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Books on Bronx History and Genealogy

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See also
New York City

17th Century

1609 – Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company, sails up the Hudson River in his ship, the Half Moon, and becomes the first European to see The Bronx.

1639 – Jonas Bronck, a Swedish sea captain living in the Netherlands, becomes the first settler in The Bronx, along with his wife and a handful of German, Dutch, and Danish indentured servants.

1642 – John Throckmorton comes from Rhode Island with a group of settlers to live on Throg's Neck. At the same time, Anne Hutchinson arrives from the same place to live along the banks of the river later named for her. An Indian uprising causes Throckmorton and his settlers to flee and Hutchinson is killed.

1654 – Prodded by Thomas Pell of Fairfield, Connecticut, 15 men settle at the head of navigation of Westchester Creek and found the first village in the area, called Westchester. This is the first permanent European settlement in The Bronx.

1663 – The town of Eastchester in the northeast Bronx is established by ten families abetted by Thomas Pell.

1666 – Thomas Pell receives a patent from the colonial governor making his land in the northeast Bronx a manor, later called Pelham.

1671 – John Archer receives a patent from the colonial governor for the manor of Fordham, which included almost all of today’s western Bronx.

1683 – Counties are created in colonial New York, and today’s Bronx becomes part of Westchester County, with the first county seat in the village of Westchester.

1693 – Frederick Philipse receives a patent from the colonial governor for the manor of Philipsburgh, extending from the entire northwest Bronx to the Croton River in modern Westchester County. He builds the King’s Bridge over Spuyten Duyvil Creek.

1696 – The colonial governor grants tiny, rural Westchester a charter making it a borough. This meant that it could have a mayor, council and alderman.

1697 – Young Lewis Morris receives a patent from the colonial governor making his land  the manor of Morrisania.

18th Century

1748 – The Van Cortlandt House is built by Frederick van Cortlandt. This is now the oldest house in The Bronx.

1758 -- The Valentine-Varian House is built by blacksmith Isaac Valentine.  It is presently the second oldest house in The Bronx.

1761 -- Benjamin Palmer purchases Minneford Island, and later forms a syndicate to make it into a major commercial city on Long Island Sound, renamed City Island. The effort eventually fails, but the name sticks.

1776 -- The British land at Throg's Neck on October 12, then withdraw to land on Pell's Point in today's Pelham Bay Park.  There, the 4,000 British and Hessians are met by 350 Americans under Colonel John Glover and are fought to a standstill, enabling George Washington, with the main American army, to withdraw safely to White Plains. The Bronx passes under British control until the end of the American Revolution.

1783 -- Washington starts out from the Van Cortlandt House with a contingent of troops to cross the King's Bridge to take possession of New York City from the British in the last act of the American Revolution.

1783 -- Lewis Morris sends a letter to the Continental Congress proposing Morrisania as the permanent capital of the United States.  Congress tabled the letter and never considered it.

1797 -- The Harlem Bridge (the first Third Avenue Bridge) is built over the Harlem River with a new Boston Post Road to lead to it.  The latter is now Third Avenue to 163rd Street and Boston Road north of that.

19th Century

1813 -- Mattias Lopez starts the first newspaper to be published in The Bronx, The Westchester Patriot, in West Farms.

1841 -- Archbishop John Hughes establishes St. John's College, today's Fordham University, the first institution of higher learning in The Bronx.

1841 -- The New York and Harlem River Railroad, today the Harlem Division of Metro-North, is built, becoming the first railroad in The Bronx.  It results in an increase in the population of the western part of The Bronx.

1846 -- Edgar Allan Poe moves to the village of Fordham, created by the presence of a railroad stop there, in a vain attempt to cure his wife, Virginia, of tuberculosis.  He writes "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells" there.  It is his last home; he dies in 1849.

1848 -- The Croton Aqueduct, designed by early American engineer John B. Jervis is completed. This includes the monumental High Bridge, in the shape of a Roman Aqueduct, over the Harlem River, which was also used as a footpath to Manhattan.

1861 -- Gas lighting is introduced into The Bronx.

1863 -- The iron dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. is manufactured in the Janes and Beebe (later Janes and Kirtland) Iron Works at 149th Street and Brook Avenue, then shipped to Washington by boat for assembly on site.

1867 -- Leonard W. Jerome opens the Jerome Park Racetrack. There he begins the Belmont Stakes, which is run there until the park closes in 1890.  To attract wealthy New Yorkers to the track, he builds what is today Jerome Avenue.

1874 -- The towns of Morrisania, West Farms, and Kingsbridge are annexed to New York City, becoming the 23rd and 24th wards. These wards are placed under the control of the Department of Public Parks.

1886 -- The Third Avenue El (Elevated Train) is extended into The Bronx.

1887 -- Electricity is introduced into The Bronx.

1888 -- A commission purchases Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx Park, Pelham Bay Park, Crotona Park, Claremont Park, St. Mary's Park, Mosholu Parkway, Pelham Parkway, and Crotona Parkway.  This is the foundation of the park system of The Bronx, which today covers 24% of the borough's land surface.  Half of Bronx Park and all of Pelham Parkway and Pelham Bay Park are located outside of the city's boundaries of the time.

1889 -- The Washington Bridge between the mainland and Manhattan over the Harlem River opens.

1895 -- The town of Westchester, the incorporated village of Wakefield, and the southern parts of the towns of Eastchester and Pelham, all lying east of the Bronx River, are annexed to New York City and made part of the 24th Ward.

1897-- The first public High School, later named Morris High School, is established.

1898 -- The city of Greater New York is created as a federation of five boroughs with the 23rd and 24th Wards becoming the borough of The Bronx.  Louis F. Haffen is elected the first Borough President.

20th Century

1904 -- The IRT subway is extended to The Bronx under 149th Street.

1906 -- The Jerome Park Reservoir is opened.

1912 -- The Bronx flag is designed.  It consists of orange, white and blue horizontal stripes to represent the Netherlands, upon which is superimposed the Bronck family coat-of-arms enclosed in a laurel wreath.

1914 -- The Bronx becomes the last (62nd) county of the state of New York.

1914 -- The Kingsbridge Armory, reputedly the largest in the world, is completed.

1923 -- Yankee Stadium opens with Babe Ruth hitting a home run, giving it the nickname of "The House That Ruth Built."

1936 -- The Henry Hudson Bridge and Henry Hudson Parkway open to traffic.

1936 -- The Triborough Bridge opens to traffic.

1939 -- The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opens.

1955 -- The Major Deegan Expressway opens.

1955 -- The Bronx County Historical Society is founded.

1961 -- The Throgg's Neck Bridge opens.

1965 -- The Cross-Bronx Expressway is completed.

1968 -- The Museum of Bronx History opens.

1971 -- The Bronx Museum of the Arts opens.

1977 -- President Jimmy Carter visits The Bronx, followed by television and newspaper cameramen recording widespread devastation and destruction of the urban surroundings.  This projects a powerful negative image of The Bronx across the nation and around the world.

1996-- The Bronx County Archives moves to new building dedicated to Bronx History.

1997 -- The Bronx is designated an "All American City" by the National Civic Council.

21st Century

2000--The Bronx enters the 21st Century.

2001- Gen. Colin Powell, Bronxite, appointed U.S. Secretary or State. The Bronx County Archives and Storage Facility Dedicated

Source: Bronx County Historical Society

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Click on the links below for book titles and history specific to that county.

From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City 1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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