Rockland County, NY
From: Gazetteer of the State of New York
By: J. H. French, LL.D.


(Note: The Gazetter also had several large footnotes and tables that could not be easily read on my copies and not included on this page)

THIS county was formed from Orange, Feb. 23, 1798. It is triangular in form, Hudson River, New Jersey line, and the s. bounds of Orange co. being respectively its E., S. W., and N. W. boundaries. It is centrally distant 105 mi. from Albany, and contains 208 sq. mi. The Ramapo Mts., extending along the N.W. border, are the connecting link between the Blue Ridge of Eastern Penn. and N. J. and the Matteawan Mts. of Putnam co., e. of the Hudson. They are separated into numerous distinct spurs, ridges, and peaks, and occupy more than one-third of the entire surface of the co. They are generally steep, rocky, and barren, and the valleys between them are narrow, rocky ravines. The Palisade Range from N. J. enters the extreme s. angle of the co., and terminates abruptly s. of Piermont. A broken ridge, known as the Nyack Hills, forming a n. spur of this range, but without its continuous and wall like character, extends N. along the river to the N. part of Clarkstown, where it unites with Verdrieteges Hook, an E. spur of the Ramapo Range. The surface of the central and s. w. portions of the co., lying between these ranges, is rolling or moderately hilly. The highest summits in the N. w. part are 700 to 1,000 feet above tide. The principal streams are Hackensack River, flowing s. through Clarkstown and Orangetown, Ramapo River, in the w. angle of Ramapo, and Minisceongo Creek, Minas Fall Creek, and Spar Ku, tributaries of the Hudson. The rocks of the Ramapo Mts. are principally primitive. Granite, gneiss, and metamorphic limestone abound. The hills along the river and Verdrieteges Hook are composed of red sandstone, known to geologists as the New Red Sandstone; and the central and w. portions of the co. are principally underlaid by limestone. These rocks yield an abundance of most excellent building material,1 and from the white limestone in the N. E. corner of the co. large quantities of lime are manufactured.2 Trap rock extends from N. J. into the s. border of the Co. The people are largely engaged in fruit growing and gardening. Milk is sent from some parts of the co. in considerable quantities to the New York market. The manufacture of lime and brick and the exportation of ice are important branches of the industry of the co. Large quantities of red sandstone for building are annually quarried and exported. The manufactures of the co. are also important and various, consisting principally of shoes, wooden ware, and woolen yarn.

The co. seat is located at the village of New City, in Clarkstown. A combined courthouse and jail, built of brick, is situated upon a beautiful eminence overlooking the village.3 The clerk's office is a fireproof brick building adjacent to the courthouse. The poorhouse is located upon a farm of 43 acres at Mechanicsville, in Ramapo, 7 mi. w. of the courthouse. The average number of inmates is 100, supported at a weekly expense of 75 cts. each. The farm yields a revenue of $700. A school is taught during the entire year, and the house is well kept. The N. Y. & Erie R. R. extends through the w. part of Ramapo, and the Piermont Branch of the same road extends from Piermont, on the Hudson, to Sufferns, where it unites with the main track.

Two weekly newspapers are now published in the co.

This co. was included in patents known as the Kakiate Patent, granted to Daniel Honan and Michael Hawdon, June 25, 1696; the Wawayanda Patent, granted to John Bridges, April 29 1703; and the Cheesecocks Patent, granted to Ann Bridges and others, March 2.5, 1707. The first patent recorded in the Co. clerk's office is one granted to Samuel Bayard, bearing date Sept. 16, 1703. The old courthouse, built about 1739 for that part of Orange co. s. of the mountains, was at Tappantown, opposite the old Ref. Prot. D. church, and was burned before the Revolution. The first settlers were Dutch, who located in the s. E. part of the co. from 1690 to 1710.

CLARKSTOWN - was formed from Haverstraw, March 18, 1791. It lies upon the Hudson, and is the central town upon the E. border of the co. Verdrieteges Hook, a rocky ridge 500 to 800 feet above tide, extends along the N. line, and the Nyack Range occupies a considerable portion to the s. E. corner. The remaining parts of the town, comprising four-fifths of its surface, are rolling or moderately hiliy. Hackensack River flows s. through near the center, and a narrow swamp extends along the greater part of its course. Rockland Lake, about 1 mi. from the Hudson, is a fine sheet of pure water, 3 mi. in circumference and 160 feet above the river. The soil is a reddish, sandy loam underlaid by clay. Considerable attention is given to fruit growing. Rockland Lake,3 (p. v.,) in the E. part of the town, and extending from the lake to the river, contains a church, a foundery and machine shop, and a ship yard. Pop. 430. An extensive business is carried on at this place in preserving and exporting ice. New City, (Clarkstown p. o.,) the co. seat, a little N. w. of the center, contains the co. buildings, a church, and 28 dwellings. Nanuet, (p. v.,) formerly "Clarkstown Station," a station upon the Piermont Branch of the Erie R. R., in the s. w. part, contains 1 church and 20 dwellings. Clarksville, (Nyaok Turnpike p.o.,) in the s. part, contains a church and 18 dwellings. Dutch Factory, a hamlet in the w. part, contains a cotton factory and 2 woolen yarn factories. The first settlements were made by the Dutch, at an early period. The first church (Ref. Prot. P.) was formed near Clarksville.

HAVERSTRAW - was formed March 7, 1788. Clarkstown and Ramapo were taken off in 1791. It lies upon the Hudson, in the N. angle of the co. Nearly the entire surface is hilly and mountainous. The Ramapo or Blue Mts., extending through the x. w. part, are divided into numerous precipitous and rocky peaks, and spurs from the principal range extend to the banks of the Hudson. Verdrieteges Hook, a long, rocky ridge, forms a considerable portion of the N. border. The S. E. portion is moderately hilly. The valleys separating these mountains are mostly narrow, rocky ravines. Stony Point is a small rocky peninsula on the river, near the center of the E. border of the town.9 The principal streams are Minisceongo and Cedar Pond Creeks, flowing into the Hudson, and Stony Brook, a tributary of Ramapo River, a branch of the Passaic. The soil is a sandy loam underlaid by clay. Extensive beds of a fine quality of clay border upon the river above Warren, and from them are annually manufactured 150,000,000 of bricks, giving employment to over 1,000 men. Limestone crops out near Tompkins Cove, from which large quantities of lime are manufactured. A gas spring is found 2½ mi. S. of Stony Point. Warren, (Haverstraw p. o.,) situated upon the Hudson, in the S. E. angle of the town, was incorp. in 1854.

It contains 5 churches, a newspaper office, academy,1 paper mill, ship yard, foundery, and a silk manufactory. Pop. about 1,700. TompkIns Cove, upon the Hudson, is a village grown up around the extensive limeworks of C. Tompkins & Co. It contains a church, a private school supported by the company, and 60 dwellings. Garnerville, 2 mi. N. W. of Warren, contains 1 church, the Rockland Print Works, and 40 dwellings. North Haverstraw, (p.v.,) upon the Hudson, 3 mi. N. of Warren, contains 2 churches and 28 dwellings. Thiells Corner, 4 mi. w. of Warren, contains a needle factory, 2 gristmills, a church, and 15 dwellings. Montville, Caldwells Landing, and Grassy Point are hamlets. Fort Clinton, the ruin of which are still visible, was situated upon the river, in the N. E. angle of the town. The house in which Arnold and André met to consummate the bargain for the delivery of West Point to the British is still standing, about halfway between Warren and North Haverstraw. There are 11 churches in town.

ORANGETOWN - was formed March 7, 1788, and was named from Orange co., of which it then formed a part. It lies upon the Hudson, in the s. angle of the co. Its surface is broken by abrupt and rocky hills in the E.; but in the center and w. it spreads out into a rolling or moderately hilly region. The Nyack Hills, extending along the river, are 300 to 500 feet high, with steep, rocky declivities upon the E., but more gradual slopes upon the w. Their summits are rocky and covered with a light growth of forest trees. Snake Hill, in the N. E. corner, upon the line of Clarkstown, is one of the principal peaks. The principal stream is ilackensack River, flowing s. through the w. part. Pascack Creek flows through the extreme w. angle, and Spar Kil is a tributary of the Hudson. Near the N. line are several bog or peat meadows, generally well drained and. under cultivation. The red sandstone which crops out on the E. declivities of the hills, within a few rods of the river, between Piermont and Nyack, is extensively quarried and exported for building stone. The soil is a reddish, sandy loam intermixed with clay. Fruit growing and furnishing milk for the New York market have become leading pursuits. Nyack, (p. v.,) upon the Hudson, in the N. E. corner of the town, contains 5 churches, 5 shoe manufactories, a steam tub and pail factory, the Rockland Female Institute, and a private academy. Pop. 1,458. Piermont, (p.v.,) upon the Hudson, in the s. part, was incorp. May 21, 1850. It is the E. terminus of the Piermont Branch of the N.Y. & Erie R. R.,-the one over 'which the freight is carried. Nearly the whole business of the place is connected with the a. a. establishment. A pier 1 mi. long has been built into the river, where the freight is transferred to and from the cars and barges in the river. Upon each end of the pier are extensive offices for the transaction of the business of the road. At this place the a. a. co. also have a large iron foundery and extensive repair shops. Pop. 2,204. Tappantown, (p. v.,) near the N. J. line, contains 2 churches and 30 dweffings. This place was the scene of the trial of André, and for a time in 1780 was the headquarters of Gen. Washington. Rockland, (Palisades p.o.,) upon the iludson, in the S. part of the town, contains 3 churches and 40 dwellings. Orange Mills, Middletown, and Blauveltville, (p. o.,) a station on the N. Y. & E. R. R., are hamlets. The first settlement is supposed to have been made by the Dutch, as early as 1680. The first church (Ref. Prot. D.) was formed Oct. 24, 1694; and the first preacher was Rev. Guilliam Bartholf. The first church edifice was erected in 1716. There are 16 churches in town.

RAMAPO - was formed from Haverstraw, March 18, 1791, as "New Hampstead." Its name was changed to "Hampstead" March 3, 1797, and to Ramapo in 1828. It is the most westerly town in the co. The Ramapo or Blue Mts. extend N.E. and s. w. through the w. part. They are steep and rocky, and the valleys between them are deep and narrow. Ranges of rounded and arabic hills extend through the S. E. half of the town and occupy the greater part of its surface. The principal streams are Ramapo River, flowing S. through the W. corner, and its tributaries Maway River and Stony Brook. Niggar and Shepard Ponds, on the line of N. J., in the S. w. angle, are small bodies of water. The people are principally employed in raising vegetables for the New York market. Ramapo, (Ramapo Works p. o.,) a station on the N. Y. & E. R. R., in the w. part of the town, contains 1 church, several manufactories, and 50 dwellings.6 Sufferns, (p. v.,) near the line of N. J., in the w. part, contains a rolling mill and 20 dwellings. It lies at the junction of the two branches of the Erie R. R., and is an important station. Sloatsburgh, (p.v.,) on the Erie R. R., in the extreme w. part, contains a church, cotton twine factory, hoe factory, and 180 inhabitants. Spring Valley, (p. v.,) on the Piermont Branch of the Erie R. R., contains a church and 18 dwellings. Mechanicsville, near the center of the town, contains a church and 15 dwellings. Monsey Depot (Monsey p. o.) is a hamlet. The first church (Ref. Prot. P.) was formed near the center of the town, Dec. 4, 1774; Rev. Peter Leyt was the first preacher.


Town histories for Rockland Countyfrom other books.

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