New York Books - Delaware County
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New York - Delaware County

Click on these titles to check out books on this county.
A Free Soil--A Free People: The Anti-Rent War in Delaware County, New York
Dorothy Kubik
Lost Villages: Historic Driving Tours in the Catskills
Mary Robinson Sive
The Life and Adventures of a 1924 German Immigrant
William Kathmann
Two Stones for Every Dirt: The Story of Delaware County, New York
Douglas De Natale
Etched in Stone in Sidney, Delaware County, New York
Shirley Boyce Goerlich
Masonville, Delaware County, New York: Early Records From the Past
Shirley Boyce Goerlich
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Map of Delaware Co.

Map of Delaware Co. (1895)

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This county was formed from Ulster and Otsego, March 10, 1797. It lies upon the headwaters of Delaware River, from which it derives its name. It contains an area of 1,580 square miles and is centrally distant 70 miles from Albany. Its surface is a hilly and mountainous upland, divided into three general ridges by the valleys of the two principal branches of Delaware River. This upland region is a connecting link between the Blue Ridge upon the south and the Catskill and Helderbergh Mts. on the north In the southern part of the county these ridges form a mountainous region, with lofty, rocky peaks and precipitous declivities broken by wild and narrow ravines. In the north the highlands are less wild and precipitous, and the whole region assumes the character of a rugged, hilly upland. the main or western branch of the Delaware River takes its rise in Utsyanthia Lake, a small sheet of water upon the northeast line of the county. It flows 60 miles in a southwest direction to the western border of the county, thence turns abruptly to the south and forms the southeastern boundary of Tompkins and Hancock. In its course in the county it descends about 1000 feet. Pepachton River, the east branch of the Delaware, rises in Roxbury and flows 60 miles southwest, uniting with the Delaware at Hancock. The Susquehanna forms a portion of the northern boundary of the county Charlotte River and Ouleout Creek are tributaries of the Susquehanna. The other streams are creeks and brooks, principally tributaries to the 2 branches of the Delaware. The valleys of these streams are usually narrow, and bordered by steep hills which often rise into mountains. The rocks of the county mostly belong to the old red sandstones of the Catskill division.

The mineral wealth of the county is limited to stone useful for building and flagging, of which large quantities of a fine quality are found. Vague traditions of silver and lead mines have here, as in other counties, haunted the brains of dreaming adventurers. A brine spring is reported four miles northwest of Delhi Village and 1384 feet above tide, another 3 1/2 miles from Colchester, and several chalybeate springs in various parts of the county; but none of them are important. The soil is generally of a dark reddish color, composed of the disintegrated sandstone and shale. In the valleys are occasionally narrow strips of fertile alluvium. Dairying is at present the leading occupation of the people. The numerous fresh springs of water issuing from its hillsides, the fresh herbage, and bracing mountain air, seem peculiarly adapted to this business. Lumber was formerly rafted in large quantities to Philadelphia; but, although still extensively exported by R.R., the quantity is dimishing. Since the completion of the R.R., tanneries have sprung up in favored localities, and will continue until the supply of bark is exhausted. The other manufactures are chiefly limited to the local wants of the inhabitants. The immense amount of water power in the county will greatly facilitate the establishment of manufactories whenever the exigencies of the county may demand them.

The county seat is located at Delhi. The present courthouse was erected in 1820. The county clerk's office and jail are in separate buildings, adjacent to the courthouse. The poorhouse is an old, two story wood building, situated upon a farm of 175 acres about two miles south of Delhi Village. The average number of inmates is 65, supported at a cost of $1.00 per week each. The farm yields an income of $250. The N.Y. & Erie R.R. extends along the Delaware, and the Albany & Susquehanna R.R. through the northwestern corner. Soon after the completion of the N.Y. & E.R.R., in 1849, plank roads were built, extending from several of the stations into the interior of the county. The county has seven weekly newspapers.

The Hardenburgh Patent, embracing ten miles square, lying south of the east branch of the Delaware, was granted April 10, 1708, to Johannes Hardenburgh, of Kingston, Ulster County, and associates, who had previously purchased the lands of the Indians. A tract of 250,000 acres, between the western branch of the Delaware and a line a mile east from the Susquehanna, was bought from the Indians at "Johnson Hall," Montgomery County, June 14, 1768, by John Harper, Sen, and Gen. Wm., Joseph, and Alex. Harper and others. On the southeastern side it extended from Utsyanthia Lake down the Delaware to the mouth of a small stream called Camskutty. Within this tract 5 towns, with full privileges of townships, were created by patent in 1770; but in none of them was an organization ever effected under this authority.

Under their grant of ten miles square the proprietors of the Hardenburgh Patent claimed all the land between the branches of the Delaware, and leased it to actual settlers. In 1844, the settlers, who had previously paid annual rents, refused longer to submit to what they believed to be a wrong and fraud, and they called for legislative and judicial aid. In the mean time, the lessors prosecuted for rent. In 1845, associations were formed to prevent the collection of rent; and when the sheriff attempted to make a levy, or to sell property for rent, men disguised as Indians appeared to prevent the sale, determined thus to stay proceedings until the question of title should be legally settled. An act was passed, Jan. 25, 1845, forbidding persons from appearing disguised and armed, under a penalty of imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 6 months. Persons thus armed and disguised might be prosecuted under the fictitious names they assumed, if their real names could not be discovered; and such persons assembling in public houses or other places to the number of three or more might, upon conviction, be imprisoned one year in the county jail. if convicted upon an indictment for a conspiracy or riot or other misdemeanor, in which offense they were armed with deadly weapons, they were further liable to a fine not exceeding $250, with or without a year's imprisonment. In a few cases these laws were disregarded; several arrests were made, and the county was declared in a state of rebellion. Aug 7, 1845, Sheriff Moore, accompanied by P.P. Wright, went to the town of Andes to sell the property of Moses Earl upon execution for rent. There he found 176 men armed and disguised, who told him to do his duty, and they would protect him: "but," said they, "let bidders beware." The sheriff and Indians drove the cattle near the road, the Indians forming a semicircle about the property. At this crisis Dept. Sheriffs Osman N. Steele and R. Edgarton (whom Sheriff Moore had requested not to come to the sale) appeared on horseback, jumped their horses over the fence, were joined by Wright, and rode into the midst of the Indians, flourishing their revolvers and firing several shots. The Indians gave ground; but the chief ordered them to shoot the horses. Several shots were made, killing the horses of Steele and Edgarton, and mortally wounding Steele, who survived but a few hours. The Governor immediately issued a proclamation declaring the county to be in a state of insurrection, and placing it under martial law. A battalion of 300 militia, one-half of whom were mounted, were called out and placed at the disposal of the local officers. They continued in service several months. The mounted men were actively employed the first 2 or 3 months in small detachments, aiding the civil authorities in making arrests, and in patrolling day and night such districts as the exigency of the service required. The residue was employed in guarding the jail, and as foot patrols in the vicinity of Delhi on the occasion. On two occasions detachments of troops attended the sheriff to State prison with prisoners.

Source: J. H. French. Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State (1860)

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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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