New York Books - Hamilton County
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New York - Hamilton County

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Long Lake
John Todd
Raquette Lake: A Time to Remember
Ruth Timm
Adirondacks, Views of An American Wilderness

Carl E. Heilman II
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Books on County Genealogy and History

Adirondack Museum

Hamilton Co. GenWeb Project

Map of Hamilton Co. (1895)

Official Hamilton Co. Website

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When New York State established a great reservation larger than Connecticut, known as Adirondack Park, Hamilton became the center and only county wholly enclosed by its boundaries. The purchase by the State of land within the county did not encourage any increase in the permanent population, for with more than half owned by New York, and eighty per cent of the remaining territory in private parks or controlled by lumber companies there was but a small fraction left open to private ownership. Hamilton, with an area of 1,700 square miles, had only a population of 3,970 in 1920; this, however, is greatly added to by the thousands who summer in this wonder camp ground of a nation.

Hamilton seems always to have been, until recent years, a terra incognita, a place where few ever had lived. Even the Indians, the "famed Iroquois," had no permanent settlements here. As late as 1771 a map of Governor Tryon shows the region as belonging to the Mohawks, but so little had it been explored, not one lake showed in this territory so filled with them. It then was a part of Albany County. But the next year saw the division of a part of this great area into Charlotte and Tryon counties. After the Revolution, the name Tryon was so hated that in 1784 this section was called Montgomery in honor of the hero who died before the walls of Quebec. From this county, Hamilton was set off provisionally, April I2, 1816, and given a permanent organization in 1836

The most important historical incident of the colonial period was the "Tolton and Crossfield Purchase" since this covered the greater part of the county. This was really the Jessup purchase, as the two whose names are connected with it, and are placed on most of the deeds since issued, were dummies for Edward and Ebenezer Jessup. Before the ending of the Revolution came an interest in the "unknown north." The Jessup brothers had great influence with Sir William Johnson, Governor Dunmore and General Tryon. They wanted to buy all the land they could get above Albany. Having already made application for 40,000 acres, it was thought best to buy indirectly in the matter of purchasing some 1,150,000 more acres of the mountain section.

On June 7, 1771, to their agents, Tolton and Crossfield, was sold this great tract, and in the next year the Indians met in solemn conclave and also conveyed the land. For this the tribes received about three pence an acre, or a total of œ I,I35. Theoretically, the land was sold, but before being sealed and the bargain concluded, some $40,000 had to be turned over to King George III. Most of the modern conveyances of land are traced back to this original grant.

After two hundred years of surmise Hamilton began to be known and appreciated. Possibly Champlain passed through this section in 1615, shortly after Hudson anchored the "Half Moon" in the river that bears his name, and before there was a colony at Plymouth Rock. But it was not, however, until after the Civil War that any large number came to settle in this land of mountains and lakes. Timber was cut and the famed Raquette River, the second longest in the State, used to convey it to market. Great areas of land sold for small sums. Dr. Brandreth, whose English pill made him a fortune, bought 26,ooo acres for $3,000, the timber from which, in 1900, was doing its best to make another fortune for his son, Dr. William Brandreth. The Whitney Preserve is of even vastly greater acreage.

It is as a summer resort and camping ground that Hamilton is now known best. Its mountains are not of the highest of the Adirondack peaks, but its lakes are not surpassed. In 1899 the first railroad was run through the extreme northwest corner of the county, and there is a branch of this same system reaching to Raquette Lake. Since 1900 good highways have been built to the more popular places. But it is the seclusion of most of the region which adds to its attractiveness. It is still "The Woods"; it remains "The Wilderness" of the early days.

Source: James Sullivan. History of New York State 1523-1927. 1927

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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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