History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Prepared for The Association of Towns Conference at Grossinger's, about 1979.
Printed by the Montgomery County Printing Dept.
by Anita Smith who was at that time The Montgomery County Historian
Montgomery County was formed from Albany County March 12, 1772 under the name of "Tryon County", in honor of Governor William Tryon, and then following the signing of the Peace Treaty the name was changed to Montgomery County, April , 1784 in honor of Major General Richard Montgomery who was killed in the attack on Quebec in 1775. All the territory west of the Stanwix line was then added to Montgomery County and extended west to Lake Erie.
Tryon County was the 11th County to be formed under the English law. Montgomery and Washington counties were the first to be named under the Laws of New York State. The other original counties have retained their original names.
The ten original counties were Albany, Dutchess, Kings, New York, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester and they were formed under the English Laws, on November 1st, 1683.
The original Tryon County was divided into Districts: The Mohawk District, Canajoharie District, Stone Arabia District, German Flats District, and Old English District.
On March 7th, 1788, a law was passed dividing the County of Montgomery into Townships, as follows:
Town of Caughnawaga -Bounded northerly by the north bounds of the State, easterly by the Counties of Clinton, Washington, and Albany, and southerly by the Mohawk River, and westerly by a line running from the Hill, called Anthony's Nose, north to the northbounds of the State.
Town of Palatine - All that part of Montgomery County bound northerly by the north bounds of the State, easterly by the Town of Caughnawaga, southerly by the Mohawk river, and westerly by the line running from Little Falls in the Mohawk River, and then north to the north bounds of the State.
Town of Herkimer - All that part of Montgomery County bounded northerly by the north bounds of the State, easterly by the Town of Palatine, southerly by the Mohawk River, and westerly by a North and South line running across the Mohawk River at the Fording Place near the house of William Cunningham, leaving the same house to the west of the same line to the north bounds of the State.
Town of Mohawk - All that part of Montgomery County bounded northerly by the Mohawk River, easterly and southerly by the County of Albany, and westerly by a line running from the hill called Anthony's Nose, south until it struck the County of Albany.
Town of Harpersfield - All that part of Montgomery County bounded or between Cookquaga branch of the Delaware River and the branch of the Susquehanna River called "Adigitange", beginning at the Rock Maple Tree, marked on four sides with a Blaze and Three Notches, and with the Letters and Figures A. C. 1766, standing on a high point of land at the south side of a small lake, called by the Indians, "Utsayantha" from whence the said branch of the Delaware called by the Indians "Cookquago" issues, and running from thence north thirty degrees west to the said Adigttange, and thence down the same and the Susquehanna to the bounds of Pennsylvania, and east along the same to the Delaware River, and then up the same to the place of beginning.
Town of Otsego - All that part of the County of Montgomery beginning at the headwaters of the Lake Otsego, in the Patent commonly called the Otsego Patent, granted to George Croghan and others, and running from thence along the northerly bounds of the said patent to the northwest corner thereof, thence extending westerly to the River Tienderha, so as to include the patent granted to William and Robert Edminston, thence down the said River to its Junction with the Susquehanna River, and then up the said river to the place of beginning.
Town of Canajoharie - All that part of the County of Montgomery bounded northerly by the Mohawk River, Easterly by the Town of Mohawk, and the County of Albany, southerly by Harpersfield, and westerly by the Susquehanna River and Lake Otsego and a line from the headwater thereof to Little Falls in the Mohawk River.
Town of German Flats - All that part of the County of Montgomery bounded by the Mohawk River on the north, easterly by the Town of Canajoharie, southerly by the Town of Otsego and westerly by the western bounds of the Town of Herkimer and thence south to the said Town of Otsego.
Town of Whitestown - All that part of the County of Montgomery west of German Flats shall be erected into a Town by the name of Whitestown.
Division from Montgomery County and Dates
1789-Ontario County was set off from Montgomery County and derived its name from Lake Ontario, which originally formed its northern boundary. Canandaigua was designated as the county seat.
1791- Herkimer County was taken off and embraced the entire Kingsland district of the original Tryon County. The county was named in honor of General Nicholas Herkimer, one of Mohawk Valley's heroes. Whitesboro was the first county seat and later when the county was divided, the village of Herkimer was made the county seat.
1791 - Otsego County was taken off and embraced the two original towns of Otsego and Cherry Valley. The County received its name from Otsego Lake. Cooperstown was chosen as the county seat.
1891 - Tioga County was erected with Elmira as the county seat. In 1812 the county seat was moved to Spencer Village and under and act of Legislature in 1822, after the court house at Spencer burned, Owego was chose the county seat.
1794 - Onondaga County was erected from Herkimer county and included within its bounds the original military tract. The County was named after the Onondaga Nation of Indians whose principal residence was within its borders and where a government reservation is still maintained.
1795 - Schoharie County was formed from Albany and Otsego Counties, taking its name from the creek, called by the Indians Schoharie, which signifies "Driftwood". The original name was "To-wos-scho-her." The village of Schoharie was designated as the county seat.
1796 - Steuben County was formed from Ontario and named in honor of Baron Steuben. Bath was chose the first county seat, but in 1853 the county was divided into two jury districts and Corning was designated for the southern district.
1797 - Delaware County was formed and derives its name from the Delaware River. The county seat was located at Delhi. The great Hardenburg and Harpersfield patents were within the bounds of the county.
1798 - Chenango County was formed from Herkimer and Tioga and later the town of Sangerfield, Oneida County was annexed. The county seat was originally at Oxford, but by an act of the Legislature in 1807, Norwich became the county seat.
1798 - Oneida County was formed from Herkimer County and was named in honor of the Oneida Indians who had remained loyal to the colonists during the Revolution. Fort Schuyler, now Rome was the first county seat, but due to the growth of Utica, it was necessary to erect a court house and jail there, and in 1816, the clerk's records were moved; therefore the county was half-shired and both Utica and Rome maintain a court house and jail.
1799 - Cayuga County was formed from Onondaga and derived its name from the Cayuga Indians, who at one time were located within its bounds. Auburn was chosen as the county seat and was then known as Scipio.
1802 - St. Lawrence County was formed from Clinton and parts of Montgomery and Herkimer. It included the "Ten Town," and the Great Tracts Nos. II and III of Macomb's Purchase. The county seat was first located at Ogdensburgh, but was moved to Canton in 1828.
1802 - Genesee County was formed from Ontario and derives its name from the Genesee River. Batavia was chosen as the County seat.
1804 - Seneca County was formed from Cayuga; a part of Tompkins was added in 1817 and part of Wayne in 1823. The county seat was originally at Ovid, but in 1817 was removed to Waterloo.
1805 - Jefferson County was formed from Oneida and named in honor of Thomas Jefferson. Watertown was selected as the county seat.
1805 - Lewis County was erected from Oneida and named in honor of Governor Morgan Lewis. The county seat was originally located at Martinsburg, but in 1852 was moved to Lowville.
1806 - Allegany County was formed from Genesee; a portion of Steuben was annexed in 1808 and a portion set off to Genesee in 1811 and one to Wyoming and Livingston in 1846. Angelica was chosen as the county seat.
1806 - Madison County was formed from Chenango and named in honor of President Madison. The first county seat was Sullivan, now Lenox; in 1810 Cazenovia was chosen, and again in 1817, the county seat was moved to Morrisville.
1806 - Broome County was formed from Tioga County in 1806. It was named after L. Gov. John Broome. The county seat was located at Binghamton.
1808 - Cattaraugus County was erected from Genesse. The first county courts were held in Olean in 1817. Later Ellicottville was chosen the county seat and county buildings were erected between 1817 and 1818.
1808 - Niagara County was formed from Genesee and Erie and taken off in 1821. The first county seat was located at Buffalo but when Erie was erected, Lockport was designated the county seat.
1808 - Cortland County was formed from Onondaga. It was named in honor of Pierre Van Cortlandt, first Lt. Gov. of N. Y. The first county court was held in the school house at Homer, but by an act passed in 1810, Cortland Village was chosen the county seat.
1808 - Chautauque County was formed from Genesee, but was united with Niagara until 1811. The name was taken from Chautauque Lake. Mayville was chosen as the county seat.
1816 - Oswego County was formed from Oneida and Onondaga counties. Its name was derived from the Indian On-ti-ah-an-taque. The county was divided into two jury districts with court being held at Pulaski and Oswego. A court house and jail were erected at Pulaski in 1820 and a court house and county clerk's office erected at Oswego in 1851.
1816 - Hamilton County was formed from Montgomery The territory was included in Herkimer County in 1791, but re-annexed to Montgomery in 1797. It was named after Alexander Hamilton, and the county seat was designated at Sagesville.
1817 - Tompkins County was erected from Cayuga and Seneca Counties, three towns were annexed from Tioga in 1822 and a part of Schuyler taken off in 1854. Ithaca was chosen as the county seat.
1821 - Erie County was formed from Niagara County. Buffalo was chosen as the county seat. Before the forming of Erie County from Niagara, Buffalo was the county seat of Niagara.
1821 - Livingston County was formed from Genesee and Ontario counties and a portion of Allegany was added in 1846, with another portion being annexed in 1856. Geneseo was chosen as the county seat.
1821 - Monroe County was formed from Ontario and Genesee counties. It embraces land of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase with three western towns belonging to the Triangle Tract and the remainder of the county west of the Genesee contains a part of the celebrated "Mill Yard Tract." Rochester was chosen as the county seat.
1823 - Yates County was formed from Ontario County. It was named after Joseph C. Yates, then governor of N. Y. In 1824 Barrington and Starkey were added from Steuben County. Penn Yan was chosen as the county seat and was called by the Indians O-go-ya-ga.
1823 - Wayne County was formed from Ontario and Seneca Counties. It was named after General Anthony Wayne. The nine western towns belonged to the Pulteney Estate and the eastern part constituted a portion of the Military Tract. Lyons was chosen as the county seat.
1824 - Orleans County was formed from Genesee County. Shelby was annexed from Genesee in 1825. The first courts were held in the village of Gaines, but in 1827 county buildings were erected in Albion which became the county seat.
1836 - Chemung County was formed from Tioga. A portion of Schuyler was taken off in 1854. Chemung derives its name from the Indian name Cone-wa-wa, signifying "a head on a pole." The county seat was located at Elmira, then known as Newtown.
1838 - Fulton County was formed from Montgomery, due to a dissatisfaction arising from the removal of the county seat from Johnstown to Fonda. The county seat is Johnstown, which is intimately connected with Sir William Johnson. Johnstown was the county seat of the original Tryon County and the original court house is still in use.
1841 - Wyoming County was formed from Genesee. Eagle Pike and a part of Portage were annexed from Allegany County in 1846. The first courts were held at Eat Orangeville, but later Warsaw was designated as the county seat.
1854 - Schuyler County was formed from Steuben, Chemung, and Tompkins. The County embraced lands included in the Military Tract, the Watkins and Flint Purchase and the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. The county was named in honor of General Philip Schuyler. The county seat was first located at Havana but later removed to Watkins.
The Original Montgomery County
In order to give the student a fair idea of the size of Montgomery County, we have endeavored to picture on the following series of maps, the original size of the county, showing the division and sub-divisions which will give the individual an idea of the rapid development of the State of New York after the Revolutionary War. As the population of certain sections increased, it became necessary to erect a new county in order to have a supervising body brought nearer to its actual administration territory.
Travel in the early days was slow and expensive as well as toilsome and hazardous. Tryon County as Montgomery County was originally known was set off from Albany County in 1772 on the petition of Sir William Johnson, and named Tryon in honor of his friend, the Colonial Governor, Tryon. Tryon was divided into the following districts: Caughnawaga, Mohawk, Canajoharie, Palatine, German Flatts, Kingsland, and in 1775 another division or district was made, known as the Old English District.
Johnstown was set up as the County Seat, here a court house and jail were built, and the village itself was carefully planned and laid out by Sir William. As one studies history today and looks back over the past, one might be inclined to believe that Sir William Johnson was planning an Empire of his own.
In 1784, after the close of the Revolutionary War, the name of the county was changed to Montgomery in honor of General Richard Montgomery, and the Indian territory or all that land south of Oneida Lake and west of Utica to the present city of Buffalo, was called Whitestown, in honor of High White, one of the early pioneer settlers.
The following are the counties of New York State, Dates Formed, Parent County and Present County Seat.
Albany, 1683, Original Co. Albany
Allegany, 1806, Genesee, Belmont
Bronx, 1914, New York, Bronx
Broome, 1806, Tioga, Binghamton
Cattaraugus, 1808, Genesee, Little Valley
Cayuga, 1799, Onondaga, Auburn
Chautaugua, 1808 , Genesee, Mayville
Chemung, 1836, Tioga, Elmira
Chenango, 1798, Herkimer, Norwich
Clinton, 1788, Washington, Plattsburg
Columbia 1786, Albany, Hudson
Cortland, 1808, Onondaga, Cortland
Delaware, 1797, Ulster, Otsego, Delhi
Dutchess, 1683, Original Co., Poughkeepsie
Erie, 1821, Niagara, Buffalo
Essex, 1799, Clinton, Elizabethtown
Franklin, 1808, Clinton, Malone
Fulton, 1838, Montgomery, Johnstown
Genesee, 1802, Ontario, Batavia
Greene, 1800, Albany & Ulster, Catskill
Hamilton, 1816, Montgomery, Lake Pleasant
Herkimer, 1791, Montgomery, Herkimer
Jefferson, 1805, Oneida, Watertown
Kings, 1683, Original Col. Brooklyn
Lewis, 1805, Oneida, Lowville
Livingston, 1821, Genesee, Ontario, Genesee
Madison, 1806, Chenengo, Wampsville
Monroe, 1821, Genesee, Rochester
Montgomery, 1772, Albany, Fonda
Nassau, 1899, Queens, Mineola
New York, 1683, Original Co., New York
Niagara, 1808, Genesee, Lockport
Oneida, 1798, Herkimer, Utica
Onondaga, 1798, Herkimer, Syracuse
Ontario, 1789, Montgomery, Canandaigua
Orange, 1683, Original Col. Goshen
Orleans, 1824, Genesee, Albion
Oswego, 1816, Oneida, Oswego
Otsego, 1816, Montgomery, Cooperstown
Putnam, 1812, Dutchess, Carmel
Queens, 1683, Original Col. Jamaica
Rensselaer, 1791, Albany, Troy
Richmond, 1683, Original Co, St. George
Rockland, 1798, Orange, New City
St. Lawrence, 1802, Clinton, Canton
Saratoga, 1791, Albany, Ballston Spa.
Schenectady, 1809, Albany, Schenectady
Schoharie, 1795, Albany, Otsego, Schoharie
Schuyler 1859, Tompkins, Steuben, Otsego, Chenango, Watkins Glen
Seneca, 1804, Cayuga, Waterloo
Steuben, 1796, Ontario, Bath
Suffolk, 11683, Original Co., Riverhead
Sullivan, 1809, Ulster, Monticello
Tioga, 1791, Montgomery, Owego
Tompkins, 1817, Cayuga, Seneca, Ithaca
Ulster, 1683, Original Co., Kingston
Warren, 1813, Washington, Lake George
Wayne, 1823, Ontario, Seneca, Lyons
Westchester, 1683, Original Co., White Plains
Wyoming, 1841, Genesee, Warsaw
Yates, 1823, Ontario, Penn Yann
Washington County was formed from Albany County as Charlotte County in 1772.
Present Montgomery County Townships
Montgomery County. This County was formed from Albany County, Mar. 12th, 1772, as Tryon County. The name was changed to Montgomery County April 2nd 1784. The name Tryon was in honor of William Tryon, Colonial Governor of New York. The name Montgomery, was in honor of General Richard Montgomery, a hero of the Revolution.
Amsterdam, Town of--formed from Caughnawaga, March 12th, 1793.
Canajoharie, Town of--formed from the District March 7th, 1788. The District was formed March 24th, 1772.
Charleston, Town of--Formed from the Mohawk district March 12th 1793.
Florida, Town of--formed from the Mohawk district March 12th 1793.
Glen, Town of--formed from Charleston April 10th, 1823.
Minden, Town of--formed from Canajoharie March 2nd, 1798.
Mohawk, Town of--formed from Johnstown April 4th 1837. The Town of Johnstown was formed from the Town of Caughnawaga March 12th, 1793.
Palatine, Town of--formed as a district by the name of Stone Arabia March 24th 1772, the name was changed March 8th 1773. It was formed as a town March 7th 1788.
Root, Town of--formed from Canajoharie and Charleston January 27th 1823.
St. Johnsville, Town of--formed from Oppenheim April 18th 1838.
Copyright © 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.