698 WESTCHESTER COUNTY.
Settlement began under the Dutch authority, in the southern part, and before the Revolution
nearly every part of the co. had been occupied. A large part was embraced by the Cortlandt,
Philipsburgh, Pelham, Searsdale, and Fordliam Manors.1 Of these the first sent a representative
to the General Assembly, and the second was forfeited by the attainder of its proprietor in the
Revolution. The borough of Westchester, including the present towns of Westchester, West
Farms, and Morrisania, was also represented by a member, and had a mayor’s court. This co.
was the scene of many events of great importance in the Revolution, and, from its occupying the
middle ground between the opposing armies, was alternately overrun and pillaged by the refugees
of both.2 The southern part was taxed £2,000, May 6, 1784, to repay Revolutionary expenses.
BEDFORD3—was first formed under Connecticut, in May, 1697. Its rights were confirmed
by New York in April, 1704; and it was fully organized as a town March 7,1788. It is an interior
town, lying n.e. of the center of the co. Its surface is elevated and broken by small hills and
valleys, and is almost entirely available for agricultural purposes. Croton River forms part of the
N. boundary; Maharness River flows through a small portion of the s. part; and Cross River flows
through the N. E. corner. Byram Lake lies on the s. border. The soil is generally a good quality
of sandy and gravelly loam, but stony on the hills. Bedford, (p. v.,) s. E. of the center, is sur¬
rounded by hills, one of which on the n. retains its Indian name of “ Aspetong.” The village is
a half-shire, and contains a courthouse,4 2 churches, the Bedford Academy, a Female Institute,
and 30 houses. Bedford Station, (p. o.,) on the Harlem R. R., contains 10 houses. Ea>
tonali, (p.v.,) on Cross River, near its junction with the Croton, contains 30 houses. Mount
KIsKo, (p.v.,) a station on the Harlem R. R., on the w. border of the town, contains 200 inhabit¬
ants. Whitlock, ville is a station on the Harlem R. R. near the n. border. The town was
mostly included in a purchase made July 1, 1640, by Nathan Turner, for New Haven, and sold
the same year by the latter to Andrew Ward, Robert Coe, and 20 others, for £33. Other Indian
purchases were made, the last of which was July 24, 1703.4 There are 8 churches in town.5
© OR Tli ANDT7—was formed March 7, 1788. It lies upon the Hudson, in the n.w. corner
Of the co. Its surface is broken and hilly. The ranges of hills generally extend n. and s. and
are separated by narrow valleys. The declivities are often steep and nearly precipitous. An¬
thonys Nose,6 on the n. line, 1,228 ft. above the river, is the highest land in the co. Although
very broken, the surface generally is susceptible of cultivation. The principal streams are Croton
River, flowing across the s. part, Furnace Brook, Peekskill Hollow Creek, and Gregorys Brook.
The soil is generally a sandy and gravelly loam, with a strip of clay along the river. Among the
mountains are found a variety of interesting minerals.9 Brick is extensively manufactured.10
ot ibbd and '84, by wmcn Bedford and Bye were included m
NewYork; and in April, 1704, a patent with town privileges
was granted by that colony*. In 1690 there were 31 proprietors
residing in town.
4 County courts are held alternately here and at White Plains.
The village was burned in the Revolution by a party of British
light horse, on their route to Fairfield, Conn. By an act passed
April 11, 1785, courts were ordered to be held in the Presb.
cburch until the courthouse should be rebuilt, or till the fur¬
ther order of the Legislature.
6 The title to 5,115 acres of land in this town became invested
in Jacobus Yan Cortlandt at an early period. This estate whs
divided in 1743, Frederick Yan Cortlandt receiving 1,424, Abram
De Peyster 1,110, John Chambers 1,282, and Peter Jay 1,299
acres. Gov. John Jay, a son of Peter Jay, became invested
with a large portion of the last mentioned allotment. The
estate is still owned hy his descendants. On a tract known as
“ the Hop Grounds” are still living many families of the same
name as the first purchasers. Among these are families named
Green, Miller, Holme, Roberts, Ambler, Clark, Ayers, Westcott,
Simpkin, Mead, Webb, Clason, and Higgins. Tradition locates
in this town the scene of a bloody engagement fought in Feb.
1644, between the Dutch and Indians, in which 500 of the latter
6 3 M. E., 2 Prot. E., 2 Presb., and Bap.
1 Named from the original patentee.
3 Named from Antoine De Hooge, Sec. of Bensselaerwyck.—
Benson’s Memoirs, p. 40.
9 Among these minerals are epidote, sphene, and sulphate of
barytes. In opening the r. r. tunnel through Anthonys Nose,
beautiful flat hexagonal crystals of calcite were found.
10 There were in Aug. 1858,34 establishments worked as sepa¬
rate yards, 11 of which used steam power and 9 made pressed
brick. This business began here about 1812-15, and was most
thriving from 1847 to 1854. Large quantities of these brick
were used on the Croton Aqueduct. Ihe business gives employ-
These patents were granted as follows:—
Cortlandt Patent was granted June 17, 1697, to Stephanus Van
Cortlandt, with an annual quitrent of 40 shillings. It in¬
cluded the present towns of Cortlandt, Yorktown, Somers,
and North Salem.
Philipsburgh Patent was granted June 12,1703, to Frederick
Fhilipse, at an annual quitrent of £4 12s. It included
the present towns of Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant, and
Pelham Patent was granted Oct. 25, 1687, to John Pell, and in¬
cluded the present town of Pelham and a part of New
Pordham Patent was granted in 1671 to John Archer, and in¬
cluded 1,253 acres in the present town of West Farms.
Searsdale Patent was granted March 21, 1701, to Caleb Heath-
cote, subject to an annual quitrent of £5. It included the
present towns of Searsdale, New Castle, North Castle, and
a part of White Plains.
Two classes of brigands, equally destitute of principle, but
professing attachment to opposite interests, infested the co.,
committing atrocious crimes without punishment, and often
preying upon their nominal friends with as little mercy as
upon their avowed enemies. Of these, the “Cowboys” pro¬
fessed tory sentiments, while the “ Skinners” were ostensibly
attached to the American cause. The two parties often ope¬
rated in concert, the Cowboys bringing contraband goods from
NewYork to exchange for the property plundered by the Skin¬
ners; and, when a pretext was necessary, a skirmish would
occur, and the goods from the enemy would he openly borne
away, as if lawfully captured.—Bolton's Westchester, I, p. 211.
Named from Bedfordshire, England, whence many of the
as Bippowams. Privilege of plantation was granted under the
present name hy a court of election held at Hartford, Conn.,
town. In 1700 the royal approval was obtained to the survey