Southern, Middle and Albany Counties

The Southern Hudson Counties

Leaving New York by the Bowery Lane or the Boston Road, the traveler passed through the Dutch village of Harlem and then crossed the Spuyten Duyvil creek to Morrisania, the manor of the Morris family, since 1873 a part of New York city, but then in Westchester county. Westchester was widely settled in those days, mostly by descendants of the advance guard of Connecticut Yankees.

Across the Hudson lay Orange county, then including Rockland and reaching back to the State line. Even in those days it was noted for producing "the best butter made in the colony." In the southern part of the county the Dutch abounded and Tappan was the principle village. In this vicinity there was great uncertainty where the New Jersey line would finally run.

The Middle Counties of the Hudson

Northward Ulster county was an immense tract joining Albany county on the north and running back to the Delaware River and the Indian country. Along the Hudson were typical New York settlements of Dutch, Irish, French, English and Scotch. The principal village was Kingston with its 150 stone houses. The county furnished the colony with flour , millstones and beer. On the other side of the Hudson, Dutchess county began at Westchester, included the present Putnam county and reached to the modern Columbia line, then the southern limit of the Livingston manor. Poghkeepsie and Fishkill* were its two villages, though they were said to "scarce deserve the name."

* Kill means in the Dutch, channel or river; hence Kill van Kull or the Kills between Staten Island and Bergen Neck; also Schuylkill and Catskill.

Albany County

The rest of the State of New York, settled up to 1770, was known as Albany county. The city of Albany showed by the shape of the 350 brick houses that the people clung tenaciously to the old Dutch customs. To the west, Schenectady was another thoroughly Dutch town, with a wonder in the shape of a town clock. The fertile land here on the river sold for $200 an acre and without manure produced full crops of wheat and peas. Further west settlements continued to the centre of what is now Herkimer county. But the traders pressed on up the Mohawk, at the modern Rome carrying their goods over an easy portage to the lake and stream which conveyed their wares to Oswego; for at this time there was no road connecting Schenectady with Port Oswego. Northward from Albany the withdrawal of the French was followed by another stream of settlers; Hoosac, Schaghticoke and Saratoga were the villages in 1760.