Timeline of town creation in Downstate New York

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The towns and cities of Downstate New York were created by the U.S. state of New York as municipalities in order to give residents more direct say over local government.[1] Present-day Westchester, Bronx, New York, Richmond, Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties were part of York Shire from 1664-August 1673 and again from February 1674 until 1683 at which point the Province of New York was divided into counties. From August 1673 to February 1674 New York was under Dutch control and English political units were suspended, then restored under English rule.[2] York Shire was divided into three divisions called ridings, the East, West, and North ridings. In 1683 the colony of New York eliminated shires and ridings in favor of counties,[2] the East Riding becoming Suffolk County, West Riding the counties of Richmond and Kings, while the North Riding became the counties of Westchester (including present-day Bronx), New York, and Queens (including present-day Nassau).[2]

New York experimented with different types of municipalities before settling upon the current format of towns and cities occupying all the land in a county,[3] and all previous forms were transformed into towns (or divided into multiple towns) in 1788 when all of the state of New York was divided into towns.[1] Some early forms of government in earlier years included land patents with some municipal rights, districts,[4] precincts,[5] and boroughs.[6] Though originally intended to be mere “…involuntary subdivisions of the state, constituted for the purpose of the more convenient exercise of governmental functions by the state for the benefit of all its citizens” as defined by the courts in 1916 (Short v. Town of Orange), towns gained home rule powers from the state in 1964, at which time towns became "a municipal corporation comprising the inhabitants within its boundaries, and formed with the purpose of exercising such powers and discharging such duties of local government and administration of public affairs as have been, or, maybe [sic] conferred or imposed upon it by law.”[7]

The following time-line shows the creation of the current towns from their predecessors stretching back to the earliest municipal entity over the area. It represents from which old town (s) a particular new town was created, but does not represent annexations of territory to and from towns that already existed. All municipalities are towns unless otherwise noted as patent, township, borough, district, or city.

Westchester and Bronx counties[edit]

Westchester County in 1839, which included the future Bronx County.
Bedford, Connecticut [A]
Patent 1697–1704[8]
 
Bedford [B] Patent
1704–1788[8]
 
Bedford [B]
1788[8]
 
 
 
 
 
North Castle [B]
1788[1]
 
New Castle [B]
1791[8]
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mount Kisco [B]
1978
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cortlandt [B]
1788[1]
 
Peekskill [B]
City 1940[9]
 
Eastchester [B]
1788[1]
 
Mount Vernon [B]
City 1892[10]
 
Greenburgh [B]
1788[1]
Harrison [B]
1788[1]
Mamaroneck [B]
1788[1]
Morrissania [B]
1788[1]–1791[8]
Mount Pleasant [B]
1788[1]
 
Ossining [B]
1845[8]
 
North Salem [B]
1788[8]
Pelham [B]
1788[1]
Pound Ridge [B]
1788[1]
New Rochelle [B]
1788[1]–1899[11]
 
New Rochelle [B]
City 1899[11]
 
Rye [B]
1788[8]
 
Rye
City 1942[12]
 
Salem [B] 1788[1]
(South Salem from 1806
Lewisboro from 1840)[8]
Scarsdale [B]
1788[1]
Stephentown [B]
1788[1]
(Somers from 1808)[8]
Westchester
Borough 1696[13]-1788[8][14]
 
Westchester [C]
1788[1]–1895[13]
 
West Farms [C]
1846[8]–1874[15]
 
Morrisania [C]
1855[8]–1874[15]
 
 
 
White Plains
1788[8]–1915[16]
 
White Plains [B]
City 1915[16]
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kings Bridge [C]
1872–1874[15][17]
 
 
Yonkers [B]
1788[1]–1872[18]
 
 
Yonkers [B]
City 1872[18]
 
Yorktown [B]
1788[1]

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Connecticut.
[B] = A part of Westchester County.
[C] = A part of Westchester County during existence, until annexed and dissolved by their inclusion in
the city of New York and New York County.[13][15] The area of these four towns would become the borough
of the Bronx in 1898, though still part of New York County until the formation of Bronx County in 1914.

New York County[edit]

New Amsterdam in 1660
Niew Amsterdam [A]
City 1652[8]
(New York from 1664)

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland until 1664 thereafter the English Province
of New York
and York Shire's North Riding (1664-1683, thereafter New York County).

Richmond County[edit]

Castletown [A]
1788[1]–1898[19]
Northfield [A]
1788[1]–1898[19]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Middletown [A]
1860[20]-1898[19]
 
Southfield [A]
1788[1]–1898[19]
 
 
 
Westfield [A]
1788[1]–1898[19]

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Richmond County. In 1898 all five towns were dissolved and annexed to
the city of New York as the borough of Richmond (renamed Staten Island in 1975).

Kings County[edit]

Brooklyn Heights from Lower Manhattan
Brooklyn [B]
Patent 1667–1788[8]
 
Brooklyn [C]
1788[1]–1834[8]
 
Brooklyn [C]
City 1834[8]–1898[19]
 
 
Bushwick [C]
Patent 1708–1788[8]
 
Bushwick [C]
1788[1]–1854[8]
 
Williamsburgh [C]
1840–1851[8]
 
Williamsburgh [C]
City 1851–1854[8]
 
 
 
Midwout [A]
Patent 1652–1788
(Flatbush from 1667)[8]
 
Flatbush [C]
1788[1]–1894[21]
 
New Lots [C]
1852–1886[22]
 
 
Flatlands [B]
Patent 1667–1788[8]
 
Flatlands [C]
1788[1]–1896[21]
 
Gravesend [A]
Patent 1645–1788[8]
 
Gravesend [C]
1788[1]–1894[21]
 
New Utrecht [A]
Patent 1662–1788[8]
 
New Utrecht [C]
1788[1]–1894[21]
 

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland until 1664 thereafter the English
Province of New York and York Shire (1664-1683, thereafter Kings County).
[B] = A part of West Riding of York Shire until 1683, thereafter Kings County.
[C] = A part of Kings County.
  • All towns and cities in Kings County were annexed to the City of Brooklyn starting in 1854 with Bushwick and Williamsburgh and ending with the last remaining town- Flatlands in 1896. At that point the city of Brooklyn and Kings County were coterminous.[21] In 1898 the city and county would be annexed to the city of New York as the borough of Brooklyn and remain Kings County.[19]

Queens and Nassau counties[edit]

Queens County in 1891 including present-day Nassau County.
Oyster Bay [B]
Patent 1667–1788[8]
 
Oyster Bay [C]
1788[1]
 
Glen Cove [D]
City 1917[23]
 
 
Hempstead [A]
Patent 1644–1788
(South Hempstead from 1784)[8]
 
South Hempstead [C]
1788[1]
(Hempstead from 1796)[8]
 
Long Beach [D]
City 1923[24]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
North Hempstead [C]
Patent 1784–1788[8]
 
North Hempstead [C]
1788[1]
 
 
Vlissengen [A]
Patent 1645–1788[8]
(Flushing from 1664)
 
Flushing [E]
1788[1]–1898[25]
 
Jamaica [A]
Patent 1660–1788[8]
 
Jamaica [E]
1788[1]–1898[25]
 
Middlebury [A]
Patent 1652–1788
(Newtown from 1664)[8]
 
Newtown [E]
1788[1]–1898[25]
 
Long Island City [E]
City 1870–1898[25]
 
 

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland until 1664 thereafter the English
Province of New York and York Shire (1664-1683, thereafter Queens County).
[B] = A part of East Riding of York Shire until 1683, thereafter Queens County.
[C] = A part of Queens County until 1899 thereafter Nassau County.[25]
[D] = A part of Nassau County.
[E] = A part of Queens County, in 1898 the three towns and city dissolved
and annexed to the City of New York as the borough of Queens.[25]

Suffolk County[edit]

Map of Suffolk County towns.
Brookhaven [A]
Patent 1666–1788[8]
 
Brookhaven [A]
1788[1]
 
East Hampton [A]
Patent 1666–1788[8]
 
East Hampton [A]
1788[1]
 
Huntington [A]
Patent1666–1788[8]
 
Huntington [A]
1788[1]
 
Babylon [A]
1872[26]
 
 
Precincts of Islip [A]
1710[27]–1788[1]
 
Islip [A]
1788[1]
 
Shelter Island [A]
Patent 1666–1788
(United government with
Southold until 1730)[8]
 
Shelter Island [A]
1788[1]
 
Smithtown [A]
Patent 1677–1788[8]
 
Smithtown [A]
1788[1]
 
Southampton [A]
Patent 1676–1788[8]
 
Southampton [A]
1788[1]
 
Southold [A]
Patent 1676–1788[8]
 
Southold [A]
1788[1]
 
Riverhead [A]
1792[8]
 
 

Notes[edit]

[A] = A part of Suffolk County, created in 1683, prior to that Suffolk County was the East Riding of York Shire.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar Laws of the State of New York Passed at the Sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788, inclusive, Being the Eight, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh, sessions. II. Weed, Parsons and Company/State of New York. 1886. p. 748. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  2. ^ a b c The Colonial Laws of the State of New York From 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to the Colonial Governors, the Duke's Laws, the Laws of Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive. I. James B. Lyon/State of New York. 1894. pp. 101–4 & 122. 
  3. ^ "Governmental Units". John B. Deitz. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ The Colonial Laws of the State of New York From 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to the Colonial Governors, the Duke's Laws, the Laws of Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive. V. James B. Lyon (State of New York). 1894. p. 383 and 395. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  5. ^ The Colonial Laws of the State of New York From 1664 to the Revolution, Including the Charters to the Duke of York, the Commissions and Instructions to the Colonial Governors, the Duke's Laws, the Laws of Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the Charters of Albany and New York and the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures from 1691 to 1775 Inclusive. II. John B. Lyon. 1894. p. 956. 
  6. ^ Howell, George Rogers and John H. Munsell (1886). History of the County of Schenectady, N.Y., from 1662 to 1886.. W.W. Munsell & Company. 
  7. ^ "Local Government Handbook" (PDF) (5th ed.). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. 60 (PDF 64). Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av French, John H. (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. 
  9. ^ "About Peekskill". City of Peekskill, New York. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  10. ^ Rice, Frank (1893). Manual for the Use of the Legislature of the State of New York.. Weed, Parson & Co. p. 197. 
  11. ^ a b Seventeenth Report of the State Civil Service Commission. James B. Lyon/ State of New York. 1900. p. 621. 
  12. ^ "The History of the City of Rye, New York". Rye, New York. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  13. ^ a b c Morris, Fordham (1896-10-28). "The Borough Town of Westchester". Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  14. ^ Smith, William (1757). A History of the Province of New-York, From the Discovery to the Year M.DCC.XXXII.. p. 196. 
  15. ^ a b c d Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Ninety-Seventh Session of the Legislature, Begun January Sixth, and Ended April Thirtieth, 1874, in the City of Albany.. Hugh J. Hastings/State of New York. 1874. p. 432. 
  16. ^ a b Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Session of the Legislature, Begun January Sixth, 1915 and Ended May Twenty-Fourth, 1915, in the City of Albany, and Also Other Matters Required by Law to be Published with the Session Laws. II. J.B. Lyon Company/State of New York. 1915. p. 1074. 
  17. ^ Edsall, Thomas H. (1887). History of the town of Kings Bridge : now part of the 24th ward, New York City. pp. 43–44. 
  18. ^ a b Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Ninety-Fifth Session of the Legislature, Begun January Second, and Ended May Fourteenth, 1872, in the City of Albany. II. V.W.M. Brown/State of New York. 1872. p. 2046. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Consolidation: The Creation of Greater New York in 1898". Edward T. O’Donnell. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  20. ^ Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Eighty-Third Session of the Legislature, Begun January Third, and Ended April Seventeenth, 1860, in the City of Albany.. Weed, Parsons and Company/State of New York. 1860. p. 741. 
  21. ^ a b c d e "County Towns as City Wards". The New York Times. 1894-04-28. 
  22. ^ "New-Lots Protesting". The New York Times. 1886-08-15. 
  23. ^ Petrash, Antonia; Carol Stern; and Carol McCrossen. "History of Glen Cove". Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  24. ^ General Laws of the State of New York (1922 session). West Publishing Co. 1922. p. 532. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f Greenspan, Walter. "Geographic History of Queens County". ConnorsGenealogy. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  26. ^ Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Ninety-Fifth Session of the Legislature, Begun January Second, and Ended May Fourteenth, 1872, in the City of Albany. I. V.W.M. Brown/State of New York. 1872. p. 248. 
  27. ^ Journal of the Legislative Council of the Colony of New-York. Begun on the 9th Day of April, 1691; Ended the 27th Day of September, 1743. Weed, Parson & Company/Senate of the State of New York. 1861. p. 308. 
  28. ^ a b Venturini, Peter. "The Colonization of Eastern Long Island". Retrieved 2010-09-19.