Danbury was surveyed for division and sale in 1693, a greater Ridgefield was purchased from the Indians in 1708 and a greater New Fairfield in 1710. (There Lieut. Governor Nathan Gold of Connecticut bought land from the Indians. This purchased “patent” reached as far as the East branch of the Croton River.) The end of one war with the French and their Indian allies in 1713 initiated a resurgence of Connecticut frontier settlement. Danbury became the outfitting and trading center for a large area to the north and west. (Of a dozen early Danbury families, all but one were represented at some future time in the population of this area.) Settlers radiated outwards from Danbury along tracks adjusted to topography and the requirements of wagon transport, moving through passes in the hills and along dryer uplands and utilizing favorable river crossings, but directed toward distant trading destinations. The so-called “Danbury Highway” ran west into Putnam County, probably following what is now Federal Highway number six, southeast to Peekskill Landing on the Hudson. A middle route extended northeastward from Danbury to Fishkill Landing.
We may be able to retrace this track, which cut diagonally across much of present day Patterson, by following remnants of old roads that connect locations of early colonial houses. We might start in Milltown near the 1719 Solomon house, which would then still have been in Ridgefield, Connecticut but today is in the Town of South East. The first colonial house on this track to the northwest in Patterson once stood on the southeast corner of Ballyhack Rd and Route 22. This house was later owned by Abijha Seeley (born in Trumbull, CT in 1777), but the earliest recorded owners of the land in 1754 were Thomas and Jonathan Paddock (who first appear in the Dutchess tax records in 1745). The next section of the track is Old Road where east of the road is a colonial house on the land of Israel Cole in 1754 (Eleazar first appears in the tax records in 1742, Israel Cole in 1754). The next early colonial house, reputed to date from 1720, is on Old Route 22, also east of the road, on the land of Elijah Tompkins in 1754 (the family name first appears in the tax record in 1731, Elijah, in 1741). Turning on to Route 164 to the northwest, we pass a colonial house north of the corner of Farm-to-Market Rd whose first recorded owner was Joseph Craw in 1754 (in tax records, 1741). (The old track next diverged from a diagonal course across the Town inorderto connect with the old millsite at the junction of Route 311 and Route 292.) Just beyond Cushman Rd on the east side of Route 311 is a colonial house on land whose first recorded owner (1754), was Simon Dakin (taxed in 1737). Above Brickhouse Rd is the Old Revolutionary Burying Ground, which probably dates from the first settlement, and then the place where a meeting house stood which in the 1780’s was used by the Baptists. Next, at the junction with Cornwall Hill Rd is a house incorporating a colonial inn whose first-recorded owner (1754) was Samuel Towner (taxed 1761). Across the street from the old millsite, on the north side of Route 292 stood an old Congregational (later, a Presbyterian) meeting house perhaps as early as the 1740’s. From there the old road continued on to Fishkill where the first house (and a mill) was built by Roger Brett about 1710 on land inherited by his wife, the only child of Francis Rombout who had claim to a third-part of the 85,000 acre royal patent that bore his name.
Although this old road connected settlers of Connecticut with ones of Dutch heritage along the Hudson, it seems to have been a one-way route for settlement, for the Yankees dominated the first decades of Patterson’s history (unlike in the Dover, New York and Salisbury, Connecticut areas where the two strains were mixed in the settlement). One family of Dutch ancestry among early settlers in the area was that of Abraham Wanzer, some of whose descendants would reside on Quaker Hill and own land in Haviland Hollow, yet he had come into New Fairfield from the Connecticut coast like many another early settler, not from the direction of the Hudson.