Study has not been done in the immediate area of Patterson as to the details of development. The classic frontier pattern is that when forests were cleared for agriculture, the trees were used for log homes and domestic needs, but much of the wood was burned to make potash which became the first cash crop. Grains and Indian corn were planted among the stumps, and part of these crops were exported for cash or supplies. Saw and grist mills were an early part of the settlement economy, and perhaps on the fringes of already settled areas milled lumber may have been another important export. In our area, the first churches were referred to as log meeting houses, yet the surviving earliest homes (even those from around 1720 which presumably date from the first settlement) are all frame (post and beam) structures with many hand-hewn components but with milled parts as well. (Had the milled lumber been transported from Danbury?) The earliest roads both interconnected mill sites, and the surrounding farms, and extended to distant trading hubs or ports.
The 1720’s saw actions toward resolution of the boundary between Connecticut and New York which culminated with a final demarcation in 1731 that greatly effected the subsequent history of Patterson. In keeping with the principles of 1664, Connecticut exchanged for the areas of Stamford and Greenwich (which intruded beyond the twenty-mile line) an equivalent amount of land all along the boundary northward to Massachusetts. These ‘Equivalent Lands’ were in a long, narrow ‘Oblong,’ approximately 1 3/4 miles wide. In exchange for their bearing the cost of completing the final surveys, New York in turn sold (‘granted’) most of these lands to a group of patentees, among whom were some who in their petition for the exchange of land declared in 1730 they (since they had been among the original proprietors of Ridgefield) were “inhabitants of Ridgefield” who “have for a long Time been settled upon certain Lands near the Eastern Parts of this Province, by Letters Patents from the Colony of Connecticut,”‘ and who, “or their Ancestors, have many of them spent their whole Substance and worn out great Parts of their Lives in clearing, tilling and improving, with great Hazard and hard Labour, the aforesaid Lands.”
New Fairfield’s and Ridgefield’s early records were destroyed in town hall fires, and Danbury’s were destroyed when the British sacked and burned the town during the Revolution, and other records have been scattered; as a result, detailing early Connecticut settlement is difficult. There are indications that some settlement occurred, inadditionto that in Milltown, in what had been the western portion of New Fairfield prior to the final resolution of the border dispute. When in 1707 Lieutenant-Governor Nathan Gold, Jr., and others, received a large grant of land from the Connecticut colony, north and south, it embraced what is now the townships of New Fairfield and Sherman, and was to extend as far west as the colony line. Three years later these men and one other, purchased from the Indians, not only the present bounds of these two townships, but as far west as the proposed boundary line between New York and Connecticut agreed upon by the Commission nearly thirty years before, which would include the Oblong and a considerable section of what is now Patterson and Pawling. We do not know much about the early settlers of this land, except that some were living here in 1725 and the surveyors of the Oblong tract mentioned settlers during their surveys (by agreement, these were to be permitted to remain on their lands), and presumably others had taken advantage of the excellent mill sites between the Oblong and the east branch of the Croton.
To elaborate, because the Hudson River courses to the west from Cold Spring to the mouth of Wappingers Creek, the twenty-mile boundary correspondingly jutted westward. This area was mostly east of the Croton River, its widest part was just above present-day Haviland Hollow and it narrowed to Dover in the north and almost to South East in the South, and it included much of the best farmland north along Route 22. The Oblong line, which was run connecting a twenty-mile point on the southern end in Westchester with the corresponding northern point on the Massachusetts border, lay east of the area, cutting off from Connecticut 4504 acres in Patterson and the southern part of Pawling and 221 acres near Peach Lake. In a 1765 dispute over this land, early settlers based their claims on Connecticut titles they possessed (like those who had lived in what had been formerly Ridgefield).
Settlers in this cut off portion of old New Fairfield east of the Oblong are listed below. (Any surviving, Connecticut records prior to 1731 have not been checked to determine when the families might have first settled in the area, the first date of a family’s appearance in the New York records is cited.) As the Croton River divided the farms, the list is separated by the farms west of and east of the river. West of the Croton the farms had only a small amount of their lands within Old New Fairfield which began, by happenstance, just above Ballyhack Rd and ended on the first farm that had been north of where the Muddy Brook empties into the Croton River–north of where Cornwall Hill Rd crosses the Muddy Brook and the railroad tracks. The first families recorded in New York who lived west of the Croton in old New Fairfield were, from south to north, Isaac Chapman (first taxed 1746); Silvanus Cole (family?, 1742; Silvanus,1759); Nathan Taylor (first taxed 1745, a William, 1731); William Palmer (first taxed 1745); Joseph Craw (first taxed 1741); Samuel Goodspeed (first taxed 1753); Jehiel Beardsley (first taxed 1758). Families east of the Croton, the major portion or all of whose farms were in this particular area, were: William Gray (b. Harwich, Ma, lived Haddam,CT; taxed 1753); John Calkins (taxed 1744); John Smith (taxed 1747); Joseph Barlow (b. Stratford, CT; taxed 1740); ___ Fuller (?Matthew taxed 1741); Widow/then Nathaniel Porter (taxed 1741); James Calkins (family taxed 1740); Benjamin Gifford (taxed 1744; he was among a number of cousins and their in-laws and families from around Cape Cod who came as part of the Quaker migration to the area); Malcolm Hatch (family taxed 1743); Malatiah Hatch (born 1727 in Mansfield, CT; taxed 1753; Richard taxed 1743); Moses and Amos Northrup (former, born in Milford,CT, from Ridgefield, CT; taxed 1734); Henry Gray (?from Fairfield Co. CT, family taxed 1731); Thomas Corbin (?from Windham Co., CT, taxed 1739); Edward Hall (taxed 1739); Hunt family (taxed 1736); along with several others not yet identified who were located in present-day Pawling.
In a continuation of the Connecticut migration westward, other families (with or without titles) settled over much of the rest of the area of eastern Dutchess and Putnam Counties, they appear in the tax lists from the 1730’s on up into the 1760’s. For example, there were the Burtch/Burch/Birch cousins (Jeremiah first taxed 1743, David taxed 1745, Josiah/Isaiah taxed 1746, John taxed 1747) and their in-laws (Billings, Udall, Newberry) and many of their children who came in considerable numbers from Stonington,CT starting in the 1740’s and mostly settled in the northern part of Town from the west banks of the Croton to just west of Harmony Rd and on adjacent lands in Pawling; Benjamin (taxed 1753) and one of the many Jonathan Burtch’s had farms a little farther west and south in the Mooney Hill-Cushman Rd locale. Another example were the Roblee/Rublee/Rubly brothers (Andrew taxed 1744 and William taxed 1758) and their Baker in-laws and their children from Huntington, LI who had farms in the Terry Hill section of Town (their names were ‘Hollandized’ by the Dutch tax collectors to Rapalyea/Rapeleje/Rubbelyea contributing to even more confusion when trying to follow the records).
–From Long Island and Rye, the Oblong and the Quakers
A second pattern of migration of early settlers into Patterson distinctively occurred in the Oblong. The details of Oblong ownership illustrate the degree and scope of New York City (as well as Connecticut) attention and influence on the area from an early date.
Only three (Adam Ireland, Benjamin Birdsell, and James Brown) of the 25 ‘Ridgefield’ petitioners for purchase of the Oblong, are listed among the original owners. The majority of the Oblong was transferred to New York provincial officials (and some lots to the surveyors), who received blocks of land in exchange for their ‘services’ in securing the grant. Most of these early owners then resold the land to settlers. Two large areas, referred to as the ‘Hoveouts’ were not purchased by the patentees. One was in the Milltown area which was already at least partially settled. The other, later called Preston’s Mountain, lay between Dover, NY and Kent, CT and apparently was too rocky to be desired for settlement or to be profitably marketed.
When in 1683 New York declared that it would not accept Connecticut jurisdication any farther west then a line beginning at the Byram River–eventhough Connecticut families had settled as far west as greater Pelham–Rye and the settlements west of it, as well as Bedford farther north were severed from Connecticut. In accord with the typical pattern of Connecticut settlement, the original Connecticut proprietors of Rye had reserved an area north of the village as common land in which the original proprietors had shares and which was intended for future expansion. New York appropriated this ‘unsettled’ land and sold it to John Harrison (among other patentees) in 1696, and it became known as Harrison’s Purchase. Portions of Harrison and Purchase were bought by former Connecticut settlers on Long Island (severed from Connecticut in 1664) who had run out of room for their expanding population. Many of these families had become Quakers and appeared to move as an organized block into this unsettled area and after the establishment of the Oblong lands would continue to move and settle and extend their influence and membership along this narrow corridor northward, lending a distinct flavor to this and nearby areas for the next century.
The Quakers established ‘meetings,’ both places of worship and organizations that governed the lives of their members and in many ways served as alternative- or quasi-governments in the Quaker-dominated areas. As membership grew in the region additional meetings were formed. The meetings were organized (o.) and meeting houses built (b.) in Flushing (b. 1694), Purchase (o. circa 1723, b. 1727), New Milford (o. 1729), ‘The Oblong Meeting’ (Quaker Hill-Pawling, o. circa 1734, b. 1742), Nine Partners (Millbrook, o. 1744), Peach Lake (b. 1762), Chapppaqua (b. 1764), Valleyville (Patterson on Brimstone Rd near the corner of Haviland Dr., b. 1783). By their beliefs and practice, Quakers set themselves apart from their New England contemporaries who had outlawed and severly persecuted them. Yet, in keeping with the quasi-theocratic condition of New England society the Quakers maintained a semi-autonomous jurisdiction or ‘government’ within the Oblong Patent. They had their own school system of ‘academies.’ In 1755 they declared exemption from military duty in the third war with the French and their Indian allies. They even seemed to have avoided some tax collection for a time, for the settlers of the Oblong Patent were given notice in 1761 to pay back quitrents due to the Crown from the creation of the Oblong or face dispossession.
The Oblong strip threw open more than 60,000 acres for settlement. Particulars of the early settlement have not yet been gathered, so it can only be roughly outlined. A road internal to the area of the Oblong was laid out in the 1740’s. It may have incorporated earlier roads but in expanding them, as much as topography would allow, extended up the center line of the Oblong following the property boundary line that divided the Oblong (mostly) into a double row of 500-acre rectangles (lots). This centerline route can still be traced in modern roads: going north if one begins in South East, there is Dingle Ridge Rd which connects with Joes Hill Rd and then diverges from the centerline to the old road through Milltown on Milltown Rd and Gage Rd. (This previously-occupied area was part of the southern Hoveout excluded from the main Oblong purchase in 1731. The 2000-acre parcel was purchased from the Province of New York in 1750 by John Ayscough, at the time high Sherif of New York City; by the Revolution the parcel was owned by the loyalist Governor Clinton and was therefore confiscated by New York State and resold.)
The north-south Oblong route enters Patterson on Doansburg Rd and continues on East Branch Rd. Owners from the 1761 assessment in this section of South East and Patterson were Prince Hopkins (80 acres; first taxed in Dutchess County in 1760, Joseph had been taxed beginning in 1754), Joshua Barnum (250 acres; taxed 1756; Bathnel, 1753), Lydia Stevens, Widow (72 acres; of ?Nathaniel taxed 1743), William Porter (48 acres; taxed 1760), John Porter (55 acres; taxed 1759) and Joshua Porter (55 acres; taxed 1756; Smith was on “Porters Place” 1747-55 “becomes John Smith,” Noah Smith, a son of John was taxed 1753) (560 acres total). To the north on either side of the southern part of East Branch Rd were Nathan Crosbe/Crosby (55 acres; taxed 1753; Isaac was taxed 1746), Joseph Foster (55 acres; taxed 1759), Tho’s Foster (110 acres; taxed 1748), and Nathaniel Foster (145 acres; taxed 1747), and Ephraim Smith (73 acres; taxed 1758; farm, “Crosby on” 1753-54) (438 acres total).
The original lots to the north in 1761 were not as yet subdivided. The 500 acres along East Branch Rd. below Haviland Hollow had Nathan Birdsell(/Burchell) Jr (taxed 1761) and George Hobborn (George Hawbon was taxed 1759-67 and widow 1771; George and Ann Hepbern are listed as members of the Oblong Quakers with two daughters, born in 1759 and 1761; Hobborn may have had the portion on the west adjoining land in the Philipse patent as George Hepburn is listed in the Philipse records (1754) as having “a very fine piece of swamp” and there is a considerable portion of swamp along Rt 22 below Haviland Hollow road in that area; George Hepburn was born in Stratford, CT in 1739). The 500-acre lot to the north located at the entrance to Haviland Hollow and including the mountain slopes on either side was owned in 1761 by Nathan Birdsell, Sr. (Nathan was born 1705 on Long Island, lived in Rye, was one of the Oblong surveyors, and reputedly brought his family by way of Danbury to settle on one of his lots on Quaker Hill in 1728; he was first taxed 1743.)
The land to the east of the previous two lots had been Jacob Haviland’s in 1731 (taxed 1743), in 1761 it belonged to the heirs of Benjamin Haviland (430 acres; there is considerable confusion in the Haviland genealogy about which of the many Benjamin’s this one was, but the family was from Long Island and Rye; a Benjamin was taxed in 1755) and Mary Haviland, Widow (70 acres); the Oblong road now Haviland Drive approximately follows the eastern boundary of their irregularly shaped lot (trapezoidal instead of rectangular) and then runs westward on Brimstone Rd to rejoin the centerline at Stagecoach. At the junction of Haviland Drive and Brimstone Rd was later located a Quaker Academy (probably the first school in the Haviland Hollow area). Havilands would give some of their lands in the north part of this lot along Brimstone Rd for the Quaker Valleyville Meeting and cemetery. The Havilands also owned land to the east in Connecticut, including the Gerow property below Quaker Rd and west of Route 37. Samuel Haviland later dammed Quaker Brook and built a mill east of where it is crossed by Brimstone Rd just before the junction with Haviland Hollow Rd.
To the east of the Haviland, and the Crosbys’ and Fosters’, property was another irregularly-shaped lot which includes most of what is the Putnam Lake community. This unnumbered lot of 1500 acres was part of the southern Hoveout and had been patented and surveyed in 1750-1752 by William Smith, Esq of New York City and James Brown, of Salem. (William Smith, was born in England, 1697; died in New York City, 1769; he graduated from Yale in 1719; was admitted to the New York bar in 1724, was partner of James Alexander–of whom more later, and practiced in Connecticut as well; he was attorney-general and advocate-general of New York, member of the governor’s council, and associate justice of the New York court; and was one of the original landowners in the Oblong, and among those with the greatest number of acres.) (James Brown, Sr died in 1769, a longtime resident of Norwalk; he was among the purchasers and first proprietors of Ridgefield, and among the petitioners to New York for Oblong lands, and among the original purchasers of them. He was also a purchaser of a large tract of land in Salem, NY on which his son James Brown, Jr settled.)
The settlement of the next 4 lots to the north, mostly on the plateau of Cranberry Mountain and Birch Hill from Haviland Hollow to north of Birch Hill Rd, is unclear. In 1761 these lots were still in the possession of the original owners or some of the same NYC provincial officials, among the former and then owners were: Archibald Kennedy–(He was a Scotsman well-connected with the English monarchy and government–his son would succeed to the family’s Earldom; was a member of the Provincial Council, Receiver-General and Collector of Customs of New York; had a large estate in New Jersey; and died in 1763.) James Alexander–(He was born a Scotsman of the nobility–his son would become the Earl of Stirling; and came to America in 1715. Originally a civil engineer/surveyor, he became a prominent lawyer in NY and NJ; was a New York City merchant with a house there and considerable land in NJ. In New Jersey he was a member of the King’s Council, Surveyor-General of West Jersey, Recorder of the city of Perth Amboy, member of the Boards of Proprietors of both East and West NJ, Receiver-General and Collector of Quit Rents for the Province, and a Commissioner to survey the boundary between NY and NJ. In the Province of NY he was the Secretary, a member of the King’s Council, naval officer for the port, Attorney-General, member of the Assembly; and one of the NY commissioners to survey the lands of the Oblong. He died in 1756, leaving his properties in the Oblong to a son and two daughters.) George Clark–(He was an Englishman who served as secretary of the Province of New York, was a member of the Provincial Council, and Governor; he returned to England a wealthy man, and died there in 1759. His two sons received his American property, one, George Clark, was also secretary of the Province.) Joshua Barnes–(He was born in Southampton, Long Island in 1683, lived in Harrrison’s Purchase, Rye and died there in 1763. Barnes was a Quaker and lived in Northcastle and may have been among the original proprietors in the 1720’s in areas of it which would become part of the Oblong. He left 440 acres of his property in the Oblong in Patterson to his grandsons Samuel, first taxed in 1761, and Joshua, taxed 1766, and 20 acres each to their sisters Mary and Patience and his youngest son Richard.) Adam Ireland–(He was born in 1694 in Hampstead, LI, and perhaps was reared in Harrison’s Purchase where his father moved. He may have been one of the first settlers of North Castle in the 1720’s. He was listed among the petitioners from Ridgefield for the Oblong lands, but was not among the proprietors of Ridgefield. He died in North Castle in 1760.)
The next two lots to the north which were partially in Patterson were originally owned by James Alexander and Samuel Baker (baptized in 1702 in Easthampton, LI, moved to Branford, CT in 1728, selectman of Branford, Deputy to the General Court of CT; died in 1767 at Branford). In 1761 one lot was still undivided, but jointly owned by John Ogden’s heirs (John was first taxed in 1738), and the Quakers Jonathan Hoag (a Jonathan was taxed 1747) and Nathan Birdsell. The other was subdivided between Nathaniel Stevenson (375 acres; taxed 1753) and Stephen Hoag (125 acres). The lots to the immediate north were settled and considerably subdivided by the residents of Quaker Hill by 1761.
As the land within the Oblong became populated, members of Quaker families moved outward and intermixed with the Connecticut settlers scattered over the valleys and hills of the Croton River. Among the descendants of Quaker families who had a prominent part in Patterson’s history were the names Akin, Haviland, Irish, Kelley, Wing, Tabor, Ferris.
–By the Northern Route Across Connecticut
A third avenue of settlement was along the northern tier of Connecticut by families from the Hartford/Connecticut River area or (especially Quakers directly to the Oblong) from the Cape Cod region in Massachusetts (which had been one refuge for dissidents or exiles from the Massachusetts Bay Colony). These settlers may have followed an old track between the Connecticut River (or the Long Island Sound at Saybrook) and the Hudson (and the fur-trading posts at what today are Hartford and Albany) by way of the gap in the hills at the Ten Mile River between Dover and Kent. The year after the boundary survey, iron was discovered in northwest Connecticut. Two years later a forge was built. The land hunger fever which was pushing the population into the interior was probably mild compared to the rush of prospectors into this section. (Sale of land exempting mineral rights was written into most of the early deeds. Rev. Elisha Kent’s land purchase in 1743 excepted and reserved “mines, minerals, and pine trees.” Fabled stories of lost mines, including most of the valued metals, passed as popular currency for more than a century.) Some of these families then moved southward down into the Patterson area (among them some of the Calkins and the Grays).
Fourthly, a few immigrants settled in the area early, for example, the Irishmen Kane/Cain/Caine/Cane (John taxed 1736, William 1736) and William Pendergast/Pendergrass (taxed 1757), who settled along Route 22 just north of present-day Patterson in Pawling in an area that would become known as The Gore.