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Dating back to its formation under a colonial law of 1683, Orange is one of the oldest of the counties in the State. It was reestablished in 1788, and had its boundaries finally determined April 3, I80I. In 1799, Rockland was set off, and five towns from Ulster added. Newburgh and Goshen were jointly the shire villages. The county was divided at this time into the towns of Blooming Grove, Chesekook, Deer Park, Goshen, Minisink, Montgomery, New Windsor, Newburgh, Wallkill and Warwick. The county has an area of nearly half a million square acres; fronts on both the Hudson and Delaware, and is bounded on the south and west by the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Sullivan and Ulster counties supply the west and north lines, the Hudson the east.
Few sections of New York can equal the district in the variety and picturesqueness of terrain. The most and best of the Hudson highlands, with Storm King, Cro'Nest and Bear Mountain dominating the landscape, is one of its natural beauties. The central part is one wide range of rolling surface, broken by deep valleys; on the west are the Shawangunk mountains. There are valleys in which the richest bottom lands have been cultivated for more than two centuries, such as the Neversink. Lakes are to be seen in profusion, some of the best roads making them accessible to all. Even the swamp lands, such as those in the "Drowned Lands," have both charm and utility, since drainage has been used in their development. The geology is as interesting as the topography, although minerals of commercial value are few.
Of the part played by the county in the history of the State and Nation, it is well to recall that this section was intimately associated with some of the crucial events of the Revolution. Not only was there a continuous movement of troops through the region, for West Point was on the county's frontier, but near the close, the last cantonment of the war was in Orange, and Washington passed the greater part of his time here. When the army went into winter headquarters at Little Britain in 1782, with the end of the war in sight, there grew the idea that a republic was an impossibility as a form of government, and Washington was suggested as the king of a limited monarchy. He was a resident of the county when such an offer was made to him by Colonel Nicola. The stern rejection of the idea is well known, and in his utterance he assured the establishment of a free government.
Read more about it! . . .
- Cities and Towns of Orange County
- The Concise History of Orange County
PLUS -- Each of these sections has different books on the same region:
- Town & County
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Copyright © 1996 by Richard Frisbie -- All rights reserved.