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New York - Dutchess County

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Books on County Genealogy and History

Dutchess Co. Concise History

Dutchess Co. GenWeb Project

Dutchess Co. Tourism

First Mention of the County (1609)

History of County Seat: Poughkeepsie

Hudson Valley Historic Sites Map of Dutchess Co. (1895)

Official NY State Website

Dutchess County was organized in 1683. It is on the east side of the Hudson river, 75 miles south of Albany, and 74 miles north of New York. The greatest length north and south, 38 miles, and the greatest breadth east and west 26 miles. This county is one of the most opulent in the state, though its area has been reduced by the erection of the small county of Putnam from its southern end. Along the eastern border towns are the ranges of hills called the Fishkill or Matteawan mountains. Along the western borders of these, the surface is tossed into ridges and valleys, knolls and dales, fancifully diversified, producing a great variety of position, of soil and aspect, and a multitude of brooks and springs. In the southern part are some of the highest peaks of the Highlands. That called the Old Beacon, two miles from Matteawan village, and three from Fishkill Landing, raises its crest 1,471 feet, and the New Beacon, or Grand Sachem, half a mile southward, towers 1, 685 above tide. Their names are derived from the Beacons placed on their summits during the revolution. From the top of the latter, the view on the south embraces the country upon the Hudson, for 25 miles to Tappan Bay; on the southeast. includes Long Island and the Sound; and upon the northeast and west comprehends in the diameter of a circle, 50 miles in extent, scenery of every diversity, blending the beauties of cultivation with the stern and unchangeable features of nature. The principal streams are the Hudson river on its western boundary, Ten Mile, Fishkill, and Wappinger's creeks. As a whole, the county is highly fertile, producing abundantly wheat, rye, corn, oats, and grass, and an immense amount of produce is annually exported to New York. The County is divided into 18 towns.

There had been a very early establishment of trading posts on the island of Manhattan, Fort Orange (Albany) and at Rondout Creek, Esopus (Kingston) which decided the location of the first settlements in the State. But when immigrants began coming in greater numbers, water powers such as those provided by the Fishkill, Wappingers, Fall Kill, Crumb's Elbow and other creeks in the area that is now Dutchess, together with the fine fertile valleys of these streams, led a number to start homes in this region. The Indian titles had, for the most part, been extinguished just before the erection of the county. Nicholas Emigh is credited with being the pioneer, the date of his settlement at the mouth of Fishkill Creek being in doubt, but he was certainly there in 1685. To his wife was born the first white child of the county. The settlements at Poughkeepsie were nearly contemporaneous with those at Fishkill, probably by Peter Lasinck, ancestor of a numerous family which spells its name in many forms, Lansing and Lawson being more usual. There were too few inhabitants of Dutchess at its erection for it to be represented separately in the General Assembly, so that it was provisionally attached to Ulster until 1713. This fact had made it difficult to trace the early settlers of Dutchess. There was no large development of this region until after 1720.

Along the Hudson, the first settlements were predominatingly Dutch, with a few Huguenots, fugitives from European persecution. The eastern part of the county was filled by people of New England, all that side of the State being claimed by the New England colonies. Quakers came in the southern part of Dutchess at an early date, while many of the Irish soldiers who had been stationed along various parts of the Harlem Valley homesteaded after the Revolution. It is said that in early times there were more creeds and denominations with churches in Dutchess than there were races, which is but another indication that Dutchess was one of the most cosmopolitan counties in the colonies.

Source: Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present. Clark Albien & Co. 1851.


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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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