed-up characteristics of the par- 
venue lord, but was kind, approachable, moderate, and good to the 
poor. He presided in person over the manorial court. The inhab- 
itants of the estate, except his immediate household, continued to 
be tenant farmers. He is said to have had fifty family Servants, of 
whom thirty were whites and twenty were negro slaves. He was a 
devoted member of the Church of England, and was The founder of 
Saint John's Episcopal < murch of Yonkers. But it was not until after 
his death that that church had its beginning; during his life he was 
content at such times of the year as he resided in the Manor House 
to worship at the family altar, his tenants being under the mis- 
sionary care of the Parish of Westchester. The first Church of Eng- 
land minister established ai Westchester whose duties included visi- 
tations of the Yonkers portion of Philipseburgh Manor was the Rev. 
Mr. Bartow. He died in 1726. "As often as he could," says a con- 
temporaneous church writer, "he visited Yonkers. A large congre- 
gation, chiefly of Dutch people, came to hear him. There was no 
church built here, so they assembled for divine worship at the house 
of Mr. Joseph Bebits, and sometimes in a barn when empty." That 
this unsatisfactory condition of things was permitted by the second 
lord to continue throughout his lifetime, although meanwhile he 
made the most elaborate expenditures upon his manorial mansion 
and grounds, must be set down positively to his discredit. When, 
finally, by his will he directed his executors to expend £4(10 for the 
erection of a church, he took care to specify that the money should 
come out of the rentals from tin- tenants, lie donated,, however, a 
farm, with residence and outbuildings, lying east of the Sawmill 
River, as a glebe for the minister. The church was promptly built 
(1752-53) by his heir. 

He died in 1751. He had ten children, of whom only four — Fred- 
erick, Philip, Susanna, ami Mary — grew to maturity. Frederick was 
the third and last lord of the manor; Philip died in 1768, leaving 
three children; and Susanna and Mary, as already noted, married, 
respectively. Colonel Beverly Robinson and Major Roger Morris. 
This Mary was the celebrated Mary Philipse for whom George Wash- 
ington, according to some of his biographers, formed in his youth a 
romantic attachment. 

The Manor of Scarsdale, patented to Colonel Caleb Heathcote in 
1701, had only a nominal continuance after his death (1721). He left 
no male heir to take a personal interest in the development of the 

264 HISTORY OF westchestp:r county 

property as one of the great family estates of Westchester County, 
and thus Scarsdale never ranked with the other manors. It was pre- 
served intact, however, under the joint proprietorship of Heath- 
cote's two daughters, until just before the Revolution, when its lands 
were disposed of to various persons by partition sale. Its progress 
in population, although wry slow at first, was ultimately about the 
same as that of the ordinary rural sections of the county. The vil- 
lage of Mamaroneck, lying within its borders, but not belonging to 
the manorial estate, enjoyed steady but slow growth as one of the old 
com in unities on the Sound. 

Heathcote's daughters, Ann and Martha, married, respectively, 
James de Lancey, of New York City, and Dr. Lewis Johnston, of 
Perth Amboy, N. J. Of these two men, the latter 
requires no special notice in our pages; but de Lan- 
eey has more than ordinary claims upon our at- 
tention. This remarkable man. besides being the 
son-in-law of Heathcote, was a grandson of Stepha- 
nas Van Cortlandt, the founder of Van Cortlandt 
Manor, and therefore may be regarded as one of 
Westchester's sons. As the husband of Ann Heath- 
t>e lancey arms. cote he became a large Westchester County land 
owner. The de Lancey family of the county, de- 
scended in part from him and in part from his brother Peter, is one 
to which uncommon historical interest attaches. 

His father, Stephen de Lancey, a descendant in the Huguenot 
bianch of an ancient and noble French house, fled from France after 
the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and in 16SG arrived in New 
York with a capital of £300. Embarking in mercantile pursuits, he 
soon amassed wealth and gained a very influential position, not only 
in the commercial community of New York, but in the government. 
He was a member of the general assembly for many years, was a 
vestryman of Trinity Church in New York, and was noted for his 
public-spirited interest in the concerns of the city. He was a warm 
friend of the Huguenots of New Rochelle. In 1700 he married Ann, 
second daughter of Stephanus Van Cortlandt. James de Lancey, 
the future chief justice and governor, was their eldest son, born in 
New York City, November 27, 1703. 

James was educated at the University of Cambridge, England. In 
1729 he was appointed a member of the governor's council, succeed- 
ing John Barberie, who was his uncle by marriage. In 1731 he was 
made an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and in 1733, at the 
ago of thirty, was promoted to the chief justiceship. Whatever may 
have been the determining reasons for his support of Governor Cosby 


and antagonism of Chief Justice Morris in the Van Dam ease, he 
unhesitatingly followed to its logical conclusion the course that he 
adopted upon that occasion. Of a very proud nature, he deeply re- 
sented the assumption by the other side of superior virtue and superior 
regard for liberty and law. Morris was a man of positive traits, and 
by the exercise of unquestioned judicial authority had grown dicta- 
torial in his old age. Incensed at the attitude of his young associate 
justices, both of whom were still in their thirties, he did not hesitate 
to make known his personal views of their conduct. " On the day 
after the Van Dam decision," writes Governor Cosby to the Duke of 
Newcastle, " the chief justice, coming to court, told those two judges, 
openly and publicly upon the bench before a numerous audience, that 
their reasons for their opinion were mean, weak, and futile; that they 
were only his assistants, giving them to understand that their opin- 
ions, or rather judgments, were of no signification." One can imagine 
how the haughty spirit of de Lancey must have chafed under such lan- 
guage. Although the quarrel resulted in the dismissal of Morris 
and his own appointment to the vacated office, he had to suffer for 
two years the humiliation of extreme unpopularity and of utter 
failure to compel acceptation for his official orders and rulings in 
the further developments of the controversy. The grand jury, de- 
spite his strenuous and repeated application, refused to indict Zenger, 
and on the final trial of that arch-libeler the jury in the case con- 
temptuously scorned the urgent instructions given them by the chief 
justice to find against the accused, and instantly rendered a verdict 
of not guilty amid the rapturous applause of the assembled populace. 
But after the subsidence of the passions of that exciting period, the 
real worth of de Lancey's character became by degrees appreciated. 
Strong-willed and ambitious, he was yet a man of perfect honesty and 
openness, free from all meanness and low craft and servility to the 
great. To the manliest of personal qualities he added brilliant abil- 
ities, an extraordinary capacity for public affairs, and an affability 
and grace of manner which made him an object of general admira- 
tion and affection. During the administration of the royal Governor- 
Clinton, father of Sir Henry Clinton, he severed his connections with 
the "court party" and was consequently regarded with scant favor 
by the executive and his adherents. He was appointed to the office 
of lieutenant-governor by the proper authority in England, but Clin- 
ton revengefully withheld the commission for six years, delivering it 
to him only upon the eve of his own permanent retirement. This 
happened in October, 1753, when the newly appointed governor. Sir 
Danvers Osboru, arrived. A very few days later Osborn committed 
suicide, and de Lancey thus became acting governor. He held the po- 



sition until 1755, serving- so acceptably that when another vacancy 
occurred in 1757 the home government permitted him to practically 
succeed to the full dignity of governor, having decided to make no 
new appointment to the place during his lifetime. Thus de Lancey 
was the first native American to serve regularly as governor of the 
Province of New York, as his grandfather, Stephanas Van Cortlandt, 
was the first to hold the office of mayor of New York City. He died 
on the 30th of July, 1700, being at that time both governor and chief 
justice of New York. 

Governor de Lancey had three sons who grew up — James, Stephen, 
and John Peter. James was prominent politically after his father's 
death until the devolution, and then became a Tory; he married a 
daughter of Chief Justice William Allen, of Pennsylvania; two of his 
sons were officers in the British military and naval service. Stephen 
received from his father as a gift what is now the Town of North 
Salem in this county (which came to the elder de Lancey as his 
share in the Manor of Cortlandt). It was under his land sales that 
that toAvn was settled. He built a large double dwelling, later con- 
verted into the North Salem Academy, where many distinguished 
men (including Governor Daniel D. Tompkins and Chancellor Kent) 
have been educated. John Peter was the ancestor of the Mamaroneck 
de Lanceys. He received a military education in England, and fought 
on the British side in the Revolution, but after the war retired from 
the army and returned to America, taking up his residence on the 
Ueathcote estates on Scarsdale Manor, which he inherited from his 
mother, and where he built the dwelling still known as Heathcote 
Hill. He married Elizabeth Floyd, daughter of Colonel Richard 
Floyd, of Long Island, and among his children were Bishop William 
Heathcote de Lancey, of AYestern New York, and Susan Augusta de 
Lancey, who married James Fenimore Cooper. 

A young brother of Governor de Lancey, Peter, was politically 
prominent in Westchester County, and left a numerous family, sev- 
eral of whom became noted or made advantageous marital alliances. 
He lived at West Farms and was known as " Peter of the Mills." He 
represented the borough Town of Westchester in the assembly from 
1750 to 1708. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Governor Cadwalla- 
der Colden. Among his children were John, who sat in the assembly 
for Westchester Borough from 1708 to 1775, and Avas high sheriff of 
the county in 1709-70; James, high sheriff from 1770 to 1777, the 
famous colonel of the Westchester Light Horse (British), who after 
the Revolution lived and died a refugee in Nova Scotia; and Oliver, of 
West Farms, a lieutenant in the British navy, who resigned his com- 

R I 

in America. 

By the Honourable 

His Majeftfs Lh titenant-Governor and Commana >r in Chief, in and 
over the Proving of New-York, and the Territor, es depending thereon 

A! Proclamation. 


the faid Government can 1' 
ment, the faid Perfons, not conti 
Defigns into Execution, by :nde 
fiicceeded, that feveral Perfons, < 
keep Poffeffion of the Lands 
Bay, and the aforementioned Ind 
bsen obftrucled, the Lives of fe 
Whereas Thirty One of fuch evi 
and riotoufly aflemblcd themfelve 
Eighteen Miles from Hudfon's Rivi 
Vangtlder, and his Brother, faid tj 
riotoufly affembled, were command 
Jcftkes of the Peace, two Cor.ftabll 
and difperfe the Rioters ; four only 
were Loop Ho!ec ; fired through the 
an Hour tWeaJv'r, and another fon 

HEREASjt appears, That certain Perfons refiding on oSnear the Eaftern Borders of 

this Provirffc, have entered into a Combination to difpoffefs Robert l&ngjhn, jun. Efq ; Proprietor of the 
Alamr of LuingJIcn, within this Province, and the Tenants holding fader him, of the Lands comprifed 
within the aid Manor, under Pr-tence of Title from the Oovewimenf of the Alajad>ujetl> Bay, as alfo of 
an Indian Pirchafe lately made by the faid Perfons jaltho' tis moS riotous that the &id Manor hath, 'til 
"7 !i*^ t>ee ' 1 peaceably heW -sni enjc 


fdjnd their Claim. Notwithfta 
th their former Intrufio 

nmyed-by the laid R-soerf Livmgyon, ar.d'fcs 4lK«fturs, for Seventy 
<) i . .. w ii n . ^v if ui" ik ' "J > *! i '»ltiifafi*' g,^r?|ignSv^icn' only 'iX: corrcewtl 

nding which clear and nianif 

: on His Majefty's Lands w th< 

Buring to corrupt and turn Mr. Livingjhris own Tcnan 

ithin a few Years held Lands as Tenants under, 

Dclance of, and fet up a pretended Right againft him, under 

iPurchafe; by which illegal Proceedings, fupportcd with 

'il of his Majefty's Subjetfs loft, and private Property i 

inded Perfons, in order to profecute their unjuft Defigns 

iTackbanick, at the Houfe uf Jonathan Barbie, which flan 

, among whom were the faid 'Jonathan Darbie, alio Job 

be Andriet Vangeldtr, Samuel Taylor, Ebentzer Taylor, M. Andriei J.Reej'e, and being 
d to difperfe by the Deputy Sheriff of the County, in the ffefence ot one of His Majefty's 
i, and other Perfons who came thither with the' laid Roh fhivmgjhn, to fupprefs the R' 
if whom went off, the others (hutting themfelves up in the I W Darby's Houfe, in which .th 
kme, and before they difperfed, feveral were wounded on bo i Sides, one of whom died 
B Time after, of the Wounds they then received. IN Ord< ^therefore to put a Stop as much 
cay be to P'ocs«ding», the Confcdfcnces whereof have already been fatal to fome, and winch if not timely prevented, may ft ill 
be produi?nve of the worfi Evd3 to *>Jep ; and to efhblifh and keep up Peace and a good Und (landing among the Borderefs, till 
unhappy Cor.troverfy ihall be ft,|ed in a legal Courfc : I HAVE thought fit, with the A. -jce of His Majefty's Conned, to 

Right, on the Part of this Govorn- 
he fame, firft begin to carry their 
againft him, in which they fo far 
ind paid their Rents to him, now 
e Government of the Majfachufetts 
Orce, the Courfe of Juilice hath, 
ringeu and greatly injured. And 
m the 7th Day ui May laft, armed 
d 6t the Diftance of not more than 
Reefe, lltndrick . 

jUJe this Proclamation, Hereby in 
bear r.nd refrain from fi:ch violent anjj 
of the Law. And thst th; Offend 
and all other Officers therein, are he 
Bmfie, Jofeph Vangeldtr, Samuel Tt\ 
appear to nave been aiding or alettii 
committed, in fife Cufody, in that 
fceep in fafe Cuftody all and every . 
Ar.d all His Majefty's Subjects 
rafr>echve Counties, who are hereby] 
putting the Premifes iri Execution. 

> maieity siNsme, nrictly enjoining 

unjuft Proceedings, as every Inftance of that Nature will 

rulie, 'Jcfefb 
rid beintr fo 

all His Majefty's goo' Subjects in this Province, to fot- 
: of thatNature will ipuniftied with the utmoft Rigouf 
before named may be brought to Juftice, the Sheriffs of t i Counties of Albany and Dulchefi 
ly commanded andrequhed to apprehend the faid Jonathai Darbie, Johannes Reefe, Hendr-c, 
Ebenezer Taylor, and Andriei J. Reel, and all and cv y of their Affociates, who fliali 
the faid Offenders in the Riot aforefaid ; and them and i 
iWnty Goal, until delivered by due Courfe of Law : And 

rerfon and Perfons who (hall hereafter be guilty i 
faid Counties of Albany and Duhbefs, are to give due Ailiil 
ipowered and required, ifneceffary, to fummon the Poft'e 

f of them to keep, or caufe to be 
' ke Manner, to apprehend and 
th riotous and illegal Practices. 
Ke to the faid Sheriffs within their 
It whole Power of the County, for 

GIVEN under my Uan\and Seal at Arms, at Fort-George, in the City of 
June, One Tbcufand SEen Hundred and Fifty Seven, in the Thirtieth Tear 
Lord GEORGE the fyond, ty the Grate of GOD, of Great-Britain, Franc 
of the Faith, and fo ft 

Lj His Honour's Command, 

Gw. Banyar, Dtp. Secj 

fw- York, the Eighth Day af 
the Reign of our Sever eign 
d Ireland, King, Defender 


GOD Save the KliNG. 



mission rather than fight against his native land, and, returning to 
this country, spent the remainder of his life at Westchester. 

Another brother of Governor de Lancey, Oliver, was a conspicuous 
figure in public life until the end of the colonial regime, although 
never connected with Westchester County. In the Revolution he was 
the British commander of the Department of Long Island, and raised 
three regiments, known as " De Laneey's Battalion;' of which he 
was brigadier-general. His descendants contracted brilliant mar- 
riages with English families. 

Governor de Lancey had two sisters— Susan, who married Admiral 
Sir Peter Warren, and Anne, who became the wife of John Watts, 
Sr., whose son became county judge of Westchester County. 

The de Lancey family, as a whole, was emphatically pro-British 
in the American struggle for independence, and contributed many 
brave officers to the armies of the king. In this latter respect the 
de Lanceys contrast with the Philipses, who, while Tory to the heart's 
core, were not fighters, and kept themselves at a safe distance from 
the scenes of carnage. Yet an element of the de Lanceys belonged 
to the patriot side, and leading members of the family who took up 
arms for Great Britain became reconciled to the situation after the 
recognition of independence, and made themselves acceptable citi- 
zens of the republic. The family has always since been honorably 
connected with Westchester County. 

The Manor of Cortlandt, devised by Stephanus Van Cortlandt at 
his death, in 1700, to his eleven surviving children in equal shares 
(except that his eldest son, Johannes, received, in addition to his 
equal portion, what is now Verplanck's Point on the Hudson, a tract 
of some twenty-five hundred acres), remained undivided for many 
years. The family was a very united one. The widow of Stephanus, 
Gertrude Schuyler, outlived her husband twenty-three years, and it 
was tacitly agreed that during her lifetime nothing should be done 
toward splitting up the estate. Meanwhile one of the eleven heirs, 
Oliver, died childless, willing his interest to his brothers and sisters. 
The manor thenceforth, until its final dismemberment, comprised ten 
proprietary interests. Although after the death of Stephanus there 
was always a recognized ''head" of the Van Cortlandt family, there 
was never a second "lord" of the manor. 

Johannes, the eldest son of Stephanus, died at a comparatively 
early age, leaving one child, Gertrude, who married Philip Ver- 
planck, a descendant of one of the early Dutch settlers of New Am- 
sterdam 1 and a man of varied abilities. Among his accomplishments 

1 Abraham Isaac-sen Verplanck, or Planck. He planck, who has descendants still living in this 

was one of the instigators of the Dutch war county. The Verplancks of Fishkill-on-the- 

of retaliation against the Indians (1643-1645). Hudson belong to another branch of the family. 
Verplanck's Point was named for Philip Ver- 


was an expert knowledge of surveying-. By articles of agreement en- 
tered into by the Van Cortlandt heirs in November, 1730, Philip 
Verplanck was appointed to survey and lay out the manor into thirty 
lots. This commission was duly executed, although Verplanck's sur- 
vey was confined to the portion of the manor north of the Croton 
River. The lots were soon afterward conveyed to the several parties 
in interest by partition deeds, appraisals of value having been made 
by Daniel and Samuel Purdy, who were specially selected for that 
purpose. The following table shows the number of acres and their 
estimated value at this time (1733) apportioned for each share: 



Philip Verplanck 1 6,831 £973 

Margaret Bayard 2 7,398 948 

Stephen de Lancey 3 7,377 999 

Philip Van Cortlandt 0,(348 975 

Stephen Van Cortlandt 6,894 972 

John Miln 4 7,714 988 

Gertrude Beekman 5 8,062 912 

William Skinner 6 8,163 951 

Andrew Johnston" 9,023 889 

John Schuyler, Jr. * 7,364 1,018 

75,474 £9,625 

1 Grandson of Johannes Van Cortlandt. 5 Husband of Gertrude Van Cortlandt. 

2 Margaret Van Cortlandt, wife of Colonel " Husband of Elizabeth Van Cortlandt. 
Samuel Bayard. 7 Husband of Catherine Van Cortlandt. 

3 Husband of Ann Van Cortlandt. 8 Husband of Cornelia Van Cortlandt. 

4 Second husband of Maria Van Cortlandt. 

Thus in 1733 all of Westchester County north of the Croton River, 
and between that stream and the Connecticut line, having an aggre- 
gate area of over seventy-five thousand acres, was appraised for the 
paltry sum of $48,000. This territory now includes the Towns of 
Cortlandt, Yorktown, Sinners, North Salem, Lewisboro, and a portion 
of Pouudridge, whose combined taxable value amounts to not a few 

In 1753 the manor lands south of the Croton River were divided. 
The heirs-at-law, entering into enjoyment of their individual proper- 
ties as partitioned to them, gradually leased the lands to settlers or 
sold them in fee. The subsequent history of the whole great Van 
Cortlandt estate, from the proprietary point of view, is well repre- 
sented by that of the share which fell to young Stephen de Lancey, 
the son of the chief justice — a share, as already mentioned, embracing 
nearly all of the present Town of North Salem. We quote from Mr. 
Edward Floyd de Lancey's ki History of the Manors": 

Chief Justice de Lancey in 1744 conveyed them (his Cortlandt Manor lots), as a gift, to 
his second son, Stephen. Stephen a few years later began their settlement, and brought in 


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many farmers and some mechanics. The whole tract was laid out into farms, rectangular in 
shape, of two hundred acres each as a rule. These were leased for lung terms of years at 
low rents, the highest not being more than £10 and the lowest about £2 or £3. The rent 
rolls and map showed the farms, which were all numbered, the tenants' names, and the rent 
payable by each. It was always understood that the tenants might buy " the soil right," as 
the fee was termed, at any time the parties could agree upon price. In practice, however, 
the tenants did not begin to apply for the fee till about the time of the Revolution, and then 
but rarely. After that event more were sold to applicants, but many farms continued in the 
families of the tenants till late in this century. The last, which had descended to himself 
and the widow of a deceased brother, the writer sold in 1ST"), after the expiration of a lease 
for ninety-nine years. The same system of leasing out their lots in farms was carried out by 
all the other owners of the manor lands. Some sold the fee of their lands at an early day to 
relatives, who thus increased their holdings. Others retained them. 

Notwithstanding the complete partition of the estate, the " Lord- 
ship and Mannour " of Cortlandt, as erected by letters patent front 
Governor Fletcher in 1697, did not in any respect lose iis original 
identity or the peculiar privileges bestowed upon it by the terms of 
that grant. It continued to be a distinct political division, and, in- 
deed, was separated front the remainder of Westchester County in 
an even more formal way than any of the other manors, since it en- 
joyed The exceptional right of sending its own exclusive representa- 
tive to the provincial assembly. Ii was not until 1788, under the 
regime of the State of New York, when Westchester County was 
divided into townships, that Cortlandt Manor ceased to exist. 

The apportionment to this manor of a separate assembly repre- 
sentative was conditioned upon the proviso thai no such repre- 
sentative should be chosen until the year 1717. In point of fact, the 
manor did not elect its tirsi delegate to the assembly until 17o4. 
Philip Yerplanck was then chosen. Early in his career in that body 
he brought in a bill directing that ••one supervisor, one treasurer, 
two assessors, and one collector" should be elected annually by the 
people of the manor, which was passed. In 1750, on account of in- 
creasing population, the election of two constables was authorized — 
one for the portion of the manor near the Hudson River and the 
other for the interior sections. In L708 the number of constables 
was increased to three. Ryck's Patent (Peekskill) acquired in 1770 
the privilege of choosing its own local officers independently of the 
manor, although the inhabitants of this settlemenl still joined with 
the people of the manor in electing the member of assembly. Yer- 
planck represented Cortlandt Manor for the remarkable period of 
thirty-four years, his successor being Pierre Yan Cortlandt, who 
served during the remainder of the colonial era. 

After the death of Johannes and Oliver, the first and second sons 
of Stephanus Yan Cortlandt, Philip Yan Cortlandt, the third son, 
became the head of the family. He was born in 1683. He was 
a merchant in New York, and has been described as " a man 


of clear head, of good abilities, and possessed of great deci- 
sion of character." From 1730 until his death (1746) he was a 
member of the gubernatorial council. His eldest son, Stephen, died 
young, leaving a son, Philip, who succeeded as the next head of the 
family. But this second Philip, preferring a military life, entered the 
British army, in which he had a long career, fighting against Amer- 
ican freedom in the Revolution. 1 His uncle Pierre (youngest son of the 
first Philip and grandson of Stephanas) ultimately became the lead- 
ing member of the Van Cortlandt family resident on the manor. 

Pierre Van Cortlandt's is one of the great names of Westchester 
County, second, indeed, to none in all the illustrious and noble ar- 
ray. This is not the place for a particular account of his career, 
which, in its more distinctive features, is connected with the events 
of the Revolutionary and subsequent periods. When those events 
come to be treated we shall see that in the almost balanced condition 
of sentiment in this country at the time of the Revolution, his was 
probably the determining influence. Others led the political hosts 
for independence, but Van Cortlandt's support, calmly and unpre- 
tendingly given, though with all resoluteness and conviction, was 
a factor that counted for quite as much as the activities of the agita- 
tors. Not an old man, ami yet arrived at an age of gravity; not a 
politician in the common sense, but well experienced in public af- 
fairs and having a reputation for great judiciousness and virtuous 
love of truth and right; the head of a family as reputable and as 
highly and widely connected as any in the province, his example 
was of inestimable moral value to a cause which, in this county 
at least, had little need for vehement and aggressive advocates, but 
much for courageous upholders from among the dignified and con- 
servative classes of society. His services to the patriot movement 
began in the colonial assembly, of which he was a member, and 
from that time until after the organization of the government of the 
United States he was one of the most earnest, useful, and prominent 
promoters of political independence and stable republican institu- 
tions. His private life was identified almost exclusively with West- 
chester County. Born on the 10th of January, 1712, he lived on the 
manor from boyhood, taking an active part at an early age in the 
family interests. His father, Philip, bequeathed to him " all that 

1 He was the ancestor of the English branch ters marrying into the best English and Scotch 
of the Van Cortlandts— the " eldest " branch. families. The present Lord Elphinstone, one 
At the termination of the war, he went to of the Queen's lords in waiting, is a great- 
England to reside, and died at Hailsham, in grandson of Colonel Van Cortlandt. Of the 
1S14. He had twenty-three children, twelve of English branch no male descendant of the 
whom reached maturity, the sons all attaining name is living.— The Van Cortlandt Family, by 
high rank in the British army and the daugh- Mrs. Pierre E. Van Cortlandt, Scharf, ii., 428. 


my house and farm or lott of land, — being the east town lott from 
Teller's Point extending all along Croton River, together with the 
Ferry House and ferry thereunto belonging." He married Joanna, 
daughter of Gilbert Livingston and granddaughter of Robert, the 
first lord of Livingston Manor; and in September, 1741), he made the 
manor house his permanent place of abode. There were born all of his 
children, four sons and three daughters, of whom Philip, the distin- 
guished General Philip Van Cortlandt of the Revolutionary army, 
was the eldest. Those were palmy days for the old manor house. Cad- 
wallader Golden, writing to his wife in 1753, said: "'I have had a 
very pleasant ride from Pishkill to Van Cortlandt, where I lodged, 
passing easily through the mountains. Young Pierre ami his charm- 
ing wife keep up the hospitality of the house equal to his late father.'' 
His time was largely devoted to caring for the interests of the numer- 
ous Van Cortlandt heirs in connection with the manor lands — a very 
responsible business, involving many delicate matters. He died in the 
manor house on the 1st of May, 1S14, being aged more than ninety- 
three years. He lies buried in the cemetery of the Van Cortlandts. 
The following is the inscription on his tomb: 

" Mark the perfect man and behold the upright ; for the end of that man is peace." 

In memory of the Honorable Pierre Van Cortlandt, late Lieutenant-Governor of the 
State of New York, and President of the Convention that formed the Constitution thereof 
during the Revolutionary war with (heat Britain. He departed this life on the first day of 
May, 1814, in the ninety-fourth year of his age. 

lie was a patriot of the first order, zealous to the last for the Liberties of his Country. 

A man of exemplary Virtues ; kind as a neighbor, fond and indulgent as a Parent— An 
honest man, ever the friend id" the Poor. 

Respected and beloved, the simplicity of his private life was that of an ancient Patriarch. 
He died a bright witness of that perfect Love which casts out the fear of Death, putting his 
trust in the Living God, and witli full assurance of Salvation in the redeeming love of Jesus 
Christ, retaining his recollection to the last and calling upon his Saviour to take him to 

The " Yonkers branch " of the Van Cortlandts, founded by the New 
York merchant, Jacobus Van Cortlandt (a younger son of Oloff Stev- 
ense Van Cortlandt), who married Eva, stepdaughter of the first Fred- 
erick Philipse, was throughout the colonial era a nourishing race. 
Jacobus purchased from his father-in-law, Philipse, in 1G99, fifty acres, 
to which he later added several hundred acres more. He promptly 
began to improve his estate. About 1700 he dammed Tippet's 
Brook, thus creating the present Van Cortlandt Lake; and probably 
not long afterward he erected below the dam the Van Cortlandt mill, 
which until as recent a date as 1889 (when it came into the posses- 
sion of the City of Xew York) continued to grind corn for the neighbor- 
ing farmers. Jacobus in his will bequeathed to his only son, Fred- 
erick Van Cortlandt, his farm, " situate, lying, and being in a place 


commonly called and known by the name of Little or Lower Yonck- 
ers." Frederick (bora in 1698) married Francina, daughter of Au- 
gustus and Anna Maria (Bayard) .Jay, whereby his descendants be- 
came of kin to Chief Justice John Jay. It was under Frederick's pro- 
prietorship thai the Van Cortlandt mansion now in the custody of the 
Colonial Dames — a dwelling winch rivals the Philipse Manor house 
at Yonkers as a specimen of high-class colonial architecture, and, 
like the latter, is still in a state of perfect preservation — was con- 

The Van Cortlandt Mansion ( we quote from the interesting descriptive pamphlet pub- 
lished by its present custodians) is built of rubble stone, with brick trimmings about the 
windows. It is unpretentious in appearance, yet possessing- a stateliness all its own, which 
grows upon the visitor. It was erected in 1748 by Frederick Van Cortlandt — a stone on the 
southwest corner bears the date — and possesses within and without many peculiarities of the 
last century. . . . The style of architecture of the house is essentially Dutch. The old 
Dutch builders were thorough masters of their trade, and put up a structure which is as 
strong to-day as when New York was a colony. All the windows on the front are surmounted 
by curious corbels, with faces grave or gay, satyrs or humans, but each different from the 
other. Felix Oldboy innocently asked if they were portraits of the Van Cortlandts, and the 
owner replied, " Yes, and that the particularly solemn one was taken after he had spent a 
night with the boys." The window sills are wide and solidly built into the thick stone walls, 
as was the fashion of the time, and vary somewhat in form in the second story. The side 
hall and the dining-room, with the rooms above, belong to an addition built a year or two 
later than the main house, and the "lean-to" is an addition of this century. 

Frederick Van Cortlandl and his wife, Francina, had six children, 
of whom Jacobus, (he eldest (born March 3, 1727), became the pro- 
prietor of the " Little Yonkers" estate after the father's death, in 
1750. This Jacobus (third proprietor) anglicized his name to James; 
he was the highly respected and prominent Colonel James Van Cort- 
landl of the Revolution. Though an undoubted patriot, and resi- 
dent within the British lines, ho was not disturbed by the enemy 
in his possessions, and, indeed, so great was the respect in which his 
character was hold, was able frequently to exercise powerful influ- 
ence with the British authorities in New York in behalf of his dis- 
tressed countrymen. lie died in 1800 without issue, whereupon the 
"•Little Yonkers" estate passed to his brother, Augustus; and after 
the death of flu 1 latter the principal portion of it (including the man- 
sion) was held, until its purchase by the City of New York, in the 
family of his daughter Anna, who married Henry White, the White 
heirs of Augustus assuming the name of Van Cortlandt agreeably 
to a requirement of his will. 

The Manor of Pelham, having been reduced to one-third its original 
dimensions in consequence of the sale in 1GS9 by John Pell (second 
lord) of six thousand acres to the Huguenots of New Rochelle, never 
subsequently to that time enjoyed very conspicuous rank among the 
great original landed estates of Westchester County. Moreover, the 



successors of John Pell in its kk lordship " did not compare in influ- 
ence or public activity with the descendants of the founders of Mor- 
risania, Philipseburgh, Van Cortlandt, and Scarsdale Manors; and 
the roll of members of the colonial assembly from Westchester 
County during the eighteenth century does not contain the name of 
a single Pell. However, the manor was preserved as such until the 
death of the last " lord," Joseph Pell, in 1776; and the Pells in their 
various branches were always a numerous and respectable family, 
contracting advantageous marital alliances in both the male and 
female lines. The principal person of the Pell name in later colonial 
and Revolutionary times was Philip Pell, a conscientious, able, and 
prominent patriot, who represented the State of New York in the con- 
tinental congress of 1788, served as judge-advocate of the American 
army, and after the war was sheriff of the county, his son, Philip 
Pell, Jr., serving for many years as surrogate. 

A family of very notable importance in political activity and rep- 
resentative character for many years — rival- 
ing, indeed, the Morrises, Philipses, de Lan- 
ceys, and Van Cortlandts — was the ancient 
Willett family of Cornell's Neck on the Sound. 
The plantation of Cornell's Neck, identical 
with the present (Mason's Point, was granted 
to Thomas Cornell, a former colonist of Rhode 
Island and Massachusetts, by the Dutch di- 
rector, Kieft, in 1040. This was the third 
recorded land grant in point of time with- 
in the borders of what subsequently be- 
came Westchester Comity, being antedated only by the grants to 
Jonas Bronck of Bronxland and to John Throckmorton and asso- 
ciates of Throgg's Neck. From Thomas Cornell the estate passed 
successively to his widow, to his two daughters, Sarah ami Re- 
becca, aiid to his grandson, William Willett, son of his eldest 
daughter, Sarah, by her first husband, Thomas Willett. William 
Willett (born 1644) ir, 1667 obtained from the first English governor, 
Nicolls, a new patent to Cornell's Neck. He made his abode there, 
apparently, soon afterward, ami lived in quid enjoyment of his hand- 
some property until his death, in 1701. He was one of the first alder- 
men of the borough Town of West Chester. Having no descendants — in 
fact, he never married — he left Cornell's Neck to his younger brother, 
the noted Colonel Thomas Willett, of Flushing. The latter at once 
(March 28, 1701) conveyed it to his eldest son, William, expressing 
among his reasons for that act his desire for "the advancement and 
preferment of ye " said son. The kk advancement and preferment " of 






the second William Willett transpired immediately; for in the same 
year he was elected a delegate from Westchester County to the 
provincial assembly, in which capacity lie served almost contin- 
uous^ until his death (1733). This is a circumstance of peculiar 
consequence when it is remembered that Cornell's Neck was com- 
prised within the limits of the borough Town of Westchester, which 
regularlv elected a deputy of its own to the assembly. William 
Willett must have been a particularly forceful character to have 
commanded the suffrages of the county for a generation, notwith- 
standing his residence in the exceptionally favored borough town. 
He was thoroughly identified with the popular party. We have seen 

in a previous chapter 
that when the great 
issue of the abuse of 
the governor's prerog- 
ative arose, and a test 
of popular sentiment 
was instituted by 
causing the deposed 
Chief Justice Morris 
to stand for the as- 
sembly, William Wil- 
lett resigned his seat 
in that body to afford 
opportunity for the 
desired test; and also 
that he was one of the 
most zealous of Mor- 
ris's partisans at the 
famous electoral con- 
t e s t on the East- 
chester Green. In addition to his distinguished career in the as- 
sembly, he was the successor of Caleb Heathcote (1721) as county 
judge of Westchester County and colonel of the AVestchester County 
militia. His eldest son, William Willett, 3d, also sat in the as- 
sembly for the county (173S), and was appointed colonel of the 
militia. This third William's brother, Gilbert Willett, was sheriff 
of the county from 1723 to 1727, and represented Westchester Bor- 
ough in the assembly from 1728 to his death, in 1732. The two 
brothers were joint proprietors of Cornell's Neck, which in the next 
generation became the exclusive property of Gilbert's son, Isaac Wil- 
lett, after whose death it was owned by his widow, finally being dis- 
tributed amongst various heirs. 




jpB^SfHE theory and practice of colonial self-government were of 
•%|M*i no sudden development in the Province of New York. Still 
Jtg^jl;, i ess were they the result of mere observation and imitation 
' of bold examples set by the people of other British colonies 

in America. In the earliest days of English rule, the people of New 
York were not only ready for any measure of self-government that 
might be granted to them, but were eager and aggressive in demand- 
ing the privileges of free men. Under the proprietary rule of that 
despotic prince, James, Duke of York, after nearly twenty years of 
exclusively personal administration through his gubernatorial rep- 
resentative, the province was, in 1683, conceded a certain share in 
the government by the erection of a legislative assembly. The very 
first act passed by that body was a proposed "Charter of Liberties 
and Privileges granted by his Royal Highness to the Inhabitants of 
New York and its dependencies," which was entirely in the line of 
popular participation in the direction of affairs and popular limita- 
tion of the functions of the executive. The Duke of York considered 
the manifestations of the assembly of 1683 so inconsistent with his 
notions of essentially prerogative government for the province that 
the New York legislature was never again convened while he re- 
tained authority, either during the remainder of the proprietary pe- 
riod or during his reign as king of England. The liberty-desiring 
people of the province harbored no kindly feeling for James as pro- 
prietor or James as sovereign, and when the news arrived of the 
Revolution of 1688 and the accession under liberal auspices of Will- 
iam, Prince of Orange, they hailed it with joy, treated James's lieu- 
tenant-governor, Nicholson, with scant courtesy, and finally expelled 
him from his post and organized a temporary government of their 
own which had all the character and effect of a purely repub- 
lican regime, although without the slightest taint or suspicion 
of anarchy. And this popular government of 1689-91, while originat- 
ing in force, was in no sense a military institution. The chiefs of 
the training-bands, who were responsible for it in the first instance, 
immediately summoned a popular assembly, which appointed a strict- 
ly civil council of safety. By the will of the general governing body 





established with so much courage yet decorum, Jacob Leisler took 
the principal charge of affairs. The whole policy of Leisler aud his 
associates was that of conscientious republican riders, who, it is 
true, held the government in trust for the new king of England, but 
held it as constituted representatives of the people, whose will, pend- 
ing the definite expression of the will of the lawful sovereign, they 
deemed paramount. In a vital public emergency, with which they 
were quite competent to deal if they had chosen, they preferred to 
leave the matter to the people, and accordingly called a new legis- 
lative assembly. Regarding the existing government of the City of 
New York as unadapted to the changed order of things, they did not, 
however, presume to reorganize it by the use of appointive powers, 
but ordeal a popular election for the choice of a new mayor and 
aldermen. The spirit and transactions of the Leisler period afford 

convincing evidence of 
the very early pre- 
paredness of the peo- 
ple of New York for 
political independence, 
and also of their per- 
fect capacity for its 
orderly and creditable 
exercise. There is no letter established fact than this in American 
colonial history. 

After the restitution of the provincial assembly as a permanent 
parliament by William 1 1 1, in 1091, the people ardently availed them- 
selves of the resources provided by {hat body for defending such 
rights as they possessed against royal invasion, for harassing arbi- 
trary or objectionable governors, and for gradually asserting the 
broad principle of American liberty. Tie- government of the province 
was modeled upon that of England, with important differences. The 
assembly corresponded to the house of commons, to which, as a 
representative elective body of the people a1 large, it bore a perfect 
similitude. The council took the place of both the house of lords 
and the ministerial cabinet, being in theory partly a higher chamber 
and partly a body of executive advisers. It was in practice wholly 
subservient to the governor, since its members were appointable and 
removable by the home government in England, subject singly to his 
recommendation. By the entire absence of a ki government of the 
day," executive power was concentrated in the hands of the governor, 
who, unless a man of exceptionally virtuous and moderate character 
(which seldom happened), was therefore under strong temptation to 
regard himself as a ruler to whom uncommon individual authority 

EVENTS FROM 1765 TO 1 ( 75 279 

belonged in the natural order of things. But this condition operated 
powerfully to make of the assembly not merely a counterpoise in 
the government, but an irreconcilable antagonistic force. As there 
was no established ministry responsible to the assembly and capable 
of reversal by it on the merits of administrative acts and policies, 
the assembly was not a highly organized and nicely related depart- 
ment in a carefully adjusted scheme of government, but stood with 
great formality on an independent footing. The result was that, in- 
stead of being a co-operative factor in the business of managing the 
province, it held itself in an attitude of confirmed reserve toward 
the executive It was a substantial repetition of the feud between 
the parliament and the king, with the difference that, while that un- 
happy feud in the mother country endured for only a brief compara- 
tive period, its simulacrum in New York covered the entire time of 
the existence of the province. 

To the New York assembly, as to the British house of commons, 
was reserved the exclusive right to originate money bills, which, 
moreover, were 1 unamendable by the council. This power was early 
appreciated by the people as their great safeguard against effectual 
tyranny, and in the case of every governor of unacceptable behavior 
they enforced it with unsparing rigidity. Holding the purse-strings, 
they could exceedingly embarrass the haughtiest governor, and, in 
fact, there was a perpetual irritation between the executive and the 
legislature on the subject of grants of supplies. Governor after gov- 
ernor was sent over from England with express instructions to cor- 
rect these exasperating practices, but dismal failure resulted in every 
instance. To such a pitch had the resolute spirit of the colonists 
readied after sixty years of representative government, that upon the 
arrival of the royal Governor Osborn, in 1753, he was greeted by the 
city corporation with an address in which was expressed the signifi- 
cant expectation that lie would be as "averse from countenancing 
as we from brooking any infringements of our inestimable liberties.'' 
It happened that Osborn had been particularly directed by the British 
government to curb the aggressive tendencies of the colonists. He 
was a man of peculiarly sensitive soul, and the use of such terms in 
an official address of welcome from the capital of the province over 
which he was to rule greatly disturbed him. Inquiring of some of 
the principal men about the general political conditions, he was 
told of the extreme obstinacy of the assembly, notably in the mat- 
ter of voting supplies — an obstinacy from which it would never re- 
cede one step, however commanded, wheedled, or threatened. It was 
well established at the time that Governor Osborn's sensational sui- 
cide was due to despondency over the gloomy prospect thus held 


before him. A tragical episode of another kind, the " battle of 
Golden Hill," New York City (January 19 and 20, 1770), resulting in 
the shedding of the hrst blood of the Revolution, is directly trace- 
able to the grim policy of the New York provincial assembly in re- 
lation to money grants. The assembly had persistently refused to 
provide certain articles, such as beer and cider, for the use of the 
British garrison quartered in New York City, and this conduct had 
greatly incensed the soldiery, who had borne themselves toward the 
populace of the city with a particularly swaggering demeanor, be- 
sides committing overt acts of serious offensiveness. Hence arose 
extreme bad feeling, terminating in the Golden Hill affair. It was 
also as a consequence of the assembly's course iu the controversy 
about supplies for the troops that the extraordinary act of parlia- 
ment suspending the business of the New York assembly on the 
ground of insubordination was passed (October, 1767). This act was 
" for restraining and prohibiting the governor, council, aud house 
of representatives of the Province of New York, until provision shall 
have been made for furnishing the king's troops with all the neces- 
saries required by law, from passing or assenting to any act of as- 
sembly, vote, or resolution for any other purpose." 

Compared, however, with the general disposition of the masses of 
the people, the course of the assembly toward the crown ami its offi- 
cial representatives was eminently respectful and amiable. The pro- 
vincial assembly of New York was always entirely loyal to the king 
in its professions, and also in its true spirit; and even to the last 
days of its last session, when the clouds of war were about to spread 
over the land, was averse from being otherwise regarded. It was a 
relatively small legislative body, never having more than thirty mem- 
bers; and it uniformly contained a large proportionate element of 
gentlemen of wealth, culture, and select social connections, who, 
while differing on public questions, and especially on the great ques- 
tion of colonial rights, had an abiding respect for the forms of attach- 
ment to the crown so long as those forms were not abrogated. In- 
deed, despite the characteristic stubbornness of the assembly toward 
the governors, it was not wholly unamenable to executive 1 persua- 
sion, even upon critical occasions of popular feeling. Concerning the 
binning issue of supplies for the troops, which was coincident with 
the Stamp Act agitation, it hrst assumed a, position of uncompro- 
mising resistance, refusing to furnish not only beer and cider, but 
such absolutely necessary articles as fuel, lights, bedding, cooking 
utensils, and salt as well. Yet from this radical stand it gradually 
receded, granting first one item and then another. The measure of 
parliament practically extinguishing the New York assembly — 



which was an act of diabolical tyranny if ever there was one — was 
met not with scornful defiance, but with submission! It is true that 
the assembly continued to give sufficient trouble to the governor, 
but it caused quite as much dissatisfaction to the revolutionary 
spirits among the citizens, who could not brook the thought that 
the representative body of the people should be in the least sub- 
servient to their assumed masters. In the vacillating record of the 
assembly i> certainly to be found the explanation of the general 
impression which has always existed and probably never will be 
quite removed, that New York was comparatively a conservative and 
reluctant factor in the movement of the thirteen colonies for inde- 
pendence — an impression which is 
most unjust, not to be encouraged for 
a moment by any historical student 
who impartially examines the evi- 
dences of the true disposition of the 
people of New York Province through- 
out colonial times. 

The several conspicuous examples of 
this characteristic popular disposition 
which have been noted in the progress 
of our narrative need not be multi- 
plied here. A few words respecting its 
more important special relations are, 
however, necessary to a proper under- 
standing of general conditions before 
resuming the thread of the story. 

Lieutenant - Governor Cadwallader 
Golden, who occupied the chief magistracy of the province for 
most of the time from de Lancey's death until the Revolution — an 
able and well-intentioned man, but an extremist in the assertion of 
the prerogatives of the crown, — very instructively summed tip the par- 
tisan situation in one of his official reports to the British ministry. 
Writing on the 21st of February, 1770, soon after the Golden Hill con- 
flict, he said: ,( The persons who appear on these occasions are of in- 
ferior rank, but it is not doubted that they are directed by some per- 
sons of distinction in this place. It is likewise thought they are en- 
couraged by some persons of note 1 in England. They consist chiefly of 
dissenters, who are very numerous, especially in the country, and 
have a great influence over the country members of the assembly. 
The most active among them are independents from New England, 
or educated there, and of republican principles." On the other hand, 
said Governor ('olden, " the friends of government are of the Church 



of England, the Lutherans, and the old Dutch congregation, with 
several Presbyterians." From this classification the great prepon- 
derance of aggressive sentiment in the province is a very manifest 
fact. The "dissenters" were, indeed, overwhelmingly in the major- 
ity. Even in our County of Westchester, where powerful influences 
were arrayed on the side of the Church of England, its adherents did 
not compare in numbers with those of other denominations. Accord- 
ing to a list compiled by the Rev. W. S. Coffey, of Mount Vernon, of 
the church edifices erected in this comity previously to the Revolu- 
tion, only seven of those structures belonged to the Church of Eng- 
land, while nineteen were built by other congregations, including 
"Independents," Friends, Presbyterians, Huguenots, Reformed Dutch, 
and Reformed Protestant. Governor Colden's enumeration of the 
Lutherans, the old Dutch, and "several Presbyterians" among the 
"friends of government" is merely a recognition that Toryism did 
not wholly depend for support upon the aristocratic church. The 
Lutherans, or Germans, and the "old Dutch," belonging to an alien 
race, deliberate, slow, easily satisfied with moderately free institu- 
tions, accustomed by all their traditions to live under authority with- 
out very jealously scrutinizing its nature or limiting its bounds, had 
ways of thinking quite foreign to those of the restless propagandists 
of American liberty, whom, indeed, they neither understood nor de- 
sired to understand. It was not a quarrel of these German and 
Dutch aliens; as a rule, they felt only a languid interest in it, and 
held aloof from it until forced to choose sides, when, as a rule, fol- 
lowing the conservative instincts of their natures, they preferred the 
side of established order to that of revolutionary convulsion. They 
really constituted a passive element, and were loyalists mainly in 
the sense that they were not disturbers of the prevailing conditions. 
As for the "several Presbyterians" claimed by Governor Colden as 
belonging to the anti-revolutionary party, his application of that 
diminutive numerical to them was well chosen. In earlier times the 
name "Presbyterians" was generic for all who were not of the 
"Court" party— that is, for all who arrayed themselves politically 
against the " Episcopalian," or arrogant ruling, class— the Church 
of England having been the institution of those who cherished pe- 
culiarly their British breeding and antecedents, holding themselves 
as a superior society amid a mixed citizenship of colonials, ami, con- 
sistently with such pretensions, forming an always reliable prop for 
the crown and the crown's officers. To be a " Presbyterian " in the 
political meaning of the word in New York at that early period 
was to be identified with the factious populace, the populace of 
Smith and Alexander, Chief Justice Morris and Peter Zenger, al- 

EVENTS FROM 1765 TO 1775 


though that populace was far too respectably led for the designa- 
tion ever to have been one of derision. Later, the part}* names Whig 
and Tory came into vogue. At the time when Governor Golden 
made the above quoted analysis of popular sentiment in the province 
the Presbyterian religious sect, like every other non-conformist Eng- 
lish-speaking denomination, was almost solidly against British op- 
pression, with only here and there an influential opponent of the 
popular cause. 

Nor did the defenders of the crown at all hazards make up in 

relative influence and ability 
numbers. With all their 
boasts of superiority, the 
Tories of New York have left 
few names remarkable for 
anything more meritorious 
than proud faithfulness to 
the British monarchy, which 
faithfulness, moreover — as, 
for example, in the lamenta- 
ble case of our Frederick 
Philipse, — was p r o m p t e d 
quite as often by miscal- 
culating conceptions of the 
chances of the war as by 
nervous scorn for sordid self- 
interest. On the other hand, 
the contributions made by 
X«-w York to the roll of Rev- 
olutionary patriots of the 
more eminent order are im- 
pressively numerous. From 
whatever aspect the state of 
political society in New 
York on the eve of the Revoli 
the friends of freedom. 

The immediate causes of t 
parliament for taxing the c< 
villi which these measures 

what thev lacked so distressing! v in 

it ion is viewed, the advantage was with 

he Revolution were the enactments of 
denies, the unromproiiiising resistance 
were met in America, and the conse- 
quent resentment of Great Britain, leading to new manifestations of 
various kinds. The triumphant conclusion of the French and In- 
dian War, by which Canada was wrested from France and made a 
pari of the colonial empire of England, was an unmixed blessing for 
the people of the thirteen colonies. It put an end forever to a con- 



dition which had been a standing menace to their peace and pros- 
perity—the existence of a hostile neighbor at the north. The col- 
onists had cheerfully borne their part in the great achievement, and, 
if properly appealed to, would have discharged as cheerfully their 
share of the resulting indebtedness. But the British government 
had grown weary of submitting to the caprices of the colonial as- 
semblies in the matter of money grants, and, in looking to America 
after the close of the war for financial assistance on a substantial 
scale, resolved to make that necessity the occasion of some decided 
changes in the former order of things. The changes determined upon 
were, in their essential details, startling innovations. The assem- 
blies were required to abandon their old practice of limiting, in 
amount or as to time, the supplies demanded by the governors, and 
to obediently vote them without discussion. They were to vote the 
civil list first of all and without question, which meant that all the 
royal officers were to be made independent of any disfavor con- 
ceived toward them by the popular assemblies; and, as a logical sequel 
to this, tenure of office was to be in future at the royal pleasure, 
without reference to "good behavior." In order that the operation 
of these and other plans might not be interfered with by possibly 
conflicting provisions in existing colonial charters, all such charters 
were put to an end. The drastic navigation laws, which had always 
been a crying grievance, were to be rigidly enforced. Finally, the 
colonies were to be taxed directly by parliament, through the me- 
dium of stamped paper, whose use was to be obligatory in all mer- 
cantile transactions, and even for marriage licenses. And as a 
means for compelling acquiescence in the new regulations a stand- 
ing army of ten thousand men Avas to be sent over and quartered 
on the Americans, who were required to pay toward its maintenance 
some £100,000 annually, or one-third of the entire cost. There 
was a pretense that the purpose of the troops was to afford protec- 
tion to the colonists, but no one was deceived by it. 

Early in the year 1765 the Stamp Act was introduced in parlia- 
ment, and on the 22d of March it received the signature of the king. 
The time appointed for its taking effect was the 1st of November. 
As soon as the news of its passage reached America, measures were 
set on foot for offering as effective an opposition as possible to its 
enforcement. Communications on the subject were exchanged by 
the various colonial assemblies; ami it was decided to hold a gen- 
eral congress of the colonies to discuss the matter and to take steps 
for united action. This body came together on October 7 in the 
assembly chamber of the city hall in New York, twenty-eight dele- 
gates being in attendance, representing nine of the thirteen colonies. 

EVENTS FROM 1765 TO 1775 285 

The delegates from New York were John Cruger, Robert E. Living- 
ston, Philip Livingston, William Bayard, and Leonard Lispenard. 
Strong resolutions were adopted, as well as petitions to the king, 
the house of lords, and the house of commons, for the repeal of 
the act. On October 23 the ship bearing New York's consignment 
of the stamped paper arrived in the harbor. This was the signal for 
aggressive popular demonstrations, which wore so formidable and 
were attended by such significant evidences of the determination 
of the people to prevent the enforcement of the act and of the gen- 
eral co-operation of the merchants in that purpose, that the govern- 
ment did not dare attempt its execution. Indeed, the first packages 
of stamped paper were, at the request of the citizens, turned over 
to the city corporation for " safe keeping," and upon the arrival of a 
second shipment from England the vessel bringing it was boarded by 
a deputation of the people and the packages were taken ashore and 
burned. But the most powerful weapon used by the inhabitants of 
New York against the Stamp Act was the celebrated "Non-Importa- 
tion Agreement." This was adopted on the evening of October 31, 
17C>.>, by some two hundred New York merchants, at a meeting held 
in Burns's coffee house. They pledged themselves to import no goods 
from England until the Stamp Act should be repealed. The merchants 
of Philadelphia adopted a like agreement on November 7, and those 
of Boston on December 1. The consequences were immediately felt 
by the shipping public in England, and were so disastrous that pres- 
sure was brought to bear upon parliament, which resulted in the 
repeal of the act on February 22, 17(i('», less than a year after its pro- 
mulgation. The (went caused great rejoicing in the City of New 
York. The king's birthday, the 4th of June, was made the occasion 
of a grand celebration, one of whose incidents was the erection of a 
liberty pole under the auspices of the Sons of Liberty. This organ- 
ization was a secret confraternity of the more radical element of 
the people, with ramifications throughout the colonies. It appears 
to have been full Hedged at the time of the taking effect of the 
Stamp Act, since the thoroughly organized resistance to the act which 
was offered by the people at large was uniformly traceable to its 
members. The Sons of Liberty were the mainstay of the whole pop- 
ular agitation against British oppression and in favor of American 
independence from the time of the passage of the Stamp Act until 
the championship of their cause became the business of armies in 
the field. 

The Stamp Act repeal was followed by a year of quiet. But in 
May, 1767, another parliamentary scheme for taxing the colonies 
was instituted, which imposed port duties on many articles of com- 



mon use, including glass, paper, lead, painters' colors, and tea. Al- 
though intense feeling was excited throughout the colonies by the 
new law, two years passed by before a systematic policy of effective 
opposition was entered upon. Then, in the spring of 17(59. the mer- 
chants of New York again met and formulated a second Non-Impor- 
tation Agreement, under which no English goods, with but few ex- 
ceptions, were to be purchased so long as the duties should remain 
in force. The mercantile communities of Philadelphia and Boston 
were somewhat tardy in assenting to this instrument, but by the 
fall they gave in their adhesion. Again the British ministry, ap- 
palled at the falling off in American trade, was forced to yield, and 

in 1770 all the duties objected to, ex- 
cept that on tea, were annulled. 
Meantime New York, while observ- 
ing to the letter the obligations of 
t h e Non-Importation Agreement, 
had great cause of complaint against 
Boston and Philadelphia, where it 
was secretly violated on a large scale 
by the merchants. Exasperated at 
this lack of faith, the New Yorkers, 
after the abrogation of all the taxes 
except on tea, retired from the agree- 
ment, which thereafter fell to the 
ground in the other cities as well. 
It was, however, generally under- 
stood that no tea should be imported 
whilst the tax endured — an under- 
standing which, despite the greater 
historic fame in that connection en- 
joyed by Boston on account of her 
so-called " Tea Party," was executed 
with equal determination and success in New York. For some 
three years practically all the ten bought in America was from 
England's European commercial rivals. Finally, in 1773, the Brit- 
ish cabinet attempted a master stroke. They rescinded the large 
export duty taxed on tea leaving British ports, retaining, however, 
the small import duty of three pence per pound on American impor- 
tations of the article. The Boston Tea Party occurred on the 16th 
of December, 1773. Up to that date no tea had arrived at New 
York, but more than a month previously careful arrangements had 
been made by the Sons of Liberty and others to prevent the landing 


EVENTS FROM 17G5 TO 1775 287 

of any and all the packages that should be brought there. Two 
tea ships, the " Nancy " an<l the " London,*' came into port the next 
April. One of them was obliged to return to England without de- 
livering her cargo, and the other was boarded by the Sons of Lib- 
erty, who, breaking open the chests, threw the tea into the East 

The rejection of the tea by Boston had already made it manifest 
to the king and his ministers that no plan for taxing the colonies by 
direct action of parliament could succeed through the operation of 
the ordinary forms of law, and that the time had come to resort to 
extremities. Early in 1774 an act known as the Boston Tort Bill was 
passed — a punitive measure, designed to coerce the city by closing 
her port. News of the proceedings reached New York on the 12th 
of May. It was instantly recognized that a like fate was undoubtedly 
in store for New York, and accordingly a great meeting was held, 
under the joint auspices of the Sons of Liberty and the more dig- 
nified classes of the community, presided over by Isaac Low, a prom- 
inent merchant, a leading member of the Church of England, and, 
although a sympathizer with the cause of liberty, well known for 
his comparatively moderate principles. Out of this meeting re- 
sulted the formation of the Xew York ••Committee of Correspond- 
ence," consisting of fifty-one members, which assumed the direction 
of the popular movement thron ghoul the province, and whence the 
measures taken for organizing the country districts in behalf of 
American liberties emanated. From the creation of the committee 
of correspondence dales the beginning of the tirst established means 
for bringing the patriotic sentiment of Westchester County into ac- 
tive co-operation with that of tin- American people at large. 

In that truly astonishing production, the late Henry B. Dawson's 
•• Westchester County During the American Revolution," ] a labored 
attempt is made to establish the reasonableness of the author's fa- 
vorite dogma that the Revolution was a grievous offense to the good 
and loyal people of our county, and found little or no favor among 
them, at least in the formative state of things. Mr. Dawson regards 
it as scandalously improbable that the honest, discreef, humble, and 
virtuous inhabitants of this strictly rural county, fearing Cod ami 
loving their lawful king, could have had anything in common with 
the greedy, smuggling merchants and unblushing political deina- 

1 Although this performance of Dawson's is that work. Notwithstanding the enormous 

very elaborate, ii is really Inn a fragment, labor manifestly expended upon it. it possesses 

terminating with tin- battle of White Plains. little interest for the general reader, being 

It was undertaken by its anther as a contribu- prodigiously formal in its style and burdened 

tien to Scharfs History, and occupies two with excessive redundancies. It is pre-eminent- 

hundred and eighty pages of theflrst volume of ly one of the curiosities of historical literature. 


gogues of New York City, who stirred up the naughty rebellion and 
prepared woe and havoc for the poor, loyal countryman. "Such a 
community as that which constituted the County of Westchester," 
says lie, "a community of well-situated, intelligent, and well-to-do 
farmers, diligently and discreetly attending to its own affairs, with- 
out the disturbing influences of any village or county coterie, has 
generally been distinguished for its rigid conservatism in all its 
relations; and such a community has always been more inclined to 
maintain those various long-continued, well-settled, and generally 
satisfactory relations with more than ordinary tenacity, preferring 
very often to continue an existing inconvenience or an intangible 
wrong, to which it had become accustomed, rather than to accept, 
in its sterol, the possibility of an advantage, indefinitely promised, 
in an untried and uncertain change." This curious theory he sup- 
ports in his application of it to Westchester County by the single 
tangible statement that "there is not any known evidence of the 
existence, at any time, of any material excitement among these farm- 
ers, on any subject." It is of course unprofitable to discuss either 
the general proposition of Mr. Dawson concerning the uniform nat- 
ural conservatism of intelligent rural communities, or his claim that 
this county had always before the Revolution been exempt from po- 
litical excitement. In view, however, of Mr. Dawson's reputation 
as a minute and entirely well-meaning historical writer — a reputa- 
tion appreciated especially by his many surviving friends in West- 
chester County, — his study of our Revolutionary period can not, in 
a work on the general history of the county, escape the passing criti- 
cism which its spirit merits, as, on the other hand, the abundant his- 
torical data that we owe to his researches can not escape grateful 
recognition. It is greatly to be regretted that to an essay prepared 
with so much painstaking he should, on grounds not only the most 
unjustified but the most trivial, have given a general tendency of 
such extreme unaccept ability to American readers. We have char- 
acterized his performance as astonishing, and we know of no other 
fitting term to be applied to a cynically pro-Tory account by an 
American historian, more than a century after the Revolutionary 
War, of the course of that struggle in a county distinguished for 
prompt acceptance and unfaltering and self-sacrificing support of the 
issue of liberty under the most difficult and menacing circumstances 

During the ten years from the passage of the Stamp Act, in 1705, 
to the end of the provincial assembly, in 1775, the county (including 
the Manor of Cortlandt and the borough Town of Westchester) was 

EVENTS FROM 17G5 TO 1775 289 

represented in the assembly, for longer or briefer periods, by Colonel 
Frederick Philipse (3d), Peter de Lancey and John, his brother, Judge 
John Thomas, Philip Verplanck, Pierre Van Cortlandt, Isaac Wil- 
kins, and Colonel Lewis Morris (3d). Philipse and Thomas served 
continuously throughout that period, both sitting for the county. Van 
Cortlandt succeeded Verplanck as member from Cortlandt Manor. 
Morris was a delegate for only one year. The de Lanceys and Wil- 
kins were from Westchester Borough, Wilkins being assemblyman 
during the four closing years (1772-75*. James de Lancey. son of 
Peter and a nephew of the chief justice, in addition to his duties 
as high sheriff of Westchester County, represented a New York City 
constituency during the period in question. With the names of 
Philipse, the de Lanceys, Van Cortlandt, and Morris the reader is 
already familiar. They will recur prominently in the succeeding 
pages. Philipse and James de Lancey were stanch opponents of the 
whole Revolutionary programme; Van Cortlandt and Morris were as 
stanch supporters of it. Jolm Thomas was judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas of Westchester County in 1737-39, and again from 
1705 to 1776. He was a son of the Rev. John Thomas, a missionary 
and rector of the Church of England. Judge Thomas was a very 
prominent citizen of Rye, and one of the most consistent and valu- 
able advocates of independence, dying a martyr to the cause in a 
prison in New York City in 1777. Isaac Wilkins, of Castle Hill 
Neck, in the Borough of Westchester, was ;i brother-in-law of Lewis 
and Couverneur Morris, but was on the opposite side politically. He 
was one of the leaders of the conservative forces in the last pro- 
vincial assembly, and was suspected of being the author of the 
noted Tory tracts published over the signature of "A. W. Farmer." 
He acted as spokesman for the motley adherents of "Great George, 
our King," at the county meeting at White Plains in April, 1775, and 
two months later tied to England. After a varied career, which com- 
prehended a prolonged residence (subsequently to the war) among the 
forlorn refugee Loyalists in Nova Scotia, he returned in 1798 to West- 
chester and became rector of Saint Peter's Church. In the historic 
assembly of 1775, when the issues for and against aggressive re- 
sistance to England were sharply drawn, Westchester County's rep- 
resentatives were Van Cortlandt, Thomas, Philipse, and Wilkins. 

It is thus seen that, as concerns representation in the assembly, 
the opposing parties of liberty and loyalty were exactly balanced in 
this county. On the one side were Pierre Van Cortlandt ami Judge 
Thomas; on the other, Frederick Philipse and Isaac Wilkins. Phil- 
ipse, of course, had at his back the whole of his great manor. Wilkins 
really represented the de Lancey interest, which controlled the Bor- 



eugh of Westchester, where also a Tory mayor, Nathaniel Underbill, 
grandson of the " redoubtable " Captain John, presided. Against 
this powerful conservative combination stood the Morrises in the ex- 
treme southern part of the county, Judge Thomas, representing no 
landed estates but the simple yeomanry of Rye, Harrison's Pur- 
chase, and the central sections, and Pierre Van Cortlandt, the bead 

of the great Van Cortlandt family. 
The popular side, therefore, comprised 
diverse elements. The Morrises were 
known chiefly as an aggressive polit- 
ical family, with a well-defined follow- 
ing, but hardly adapted to attract the 
normally conservative or as yet unde- 
cided classes. Thomas represented a 
constituency of sturdy settlers, mostly 
of New England antecedents and 
largely belonging to zealous religious 
sects. Van Cortlandt was in all re- 
spects a match for Philipse and the 
de Lanceys, to whatever elevation of 
dignity or social importance they pre- 
tended; and it was his personality 
to the Revolutionary movement in Westchester County 
a far different aspect than that of a mere propaganda of agitators. 
His support of the cause stamped it necessarily as one demanding 
Hie most respectful consideration of honest and intelligent men; for 
it was beyond question that his attachment to it was wholly due to 
a conception of its singular righteousness and of his high duty. He 
was no new convert, but had stood for the rights of the colonies from 
the beginning. The arts of the tempter and briber had, moreover, 
been practiced upon him in the British interest. The late Mrs. Pierre 
E. Van Cortlandt, in her historical account of the Van Cortlandt 
family, tells how he nobly rebuked the royal Governor Tryon when 
approached by that personage with corrupt offers: 

In 1774 Governor Tryon came to Croton, ostensibly on a visit of courtesy, bringing with 
him his wife, Miss Watts, a daughter of the Hon. John Watts (a kinsman of the Van 
Cortlandts), and Colonel Fanning, his secretary. They remained for a night at the Manor 
House, and the next morning Governor Tryon proposed a walk. They all proceeded to one 
of the highest points on the estate, and, pausing, Tryon announced to the listening Van Cort- 
landt the great favors that would be granted to him if he would espouse the royal cause and 
give his adhesion to the king and the parliament. Large grants of land would be added to 
his estate, and Tryon hinted that a title might be bestowed. Van Cortlandt answered that 
"he was chosen a'representative by unanimous approbation of a people who placed confidence 
in his integrity to use all his ability for their benefit and the good of his country as a true 
patriot, which line of conduct he was determined to pursue." Tryon, finding persuasion and 


which gj 

EVENTS FROM 1765 TO 1775 291 

bribes vain, turned to Colonel Fanning with the brief remark, « I find our business here must 
terminate, for nothing can be effected in this place " ; and after hasty farewells they embarked 
on their sloop and returned to New York. 

After the appointment of the committee of correspondence by the 
meeting held in New York in May, 1774, events moved rapidly for- 
ward to a crisis. Boston, having- received earlier news of the closing 
of her port, had taken action on the matter two or three days before 
New York, and at a public meeting- presided over by Samuel Adams 
had adopted a resolution appealing for the united support of the 
colonies in a new Non-Importation Agreement. On the afternoon of 
Tuesday, the 17th of May, Paul Revere passed through Westchester 
County, along the old Boston Post Road, bearing dispatches from 
the Boston citizens to their brethren in New York and Philadelphia. 
New York responded immediately with a recommendation for a new 
colonial congress, which was adopted. The people of New York City 
on July 4 elected as delegates to that body Philip Livingston, John 
Alsop, Isaac Low, James Duane, and John Jay. 

John Jay, who on this occasion made his first appearance in a high 
representative capacity, was reared from infancy in Westchester 
County and began among us his career as a lawyer. His great- 
grandfather, Pierre Jay, a Huguenot of La Rochelle, France, emi- 
grated to England during the troublous times of Catholic persecu- 
tion, leaving a son, Augustus, who came to New York about 1686, 
married Anna Maria Bayard, daughter of Balthazar Bayard, and led 
a prosperous life as a merchant. Augustus's son, Peter, after ac- 
quiring a competency in business pursuits in the city, purchased a 
farm in our Town of Bye, where he lived with his numerous family 
for the remainder of his days. He is described by Smith, the Tory 
historian of New York, as " a gentleman of opulence, character, and 
reputation," and by Baird, the historian of Bye, as " a man of sin- 
cere and fervent piety, of cheerful temper, warm affections, and 
strong good sense." He married Mary, daughter of Jacobus Van 
Cortlandt and granddaughter of Oloff Stevense Van Cortlandt and 
the first Frederick Philipse. Their eighth child was John Jay, born 
in New York City, December 12, 1745. He lived with his parents 
throughout his childhood and youth in the homestead at Rye — " a 
long, low building, but one room deep and eighty feet wide, having 
attained this size to meet the wants of a numerous family." He was 
educated at King's College (now Columbia), taking the bachelor of 
arts degree in 1764, and, after being admitted to the bar, entered 
upon a professional career in which he soon gained a reputation os 
one of the most brilliant and intellectual men in New York. He 



took a leading part in the public discussion of the questions between 
the colonies and the mother country, holding aloof from the radical 
and noisy politicians, but enjoying the unbounded confidence and 
admiration of the judicious friends of American independence. By 
the time matters had become shaped for the inevitable, he stood 
foremost among the well-balanced and sagacious patriots of New 

York. In 177-1 he married Sarah 
Van Brugh Livingston, daughter 
of William Livingston. After the 
completion of his illustrious pub- 
lic career, he retired to an estate in 
the Town of Bedford, this county, 
where lie died. 1 He was the father 
of the eminent and beloved Judge 
William Jay, of our county bench, 
and the grandfather of the late dis- 
tinguished statesman, John Jay, 
also a prominent Westchester 
County character. One of the feat- 
ures of the Town of Eye is the cem- 
etery of the Jay family, in which 
stands a monument to the memory 
of the great chief justice. 
The committee of correspondence in New York City, soon after its 
organization, opened communication with the rural counties. A sub- 
committee of live (John Jay being one of its members) was appointed 
on the 30th of May " to write a circular letter to the supervisors in 
the different counties, acquainting them of the appointment of this 
committee, and submitting To the consideration of the inhabitants 
of the counties whether it could not be expedient for them to ap- 
point persons to correspond with this committee "upon matters rela- 
tive to the purposes for which they were appointed." A circular let- 
ter was accordingly written, of which thirty copies were sent to the 
treasurer of Westchester County, with a request to distribute them 
among "the supervisors of the several districts." It is not known 
whether this was done. At all events, nothing resulted, as no re- 
plies from Westchester County appear among the records of the 
committee. But in July a second circular was sent, which met with 
a different treatment from this county. It communicated informa- 


1 The Jay homestead at Bedford, says Bol- 
ton, " for four generations the residence and 
estate of the Jay family," descended to them 

eir an 



J a ci 

ilms V; 









eh em Ka 

i 1703." 



. ed., 

i.. 77.) 

events prom 1TG3 to 1775 293 

tion of the election of delegates to the approaching congress by the 
City and County of New York, and requested the other counties either 
to appoint additional delegates of their own or to signify their will- 
ingness that the delegates already chosen in the city should act for 
them also, on the understanding that whatever number of repre- 
sentatives should appear from this province at the congress they 
would be entitled to but one vote. Pursuant to this second circular 
a Westell ester County convention was called to meet in the court- 
house at White Plains, on the 22d of August, various towns and 
districts choosing local delegates to represent them. The Towns of 
Uye and Westchester held particularly well-attended meetings for 
that purpose and adopted rousing resolutions. The Rye delegation 
was headed by John Thomas, Jr., and the Westchester by Colonel 
Lewis Morris. It is noteworthy, however, that both the Rye and West- 
chester resolutions, although expressing the views of the two most 
radical political leaders in the county, were emphatic in the asser- 
tion of loyalty to the king — so far removed from the public mind 
was the thought of rebellion. Upon this point the Rye people said: 
"That they think it their greatest happiness to live under the illus- 
trious House of Hanover; and that they will steadfastly and uni- 
formly bear true and faithful allegiance to His Majesty, King George 
the Third, under the enjoyment of their constitutional rights and 
privileges as fellow-subjects with those of England." And the W'est- 
chester citizens declared: " That we do and will bear true allegiance 
to His Majesty, George the Third, King of Great Britain, etc., ac- 
cording to the British Constitution." 

The county convention at White Plains on August 22, 1774, was 
not a specially important body, at least from the standpoint of its 
proceedings. The most interesting thing in connection with it is 
that its presiding officer was Frederick Philipse, the Tory "lord," 
who, less than a year later, was to lead his tenant clans at the 
same place, though in very different circumstances and emergencies, 
in a vain protest against a repetition of the same political action for 
which he now stood the chief sponsor. There was no dissident ele- 
ment in the convention, and by unanimous consent the live men pre- 
viously elected by the people of New York City as delegates to the 
general congress were accepted as delegates for the County of West- 
chester likewise. 

The general congress of the colonies, the first held since the Stamp 
Act congress of 1765, assembled in Philadelphia on the 5th of Sep- 
tember, 1774, and continued in session until October 20. It proved 
in every way worthy of the great occasion which called it into being, 
and the result of its deliberations was to immensely stimulate dis- 


cussion throughout the colonies and to strengthen the resolution and 
hope of the people. It prepared and issued a declaration of rights, 
advised the adoption of a third Non-Importation Agreement, and 
made provision for the election in each colony of delegates to an- 
other congress, which was appointed to meet on the 10th of May, 

The citizens of Westchester County, having made a beginning in 
the matter of public action on the rising questions of the day, soon 
commenced to display a lively interest in their narrower considera- 
tion. This interest found expression in all the varying degrees of 
radicalism, moderation, timidity, and protest. The public prints of 
the times contain a number of communications from Westchester 
County, some of them iu the form of avowals or disavowals, formally 
signed, and some in that of anonymous newspaper articles advocat- 
ing one set of opinions or another with more or less zeal and dex- 
terity. One of the earliest and most notable of these documents is 
a communication from Eye, dated September 21, 1771, and published 
October 13 in Rivington's New York G-azetteer. It is an emphatic pro- 
test against the agitation of the period, as follows: 

We, the subscribers, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Town of Rye, in the Comity of 
Westchester, being much concerned with the unhappy situation of public affairs, think it onr 
Duty to our King and Country, to Declare that we have not been concerned in any Resolu- 
tions entered into or measures taken, with regard to the Disputes at present subsisting with 
the Mother Country ; we also testify our dislike to many hot and furious Proceedings, in con- 
sequence of said Disputes, which we think are more likely to ruin this once happy Country, 
than remove Grievances, if any there are. 

We also declare our great Desire and full Resolution to live and die peaceable Subjects 
to our Gracious Sovereign, King George the Third, and his Laws. 

Then follow eighty-three signatures, headed by Isaac Gidney. Evi- 
dently some local pressure hostile to the Thomas interest was brought 
to bear upon the conservative element of the Rye people; and evi- 
dently, also, not a few of the signers had been overpersuaded, for in 
Rivington's next issue appears a humble disclaimer, signed by fifteen 
of them, who say that, after mature deliberation, they are fully con- 
vinced that in indorsing the former paper they " acted preposter- 
ously and without properly adverting to the matter in dispute," and 
" do utterly disclaim every part thereof, except our expressions of 
Loyalty to the King and Obedience to the Constitutional Laws of 
the Realm." 

A " Weaver in Harrison's Purchase" writes to Holt's New York Jour- 
nal of December 22, 1774, combating the sophisms of the Tory pam- 
phleteer, "A. W. Farmer"; and letters from correspondents in Cort- 
landt Manor, representing both sides, appear in Rivington's Gazetteer 
and Gaines's New York Gazette during the early months of 1775. 

EVENTS FROM 1765 TO 1775 295 

Some of this newspaper discussion by Westchester contributors is 
couched in very strong- terms. Indeed, there is abundant evidence 
that nowhere in America were stronger passions aroused by the un- 
fortunate divisions of the period than among the farmers of West- 
chester County. When the final conflict came, both parties in the 
county were ripe for the most bitter persecutions and the most re- 
vengeful reprisals, which frequently recognized neither neighborly 
considerations nor the sacred ties of blood. 



9, 1776 

HAT was destined to be the last session of the general as- 
sembly of the Province of New York convened on the 10th 
of January, 1775, in New York City. Although the general 
aspect of affairs had undergone no improvement siuce the 
adjournment of the Philadelphia congress— and, indeed, the tendency 
had been toward a further estrangement from Great Britain, espe- 
cially through the operation of the "Association" recommended by 
the congress, — the state of the public mind was rather that of expec- 
tancy than of active revolt. Lexington had not yet been fought, and 
there had been no new overt act of any very sensational nature on the 
part of the British ministry. It was still the devout hope of good 
men that a reconciliation might eventually be accomplished. In these 
circumstances the conservative leaders of the New York assembly — 
among whom James de Lancey, Frederick Philipse, and Isaac Wilkins 
were conspicuous — had every advantage throughout the session, uni- 
formly commanding a majority against the proposals of the radicals. 
Resolutions extending thanks to the New York delegates to the Phil- 
adelphia congress, commending the New York merchants for their 
self-sacrificing observance of the "Association, " and favoring the elec- 
tion of delegates from New York to the next general congress, were 
voted down. On questions involving a division the vote was usually 
fifteen to ten, Pierre Van Cortlandt and John Thomas being inva- 
riably among the minority. But the house framed and passed a state 
of grievances, petition to the king, memorial to the lords, and rep- 
resentation or remonstrance to the commons, to which little or no 
exception could reasonably be taken. These papers were respectful, 
but comprehensive and firm, and did honor to the leaders of the ma- 
jority. The complaint made against the assembly of 1775 was not 
on the score of its positive transactions, but of what it refused to do. 
It utterly and in the most studied manner ignored the great and 
spontaneous manifestations of American sentiment, as expressed in 
such organized agencies of the times as departed from the regular 
channels of legislation and official administration. This was felt by 
the impatient people as a sore affront. The closing act of the assem- 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 297 

bly was the appointment of a " Standing Committee of Correspond- 
ence," composed almost exclusively of conservatives, whose functions 
were strictly limited to observing the proceedings of the British par- 
liament and administration and communicating with the sister colo- 
nies thereupon. Of this committee Philipse and Wilkins were made 
the members for Westchester County. 

The assembly having declined to assume the initiative as to the 
election of the provincial delegates to the approaching general con- 
gress, that duty reverted to the still surviving people's committee in 
New York City. The committee decided that the delegates should be 
chosen this time not by the individual counties in an independent 
capacity, but by a provincial convention; and such a convention was 
called for the 20th of April, the counties being severally requested 
to send representatives to it. Circular letters to this end were dis- 
patched under date of March 16. There was at that time no com- 
mittee existing in Westchester County to take cognizance of the noti- 
fication and summon the necessary county convention or meeting. 
It hence became needful for some private person or persons interested 
in the cause to take the lead in the matter. The man for the occasion 
proved to be Colonel Lewis Morris, who, since the death of his father, in 
1702, had been at the head of the Morris family of Morrisania. Colonel 
Morris was born in 1726, and was graduated at Yale in 1746. While 
inheriting the political temperament and abilities of his race, he had 
as yet taken little part in public affairs, preferring the quiet and un- 
ostentatious life of a country gentleman. Even in the first move- 
ment of protest against the policy of Great Britain organized in this 
county, resulting in the White Plains convention of August, 1774, he 
had not been specially conspicuous. But after the refusal of the 
assembly to identify itself in any manner with the prevailing senti- 
ment, he became profoundly impressed with the importance of imme- 
diate and emphatic action by t he people in their original capacity. The 
occasion now presented was one demanding energy and management. 
It was not to be doubted that the powerful conservative party would 
exert its influence to the utmost to prevent any radical expression by 
Westchester County. There was more than a suspicion that this had 
been done deliberately, though insidiously, in 1774, when Frederick 
Philipse, the head and front of the conservatives, had been chosen 
chairman of the county convention, and that representative body, the 
first of its kind to meet in the county, had adjourned without adopt- 
ing any aggressive resolutions or appointing a committee of corre- 
spondence to co-operate with the one in the city, or making any pro- 
vision for the calling and assembling of future conventions of the 
county. With the issues now more closely drawn by the unfriendly 



attitude of the provincial assembly, it was certain that Philipse, Wil- 
kins, the de Lanceys, and their friends would assume to again control 
the course of Westchester County and to keep it well within the 
former moderate bounds. 

Principally through the efforts of Colonel Morris, a temporary com- 
mittee or caucus for the county was improvised, which on the 28th 
of March met at White Plains " for the purpose of devising means for 
taking the sense of the county ,? relative to the appointment of dele- 
gates to the proposed 
provincial convention. 
There were present Col- 
o n e 1 Lewis Morris, 
T h o m as Hun t, and 
Abraham Leggett, of 
Westchester; Theodo- 
sius Bartow, J a m e s 
Willis, and Abraham 
Guion, of New Rochelle; 
W i 1 1 i a m Sutton, of 
Mamaroneck; Captain 
Joseph Drake, Benja- 
m in D r a k e, Moses 
Drake, and Stephen 
Ward, of Eastchester; 
and James Horton, Jr., 
of Rye. A call was 
issued for a general 
meeting of freeholders 
of the county, to be held 
in the court house at 
White Plains on Tues- 
day, the 11th of April, 
a n d communications 
were sent to represen- 
tative persons in every 
locality, requesting 
them to give notice to all the freeholders, without exception, " as 
those who do not appear and vote on that day will be presumed to 
acquiesce in the sentiment of the majority of those who vote." 

Because of the well-known radical views of Colonel Morris and 
most of his associates, this action at once became a subject of general 
discussion, causing much disquietude to the opposing faction. Of 
course no formal objection to the projected meeting could have been 


FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177G 299 

offered, for that would have been not merely a confession of weak- 
ness, but highly inconsistent with the professed motives of the con- 
servatives, who claimed to be quite as much devoted as the radicals 
to the liberties of the country, differing- with them only as to methods. 
The challenge for a test of strength was promptly accepted, and steps 
were taken throughout the county to make as strong an antagonistic 
demonstration as possible at White Plains on the appointed day. This 
was made manifest by an address " To the Freeholders and Inhabi- 
tants of the County of Westchester," which appeared in Rivington's 
New York Gazetteer on the Gth of April, signed " A White Oak," it 
not being deemed politic by its author or authors to attach any names 
to it. It is very significant that, while the White Plains call appealed 
only to the freeholders — that is, to the legally qualified voters ex- 
clusively, — the counter-address comprehended the "inhabitants" as 
well. As a body, the tenant farmers of the Manor of Philipseburgh 
were not freeholders, but only non-voting "inhabitants"; and of 
course it would never do, in the coming struggle of the factions, to 
accept a basis of representation ruling out so considerable an ele- 
ment of support for the programme of which the lord of that manor 
was the embodiment. The "White Oak" address earnestly recom- 
mended a full attendance of "the friends of government and our 
happy constitution," in order that the proposal to appoint delegates 
to meet in provincial congress — " a measure so replete with ruin and 
misery " — might be voted down so far as Westchester County was 
concerned. They were urged to " Remember the extravagant price 
we are now obliged to pay for goods purchased of the merchants in 
consequence of the Non-Importation Agreement," " and," it was add- 
ed, " when the Non-Exportation Agreement takes place, we shall be 
in the situation of those who were obliged to make bricks without 

Early on the morning of the 11th of April the rival forces began 
to gather at White Plains. The supporters of the announced busi- 
ness of the day made their headquarters at the tavern kept by Isaac 
Oakley, and the " friends of government " at the establishment of 
Captain Hatfield. About noon the former party proceeded to the 
court house, and, without waiting for the appearance of their friends 
of the other side, organized a meeting and elected Colonel Lewis Mor- 
ris chairman. Soon after the opposite faction entered in a body, 
headed by Colonel Frederick Philipse and Isaac Wilkins, and Mr. Wil- 
kins made a brief statement to the expectant Morrisites. He informed 
them that, " as they had been unlawfully called together, and for an 
unlawful purpose, they [the friends of government] did not intend 
to contest the matter by a poll, which would be tacitly acknowledging 


the authority that had summoned them hither; but that they came 
only with a design to protest against all such disorderly proceedings, 
and to show their detestation of all unlawful committees and con- 
oresses » They then, according to the account of their transactions 
which their leaders furnished to the press, " declared their deter- 
mined resolution to continue steadfast in their allegiance to their 
orncious and merciful sovereign, King George the Third, to submit 
to lawful authority, and to abide by and support the only true repre- 
sentatives of the people of the colony, the general assembly. Then, 
•riving three huzzas, they returned to Captain Hatfield's, singing as 
they went, with loyal enthusiasm, the good and animating song ot- 
" God save great George our King; 
Long live our noble King, etc." 
The declination of the followers of Philipse and Wilkins to con- 
test the matter by a poll was an unexpected measure of tactics. In 
the address signed by " White Oak » the friends of government had 
been expressly solicited to rally at White Plains in order to give their 
votes on the vital question to be propounded there, and the conse- 
quences of failure to attend and declare their sentiments m control- 
ling numbers had been pictured in vivid words. Notwithstanding the 
organization of the meeting by the Morris party, the conservatives 
could, of course, have made its proceedings conformable to their will 
if they had been in the majority. Their preference to retire with 
nothing more than a protest, and convert themselves into a mere 
rump was an act either of political petulance or studied discretion. 
The reasonable conclusion is that they were with good cause appre- 
hensive of the result of a vote, and that their experienced leaders de- 
cided upon the safer course of a dignified retreat. 

The radicals in the court house, being left to themselves, put 
through the programme arranged for them with expedition and en- 
thusiasm. Bv a unanimous vote it was agreed to unite with the other 
counties in sending delegates to the proposed provincial convention, 
and eight delegates were accordingly chosen, as follows: Colonel Lewis 
Morris and Dr. Kobert Graham, of Westchester; Stephen Ward, of 
Eastchester; Colonel James Holmes and Jonathan Piatt, of Bedford; 
John Thomas, Jr., of Bye; and Samuel Drake and Philip Van Cort- 
landt of the Manor of Cortlandt. Eesolutions were adopted extend- 
ing thanks to " the virtuous minority of the general assembly of 
this province, and particularly to John Thomas and Pierre Van Cort- 
landt, Esquires, two of our representatives, for their firm attachment 
to and zeal for. on a late occasion, the preservation of the union of 
the colonies and the rights and liberties of America/ and also thank- 
in- " the delegates who composed the late congress for the essential 








Againfl. the hoflile I 

TAKE - ! 

To&iticTi c/jSfflr^ 

Fu*lccb. *■'< 

Ramrrur> . JS JBxan 

^^^^ ^&ec&^, 0&^, J^t, 


The Encoubagemeiit J.hi-T g to e ? t / r ,nto thi " honour; 

antf silver moncv on account of mx ■tH?-£h3. aI i ow , a . n « ?f a arge 
comfort arc provided by W \vit„„& ^yTxpLl M, theib,dieT 

home to ni, friends, with hi s po^S^^^^'L^eid™^ 






;d states, 

of foreign enemies, 


piting party pf 

^ „ < ^^ couifty, attencfance will be given \>\? 

it Colonel AafonOgtieupjfor the purpoleof receiving the enrollment of 

company in .y££a/^i> 

1 fervice. 

Ious ? namely, a bounty of twelve dollars, an annual and fully fufficient 
ample ration of provifions, together with sixty dollars a yeaT in gold 
lay up for himfelf and friends, as all articles proper for his fubfiftance and 

kove, will have an opportunity of hearing and feeing in a more particular 
[embrace this opportunity of fpendino* a few happy years in view"" 
liable character of a foldier, after which, he may, if he pleafes 
p with laurels. 


in viewing the 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 301 

services they have rendered to America." The meeting then adjourned 
with three cheers for the king. 

The " friends of government,'' after leaving the court house, or- 
ganized an independent meeting and adopted the following decla- 
ration, to which all present signed their names: 

We, the undersigned, freeholders and inhabitants of the County of Westchester, having 
assembled at the White Plains in consequence of certain advertisements, do now declare that 
we met here to express our honest abhorrence of all unlawful congresses and committees, and 
that we are determined at the hazard of our lives and properties to support the king and the 
constitution, and that we acknowledge no representatives but the general assembly, to whose 
wisdom and integrity we submit the guardianship of our rights and liberties. 

There were in all three hundred and twelve signers to this docu- 
ment, headed by Frederick Philipse, Isaac Wilkins, the Revs. Samuel 
Seabury and Luke Babcock, Judges Jonathan Fowler and Caleb Fow- 
ler, and several other prominent persons, including Mayor Nathaniel 
Underbill, of the Borough of Westchester, and Philip Pell, of Pelham 

The patriotic meeting at White Plains was conducted with perfect 
decorum, and, in spite of the aggressive speech of Mr. Wilkins against 
"disorderly proceedings" and "unlawful committees and congresses," 
Colonel Morris and his adherents had the good taste to refrain from 
all violent or vindictive expressions or doings on that occasion. Also in 
his published report of the events of the day Colonel Morris abstained 
from language that could possibly give offense, confining himself to 
a dispassionate narrative of facts. But the " friends of government " 
were not so moderate. They caused an elaborate statement to be 
printed in the New York press, filled with animadversions of an ex- 
asperating nature. In this statement, which appeared in Rivington's 
paper on the 20th of April, the day after the battle of Lexington, it 
was charged that the meeting held at the court house had, by assum- 
ing (o represent the true sentiment of Westchester County, imposed 
upon the world and insulted the "loyal County of Westchester" in 
a most barefaced manner"; that it was "the act of a few individuals 
unlawfully assembled," and that it was well known that at least two- 
thirds of the inhabitants of the county were "friends to order and 
government, and opposed to committees and all unlawful combina- 
tions." The ire of Colonel Morris was aroused by such reflections and 
allegations, and in a communication to the press published soon 
afterward he replied with great vigor and cutting satire, also sub- 
jecting the list of signers to a merciless analysis. " I shall pass over," 
said he, " the many little embellishments with which the author's 
fancy has endeavored to decorate his narrative; nor is it necessary 
to call in question the reality of that loyal enthusiasm by which it 


was said these good people were influenced; and I really wish it 
had been the fact, because when inconsistencies and fooleries result 
from inebriety or enthusiasm, they merit our pity and escape indig- 
nation and resentment. Much pains, I confess," were on that day 
taken to make temporary enthusiasts, and with other exhilarating 
spirit than the spirit of loyalty. To give the appearance of dignity 
to these curious and very orderly protestors, the author has been 
very mindful to annex every man's addition to his name, upon a. pre- 
sumption perhaps that it would derive weight from the title of Mayor, 
Esquire, Captain, Lieutenant, Judge, etc. But it is not easy to con- 
ceive why the publisher should be less civil to the clergy than to 
the gentry or commonalty. Samuel Seabury ami Luke Babcock cer- 
tainly ought not to have been sent into the world floating on a news- 
paper in that plain way. The one is the Rev. Mr. Samuel Seabury, 
rector of the united parishes of East and West Chester, and one of 
the missionaries for propagating the Gospel, and not politicks, in 
foreign parts, etc., etc.; the other is the Rev. Mr. Luke Babcock, who 
preaches and prays for Colonel Philipse and his tenants at Philipse- 
burgh." Tn his analysis of the signers of the protest he showed that 
no fewer than one hundred and seventy of the three hundred and 
twelve were persons not possessing the least pretensions to a vote, 
many of them being lads under age; while of the one hundred and 
forty-two who were freeholders many held lands at the will of Colonel 
Philipse, " so that," he concluded, " very few independent freeholders 
objected to the appointment of deputies." Theaccuracy of this analysis 
was never challenged; and it thus appears that with all the advant- 
ages of prestige enjoyed by the conservative leaders they were able to 
muster scarcely a hundred disinterested voters in opposition to a po 
litical programme which they had announced to be " replete with 
ruin and misery." Moreover, several formal recantations of the pro- 
test by persons who had signed it followed, showing that, as in the 
case of the Rye protestants of the year before, various individuals 
who had been drawn into support of Tory principles were speedily 
brought to a realizing sense of the odiousness of their behavior. 
Among the recanters was Jonathan Fowler, one of the judges of 
the Court of Common Pleas of the county, who, in a published card, 
declared that " upon mature deliberation and more full knowledge 
of the matter" he had come to the conclusion that the sentiments 
expressed in the protest were "not only injurious to our present 
cause, but likewise offensive to our fellow-colonists, " and therefore 
repudiated and testified his abhorrence of them. 

The New York provincial convention for the appointment of dele- 
gates to the congress at Philadelphia met in New York City on the 


TO JULY 9, 17 70 


20th of April. All the representatives for Westchester County se- 
lected by the meeting at White Plains were in attendance excepting 
Jonathan Piatt and Colonel James Holmes. A delegation of twelve 
men — five from New York County and one each from Kings. Suffolk, 
Orange, Albany, Ulster, Westchester, and Dutchess Counties — was 
chosen to represent the province. The delegate for Westchester 
County was Colonel Lewis Morris. John Jay was re-elected as a dele- 
gate for New York City. The convention adjourned on the 22o*. 

On the morning of the next day, Sunday. April 23, 1775, the news 
of the battle of Lexington was received by the people of our county 




residing along the Boston Post Road from the express rider who had 
been dispatched to bear it as far as New York. Spread from mouth 
to mouth throughout the county, it everywhere intensified the pas- 
sions which had been stirred by the local political events of the pre- 
vious few weeks. Already incensed at the arrogant bearing of the 
conservative party, which had just been freshly illustrated by the 
injudicious narrative of the proceedings at White Plains that the 
leaders of that party had inserted in the New York newspapers, the 
patriotic element was aroused by this alarming intelligence to bit- 
terness and aggression. Numerous were the interviews held with 
signers of the protest who were supposed to' be open to persuasion, 


and with all individuals of previously uncertain tendencies. A week 
later Judge Jonathan Fowler published bis meek recantation, and 
even the bold spirit of Isaac Wilkins, the eloquent leader of the ma- 

NEW- YORK, Committee-Chamber, 

WEDNESDAY, 26th April, 3775. 

THE Committee Jnvmg taken into Confidetanon the Commotions 
occafioned by the fanguinary Meafures purfued by the BritiiL 
Mmifhy, 2nd that the Powers with which this Committee is 
inverted, refpeft only the AiTociition. are unanimoufy of 
Opinion, That a new Committee be elected by the Freeholders 
and "Freemen of this City and County,, for the prefent unhappy Exigency 
of Affairs, as well as to obfervc the Conduct cf all Perfons touching- the 
AfTociation; That the faid Committee oonnil of ioo Perfons; that 33 be a 
Quorum, and that they difTclvc within a Fortnight next after the End of 
the nextSefuons of the Continental Congrefs. And that the Senfe of the 
Freeholders and Freemen of this City and County, upon this Subject, may 
be better procured and afcertained, the Committee are further unanimoufly 
of Opinion, That the Polls be tzken on Friday Morning next, at 51 o'clock, 
at the ufual Places cf -Election in each Ward, under the Infpection of the 
two Vestrymen of each Ward, ar.d two of this Committee, or any two 
of the four j and that at the faid Elections the Votes of the Freemen and 
Freeholders, be taken on the following Queilicns, vis. Whether fuch New. 
Committee (hall be conftitufedj and if Yea> of whom it ihallconfift. And 
this Committee is further unanimously of Opinion, That at the prefent 
alarming Junclure, it is highly advifeable that a Provincial Congrefc be 
immediately iummoned; md that it be recommended to the Freeholders 
and Freemen cf this City and County, to chocfe at the fame Time that 
they vote for the New Committee aforefaid, Twenty Deputies to reprefent 
them at the faid Congrefs. And that a Letter be forthwith prepared and 
difpatchedto all the Counties, requeuing them to unite with us in forming 
a Provincial Cong-cfs, and to appoint their Deputies withoutDclay^ to meet 
at New-York, en Monday the 22 d of May next. 

By Order cf the Committee, 

ISAAC LOW, Chairman, 


jority in the provincial assembly, yielded itself to the inevitable. 
Against Wilkins particularly severe animosity was cherished. It 
was he who, at White Plains, had denounced the patriotic assem- 
blage as disorderly and unlawful, and common report atTributed to 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1770 305 

him the authorship of the protesting " narrative," with its offensive 
assumptions and impudent characterizations. The public resent- 
ment toward him was so deep, and was manifested with such activ- 
ity, that without delay he formed the resolution to leave the country. 
This was announced in an open letter addressed To " My Country- 
men," dated New York, May 3, 1775. The precipitation of his flight 
may be judged from his statement that he left behind " everything 
that is dear to me — my wife, ray children, my friends, and my prop- 
erty." He avowed that he was actuated not by fear or a conscious- 
ness of having done wrong, but by an unwillingness to become in- 
volved iu the fratricidal strife that was impending. " I leave 
America, and ^xery endearing connection," he concluded, '-because 
I will not raise my hand against my Sovereign, nor will I draw my 
sword against my Country; when I can conscientiously draw it in 
her favour, my life shall be chearfully devoted to her service." 

In New York City, the center of political agitation and manage- 
ment, the thrilling news from Lexington evoked more energetic and 
aggressive measures than had yet been attempted. Although a pro- 
vincial convention had just been held, and a continental congress was 
about to meet, it was decided to summon a provincial congress; and 
a call was promptly issued for such a body to meet in New York City 
on the 22d of May and "deliberate upon and from time to time to 
direct such measures as may be expedient for our common safety." 
In the circular sent to the counties the gravity of tie- situation was 
pointed out in strong language, and for the first time the hint of 
war was given to the people of the colony. 'Westchester County re- 
sponded to this new appeal by holding a meeting at White Plains 
on the 8th of May. James Van Cortlandt, of the Borough of West- 
chester, occupying the chair. It appointed a permanent county com- 
mittee of ninety persons, twenty of whom were empowered to act 
for the county, and to that committee was referred the authority to 
choose the delegates to the proposed congress. The delegates select- 
ed under this provision were Gouverneur Morris, Dr. Robert Graham, 
Colonel Lewis Graham, and Colonel James Van Cortlandt, all of the 
Town of Westchester; Stephen Ward and Joseph Drake, of East- 
chester; Major Philip Van Cortlandt, of Cortlandt Manor; Colonel 
James Holmes, of Bedford; John Thomas, Jr., of Rye; David Dayton, 
of North Castle; and William Paulding, of Philipseburgh Manor. It 
is noteworthy that among the results of this White Plains meeting 
two men whose names were destined to rank among the most im- 
portant in the annals of Westchester County obtained their first en- 
trance into public life — Gouverneur Morris and Jonathan G. Tomp- 
kins. The former headed the delegation to the provincial congress. 



and the latter was one of the principal members of the committee 
of ninety which was created to take charge of affairs in the county. 
Gouverneur .Morris was the fourth son of Lewis Morris, Jr., and a 
stepbrother of Colonel Lewis Morris. lie was born in 1752, was grad- 
uated at Columbia College in 1768, studied law under the preceptor- 
ship of William Smith the younger (afterward royal chief justice), 
and was admitted to the bar in 1771, when only twenty years old. 
He immediately espoused the cause of the anti-government party, al- 
though identifying himself, like Jay, with its more moderate advo- 
cates; and it was not until the die had been cast by the introduction 
of the Declaration of Independence in the continental congress that 
he took a pronounced position in support of radical doctrines. As 
a delegate from Westchester County to the provincial congress of 
1775 and 1776 he attracted general attention by his abilities, and 

thenceforward his services were con- 
stantly employed iu behalf of the 
nation. His mother was a lady of 
strong Loyalist prejudices, and Gou- 
verneur's championship of the Revo- 
lutionary cause was a great disap- 
pointment to her. His sister, Isabella, 
married Isaac Wilkins, whose melan- 
choly farewell to his countrymen has 
just been noticed. Gouverneur Mor- 
ris, being his father's youngest son, 
did not inherit any portion of the 
Morrisania estate; but some years 
after the conclusion of peace with 
Great Britain he purchased from his 
brother, General Staats Long Morris, 
of the British army, all that portion 
of the ancestral property lying east 
of .Mill Brook. There he resided during the closing years of his life, 
and died on the Kith of November, 1816. 

Jonathan G. Tompkins, 1 of Scarsdale, the lather of Governor and 
Vice-President Daniel I>. Tompkins, was a prominent Westchester 
County figure throughout the Revolution and for many years after. 
His ancestors emigrated from the north of England to Massachu- 



dale from Westchtster Town. One of the 
family's neighbors in Scarsdale was Captain 
Jonathan Griffen, a well-to-do farmer, who, 
being childless, and taking a fancy to young 

d had him baptized by 
Jril'tVn Tompkins. Cap- 
to him a farm of one 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177G 307 

setts. Besides serving on the county committee, he was supervisor 
for the Manor of Scarsclale, and later was a member of the committee 
of safety, a delegate to two provincial congresses, member of the as- 
sembly and county judge under the State government, and one of the 
first regents of the State University. He lived to the venerable age 
of eighty-seven, dying in 1823. 

The second continental congress began its sessions at Philadel- 
phia on the 10th of May. Accepting the proceedings at Lexington 
and their associated events as acts of war, it immediately began to 
lay plans for a general armed resistance. Steps were taken for the 
creation of an army by the enlistment of volunteers, Washington was 
appointed commander-in-chief, and the preliminary arrangements 
were made for meeting the expenses of the struggle. 

When the New York provincial congress assembled on the 22d of 
May, the programme of revolution had already been well marked out. 
This provincial body was equal to the emergency, being fully con- 
trolled by the patriotic element, although well balanced in its mem- 
bership. It entered at once upon the serious business of the hour. 
By the election of Peter Van Brugh Livingston, an extremist, as its 
presiding officer, it testified irs complete readiness for co-operation 
with the sister colonies in radical action. Vet it took a firm stand 
in insisting upon the local autonomy of the Colony of New York, one 
of its earliest ads being the rejection of a resolution providing for 
implicit obedience (o the continental congress in all matters except 
those of local police regulation. On the first day of the session pro- 
vision was made for effective organization in the several counties by 
the establishing of committees in sympathy with the general plans 
of the friends of liberty. A plan for a continental currency, sub- 
mitted and advocated with great ability by Gouverneur Morris, was 
recommended to the consideration of the continental congress. Final- 
ly, detailed arrangements were adopted for putting the province in 
a state of military defense, for the levying of troops, and for active 
local administration and supervision in the interest of assuring full 
exercise of authority by the Revolutionary party and repressing dis- 

The British garrison in New York had given little trouble to the 
populace since the Golden Hill affray of January, 1770. During its 
brief stay in the city after the battle of Lexington it was not re- 
enforced. Although as yet no armed body of colonists had arisen to 
threaten the British soldiers, it was perfectly understood that the 
people, and not the garrison, were masters of the local situation, and 
that at the slightest manifestation of aggression on the part of the 
troops sanguinary events would be precipitated. The British com- 


niander had the good sense to abstain from anything of that nature, 
and, on the other hand, the populace made no attempt to interfere 
with him. But this forbearance was about the only instance of mod- 
eration displayed in the City of New York at that critical time. The 
people, under the leadership of the Sons of Liberty, committed overt 
acts which were in the line of open rebellion. A government store- 
house at Turtle Bay was seized, and about one hundred pieces of 
ordnance were carted to Kingsbridge, which, as the point of com- 
munication with the mainland, was instantly recognized as a prin- 
cipal strategic position, demanding intrenchment. Indeed, as early 
as the 4th of May the New York City committee ordered " that Cap- 
tain Sears, Captain Randall, and Captain Fleming be a committee to 
procure proper judges to go and view the ground at or near Kings- 
bridge, and report to this committee, with all convenient speed, 
whether it will answer for the purposes intended by it." Thus the 
very first warlike measure determined upon in this portion of the 
country had reference to a locality upon the borders of our county. 

The supremacy of the popular power in New York was well evi- 
denced by the dictatorial authority assumed and successfully en- 
forced by the committee of one hundred upon the occasion of the 
departure of the garrison from the city. This event occurred early 
in June, the frigate " Asia " having come into the harbor with orders 
to remove the soldiers to Boston. The committee gave its consent 
to the transaction, with the proviso, however, that the troops should 
carry away with them no other arms than those upon their own 
persons. An attempt was made to violate the arbitrary order thus 
promulgated, and the first detachment that issued from the fort was 
accompanied by several vehicles loaded with stacks of arms. At 
the corner of Broad and Beaver Streets a single citizen, Marinus Wil- 
lett by name, emerged from the crowd, seized the horse of the leading- 
vehicle by the bridle, and commanded the driver to turn back. An 
altercation now ensued, several prominent gentlemen expressing their 
opinions — among them Gouverneur Morris, who, consistently with 
the pacific attitude that he had taken, deprecated Willett's act. But 
the aggressive faction was represented by well-known spokesmen, 
having behind them overwhelming numbers of the Sons of Liberty, 
and they gave it to be understood that unless the arms were left in 
the city, in obedience to the directions of the committee, blood would 
tlow. Tic judicious British officer in command yielded to these rep- 
resentations, and the citizens were permitted to appropriate the arms. 
After that triumphal termination of the matter, Willett mounted 
one of the carts and delivered an impassioned address to the meek 
soldierv, exhorting them to desist from the unnatural business of 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1 i i 6 


shedding the blood of their brethren, and promising protection to 
an}- of their number who should have the courage to leave the ranks 
and join the patriotic multitude. History records that one of the 
men deserted in response to this appeal. In all the preliminary events 
of the devolution there is no more dramatic episode than this ex- 
ploit of Marinas Willett. It is typical of the whole course of the 
people of New York from the earliest period of the troubles with 
the mother country — a course of unfaltering aggression, taking no 
thought of consequences. Willett subsequently became an officer in 
the American army, and, as we shall see, distinguished himself upon 


a notable occasion in repelling a British expedition near Peekskill, in 
our county. 

The continental congress at Philadelphia, pursuing the Revolu- 
tionary programme which had been inaugurated at the beginning of 
its session, early turned its attention to the subject of preparing the 
Province of New York for defensive and offensive operations. In this 
connection the fortification of the passes at Kingsbridge and at the 
entrance to the Highlands, and plans for obstructing the navigation 
of the Hudson Paver in case of necessity, received chief consideration. 
On the 25th of May a number of resolutions pertaining to New York 
were adopted by the congress, including the following: 

That a post be immediately taken and fortified at or near Kingsbridge, in the Colony of 
New York ; and that the ground be chosen with a particular view to prevent the communica- 
tion between the City of New York and the country from being interrupted by land. 


That a post be also taken in the Highlands, on each side of Hudson's River, and bat- 
teries erected in such a manner as will most effectually prevent any vessels passing that may 
be sent to harass the inhabitants on the borders of said river ; and that experienced persons 
be immediately sent to examine said river, in order to discover where it will be most advis- 
able and proper to obstruct the navigation. 

These resolves, with others, were communicated to the provincial 
congress of New York, with instructions to keep them secret. That 
body referred the two matters to separate committees, which in due 
time reported plans for carrying the recommendations into effect. 
The result as to Kingsbridge was the construction of three redoubts, 
one of which (on Tetard's Hill) was called Fort Independence; and 
the first intrenchments thus established were soon supplemented br- 
others along the Harlem and Spuyten Duyvil waterway. Fort Wash- 
ington, on Manhattan Island, overlooking the Hudson at about the 
foot of 181st Street, was built under the supervision of Colonel Rufus 
Putnam, of Washington's staff, previously to the British occupation 
of New York. It was designed to be — and was, in fact — the main de- 
fensive position guarding New York City below and the open country 
above; and Fort Washington and the Kingsbridge defenses were 
closely interdependent. In addition to its function as a citadel at the 
northern end of Manhattan Island, Fort Washington covered the 
passage up the Hudson River, to which end Fort Lee, erected about 
the same time directly opposite on the New Jersey bank, also con- 

The committee having iu charge the matter of advising as to forti- 
fying both banks of the Hudson in the neighborhood of the High- 
lands and obstructing the river navigation paved the way for equally 
important undertakings in that quarter. Expert commissioners who 
were sent to examine the country laid stress in their report upon 
the natural military advantages offered by the northwestern section 
of Westchester County, which, besides guarding the Highlands, was 
the eastern terminus of the King's Ferry route (at that time the 
principal means of communication between the Eastern andSouthern 
colonies), and also afforded an excellent road leading into Connecticut. 
The famous chain across the Hudson at Anthony's Nose was soon 
afterward manufactured. It is said to have cost £70,000, almost 
bankrupting the continental treasury, whereas no compensating ben- 
efits were derived from it. On tw<) occasions it broke from its own 
weight. The ill-fated Forts Clinton and Montgomery were con- 
structed in the Highlands on the west side of the river, with Fort 
Constitution on an island opposite West Point. The erection of Fort 
Lafayette at Yerplanck's Point and Fort Independence at Peekskill 
(as also of the famous works at Stony Point, opposite Verplanck's) 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 0, 1776 311 

belongs to a later period. Of the various Revolutionary fortresses in 
the Highlands and that section, West Point was built last. 

In addition to its particular recommendations respecting Kings- 
bridge, the Highlands, and the Hudson, the continental congress ad- 
vised New York to have its militia thoroughly armed and trained, 
and placed in "constant readiness to act at a moment's warning"; 
and, as a final matter, the colony was summoned to enlist and equip 
three thousand volunteers, who were to serve until the 31st of De- 
cember, 1775, unless sooner discharged. In response to the demand 
for three thousand enlisted men, four regiments were formed, of which 
one, though known as the Dutchess County regiment, was composed 
to a considerable extent of Westchester County men. Its colonel 
was James Holmes, of Bedford, a grandson of one of the original 
proprietors of that town, who had served with credit as a captain in 
th'- French and Indian War. Although, in addition to accepting this 
commission, Holmes had been a delegate to the provincial congress, 
and soon afterward served with his command in the invasion of Can- 
ada, he subsequently became one of the disaffected, turned Loyalist, 
and was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the corps of Westchester 
( ounty Refugees. Philip Van Cortlandt, son of Pierre Van Cortlandt 
and a leading member of the provincial congress, was made lieuten- 
ant-colonel of the Dutchess County regiment. Three of its ten com 
panics were largely from Westchester County. 

In the summer of 1775 the provincial congress ordered a complete 
reorganization of the militia of the colony, and required every mem- 
ber of that body, between the ages of sixteen and fifty, to provide 
himself with a musket and bayonet, a sword or tomahawk, a cartridge- 
box to contain twenty-three rounds of cartridges, a knapsack, one 
pound of gunpowder, and three pounds of balls. There were no reg- 
ulations as to uniform. Under this order Westchester County thor- 
oughly reconstructed its militia, deposing all officers of unsatisfac- 
tory or doubtful antecedents, and electing stanch patriots in their 

The battle of Bunker Hill, on the 17th of June, had still farther 
widened the breach, which, indeed, now seemed incapable of being- 
closed. Three days previously George Washington had been ap- 
pointed by the continental congress commander-in-chief of the Amer- 
ican armies. On June 25 he arrived in New York on his way to the 
seat of war in Massachusetts, having been met at Newark by a depu- 
tation of citizens, of whom Gouverneur Morris was one of the prin- 
cipal members. He stopped over night in the city, and the next morn- 
ing continued his journey, being escorted for some distance by the 



local militia. His route, of course, lay through our county, along 
the Boston Post Road. 

One of the most noteworthy enactments of the provincial congress 
of 1775 was a series of regulations for preventing and punishing un- 
acceptable acts and language by the Tory element of the province. 
These regulations were drastic, and, as they were applied with par- 
ticular severity in Westchester County, a somewhat detailed notice 
of i hem is called for. The measure embodying them was adopted on 
the 2(>th of August. It prohibited the furnishing of provisions or 
other necessaries, kk contrary to the resolutions of the continental 
or of this congress," to the ministerial army or navy, as well as com- 
municating by correspondence or otherwise to the British military 
or naval officers any information prejudicial to the interests or plans 
of the colonists. Persons accused of offending against the act in these 
respects were to be brought before the county or city committee, the 
provincial congress, or the committee of safety, and. if found 
guilty, were to be disarmed, to forfeit double the value of the 
articles furnished, and to be imprisoned not to 
exceed three months. In case of a second of- 
fense, the guilty person was to be banished from 
the colony for seven years. Continuing, the act 
declared that, tk although this congress, having 
tender regard to the freedom of speech, the 
rights of conscience, and personal liberty, so far 
as indulgence in these particulars may be con- 
sistent with our general security, yet, for the 
^^^Jsj^y^^^ general safety," it was necessary to sternly pun- 
philipse arms. ish abuses of such privileges. Consequently all 

persons were prohibited from opposing or deny- 
ing " the authority of the continental or this congress, or the commit- 
tee of safety, or the committees of the respective counties, cities, 
(owns, manors, precincts, or districts in this colony" and from "dis- 
suading any person or persons from obeying the recommendations of 
the continental or this congress, or the committee of safety, or the 
committees aforesaid." Suspects were to be tried before the county 
committees, and, if convicted, were to be disarmed for the first offense 
and committed to close confinement, at their respective expense, for 
the second. Committees and militia officers were enjoined to appre- 
hend every person discovered to be enlisted or in arms against the 
liberties of the country, and to keep him in custody until his fate 
should be determined by the congress; and the estate of every such in- 
dividual was to be seized and confiscated. 

Very soon after the passage of this measure the zealous local com- 
mitteemen in Westchester County began to take steps for its wide- 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 313 

spread and stringent enforcement. With the autumn of 1775 com- 
menced those numerous acts of information, frequently by neighbor 
against neighbor, and as frequently violative of every private confi- 
dence and decent obligation between man and man, which form so 
much of the history of our county during the Revolution. In no 
other county of the province did such abundant and inviting ma- 
terial exist for the exercise of the peculiar activities of the patriotic 
informer. It is true that Kings, Queens, Suffolk, and Richmond 
Counties contained a large Loyalist population — perhaps as numer- 
ous and important, proportionately, as that of Westchester. But with 
the capture of New York City in the summer of 1776 these island 
counties came under the complete protection of the British forces, 
and their Tory inhabitants were consequently exempted from the 
inquisitorial observation and regulation through a long term of years 
which the British sympathizers in Westchester County had to suffer. 
There is no doubt that many of the individual proceedings in this 
connection in our county were fully warranted. It should also be 
remembered that such doings are the inevitable concomitants of 
war — especially civil war, — even at the present day and under the 
most enlightened and generous governments. Yet the history of this 
aspect of the Revolution in Westchester County is peculiarly dis- 
tressing. The proscriptions were appalling in number, and whatever 
individual justice, wisdom, or necessity attached to special cases, the 
characteristic spirit of the Revolutionary authorities was without 
question merciless. A certain satisfaction, though but a melancholy 
one, is afforded by the reflection that the British, so far as they had 
the power to pursue retributive practices here, were even more vin- 
dictive in their spirit and barbarous in its execution. The Americans 
at least seldom burned private mansions or devastated estates, which 
the British did not fail to do in their raids; and, indeed, the West- 
chester raids of the British were often exclusively for these j:)recise 
purposes. Summary arrests by the British in this county of persons 
not in arms, but deemed obnoxious for political reasons, were also 
very frequent; and many a Westchester patriot, including some of 
the most honored sons of the county, perished miserably in the loath- 
some dungeons and frightful prison-ships which the English com- 
manders maintained for political captives. 

The first list of suspects for the Comity of Westchester reported 
to the provincial congress was headed by the name of Colonel Fred- 
erick I'hilipse. Another conspicuous person denounced on the same 
occasion was the Rev. Samuel Seabury, of Eastchester, to whom Col- 
onel Lewis Morris had sarcastically alluded a few months before as a 
missionary for " propagating the Gospel, and not politicks, in for- 


eign parts/' Philipse was destined to a brief respite before being 
summoned to the Revolutionary bar, but Seabury was soon to expe- 
rience even harsher treatment than that provided for in the suffi- 
ciently aggressive provincial act. This initial list comprised alto- 
gether thirty-one persons. So far as their individual cases have been 
traced, documentary evidence has been found showing that at least 
twenty of the number were duly convicted and cast into prison. A 
specially interesting case was that of Godfrey Hains, of live, de- 
noun ced by one Eunice Purdy, supposed to have been a revengeful 
sweetheart, in an affidavit over her mark. Eunice, being sworn " upon 
the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God," alleged that Hains had used 
extremely incendiary language in her hearing against congresses and 
committees, and moreover had expressed the heinous wish that men- 
of-war would come along the Sound. Hains was arrested, and, after 
being examined by the committee at White Plains, was about to be 
discharged with the mild sentence that he be disarmed; whereupon 
he defiantly admitted that he possessed arms, but would not reveal 
their hiding-place. The committee dispatched him to New York, 
with a letter describing him as a particularly dangerous man. He 
was confined in the City Hall Prison, and after a time was arraigned 
before the provincial congress and recommitted to jail. Taking ad- 
vantage of a. favorable opportunity he escaped, and then, with sev- 
eral associates, he loaded a vessel with provisions and sailed for 
Boston, intending to deliver his supplies to General Howe. The 
ship was wrecked, its cargo was seized by the Revolutionary gov- 
ernment, and Hains was again imprisoned, this time in the Ulster 
County jail, where a strong guard was placed over him, and where, 
presumably, he languished long enough for his Tory ardor to become 

Hains was supposed to have been concerned in a plot to seize the 
distinguished Judge John Thomas, and other prominent Westchester 
patriots, and carry them captives to the British general at Boston. 
Throughout the fall of 1775 there were whisperings of serious Tory 
conspiracies in Westchester County, which were likely to result at 
any time in retaliatory measures of a formidable nature. The arrests 
of Tories had in some instances been resisted by companies of their 
armed partisans, and in general a spirit of resentment had been 
manifested which gave considerable uneasiness to the committee. In 
a letter dated White Plains, the 1st of November, and signed by Jona- 
than G. Tompkins and others, concerning the rumored plot to abduct 
Judge Thomas, the president of the provincial congress was besought 
to take the necessary steps for causing a number of specified persons 
to appear before that body and testify. " We would not have troubled 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 315 

the congress," it was added, " about apprehending the above-named 
persons, but that we look upon ourselves, at present, as too weak to 
do it without great danger." Remembering that the committee had 
full power to summon the militia officers to their aid, this is a rather 
curious confession. It was particularly feared that British vessels 
of war would appear on the Westchester shore of the Sound and 
land marines to carry out concerted local Tory plans. Strong feeling- 
had been excited in this county by an order of the committee of 
safety for the general impressment of arms — that is, the seizure of 
all fire-pieces belonging to private persons — on the ground that they 
were needed for the equipment of the troops. The complaints against 
this order were so bitter that it had to be rescinded after a few 
sporadic attempts at its enforcement, none of which appear to have 
been ventured upon in Westchester County. Unfavorable comment 
was also caused by the bringing of some four hundred militiamen 
from Connecticut, who were quartered at the northern end of Man- 
hattan Island under the command of General Wooster. There was 
at the time no enemy in the vicinity of New York, and none expected, 
and the necessity of employing troops from another colony in the ab- 
sence of any such emergency could not be explained to the satisfac- 
tion of the people. There is no evidence that there was fear of an 
armed rising in Westchester County, and yet many circumstances 
of the local situation in the fall of 1775 indicate a well-founded dis- 
trust of the Tory faction. 

In this position of affairs occurred the celebrated Westchester raid 
of Captain Isaac Scars, resulting in the apprehension and removal to 
Connecticut of three of the leading men of the Loyalist party — the 
Rev. Samuel Seabury, Mayor Nathaniel Underbill, of Westchester 
Borough, and Judge Jonathan Fowler. Seabury and Underbill were 
men of undisguised and strong Tory sentiments. Fowler, although 
he had signed <i recantation of expressed views of a similar char- 
acter, was still regarded with a good deal of suspicion. The three 
men were leading representatives of the disaffected classes who w T ere 
giving so much trouble to the Revolutionary committee in West- 
chester County, and Sears conceived the idea that their simultaneous 
arrest by means of a dashing expedition would exert a wholesome in- 
fluence toward the proper regulation of that much Tory-ridden region. 

Captain Isaac Sears was a picturesque Revolutionary personage. In 
the French and Indian War he was in command of a privateer sloop, 
with which, although it carried but fourteen guns, he attacked a 
French ship of twenty-four, grappling with it three times but finally 
being compelled by a storm to abandon his bold attempt. Later, he 
engaged in shipping pursuits in New York of a more or less ques- 


tionable character. At the beginning of the Stamp Act troubles he 
took the leadership of the Sons of Liberty in that city, and through 
his many exploits in this connection he came to be popularly known 
as King Sears. At the time of the Golden Hill conflict between the 
citizens and the soldiers, in 1770, he was in the thick of the fray, and, 
finding himself confronted at one stage of it by a fierce grenadier 
with a bayonet, with great presence of mind and precision of aim 
hurled a rani's horn at the unfortunate man, which struck him full 
in the forehead and put him liors de combat. Wherever there was an 
affray Sears was sure to be, always rough and ready and always 
victorious. As time sped on to the Revolution, he sought to give to 
his country's cause the benefit also of his co-operation in council, but 

received not overmuch encourage- 
ment in that line from the aristocratic 
I and coldly intellectual Jays, Duanes, 

yHp iMcwmcU wnty — Livingstons, and Morrises. Yet as 

the leading man of the democratic 
masses he was not to be ignored, and 
he not only was connected with the 
New York committee from its organi- 
zation, but sat in the provincial con- 
gress of 1775 as a delegate from the 
city. Resigning his membership in 
that body, he went to New Haven, 
Conn., where, continuing to observe the march of events in New York, 
he was particularly impressed with the unsuitable spirit of so many 
citizens of Westchester County, and concluded that a little vigorous 
correction in that quarter would be entirely apropos. 

With sixteen mounted and armed men, described by a New Haven 
newspaper of the day as " respectable citizens of this town," Sears 
set out on the 20th of November for the avowed purpose of an ex- 
pedition " to East and West Chester, in the Province of New Y r ork, to 
disarm the principal Tories there and secure the persons of Parson 
Seabury, Judge Fowler, and Lord Underbill." On the way they were 
joined by Captains Richards, Silleck, and Mead, with about eighty 
men. At Mamaroneck they burned a sloop that had been purchased 
by the British governor to convey provisions to the man-of-war 
' k Asia." A detachment of forty men, commanded by Captain Lo- 
throp, was sent to W T estchester, which without ceremony took Sea- 
bury and Underbill in custody, the main body meantime proceeding 
to Eastchester and securing Judge Fowler. The three prisoners were 
dispatched with a guard of twenty to Connecticut. This completed 
Sears's business in Westchester County, but he had still another reg- 



PROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177<i 317 

ulating duty to perform. He had long been displeased with the 
editorial conduct of Rivington's New York Gazetteer, and he now rode 
with his remaining men, a troop of about seventy-five, down to the 
city, "which they entered at noon-day, with bayonets fixed and the 
greatest regularity, went down the main streets, and drew up in 
close order before the printing office of the infamous James Riving- 
ton. ,,1 They completely wrecked the establishment, demolishing the 
presses and taking away the types; and, having so successfully com- 
pleted this final part of their mission, remounted, struck up the tune 
of " Yankee Doodle," and amid the cheers of the populace returned 
whence they came. 

Some incidents of Sears's raid suggest that it was not exclusively 
an enterprise of patriotic enthusiasm. Certain acts of indecorum 
were committed, to characterize them by no harsher term. At Sea- 
bury's house they broke open his desk, examined and scattered his 

papers, appropriated some thr >r four dollars in money, and quite 

offensively threatened and insulted his daughter. From Fowler's 
residencethey carried away a beaver hat, a silver-mounted horse- 
whip, and two silver s] us, besides the sword, gun, and pistols which 

belonged to his official dignity as colonel in the militia. They more- 
over visited the homes of various Tories along the route, where sup- 
posably they did not uniformly resist taking such articles as were 
to their liking. Our nineteenth century Tory historian, Dawson, in 
his account of this raid, comments with uncontrolled and terrible 
excitement upon every phase of it, describing Sears as a cowardly, 
plundering ruffian of the dirtiest water, and his troopers as diabolical 
banditti, and insists that they returned to Connecticut laden with 
spoils. Of this there is no evidence whatever. Abundant evidence 
docs exist that they brought back with them a large and curious 
collection of arms from Westchester Loyalists of notorious repute. 
The expedition, however lawless and reprehensible, was a bona fide 
one in the patriot interest, and not an adventure for mere private 
plunder, although it can not be questioned that some incidental pecu- 
lating was done. Compared with the villainous doings of the Cow- 
boy and Skinner bands of subsequent years, it was a quite virtuous 
and legitimate enterprise. 

As such it was unhesitatingly regarded by the good people of Con- 
necticut, who right royally welcomed home the returning regulators. 
The guard having the three prisoners in charge had halted at Horse- 

T^Teircumstance as recorded by the vera- nessed many mounted troops going into or in 

• . . hr0 nicler that they rode into the city process of action, but does not recall any occa- 

"wltli bayonets' fixed," is powerful evidence of sion when fixed bayonets were among their 

the grimiiess of the business upon which they arms, 
were bent. The editor of this History has wit- 


neck, where on the 27th of November they were joined by the parent 
band. The next day the whole party took up their triumphal march 
to New Haven. They were escorted, says the local newspaper from 
which we have already quoted, " by a number of gentlemen from the 
westward, the whole making a grand procession. Upon their en- 
trance into town they were saluted with the discharge of two can- 
nons, and received by the inhabitants with every mark of approba- 
tion and respect. The company divided into two parts, and con- 
cluded the day in festivities and innocent mirth. " Captain Sears," 
ingenuously adds this patriotic sheet, " returned in company with 
the other gentlemen, and proposes to spend the winter here, unless 
publick business should require his presence in New York." It does 
not appear that any such " publick business," so far as Westchester 
County was concerned, transpired to interfere with the virtuous cap- 
tain's amiable arrangements. He does not again figure, at least to 
the knowledge of the present historian, in the concerns of our county. 
Judge Fowler and Mayor Underbill were released in a day or two, 
after signing papers presented to them by the Connecticut officials, 
wherein they declared themselves to be heartily sorry for their "in- 
considerate conduct," and promised never more to transgress in like 
manner. But the Rev. Mr. Seabury was not so leniently dealt with. It 
was widely believed that he was the author of ki A. W. Farmer " tracts, 
so peculiarly offensive to the patriotic sentiment of the times; and 
however that might be he was undeniably a Tory of the most in- 
tractable and odious type. It was remembered with great indigna- 
tion against him that he had refused to open the church at East- 
chester on the day appointed for the continental fast. Finally, he 
was regarded with deep private resentment by Captain Sears, who 
suspected him of complicity in a scheme to seize him (Sears) while 
lie was passing through Westchester County on a former occasion, 
and carry him on board a man-of-war. He was held in confinement 
for more than a month, at his own financial charge, his prayers to 
the courts for relief being utterly ignored. At length he submitted 
an able memorial to tin' Connecticut legislature, in which he dwelt 
upon the flagrant illegality of the whole proceedings in his case, and 
that body presently ordered ins release. Returning to Westchester, 
he found his affairs there in a sorry plight. The private school upon 
which he had mainly depended for support was completely broken up. 
He was under a heavy burden of debt, his influence in the community 
was at an end, and he and his family were obliged to submit to many 
discourtesies ami insults. During the military campaign of 1776 he 
was obliged to give accommodation in his house to a company of 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 319 

Revolutionary cavalry, who, says Dawson, consumed or destroyed all 
the products of his glebe. The poor Tory clergyman finally, in desper- 
ation, fled with his wife and six children to the British lines. 

Like Isaac Wilkins, also of the Borough of Westchester, Seabury 
continued a British sympathizer throughout the war; but after the 
Revolution he returned to America and became bishop of the (Epis- 
copalian) diocese of Connecticut. Wilkins, after a more protracted 
absence, came back to Westchester Town, and, taking holy orders, 
was made rector of the same parish of Saint Peter's which his com- 
patriot Seabury vacated in 1776. The question of the authorship of 
the A. W. Farmer tracts has puzzled many minds; but there is no 
reasonable doubt that the}' were written either by Seabury or by 
Wilkins. They were almost as noted in the polemic literature of 
their times as was Tom Paine's " Common Sense." Whatever the 
doubts respecting their authorship, it is certain that the apparent 
pseudonym "A. W. Farmer"' stood for k ' A Westchester Farmer"; 
and both Seabury and Wilkins, though persons of polite character, 
were gentlemen farmers. The detestation in which these tracts were 
held by the patriotic people is well instanced by a resolution adopted 
by the committee of safety of Suffolk County, X. Y., February, 1775, 
in which it was declared "That all those publications which have 
a tendency to divide us, and thereby weaken our opposition to meas- 
ures taken to enslave us, ought to be treated with the utmost eon- 
tempt by every friend to his country; in particular the pamphlet en- 
titled A Friendly Address, &c, and those under the signature of A. W. 
Farmer, and many others to the same purpose, which are replete with 
i he most impudent falsehoods and the grossest misrepresentations; 
and that the authors, printers, and abettors of the above and such 
like publications ought to be esteemed and treated as traitors to 
their country, and enemies to the liberties of America." A writer in 
Dawson's Historical Magazine (January, L868) says: "When copies 
<d' these pamphlets tell into the hands of the Whigs they were dis- 
posed of in such a manner as most emphatically to express detesta- 
tion of the anonymous authors and their sentiments. Sometimes they 
were publicly burned with imposing formality, sometimes decorated 
with tar and feathers (from the turkey buzzard, as ' the fittest emblem 
of the author's odiousness ') and nailed to the whipping-post." In 
the draft of a document claimed to be in Seabury's own writing, he 
says that he was the author of a pamphlet entitled " Free Thoughts 
on the Proceedings of the Congress at Philadelphia," and of other 
publications width followed, all signed "A. W. Farmer." Dawson, 
however, after a careful study of the whole subject, concludes that 



the burden of evidence furors the opinion that Wilkins was their 
author. 1 

The provincial congress which assembled in May, 1775, continued 
in session, with several brief recesses, until the 4th of November, 
when it adjourned sine die. On the 7th of November elections for del- 
egates to a second provincial congress were held in a number of the 
counties of New York, those in Westchester County occurring, as 
usual, at White Plains. The representatives chosen were Colonel 
Lewis Graham, Stephen Ward, Colonel Joseph Drake, Robert Gra- 
ham, John Thomas, Jr., William Paulding, Major Ebenezer Lockwood, 

•"' v . .. 


Colonel Pierre Van Cortlandt, and Colonel Gilbert Drake, any three of 
whom were authorized to cast the vote of the county. The new body 
experienced considerable difficulty in procuring a quorum, and did not 
enter upon Us active business until the (1th of December. This busi- 
ness was in continuation of the aggressive political and military meas- 
ures, harmonizing witli the policies of the continental congress, that 
had been instituted by the first congress of the province. Like its 
predecessor, the second congress adjourned temporarily several times, 
vesting complete administrative authority, during such intervals, 

1 See Scharf, i., 313, note. 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 


in a general committee of .safety, of which Pierre Van Cortlandt was 
chairman for some months. The last session of the second provincial 
congress was held on The 13th of May, 177<i. 

During its lifetime the general condition of affairs steadily grew 
more critical, events of commanding importance transpired, and de- 
velopments of portentous significance to the people of New York and 
Westchester County resulted. In the early part of this period the 
invasion of Canada by the American troops was brought to a disas- 
trous end before the walls of Quebec, 1 but tin 1 collapse in that quarter 
was more than compensated for by the surrender of Boston to Gen- 
eral Washington in March. Thereupon the war, which had previously 
been localized in New England, was terminated there for the time 
being. It needed no keen prevision to forecast its course in the near 
future. New York City, as the central point of vantage, command- 
ing a waterway which completely divided the rebellions colonics, 
would unquestionably be attacked as soon as a sufficient expedi- 
tionary force for the purpose could be gathered. Any other plan 
of campaign was unthinkable. New York Avas the only quarter from 
which offensive operations could be conducted with equal facility 
against every section of the country. With New York in their hands, 
the British would be prepared for any emergency that the strategy 
of Washington or the fortunes of battle might produce. Absolutely 
secure against recapture from the sea, since the Americans possessed 
no tleet, and almost completely incapable of being invested by land, 
that city would certainly remain theirs to the last. Even if exten- 
sive campaigns should fail, and pitched battle after pitched battle 
should go against them, with New York as a base they could still 
wage the conflict with great advantage of position. Such was tin- 
reasoning which naturally occurred to intelligent men after the fall 
of Boston, and it was fully sustained by results. If the British had 
not captured and held New York, it is in every way historically im- 
probable that they could have made even a respectable struggle for 

d M. 

1 The lamented General 
whose death in this expedition will always be 
remembered as one of the capital tragedies of 
the Revolution, was a resident of our county, 
and seme of the most important associations 
of the War of Independence cluster around the 

place where his heme st 1. It was on the 

spot new occupied by the residence of William 
Ogden Giles, at Kingsbridge- the identical spot 
where Fort Independence was built. About 
1772 Montgomery, after several years of serv- 
ice as a captain in the British army, resigned 
his commission, purchased this land with con- 
siderable mere, and engaged in agricultural 
pursuits. In 1773 lie married one of the aristo- 

s Kings- 

1 a half 

etentious building, a story ami 
lis sister was the Viscountess of Rane- 
n his will, made at Crown Point, he 
' 1 give to my sister. Lady Ranelagh, 
• estate at Kingsbridge, near New 
adding that " my dear sister's large 
ivant all I can spare them." One of the 
l>S of this will was the Rev. John 
'eta rd. also of Kingsbridge, whose fam- 
2 its name to Tetard's Hill. Rev. Mr. 
was a chaplain in one of the regiments 
ig to the Canadian expedition. 


the retention of the colonies, and, indeed, it is not likely that they 
would have persevered long in the attempt. In the very act of taking 
New York they all but annihilated the American nation at one blow, 
missing by a mere chance the capture of Washington's whole army; 
and thereafter for a dreary period the distinguishing phases of the 
War of Independence were complete British prestige and almost as 
complete American confusion, relieved only by masterly retreat, 
brilliant triumph in a few minor engagements, and heroic forti- 
tude. Finally the destruction of Burgoyne's army gave an altered 
aspect to the unequal warfare But this did not at all reverse condi- 
tions. It merely established for the Americans a fighting chance, 
and decided France to espouse their cause. The principal element of 
the situation remained the possession of New York by the British. 
That overwhelming disadvantage could only be neutralized by con- 
secutive successes in campaigns large and small elsewhere, whose 
net result would be to convince the British statesmen that they could 
never conquer America. It was a disadvantage that could not be 
eliminated by the reduction of New York itself, which was never at- 
tempted and probably never seriously thought of. On the other hand, 
if New York had continued American, the British would have been 
left without any assured standing as combatants. They might have 
taken the Revolutionary capital, Philadelphia, but that would have 
been an utterly ridiculous proceeding in view of its untenability as 
a primary base compared with New York. In such an event, or in 
any other except the mastery of New York, which, with its inev- 
itable consequences, seemed to establish the supremacy of Great 
Britain beyond the possibility of dispute, the French alliance would 
have been a matter of months instead of years. 

After the evacuation of New York by its small British garrison, in 
•Tune, 177."), the city, although in fact fully controlled by the patriot 
party, remained nominally for a brief time under a divided authority. 
It is a curious fact that on the same day when Washington arrived 
in New York en route to the army in Massachusetts, the royal Gov- 
ernor Tryon returned there after a short absence, and that both were 
received with every manifestation of popular respect. But before 
many weeks Governor Tryon perceived that his residence in the 
city was perilous. Intimations were given him of a plot to seize 
his person and arraign him before tin 1 provincial congress, which 
hud already begun to take high-handed measures against loyal Brit- 
ish subjects. lie accordingly fled to a ship in the harbor, from which 
safe retreat he continued to administer the forms of government 
until the retaking of the city. 

The removal of the guns in the city to Kingsbridge by the Sons 

. : 


FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 323 

of Liberty, after the news of Lexington, was, as we have seen, the 
first overt demonstration by the Revolutionary element in New York. 
The guns taken up at that time, and during the next few months, did 
not include, however, the tine ordnance of the fort. Nevertheless 
they made a formidable showing as to numbers, although hardly as 
to serviceability. At Kingsbridge they were divided, by the order of 
congress, into three parcels, one portion being left there, another 
sent to Williams's Bridge, and a third to Valentine's Hill, near Kings- 
bridge. 1 "Before the close of the year 1775," says Dawson, whose 
facts may generally be accepted without question, " between three 
and four hundred cannon, of all calibers, grades, and conditions, 
some of them good and serviceable, others less valuable and less use- 
ful, the greater number honeycombed and worthless, unless for old 
iron, and all of them unmounted and without carriages, were accu- 
mulated in three large gatherings, one of about fifty guns being at 
' John Williams's,' the Williams's Bridge of the present day, one ' at 
or near Kingsbridge," and the third or larger parcel within two hun- 
dred and fifty yards of Isaac Valentine's house, the Valentine's Hill 
of that period as well as this." For a number of months they re- 
ceived no further attention, and were even left unguarded. Their 
unprotected condition presented an irresistible temptation to some 
mischievous Tory spirits who one night in January, 177(5. plugged 
them with large stones, effectually spiking them. This incident threw 
the county into great excitement, and was the occasion of numerous 
arrests of suspected citizens of the Towns of Westchester, Eastchester, 
Mamaroneck, and Yonkers. Soon afterward all the guns were accu- 
mulated at Valentine's, unspiked, and placed under guard. Subse- 
quently, during the military administration of the noted and noto- 
rious General Charles Lee in Xew York City, most of the heavy cannon 
in Fort George and upon the Battery were, in anticipation of the 
capture of the place by the British, removed to Kingsbridge. These 
were about two hundred altogether, mostly excellent pieces of artil- 
lery. The reply of General Lee to the persons charged with trans- 
porting them to Kingsbridge, who complained to him that they could 
not ixot sufficient horses for the work, is somewhat celebrated. "Chain 
twenty damned Tories to each gun," said he, " and let them draw 
them out and be cursed. It is a proper employment for such villains, 
and a punishment they deserve for their eternal loyalty they so much 
boast of." 

General Charles Lee, at the time second in command of the conti- 

1 This locality should nol be . 
the eminence <>f the same nam 
City of Yonkers. The Valentine 

nfounded with 



is loeatec 

1. ..ii ..1.1 maps, hard by tin 

in the present 




:'s ITill in Yonkers is the spo 

Hill at Kings- 



Saint Jos 

eph's Seminary now stands. 


nental army, was dispatched by Washington to New York in the latter 
part of January, 177G, with instructions to put the place " in the best 
posture of defense the season and circumstances will admit of." In 
his march through Westchester County he caused numerous dwell- 
ings to bo entered and searched for arms, which ho appropriated and 
bore away with him for the good of the cause. Dawson pathetically 
observes that this was indeed a heavy and melancholy visitation of 
fate upon the wretched farmers of the Boston Post Road, who thus, 
only a few weeks after being pillaged by the cowardly banditti from 
Connecticut, were forced to submit to a similar diabolical outrage by 
an infamous military despot. Lee, establishing himself in New York, 
entered upon a very energetic regime. Skilled in military science, he 
constructed defenses which would undoubtedly have proved of con- 
siderable utility if the city had been held to resist a siege. One of 
these defenses, a redoubt on Hoern's Hook, at the mouth of the Har- 
lem River, commanding the Hellgate pass aud also the Long Island 
ferry, was erected by Colonel Samuel Drake's regiment of Westchester 
County minute men, a body of one hundred and eleven privates and 
numerous officers. Of this organization it is recorded in an official 
document that it possessed, when summoned into active duty, no 
fewer than " four field officers, two captains, thirteen other commis- 
sioned officers, and twenty non-commissioned officers " — a most ridic- 
ulous state of things, about which Dawson makes merry as illustrat- 
ing the abominable propensity to office-holding among the so-called 
" friends of Liberty " in Westchester County. General Lee ordered a 
rigorous reduction of the staff, and directed the eliminated officers to 
"return to their county, in order to complete their corps," which 
were as deficient in numbers as the list of their commanders was 

Enlistments in the continental line were certainly not attended by 
attractive conditions. By an act of the continental congress, passed 
January 111, 1776, four battalions were ordered to be raised for the 
defense of the Colony of New York. The committee of safety, in its 
instructions to the recruiting officers charged with enlisting men 
under this act, prescribed that the pay of privates should be |5 per 
month, and that each should receive, as a bounty, a felt hat, a pair 
of yarn stockings, a pair of shoes, and, if they could be procured, a 
hunting-shirt and a blanket. On the other hand, the men were to 
furnish their own arms, or, if too poor to do so, were to be armed 
at the public expense, the value of their weapons to be deducted from 
their pay. Concerning this matter of arms, the following explicit 
statement was made in a circular letter from the president of the 
provincial congress: "It is expected that each man furnishes him- 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177G 325 

self with a good gun and bayonet, Tomahawk, knapsack or haver- 
sack, and two bills. But those who are not able to furnish them- 
selves with these arms and accoutrements will be supplied at the 
public expense, for the payment of which small stoppages will be 
made out of their monthly pay, till the whole are paid for; then they 
are to remain the property of the men." Little wonder that the rela- 
tive numbers of officers and volunteer privates were somewhat dispro- 

On the 13th of February, 177(5, at a meeting in Harrison's Pre- 
cinct, a cavalry force was organized, Samuel Tredwell being elected 
captain. This was the beginning of the well-known Westchester Troop 
of Horse. About the same time there were various enlistments in 
the county for the infantry service. Local zeal for the cause con- 
tinued to manifest itself in the ominous forms of information and 
arrest, and it was even proposed by some Westchester enthusiasts, 
who doubtless had acquired thorough experience in that particular 
line at home, to proceed to other counties where Tories notoriously 
abounded and lay upon them the heavy hand of discipline. One Wil- 
liam Miller, of White Plains, in a communication to the committee of 
safety, informed that honorable body that, as many of the inhabit- 
ants of Queens County were behaving themselves in a manner preju- 
dicial to the American cause, he and other " Friends of Liberty in 
this County" were desirous to go thither and "reduce the Enemies 
to their Country before they are supported by the Regular Troops." 
Of course no attention was paid to the offer. 

In March, 1776, General Lee was superseded in command in New 
York City by General Lord Stirling, son of the famous colonial lawyer, 
James Alexander, lie was replaced by General Putnam, who re- 
mained in charge until Washington's arrival (April 111. 

The second provincial congress expired on the 13th of May, 1770, 
and the following day was appointed for the assembling of the third. 
No quorum was obtained, however, until the 18th. The delegates 
from Westchester County were Colonel Pierre Van Cortlandt, Colonel 
Lewis Graham, Colonel Gilbert Drake, Major Ebenezer Lockwood, 
Gouverneur Morris, William Paulding, Jonathan G. Tompkins, Sam- 
uel Ilavilaml, and Peter Fleming. The third provincial congress was 
the last of the series to sit in the City of New York, where its sessions 
came to an abrupt end on the 30th of June, the enemy's long-expected 
fleet having arrived the day before in the bay. Among the members 
of this congress were John Jay. James Duane, John Alsop, Philip 
Livingston, and Francis Lewis, who also were representatives from 
New York City in the continental congress then sitting at Phila- 


Although the career of the third congress of the Province of New 
York was exceedingly brief, its transactions were highly interesting. 
The reader will observe that its existence coincided with the period 
of the final deliberations of the continental congress on the subject 
of independence — a period during which also culminated the startling 
transformation of the struggle with Great Britain from a principally 
wordy character, with but a slight physical aspect, into a grim and 
gigantic war. On the day when this congress suddenly dispersed 
there were riding in the Lower Bay the advance vessels of a fleet of 
one hundred and thirty sail — ships-of-the-line, frigates, tenders, and 
transports — which bore an invading army of thirty-three thousand 
men, all of them experienced in the business of lighting and magnifi- 
cently equipped. The representatives of the patriotic people of New 
York, in legislative body assembled at this critical time, could not 
have failed to be occupied with the most grave and emergent public 
business, some of it very naturally reflecting the powerful popular 
passions of the day. 

One of the first acts of the congress was the appointment of a 
committee "to consider of the ways and means to prevent the dan- 
gers to which this colony is exposed by its intestine enemies." Al- 
though the committee was headed by one of the principal conserva- 
tives of the province, John Also]), who soon afterward resigned his 
seat in the continental congress on account of the Declaration of 
Independence, it brought in a report recommending stringent meas- 
ure's against suspected persons. Uumors of conspiracies by the Tories 
of New York had long been rife, some of them resting on more sub- 
stantial foundations than suspicion. Investigations of various al- 
leged transactions by emissaries of Governor Tryon's for providing 
suspected individuals with arms and ammunition disclosed strong 
moral evidence in support of the charges. In the month of June 
the famous " Hickey plot " to poison Washington and other American 
generals was unearthed; and proofs were found which resulted in the 
hanging of the chief person accused. In such circumstances, and in 
view of the crisis of invasion then impending, it is not surprising that 
the third provincial congress, although comprising in its member- 
ship influential men of singularly calm and judicious tempera- 
ment, who had previously been noted for moderation, was pervaded 
by a determination to deal summarily wit li all Tories of the danger- 
ous or irreconcilable type. The Alsop report was followed by an 
elaborate series of resolutions concerning such characters, wherein 
;i number of them were indicated by name, with directions that they 
be brought before the congress either by the process of summons 
or by that of arrest. The specified persons were divided into two 


to july 9, 177G 


classes — private individuals and officers of the crown. A special com- 
mittee of the congress, known as the Committee to Detect Conspir- 
acies, was created to deal with all cases. John. Jay was made its 
chairman, and among its members were Gonverneur Morris and 
Lewis Graham, of Westchester County. 

In Westchester County the private persons designated as "suspi- 
cious or equivocal *' were Frederick Philipse, Caleb Morgan, Na- 
thaniel Underbill, Samuel Merritt, Peter Corne, Peter Huggeford, 
James Horton, Jr., William Sutton, William Barker, Joshua Purdy, 
and Absalom Gidney, all of whom wore given the opportunity to 
show their respect for the committee through the medium of a sum- 
mons, but, in default of appearance, were to be ar- 
rested. The committee was directed to inquire as 
to their guilt or innocence upon the following points: 
(1) Whether they had afforded aid or sustenance to 
the British fleets or armies; (2) whether they had 
been active in dissuading inhabitants from associat- 
ing for the defense of the united colonies; (3) 
whether they had decried the value of the conti- 
nental money and endeavored to prevent its cur- 
rency; and (4) whether they had been concerned or 
actually engaged in any schemes to defeat, retard, 
or oppose the measures in the interest of the united 
colonies. All found innocent were to be discharged 
with certificates of character. Those found guilt\ 
were, at the discretion of the committee, to be im- 
prisoned or removed under parole from their usual 
places of residence, or simply released under bonds 
guaranteeing subsequent good behavior. The only 
crown officials residing in Westchester County who 
were named in the resolutions were Solomon Fowler 
and Richard Morris, neither of whom was found 
guilty of any offense. Richard Morris was a brother 
of Colonel Lewis Morris, the signer of the Declar- 
ation of Independence, and a half-brother of Gonverneur Mor- 
ris, lie was judge of the colonial Court of Admiralty, but his 
designation as a possible foe to the Revolutionary programme seems 
to have been wholly undeserved, lie resigned his crown commission, 
giving as his reason that he could not conscientiously retain it, ami 
his country-seat at Scarsdale was subsequently burned by the British 
and his estate devastated. On July 31, 1776, less than two months 
after he was singled out as a possible traitor, he was unanimously ap- 
pointed by the fourth provincial congress judge of the High Court 



of Admiralty under the new provisional government, In 1779 he 
became chief justice of the New York State Supreme Court, succeed- 
ing John Jay. 

The committee to detect conspiracies began its sessions on the 
15th of June, with John Jay as its chairman. It sent summonses 
to all the Westchester County men named in the resolutions. The 
limits of our space do not admit of a detailed notice of the action of 
the committee concerning these various cases, none of which, except- 
ing that of Frederick Philipse, possesses any very important historic 
interest. The history of Philipse's case may properly be completed 
in the present connection. 

In the summons sent to him he was ordered to appear before the 
committee on the 3d of July, lie sent the following reply: 

Philipsborough, July 2, 1776. 

Gentlemen : — I was served on Saturday evening last with a paper signed by you, in 
which you suggest that you are authorized by the Congress to summon certain persons to 
appear before you, whose conduct had been represented as inimical to the rights of America, 
of which number you say I am one. 

Who it is that has made such a representation, or upon what particular facts it is 
founded, as you have not stated them it is impossible for me to imagine ; but, considering my 
situation and the near and intimate ties and connections which I have in this country, which 
can be secured and rendered happy to me only by the real and permanent prosperity of 
America, I should have hoped that suspicions of this harsh nature would not be easily har- 
boured. However, as they have been thought of weight sufficient to attract the notice of 
the Congress, I can only observe that, conscious of the uprightness of my intentions and the 
integrity of my conduct, I would most readily comply with your summons, but that the situ- 
ation of my health is such as would render it very unadvisable for me to take a journey to 
New York at this time. I have had the misfortune, gentlemen, of being deprived, totally, 
of the sight of my left eye ; and the other is so much affected and inflamed as to make me 
very cautious how I expose it, for fear of a total loss of sight. This being my real situation, 
I must request the favour of you to excuse my attendance to-morrow ; but you may rest 
assured, Gentlemen, that I shall punctually attend, as soon as I can, consistent with my 
health, flattering myself, in the meantime, that, upon further consideration, you will think 
that my being a friend to the rights and interests of my native country is a fact so strongly 
implied as to require no evidence on my part to prove it, until something more substantial 
than mere suspicion or vague surmises is proved to the contrary. 

I am, Gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant, 

Frederick Philipse. 

To Leonard Gansevoort, Philip Livingston, Thomas Tredwell, Lewis Graham, Gouver- 
neur Morris, Thomas Randall, Esquires. 

The terms of this letter, considered apart from Philipse's specific 
excuse for declining to attend, are entertaining to a degree. Sum- 
moned by a Revolutionary tribunal to appear before it and answer 
the accusation of hostility to American liberty, he recognizes in the 
situation which confronts him no circumstance of gravity. He delays 
his reply until the day before the lime appointed for his attendance, 
and the peremptory command sent to him lr\ the committee he al- 
ludes to as " a paper ... in which you suggest that you are 
authorized," etc. A naive interpretation, indeed, of a stern Revolu- 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177G 329 

tionary summons. Finally, he dismisses the inconvenient matter by 
flattering himself that the committee really will not require his 
presence at all. The lord of Philipseburgh Manor deemed himself 
well within the bounds of political sagacity in treating the committee 
with such exact though courteous reserve. The overpowering fleet 
and army of Great Britain had just arrived, the provincial congress 
was scurrying out of New York ( V.y, and, indeed, if Frederick Philipse 
had been so obliging as to journey to the city on that 3d of July 
conformably to the " suggestion " which had been conveyed to him, 
he would have found no committee there to interrogate him. 

It does not appear that Philipse was again summoned or that he 
was ever subjected to any inquisitorial examination. He was, how- 
ever, compelled to give his parole to guarantee his good behavior. 
That summer of 177C> was a most critical period for the patriot in- 
terests on the banks of the Hudson. British warships were in the 
river, and it was suspected that they were holding nightly commu- 
nication with the influential Tories. Washington deemed it expe- 
dient to remove Philipse from his manor house on the Nepperhan to 
a quarter where his presence would not be a possibly disturbing thing. 
On the llth of August Philipse, by Washington's order, was taken to 
New Kochelle. There, says a historian of Yonkers, " he was closely 
confined, under guard, for eleven days, when he was removed to 
Connecticut and gave his parole that he would not go beyond the 
limits of Middletown. lie was accompanied by Angevine, his faithful 
colored valet, who afterward went with Mr. Philipse to England, and 
survived him but one year. They are interred in the same church- 
yard. Charley Philips, son of Angevine, lived for many years on 
the banks of the Hudson, and wa.s sexton of Saint John's Church 
(Yonkers) forty-five years. After the Philipse family had left Philipse- 
burgh (1777), John Williams, steward of the manor, had possession 
of the manor until its confiscation, in 1779." * 

Philipse's undoing was at every stage the consequence of his own 
deliberate acts. If he had remained discreetly within the American 
lines until the fortunes of the war were decided, if is highly improb- 
able that tin' extremity of confiscating his estates would have been 
resorted to; for he was a man of generally prudent character, with 
absolutely nothing against him except the conjecture that he pre- 
ferred the triumph of England. But he was firmly convinced from 
the beginning that the " rebellion " would be crushed, and he shaped 
his course accordingly. After his removal to Connecticut he was 
granted leave to visit New York City, subject to recall. He was suni- 

1 Alison's Hist, of Yonkers, 91. 


mcned back, bu1 did not conic That settled everything. 1 Shortly 
afterward the Slate of New York confiscated his property. He died 
at ('hosier, England, in LTS5, and was buried in the Cathedral Church 
of thai place, where the following tablet to his memory is to be 

seen : 2 

Sacred to the Memory 


Frederick Philipse, Efquire, Late of the 

Province of New York ; A Gentleman in Whom 

the Various focial, domeftie and Religious 

Virtues were eminently United. The Uniform 

Rectitude of His conduct commanded the 

Efteem of others : Whilft the Benevolence of His 

Heart and Gentleness of His Manners secured 

their Love. Firmly attached to His Sovereign 

and the British Constitution, He opposed, at 

the Hazard of His life, the late Rebellion in 

North America ; and for this Faithful discharge 

of His Duty to His King and Country He was 

Proscribed, and His Estate, one of the Largest in 

New York, confiscated, by the usurped Legislature 

of that Province. When the British Troops were 

withdrawn from New York in 1783 He quitted 

A Province to which He had always been an 

Ornament and Benefactor, and came to 

England, leaving all His Property behind Him : 

which reverse of Fortune He bore with 

that calmness, Fortitude and Dignity 

which had distinguished Him through 

every former stage of Life. 

He was born at New York the 12th day of September 

in the year 1721) ; and Died in this Place the 30th 

day of April, in the Year 1785, Aged 65 Years. 

The British government, as a partial recompense to Philipse for 
his forfeited American estates, paid him a sum equal to about $300,000 
of our money. 

In addition to summoning or arresting the various individuals 
specified in the resolutions to which wo have alluded, the third pro- 
vincial congress authorized its committee for the detection of con- 
spiracies to summon or apprehend all other persons deemed danger- 
ous or disaffected, and to use for that purpose not merely detach- 
ments of the militia, but troops of the continental line, the latter to 
be obtained by application to the commander-in-chief. Also the town 
and district committees were encouraged io exercise zeal and vigi- 
lance to the same end, and were empowered to summon or arrest, 

!A facsimile of this tablet is suspended in a By its terms lie pledged his "faith and word 

Yonkers. It has always appeared to the editor States, and to return to Connecticut when re- 

of the presenl History that this is in rather intelligence to the enemies of the United 

questionable taste. States, and to return to Connecticut when re- 

2 His parole, dated December 23, 1 T7< ;. was quired by the governor or General Washington 

issued by Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut. so to do. 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 177G 


upon their own responsibility and without waiting for advice from 
the county committee, everybody whom they regarded with suspicion. 
Persons thus summoned or arrested by the town and district com- 
mittees were required to give good security that they would appear 
before the county committee at its next session, or, in default of 
such security, were to be committed to custody. It will thus be 
seen how rigid and detailed were the arrangements, upon the eve 
of the breaking out of the war in the Colony of New York, for com 
pelling absolute submission everywhere to the will of the Revolu- 
tionary authorities, and for visiting swift and condign punishment 
upon all refractory or sullen spirits. 11 is needless to remark that 
t here was no relaxation of this severe programme during the progress 
of the war. Yet the extreme limits of the legal processes put in opera- 
tion against the Tories were imprisonment or deportation to other 
parts of the country, with the added punishment later, in special in- 
stances, of confiscation of estates. There was no resemblance to the 
sanguinary scenes of the French [{evolution. Life was uniformly 
respected, unless the offense was of a nature punishable by death 
under the articles of civilized war. 

Some of the common Tory suspects arrested in Westchester County 
who were deemed dangerous, and therefore not tit 
persons to go at large, were, for the lack of local 
prison facilities, sent to the forts in the Highlands '< 
and put at hard labor. 

The third provincial congress, as the reader no 
doubt will remember, was a very short-lived body, 
extending only from the lSth of .May to the 30th of 
June. It was deliberately planned by the eminent 

. ' ... ,' , . FLAG OF THE 

men Who were its controlling members to bring thirteen colonies. 
its labors promptly to a conclusion, and to have 
it superseded by a new congress, freshly elected by the people 
upon the great issue of American independence which was 
being shaped for ultimate decision at Philadelphia. in an- 
ticipation of the Declaration of Independence, the continental 
congress had, as early as the Kith of .May, adopted a preamble 
and resolution declaring it to be absolutely irreconcilable to 
reason and good conscience for the people of the colonies longer to 
take the oaths and affirmations necessary lor the support of any 
government under the crown of Great Britain, and recommending 
to the various colonial assemblies and conventions to take measures 
for the adoption of " such government as shall, in the opinion of the 
representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and 
safety of their constituents in particular and America in general. " 


The significance of the preamble and resolution was fully appre- 
ciated by the provincial congress of New York, whose leaders 
promptly decided that the responsibility for dealing with the issue 
of a formal abrogation of the government of Great Britain and of 
the creation of a new form of government should be referred to an 
entirely new congress to be elected by the people without delay. 
Consequently on the 31st of May action was taken summoning the 
electors of the various counties to meet at an early date and choose 
delegates to a fourth provincial congress. Meantime steady progress 
was being made at Philadelphia toward the definite consideration 
of the subject of American independence, and some of the New York 
representatives in the continental congress couceived a strong de- 
sire for categorical instructions from home as to that vital question. 
On the 8th day of June four of these representatives— William Floyd, 
Henry Wisner, Robert II. Livingston, and Francis Lewis— sent a let- 
ter to the New York provincial congress, requesting that such in- 
structions be sent them immediately. It was not until the 11th that 
1 lie latter body complied with the request thus made. It then adopted 
a series of resolutions whose essential purport was to declare the 
congress's unwillingness and incapacity to deal with the matter, and 
1<> commit it for decision to the people at the forthcoming election 
for a new provincial congress. The first of these resolutions was 
an emphatic intimation to the delegates at Philadelphia that they 
possessed as yet no authority to vote in favor of independence, being 
lo the effect that "the good people of this colony have not, in the 
opinion of this congress, authorized this congress or the delegates of 
this colony in the continental congress to declare this colony to 
be and continue independent of the crown of Great Britain." The 
whole matter was submitted in most explicit terms to the electors, 
who were earnestly recommended to vest their representatives in 
the soon-to-be chosen fourth provincial congress "with full power 
to deliberate and determine on every question whatever that may 
concern or affect the interest of this colony, and to conclude upon, 
ordain, and execute every act and measure which to them shall ap- 
pear conducive to the happiness, security, and welfare of this colony," 
and particularly, " by instructions or otherwise, to inform their said 
deputies of their sentiments relative to the great question of Inde- 
pendency and such other points as they may think proper." 

The resolutions of the 11th of June were passed by the provincial 
congress mainly at the instance of John Jay, who is supposed to 
have left his seat in the continental congress and become a member 
of the third provincial congress of New York for the express object 
of holding the latter body to a judicious course on the subject of 

FROM JANUARY, 1775, TO JULY 9, 1776 


independence pending possible final efforts for reconciliation with 
the mother country. The resolutions embodied, so far as it was pos- 
sible for them to do, an absolute prohibition of support of independ- 
ence by the New York delegates at Philadelphia until further in- 
structions should be dispatched to them. No further instructions 
were sent up to the time of the promulgation of the Declaration ot 
Independence— the 4th of July. Notwithstanding this condition of 
things, four of the delegates from New York— William Floyd, Philip 
Livingston, Francis Lewis, and our Lewis Mori is— had the great cour- 
age to ignore the dissuasions of the qualified representatives of the 
people in their home colony, and sign their names to the immortal 
instrument. Of this number, there is no room for doubt that the 
signer contributed by Westchester County was inflexibly resolved 
upon that line of conduct from the first, and entirely without refer- 
ence to instructions from home. lie did not unite with Floyd, Wi- 
ner, Robert R Livingston, and 
Lewis in their letter of June 8 
soliciting instructions, but deemed 
himself fully qualified as a duly 
chosen representative from New- 
York to act upon the measure ac- 
cording to his individual judg- 
ment. It can scarcely be ques- 
tioned that his bold attitude, in 
which he was joined by the highly 
respected Philip Livingston, was 
influential in persuading two of 
the signers of the communication 
of June S to in like manner set 
duty above caution. Particularly 
apropos to the four courageous 
delegates from New York, in view 
of the embarrassing circum- 
stances which compassed them 
about, is the magnificent tribute 
of the Abbe Raynal to the signers 
of the Declaration: "With what 

grandeur, with what enthusiasm, should I not speak of those . 
men who erected this grand edifice by their patience, their wisdom, 
and their courage! Hancock, Franklin, the two Adamses were the 
greatest actors in the affecting scene; but they were not the only ones. 
Posterity shall know them all. Their honored names shall be trans- 
mitted to it by a happier pen than mine. Brass and marble shall show 


Signer of the Declaration of Independence. 



them to the remotest ages. En beholding them shall the friend of 
freedom feel his heart palpitate with joy- fed his eyes float in deli- 
cious tears. ruder the bust of one of them has been written: w lie 
wrested thunder from Heaven, and tin' scepter from tyrants/ Of the 
last words of this eulogy shall all of them partake/' 

Lewis Morris, Westchester County's signer of the Declaration, after 
completing the term of service in the continental congress for which 
h,. had been elected, retired from that body and was succeeded by 
his younger brother, Gouverneur. In June, 177C>, he was appointed 
by the New York provincial congress brigadier-general of the militia 
of Westchester County, and later he was made major-general of mili- 
tia. Alwavs devoted to agricultural pursuits, he resumed his favorite 
avocation as soon as peace was restored. He lived to witness the 
complete realization of all the patriotic aims and governmental prin- 
ciples of which he had been one of the earliest and most radical pro- 
moters, and for which he had made conspicuous sacrifices, dying on 
the 22d day of January, 1798, aged seventy-two. 



12, 1776 

HE third provincial congress, in discontinuing ils sittings 
in New York City as a consequence of the sighting of the 
British fleet, adopted a resolution which provided for its 
reassembling at White Plains, the county-seat of West- 
chester County, on Tuesday, The 2d day of July. Bu1 it did not 
again come together, either on that day or subsequently. 

On the morning of Tuesday, the 9th of July, representatives from 
a majority of the counties of New York appeared in the court house 
in White Plains, and promptly organized the fourth provincial con- 
gress, electing General Nathaniel Woodliull as president. From that 
date until the 27th day of July, White Plains continued to be the 
seat of the Revolutionary government, which now, for the first time, 
became the responsible government of a new commonwealth. It was 
there that the Declaration of Independence was formally proclaimed, 
that the name of the State of New York was substituted for the an- 
cient designation of the Province of New York, and that the original 
steps for the organization of the State machinery were taken. To 
the lasting regret of all who hold venerable associations dear, the 
historic court house where these ever-memorable events transpired 
ceased to exist very soon afterward, being burned by some vandal 
soldiers of Washington's army on the night of the 5th of November, 
177(i. This original Westchester County court house, as we have 
already noted, was built after the destruction by tire (February 4, 
L758) of the court house in Westchester Town, ami was first used 
by the Court of Common Pleas on the 7th day of November, lTo!). 1 
The representatives from Westchester County to the important body 
whose sessions began within its walls on the 9tli of July were Colonel 
Lewis Graham, Colonel Pierre Van Cortlandt, Major Ebenezer Lock- 

irt house was erected. His ef- 
ly seconded by John Thomas, .if 
the credit of having Rye, who was then a member of the colonial 
is the county-seat, assembly. Dr. Graham also, at considerable 
having the court house building erected, and expense, caused two hotels and a country store 
having the courts removed there from West- to be built, and thus gave the county-seat a 
ehester He gave to the county the site upon start.— Smith's Manual of Westchester County, 33. 

i To Dr. Robert Graham, who was supervisor which t 
of White Plains from 1769 to 1775. and county forts w< 
judge in 1778, 
White riains fixed upon 



wood William Paulding, Captain Jonathan Piatt, Samuel Haviland, 
Zebadiah Mills, Colonel Gilbert Drake, Jonathan G. Tompkins, Gen- 
eral Lewis Morris, and Gouverneur Morris, all of whom, the Journal 
records, were in attendance on that historic morning. John day also, 
as a dcpntv from New York City, was there. 

The first business of the day was the consideration of the Declara- 


tion of Independence, which was referred to a committee headed by 
John Jay. In the afternoon the following report was brought m and 
adopted without a dissenting voice: 

In Convention of the Representatives 
of the State of New York, White Plains, 
July 9, 177G. 
Resolved, unanimously, That the reasons assigned hy the continental congress '^Jecl^ 
inP- the United Colonies free and independent States are cogent and conclusive , and that 
Se we ament tl ruel necessity which has rendered that measure unavoidable, we approve 
the same, and will, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, join the other eolomes m supporting it. 


Resolved, That a copy of the said Declaration and the foregoing resolution be sent to the 
chairman of the committee of the Comity of Westchester, with order to publish the same, 
with beat of drum, at this place, on Thursday next, and to give directions that it be pub- 
lished, with all convenient speed, in the several districts within the said county ; and that 
copies thereof be forthwith transmitted to the other county committees within the State of 
New York, with order to cause the same to be published in the several districts of their 
respective counties. 

Resolved, That five hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence, with the two 
last-mentioned resolutions of this congress for approving and proclaiming the same, be pub- 
lished in handbills and sent to all the county committees in this State. 

Resolved, That the delegates of this State, in continental congress, be and they are 
hereby authorized to consent to and adopt all such measures as they may deem conducive to 
the happiness and welfare of the United States of America. 

On Thursday, the 11th day of July, therefore, " with beat of drum," 
the official proclamation of the great Declaration on the part of the 
representatives of the State of New York was made before the old 
court house at White Plains. There unfortunately existed at the 
time no local newspaper in the county to record the undoubtedly in- 
teresting- circumstances attending the grand event. 

On the second day of its sessions at White Plains, the "Conven- 
tion of Representatives of the State of New York " began to consider 
plans for the organization of the proposed State government, but 
nothing definite was accomplished in that direction during the con- 
tinuance of the body at our county-seat. On the 27th of July the con- 
vention terminated its sessions at White Plains, and from the 29th 
of July to the 29th of August it sat at Harlem. A committee of thir- 
teen, of which John Jay was chairman and Gouverneur Morris was a 
member, was appointed on the 1st of August to take into considera- 
tion and report a plan for instituting a form of government. Out of 
this action resulted the first constitution of the State, which was re- 
ported on March 12 and adopted on April 20. 1777. Meantime, and 
until the new governmental machinery was started, New York re- 
mained under exclusive legislative and committee government. The 
State convention, after leaving tlarlem, met successively at Fishkill 
and Kingston, being dissolved on the loth of May, 1777. Through- 
out the critical period which included the successive British occupa- 
tions of Staten Island. Long Island, and Manhattan Island, and the 
Westchester County campaign, the convention was indefatigable in 
performing the manifold onerous duties that belonged to its sphere. 

An interesting and significant resolution adopted by the convention 
while in session at our county-seat (July 15) was the following: 

Resolved, unanimously, That it is the opinion of this [convention that if bis Excellency, 
General Washington, should think it expedient for the preservation of this State and the 
general interest of America to abandon the City of New York and withdraw the troops to 
the north side of Kingsbridge, this convention will cheerfully co-operate with him in every 
measure that may be necessary — etc. 


The proclamation of Independence was of necessity submitted to 
quietly, though with varied murmurings, by the Tory faction of 
Westchester County. The local committees every where were su- 
preme, and manifestations of an unfriendly nature, even in the form 
of disfavoring remark, were pretty certain to involve the culprits 
in difficulty. The name of one bold spirit, who for three weeks perse- 
vered in a public attitude of defiance, has come down to us; and be- 
fore proceeding with the narrative of the momentous events which 
now crowd thick upon us, this interesting local episode should be 

It is not surprising that the aggressive individual was a clergy- 
man of the Church of England, the Rev. Epenetus Townsend by name, 
who since 1766 had officiated as a missionary of the Venerable Propa- 
gation Society in the Parish of Salem. He was a man of ability, 
though not of distinguished talents like Parson Seabury, of West- 
chester. For inveterate devotion to the king and scorn of all rebels 
he certainly yielded to none in all our County of Westchester. He 
relates in one of his letters thai as early as the end of the year 1773 he 
began to strongly suspect that - the leaders of opposition to govern- 
ment in America " were aiming at independence; whereupon he un- 
dertook to do all that lay in his power, - by preaching, reading the 
Homilies against Rebellion," and the like, to persuade his people 
a<»'ainst countenancing such wicked tendencies. "And blessed be 
God," he exclaims, "I have the satisfaction that the Church people 
[Episcopalians] in all my parishes [Salem, Ridgefield, and Ridge- 
bury] have almost unanimously— there being three or four excep- 
tions—maintained their loyalty from the first." In .May, 1776, he says 
he was called before the " Rebel Committee of Cortlandt's Manor" 
and - invited " to join their association. This he indignantly declined 
to do. Next, he was ordered to furnish blankets for the " Rebel sol- 
diers," and, refusing, was sent under guard to the committee, which, 
failing to persuade him on the same point, gave orders to search his 
house^and appropriate the desired goods; but happily his wife had 
safely secreted all they possessed. Then he was directed to pay - up- 
wards of thirty shillings " to the mortified searching party, refused to 
obey, and was detained under guard until he produced the money. 
After that he was escorted before the Westchester County commit- 
tee, on complaint made by the Cortlandt Manor committee, to be 
examined as to his political principles. These several unpleasant in- 
cidents all occurred in the months of May and June, 1776; and con 
sidering the respectable ami reverend character of Mr. Townsend, 
together with the circumstance that all but "three or four" of flu 
" Church people " of his parishes were Loyalists, the severity and per- 


9 to October 12, 1770 339 

tinacity with which he was disciplined are forcibly illustrative of 
the general spirit of the times in Westchester County. 

On the .Sunday after the Declaration of Independence was pro- 
claimed by the authority of the assembled delegates of the State of 
New York at White Plains, the Eev. Epenetus Townsend, holding 
services as usual in his church at Salem, omitted not one jot of 
the prescribed formularies in relation to the king and the royal 
family. On the second Sunday he still pursued the even tenor of 
his duties in this particular; but on the third Sunday, says Bolton, 
4k when in the afternoon he was officiating, and had proceeded some 
length in the service, a company of armed soldiers — said to have be- 
longed to Colonel Sheldon's regiment, stationed on Keeler's Hill, op- 
posite marched into the church with drums beating and fifes play- 
ing, their guns loaded and bayonets fixed, as if going to battle; and as 
soon as he commenced reading the collects for the king and royal 
family they rose to their feet, and the officer commanded him npon 
the peril of his life to desist. Mr. Townsend immediately stopped 
reading, closed his prayer-book, descended from the reading-desk, and 
so the matter passed over without any accident." On the 21st of Oc- 
tober following he was sent to Fishkill as an enemy of America, and 
for six months was kept on parole at his own expense. In tin spring 
of 1777, having refused to take the oath of allegiance to the republic, 
he was permitted to remove with his "family, apparel, and house- 
hold furniture" to the British lines, his property in Salem — a very 
"genteel " one — being confiscated. In 177!) he was appointed chap- 
lain to a Loyalist battalion, which was ordered to Halifax, and he 
sailed with ii thither, accompanied by his wife and five children. His 
ship foundered, and he and his whole family perished. 

The first vessels of the British expedition against New York, which 
arrived at Sandy Hook on June 2!), were gradually joined by the 
entire fleet. The united military force comprised the army formerly 
quartered in Boston (which, after evacuating that place, had been 
transported to Halifax), some troops from the Southern colonies, n 
large addition of fresh troops from England, and some fourteen 
thousand Hessian mercenaries. In the aggregate there were 33,614 
men, of whom 24,404 were in condition for battle. It was by far the 
largest army ever gathered in America during the Revolution. It 
seemed probable that General Howe's attack on New York would 
not be in the form of a naval bombardment of the city or of a de- 
barkation of the army on Manhattan Island, but of a movement 
thither from Long Island. There Washington had earned defenses 
to be fortified and occupied, whose inner line extended from Gowanus 


Creek to Wallabout Bay. General Howe's original intention seems 
to have been to disembark immediately on Long Island and move to 
his destination with all possible energy. On July 1 the fleet was 
brought up to Gravesend Bay (Coney Island), with the evident de- 
sign of effecting a landing the next morning. But if such was the 
purpose of the British commander, he promptly abandoned it (being 
actuated, it is supposed, by the prudential feeling that it would be 
wisest to await the arrival of the bulk of his forces); and, indeed, 
it was not until the 22d of August that the landing on Long Island 
was made. There Washington was granted a respite of seven weeks, 
which he availed of by perfecting the Long Island defenses and 
making all practical arrangements for concentrating in that quarter 
a force capable of resisting the invasion. How nearly this proved 
fatal to the American cause is a theme that the historians of the 
Revolution never weary of expatiating upon. 

General Howe, in bringing his formidable command to America, 
had, at least nominally, a double function to discharge. While he 
grasped the sword with one hand he bore the olive branch in the 
other. Before proceeding to sanguinary measures he was to proffer 
terms of reconciliation, which were to include gracious pardon for 
all acts of rebellion. But toward the end of peace so devoutly to be 
wished for, he unfortunately was not able to make any progress 
whatever One of his first acts was to dispatch an officer under a 
flag of truce with a letter addressed to " George Washington, Esq./' 
reminding one of that other historic British impertinence, the offi- 
cial designation of the fallen and captive Emperor Napoleon, after 
Waterloo, as "General Bonaparte." Howe's messenger, after ex- 
changing' the most elegant and amiable courtesies with the Amer- 
ican officer who came to meet him, stated that he had a letter for a 
" Mr. " Washington. The other informed him that some unaccount- 
able mistake must have been made, that there was no person an- 
swering to such a name in the whole patriot camp. The missive 
was next produced, and still it was disavowed that the specified pri- 
vate individual had any known existence. The puzzled messenger 
was fain to return to liis chief without accomplishing his laudable 
object. This was the last offer to spare the erring colonies the fear- 
ful chastisement that had so long been threatened. 

On the 2d of July the British ships left Gravesend, advanced in 
stately procession through the Narrows, dropped anchor one by one 
along the shores of Staten Island, and began to discharge the troops, 
who, gladly remarks Dawson, were tk welcomed by the inhabitants of 
that' beautiful island as their deliverers from the terrible oppression 
of the Revolutionary powers." Not until the 12th of July was any 


formal demonstration against the American foe attempted. Then 
two vessels, the " Phoenix," of forty-four guns, and the " Rose," of 
twenty guns, with three tenders, were dispatched on an expedition 
up the Hudson River. They were fired on by the shore batteries, 
with little or no effect, and responded by dropping a number of shells 
into the city, which killed three of Washington's soldiers. Anchor- 
ing at Spuyten Duyvil Creek, they got a warm reception from the 
new batteries which had been planted on Tippet's and Cock's Hills. 
They then resumed their voyage up stream as far as Tarrytown, 
where the local company of militia, known as the Associated Com- 
pany of the upper part of Philipseburgh Manor, showed itself ready 
for the emergency. That body turned out, under the command of 
Lieutenant Daniel Martling, and guarded the shore during the night 
to prevent any possible attempt at landing. But there was no such 
endeavor; and, although the hostile ships remained opposite Tarry- 
town for four days, no clash of arms occurred there. Meantime the 
State convention at White Plains sent supplies of powder and ball 
to Tarrytown, and also ordered re-enforcements thither. It is very 
conjecturable that the purpose of the British warships in staying 
so long at that spot was to carry on communication with the Tories 
of Philipseburgh Manor and the opposite shore. Washington was con- 
cerned about this movement up the Hudson. Referring to it in a letter 
to the convention dated the 11th, he expressed the opinion that the 
ships "may have carried up arms and ammunition to be dealt 
out to those who may favor their cause, and co-operate with 
them at a fixed time," and urged vigilant action for nipping so dan- 
gerous a scheme in the bad. He also apprehended that troops might 
be on board, intended for the seizure of the important Highland de- 
files "in which case the intercourse between the two [American] 
armies, both by land and water, will be wholly cut off, than which 
a greater misfortune could hardly befall the province and army." 
Steps were accordingly taken to guard against such a catastrophe, 
particular attention being directed toward protecting the road which 
passed around Anthony's Nose. Solicitude was likewise felt for Kings- 
bridge, a point of even greater immediate importance. In June Wash- 
ington had made a personal visit of inspection to Kingsbridge and 
vicinity, had found the locality to admit of advantageous fortifica- 
tion in seven distinct places, and, " esteeming it a pass of the utmost 
importance in order to keep open communication with the country," 
had assigned troops to push forward the defensive works deter- 
mined upon. On the 2d of July General Mifflin was sent to Kings- 
bridge to assume charge, and from that time forward there was the 
utmost activity in and around this spot. The great fear was that 


the bridge itself, and with it the Farmers' Bridge, would be de- 
stroyed bv a boat expedition from the Hudson River, and that a por- 
tion of the British army would be coincidently landed in Westchester 
County, which would have shut up Washington's whole force on 
Manhattan Island. But these dreaded attempts were never made, 
and even if they had been the precautions taken would probably 
have sufficed to counteract them. 

It is well known that General Howe placed not a little dependence 
upon the hope of receiving active co-operation in the held from the 
loyal inhabitants of the lower counties of this State, and in that 
hope he was encouraged by assurances which he received from Gov- 
ernor Tryon and others upon his arrival. So far as Westchester 
County is concerned, no evidence exists that any results to sustain 
him in such an expectation followed the undoubted attempts to stim- 
ulate Tory courage incidental to the dispatch of the " Phoenix " and 
kk Rose " up the Hudson. 

Too much praise can not be given the New York State convention 
for its vigorous and well-considered measures at this time of uncer- 
tainty regarding the intent ions of the enemy. With the situation 
below the Harlem River Washington was competent to deal in all 
its details, but the convention relieved him of much of the responsi- 
bility and distraction that would have been involved in caring for 
the security of the country above. Provisions and other stores having 
been accumulated in the neighborhood of Peekskill, the convention 
ordered their removal to places which would be less exposed to 
danger from possible British landing parties. Militia re-enforce- 
ments for Forts Constitution and Montgomery were provided for. 
One-fourth of the entire militia of Westchester, Dutchess, and Orange 
Counties was called out, and, in view of the emergency, each militia- 
man taking the field was granted a bounty of twenty dollars ut gen- 
erous allowance in the circumstances of the time), with continental 
pay ami subsistence. This whole militia force (Westchester County's 
contingent being under the command of Colonel Thomas Thomas) was 
ordered to Peekskill as the strategic point for repelling the expected 
attack on the Highlands. The convention pledged itself to defray 
the expenses of any practicable plans for obstructing the naviga- 
tion of the Hudson and annoying the enemy's ships. Not having 
sufficient ammunition for the militia, it requested Washington to 
loan what was needed, promising to replace it at the earliest oppor- 
tunity. It also advised Washington to use his offices with Governor 
Trumbull, of Connecticut, for the creation of a cam]) of six thousand 
men on the Byrani River, in the interest of bringing to confusion 
any schemes of the British for seizing the country above Kingsbridge. 


This recommendation was deemed by Washington most excellent, but 
never bore any fruits. 

On the 16th of July the " Phcenix " and " Rose," with their tenders, 
left Tarrytown and sailed up the river to near Verplanck's Point. 
Finding that their progress into the Highlands would be prevented 
by the batteries of Forts Constitution and Montgomery, they merely 
took soundings, received such information as could be got from sym- 
pathizers on shore, and landed small parties here and there, which 
committed a few minor depredations. Returning slowly down the 
stream, they soon found that some tolerably lively adventures had 
been prepared for (hem by the alert American commander. 

At Tarrytown, on the 4th of August, they were boldly engaged by 
a number of galleys — the " Washington," kk Lady Washington," kl Spit- 
fire," kk Whiting," kk Independence," and " (Vane " — which Washing- 
ton had procured from the governors of ( Connecticut and Rhode Island, 
and dispatched for the purpose of annoying the two warships. One 
of the participants on the American side, in an account of this spirited 
encounter, says: kk We had as hot a lire as, perhaps, was ever known, 
for an hour and a half. Our commodore, Colonel Tupper, thought it 
prudent to give the signal for our little fleet to withdraw, after man- 
fully fighting a much superior force for two hours. Never did men 
behave with more firm, determined spirits than our little crews. One 
of our tars, being mortally wounded, cried to his messmate: k I am 
a dying man; revenge my blood, my boys, and carry me alongside 
my gun, that I may die there.' We were so preserved by a gracious 
Providence that in all our galleys we had but two men killed and 
fourteen wounded, two of which are thought dangerous." 

An (wen more exciting experience was reserved for the kk Phoenix," 
kk Rose," and their tenders. Two fire vessels, constructed by Wash- 
ington's orders, approached them at their anchorage on the night of 
the 10th of August. The resulting transactions have been pictur- 
esquely described by numerous writers, but with many variations as 
to details. The precise location of this affair of the fire-ships is im- 
possible of determination, so conflicting are the statements on that 
point. The thrilling scene is variously located off Tarrytown, Dobbs 
Ferry, Hastings, and Vonkers. According to a very circumstantial 
account by a principal participant on the American side — Captain 
Joseph Bass, apparently the navigator of one of the fire-ships, — it oc- 
curred not in Hie jurisdiction of Westchester County but in that of 
Rockland County, the British vessels, he says, having taken stations 
on the west side of the river, because of the greater depth of the 
water there, upon receiving an intimation from some quarter that 
mischief was impending. The narrative of Captain Bass (originally 


published in the Worcester Magazine in 1826) is so explicit and in essen- 
tial respects so intelligent that it seems to us his statement that the 
event transpired on the west side of the river mast be accepted with- 
out question. Yet Dawson, after examining numerous original au- 
thorities, all carefully cited in his footnotes, gives no suggestion of 
this; although he does not specifically say that the engagement oc- 
curred on the east bank. Again, the individual proceedings and 
performances of the two tire-ships are strangely confused by different 
narrators, the exact part borne by one in some accounts being as- 
signed to its companion in others. Leaving aside the minuter de- 
tails involving discrepancies, which after all are not very material— 
and, indeed, the whole affair is of no distinct importance in its rela- 
tion to the progress of general events, although exceedingly interest- 
ing as an episode, — we shall confine ourselves to a brief statement 
of the essential facts, about which there are no disagreements. 

The advisability of converting small river craft into fire-ships to 
attack the enemy's war vessels received early consideration by the 
State convention after the advent of the British fleet. The subject 
was assigned to a secret committee, whose practical projects were en- 
couraged by Washington and also by General George Clinton. After 
the passage of the " Rose," " Phamix," and their tenders up the 
river, two fire-ships, or rafts, were fitted out and held in readiness 
atSpuyten Duyvil Inlet for a favorable opportunity. " The fire-ships," 
says Ruttenber, whose account is digested from the narrative of Cap- 
tain Bass, "had been prepared with fagots of the most combustible 
kinds of wood, which had been dipped in melted pitch, and with 
bundles of straw cut about a fool long, prepared in the same manner. 
The fagots and bundles tilled the deck and hold as far aft as the cabin, 
and into this mass of combustible materials was inserted a match, 
that might be tired by a person in the cabin, who would have to 
escape through a door cut in the side of the vessel into a whaleboat 
that was lashed to the quarter of the sloop. Besides these combus- 
tibles, there were in each vessel ten or twelve barrels of pitch. A 
quantity of canvas, amounting to many yards, was cut into strips 
about a foot in width, then dipped in spirits of turpentine, and hung 
upon the spars and rigging, extending down to the deck." 

On the night of the Kith of August the two fire-ships, commanded 
(savs Dawson) by Captains Fosdick and Thomas, both volunteers from 
the army, sailed up the river on the serious business for which they 
had been constructed. They kept in midstream, and in the dark- 
ness were unable to detect the enemy's ships, but located them by 
the cry of the lookouts, "All's well!" and bore down upon them. 
One of the fire-ships grappled a tender (or " bombketch," according 


to Bass), and the other made fast to the " Phoenix." The fires were 
lighted, and instantly the rafts were aflame. The tender, or bomb- 
ketch, was burned to the water's edge, and the "Phoenix" seemed 
in a fair way of total destrnction, but was saved by desperate exer- 
tions. Nevertheless she was tired in several places, and much of her 
rigging was cut away so that the flames might not catch it. Most 
of'Wcrew of the tender perished, and it is supposed that some 
nun on the " Phcenix " were lost. Captain Thomas and Ave of his 
men were unable to escape to their whaleboat after applying the 
match to the combustibles. They jumped into the water and were 
drowned. Washington's account of this daring and, indeed, very 
brilliant affair is as follows: 

The night of the 16th two of our fire vessels attempted to burn the ships of war up the 
river. One of these boarded the « Phoenix," of forty-four guns, and was grappled with her 
for some minutes, but unluckily she cleared herself. The only damage the enemy sustained 
was the destruction of one tender. It is agreed on all hands that our people engaged in this 
affair behaved with great resolution and intrepidity. One of the captains, Thomas, it is to 
be feared perished in the attempt, or in making his escape by swimming, as he has not been 
heard of. His bravery entitled him to a better fate. Though this enterprise did not 
succeed to our wishes, I incline to think it alarmed the enemy greatly; for this morning 
(Aucmst 18 ) the " Phoenix " and « Rose," with their two remaining tenders, taking advantage 
of a brisk and prosperous gale and favorable tide, quitted their stations and have returned 
and joined the rest of the fleet 

With the final sailing away of the British ships on the morning 
of the 18th of August, the Hudson River, from the bay up, was re- 
lieved of the enemv, whose entire Meet was now anchored along the 
Staten Island shore. It was nearly a month before the much-dreaded 
vessels of war again ventured above the Battery, and it was not until 
the 9th of October that the citizens of Westchester County were 
thrown into renewed apprehension by the reappearance of the un- 
welcome visitors in their quarter. 

The transportation of the invading army from its temporary quar- 
ters on Staten Island to Long Island was begun early on the morn- 
ing of the 22d of August, the landing being effected at Gravesend 
without opposition. With the details of the battle of Long Island, 
which presently followed, our narrative is not concerned, and it is 
sufficient for the purpose of this History to briefly summarize its re- 
sults. By noon on the 27th of August that disastrous battle ended in 
complete victory for the British, and Washington, having sustained 
a heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, retired with his 
whole remaining force, which, as slightly re-enforced the next day, did 
not exceed nine t housand, behind his inner intrenchments, stretching, 
as already noticed, from the Gowanus to the Wallabout. Fronting 
him was an army of fully twenty thousand, and at any moment the 
whole tremendous British fleet might enter the East River and cut 


off his retreat to Manhattan Island. In such an eventuality his un- 
conditional surrender would be but a question of a brief time, and 
with it the cause of American independence would in all probability 
receive its deathblow. The sole problem for Washington to solve 
was therefore that of the most expeditious possible escape. Without 
delay he began to make his arrangements. By the evening of the 
29th all the available craft in the surrounding waters had been col- 
lected and brought to the Brooklyn end of the ferry. The night was 
fortunately dark, and not a, ship of the enemy's had yet appeared 
in the vicinity, while Howe's army lay before our works in complete 
ignorance of the design of the American general. One by one the 
regiments left their posts and were safely transferred to the New 
York side. At dawn the business was still unfinished, but, happily, 
a heavy fog obscured river and land. Nevertheless the last boat- 
loads had scarcely left the Brooklyn shore when the British ap- 
peared on the scene, and, indeed, their arrival was in time to cap- 
ture some of the stragglers. It was a narrow escape for the patriot 
army from the jaws of certain destruction, made possible only by a 
combination of circumstances which seems providential. It is told 
that the wife of a Tory named Rapelje, living near the ferry, as 
soon as the retreating movement began after nightfall, dispatched 
a negro with information of it to the British camp, but that the mes- 
senger, after safely making his way through the American lines, 
had the ill luck to stumble upon an outpost of Hessian mercenaries, 
who were unable to understand a word of his language, and, not ap- 
prehending that he was a person of any importance, did not turn 
him over to the British until morning. The battle of Long Island, 
although in its immediate result to the Americans a terrible defeat, 
followed by the abandonment of Long Island and of New York City 
also, was, if thoughtfully reflected upon, a defeat of prodigious ulti- 
mate advantage. If Washington had triumphed in that battle, or 
even if ils outcome had been comparatively indecisive, his generals 
would almost certainly have insisted on standing their ground, and 
in that event he would almost inevitably have suffered a miserable 
end on Long Island. It was the completeness of his defeat alone 
which preserved the army by leaving no course of action open ex- 
cept immediate retreat. Although the loss of New York City also 
was involved, that, from the American point of view, was more a 
relief than a catastrophe. Without a fleet, Washington never could 
have held the city, which, as a base absolutely indispensable for the 
British, to acquire, would have been taken by them in the end, even 
at the cost of reducing it to ashes. An attempt to hold it could have 
resulted in nothing but a futile sacrifice of energies, troops, and 


money on an enormous scale. It was best that he should be rid of it 
at once with no greater sacrifice than that incurred in the brief Long 
Island campaign and the mainly defensive movements that followed 
it. lie was thereby released from a most perilous situation and en- 
abled to withdraw his army into the interior, where it could recruit 
its strength, improve its discipline, and grasp opportunities as they 
should be presented in a struggle for liberty which everyone knew 
must be protracted and could succeed only through endurance. 

The first encounter of the Revolution on the soil of Westchester 
County occurred on the 2Sth of August in the vicinity of Mamaro- 
neck between a party of Loyalist recruits led by one William Louns- 
bury and an American force commanded by Captain John Flood, 
which was sent in pursuit of them. According to the records of the 
State convention for the 29th of August, 1776, " Mr. Tompkins came 
into convention ami informed that Mr. Lounsbury was come into 
Westchester County with a commission from General Howe to raise 
rangers; and that a party of the militia went in pursuit of him, and 
were under the necessity of killing him, as he would not surrender; 
another was wounded, and four were taken prisoners— all his re- 
cruits." The prisoners were Jacob Schureman, Bloomer Xeilson 
(wounded), Joseph Turner, and Samuel Haines. Lounsbury had 
been on board the - Phoenix " in the North River, and his enlisting or- 
ders were found on his person. Each of his recruits was to receive £3. 

On Manhattan Island Washington was still undisputed master, 
and the British, without any precipitancy but with great thorough- 
ness, proceeded to bring him to another reckoning there. Although 
the ileet made no attempt to dispose itself around the island for 
purposes of co-operation with Howe's land forces until several days 
after the battle of Long Island, two of the warships, with a brig, had 
on the very day of that battle taken a station above Throgg's Neck. 
This was an ominous move, suggesting an intention to come up 
through the Last River and seize the numerous strategic points of- 
fered by the islands and necks of the river and Sound. Between 
the 3d and 14th of September a number of the most powerful frigates 
of the fleet were stationed in the East River, and what are now Ran- 
dall's and Ward's Islands were occupied. On the 15th the frigates 
took a position at the head of Kip's Bay and opened a terrific fire 
upon a selected spot on the shore, under whose cover eighty-four boat- 
loads of soldiers were landed without the least resistance. It is true 
that Washington had placed a considerable force of Connecticut and 
Massachusetts troops in that vicinity— eight regiments in all,— but 
they beat a hasty and decidedly discreditable retreat as soon as the 
enemy showed himself. With the English army present in force on 




Manhattan Island, it was now imperatively necessary for Washing- 
ton to withdraw his whole command to the northern portion of the 
island, which lie was fortunately able to do, following the Blooming- 
dale Koad on the west side, and camping on the evening of the 15th 
on Harlem Heights. Here he established his headquarters in the 
Roger Morris mansion, which afterward became the Jumel mansion, 
and is still preserved (One Hundred and Sixty-iirst Street near Saint 
Nicholas Avenue). 

As has already been related, Colonel Roger Morris, the owner of this 
stately residence, married Mary Philipse, for whose hand Washington 
himself is said to have been a suitor. Mary was the youngest sur- 
viving daughter of Frederick 
Philipse, the third lord of the 
manor, and was born on the 3d of 
July, 1730, nearly two years be- 
fore Washington saw the light. 
The romantic story that Washing- 
ton actually sought her in mar 
riage, and was refused, does not 
rest on any known foundations: 
yet there is strong presumptive 
evidence that he admired her very 
heartily, and that if opportunity 
had enabled him to pay diligent 
court to her he probably would 
have embraced it. Much as has 
been written on this subject, noth- 
ing that is authentic, so far as we 
have been able to discover, lias 
been added to Sparks's well- 
known reference to it. tk While 
in New York in 175(5, " says 
Sparks, " Washington was lodged and kii 
of Mr. Beverly Robinson, between who 
of friendship subsisted, which, indeed, continued without 
severed by their opposite fortunes twenty years aft 
Revolution. It happened that Miss Mary Philipse, a sist 
Robinson, and a young lady of rare accomplishments, wa 
mate in the family. The charms of the lady made a deep 
sion upon the heart of the Virginia colonel, lie went to Boston, re 
turned, and was again welcomed to the hospitality of Mr. Robinson 
He lingered there till duty called him away; but he was careful t< 
intrust his secret to a confidential friend, whose letters kept him in 



ly entertained at 
and himself an 

lie House 


ange liil 

rward in the 

r of Mrs. 

an in- 





formed of every import nut event. In a few months intelligence came 
that a rival was in the field, and thai the consequences could not be 
answered for if he delayed to renew his visits to New York. Whether 
,„. the bustle of canip, or the scenes of war had moderated his 
Lmiration, or whether he despaired of success, is not known. He 
.. -ver saw the lady again till she was married to that same rival, 
Captain Morris, his former associate in arms and one of Braddock's 
aids-decamp." Mary Philipse's husband took a positive stand 
against the patriot cause in the Revolution, and as a consequence 
Ids property in America was confiscated. The lady lived to be ninety- 
live years old, dying in England in 1825. The Harlem Heights resi- 
dence was occupied for a time after the Revolution as a tavern, and 
was then purchased by Stephen Juniel, a wealthy Frenchman, whose 
wi<low became the wife of Aaron Burr. 

On the 16th of September occurred the lively encounter of Har- 
lem Plains, in which the Americans acquitted themselves well and 
for the first time in the open field had the satisfaction of putting 
their adversaries to flight. After that no steps of any general im- 
portance were taken on either side for several weeks. The Ameri- 
can army continued to occupy its strong position on Harlem Heights, 
preserving unimpaired, by way of Kingsbridge, its communication 
with the country above, and fully prepared to move thither in case 
of emergency. The royal army made no attempt against the Amer- 
ican intrenchments, but contented itself with taking possession of 
the city and throwing up new defenses for its more adequate pro- 
tection, while gradually making ready to throw itself bodily into 
Washington's rear, and thus either entrap him or force him to give 

After the defeat on Long Island, the New York State convention, 
then sitting at Harlem, deeming that place insecure, adjourned to 
Fishkill. En runic to the new seat of Revolutionary government ses- 
sions were held by the committee of safety at Kingsbridge (August 
30), at Mr. Udell's house in Philipseburgh Manor (August 31), and at 
Mr! Blagge's house at Croton River (August 31). In the weeks that 
followed the convention adopted a great number of measures inci- 
dental to the serious situation, of which many applied specially to 
Westchester County. We can not here attempt anything more than 
a mere allusion to some of the more interesting of these measures. 
Provision was made for removing all the horses, cattle, and other 
livestock from Manhattan Island and the exposed portions of West- 
chester County into the interior; the Westchester County farmers 
were directed to immediately thresh out all their grain, in order to 
furnish straw for the army; stores were taken from the State maga- 


zines in Westchester County and sent to the army; purchases of 
clothing and other materials for the army were made, and it was 
ordered that all the bells should be taken from the churches, and all 
the brass knockers from the doors of houses, so as to accumulate 
material for the manufacture of cannon in case of need. 

On the same day that the British effected their landing on Man- 
hattan Island, the 15th of September, they sent three of their best 
warships, the "Phoenix," "Roebuck," and "Tartar," up the North 
River as far as Bloomingdale. There they rode at anchor until the 
9th of October, when they pushed farther up, easily passing a chevauas 
de frise that had been constructed with much pains just above Fort 
Washington. This clievaux de frise consisted of a line of sunken craft 
stretching across the stream, and it was hoped that the obstructions 
would at least detain the enemy's vessels long enough to admit of 
their being so destructively played upon by the Fori Washington 
and Fort Lee batteries as to compel them to turn back. It is true 
the batteries did some execution, killing and wounding men on each 
ship; but the obstructions in the river unfortunately began some 
distance from the shore, leaving an open space of tolerably deep 
water through which the expedition passed without difficulty and 
with little delay. The warships proceeded as far as Dobbs Ferry, 
and later moved up to Tarrytown, where they remained, wholly in- 
active, throughout the period of the eventful military operations in 
Westchester County. It does not appear thai they accomplished 
anything except the seizure of a few river craft carrying supplies to 
the American army, although incidentally they closed the navigation 
of the lower river to the Americans and perhaps diverted to the 
Hudson shore of Westchester County some troops that otherwise 
would have been used to strengthen the continental army. It is 
the general opinion of historical writers that the real purpose of the 
British commander in sending them tip the stream was to make a 
feint and cause the Americans to fix their attention upon the Hud- 
son while he was preparing to outflank Washington from the Sound. 
The incident certainly did produce a vast deal of uneasiness on the 
American side. We shall recur to this subject in detail later. 

While Washington lay encamped on the Heights of Harlem, the 
whole southern border of Westchester County, stretching from Spuy- 
ten Duyvil Creek to the Sound, A\as protected by a large force under 
the efficient command of General Heath, with headquarters at Kings- 
bridge. The defensive works at Kingsbridge and its vicinity, com- 
menced in the spring, had by arduous labor been completed, and 
now comprised nine well fortified and garrisoned positions, having 
for their central and most powerful point what was called Fort In- 



dependence, on Tetard's Hill, where the farm of General Richard Mont- 
gomery then was, and about where the honse of William Ogden Giles 
now stands. It "occupied a most commanding position, overlooking 
the Albany road on one side and the Boston road on the other," 
and " had "two bastions at the westerly angles." After the battle of 
Lou- Island, and previously to the occupation of .Manhattan Island 
The enemy, General 1 loath had adopted excellent precautions 
a possible landing in Westchester County. Early in Septem- 
hain of vedettes from Morrisania to Throgg's 



ber he established «> < inm <" * * <" > • * >• — --- .... ^. 
Neck, so as to provide tor immediate information of any hostile move- 
ment' that might require resistance in force, lie also began to render 

the Harlem and the Sound 


ds leading from the villages 

impassable to the British artillery 


by telling trees athwart them 
and digging deep pits. His 
division was increased to ten 
thousand men of all arms 
(including ineffectives), while 
about an equal number re- 
mained with Washington on 
Manhattan Island. This dis- 
position shows how impor- 
tant was deemed the busi- 
ness of guarding against 
the contingency of a sudden 
attempt to cut off the re- 
treat of the army to the 
north. The suggestion of the 
likelihood of such an at- 

tempt was received, as we have noted, on the 27th of August, when 
two British ships and a brig took a station above Throgg's Neck. 
That was, however, only a preliminary movement, and, although men 
from the ships were landed on City Island and seized all the cattle 
they found there, they quickly retired upon the arrival of a regi- 
ment sent by General Heath to protect that locality. On the 10th 
of September, five davs before the British army moved upon Wash- 
ington's forces from Kip's Bay, Montressor's (now Randall's) Island 
w;?s taken, and a detachment was placed there, with a large amount 
of stores. The island commanded the Morrisania shore, and Colonel 
Morris's manor honse was within convenient range. Some four hun- 
dred of Heath's men were posted along the shore, and for a time 
there were frequent interchanges of compliments between their sen- 
tinels and those of the British on the island. Much irritation was 
caused on both sides bv occasional exchanges of shots between the 


sentinels, contrary to the regulations of war, and as a result the 
British commander threatened to cannonade the Morris house. These 
practices were finally stopped, and it is related that the opposing 
pickets were afterward " so civil to each other that they used to ex- 
change tobacco by throwing the roll across the creek." On the 24th of 
September a daring attempt was made to recapture the island. During 
the preceding night an expedition of two hundred and forty men, 
loaded on three flatboats, with a fourth boat bearing a small cannon, 
dropped down the Harlem from Kiugsbridge. depending upon the tide 
to float them up on the island about daybreak. They arrived at the cal- 
culated time, with no other misadventure than an unfortunate experi- 
ence with an American sentry, who, refusing to believe that they were 
friends, discharged his gun at them, thereby probably alarming the 
enemy. Yet the endeavor would undoubtedly have succeeded if it 
had not been for the cowardly behavior of the troops on two of the 
boats, who at the critical moment failed to land. The heroic party 
that did land according to programme was easily repulsed and made 
to retreat, sustaining a loss of fourteen killed and wounded. Among 
the killed was a very promising young officer, Major Ilenly, whose 
death was much lamented. 

After this affair of September 24 on Randall's Island, the first en- 
counter of the war along the southern side of Westchester County, 
(here was a period of nearly three weeks during which absolutely 
no collision worth mentioning occurred between the American and 
British forces, either on Manhattan Island or in Westchester County 
or its waters. General Heath was not inactive, however. With keen 
foresight, he made a careful inspection, on the 3d of October, of the 
Town of Westchester and the approach to it from the neighboring 
peninsula of Throgg's Neck (or Frog's Neck, as if was usually called 
in those days). That peninsula, extending more than two miles into 
the Sound, was at high tide a complete island, separated from the 
mainland by Westchester Creek and a marsh, over which were built 
a plank bridge and a. causeway. At the western extremity of the 
bridge stood a wooden tide-mill, erected (probably in the last decadeof 
the seventeenth century), at his own expense, by Colonel Caleb Heath- 
cote, first mayor of the borough Town of Westchester. At that point 
also a large quantity of cordwood had been piled up, which General 
Heath found to be "as advantageously situated to cover a post de- 
fending the pass as if constructed for the very purpose." It Avas a 
valuable strategic position — a few men posted there could hold an 
army at bay. and, moreover, as the bridge and causeway commu- 
nicated direct with the Village of Westchester, it was a very neces- 
sary precaution to have them guarded, quite irrespective of the pos- 


sibilitv that Throgg's Neck might prove to be the chosen landing- 
place of the now daily expected invading host. Accordingly the gen- 
eral-we qnote from -Heath's Memoirs "-" directed Colonel Hand, 
immediately on his return to camp, to fix upon one of the best sub ah 
tern officers and twenty-five picked men of his corps, and assign them 
to this pass, as their alarm post at all; and m case the m 
made a landing on Frog's Neck to direct this officer immediately to 
take np the planks of the bridge; to have everything in readiness to 
set the mill on fire, but not to do it unless the fire of the riflemen 
should appear insufficient to check the advance of the enemy on the 
causeway; to assign another party to the head of the creek; to re- 
enforce both, in case the enemy landed; and that he should be sup- 
ported." Upon the arrangements thus made were to depend, a tew 
days later, perhaps the very salvation of the American army. Of 
the fio-ht which occurred there, Mr. Fordham Morris, in his - History 
of the Town of Westchester," appropriately says that it was the 
"Lexina-ton of Westchester," and that it is to be "hoped that the 
wealth and patriotism of the Town of Westchester will some day 
cause an appropriate monument to be erected near the bridge m 
commemoration of the baffle of Westchester Creek.' ' 

Lou- before the period at which we have now arrived the whole oi 
the Westchester County militia had been ordered into active service. 
Some were sent to Peekskill and the Highlands, and some were 
posted along the Hudson River; but most of them were attached to 
General Heath's command at Kingsbridge, and were detailed to 
o-uard the southern ami eastern shore line. It was, in the aggregate, 
a curious armament that Westchester County contributed to the con- 
tinental battalions. The State convention, in ordering out these mili- 
tiamen, directed that if any of the men were without arms they 
should bring -a shovel, a pickaxes or scythe, straightened and fixed 
OI1 a po i e ." They were, moreover, to take with them all "disarmed 
and disaffected (Tory) male inhabitants between sixteen and fifty- 
five vears of age," who were to make themselves useful as fatigue 
llien »; and persons of this description who resisted orders were to 
be summarily court-martialed. The- State convention evidently did 
not cherish a high opinion of the efficiency of the farmer soldiery. 

■ ' , , „i ,,r t,,i,i me he assisted in re-covering it many 

iThe mill stood at the soutuweste ™ ^ °* V( . ars ll( . fcll ,, and found under the shingles 

the stone bridge which now connec * gg covering it another covering, pierced in 

Neck will, the mainland It ^ aB ^*™ y f ^ plflces with bullet holes." About a third 

fire early in December, 1S<4. Jo tne lasi a . ^^ ^ bl . idge> ,, n tlu , promises of 

i„ a good state of preservation for its age, , ana Brainerd T . Harrington, grape-shot wore 

was still in use for grinding gram The old Mr Bu mu j_ b_ evidently wore 

mill," writes a venerable resident of the local- found as ^te^a ■ M ^ 

itv to the present historian, "was sided in some of th< missiles 

and a man living here in 1S49 lean artillery. 


Iii a letter to General Washington, dated the 10th of October, its 
committee of safety urged him to take measures of his own for guard- 
ing against landings by the enemy at all points, adding that "no 
reliance at all can be placed on the militia of Westchester County.'' 1 
But this was no exclusive reflection upon the soldierly qualities of 
the men of our county, the raw rural militia of all sections naturally 
receiving like criticism. In numerous communications written dur- 
ing those perilous days Washington wrote with agony of soul about 
the miserable subject of the militia. " The militia," he said in a 
letter to the president of the continental congress, " instead of calling 
forth their utmost efforts to a brave and manly opposition, in order 
to repair our losses, are dismayed, intractable, and impatient to re- 
turn. Great numbers of them have gone off; in some instances 
almost by whole regiments, by half ones, ami by companies at a 
time." And in a letter to his brother he gave the following vivid 
account of the situation: "The dependence which the congress have 
placed upon the militia has already greatly injured and, 1 fear, will 
totally ruin our cause. Being subject to no control themselves, they 
introduce disorder among the troops whom we have attempted to 
discipline, while the change in their living brings on sickness, and 
this causes an impatience to get home, which spreads universally 
and introduces abominable desertions. In short, it is not in the 
power of woids to describe the task I have to perform." 

Notwithstanding the terrible emergencies with which Washing- 
ton was confronted, his effective force after his escape to the Heights 
of Harlem (September 10) showed a diminishing tendency. On the 
LMst of September the whole army, including General Heath's com- 
mand, comprised (exclusive of officers) about 16,100 men tit for duty; 
on the 30th of September, about 15,100; and on the 5th of October, 
about 14, 500. These, besides embracing a large proportion of crude 
militiamen who were an element of weakness, were encumbered by 
thousands of sick, (hi the other hand. General Howe had at his 
disposal for the invasion of Westchester County, after leaving behind 
him ample garrisons, as well as all his sick, an army many thousands 
larger — all professional soldiers. The contrasting conditions are thus 
powerfully summarized in the notorious Joseph Galloway's " Letters 
to a Nobleman": "The British army was commanded by able and 
experienced officers; the rebel by men destitute of military skill or 
experience, and, for the most par', taken from mechanic arts or the 
plough. The first were possessed of the best appointments, and more 
than they could use; and the other of the worst, and less than they 
wanted. The one were attended by the ablest surgeons and physi- 
cians, healthy and high-spirited; the other were neglected in their 


health clothing, and pay, were sickly, and constantly murmuring and 
dissatisfied. And the one were veteran troops, carrying victory and 
conquest wheresoever they were led; the other were new raised and 
undisciplined, a panic-struck and defeated enemy wherever at- 
tacked Such is the true comparative difference between the force 
sent to suppress and that which supported the rebellion/' 



ENERAL HOWE'S determination to move his army into 
Westchester County by way of the East River ami Long 
Island Sound was perfectly guarded from Washington's 
knowledge. In all the official correspondence on the Amer- 
ican side up to the day of Howe's landing in our county (October 12), 
there appears not the slightest inkling of the real designs of the 
British commander. Indeed, during the days when Howe was making 
the final preparations for his grand coup, American attention was 
absorbed by the successful passage of the three British frigates (the 
"Phoenix," " Roebuck," and "Tartar") up the Hudson River past 
the batteries of the forts and around the chevaux de frise, which 
was deemed a most calamitous occurrence. From the time of the 
appearance of the British expedition in New York waters the greatest 
solicitude had been felt for the safety of the whole Hudson Valley; 
and it seemed scarcely to admit of doubt that the early mastery of 
the Hudson as far as the Highlands, to be followed by progressive 
occupation of that most vital region, was a necessary feature of the 
comprehensive scheme for paralyzing all American resistance which 
this powerful expedition was manifestly intended to compass. Pop- 
ular apprehension on this point was stimulated by the action of 
the British commander in dispatching ships up the Hudson almost 
immediately after his arrival in New York Bay. During the pause 
after the bitter American defeat on Long Island, all the conditions 
seemed to indicate that whatever General Howe's preference might: 
be in the selection of a quarter from which to renew his direct oper- 
ations against Washington's army, he would at least not neglect to 
secure a substantial foothold at the essential points along the lower 
Hudson. Hence the American measures for obstructing the naviga- 
tion of the river and for protecting the Highland passes. It is of 
course idle to speculate as to the probable results, in their relations 
at least to the ultimate fortunes of the war, that would have at- 
tended an effective land occupation at this early period of the western 
part of our county, or even of the very small section from Verplanck's 



Poiul to Anthony's Nose. Bn1 it seems an irresistible conclusion 
thai will, the latter strategic section in the hands of the British 
aml tlie nvcr fro... Evings Ferry to Spuyten Duyvil Greek patrolled 
by a detachment from their fleet, the entire theater of war would 
have been changed and a prime object of the British government-- 
the possesion of the Hudson Biver throughout its course and the 
consequent division of the colonies-would have been almost com- 
pletely realized at once. The escape of Washington to New Jersey 
would then have been cut off, and he would have been obliged to 
retreal into New England, with the single alternative oi waging a 
defensive local war there or proceeding by a round-about northern 

route to the middle colonies, where 
also he would have been under the 
disability of local confinement, with 
his lines of eastern communication 
closed by the Hudson. General 
Howe's calculations were not, how- 
ever, so far-reaching; he was en- 
grossed with the immediate busi- 
ness of annihilating the patriot 
army. He probably felt that the 
diversion of so large a force as 
would be necessary to hold the 
Westchester bank of the Hudson 
would be an unprofitable division 
of his strength at the time, and 
he did not care to risk the losses 
likely to result in passing numerous warships and transports around 
the cheuaiuc <le frisc under the guns of Fori Washington and Lee. 

The final decision of Howe to move on General Washington from 
the Sound without preliminarily closing the Hudson against him as 
far north as the Highlands was indeed a reversal of what was ex- 
pected by the best American opinion. Not that it was seriously sup- 
posed Howe's main attack would proceed from the river side of 
Westchester County. It was not doubted that when he got ready to 
act he would choose some point on .he Sound for his outflanking 
movement, since that const was wholly unprotected by American 
forts or improvised impediments to navigation, and from its low 
formation afforded perfectly satisfactory conditions for landing, which 
nowhere existed on the precipitous shores of the Hudson. But there 
was an apprehension on the American side which amounted to con- 
viction that before making his next movement in force he would 
secure the navigation of the Hudson; and upon that quarter Aineri- 




can attention was fixed with an anxiety which became painful after 
the easy passage of the chevaux dc frisc by the three hostile ships on 
the 9th of October. 

In a series of noteworthy official letters of that period, whose orig- 
inals have been placed at the disposal of the editor of the present 
History, the whole situation from the American point of view is 
made strikingly clear. After the removal of the migratory State 
convention from White Plains to Fishkill, that body appointed "a 
committee of correspondence for the purpose of obtaining intelli- 
gence from the army"; and the committee, of which William Duer was 
the active spirit, made arrangement with Lieutenant-Colonel Tench 
Tilghman, one of Washington's aides, for a daily letter from army 
headquarters. The resulting letters extend from the 22d of September 
to the 21st of October. The originals furnished us, thirty-seven in 
number, are from the documentary remains of Colonel Tilghman 
now owned by his descendant, lion. Oswald Tilghman, of Maryland; 
and for the most part are the communications of Duer, on behalf of 
the committee, in reply to Tilghmans notes of information, although 
a few letters to Tilghman from other members o1 the committee, to- 
gether with copies of some of Tilghmaifs notes to the committee, are 
comprehended in the collection. The circumstance that most of the 
letters are from Duer, one of the most intelligent and valuable mem- 
bers of the State convention, and represent in an unstinted way the 
feelings and opinions entertained in State government quarters about, 
the posture of affairs on the basis of -daily news from Washington's 
army, adds naturally to the interest of the whole correspondence. 

The documents begin with a letter from Duer to Tilghman, dated 
-Fish-Kills, Sept. 22d, UTti," in which the latter is informed of the 
appointment of the committee and requested to accept the function 
of headquarters correspondent. The following are extracts from the 
correspondence up to the date of the landing of the British army in 
our county: 

Duer to Tilghman, September 25.-I shall communicate your Letter to the Convention 
—to-morrow who will (I doubt not) be happy to find that their Attention to the Obstruction 
of Hudson's River meets with General Washington's approbation. 

Duer to Tilolnnan, September !><».— I expect daily to hear of the Enemy's making some 
oreat Attempt. It is surely their Business if they hope to make a Campaign any wise hon- 
orable to them. Your present station [on Harlem Heights] appears to me ext remely at vaii- 
tageous, and 1 have no doubt but you will give a good account of them should th ey be hardy 
enouo'h to attack your Lines. I should have little anxiety were I convinced of the Sufficiency 
of our Obstructions in Hudson's River. I do not think it improbable that the Enemy may 
march part of their Force to the Eastern Part of Long Island, and endeavor to transport 

i The correspondence was printed in detail in interest, which, however, not being specially 
the New Y,„-k Times of April 7. 14. 21. and 28, pertinent to our general narrative, must be 
1895. It includes much subsidiary matter of omitted here. 


them across the Sound, in order to come on the Rear of our Works. I dare say however 
that Precautions will be made here to prevent any Surprise of that Kind. 

Ducr to Livingston, September 27. — I have heard it reported that near 100 Sail of the 
Enemy's ships are gone out of the Hook [Sandy Hook]. Is it true? If so, it is far from 
improbable that they will go round Long Island into the Sound, and Endeavor to Land in the 
Hear of our Army. From many Circumstances I do not think it improbable they may 
attempt to land at Sutton's Neck, 1 about 10 miles from Kingsbridge. I flatter myself we 
shall be on our Guard to pie vent any Manoeuvre of this kind. 

I expect every Moment to hear of some Attempt at Mount [Fort] Washington, \vh' is 
in my opinion the most Important Post in all America as it commands the Communication 
betwixt the United States. Is it practicable for the Enemy to get Possession of the high 
Grounds on the West Side of the River? If they should succeed in an Attempt of that kind 
—the Garrison in that Post [Fort Lee] would be made very Uneasy. I trust however that 
our Army would never desert so important a Station without making it the dearest bought 
Ground wh' the Enemy have hitherto got. 

Duer to Tilghman, September 28.— You observe that if the Passage of the North River 
is sufficiently obstructed that our Lines will keep the Enemy from making any Progress in 
Front. This is certainly true; but you must recollect that the Sound is, and must ever be, 
open;' and if they should succeed in 'Landing a Body of Men in Westchester County, they 
might by drawing lines to the North River as effectually hem us in, as if we were in New 
Yo & rk, from Sutton's Neek to the North River (if I am not mistaken) is not above Twelve 
Miles. ... 

I expect that the Yessells wh the Convention of this State have ordered to Mount 
[Fort] Washington will be arrived before this letter; no Time I dare say will be lost in 
sinking them in the proper Channell, since the Success of our Army depends so much on this 

Duer to Tilghman, September 30.— I am extremely happy to hear that you are in so 
good a Situation for opposing the Enemy shonld they make an Attempt to force your Lines, 
and I should be still more so were the Yessells, we have lately sent down, properly Sunk. 
The Precaution you have taken by breaking up the Roads from the Sound are certainly are 
very proper; and will of course tend to impede the Motions of the Enemy should they land 
in that Quarter, wh for my own Part I think may be the Case. ... 

The late Strong Southerly Wind afforded in my Opinion a Strong Temptation to the 
Enemy to try the Strength' of our Chevau de Frise. Probably they esteem them more 
effectual than we do. May this Sentiment prevail till we have completed these Obstructions. 
Duer to Tilghman, October 1.— I am happy to And by your Letter of the 30th ulto. 
that you are upon a Guard against the Enemys Operations of coming upon your Rear; you 
may '(I think) depend that this will be their Mode of Attack. From the Nature however of 
the Grounds I think you will be able to make a Formidable Opposition. They ought not, 
must not, shall not get in your Hear. Should they succeed no Event so fatal could ever 
befall the American Cause. 

I am sorry the Ships have been so long detained; but I hope they will be with you 
before this arrives. Don't let their Youth or their Beauty plead for them, if there is the 
least Probability of their rendering the Obstructions in that part of Hudson's River more 
effectual. I am convinced upon the Maturest Reflection that a Million of Money would be a 
trifling Compensation for the Loss of the Navigation of Hudson's River. 

Duer to Tilghman, October 2.— I can scarcely describe to you my feelings at this 
interesting Period. What, with the Situation of our Enemies in your Quarter, and the 
cursed Machinations of our Internal Foes, the Fate of this State hangs on a Single Battle of 

1 The neek of land just be) 
Harbor. Mamaroneck proved 
mate point mi the Sound occu] 

6 b 

they sent a detaeh- 
[cd by Duer as their 

isli in their Westchester County campaign- mem to u.r in,,., u, 
that is, after landing far below, al Throgg's most available original landing poinl 1m- effect- 
Neck, they slowly advanced, without striking ive purposes of strategy. 


anv Importance. I am happy to find you are securing your Flanks and I hope our best 
Troops will he ready to give the Enemy a Reception on their Landing. . . . 
I hope to hear in your next that the North River is completely obstructed. 
Tilghman to Duer, October 3.— Capt. Cook is now up the River cutting Timber for 
Chevaux de Frise, as he is much wanted here to sink the old Vessels— the General begs that 
he may be sent down immediately, we are at a Stand for want of him, for as he has Super- 
intended the Matter from the Beginning he best knows the properest places to be obstructed. 
If the new ships should be found necessary to our Salvation you need not fear their being- 
Sacrificed, but our public Money goes fast enough without using it wantonly. 

Duer to Tilghman, October 3.— I am glad you have so nearly completed your Defences 
in the Front, and hope you will be expeditious in fortifying your Flanks to the Eastward of 
Harlem River. I think that the Enemy must be meditating some General Attack — but as 
Providence has been generally kind to 'us I hope they will postpone it till Lee, and Mifflin 
return to Camp. 

Robert Benson to Tilghman, October 5.— Agreeable to your request, our President [of 
the State convention] dispatched a letter to Capt. Cooke at Poughkeepsie requesting him to 
repair immediately to Mount [Fort] Washington. He is now at Fishkill Landing on Ins 
Way down & is to set out in the Morning with a quantity of Oak Plank &c. 

Duer to Tilghman, October 8.— I cannot account for the Enemys Procrastination unless 
it proceeds from some of their Ships being sent into the Sound round Long Island for the 
Purpose of making an Attempt to Land in West Chester County. 
They never certainly will make any Attempt but on our Flanks ? 

Tilghman to the committee, October 9.— About 8 O'clock this Morning the Roebuck & 
Phoenix of 44 Guns each and a Frigate of about 20 Guns got under way from about Bloom- 
ingdale, where they have been laying some time, and stood on with an easy Southerly Breeze 
towards our Chevauz de Frise, which we hoped would have given them some Interruption 
while our Batteries plaved upon them. But to our Surprise and Mortification they all ran 
through without the least difficulty, and without receiving any apparent damage from our 
Forts, which kept playing on them from both sides of the River. How far they intend up I 
dont know, but His Excellency thought to give you the earliest Information, that you may 
put Genl. Clinton upon his Guard at the Highlands, for they may have troops concealed on 
Board with intent to surprise those Forts. If you have any Stores on the Water Side you 
had better have them removed or secured in time. Boards especially for which we shall be 
put to great Streights if the Communication above should be cut off. The Enemy have 
made no Move on the land Side. 

p. s.— Be Pleased to forward this Intelligence up the River and to Albany. The two 
new Ships are put in near Colo. Phillips's. A party of Artillery with 2 twelve pounders and 
100 Rifle Men are sent up to endeavor to secure them. 

Duer to Tilghman, October 10.— There is no Event wh could have happened that could 
have given me more Uneasiness than the Passage of the Enemys Ships up the River. I can- 
not persuade myself that there only design is to cut off the Communication of Supplies by 
Water to our Army at Kingsbridge; though that is an Event which will be highly preju- 
dicial to our Army. Thev certainly mean to send up a Force (if their Ships have not Soldiers 
already on board)"so as to take Possession of the Passes by Land in the Hylands. In this 
they will be undoubtedly joined by the Villains in Westchester and Dutchess County. It is 
therefore of the utmost Consequence that a Force should be immediately detached from the 
Main Body of our Army to occupy these Posts. It is impossible for the Convention to draw 
out a force which can be depended on from the Counties last mentioned. 

By the Influence and Artifices of the Capital Tories of this State the Majority of 
Inhabitants in those Counties are ripe for a Revolt; many Companies of Men have actually 
been enlisted in the Enemys service, several of whom are now concealed in the Mountains. 
From the Frontier Counties little Strength can with Safety be drawn, and that not in Time 
to prevent such an attempt of the Enemy. These Matters I have in a few Words suggested 
to the Convention (for my Business on the Committee I am in is so urgent that I have only 
been a few Minutes in Convention this Day). If they have not wrote to Genl. Washington, 
let me earnestly entreat that a Force may be immediately sent to the Highlands on this Side. 


by this Means you will not only keep up the Communication with the Army, but I verily 
believe prevent a Revolt in Westchester and Dutchess Counties. . . . 

How are you of for Flour, and Salt Provisions? Will it not be wise to lay in Maga- 
zines in Time in this Quarter [Fishkill] lest through the Fortune of War our Army should 
be obliged to retreat to the Highlands? 

Tilghman to the committee, October 11.— We have no Intelligence of any Troops, 
either Horse or Foot, going round long Island into the Sound. 

Duer to Tilghman, October 12.— Notwithstanding the Enemy had, agreeable to your 
last Advices, sent no Yessells tip the Sound, depend upon it they will endeavor to make an 
Attack upon your Flanks by means of Hudson's and the Fast River. Several Examinations 
wh we have taken mention this as their intended Operation: and indeed it is the only one wh 
can give them any Probability of Success. If we may give Credit to Intelligence procur d 
through the Channell of the Tories, Thursday next is tix'd upon for them to make their 
Attack, and for their Partisans in this State to Cooperate with them. ... 

You will now have an Anxious Task to watch both the Rivers, and I am afraid all your 
Vigilance will not be altogether effectual. 

Three facts stand out very distinctly front this correspondence — 
first, that the protection of the Hudson River was the thing of fore- 
most concern to the Americans, even a tentative intrusion of the 
enemy above Fort Washington causing the direst forebodings of im- 
pending preparations for seizing the Westchester river bank as a 
principal factor of the new British campaign about to be inaugu- 
rated; second, that the superior availability of the Sound shore of 
Westchester County as a departing point for the main body of Howe's 
army was well appreciated, although there were but vague notions 
as to Howe's probable intentions in that direction; and third, that 
Howe's slowness in developing his plans was supposed to indicate 
that they were much more elaborate than they eventually proved 
to be, and that they contemplated ultimate connecting operations 
between river and Sound. 

As late as the 11th of October (the very day before Howe's com- 
plete disclosure of his project) Colonel Tilghman, writing to the 
committee of Hie State convention from the American cam]), with 
full knowledge of such informal ion as Washington himself pos- 
sessed, made this peculiarly malapropos statement: "We have no in- 
telligence of any troops, either horse or foot, going round Long Island 
into°thc Sound." Thus up to the last moment Washington was not 
only quite unsuspicious of the impending blow, but apparently re- 
garded the possibility of a movement against him from the Sound 
as a still remote eventuality, to be considered for the time only in 
relation to the rumored departure of an expedition around Long 
Island (that is, around the eastern extremity of the island ami thence 
through the Sound). Well may it be believed, as several historical 
writers aver, that the intelligence brought to Washington on the 
morning of October 12 that the whole British army was sailing up 
the East River and disembarking on Throgg's Neck, completely sur- 



prised him. We are told by Dawson that he " appears to have given 
way to despair in view of his powerlessness, and to have become de- 
spondent," and that the record of Ins official acts for the day is 
remarkable chiefly for singular lack of the active proceedings nat- 
urally to have been expected from the commander-in-chief in such 
an emergency. 

It is true that, contrasted with the conditions which would have 
obtained if Howe had been in possession of the Hudson simulta- 
neously with opening his campaign from the Sound, the situation 
created by his sudden descent on Throgg's Neck was not without an 
element of hope. At least, one flank of the American army re- 
mained quite unimperiled, which afforded scope for thwarting the 
designs of the enemy upon the other by the resources of defensive 
generalship. But aside from that single comforting aspect, the out- 
look was alarming in an extreme degree. Washington, intrenched 
on the Heights of Harlem — that is, in the northwestern portion of 
.Manhattan Island, — with New York City below him in the hands 
of the British, and Howe making ready to fall upon him on his flank, 
had but three possible courses of action — first, to remain in that posi- 
tion and undergo a siege, which could have resulted in nothing but 
early capitulation, as he would have had no sources from which to 
draw supplies; second, to retreat at once across the Hudson River 
into New Jersey under the protection of Fort Washington and Fort 
Lee, a programme not to be thought of even if it could have been 
carried out successfully, since it would have involved abandoning 
the whole country northward, including the Highlands and conse- 
quently the river to its source; or third, to seek a new defensive 
position at the north, where he could fight the enemy under toler- 
ably advantageous geographical conditions, backed by the West- 
chester hills and finally by the Highlands, with the King's Ferry 
route to New Jersey and Philadelphia open. Of these three possible 
courses, one was equivalent to ruin and another to disgrace, while 
the third and only feasible one was hedged about by a variety of 
strangely doubtful and difficult circumstances. In the first place, 
Washington was under every disadvantage of unpreparedness for 
such a movement. He was even unprepared in judgment, so unex- 
pectedly did the necessity of considering the matter present itself. 
It was by no means plain to him at first just what ultimate object 
Howe's appearance on Throgg's Neck imported, or whether it repre- 
sented all or even the essential part of the British scheme. A too 
precipitate retirement to the north on Washington's part would have 
had the aspect and all the ill moral effect of a cowardly retreat; 
whereas just on this occasion it was most important for him to gain 


some prestige. Finally, when there was no mistaking the fact that 
Howe's sole aim was to outflank him, he found himself terribly em- 
barrassed in marching to a new position by deficient facilities in 
the way of teams and wagons for the transportation of his 
guns and baggage. Indeed, it was not until the 20th of October- 
eight days after the landing of the British on Westchester soil— that, 
having at last evacuated his intrenchments on Harlem Heights, 
Washington had so far moved up his rear as to make his headquar- 
ters at Kingsbridge. Moreover, he had to provide for the highly 
probable emergency of battle along the route, or at least of serious 
interferences with the progress and integrity of his column. To this 
end it was necessary to protect himself by a series of intrenched 
camps at intervals all along the line of march, his destination being 
White Plains, preappointed by certain circumstances which will be 
set forth later. Meantime the royal army, as the aggressor, had but 
to march with reasonable expedition to White Plains— the natural 
destination for Howe as for Washington, because, in Howe's case, of 
its central location, and the excellent roads leading thither from the 
Sound and the circumstance that all the other roads of the county 
converged there— and Washington would be completely hemmed in. 
In the light of all that followed, the one vital question at the outset 
of this campaign was, Who should first arrive at and possess White 
Plains? and the advantage was decidedly with Howe, because he 
was not hampered by any of the physical difficulties that beset Wash- 
ington. Such were 'the elements of the startling Westchester situa- 
tion whose details we shall now trace with as much brevity as is con- 
sistent with clearness. ^^ 

About daybreak on the morning of Saturday, October 12, l<7b— a 
very fo<-v morning— many boatloads of British troops, led by Gen- 
eral Howe in person, embarked at Kip's Pay, Manhattan Island, pro- 
ceeded through Hellgate and up the Sound, and landed, under the 
guns of the frigate « Carysfort," on Throgg's Point, where Fort Schuy- 
ler now stands. A second large detachment, conveyed by <> forty-two 
sail " was deposited at the same place in the afternoon; and for sev- 
eral days afterward there was n continuous transportation thither of 
soldiers and all manner of army appointments. Neither the Point 
nor any part of the Neck was occupied by American troops, but at 
Westchester causeway and also at the head of the creek, the only lo- 
calities affording passage to the mainland, the picked riflemen posted 
about a week previously, through the happy foresight of General 
Heath still stood guard. As soon as the presence of the invader on 
the Neck became known to them, the men at the bridge ripped up 
its planking; and when the first reconnoitering party of redcoats 


approached they gave them the contents of their muskets. The enemy 
beat a hasty and disorderly retreat; and, although the defenders of 
the bridge were only twenty-five against many thousands, and the 
possession of that pass was of supreme importance to Genera] Howe, 
no serious attempt was made to secure it. lie however ordered a 
breastwork erected, facing the structure. For the rest, he sent out 
detachments to explore the unknown and mysterious land upon which 
ho had debarked, who, returning, gave him the disheartening infor- 
mation that it was an island, with only one possible crossing-point 
to the main, a fording-place, where also a party of rebels with rifles of 
particularly deadly quality disputed the way. In such circumstances 
Bowe A\as powerless, at least pending the conveyance of intelligence 
lo the American cam]), which, of course, resulted in the dispatching 
of re-enforcements. General Heath "immediately ordered Colonel 
Prescott, the hero of Bunker Hill, with his regiment, and Captain- 
Lieutenant Bryant, of the artillery, with a three-pounder, to re- 
enforce the riflemen at Westchester causeway, and Colonel Graham, 
of the New York line, with his regiment, and Lieutenant Jackson, of 
the artillery, with a six-pounder, to re-enforce at the head of the 
creek; all of which was promptly done/' These forces, insignificant 
though they were in comparison with what Howe could have hurled 
against them, proved sufficient. He did not care to take the hazard 
of forcing either pass; and from the 12th to the ISth of October he 
remained ridiculously penned up on Throgg's Neck by a contemptible 
few of the starveling continentals who up to that melancholy hour 
had fled terror-stricken before his ferocious grenadiers. Indeed, his 
whole programme of entering Westchester ( •ounty by way of Throgg's 
Neck had to be abandoned finally; and he was obliged, after six days 1 
delay, to put his army on boats and ship it across Eastchester Bay to 
Pelham (or Rodman's) Point, a locality not cut off from the main by 
creeks and marshes and strategic passes. 

The responsibility for the selection of Throgg's Neck as the Brit- 
ish lauding place has been charged to the commander of the 
fleet, Admiral Lord Howe, General Howe's brother; and in ex- 
planation of the choice of that locality it has been urged that a 
direct lauding on Pell's Neck would have been an imprudent meas- 
ure because of the shallowness of the water at the latter place, 
preventing the co-operation of any vessel of sufficient battery 
to cover the landing. But whatever share of the responsibility 
may be shifted to Admiral Howe, General Howe at least offered 
no objection to Throgg's Neck, and indeed he subsequently justi- 
fied its selection. "Four or five days," he said in a speech before 
an investigating committee of the House of Commons in 1770, " had 


7 o HEATH's MEMOIRS. [Oct. 1776. 

! It h. There was a coniiderable movement among 

the Britifh boats below. This afternoon, Gen. 
Wafhington's pleafure-boat, coming down the river 
with a frefh breeze, and a topfaii hoifted, was fup- 
pofed, by the artilleries at Mount Wafhington, to be 
one of the Britifli tenders running down. A 1 2 
pounder was difcharged at her, which was fo exadly 
pointed, as unfortunately to kill three Americans, 
who were much lamented. The fame day, feveral of 
Gen. Lincoln's regiments arrived, two of which were 
jotted on the North River. > 

12-th.— Early in the morning, 80 or 90 Britifh 
boats, full of men, flood up the found, from Montre- 
fors Ifland, Long-Mand, &c. The troops landed 
at Frog's Neck, and their advance pufhed towards 
the caufeway and bridge, at Weft Chefter mill. 
Col. Hand's riflemen took up the planks of the 
bridge, as had been directed, and commenced a fir- 
ing with their rifles. The Britifh moved towards 
the head of the creek, but found here alfo the Amer- 
icans in poiTefhon of the pafs. Our General imme- 
diately (as he had allured Col. Hand he would do) 
ordered Col. Prefcott, the hero of Bunker Hill, with 
his regiment, and Capt. Lieut. Bryant of the artil- 
lery, with a 3 pounder, to reinforce the riflemen at 
Weil-Chefter caufeway ; and Col. Graham of the 
New-York. line, with his regiment, and Lieut. Jack- 
fo-n of the artillery, with a 6 pounder, to reinforce 
at the head of the creek ; all of which was promptly 
done, to the check and difappointment of the en- 
emy. The Britifh encamped on the neck. The 
riflemen and Yagers kept up a fcattering^ popping 
at each other acrofs the marfh \ and the Americans 
on their fide, and the Britifh on ihe other, threw up 
a work at the end of the caufeway. Capt. Bryant, 
now and then, when there was an object, faluted the 

Britifh with a field-piece. 





been unavoidably taken up in landing at Frog's Neck, instead of 
going at once to Pell's Point, which would have been an imprudent 
measure, as it could not have been executed without much unneces- 
sary risk." It is difficult to conceive what great risk would have 
been involved in the latter proceeding, since there Avas no American 
post at the point of Pelham Neck on the 12th of October, or, for that 
matter, on the 18th of October either — the final landing of the 
British there on the latter date being accomplished without the 
slightest interference on the part of the Americans, and indeed with- 
out being known to them until the advance party of the invaders 
suddenly showed themselves to the American pickets a full mile and 
a half above the point. But even granting the force of the special 
objection to Pelham Neck as an original landing place, one marvels 
why Throgg's Neck should have been regarded as the only alterna- 
tive spot. Surely there was adequate depth of water at points 
farther up the Sound (Mamaroneck Harbor, for instance); and Gen- 
eral Howe's sole object being to outflank Washington, it would have 
been rather an advantage than a disadvantage for him to disem- 
bark at a comparatively northernly locality. In whatever aspect the 
Throgg's Neck landing is viewed, it is hard for the dispassionate mind 
to regard it otherwise than as a prodigious strategic blunder. 1 

During the six days of Howe's supine occupation of Throgg's Neck, 
Washington's headquarters were continued at Harlem Heights, 
where also, in conjunction with the Kingsbridge dependency, the 

1 A glance at the map shows that Throgg's 
Neck, in a purely geographical sense (not tak- 
ing into account either its practical insular 
character or the fact, which must have been 
known to Howe, that the adjacent country was 
well guarded by the Americans and its roads 
had largely been rendered impassable), was 
about the most unfavorable place that could 
have been hit upon for initiating a movement 
to set the royal army down in Washington's 
rear. It is, indeed, on a due-east line, some- 
what south of the Heights of Harlem and 
Kingsbridge: so that upon Howe's arrival at 
Throgg's Neck Washington was actually in ad- 
vance of him along the one open line of move- 
ment. The complacency of Washington in re- 
nminbis in his Harlem Heights and Kings- 
bridge position until after Howe had pushed 
northward to Pell's Neck, although six days 
had elapsed meanwhile, is of itself plain dem- 
onstration that Howe blundered egregionsly in 
his choice of ground so far as his intention of 
outflanking the patriot general was concerned. 
The civilian Duer, of t lie State convention, in 
his correspondence with Washington's head- 
quarters, shows a perfect grasp of the elements 
of the situation. In a letter to Tilghman, Oc- 

1 I. 


'■They [the enemy] could not, I think, have 
blundered more effectually than by Landing on 
the Neck of Land they are now on. I should 
think a small Number of Men with Field 
Pieces would suffice to prevent their penetrat- 
ing further into the Country from that Quar- 
ter. You say that you think more of the Ene- 
my's Troops are moved up the Sound. I think 
they will endeavor to Land the Main Body 
of their Army near Rye and endeavor to sur- 
round our Troops from the Sound to the North 
River." And the next day. writing to Robert 
Harrison, Washington's secretary, he says: 

" I . . . am happy to find you have got the 
Enemy in so desirable a Situation. 

" There appears to me an actual Fatality at- 
tending all their Measures. One would have 
naturally imagined from the Traitors they have 
among them, who are capable of giving them 
the most Minute Description of the Grounds in 
the County of Westchester, that they would 
have landed much farther to the Eastward 
[northward]. Had they pnzzl'd their Imagina- 
tions to discover the worse Place they could 
not have succeeded better than they have 


main body of the American army remained. Tlie apparent confusion 
of mind which he experienced upon being apprised of Howe's land- 
ing was not of long duration; and indeed his energetic qualities as a 
commander were probably novel- displayed with greater or more 
judicious attention to detail than throughout the period of the Brit- 
ish general's inactivity on the Sound. On the evening of the 12th 
he rode over to Westchester village and personally inspected the sit- 
uation, becoming satisfied that it threatened no immediate clanger 
and that his plain duty, pending a further disclosure of the enemy's 
intentions, was to strengthen his defensive position in every way. 
At a loss to understand why Throgg's Neck should have been se- 
lected if the British purpose was to quickly push into his rear and 
entrap him, he inclined to the opinion that Howe's final object was 
to move on his works at Kingsbridge, and that to that end he would 
presently be supported by a second expedition, to be landed lower 
down, probably at Morrisania. On the other hand, he was by no 
means unmindful of the contingency that the grander project might 
be meditated; but he was convinced that so long as Howe stayed on 
Throgg's Neck he could afford to wait for actualities. His confidence 
in his ability to repel a mere movement against Kingsbridge is well 
reflected in the following extract from a letter written from head- 
quarters on the loth of October by Lieutenant-Colonel Tilghman to 
the committee of correspondence of the State convention: 

The Grounds leading from Frogs Point towards our Post at Kingsbridge are as defensible 
as they can be wished, the Roads are all lined with Stone fences and the adjacent Fields 
divided off with Stone likewise, which will make it impossible for them to advance their 
Artillery and Ammunition Waggons by any other Route than the great Roads, and I think 
if they are well lined with Troops, we may make a considerable slaughter if not discomfit 
them totally. Our Ride Men have directions to attend particularly to taking down their 
Horses, which if done, will impede their March effectually. Our Troops are in good Spirits 
and seem inclined and determined to dispute every Inch of Ground. Our Front is now so 
well secured that we can spare a considerable Number of our I>est Troops from hence if they are 

If we are forced from this post we must make the best Retreat we can, but I think this 
Ground should not be given up but upon the last Extremity. 1 

The cheerful remark in this letter that the commander-in-chief had 
matters so well in hand as to be able to spare a considerable number 
of his best troops for purposes other than his own defense against 
Howe received practical application on the same day by the send- 

" I approve much of selling at a dear Price 
every foot of Ground; but if the Enemy should. 
by their Manoeuvres, contrive to encircle our 
Army, and as I before Observed Occupy these 
Mounts [the Highlands], while their Vessells 
obstruct the Navigation of Hudson's River and 

ard a battle. Wants of Supply would, I fear. 

1 This letter 

f Ti 

Ighman's was replied to on 

the 14th, by Wi 

i Duer. from the citations 

made in previo 

US ]l 

ages from the Duer-Tilgh- 

man correspond 


. the reader will doubtless 

have been impi 


d with tiie perspicacity of 

burr's views of 


military situation; and the 

following c(,inni 


made by him in his letter 

of the 14th, upi 

m oi 

ie of Tilghman's optimistic 

expressions, is i 

i fm 

■ther instance of his discre- 


hi U off of Colonel Tash's regiment of New Hampshire militia to Fish- 
kill " for the assistance of the committee of safety in holding the dis- 
affected in check." By recurring to the consecutive extracts from 
the Duer-Tilghman correspondence printed on pp. 359-362, it will 
he seen that Duer, on the 12th of October, communicated to Wash- 
ington's headquarters information (or supposed information) which 
the State convention, by "several examinations " of Tories had ob- 
tained, of a concerted plan for a -rand British movement upon both 
thinks of the American army "by means of Hudson's and the East 
River," in which enterprise "their partisans in this State" were to 
CO -operat( — "Thursday next" (the 17th of October) being fixed for 
the united undertaking. In almost every letter written by Duer to 
Tilghman during the eventful month from the 22d of September to 
the- 21st of October, mention is made with much particularity and 
in the bitterest terms of the very numerous Tory conspiracies then 
rife. 1 Moreover, Washington was constantly apprehending conspir- 
ators and suspects, and no one had a keener appreciation than he 
of the need of strict measures against the seditious Tories. The de- 
tachment of a whole regiment from his army for the local purposes 
of the committee of safety in such critical circumstances as prevailed 
on the 13th of October is a peculiarly interesting incident. Wash- 
ington seems also to have been considerably impressed by Duer's in- 
telligence of a general British plan for the 17th of October. The pre 
diction was evidently treasured up at headquarters, for Tilghman, 
writing to Duer on the 15th, remarks: "The information you fur- 
nish concerning the intended operations on Thursday next deserve 
our highest thanks; it may be false, if it is, there is no harm done, hut 
we shall be better prepared for them if true. It will effectually pre- 
vent surprise, the most fatal thing that can befall an Army." And 
on the 17th he takes occasion to remind his correspondent that "the 
17th October is come and nearly passed without the predicted 

i September 28, he writes that "A Discovery of Justice hang two or tin- >f the Villains 

was made sometime ago of a Battalion of you have apprehended. They will certainly 

Rangers, which was raising in Westchester come under the Denomination of Spies." Octo- 

County to be commanded by Major Rogers, ber 8, he says: "I am sorry to tell you (for 

who is for that Purpose commissioned by Lord the Credit of Uiis State) that the Committee 

Howe"; also of the discovery of a company 1 belong to make daily fresh Discoveries of the 

enlisting in Dutchess County, whose muster- infernal Practices of our Enemies to excite In- 

roll contained fifty-seven names, "Twenty-five surrectious amongst the Inhabitants of this 

already apprehended." Oc- State. To-morrow one Company actually en- 

that thirty-two of the latter listed in the Enemy's Service will be march'd 

been taken into custody, to Philadelphia, there to be confined In jail 

her conspirators, says: "I till the Establishment of our Courts enables us 

be so managed that two or to hang the Ringdeaders." And on October 10 

cipal Miscreants who have (see p. 3(d) he goes so far as to declare that 

hanged as Spies." October unless vigorous measures are instantly taken 

Tory conspirators captured a revolt will surely supervene in Westchester 

? exclaims: " In the Name and Dutchess Counties. 


ber 1 1 





rpe Matters 


iree of 



■en tak' 

■n n 



ng 1 


,' Wash 

i 1 1 g i 


Blow." Evidently Duer's prophecy for the 17th was one of the 
various conjoining things which influenced Washington to suspect 
that Howe's movement to Throgg's Neck was but a part of the 
enemy's plan, and accordingly to allow a full week to pass by with- 
out inaugurating any new plan of his own. 

On the morning of the loth Washington issued a stirring address 
to the army, probably as characteristic a specimen of his writings 
of this nature as his career affords: "As the enemy seem mew to 
be endeavoring to strike some stroke before the close of the cam- 
paign," said he, "the General most earnestly conjures both officers 
and men, if they have any love for their country and concern for 
its liberties and regard to the safety of their parents, wives, children, 
ami countrymen, that they will act with bravery and spirit becoming 
the cause in which they are engaged; ami to encourage and animate 
them so to do. there is every advantage of ground and situation, so 
that if we do not conquer it must be our own faults. How much bet- 
ter will it be to die honorably, lighting in the held, than to return 
home covered with shame ami disgrace, even if the cruelty of the 
enemy should allow you to return! A brave and gallant behavior 
for a tew days, and patience under some little hardships, may save 
our country and enable us to go into winter quarters with safety ami 

General Washington lost no time in strengthening Heath's com- 
mand, which made the force above Kingsbridge the major part of 
the American army; and troops were posted at all important points 
so as to check any possible advance of the enemy. On the 14th Major- 
General Charles Lee arrived from the South, and was assigned by 
Washington to the chief command in Westchester County — an assign- 
ment not to take effect, however, "until he could make himself ac- 
quainted with the post, its circumstances, and arrangements of duty," 
General Heath in the interim retaining tin 1 authority which In 1 had 
administered so conscientiously and ably. At that period Lee was 
still generally estimated at his own enormous valuation of himself; 
and it is amusing to note in the public and private correspondence 
of the time the satisfaction with which the coming of this littlest of 
little souls, most vile of marplots, and most heinous and despicable 
of willing though impotent traitors was hailed on account of his 
supposed majestic genius and scientific qualifications for the 

Pride, pomp, an